Briefing :: Assessing Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections

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Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe:  U.S. Helsinki Commission

Assessing Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections

Committee Members Present:
Representative Robert Aderholt (R-AL)

Witnesses:
Thomas Melia,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State,
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,
United States Department of State

Olha Ajvazovska,
Board Chair,
OPORA

Katie Fox,
Deputy Director-Eurasia,
National Democratic Institute

Stephen Nix,
Regional Director, Eurasia,
International Republican Institute


The Hearing Was Held From 10:00 a.m. To 11:30 a.m. in Room B-318 Rayburn House 
Office Building, Washington, D.C., Orest Deychakiwsky, Policy Adviser for 
Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, CSCE, Moderating 

Date:  Friday, November 16, 2012



Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C. 
 
OREST DEYCHAKIWSKY:   I think we can start the briefing.

My name’s Orest Deychakiwsky.  I’m a policy adviser here at the Helsinki 
Commission.  On behalf of our chairman, Congressman Chris Smith, welcome to 
today’s Helsinki Commission briefing assessing the October 28th parliamentary 
elections in Ukraine.  We’re pleased to have with us a very distinguished, 
knowledgeable panel of seasoned representatives of organizations with 
substantial, longtime on-the-ground election experience in Ukraine.

Before proceeding with our panel, let me say a few words from my perspective as 
an OSCE observer at these elections.  The OSCE, the U.S. government, the EU and 
others have all asserted that these elections represented a step backward 
compared to the four most recent national elections.  According to the OSCE’s 
post-election preliminary statement, there was a lack of level playing field, 
caused primarily by the abuse of administrative resources, the lack of 
transparency, of campaign and party financing and lack of balanced media 
coverage.

On the other hand, voters had a choice between distinct parties, and elections 
day voting and the counting were assessed quite positively by the vast majority 
of OSCE observers.  Indeed, the voting – and more importantly, the count – that 
my partner, Italian member of parliament Matteo Mecacci, and I observed in a 
polling station in Kiev Oblast, for instance, was, I would say, very good, 
among the best I’ve ever seen and – on my election observing.

However, according to the OSCE-ODIHR election mission’s post-election interim 
report, issued just a week ago, the tabulation process following elections day 
lacked transparency and was marred by serious problems, including outright 
falsifications in some of the single-mandate districts, and we’ll hear more 
about that from OPORA in a little while.

So these elections, I think, with all their flaws, were far – were for the most 
part competitive and more or less free, if obviously far from being completely 
fair.  Despite their shortcomings, they clearly were not the noncompetitive, 
farcical, rigged elections that we see all too often in former Soviet states, 
including those that I observed just two months ago in Belarus in late 
September.

But having said that, let me offer several points for your consideration.  
Number one, in contrast to elections in Belarus, Russia and elsewhere in the 
post-Soviet regime, a space where elections have not complied with OSCE 
standards for a long time, if ever, Ukraine’s last four national elections were 
assessed positively by the OSCE.  Unfortunately, these elections moved Ukraine 
in the wrong direction.  So what we see is regression.

Number two, Ukraine aspires to European values and European integration, has 
actually undertaken some concrete measures to draw closer to Europe.  Belarus 
and Russia, obviously, have not.

And number three, Ukraine soon will assume the leadership of the OSCE.  An 
incoming chair in office should display exemplary conduct by adhering to OSCE 
commitments, especially in areas of human rights and fundamental freedoms, 
democracy and the rule of law.  Instead, it appears as if Ukraine will take 
over the chairmanship under a cloud.  Of course, the releasing of political 
opposition leaders, Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko, and completing the 
election process in a fair, transparent way, as vice president urged President 
Yanukovych to do earlier this week, would go a considerable way, I think, in 
helping to remove that cloud.

And now I’ll introduce our panel in order of appearance.  Olha Ajvazovska is 
board chair of the Ukraine citizens network OPORA with an education in 
journalism and philology.  Olha has spent her career in the civic sector.  
She’s been the chairman of the board since 2009 and worked with the 
organization since its founding in 2006.  Prior to that Olha worked for PORA, 
the nongovernmental organization from which OPORA evolved, and other student 
and youth organizations.

Katie Fox is deputy director for Eurasia and the National Democratic Institute. 
 Prior to joining NDI 16 years ago, Katie was legislative director for a large 
labor union and served as an aide to U.S. senators and a congressman.  In her 
current role, she oversees NDI election monitoring, civic organizing and 
political party development programs in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova.

Stephen Nix, who’s no stranger to this commission, is regional director for 
Eurasia at the International Republican Institute.  He’s been with IRI since 
2000 and oversees programs in Belarus, Georgia, the Kirghiz Republic, Moldova, 
Russia and Ukraine.  Prior to IRI, Steve served for two years as senior 
democracy specialist at the U.S. – USAID.  And during the 1990s Steve worked 
among many other things either for three years, I believe it was, in Ukraine, 
part of that time if not all of it for IFES.

We’re honored to have join us – and he just returned from Iraq last night – 
Thomas Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, 
Human Rights and Labor, DRL.  He’s responsible for DRL’s work in Europe, 
including Ukraine, Russia and the Caucasus, in the Middle East and North Africa 
and workers’ rights issues worldwide.  Prior to coming to DRL in 2010, Mr. 
Melia spent five years as deputy executive director of Freedom House and before 
that spent 12 years with NDI.

Now, if you haven’t done so already, please pick up their full biographies.  
They’re on the table outside, along with brief descriptions of their 
organizations.

At this juncture, before the panelists start, I’d like to introduce Dr. Paul 
Carter, who’s our senior State Department adviser here at the Helsinki 
Commission. Paul has a long and distinguished career in European and Eurasian 
affairs, including as the State Department’s desk officer – political officer 
during the Orange Revolution, I would say a particularly interesting time to be 
there.

Before we turn it over to the other panelists, I’d like to ask Paul to say a 
brief word about an especially topical issue relating to election observation.  
Thank you.


PAUL CARTER:  Thank you, Orest.  It’s an honor to appear here today with this 
distinguished panel.  I look forward to hearing their views on the Ukrainian 
elections, their significance for democracy in Ukraine and the way forward.

I first would like to take this opportunity to say a few words on an 
election-related matter.  As Orest mentioned, Ukraine will assume the OSCE 
chairmanship in office at the beginning of the new year.  This will be an 
important opportunity for Ukraine to bolster its democratic credentials and to 
help strengthen respect for fundamental freedoms in the Euro-Atlantic and 
Eurasian regions.  We have high hopes for Ukraine’s chairmanship and look 
forward to assisting Ukraine in any way we can.

A few days ago Ukrainian Foreign Minister Gryshchenko told the press that 
during its 2013 chairmanship of the OSCE, Ukraine would offer what he called 
common standards for the activity of international election observers.  We’ll 
have to wait for the Ukrainian government to flesh out this proposal, but when 
their face – on its face, it has caused some concern.

For several years now the term “common standards” has been a shorthand way of 
referring to proposals by some participating states to weaken OSCE election 
activities by subjecting them to consensus agreement, including by the 
governments whose elections are being observed.  We strongly oppose any efforts 
to undercut OSCE election observation activities and urge Ukraine to ensure 
that OSCE work on elections and OSCE human dimension work in general is 
protected from any efforts to weaken or undermine it.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Initiatives and Human Rights already has a 
handbook and code of conduct for election observers that has been the basis of 
OSCE observations for the last 15 years.  We support the existing handbook and 
code of conduct and encourage the Ukrainian chairmanship to assist in the 
implementation and strengthening of the existing OSCE documents.

I would welcome any comments that our panelists might have on this matter.  And 
now I would like to turn it over to them.  Thank you very much.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Thanks, Paul.

At this point too, I would like to recognize Ukraine’s ambassador to the United 
States, the honorable Olexander Motsyk, who, in the question-and-answer session 
after the panelists are done, will have the opportunity for the first question 
and comments, any comments he might have.  Welcome, Ambassador Motsyk.

Thanks a lot, Paul.  Now we turn to our first panelist.  Reading Ms. 
Ajvazovska’s statement will be her colleague, Iurii Lisovsskij, coordinator of 
OPORA’s observer network. And then Ms. Ajvasovska will give a brief PowerPoint 
presentation in Ukrainian – with English translation, of course.  So please 
proceed.

IURII LISOVSSKIJ (Coordinator, OPORA’s Observer Network):  OPORA notes setback 
of Ukraine in holding democratic elections. The 2012 parliamentary campaign was 
characterized by an artificial restriction of competition within the electoral 
process and by flagrant violations of the principle of equal opportunities for 
political parties and candidates.

The mixed electoral system, as well as the use of the illegal practice of 
abusing administrative resources and bribing votes had a decision influence on 
the course of the campaign, which generally did not contribute to the integrity 
of its results.  These violations were systematic and had no legal consequences 
for the electoral subjects that resorted to them.

Taking into consideration pre-election and election day factors, OPORA 
considers that the election process does not meet basic democratic standards 
due to the lack of equal conditions for conducting campaigning for – by 
candidates and parties, unrepresented large number of technical electoral 
subjects, unbalanced election commissions and media.

However, observers recorded the most grievous violations at the stage of vote 
count and vote tabulation.  OPORA counted 16 districts, in which direct and 
unconcealed fraud took place at the level of district election commissions, 
namely:  Changes were made to the protocols of vote at polling stations; 
ballots were destroyed and spoiled; false data of vote count was transferred to 
the CEC website.  The judiciary and enforcement bodies were unable to properly 
perform its functions and to promote establishment of the election results.  
Unfortunately, the above-mentioned violations remained out of attention by the 
law enforcement bodies.

The return of Ukraine to a mixed electoral system previously applied in 1998 
and 2002 with a majoritarian component provided incentives for electoral 
subjects to massively use unfair methods of campaigning in single-mandate 
constituencies.  In countries with no rooted democratic traditions and 
societies not critical of corruption, the majoritarian component also corrupts 
the electoral process.

The state authorities failed to provide impartial treatment of all participants 
to the election process.  Taking advantage of Ukraine ambitious electoral law, 
which does not clearly distinguish between campaign activities and the 
performance of official duties, officials systematically used their power and 
state resources available to them for campaigning.

The most common abuse of this type was observed within budget administrative 
resources.  Candidates or parties close to authorities received substantial 
indirect investment from municipal or state budgets for the needs of their 
campaigns, which put electoral subjects in unequal conditions and misled the 
voters, who were unable to distinguish between manipulation and the real 
achievements of candidates.

 The indirect bribery of votes, which was conducted by candidates and parties 
in the form of charity, was the main technology used to impact the vote.  
Candidates’ charitable foundations turned out to be a complementary tool of 
campaign financing that directly contradicted the norms of the law on exclusive 
financing of campaign activities of the electoral subjects from the official 
election funds.  Thus, the issue of the lack of transparency in financing 
election activities become even more acute in the 2012 parliamentary campaign.  
The indirect votes bribery carried out by candidates was massive and systematic 
and conducted by illegally providing products, services, jobs or benefits to 
voters with the purpose of campaigning.

The use of controversial procedure for drawing the members of district and 
precinct election commissions resulted in an unbalanced representation of key 
electoral actors in election commissions and the dominance of the so-called 
“technical parties”  in the commissions.  As a result, the work of the election 
commissions before and during election day was marked by constant conflict and 
a lack of public confidence in the commissions as the institutions responsible 
for the administering election process on the ground.

In the process of tabulation and transmission of protocols of the district 
election commissions, observers recorded procedural violations, including 
taking stamps outside polling stations, which is prohibited by law; precinct 
election commissions delaying the signing of the vote count protocols; and the 
frequent return of protocols by DECs to PECs for further information check.

Observers also noted that the procedure to consider complaints from electoral 
subjects and citizens was quite formally fulfilled. At a quarter of polling 
stations, where complaints and claims were registered during the voting day, 
commissioners spent a total of no more than half an hour their consideration.

 (Note:  Ms. Ajvazovska’s remarks are provided through an interpreter.)

OLHA AJVAZOVSKA:  Thank you.  Let me take over.  Just a few slides in my 
presentation to illustrate the points that Iurii just made.

First of all, speaking of systematic irregularities that we observed even 
before the election, there would be use of administrative resources by the 
party of power.  Specifically, government resources were used to give unfair 
advantages to the specific candidates.  Four hundred fifty-seven such 
violations were registered by our observers.  Such use – such unfair use and 
unfair advantages provided by use of these state resources precluded fair 
competition in these elections.

Secondly, I would like to emphasize the bribery of the voters.  That these 
violations –  that these – more specific to Ukraine, and it’s the – it’s the 
attempt to bribe the voters.

The third type of irregularities was the hindering of political activities and 
creating artificial difficulties for the candidates.  That would include 
obstruction or denying access to the media.  Then even to – up to using of law 
enforcement type activities and creating artificial barriers.

I just mentioned these three most common types of violation and irregularities, 
though investigated many more.

Unfortunately, those irregularities and violations were of a systemic nature 
and were observed throughout the territory Ukraine.

The violations and the irregularities that we observed after the election day, 
they did – we did not consider them systemic, as they were more prevalent in 
some regions than in other regions.  Nevertheless, they were material, as they 
affected the outcome of the elections.

Additionally, OPORA provided voting tabulations that gave us the gauge of the 
outcome.  The results for the districts were – there were many (mandates ?) of 
– our predictions are closely aligned with preliminary results that we received 
from Central Electoral Committee.

We encountered, as it was predicted, the most problematic outcome in those 
districts where we had a single candidate, which we believe was a result of 
legislative type of manipulation by the electoral committee.  Unfortunately, 
these elections were unprecedented they – that they used the dummy candidates 
or placeholder candidates, or what they call technical candidates.  Among 81 
entities that took part in polling – in selecting the electoral committee, only 
22 political parties considered true or real participants in election process.  
Sixty of these political parties considered dummies or placeholders, or 
technical parties, as they called – that they were created on purpose to skew 
the composition of the electoral system.

This chart highlights distribution of different parties through electoral 
committee.  Blue bars indicates representations of various political parties in 
these commissions – district electoral commissions.  The yellow bars represent 
number of – a true number of candidates registered by those political parties 
that would clearly indicate that those political parties that would be expected 
to be most popular with electorate in Ukraine as Party Svoboda and Party UDAR, 
they did not receive a single place in these electoral committees.

Unfortunately, this type of skewing and manipulation resulted in violations 
also after the day of elections.  The – (inaudible) – was affected through 
denying or through the lack of political representations in the commissions 
that were in charge of counting the votes or tabulating the votes after the 
elections.  For example, out of the 18 members of the Central Electoral 
Committee, only two represented the opposition parties, so 16 were 
pro-government.

Here let me underline the scope of the observers that we provided.  Two hundred 
twenty-five long-term observers – they worked throughout the – before, during 
and after the elections.  Additionally, we had 3,500 short-term observers 
working specifically on the election day.  That allows us with confidence to 
state that most of the violations – systemic violations took place before the 
election day.  We also noted the number of irregularities that are – that 
should be classified as falsifications after the election days.  So the 
regional election districts participated in these manipulations.

Regardless of the – (inaudible) – and scheduling of secondary election in five 
districts – (inaudible) – electoral districts, we do not believe that these 
second elections would be any more fair than the original ones unless laws that 
were responsible for violation in the first place would be duly prosecuted.

Thank you.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Thank you very much, Olha and Iurii.  And now we’ll turn to 
Katie Fox.

KATIE FOX:  Thank you, Orest.  And also, thank you, Olha, for  an interesting 
presentation on the problems plaguing this election.  NDI’s observations 
similarly point to an election that is not democratic and constitutes a setback 
for Ukrainians’ Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

I’m going to use my time here today, however, to place this election in the 
context of Ukraine’s longer-term democratic development.  Democracy is about 
more than elections, of course, as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has 
himself implied in describing Ukraine’s aspirations to meet European Union 
democratic, not only electoral, standards.

Is that better?  Thank you.  Sorry.

On one key measure of democracy, political pluralism, Ukraine did reasonably 
well in these elections.  Even though they did not compete on a level playing 
field, opposition parties are likely to be well-represented in the new 
parliament.  In addition, because of what seems to be a protest vote against 
established groups, new political parties like Svoboda and UDAR will have seats 
in the parliament.  It appears that despite the voter bribery and misuse of 
government resources in the campaign, which OPORA has told us about, many 
citizens simply decided to vote their consciences.  And this is a healthy sign.

A second positive:  Parties and candidates appear to have campaigned to a 
greater extent than previously on the issues, giving voters real choices.  Poll 
after poll has shown that Ukrainians are frustrated with their leaders.  They 
are yearning for new policy proposals as well as new leaders.  So this election 
was a tentative indication that parties are beginning to respond, and that’s 
positive.

Turning to the election’s clearly negative effects on Ukraine’s democratic 
progress, as Orest and Paul have said, there is a consensus among credible 
domestic and international observer groups that the elections were, quote, a 
step backwards.  I am not going to try to expand on the very good job OPORA has 
done of describing what happened in the elections themselves, except to add one 
general point.

NDI fielded a pre-election delegation, which issued a statement on the campaign 
environment.  And in that, we pointed to a deep lack of confidence in Ukrainian 
leaders, political parties and other political institutions.  That lack of 
confidence appears to have worsened dramatically since our group left Ukraine 
in September.  And we see that, for example, in the lack of confidence and 
apparently outright bias on some of the election – district election 
commissions that OPORA is describing.  NDI and other groups recommended changes 
to the way these election commissions were selected, which unfortunately were 
not heeded.

But I would like to return to Ukraine’s progress on democracy overall.  In 
testimony before the Helsinki Commission last May, NDI listed threats to 
democracy in Ukraine.  And today that list is substantially unchanged.  At that 
time we noted a significant decline in the protection of democratic rights.  
More fundamental, we talked about the danger of consolidation of political 
party within the executive branch – excuse me, political power within the 
executive branch and, indeed, within a single political party.  In this 
context, we referred to legislation that was passed in 2010 to strengthen the 
presidency, we referred to flawed local elections in 2010 that were won 
overwhelming by the governing party of regions, and we referred to the 
politicization of the judiciary.

Today there is one more potential red flag.  Critics of the Ukrainian 
government have long speculated that the Yanukovych administration would seek 
constitutional changes to enhance the power of the presidency.  But until last 
week, amending the constitution required the support of two-thirds of the Rada, 
a supermajority, which the governing party did not achieve in these elections.  
But on November 6th, the Rada passed, with just 10 minutes of debate, 
legislation that changes the constitutional amendment process to introduce a 
national referendum and, more important, eliminate the need for a two-thirds 
majority.  Now the president may put a proposed change to a national – put a 
proposed constitutional change to a national referendum with the support of a 
simple parliamentary majority.

I am not – we are not here to debate the merits of national referenda per se, 
but nevertheless, it is reasonable to wonder about the circumstances under 
which this constitutional amendment procedure was so quickly changed.  The 
opposition parties have indeed cried foul, and the burden is now on Ukraine’s 
leaders to regain their confidence by demonstrating that there is a legitimate 
reason for the sudden change.  What else can Ukraine’s leaders do going forward 
to reassure and reunite Ukrainians as well as reassure the international 
community of their democratic intentions?

In the short term, as Olha has said, the election authority’s police and 
prosecutor’s office should investigate all credible claims of electoral fraud 
and fully prosecute all violations, or there is no reason to believe that the 
next elections will be any better than the last ones.  And that includes the 
districts that are to be rerun.

Second, over the next few weeks Rada factions will be forming.  Nonaligned 
deputies will declare their allegiances.  A certain amount of bargaining is 
part of parliamentary faction formation.  However, we hope all parties will 
refrain from using corrupt or unethical methods, bribes or threats, to induce 
members of parliament to join factions.  Such behavior has historically been 
used in Ukraine to distort election results, and it is guaranteed to trigger 
suspicions in Ukraine and the international community.

Third, in the short term, Rada leaders should examine the rules of procedure 
and try to ensure that some leadership positions, such as substantive committee 
chairmanships, are reserved for opposition MPs.  More substantial opposition 
involvement will promote more trust and confidence in the deliberations of the 
Rada.

And then turning to our recommendations for the longer term, legislative or 
constitutional changes affecting the structure of power, the rights of the 
opposition or electoral conditions should be the subject of full, transparent 
and inclusive debate.  Opposition parties and civic groups – civic experts 
should be included.  This may, in the near future, for example, apply to 
administrative reform, changes to the presidential election law or to the 
electoral calendar.

Second, the government should put an immediate stop to politically motivated 
prosecutions.  NDI here joins the widespread call for the release of former 
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko.  As long 
as they are in jail, neither Ukrainians nor the international community will 
have full confidence in Ukrainian leaders’ democratic credentials.

Third, as a result of the reintroduction of single-mandate districts, for the 
first time in several years Ukraine will have members of parliament 
representing defined geographic areas.  This offers a new opportunity to 
strengthen ties between elected leaders and voters.  We hope that across the 
political spectrum, these members of parliament will strive to learn and 
respond to the needs of their constituents.

And finally, I would like to second the call from Dr. Carter on – in regard to 
electoral standards.  NDI has been at the forefront of a worldwide movement, 
along with the U.N. and other credible observation organizations, to promulgate 
standards for international observation.  These are very similar to the 
standards that Mr. Carter discussed – Dr. Carter discussed from the OSCE, and 
we fully agree that the best way to improve election observation is to 
strengthen those standards and not to start with new ones.

In the next few weeks, NDI is going to issue more detailed recommendations on 
how to improve the electoral process itself, and these will be based on our 
pre-election delegation and also a team of electoral experts that NDI has had 
in Ukraine throughout the electoral process.  We will offer those 
recommendations, and I offer this statement today in the spirit of 
strengthening and supporting democratic institutions and processes in Ukraine.

Ultimately, it will be the people of Ukraine who will determine the credibility 
of their elections and the country’s democratic development.  And NDI looks 
forward to working with them and with Ukraine’s friends and allies in the U.S. 
and Europe, including those who are here today.

Thank you.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Thank you very much, Katie.

We’re joined by Congressman Commissioner Aderholt.  But we’ll proceed now to 
Steve Nix.  Please, Steve.

STEPHEN NIX:  Can you hear me?

Thank you very much, Orest for scheduling this important briefing.  It’s an 
honor to be here once again.  Ukraine remains of great strategic importance to 
the United States, and developments there, particularly in the area of 
democracy, remain of keen interest.  And for this reason, a careful analysis of 
the democratic backsliding in Ukraine and how the United States and Europe 
should react is of utmost importance at this time.

I’d like to focus my remarks today in four distinct categories:  first, the 
parliamentary election campaign period; second, the actual events on election 
day; third, official results; and then finally, the repercussions of these 
elections for Ukraine and its self-expressed interest in further integration 
into Euro-Atlantic structures.

Regardless of all the analysis and technical aspects of the elections which 
took place in Ukraine on October 28th, the specter that hung over the entire 
process was that election day marked the 450th day of imprisonment for Yulia 
Tymoshenko, the 671st day of imprisonment of Yuri Lutsenko.  Both faced what 
has been described as the – by the U.S. government as selective prosecution, 
which kept them off the ballot and denied millions of Ukrainians who had 
previously voted for them in previous elections from doing so in this 
particular election.  It’s from this starting point which the fairness of these 
elections must be judged to be a step backwards for Ukrainian democracy.

IRI fielded an official international observation delegation with observers 
visiting more than 160 polling stations on election day.  IRI’s assessment was 
that during the campaign period, significant problems combined to create a very 
uneven playing field that made it difficult for the parties and candidates to 
compete fairly.  These include the following:  First, as was stated previously, 
the law on parliamentary elections which was adopted in November 2011 was a 
return to the system last utilized by Ukraine in its 2002 parliamentary 
elections, when observers reported significant fraud.  The Venice commission 
strongly criticized the absence of political consensus and the lack of 
transparency around the drafting of the law, which was done by the presidential 
administration and which provided little substantive input from Ukrainian 
political parties or civil society.

Secondly, the government increased pressure on independent media.  The 
independent TV station ATN was closed in September 2011, and in April 2012 the 
tax authorities, increasingly used as a tool of government and formerly headed 
by the current prime minister, exerted pressure on the media and began to 
target TVi this past summer and opened a politically motivated criminal case 
against the station’s owner.

Third, the Ukrainian government has also started to move to more closely 
monitor and regulate the activities of domestic civil society organizations.  
Again, tax authorities have targeted independent civil society organizations 
with criminal cases, and in one case, the Association of Ukrainian Banks came 
under pressure from the tax authorities to cease its work.  The largest network 
of civic organizations in Ukraine, which operates under the Civil Initiative 
Support Center, reported that many individuals who attempted to simply exercise 
their legal right to check their names on the voter registry during the 
pre-election period were contacted by representatives of the government 
inquiring why they were asking to verify that their names were on the voter 
list.

Sixth, political parties and candidates suffered intimidation and investigation 
by tax authorities and other governmental bodies that reduced their ability to 
compete in the election.  Composition of election commissions was uneven, as 
was noted in the presentation you just saw.  And major parties were at times 
completely excluded from membership in polling station commissions.  IRI 
observers noted what appeared to be pseudo-parties that were created with the 
sole purpose of allowing the ruling party to dominate membership on 
commissions.  As a result, the composition of precinct election commissions 
suffered from a lack of representation of legitimate political parties 
competing in these elections.

All of these factors as well, as many credible reports on the use of 
administrative resources, again which you heard about previously, resulted in a 
pre-election period which simply did not allow for a fair and competitive 
process.

As was noted earlier, the overall conduct of the electoral process from a 
technical standpoint on election day was assessed as a regression of democracy 
by most international election observers.

Here’s what others had to say about these elections:  Quote, one should not 
have to visit a prison in order to hear from leading political figures in the 
country.  These are the powerful words of Walburga Habsburg Douglas, the 
special coordinator who led the OSCE short-term election observation mission in 
Ukraine.  Just recently, Catherine Ashton put out a statement saying that she 
expressed her concern about the conduct of the post-electoral process, which 
was marred by irregularities, delays in the vote count and a lack of 
transparency in the – in electoral commissions.  This comes in addition to the 
lack of response to the shortcomings and problems already identified earlier by 
the OSCE/ODIHR interim reports.  

Taken together, this represents deterioration in several areas compared to 
standards previously achieved.  It was noted that Ukraine had made some 
progress in the administration of elections, but ensuring a level playing field 
was the dominant factor here.  The problems in the campaign period and election 
day are particularly troubling, as they indicate that Ukraine has not 
progressed in the way that it should and has not advanced as far as other 
former republics, including Georgia, which just saw its first peaceful transfer 
of power from one democratic elected government to another.

While some reported that technical aspects – the administration of election was 
done in an orderly manner, i.e., there was no proof of nationwide systemic 
networks of fraud, Ukraine continues to fall short in ensuring voters a 
campaign in which candidates have equal opportunity to be heard and that they 
can be confident that their individual votes count.  Despite the efforts of 
polling officials and voters who turned out to cast their ballots, Ukraine 
still faces significant obstacles to its democratic development.

With regard to the official results, I’d just like to go back to what was said 
previously about the election system.  Ukraine returned to a system last 
utilized in 2002.  And I’m going to depart from my former remarks here just to 
make the point that Ukraine has had several systems of elections since its 
independence.  It started out with a single-mandate system.  A few years later, 
it changed to a mixed system.  It then went to a hundred percent proportional 
system.  Now it’s back to a mixed system.  

So Ukraine is now on its fourth system of parliamentary elections since its 
independence.  You know, we strongly suggest that Ukraine adhere to common 
practice and not change its system of voting on a regular basis.  It impacted 
the strategy; it was the driving force in this campaign.  Many people drew 
parallels, this campaign, to the 2002 one in which Viktor Andriyovych 
Yushchenko and Nasha Ukraina won a plurality of the seats in the party list 
system but did not fare well in the single-mandate system.  

And the results are very, very similar when you look at them.  Our polling 
predicted that the combined opposition – that would be Batkivshchyna, Front 
Zmin, UDAR and Svoboda – would win in a combined total of 120 seats, and that’s 
exactly the allocation they received under the party list system.  Because it’s 
difficult to do polling on a single-mandate basis, it was unknown how they 
would do.  But it’s very clear that the ruling party knew that their numbers 
were falling, and they focused their strategy primarily in the single-mandate 
seats.  If one would merely double the number of votes, the number of seats 
that the opposition gained, if there were a reversion back to the old system of 
a party list, then one could surmise that the opposition may have won as many 
as 240 seats, thus ensuring a majority in parliament, an altogether different 
story than what we have today in Ukraine.

So again, the change in system I think had tremendous repercussions.  I’m going 
to shorten my remarks just to go to next steps.  The 2012 parliamentary 
elections were a step backwards in Ukraine’s democratic development.  Although 
Ukraine has shown that it can improve upon its administration of election day 
activities, the uneven playing field again demonstrated the opposition did not 
have equitable access to media and the massive use of government resources by 
pro-government candidates and the intimidation of opposition candidates.

Secondly, it should be noted that there have been numerous calls for banning 
visas in the U.S., Canada and the European Union for those individuals involved 
in selective prosecution of political figures.  After this election, I think 
the calls for such measures will only be increased.

In terms of future democracy assistance in Ukraine, I have several 
recommendations.  Against the backdrop, again, of another changed election 
system, I think the international community missed an opportunity to fully 
support the advancement of Ukrainian democracy.  In an election being conducted 
under new rules, those participating were not able to realize their full 
potential as actors in the electoral process.  

IRI regularly receives requests from all major political parties, candidates, 
poll workers, commission members, party observers for additional technical 
assistance in order to prepare them to fulfill their roles and responsibilities 
in elections.  IRI strongly believes that in order to contribute to a level 
playing field in future elections in Ukraine, appropriate attention must be 
given to strong political party development.  Without strong, national, 
representative political parties in the opposition as well as the government, 
further steps backward in Ukraine’s democratic process can be expected.

That’s the conclusion of my remarks.  I look forward to any questions you have 
later.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Thank you very much, Steve, and now Deputy Assistant 
Secretary of State Tom Melia.

THOMAS MELIA:  Thank you, Orest, and thank you for joining us this morning, 
Congressman Aderholt.  It’s a reflection of the importance of this briefing and 
the importance that Ukraine has for American policymakers in the Congress and 
in the executive branch.  I also want to bring greetings on behalf of my boss, 
Assistant Secretary Michael Posner, who is one of the three executive branch 
commissioners of the Helsinki Commission.  He is, unfortunately, traveling 
outside the Helsinki region today.  Otherwise he probably would have wanted to 
join us as well.

I’m also pleased to share the stage today with my colleagues from NDI and good 
friends from IRI and especially with the inspiring leader of the civil network 
OPORA, Olga Ajvazovska.  It’s good to see you again, and thank you for coming 
to Washington to share your analysis with us.

Much has already happened since the voting ended three weeks ago on October 
28th.  And although the final results as reported by the Central Election 
Commission were published this week, the election process is still not yet 
completed.  As we know, five single-mandate districts will hold new elections 
because the CEC could not establish a winner.  Those elections will take place 
early next year.  

The three opposition parties, the United Opposition, UDAR, and Svoboda, have 
stated now that they will not recognize the CEC’s results until the opposition 
candidates who ran in the five disputed districts have been declared winners.  
The opposition has also threatened to boycott the start of parliament’s new 
session next month and to file complaints with Ukrainian courts and with the 
European Court of Human Rights regarding the illegitimacy of the CEC’s actions, 
asserting that the elections did not meet international standards and that the 
results, quote, do not reflect the real will of the Ukrainian people.

The prosecutor general’s office has also announced that it has opened nine 
criminal case of alleged illegal actions that took place during the election, 
including cases of vote-buying.  The prosecutor will also investigate the 
circumstances of the disputed five single-mandate districts to determine if 
there was fraud during the vote count.  

All this suggest that Ukraine’s grass-roots democracy remains vibrant and 
contentious and unlike in some countries, the October 28 election was, in many 
ways, outwardly competitive, and to some extent, offered space for campaigning 
and for voters to learn of their political choices.  Interestingly, in 
pondering what Ukrainians think of their choices and building on some remarks 
that Steve made and just using the officially reported results to date, both of 
the major political formations saw a loss in popular support in October’s 
elections.  

Both the United Opposition and the Party of Regions lost about 5 percent over 
their performance five years earlier.  Together, the two main parties, the two 
main political formations, have dropped in public support from 65 percent to 55 
percent as other formations have emerged and taken a larger share of the vote, 
which again suggests that there is pluralism in political life in Ukraine, and 
also it tells us that there is some disappointment in the governance and the 
leadership demonstrated by the long-standing political leaders on both sides.  

At the same time, the election process was in many respects not fair.  While 
the actual voting and counting in many places, as Orest personally reported, 
was rated positively by international and local observers, there were clearly 
structural problems, as outlined in both the OSCE and the State Department 
statements afterwards, noting that this overall constituted a step backward for 
Ukrainian democracy.  By that we mean a step backward from the conduct of the 
2006 and 2007 parliamentary elections and the 2010 presidential election that 
brought Viktor Yanukovych into office.  

Our concerns, cited in a collective assessment of the observation missions sent 
by ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the 
Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, 
I think except for most Americans who were – American legislators who were 
campaigning that week, I think all other legislators from Europe and North 
America were in Ukraine on October 28.  They all noted the abuse of government 
resources to favor ruling party candidates, interference with media 
organizations and access to media, harassment of some opposition candidates and 
manipulation of election commissions as well as the exclusion, obviously – and 
Katie talked very well to this – as well as the exclusion of major opposition 
political leaders due to their incarceration following what we have 
consistently described as politically motivated prosecutions.

We’ve also been troubled by allegations of fraud and falsification in the 
voting – vote-counting process, by lack of transparency in some key aspects of 
the vote count as well as the current controversy about the – counting the five 
disputed electoral districts.

When I was in Yalta in September, my fifth visit to Ukraine in this job since 
November 2010 – I think, in fact, it was exactly this week two years ago that I 
went there for the first session of the working group under the bilateral 
strategic partnership commission entitled “The Rule of Law in Political 
Dialogue,” which has been an ongoing, very active discussion between American 
and Ukrainian officials.  When I was in Yalta in September, I said then that if 
local and international monitors were to give a grade on the pre-election 
environment up to that point, mid-September, and whether it was going to mark a 
step toward Europe and the West, it would have failed the test at that point.  

Regrettably, as the post-election monitoring reports have indicated, Ukraine’s 
government failed thereafter to demonstrate adequate democratic bona fides, 
using President Yanukovych’s often-repeated phrase.  As Secretary Clinton said 
two days after the October 28 vote, quote, like the rest of Europe, the people 
of Ukraine deserve so much better.  They deserve to live in a country with 
strong democratic institutions that respects the rule of law.  However, the 
parliamentary elections did not advance those goals.  

It’s against that backdrop that Ukraine prepares to assume the chairmanship and 
office of the OSCE in January.  Now, Ukraine still has the chance to restore a 
measure of its democratic reputation by leading by example in the OSCE context 
to investigate and resolve at least some of the problems that arose with the 
election and ensure that similar problems do not occur in future elections by 
implementing election reforms in line with the European standards and 
demonstrating its commitment to the Helsinki principles on democracy and good 
governance.  

Now, the fact that on November 6th, a week after the Party of Regions failed to 
secure a constitutional majority, the Rada adopted the change in constitutional 
amendment procedures that Katie Fox described is not a good sign about whether, 
in the aftermath of this election, the government of Ukraine is moving toward 
European standards on democratic consolidation.

As we have for more than 20 years, the United States government remains 
committed to the people of Ukraine and to working with the government of 
Ukraine bilaterally and in the OSCE and in other multilateral contexts to 
improve its democratic institutions, strengthen the rule of law and advance 
essential reforms, including reform of the criminal justice system, which has 
been a major priority.  We reiterate our call on the leadership of Ukraine to 
reverse democratic backsliding, and we offer our assurances that we will stand 
with Ukraine as it moves forward.  

A case in point – this is one of those cases where the United States – where 
Washington puts its money where its views are.  As our allocation of 
approximately $5 million this year to support the election monitoring and 
election administration efforts in Ukraine, we supported the presence of 260 
Ukrainian and international long-term observers, 3,500 short-term observers, as 
well as other activities to strengthen democratic processes during the course 
of this election campaign.  

Over the last 20 years, U.S. assistance to Ukraine has totaled more than $4.7 
billion, making us the largest bilateral contributor of assistance to Ukraine 
and Ukraine one of the top recipients of American assistance.  USAID has been 
the lead U.S. agency in this regard in Ukraine, working with us in DRL in the 
State Department and the embassy very closely, informally coordinating with the 
National Endowment for Democracy and other private foundations.  In addition to 
Phil Gordon, our assistant secretary, who has made this a major priority of his 
tenure, the assistant administrator at USAID, Paige Alexander, I know has been 
very focused on this.  She also visited Ukraine just before the elections to 
make clear to Ukraine how important an election with integrity will be for our 
continued bilateral cooperation.  And our vice president, as you know, has 
maintained an ongoing dialogue with President Yanukovych, including in a phone 
call since the election.  

So we remain committed to engagement with Ukraine.  We want to continue to help 
Ukraine move towards its democratic future.  And I remain optimistic about 
Ukraine’s potential and prospective for change.  Ukraine’s civil society, 
visible here today, remains quite strong, and its citizens are dedicated to 
building a modern democratic future.  This commitment was clearly shown by the 
millions of voters who participated last month and the many thousands of 
dedicated poll workers and volunteers who toiled long hours on election day and 
beyond, and in those many districts where Ukrainian citizens pushed back 
against efforts to manipulate the election process.  

The same holds true for relations with Europe and the United States.  Ukraine’s 
relations with the West do not have to stagnate or deteriorate.  To quote EU 
Commissioner Stefan Fule, the steps the Ukrainian government should take for 
closer integration with Euro-Atlantic structures are not rocket science.  We 
know Ukraine is capable of taking the right steps.  We just haven’t seen the 
present government in Kiev make the policy decisions to do so.  

As we and many other friends of Ukraine have said to government officials at 
every level – I have this conversation with Ambassador Motsyk from time to 
time; we have a very friendly, cordial and effective diplomatic engagement – we 
say this publicly and privately:  The best guarantor of Ukraine’s future 
stability and prosperity is the pursuit and enactment of political, economic, 
democratic and social reforms.  Backsliding on democracy and selective 
prosecutions interfere with the full development of the relationship many of us 
would like to have with Ukraine.  

Ukraine can be proud of many of its achievements, and young generations of 
Ukrainians are now growing up with new freedoms, opportunities and a new 
outlook.  But there’s still much more work to be done.  Our best partnerships 
are always with like-minded countries who share our values, which include 
commitment to democracy and rule of law, free speech, open markets and 
protection of human rights.  We will continue to offer our active support, but 
Ukraine’s success will ultimately depend, as it always does, on the choices and 
actions of the Ukrainian people.  Thank you for your attention.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Thank you very much, Tom, and thanks again to all our 
panelists.  And now we’ll move on to the question and answer part of the 
briefing.  And as I had mentioned earlier, I wanted to give the opportunity for 
Ambassador Motsyk to offer the first question on this, whatever he’d like to 
say.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a standing mike, but if you could come up to 
this mike over here, sit down if you want to, and please proceed.  Make sure 
you push the button on it.

AMBASSADOR OLEXANDER MOTSYK:  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.  Mr. Chairman, 
Congressman Aderholt, first of all, I would like to express my appreciation to 
Helsinki Commission for organizing this briefing.  Ukraine was open to dialogue 
before and during the elections, and we are open for dialogue now.  I would 
like also to express my appreciation to panelists for their valuable 
contribution and remarks.  

Talking about elections, I would like to say that we just witnessed the seventh 
parliamentary election in modern Ukrainian history.  Ukraine government made 
significant effort to guarantee its integrity, fairness and consistency with 
the Ukrainian law and international standards.  However, no one is claiming 
that the elections were 100 percent perfect.  But  it would also be incorrect 
to characterize them only in a negative way.  All observers or all observer 
reports on election day activities have complimented Ukraine for the 
professional manner in which the election was conducted.

The OSCE interim statement says that – and I quote – voting process was 
assessed positively in 96 percent of polling stations and that international 
observers reported only isolated instances of serious violations.

Most of the criticism of the elections focuses on pre-election period.  
However, there are many positive findings that are being lost in criticism.  
These findings do present a more democratic election that has been cited by 
critics.  Here are some of the important things that I would like to point out.

The new election law, with all its positive and negative aspects, was passed 
with the strong support of all parties, including opposition ones.  The vote 
registry reached almost 100 percent accuracy, which is a very important step 
forward if we compare with the previous situation.  New regulations were passed 
to prevent voting multiple times, so-called carousel voting –and this is also 
very important forward.

The campaign was highly competitive, and voters had real opportunity to choose. 
 The level of competition was evident in every aspect of the campaign and the 
election.  Weekly national monitoring showed equal media coverage of all major 
political forces.  Web cameras were installed at all 34,000 polling stations to 
prevent falsifications.

Three hundred and seventy – 371,000 domestic – and I would like to repeat the 
figure –  371,000 domestic – according to the Central Election Commission, and 
almost 4,000 international observers had broad and comprehensive rights.  We 
sent early invitations to every institution in the world which wanted to 
observe Ukrainian elections.  Almost 900 journalists were accredited by Central 
Election Commission and freely observed the election.

There were also some problems.  District election commissions created by a 
lottery system did not always include major parties, but I would like to point 
out:  created by lottery system.  Fraud in ballot counting did not allow the 
Central Election Commission to establish results in five of 225 single-mandate 
districts.  This is just a bit more than 1 percent of seats in parliament.  Now 
prosecutor’s office is conducting criminal investigations in these cases.

Two days ago President Viktor Yanukovych spoke with Vice President Joe Biden 
and assured him that the Ukrainian government will do everything necessary to 
complete the election process in a fair and transparent way.  Let me stress 
last election was legitimate and reflected the will of the people.  Almost 60 
percent of the voting population exercised its right to cast ballots.  

Election results are consistent with every exit poll and parallel vote counts – 
parallel vote count.  The new parliament will be widely represented, with five 
national parties, and will include 225 members elected directly from their 
districts.  The composition of the new parliament will include strong 
opposition, will be vibrant and will represent all people of Ukraine, which is 
really a step forward.  Future election legislation and elections in general 
will incorporate the lessons learned.  

And last but not least, Ukraine has been continuing implementing systemic 
reforms indicated by – initiated by current government in order to transform my 
country into democratic, prosperous European state.  We confirm that European 
integration is number one priority of foreign policy of Ukraine, and Ukraine 
will continue to do its best to be reliable partner of the United States.

Thank you very much.  

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Thank you very much, Ambassador Motsyk.  

We’ll start out – does anybody on the panel, perhaps the congressman, want to 
ask each other questions or comment on the other’s presentation?  

OK.  Right.  If not, then we’ll proceed with our question-and-answer.  Please 
come up to this microphone, please state your name and affiliation, and please 
try to keep – you’re welcome to give a comment, but try to keep the comments 
concise and the questions concise.  Thank you very much.

Q:  Good morning, everyone.  My name is).  I’m Olena Tregub –  journalist and 
entrepreneur as well.  I am Ukrainian, and I spent this election period 
actually in Ukraine, so I have a lot of my impressions.  

But my question to the panel is not about the election itself but about the 
future of Ukraine because we understand that Ukraine today is a presidential 
republic, because parliament lost its legitimacy and its power, to a large 
extent, and this election was actually part of the gaining – about securing 
power in the future, securing power of Yanukovych and people around him.  And 
as you say, many of you pointed out that there was political competition in 
Ukraine.  There is even political competition inside the party of the power, 
inside the people who surround Yanukovych.  But given the results of this 
election, my impression is that they fit very well into the future strategy, 
future plan that Yanukovych is building for himself in 2015 to be re-elected.

I would like to hear your commentary about that.  And how do you think the 
future parliament will contribute to maintaining the power of Yanukovych in the 
future?  Thank you.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Anybody want to take that on?  

MS. AJVAZOVSKA:  (Through interpreter.)  I’m not sure if I can comment on such 
an extended future plans.  But with your permission, I would like to have a 
brief comment responding to the comments of Mr. Ambassador.  

Unfortunately, our constitutional majority of the members of Ukrainian 
Parliament were 360 of them that voted for the new electoral law.  It was a 
result of political blackmailing and hand-twisting.  A billion of Ukrainian – 1 
billion of Ukrainian – (inaudible) – a significant amount equal to a total of 
all other expenses related to equipment for the election were expended 
specifically for these video cameras.  These video cameras for some reason were 
not used during the tabulation and counting of the votes.  Additionally, 
president directed state attorney or general prosecutor to investigate 
irregularities during the elections.  These investigations should take  – 
before the 12th of November.  Nevertheless, we do not have that expected report 
of the general prosecutor.  A lottery that was implemented in order to select 
electoral committee nevertheless included three-quarters of these – (inaudible) 
– parties or the parties with the – (inaudible) – of placeholders.  You would 
not expect any level of fairness or efficiency from such a lottery. 

Commenting back to the second question about the future of Ukraine perspective, 
we expect discussion, a truly encompassing discussion for any future changes 
into electoral law.  And as soon as the seventh Verkhovna Rada, or the 
parliament of Ukraine, starts to work on December 17, we should start preparing 
– (inaudible) – for the next parliamentary elections.

Secondly, Ukraine should fulfill the obligation and promise that they give to 
OSCE and the European Union, these promises in regard to the accepting the 
electoral codes that would ensure the competitiveness of the elections.  We 
have the political will.

There is – there is a chance that the current – or the new Ukraine parliament, 
seventh parliament, seventh Rada of Ukraine, does have a chance to be more 
pluralistic and representative than the previous Rada.  But it will be seen by 
the first actions, the first step that they’re going to undertake, 
specifically, on the technical – (inaudible) – that’s scheduled in the regular 
parliament.  That unfortunately has the possibility to legitimate an impersonal 
vote in parliament.

MS. FOX:  Thank you.  I just want to add briefly to Olha’s remarks on both 
counts in regard to – response to Ambassador Motsyk.  I did – I want to point 
out that there have been elections in Ukraine that were better in the judgment 
of domestic and international observers, including the ones that brought 
Yanukovych to power.  So we know that Ukraine has the capacity to do this.  
(Chuckles.)

Second, in regard to what the next couple of years will bring and whether this 
is part of a plan to secure greater power for the presidency and lead up to the 
next presidential election, I want to reiterate to everybody in this room that 
it is very important to continue watching what happens in Ukraine, as perhaps 
the election law is changed; I mentioned the changes on how the constitution 
may be amended.  I don’t know what will happen, but I know that it’s very 
important that everyone who cares about Ukraine continues to follow this.  And 
I know, for example, that OPORA will be monitoring the new parliament.  I think 
other civil society groups may be as well and issuing reports, and I hope that 
we will all be following that.  Thank you.

MR. NIX:  Well, in response to the comments – here’s what we do know about the 
parliament in the immediate future.

Number one, not only did the party in power fail to attain a constitutional 
majority – it failed to get a majority.  It has a plurality.  It has to 
coalesce with other parties.  So that means the party in power has to coalesce 
with the 32 communist party seats; at least that’s what we predict will happen. 
 But even if they get each and every one of those deputies, they will have to 
gain an additional 12 – I guess now 16, since there are going to be reruns in 
some single-mandate constituencies – but an additional 16 independently elected 
candidates from single-mandate constituencies.  So that is or could be a very 
difficult coalition to maintain, as Ukraine takes up some very major difficult 
votes on economic reforms that have been put off because of the election.  So 
it remains to be seen how this coalition will be built and how effective it 
will be in terms of unifying in the long term.

Secondly, we do know that because of the number of MPs elected from opposition 
forces, there will be a strong pro-Western in this particular parliament that 
will be advocating for a continued progression towards Euro-Atlantic 
institutions.  And in the famous Ukrainian quote, you know, ni slovo a dia – 
not words, but deeds.  We have heard that Ukraine aspires to be part of the EU 
and other Euro-Atlantic structures.  It’s time for concrete deeds to back that 
up.  So that remains to be seen.

And the final point I’d like to make is again, back to the election law, one 
can make the argument that had this law not been amended, Ukraine maintained 
its old system, that the opposition could have maintained a majority in this 
parliament.  Under the current system, had the opposition forces united on a 
single list of candidates in the single-mandate constituencies, by our 
calculations, they would have won at least another 20 seats.  So that would put 
them in a – in a far stronger strategic position than they are now.  

But I think it provides some viable lessons for the future as we look towards 
the 2015 presidential elections.  As was pointed out, Ukraine is very much a 
presidential republic.  This election will be critical for Ukraine.  And I 
think the opposition may have learned some lessons in terms of unity.  And you 
may see a unified candidate in those presidential elections.  It will be 
interesting to see how this develops.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Indeed it will be interesting to see how it develops.  Are 
there any more questions?  Please – Laura.

Q:  I’m Laura Jewett from National Democratic Institute.  I work with Katie Fox 
on the Eurasia team.  And I have a comment in response to the earlier question 
about what the next few years will bring with the – with the parliament.  And 
it’s more of a theoretical response than a response directly about Ukraine.

But the point is that the strength of any legislature anywhere in the world 
derives from the support of the voters that it has and the independence from 
the government or the executive branch of the government that it has.  To the 
extent that fraud has brought MPs into office, that means that they lack 
support of voters and are accountable not to voters but to whoever perpetrated 
the fraud.  And to the extent that that fraud was perpetrated by the government 
or representatives of the government, it means they are accountable to the 
government and less independent.  

So election fraud inherently weakens the parliament regardless of the official 
or constitutional or legal standing that the parliament may have.  And I think 
that’s one of the tragedies of fraud in this election, is that it – that it 
harms the parliament and the strength that it may otherwise have had.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Anybody want to comment on the comment?  Thank you very much.

Q:  Hello?

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Please.

Q:  (Inaudible) – translation.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Sure.

MR.     :  (Off mic) – from here, and – 

Q:  (Through interpreter.)  Hello.  I would like to have a brief comment.  I 
was – I participated in election.  I was a candidate from opposition from 132nd 
majoritarian district.  I am very thankful and grateful for such – (inaudible) 
– disciplinary approach in the study and analysis of our elections.

(Inaudible) – and what I’ve experienced during the election.  (Inaudible) – had 
a statement – I have to  state  very responsible – (inaudible) – that we 
encountered not just few hundreds of irregularities – (inaudible) – that’s not 
what we call irregularities – (inaudible) – some old lady, she did not 
understand the ban on the kind of – (inaudible) – election – (inaudible) – the 
campaigning is not allowed and regardless of the prohibition on campaigning, 
she would complain.  That would be an example of irregularity.  However it was 
done, what would happen in reality and what we used to call an improper use of 
administrative resources, they in fact were raised to a level of criminal 
activities that should be prosecuted, the crimes, and I would call them crimes. 
 And I can count thousands of such crimes committed by the government 
officials.  

There are one or two criminal cases that were started by the office of the 
prosecutor for the regional electoral offices.  (Inaudible) – level of criminal 
activities, of the nature of the widespread of these activities, crimes.  I 
know more than five of the candidates from majoritarian  districts that – 
(inaudible)  – protocols from – that would prove it.  But so it is not 
difficult to establish the results of the elections, but government does not – 
as a matter of principle, they do not want the true count to be made public.   

And it’s not the a matter of potential five additional members of parliament – 
(inaudible) – reruns.  (Inaudible) – government would prove by running these 
legal reruns is the – (inaudible) – of the oppositions.  So they would bury any 
effort to attempt to gain a majority in the Parliament.  

So calling these elections just one step backward would not be fair, in my 
view.  I would call them a step forward toward legitimization of an 
authoritarian, dictatorial system of government that de facto already exists in 
Ukraine and would only become stronger – (inaudible).  (Inaudible)  – 
constitutional amendments there would be helped by the newly created 
Parliament, and that’s exactly the goal of the current government.  

That’s generally what I wanted to comment.  Thank you.

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  Thank you very much, Mr. Kornatsky for your insights.  And 
indeed what happened to you in your district was truly egregious.  

I wonder if the panelists want to comment on that.  And I know then Paul has a 
question.  So does anybody wish to comment on Mr. Kornatsky’s –

MR. MELIA:  Well, we’ve met with Mr.Kornatsky and heard about his case, and 
we’ve made careful notation about that.  And yes, we appreciate the fact that 
he’s come forward today too.

MR. CARTER:  OK.  I would like to ask if any of our panelists could comment on 
the impact of the incarceration of Yulia Timoshenko as what could be considered 
under international standards as a political prisoner in Ukraine.  What was the 
impact of her exclusion from the election?  

MS. AJVAZOVSKA:  (Through interpreter.)  I would offer some statistical data as 
a response to this that were conducted by some sociological companies, well, it 
was demonstrated that if the united opposition had Tymoshenko’s name on the 
ballot, they would have won more votes, significantly more, from 5 (percent) to 
7 percent of votes – that would enjoy an increase of 5 (percent) to 7 percent.  
And the absence of Tymoshenko’s name on the ballot decreased the attractiveness 
of voting for the united opposition.  So all this just really proves the point 
that the absence of Tymoshenko and her nonparticipation in this campaign – 
election campaign certainly significantly impacted the results of the election. 
 Yes, once again it has impacted the results of the election.

MR. NIX:  I would say – yes, I would agree, statistically, our survey research 
indicated that Batkivshchina would have received a bump, within the margin of 
error of what you just heard.  So yes, we feel that statistically, there would 
have been an increase in support and votes for the opposition.

From a political standpoint, again, I think the fact that she was not present 
impacted on what I alluded to earlier in terms of the unity of the opposition.  
She clearly and strongly came out in favor of a unified opposition in the 
single-mandate seats, urged those who were part of that process to unify and 
agree on one single candidate in every constituency.  And this is just a 
prediction on our part, but I think we can safely say that had she be present – 
had she been present as part of the negotiations process, perhaps the 
opposition would have made greater headway in agreeing on a single list of 
candidates.  So there are several effects that her presence would have had on 
the ticket, I think.

MR. MELIA:  I won’t speak to the political professionals’ analysis of the 
likely effect on voting, but Tymoshenko’s prosecution and imprisonment clearly 
has affected the international community’s approach to these elections.  The 
European Union, the United States have made very clear that the politically 
motivated prosecutions that have led to the imprisonment of Tymoshenko and 
Lutsenko are big problems in our relationship.  It may be – all of the other 
kinds of real, systemic shortcomings in the political and electoral process 
that have been discussed here are important, but that is probably the most 
visible flag over these elections.  And it was clear in the joint op-ed that 
Catherine Ashton and Hillary Clinton published a week or 10 days before 
election day, and it remains true in our statements today.  This coming Monday, 
I believe the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU will be meeting, as they do 
every month or so, and what to do about Ukraine is on the agenda for Monday in 
Brussels.  And this will be part of that discussion, no doubt.  So –

MR. DEYCHAKIWSKY:  OK, thank you.  We have time, perhaps, for one very quick 
question.  Going once.  Going twice.  OK, if not, I’d like to once again thank 
all of our panelists for their knowledge, their insights, their hard work, the 
invaluable work each of you do.  I want to thank all of our participants, our 
questioners, our commentators, and all of you for your attendance.  And I just 
want to let you know that the written statements will be up on our website 
shortly, the ones that were submitted, and an unofficial transcript of this 
briefing will also be up on our website probably by close of business Monday.  
Our website is www.csce.gov.

Thank you very much.

(END)