[Aaus-community-list] Eurasia Daily Monitor -- Volume 6,
Issue 158 [excerpt]
brdcst at jamestown.org
Sat Aug 22 08:02:25 EDT 2009
17, 2009-Volume 6, Issue 158
IN THIS ISSUE
*Merkel raises human rights issues with Medvedev
*Moscow tightens native language teaching in North West Caucasus,
while easing quotas on Circassian repatriation
*Ukraine expels Russian "diplomats" as bilateral tension escalates
*Turks perceive U.S. policies as the major threat
**New in the Jamestown blog on Russia and Eurasia
- Abkhaz and South Ossetians Hire U.S. PR Firm
Ukrainian-Russian Diplomatic War Intensifies
On August 10 President Dmitry Medvedev accused President Viktor
Yushchenko of taking Ukraine on an "anti-Russian course"
(www.blog.kremlin.ru, August 10). Moscow also recently engaged in
tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions (EDM, July 31). The two Ukrainian
diplomats expelled were Ukraine's General-Consul in St.Petersburg
Natalia Prokopovych and Oleh Voloshyn a senior adviser to the
Ukrainian Ambassador in Moscow. Russia claimed that this was in
response to the "unfriendly actions of the Ukrainian authorities"
towards two Russian diplomats. It regarded Kyiv's actions as an
"openly anti-Russian step which harms the development of relations
between Russia and Ukraine" (www.mid.ru, July 29).
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry (MZS) and National Security and Defense
Council (NRBO) both expressed their surprise over the Russian
response. "We are very surprised at such a severe and unfortunate
reaction by the Russian side," the MZS stated (www.mfa.gov.ua, July
29). The MZS had provided to its Russian counterparts a dossier of
documents outlining the undiplomatic activities of the two expelled
Russian diplomats. "On the question of the Russian ambassador's
adviser it was tied to his openly anti-Ukrainian statements as well
as the Odessa General-Consul and his de facto support for radical
political forces" (www.mfa.gov.ua, July 29).
The two expelled Ukrainian diplomats had never been involved in
undiplomatic activities and were not warned at any stage by Moscow.
The MZS claimed that the two expelled Russian diplomats breached the
1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and had intervened in
Ukraine's internal affairs. First Deputy Head of the NRBO and former
Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko described the Russian response as
a return to "the tried and tested reactionary Soviet mentality of the
Homo Sovieticus (sovkova) in responding to absolutely lawful actions
by (the Ukrainian) state," Ohryzko commented (Ukrayinska Pravda, July
On July 31 Ukrayinska Pravda was told by unofficial sources that the
two "so-called diplomats," as Ohryzko described them, were involved
in espionage and subversive activities. Odessa General-Consul
Oleksandr Grachov financed and sought to cooperate with local
political leaders by drawing on funds generated by illegal hard
currency operations undertaken through shadow economic structures.
This "illegal espionage activity in support of Russia's political
steps," sought to recruit "agents of influence" to advance Russian
interests in Ukraine.
One of these controlled political groups was the Odessa-based Rodina
Party, whose members were accused of the murder of a Ukrainian
nationalist in Odessa in April (EDM, June 16). Grachov was directly
subordinated to the Federal Security Service (FSB) leadership who
passed his reports directly to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
(Ukrayinska Pravda, July 31). Grachov's apartment, purchased with
these illegally earned funds, was located in the same building in
Odessa as Rodina Party leader Igor Markov's office.
Expelled Senior Adviser Vladimir Lysenko undertook "active espionage
and subversive activities in Ukraine," the same sources told
Ukrayinska Pravda (July 31). "Lysenko established unofficial contacts
with representatives of local organs of power with the aim of
obtaining confidential information on Ukraine's position in
negotiations over the Black Sea Fleet" (Ukrayinska Pravda, July 31).
Lysenko also sought to recruit agents of influence among the Crimean
Tatar community with the aim of replacing the leadership of the
Medzhilis (Tatar unofficial parliament) with individuals of a more
pro-Russian orientation. The Crimean Tatars have long been
pro-Ukrainian in their orientation and Medzhilis leaders were elected
to the national parliament within Rukh (1998) and the Our Ukraine
bloc (2002, 2006, 2007).
A third area - long suspected of Russian diplomats - was their
subversive activities with the FSB based in the Black Sea Fleet to
sponsor "public protest actions," when for example, NATO vessels
arrived in Sevastopol they organized protests in support of the
Russian navy. Anti-NATO and anti-American protests began in earnest
in the Crimea in summer 2005, immediately after Viktor Yushchenko was
elected president. They were organized against Ukraine's joint
exercises within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP).
Moscow had not mobilized similar protests in the Crimea against these
exercises in 1995-2004 under President Leonid Kuchma.
Russian leaders, Crimean communists and Crimean Russian nationalists
have repeatedly warned that if Ukraine moved towards NATO membership
that it would do so without the Crimea. This threat of using
separatism to undermine a country's Trans-Atlantic integration was
implemented in Georgia in August 2008. Crimea has never been
regarded, unlike Abkhazia or South Ossetia, as a frozen conflict.
Nevertheless, the Ukrainian authorities are preparing for future
conflict scenarios and, not coincidentally after the expulsion of
Russian diplomats, a large-scale "anti-terrorist" exercise was held
in the Crimea on August 3-7 organized by the Ukrainian Security
Service (SBU)'s Anti-Terrorist Center.
The SBU "Alpha" unit, units from the ministry of emergency
situations, interior ministry special forces and the Ukrainian navy's
marines worked together with the authorities during the planned
exercises. The two-fold aim of the exercises was to ascertain the
level of cooperation between the Ukrainian security forces and the
authorities in the event of a "state of emergency" or "undertaking
anti-terrorist operations" (www.sbu.gov.ua, July 28). Both scenarios
involved countering hypothetical threats from "terrorists" (in this
case, a euphemism for separatists).
Leaked information about Lysenko's work with the FSB explains why the
SBU last month demanded the withdrawal of the FSB from the Black Sea
Fleet by December (EDM, July 14). The ostensible reason for the FSB
being in Sevastopol is to provide security for the Black Sea Fleet.
Judging from Ukrainian sources, this should be secondary to working
with Russian diplomats in the fields of espionage or subversion.
However, it remains unclear if Ukraine's tougher line towards Russian
espionage and subversion is a product of the election campaign to
increase Yushchenko's nationalistic credentials in Western Ukraine or
growing Russian intelligence activities against Ukraine, or a
combination of both.
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