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17 January 2020

Vadym Novynskyi's Commentary on Draft Law “On State Regulation of Activities in the Organization and Conduct of Gambling”

In the sixth year of the armed conflict, when tens of millions of Ukrainians are waiting for decisions from the parliament for termination of the war and getting out of poverty, the Verkhovna Rada is busy with overtly lobbist draft laws, which is unacceptable for a civilized state.

On Thursday, again without prior discussion, the parliament supported in the first reading draft law No. 2285-d "On state regulation of activities in the organization and conduct of gambling."

What do we, as a country, show to the world with such a decision? That the income of casino owners is more important for us than overcoming the humanitarian crisis and restoring our state sovereignty.

In a situation where 80% of citizens consider the war and poverty to be their main troubles and expect the authorities to focus on solving these particular problems, and where only 11% of Ukrainians support the legalization of gambling, the authorities must give an answer to society why their priorities are so radically far from public demands.
16 January 2020

Venice Commission’s Recommendations Not Taken Into Account in New Law on Secondary Education

Today, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the new edition of the Law "On Complete General Secondary Education" in its second reading. The Law again failed to implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission, although the government promised to take them into account. At the same time, the Law reproduces the provisions on the language of studies, which earlier elicited criticism of the Council of Europe.

Now only the peoples named the indigenous ones in the draft Law, primarily the Crimean Tatars, will be able to receive full secondary education in their native language. National minorities whose languages are the official languages of the EU will be able to study in their native language from 20 to 60% of the education period.

Yet, Russian-speaking and bilingual Ukrainians will find themselves in the most difficult situation: they, along with Russians, are said to be equal to “other national minorities” and will be able to study Russian in schools only within 20% of the study time. It is precisely this discrimination that the Venice Commission drew attention to.

28 December 2019

Peace Team is Our Common Mission in 2020

The expiring 2019 was a year of new hopes for all of us. Firstly, because the “party of war", which had been keeping Ukraine hostage to its voluntaristic, nationalistic policy of hostility and theft for five years, suffered a crushing defeat in the presidential and parliamentary elections. And secondly, the peace-building process finally moved forward from the dead centre. We received a real chance for peace and the return of the Donbas to Ukraine.

The Normandy Summit (between Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia) in Paris on 9 December 2019 is an important turning point. The four leaders agreed on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and put their signatures under the Normandy Group's general communiqué, the first document of the Group for the years of the war. Thus, all the clauses of these agreements have been re-confirmed and legitimized once again. It also means that the signatories of the Paris Communiqué not only declare, but also take their personal responsibility, on behalf of their states and peoples, for the establishment of peace in Ukraine. Such a result of the Paris negotiations is an undoubted success for each participant, and for all the countries. In addition, it is a personal success of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who fulfils the will of millions of citizens of Ukraine – the will to peace.
20 December 2019

UAH 3 Billion of Budget Revenues Do Not Compensate for Irreversible Social Consequences From Legalized Gambling

The legalization of gambling can cause a sharp increase in gambling addiction among young people and a collapse of moral standards in society.

Draft Law No. 2285-d on state regulation of the activity in the sphere of organization and delivery of gambling (in fact, the initiative of the authorities to allow the presence of casinos and gambling halls in Ukrainian populated areas in direct access for citizens) has been submitted to the parliament. The lifting of the ban on gambling will lead to an increase in the number of crimes and higher risk for the state to lose control over the situation.

UAH three billion of budget revenues from entities involved in organization and delivery of gambling, an amount declared within the government's program, are definitely not a driver of economic growth. They are modest revenues, and they do not compensate for the threat of sliding into extreme poverty for millions of Ukrainian families who will face gambling addiction.
11 December 2019

Vadym Novynskyi's Commentary on the Normandy Four Summit

I am following the debates around the Normandy Four summit and what I see is a continuous stream of criticism: some say that the summit turned out to be completely void and brining no concrete results, others – about the loss of Ukraine, about the wrong behaviour of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In fact, one is probably blind if he or she does not see the concrete successes of the summit. Just six months ago, the “minimal successes” now criticized were generally unthinkable – the process of resolving the situation in the Donbass was at an impasse. Through joint efforts, the parties managed to overcome the impasse (created exactly by those who today are trying to hypocritically shout about "betrayal" and "surrender" and threaten with Maidan protests). Is this not a reason for a high assessment of the summit?

President Zelenskyy acted with dignity. Yes, he was worried. Yes, he improvised during the press conference, and not always successfully. However, he showed firmness in negotiations with more experienced partners and clearly outlined the interests and priorities of Ukraine. At the summit, he was by no means a weak negotiator. For him the summit became a kind of “baptism by fire” in international politics.
08 November 2019

Comment on Volodymyr Borodianskyy's Statement about the UOC's Forcible Renaming

An interview with the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine Volodymyr Borodianskyy given to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, where he discourses upon the forcible renaming of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, shows that the current government and the so-called “servants of the people” have many of those who continue to think in the spirit of political Poroshenkovism, which is based on extreme nationalism, militarism, and attempts of the state’s gross interference with the affairs of the Church.

Borodianskyy reiterates the messages of the previous authorities that the UOC has ties with the aggressor state, and therefore should indicate a direct dependence on the Moscow Patriarchate in its name.

Some representatives of the new authorities forget that the credit of trust received by the “Servants of the People” party during the 2019 election campaigns is a consequence of citizens' reaction to the humanitarian policy pursued by the previous President. Voting for Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his party, Ukrainian people voted primarily for the restoration of civil peace, for ending the policy of dividing Ukrainians into the “right” and the “wrong” ones, and against persecution on a language or religious basis.