Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Kyiv, Ukraine Based Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development Set To Rival Minsk, Belarus Based Commonwealth Of Independent States

"ONE of the last vestiges of the Soviet Union appeared to be crumbling yesterday, when four former republics signalled they would be pulling out of the organisation established to keep the Kremlin connected with its lost empire. At a meeting in Kiev [Ukraine], the leaders of the pro-Western states of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine pledged to form their own association to promote democratic values.

They also hinted they would leave the Commonwealth of Independent States, which was created 15 years ago as a group representing most of the former Soviet republics.

While the CIS never fulfilled any great economic or political function, its very existence was supposed to reflect Moscow's continued influence from Eastern Europe to the Caucasus and on to Central Asia.

But ties between the Kremlin and some of its former client states have deteriorated with a wave of democratic movements that swept pro-Western leaders into power in Georgia and Ukraine and encouraged anti-Russian sentiment in Azerbaijan and Moldova.

The new group, to be called the Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development, will be based in Kiev [Kyiv].

It will rival the CIS, which is based in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it is headed by Vladimir Rushailo, a tough former Russian interior minister.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said: "Our citizens are giving us a mandate to develop strong, democratic and successful states."" ...

Richard Beeston "Former Soviet republics break free" The Times of London via The Australian May 25, 2006,20867,19248185-2703,00.html

Paging 21st Century Architects...

The 18th century Russian Czarist Mariinsky Palace (right) was a center for Russian colonial rule of Ukraine at the time of Prussian-born Russian Czarina Catherine the Great. In this photograph, it is dwarfed by the mid-20th century former Soviet Union Palace of Ministers (left), and now the present home of the democratic Congress (Rada) of Ukraine. Behind this Administrative Quarter are the floodlights of Kyiv's Dynamos Soccer Stadium, pleasantly nestled into the long urban park escarpment above the Dnipr River.

Photo credit: Taras Shevchenko University, Kyiv, Ukraine. With thanks. kyiv (Photo gallery)


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