Friday, July 25, 2014

Policy Brief: Sex Trafficking in Moldova


Policy Brief: Sex Trafficking in Moldova

Executive Summary:
        Moldova is the largest source of sex-slavery related human trafficking in Europe. The Global Slavery Index ranks Moldova as being the sixth country in the world with the highest prevalence of modern slavery, underneath Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. In Moldova, many women are routinely kidnapped from rural villages or promised legitimate employment, led legally or illegally to foreign countries, and then forced into sexual slavery. To a lesser extent, Moldova is also a transit and destination country for sex trafficking. Although the Moldovan government has made great progress in recent years through partnering with NGOs and taking into account international recommendation in improving victim protection and rehabilitation, as well as prevention, government corruption and a weak judiciary prevents sufficient punishment of well-connected offenders, many of whom go on to retaliate against witnesses and victims.

The Issue:
How/what should the European Union assist and pressure Moldova on, in terms of solving the human trafficking problem?

Background:

The Roots of Moldovan Human Trafficking:
Moldova's human trafficking problem stems from its poverty woes. The Moldovan economy is primarily centered around its farmland, particularly in terms of its wineries and tobacco growth. 23% of its GDP comes from abroad as remittances, both in illegitimate and legitimate labor. Those seeking legitimate employment abroad make up the largest portion of those forced into labor, sex slavery, and begging. Only around 10% are directly kidnapped. The story is typically similar – upon arrival to the target destination, the traffickers hold the victim against their will and take their passport. The victim is then receives personal threats of violence, along with the threat of violence against their family. Seeking help is further complicated due to a language barrier and a lack of knowledge about victim assistance. Even when assistance is granted, often times the victims are retaliated against upon return to Moldova. While forced labor makes up the largest portion of known trafficking, sexual-slavery is usually directed to Turkey, the Middle East, and some specific EU countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Trafficking with its roots in the breakaway region of Transnistria is difficult to gauge and outside of the realistic scope of enforcement of the Moldovan government. In Transnistria, NGOs arguably wield more power over combating human trafficking than the Transnistrian government or the Moldovan government.

Victims:
          According to a variety of reports, 90% of the victims are women, with 80% younger than 25. Children make up 14% of the victims, and this has been increasing over time. It should be noted that statistics do not always differentiate between whether the human trafficking was for the purposes of forced labor or sexual slavery, which may leave a significant margin of error.



Logistics:
79% of recruitment occurs through false job offers. 30% of recruiters are foreigners, and data shows that in recent years women have been used as recruiters to bolster the apparent legitimacy of the operation. 29% of victims are trafficked into Turkey, and 28% into Russia. The duration of exploitation has been shrinking in recent years. Some estimates put the most recent average duration of exploitation at 3 months.

Statement of Interest:
          The European Union has a vested interest in international law, especially with regard to human rights. As many Moldovans are trafficked into European Union countries, the EU has both some responsibility and potential for success in dealing with the source of the problem. Human trafficking is a problem directly associated with development, and tackling this issue will not only help the victims of human trafficking but also bolster Moldovan development. In addition, Moldova is friendly to the EU, and has been on the path for membership. The Moldovan government has responded to international pressure after more than a decade of neglecting the problem of human trafficking, and has ratified many – but not all – relevant treaties dedicated to preventing human trafficking.

Previous Policies:

Victim Support:

a) NGO Activities:
               Support for victims of trafficking has been primarily provided by foreign-donor funded NGOs and international organizations. One of the largest such groups within Moldova itself is La Strada, which started activity in 2001 as the trafficking problem was becoming more well known. The Moldovan government has involved NGOs in an effort at reformation and solving the problem of trafficking, recognizing the significant expertise and capabilities that NGOs wield in the matter. While NGOs have had success in drawing attention to the problem as well as assisting victims, ultimately their acts are primarily responsive – rather than preventive.

La Strada and other NGOs have operated temporary shelters for victims of trafficking, with more long-term solutions for child victims. Additionally, NGOs have launched education campaigns in collaboration with the Moldovan government to educate people on how to avoid becoming a victim of trafficking. NGOs also typically keep the best statistics on trafficking, given the lack of an effective national trafficking statistics database.

NGOs are a very effective policy tool, not only in Moldova, but much of the post Soviet world. With foreign funding and separation from the issues that plague governments, their influence is not bound to the same preconditions as a government program would be. Although this at times causes tension between governments and NGOs, such as fears of foreign influence, Moldova's (mostly) westward-orientation seems to keep this in check in the country. Even in Transnistria, when it comes to certain issues such as human trafficking, the local government is fairly cooperative. Unfortunately, NGOs outside of Moldova in transit and destination countries have struggled with dealing with victims of human trafficking, especially in regards to funds.



b) National Referral System
               The National Referral System for Assistance and Protection of Victims and Potential Victims of Trafficking, or NRS, is a system put in place by the Moldovan government in 2009. It is one of the most important preventative and reactive measures that has been undertaken in Moldova, and is widely hailed as a model for the region. The system provides direct assistance and education for those deemed “at risk”, refers victims to specialists and specialized services for rehabilitation, and to facilitate interaction between victims and law enforcement.

The NRS works in tandem with NGOs such as La Strada and Interaction, hosting toll-free 24/7 hotlines in Transnistria and Moldova to provide information about migration and preventing trafficking, as well as for “SOS calls” from victims. The NRS' approach has been described as “proactive prevention”, and makes use of a wide network of different teams of police, social workers, doctors, and lawyers.
The NRS has been criticized for not having uniform effectiveness in certain regions, particularly Transnistria. However, this should come as no surprise. As well, despite a dramatic increase in prosecutions of offenders and an increased willingness of victims to come forward, there have been comparatively few convictions.

International Pressure:

a) Treaties:
               Moldova has not ratified all relevant treaties to trafficking, particularly the Slavery Convention, the Supplementary Slavery Convention, nor the Domestic Work Convention. However, slavery is prohibited by the Moldovan constitution; the ratification of these treaties may have little to no realistic effect, rather than being an affirmative statement against modern slavery.

Despite its prohibition by the Moldovan constitution, Moldova did not have laws relevant to human trafficking in particular before the year 2000. The few cases there were investigated were prosecuted under pimping regulations and received fairly light sentences. It was only after signing – but not yet ratifying – the Palermo Protocol, or the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially “Women and Children” that the laws were amended. To date, Moldova still does not meet the minimum standards of anti trafficking.

However, Moldova has been particularly responsive to adopting reforms pursuant to EU standards after the international community recognized the growing problem at the turn of the twentieth century. Even the NRS itself was formed not only with NGO assistance, but with the assistance of the European Commission, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the International Organization for Migration.

b) Judicial Reform:
               Government indifference to enforcement of existing laws has let many of the worst offenders operate without punishment. Moldova does not comply with minimum anti-trafficking standards, though as of recent years given international pressure they have undertaken significant reforms. Most actions, like those of NGOs, however, are reactive – aimed at helping victims reintegrate and preventing retribution, but neither preventive nor punitive against offenders.

Although there have been significant efforts at prosecuting offenders in recent years, investigations into corrupt government officials are usually a dead-end and no government officials have been convicted as of this brief. Most analyses state that this is a result of a weak and inefficient judiciary.

For example, a mere 22 trafficking offenders were convicted in 2011, despite 135 investigations and 79 prosecutions. Of these 22 convictions, 12 spent no time in jail, with only paying fines or serving suspended sentences – a violation of Moldova's own mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking. Many later had their convictions overturned, without a written explanation of why by the appeals courts.

The judiciary's problems are not limited to human trafficking. A report by the International Commission of Jurists and the Soros Foundation-Moldova noted in 2011 that the government had drafted proposals as well as considerations for reform, they have yet to be implemented.



Policy Options:

Destination Country Protection
               Rather than focus on further Moldovan reforms, protect victims of trafficking in EU member destination countries. Investigate trafficking rings and offer amnesty for victims of trafficking for illegal activity done under duress. Work with victims to investigate the local operation of trafficking rings.
Pros:
  1. Within EU member states. Existing system infrastructure can easily be utilized to protect victims and punish offenders.

  1. Moldovan cooperation. Using NRS resources back in Moldova, Moldovan embassies and consulates can coordinate assistance for victims found in EU states.
Cons:
  1. Asylum is not likely to resolve the problem and is not popular. While there are known cases of women who were granted asylum and became participants within their new homes, it is an expensive program and was previously funded by foreign donors to NGOs in EU member states.  With Moldova improving their victim support systems, there is a wide feeling that getting victims back safely to, and safely within, Moldova is more effective.

  1. Expense. Starting direct programs for treatment of particularly Moldovan victims of human trafficking is costly and not likely to be popularly supported.

  1. Although these efforts may curb local demand for prostitution, EU member states like Greece and Germany have legalized prostitution. Furthermore, EU countries do not make up the entirety of destination countries for Moldovan trafficking victims. Stemming the flow in one place may simply redirect the destination.
  2. Instead of coordinating efforts primarily in one country, this would involve many different infrastructures.
  3. NGOs like the Poppy Project in Britain struggle with funding and are not as effective as NGOs operating within Moldova.
  4. Ultimately, this option is the least intersectional with greater Moldovan development.

Status Quo
               Take no greater measures than maintaining current pressure. Although Moldova may have failed to meet certain expectations, they have made significant progress. The human trafficking problem will be increasingly alleviated through greater Moldovan development. Further pressure may backfire, especially if the Eurasian Customs Union looks more attractive.
Pros:
  1. This is not a politically risky proposition. It continues the already implemented plans and recommendations for Moldovan development.
  2. No major increased costs.
Cons:
  1. The lack of efficiency within the judiciary is not only morally unacceptable but destabilizing for the region. The status quo is not likely to resolve this.
  2. The problem may get better in the long term, but victimization is occurring now.
Further Judicial Reform
               Firmly demand drastic measures of judicial reform. Moldova must continue its path of reform to meet international standards against human trafficking, along with ensuring that offenders are sentenced under the mandatory minimum sentences. Judicial reform is one of the key reforms that Moldova has been lacking on in recent years; although they have shown a willingness to listen, the progress is not sufficient. The judiciary must be monitored given the wide-spread corruption and how many trafficking cases drag out for years in the appeals process, giving ample time for them to simply “fade away” through bribery. A separate special court for trafficking may be considered.

Pros:
  1. Judicial reform is likely to be a significant deterrent to traffickers. As it stands, there is little faith in the Moldovan justice system when it comes to trafficking, due to widespread corruption and a lack of convictions. Even with resulting convictions, the sentences are lax or the convictions may even be overturned on appeal.

  1. Transnistrian authorities have shown some willingness to participate in Moldovan trials with regard to trafficking.

  1. Moldova has previously shown willingness to respond to international pressure to establish and subsequently strengthen its laws. This may follow that they will strengthen enforcement.

  1. Strengthening the judiciary will have more far reaching effects in terms of enforcing law and order beyond human trafficking.

Cons:
  1. Moldova's problem with its judiciary and corruption is not limited to trafficking. Thus, tackling the problem is a significant effort, perhaps independent of a focus on trafficking alone.

  1. Establishing a special court system would be fairly expensive. This could be alleviated through involving NGOs with monitoring the judiciary.

Recommendation:
               Work diplomatically with Moldova to institute dramatic judicial reforms. Continue the support of Moldova's other anti-trafficking elements, as well as Moldovan NGOs, but stress that the issue of a weak judiciary goes well beyond the human trafficking problem. Ultimately, human trafficking will be alleviated as Moldovan development continues, particularly economically – but one of the most influential and far-reaching programs would be a reformation of the judiciary.

Although events in 2012 and 2013 cast doubt on whether Moldova would continue its EU path, the post-Maidan, post-Crimea situation seems to have reinvigorated the movement. As such, the Moldovan government should once again be willing to listen to what the EU has to say, especially if aid and agreements have particular strings attached.

Ultimately it is perhaps most pragmatic to solve “one problem at a time”, but trafficking is a complex issue with roots in multiple spheres, as has been shown. Still, ensuring that there is justice for victims is perhaps the most pressing matter both for the victims' security and to prevent further victimization in the future.
Sources Consulted:
2012 Trafficking in Persons Report – Moldova.” United States Department of State. 19 June 2012. <http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30cabc.html>. 5 Apr. 2014. | This is a report on Moldovan human trafficking by the US government that details the successes and failures of the NRS as well as provides regional statistics. It details how the government has been funding victim shelters, but also points out the incredibly inefficient judiciary.

Ganta, Vladimir. “Human Trafficking in Moldova.” CARIM East – Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration. 2013. <http://www.carim-east.eu/media/exno/Explanatory%20Notes_2013-56.pdf>. 5 Apr. 2014. | Primarily an explanatory summary of other more detailed reports, but it also gives detailed information on La Strada and is my primary source on statistics.

Gentleman, Amelia. “Katya's Story: Trafficked to the UK, Sent Home to Torture.” The Guardian. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/apr/19/sex-trafficking-uk-legal-reform>. 5 April. 2014. | Another fairly short article, but it gives graphic detail on the plight of one particular trafficking victim, along with the difficulties of dealing with victims discovered abroad.

Ghimpu, Viorica, Viorica Zaharia and Natalia Porubin. “Action Against Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence in Moldova.” United Nations Population Fund, Moldova. 2011. <https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/HSU/Outreach/Moldova/063/Public%20Report%20Moldova.pdf>. 5 Apr. 2014. | This UN report primarily focuses on the background of human trafficking in terms of how vulnerable women come from abusive households, as well as the problem of domestic violence in Moldova. However, in provides statistics on victim rehabilitation as well as critiques of the judiciary and legislature.


Global Slavery Index 2013: Moldova.” Global Slavery Index. 2013. <http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/country/moldova/>. 5 Apr. 2014. | My most used source. The report neatly summarizes important statistics of judicial inefficiency and corruption, as well as strong background information on the history and timeline of the problem and attempted reforms.

Reforming the Judiciary in Moldova: Prospects and Challenges.” International Commission of Jurists. 21 Feb. 2013. <http://www.refworld.org/docid/530efeb74.html>. 4 Apr. 2014. | The Soros Foundation-Moldova and ICJ worked together on this report to detail the lack of independence within the judiciary.

Tomiuc, Eugen. “Moldova: Young Women From Rural Areas Vulnerable to Human Trafficking.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 6 Oct. 2004. <http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1055188.html>. 5 Apr. 2014. | This is a fairly small news report on RFERL's website that gives information on La Strada as well as the personal stories of a few victims of trafficking, as well as the destination countries of victims and the reforms being made at the time. As it is an older article, it shows a very early approach to the Moldovan situation.



Policy Brief: The Post Euromaidan EU Approach to the Ukrainian Far-Right

The following was written during my study abroad program with KROK University through SRAS and NovaMova. It is written as a policy brief.

SRAS/NovaMova
6 May 2014

Policy Brief: The Post Euromaidan EU Approach to the Ukrainian Far-Right

Executive Summary:
            The political situation in Ukraine has dramatically changed after the ouster of Yanukovich. This requires a re-evaluation of the European Union's approach towards the new government – particularly, if radical elements are truly increasing in strength. The dominant dialogue from the Russian government has been to accuse the interim Ukrainian government as being composed of, in President Putin's words, “Nationalists, neo-Nazis, russophobes and anti-Semites”.

While the Euromaidan movement initially began in response to the refusal of the Yanukovich government to sign the European Association agreement, it later evolved into a much more multifaceted movement discontent with the corruption and unaccountability of the government. Other groups that did not necessarily support EU affiliation joined in, and the movement became much larger. The idea that these far-right groups, whose views are fundamentally incompatible with European Union ideals, are puppets of the EU is patently absurd.

During the initial period, Russian media criticized the Euromaidan movement of being composed of the far-left, rather than the far-right, even calling it “Gayeuromaidan”. When this tactic failed, and when groups affiliated with the Right Sector name entered the protests, the Russian media and government quickly changed tactics. The resulting information war has reinvigorated fears of the Ukrainian far-right, but how accurate these fears are is debatable.

The truth of the matter is that Euromaidan was not “co-opted” by “fascists” per se, even at the height of the nationalist involvement. Although Svoboda played a significant role, along with Right Sector affiliated groups manning barricades, many of those affiliated with either movement do not actually support the more extreme sentiments of their respective affiliations.

Furthermore, Euromaidan was an incredibly diverse movement, composed of groups from all across the political spectrum. Far-left anarchists, even from Russia, came to assist their Ukrainian left-wing allies. Pro-European youth movements initiated the protests, protected by veterans of the Soviet-Afghan War. Feminist and LGBT groups became paramilitary groups putting up barricade. And, as uncomfortable as it to admit, nationalist elements did play a significant although by no means majority role in Euromaidan. This was a unified movement against Yanukovich.

Now with Yanukovich gone, the right-wing party Svoboda temporary holds a handful of executive positions in the interim government – which, even in countries such as Greece, the far-right has not held executive positions. The European Union has a desire to take Ukraine as a member, and Ukraine is seemingly on this path. Neither Svoboda nor Right Sector has supported this idea, instead being further focused on the idea of a culturally and economically independent Ukraine – something that is not likely to happen.

However, both Svoboda and Right Sector are much more against Russian influence than European – contrariwise to far-right groups in EU member states. Still, the European Union has no greater existential threat than the far-right. Far-right and fascist affiliated parties regularly earn around 4 to 10% of the vote in several EU member states, such as the NDP in Germany and Golden Dawn in Greece. Therefore, the strength and influence of the far-right in Ukraine must be assessed. In addition, the history of the movement deserves examination.

The Issue:
            What has been the past and what will be the future roles of the far-right in Ukraine, and how should the European Union respond?

Background:

Svoboda
Populism and Nationalism, questionable Fascism
            Officially, Svoboda's positions are presently not to the far-right. Despite this, rhetoric and symbolism is not necessarily in line with its official positions. Although initially much more extreme, Svoboda has made efforts at “mainstreaming” in recent years. Svoboda was originally known as the Social-National Party of Ukraine, and was particularly opposed to communist ideology during the 1990s. Its growth is most likely due to being a new “opposition party”, one that was allowed to exist with a fair amount of impunity as Yanukovich clamped down on democracy, particularly with the more centrist parties.

Although perhaps not “controlled opposition”, Svoboda's support flourished. It was a convenient excuse for Yanukovich: the question of who would people prefer, his government or the “hooligans” of Svoboda? Now, without Yanukovich, some of its support can be expected to wane with more moderate voices, and the release of Tymoshenko and her Fatherland Party's influence returning.

Symbolically, Svoboda's use of the wolfsangel has been a source of controversy. Svoboda typically makes two claims about the symbol: one, is that it is a historically Ukrainian symbol. The other is that it stands for the “Idea-Nation” (Idea-Natsii) concept of a Ukrainian ethnocracy. Nevertheless, although the symbol bears artificial similarity to the Norse eihwaz rune and was often used in medieval – primarily German – coats of arms, it was most recently used by units of the Waffen SS and the failed Nazi Werwulf insurgency.

Anecdotal evidence through interviews in Maidan before Yanukovich's ultimate ousting revealed that some Ukrainians readily reject the association of the symbol with neo-Nazism, even if they are not supporters of Svoboda.








Although Svoboda officially dropped the symbol, altogether uncommon to see it spraypainted in Kyiv or Odesa, along with being worn as an armband by Euromaidan protestors. This may be because a small group known as the Patriots of Ukraine, which ended affiliation with Svoboda in 2007 but is now affiliated with the Right Sector movement, also uses the logo.

In addition, anti-Semitic rhetoric from the early years has continuously haunted Svoboda's image, despite a lack of evidence of anti-Jewish attacks or violence, although it does not take much for rhetoric to escalate into action. Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok once said that Kyiv was governed by a “Jewish-Russian mafia”, and the European Parliament has censured Svoboda as recently as 2012, condemning them as “racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic.” In addition, the EU Parliament warned “pro-Democratic parties... not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.”

Nevertheless, there are reports of IDF veterans working with Svoboda in Euromaidan, such as the “Blue Helmets” organization. Furthermore, although the international Jewish community has typically censured Svoboda or criticized it, the domestic feeling by the Jewish community is significantly different – they certainly do not embrace Svoboda, but nor do they fear them as an impending oppressor.

Svoboda's actual positions seem much closer to populism than open fascism. A brief glance through their website reveals no further fascistic symbolism, and their issued statements revolve around Ukrainian independence from both European and Russian influence, along with “middle class issues.”

Even some informal statements echo the old “Idea Nation” concept with an idea of a Ukrainian ethnocracy, similar – in their idea – to Israel. Even according to Oleksander Aronets, who recently filmed the beating of a TV network worker by Svoboda members for showing the Moscow celebrations relevant to Crimea, They [the Jews] had a Holocaust, we had a holodomor” – speaking about Stalin’s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians. “They were without their own country. And then when they formed a country, Israel… They brought back their own language. We have problems [maintaining] our language. They brought back their laws, their traditions.”

Although they have significant connections to other European far-right parties, they do not openly display the neo-Nazi extremism that certain elements of the much smaller and much less organized Right Sector does. Although there are not readily available statistics, interviews show that many Svoboda members are not in agreement with some of the harsher rhetoric, nor often times some of Svoboda's positions.

Furthermore, Svoboda's influence is greatly exaggerated. For example, in the 2012 parliament elections, they won 10% of the vote. Furthermore, they have joined with the much more supported Batkivshchyna and UDAR parties as part of a coalition. Still, the presence of a handful of Svoboda members in the interim executive, widely controversial, is not indicative of their future influence, and most signs point to the party slowly becoming less neofascistic, although retaining nationalist roots.

Right Sector – A Banner, not an Organization:
            Right Sector has recently usurped Svoboda's position as an extreme-right movement in the minds and eyes of many. The question that is rarely asked and even rarer answered is: who is Right Sector? Right Sector's influence at Maidan was estimated to only be around 2,500 members, although Right Sector claims 5,000 to 10,000. Even at Maidan, statistically their influence was marginal the total number of people at Maidan regularly was between 400,000 and 800,000. In addition, left-wing groups easily dwarfed Right Sector's presence in terms of members.

"The Right Sector is marginal," according to Andreas Umland, assistant professor of European studies at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, who studies nationalist groups. "It's an umbrella organization of extra parliamentary lunatic fringe groups that has now come to this big prominence largely because of the media... Its importance is certainly overstated."

However, it is Right Sector's organization that is the source of its strength. Right Sector manned many of the barricades at Maidan, providing almost paramilitary security. Still Right Sector, until after Yanukovich's ousting, had virtually no “official” political presence, although a party has recently been formed by the same name. It is much too early to determine the relevance of such a party. Although the violence of Right Sector affiliates should not be understated, they too are insignificant in the “bigger picture” of the political landscape.

Right Sector is viewed by many western analysts as a more fascistic, more radical counterpart to Svoboda. However, Right Sector's “leader”, Dmytro Yarosh, who also leads the Right Sector affiliated group “Trident of Stepan Bandera” denies this, saying instead that Right Sector is undoubtedly nationalist but not racist, and that Svoboda is far more intolerant. Yarosh even met with Israeli ambassador Reuven Din El, stating that he was not a supporter of antisemitism.

Later, Right Sector ousted the “White Hammer” movement from its banner for its neo-fascist leanings. Yarosh also told the “Pravda” news paper that, despite sharing some political beliefs with other far-right parties, he did not share in their racism – including that, allegedly, of Svoboda.


Statement of Interest:
            As aforementioned, the European Union has no greater internal political-existential threat than the far-right. Even without the presence of a radical right-wing, Ukraine has a difficult road ahead of it in order to meet the standards necessary to one day become a European Union member. Even not considering membership, the situation requires monitoring from a human rights standpoint.

The right-wing must be watched, monitored, and radical policies either censured or punished. However, policy recommendations must be made with the realistic understanding of the political climate. Svoboda, and even Right Sector, are not the same as Greece's Golden Dawn. Bringing the conservative Ukrainian zeitgeist closer to European values must be done cautiously, as to not aggravate and increase the influence of the far-right.

Previous Policies:
Isolation and Censuring
            The European Union has previously approached both Right Sector and Svoboda with a policy of marginalization; that is to say, officials have often issued censuring statements and excluded them from particular organizations, as recently as 2012. In cases of the far-right parties of European Union member states, the policy has been similar; however, often times the governments of those countries have tried to repress the far-right with varying degrees of success, such as the German government's attempts at banning the NDP.

Euromaidan
            During Euromaidan, the European Union did not make particular statements for or against the right-wing in Ukraine. This was perhaps to avoid lending credence to the anti-Euromaidan arguments poised by the Russian government, and because the situation was rapidly changing on the ground.

             
Policy Options:

Return to Isolation
            Continue the policy of marginalization of the far-right, including Svoboda. Work with the Ukrainian government to actively oppose them in a democratic fashion.
                       
                        Pros:
1.     Follows similar trends in EU member states.
2.     Shows that the EU is opposed to the far-right.
3.     Works against the Russian argument that the new Ukrainian government is dominated by the far-right.
                        Cons:
1.     Runs the risk of seeming “meddlesome.”
2.     Could still be used by the Russian government as an example of a domineering EU.
3.     Likely to actually encourage continued radicalization, rather than moderation.

Status Quo
            Bide time – do not make “official” statements or take positions on Svoboda or Right Sector until further down the road. The interim government in Ukraine is still weak, and taking a role too early may further destabilize the situation.
                       
                        Pros:
1.     Allows for more objectivity and neutrality for better analyzation.
2.     Does not run the risk of inadvertently creating bigger problems.
                        Cons:
1.     Easily exploitable by Russian propaganda.
2.     May make the EU seem “weak” on the far-right.

Rapprochement
            Recognize, if the trend holds, that Svoboda is evolving into a more moderate force. Also watch Right Sector as it too disassociates from the more neofascist groups associated with it.

                        Pros:
1.     Both organizations do seem to be on a path to moderation in “official” terms.
2.     Rapprochement may actually accelerate their moderation.

                        Cons:
1.     Easily exploitable by Russian propaganda as a “far-right friendly EU.”
2.     Rapprochement may strengthen them without moderation as a result.
3.     Despite the apparent track to moderation, neither Svoboda nor Right Sector are particularly friendly to the EU, and have close ties with other far-right parties and anti-EU parties such as the UK Independence Party.

Recommendation:

A “carrots and sticks” approach incorporating elements of both censuring and rapprochement.
           
            Svoboda and Right Sector both currently hold close ties to other far-right groups in the European political sphere. They cannot be ignored, but they also cannot be viewed in the same light as their counterparts – it may be an opportune time to influence Svoboda and Right Sector as well, given that their extremist counterparts in EU member states have often spoken in support of Putin. Certainly, their influence and extremity is exaggerated, but it exists.

Ukrainian nationalism, even Right Sector's “ethnocratic” ideas that are, in the long run, incompatible with certain European Union ideals. However, this is not to say that they are on the same level as the Golden Dawn movement in Greece.

Still, the European Union cannot sit idly by in the rapidly developing situation in Ukraine if human rights are being violated. It is important, however, that the European Union not act too hastily. The interim government in Ukraine cannot repeat the past mistakes of political oppression, but in the same token it cannot allow for violent antisemitism. Furthermore, the role the European Union can play is limited by both the tenuous political situation and the fact that Ukraine is not, as of yet, a member of the EU.

Ultimately, Svoboda and Right Sector are not the “cause” inasmuch as the symptoms. Neither are “puppet parties” although their activity may have been convenient at times for more powerful factions. Neither are they “merely” neo-fascist groups. They are symptoms: the result of an extreme version of the increasing desire for a Ukrainian identity, but manifested as right-wing and anti-liberal organizations. Although the symptoms merit treatment, the causes must also be addressed.



Sources Consulted:
Danilova, Maria. “After Ukraine Protest, Radical Group Eyes Power.” Associated Press. 14 Mar. 2014. <http://bigstory.ap.org/article/after-ukraine-protest-radical-group-eyes-power>. 6 May 2014.

            An article on the political ambitions of Dmytro Yarosh and Right Sector, along with its organization during Euromaidan, as well as Jews serving side by side with Right Sector. Furthermore, Andriy Tarasenko – a Right Sector spokesman – speaks out against the ideas of Right Sector being associated with neo-Nazism, although embraces the ethnocracy idea.


“Israeli Envoy Opens 'Hotline' with Ukrainian Ultra-Nationalist.” Haaretz. 7 Mar. 2014. <http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.578537>. 6 May. 2014.

            This article references Svoboda's past use of anti-Semitic slurs, along with Dmitry Yarosh's meeting with Israeli ambassador Din El, and Yarosh's disavowal of racism.

Motyl, Alexander J. “Ukraine's Chief Rabbi Refutes Putin's Anti-Semitic Charges.” World Affairs Journal. 5 Mar. 2014. <http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/alexander-j-motyl/ukraines-chief-rabbi-refutes-putins-anti-semitic-charges>. Accessed 6 May 2014.

            Op-ed by Alexander Motyl, Rutgers University professor political science, on Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich accusing Russia of staging anti-Semitic provocations and the “Russians... blowing this way, way out of proportion” with regards to anti-Semitism by nationalist factions.

Motyl, Alexander J. “'Experts' On Ukraine.” World Affairs Journal. 5 Mar. 2014. <http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/alexander-j-motyl/experts-ukraine>. Accessed 6 May. 2014.

            After criticizing other commentators, Motyl goes into extreme detail on Svoboda's more populist positions here, staying that despite the extreme right-wing nature of Right Sector and Svoboda that they are not neofascist and not “dominating” the post-Yanukovich government.

Olszanski, Tadeusz. “Svoboda Party – The New Phenomenon on the Ukrainian Right-Wing Scene.” The International Relations and Security Network: Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) Warsaw, Poland. 4 July 2011. <http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?lng=en&id=137051>. 6 May. 2014.

            This article describes the use of the wolfsangel by Svoboda, and the “Idea-Natsii” ethnocracy concept, along with the potential causes for Svoboda's growth, arguing against the idea of it as merely a “puppet party” or a neo-Nazi party.


“Open Letter of Ukrainian Jews to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.” 5 Mar. 2014. <http://maidantranslations.com/2014/03/05/open-letter-of-ukrainian-jews-to-russian-federation-president-vladimir-putin/>. 6 May 2014.

            An open letter by various Jewish representatives to Putin stating the problem of “Fascism” is overblown, and even in the case of “Bandera followers” they do not show blatant xenophobia or anti-Semitism.

Stern, David. “Svoboda: The Rise of Ukraine's Ultra-Nationalists.”  BBC News. 26 Dec. 2012. <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20824693>. 6 May 2014.

            A brief article describing the aftermath of the 2012 parliamentary elections, and the possible motivations for their support, including evidence of potential anti-Semitism along with denials by Svoboda members of anti-Semitism.

“Ukraine: Report From a Visit in Kiev in April 2014.” Tahrir-ICN. 30 Apr. 2014. <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/ukraine-report-from-a-visit-in-kiev-in-april-2014/>. 6 May 2014.

A collective news report from an anonymous anarchist who operated with left-wing groups in Maidan such as Left Oppositon, Student Direct Action, and Autonomous Workers' Union.

Umlaud, Andreas. “The Rise of the Radical Right in Ukraine.” KyivPost. 21 Oct. 2010. <https://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/the-rise-of-the-radical-right-in-ukraine-87119.html?flavour=mobile>. 6 May. 2014.

            A brief opinion piece describing the use of the wolfsangel by Svoboda, and its increasing trend towards moderacy.




Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On May 2nd, 46 people were killed in collision and fire in the Trade Union House, Odessa, and more than 200 sought help in medical institutions.  This could all have been avoided if law enforcement officers were to fulfill their direct duties more efficiently and in a timely manner. 

It all started with the fact that on Friday, after a  football match Odessa vs. Kharkov, Maidan activists  decided to walk around the city center with slogans of the unity of Ukraine. The first fire shot was from the activists themselves.  After a few more shots, they have taken refugee around the Trade Union House, where the attackers started throwing "Molotov cocktails" (petrol bombs).  Euromaidan supporters also thrown these bombs inside the building, which made it catch on fire, with more than 200 people inside. law enforcement is carrying out operational investigations in a number of criminal proceedings.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Сегодня в лингафонном кабинете...

Сегодня среда, тридцатое апреля. Значит, мы в лингафонном кабинете! Привет!

Конец учебного года близок! The end is near! First, TAKE THE QUIZ!

Вы закончили? Хорошо. Начнем урок... Today, I want you to watch the video for this unit, but just the first four minutes! In it, you'll hear как Марк Марковович и Дина Александровна рассказывают о своей жизни в России... Mark Markovich and his wife Dina Aleksandrovna talk about what it was like growing up Jewish in Russia. Very appropriate, as you'll hear how to talk about life experiences and biographies, which is what your final oral examination covers!

There's a handout with questions on it. Read through the questions, ask the tutors or me if you don't understand something, and answer as best you can. Make sure to include this worksheet in your portfolio! Then, за столы! To the tables! There's a brief exercise using через и назад that won't take more than five minutes. The tutors are here today to help you with your final oral presentation. 



And, don't forget tomorrow! I'm sure you've always wondered what authentic Uzkber Wedding Plov tastes like! Here's the recipe I use... Very interesting!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Russia and the United States in the Ukraine

Discrepancies about "who's running the show in the Ukraine"

     Recently there has been a lot of media attention and publication drawn to the activities taking place in the Ukraine, specifically involving both the Russian and the United States government. Each country is pointing the figure at the other and denying any claims that paint a bad picture about themselves. The Russians claim that the United States are running the show, while others claim that Russian has gunmen answering to their commands in the Ukraine. Both of these allegations were denied by all parties accused.
     Despite these claims it has been confirmed that pro-Russian militant have taken over public buildings and placed pro-Russian officials. The United States requested that Moscow facilitate the removal of these pro-Russian Militants and officials, and to reduce their aggressive efforts in the Ukraine. Kiev launched an anti-terror operation to do just this, however, Russia is claiming that the United States is interfering with Russia's "Best Interest".

Who's side of the story will you believe?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Сегодня в лингафонном кабинете...

Сегодня среда, двадцать третьего апреля. Значит, мы в лингафонном кабинете! Привет!

Прочитатйе эту интересную статью о веб-сайте Вконтакте.
In the drawn-out game of will-hewon’t-he, Pavel Durov, the founder of VKontakte.com, Russia’s top social network with over 100 million users, is now out for good from the company with an unceremonial dismissal conveyed via a newswire report.
Вконтакте--это русский Фейсбук!... It's the Russian Facebook... Not good news, at all, if you think personal freedoms are important...

Anyway... on your хендаут you'll find this listening exercise on understand years in "time-when" expressions. Write down the birth years of these famous people... Did you recognize them all?

А теперь... Присаживатйтесь с нами за столы! Come sit with us at the tables... I'll grade your portfolios with you, and you can work с репититорами on aspect choice. Just remember: Aspectual choice in the past means, do you wish to emphasize RESULT (perfective verb!) or PROCESS (imperfective verb!).