- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 30, 2001

Ukraine fears losing democracy

It was heartening to read that Vladimir Litvin, head of the presidential administration in Ukraine, had said there is "a clear consensus in Ukraine today that our development must be linked to European structures" and, "No other alternative is even being considered" ("Presidential aide says future tied to Europe," World, June 19). I hope that in the near future, these words will be proved with actions.

Mr. Litvin believes journalist Gyorgy Gongadze was killed by forces inside Ukraine. He likely is right. Hence, he should agree that a thorough and transparent investigation is needed to determine who those forces are so that they can be brought to justice.

As you know, on April 26, the reformist government headed by Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko was ousted by the pro-Russian communists and business tycoons. Many claim President Leonid Kuchma allowed this to happen so that oligarchs, together with Russia, would help him extricate himself from corruption charges and accusations of involvement in the Gongadze tragedy.

For this, the oligarchs may now have the green light to carry on with their illicit operations, which will further enrich them and impoverish ordinary citizens. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin, his government, the vast secret services, the powerful media and the Russian Orthodox Church are less hindered in their efforts to get Ukraine back under Russian domination.

Ukraine suffered under Russian communism for some 70 years. More than 10 million Ukrainians perished during the Kremlin-orchestrated famine of 1932-33 and in the Siberian slave labor camps (gulags). The intelligentsia was destroyed methodically, and all Ukrainians who survived were Russified mercilessly. Non-Ukrainians were encouraged to settle in Ukraine.

Also, Ukraine lost some 7.5 million people during and after World War II. Many were killed on the battlefields; many perished in Nazi concentration camps; and many died in the Soviet gulags to which they had been deported after the war only because they had been exposed to the West.

As a result, the Ukrainian democratic forces, who want to see their country independent and civilized, still are not strong. There are fears Ukraine may lose her independence again, just as she lost it in 1920, when the Entente powers, influenced by their Russofile advisers, turned their backs on Ukraine. The road then was clear for Moscow to establish her evil empire .

This time around, the United States, the European Union and other world democracies say they will continue assisting Ukraine, even after the tape scandal, provided she carries on with the implementation of her economic and political reforms.

Those countries also demand that the Ukrainian authorities conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the death of Mr. Gongadze and improve their human rights records and their treatment of the independent media.

I believe this policy is just and farsighted. I hope it will enable Ukraine to remain free and will deter Mr. Putin from creating a second evil empire.


LEONID LISHCHYNA

Toronto

No big difference between cloning and in-vitro fertilization

In response to Bruce Fein's Commentary column on human cloning, I would like to agree and disagree ("The cloning conundrum," June 26). I agree that, as Mr. Fein says, there is no big difference between allowing human cloning and allowing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In both, the basic rights of the child are being violated. The basic right to life is tied uniquely to the additional right to the maternal womb.

Most people don't realize that in order to achieve a successful IVF pregnancy, at least 20 tiny human beings have to be created in the petri dish. Out of 20 comes the one that is so wanted by the loving parents. What of the rights of the other 19? In other words, cloning is to IVF what partial-birth abortion is to abortion: an extension of the same idea.

Many argue that if we ban partial-birth abortion we will end up defeating the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade. That certainly would be the case if people and laws were philosophically consistent. But although there is a visible horror in killing a fully formed child while it is in the birth canal, there is no such repugnance at ending the life of a two-celled human being in a petri dish. By the same token, there is a visible horror in the possibility of seeing a child that was cloned it somehow makes us feel that something human is missing. It all boils down to three questions: When does human life begin? Does that human life have the right to the maternal womb? When is the human being "ensouled"? The Catholic Church has been consistent in teaching that human life begins at the moment of conception. In human cloning, that moment is missing. I am not a theologian, so I cannot with certainty answer the question of when the soul would come into being in a cloning situation. In the end, though, I believe the issue with cloning goes also to the secondary question of the right of the child to be conceived and nurtured in the maternal womb.

I disagree with Mr. Fein's recommendation that cloning not be banned. It should be banned but I realize that the other procedures he mentions already have put us on the "slippery slope." I pray that someday we also may outlaw IVF and all medical procedures that separate the conception of a human being from the sexual act.


MARY SUAREZ HAMM

Director

Centro Tepeyac Pregnancy Center

Silver Spring

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