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Ukraine

Yearbook 2001

Ukraine. According to Countryaah, the charges against President Leonid Kuchma for planning the assassination of regime-critical journalist Georgij Gongadze in the fall of 2000 grew into a political scandal. At the beginning of the year, it was confirmed that the decapitated body found outside Kiev was the missing journalist. Gongadze had made revelations about political corruption and there was a tape recording with Kuchma's voice discussing a journalist's removal. Kuchma denied all involvement, but the otherwise divided political opposition agreed in a campaign to remove the president. Kuchma tried to satisfy the opposition by dismissing, among other things, the head of the security service and later also the interior minister. But the protests continued.

2001 Ukraine

In the midst of the tense situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin came to visit for talks on Ukraine's growing debt for Russian energy supplies. The Western isolation of Kuchma's undemocratic regime has made Ukraine increasingly dependent on Russia. 2000 was the first year of economic growth since independence in 1991. then outstanding salaries and pensions could be paid. Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko was seen in the West as the man behind the economic turnaround. But in April 2001, Yushchenko was forced to resign after the government lost a vote of no confidence in the Communist-dominated parliament. The criticism concerned Yushchenko's economic reforms and austerity. Yushchenko was supported in street protests and he decided to gather a coalition of parties under the name "Our Ukraine" ahead of the 2002 parliamentary elections.

Several attacks on journalists in the spring and summer led Reporters Without Borders to designate Ukraine as the European country with the most violence against journalists. A TV chief died after the abuse and became the eleventh journalist killed in Ukraine in five years.

The defense minister was dismissed in October when it became clear that a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile accidentally hit a Russian passenger plane over the Black Sea. The 78 people who lost their lives in the explosion were on their way from Israel to Russia.

The Communist Party won a big success at the end of the year, when the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared that Parliament's ten-year ban on the party violated the country's constitution. Despite the parliamentary decision, the Communists continued to operate in independent Ukraine and constitute the largest group in parliament. But the party, which is in opposition to President Kuchma, has constantly struggled to gain legal recognition. However, the Court rejected the Communists' claim to recover property belonging to the party during the Soviet era.

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