- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2001

National security adviser reassures Ukraine

Thank you for the fine coverage of U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's visit to Ukraine ("Rice stresses need for political reforms," World, July 26). Her articulation of the fundamental features of democratic societies to President Leonid Kuchma and her emphasis on the need for political reforms in Ukraine were proper and timely. Especially encouraging were her words: "The world will be watching the elections in 2002, and not just on the day of the election but throughout the campaign to be sure that all voices have the opportunity to be heard."

At this time, the democratic forces in Ukraine, who want to see their country independent and civilized, still are not strong. Without assistance from the world's democracies, Ukraine could lose its independence again, just as it was lost in 1920, when the Entente Powers, influenced by their Russophile advisers, turned their backs on Ukraine. The road was then clear for Moscow to establish her evil empire.

Fortunately, this time around, NATO, the European Union and other democratic countries as well as some financial institutions say they will continue assisting Ukraine, even after the tape scandal, provided it carries on with implementation of economic and political reforms. Together with various nongovernmental organizations, these powers are demanding that Ukrainian authorities conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the deaths of journalists Gyorgy Gongadze, Ihor Oleksandrov, Oleh Breus and others and improve their human rights record and treatment of the independent media. This policy is just and farsighted and, one hopes, will enable Ukraine to remain free. Russian President Vladimir Putin must not be allowed to create a second evil empire.

Regretfully, a big blow to democracy in Ukraine occurred on April 26, when the first Ukrainian reformist government, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, was ousted by business tycoons and the pro-Russian communists. Many claim Mr. Kuchma allowed this to happen so that oligarchs, together with Russia, would help him extricate himself from the corruption charges and his alleged involvement in the Gongadze tragedy.

For this, the oligarchs may have it easier in carrying on with their illicit operations, which will further enrich them and impoverish ordinary citizens. At the same time, Mr. Putin, his government, the vast Russian secret services, the powerful Russian media and the Russian Orthodox Church will be less hindered in their efforts to draw Ukraine back under the dominion of Russia.

Democratic forces in Ukraine are still weak because, after the loss of independence in 1920, the country suffered for some 70 years under Russian communism. Many 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.

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


Toronto, Ontario


Marine general not the subject of 'sex bias' investigation

The Aug. 2 front-page article "Top general is accused of sex bias" wrongfully leads the reader to believe Gen. Peter Pace is the target of a month-old Department of Defense investigation into the command climate at U.S. Southern Command. Gen. Pace is not himself the subject of that investigation. In fact, it was he who requested the inquiry of the secretary of defense. This is a glaring omission of an essential fact.

Gen. Pace is a superb Marine officer whose unblemished professional reputation spanning a 34-year career speaks for itself. He is an honorable man and an accomplished leader. He did not deserve the headline attributed to him.


U.S. Marine Corps

Commandant of the Marine Corps


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