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Ukrainian American Bar Association

UABA News Blog - In English

This UABA Blog page provides information and commentary on issues that are relevant to the organization and its members. Although the blogs are public, comments can only be made by members. If yoiu wish to join the discussion, you are welcome to become a member.

The comments expressed on these blogs represent the opinions of the authors and not that of the UABA.

  • 05 Apr 2016 10:05 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    “…by the promises we keep.”

    V. Rud
    April 4, 2016

    America suffers from a national attention-deficit disorder.

    Every time in the 20th century that we have been confronted by a threat to our very existence, we defiantly ignored warnings of the impending doom. The sleepwalking continues in the 21st. ISIS savagery is in-your-face, but ISIS cannot and will not destroy the US. Russia, however, is and has everything ISIS is not and has not. Russia is the largest country in the world. Only one of its sub-regions, Kolyma, is the size of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan (combined) or, if you prefer, larger than France, Spain, Japan, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Greece, Sweden and North Korea (also combined). And Russia’s conventional/nuclear/biological/ chemical arsenal is the largest--and most heinous--on the planet. Russia’s specifically anti-American vitriol exceeds anything seen in the Soviet Union during the worst days of the Cold War. Russia is aggressively probing Western military preparedness, its cyber warfare is in play, and its global media manipulation and disinformation has no equal. Moscow, moreover, organized and ruled the USSR (now deified) as the quintessential terrorist state. It institutionalized the indoctrination, training and funding for Middle East terrorism. Why don’t we hear about ISIS attacks in Russia?

    More than a decade ago, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concluded: “Whether Russian led integration on the territory of the former USSR will pose a serious, long-term military challenge to the West, depends in large part on the role that Ukraine plays or is compelled to play.” But today, Russia’s invasion, occupation, and war of terror in Ukraine are off the screen and beyond even the periphery of public awareness. Beheadings--with the heads of teenagers sent in a wooden box to their mothers--death for a cartoon, the hacking off of arms, the terrorization of civilians, the use of women and children as human shields, locating active firepower in nursery schools and hospitals, butchery and sadism. No, not ISIS, but more than 9000 innocents killed by Moscow in Ukraine and more than 1,750,000 Ukrainian refugees; unlike in Syria, there is nowhere for them to go. How long-lived was Western horror over the Russian Buk-M1 missile blasting 298 innocents out of the sky? Do we dare to forget so soon, or do we dare not to care?

    Russia—a UN Security Council member, no less—invades and occupies Ukraine’s sovereign territory, pulverizing every multi-lateral and bi-lateral agreement in the process. But it’s worse. Upon its independence in 1991, Ukraine surrendered its nuclear arsenal, larger than that of the UK, France and China at the time, in reliance upon assurances by Russia, the US, Britain and others, of its national sovereignty. The U.S. then also ensured that Ukraine destroyed its conventional arms, precisely what Ukraine so desperately now needs to keep Russia at bay.

    In signing the Helsinki Accords purportedly solidifying the borders of post-war Europe, President Ford said, “history will judge us not by the promises we make but by the promises we keep.” No starburst of intellectual rigor is necessary for friend and foe to understand what election America has made. It is we, America and the vaunted “Western democracies”, that are the bookend to a catastrophe not yet absorbed. Western sanctions (a) have been pitifully inconsequential given the enormity of Russian savaging of the world order, and (b) have utterly failed to move Russia. Conversely and predictably, sanctions have become dollarized for the constituency of Western politicians, with all the implications. Surrender the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal in exchange for American assurances of your national security, and what do you get? Putin’s cronies are barred from travelling to Disneyworld. Does Washington seriously expect to be taken seriously? Conversely, Russia, which also gave Ukraine those very same security assurances, barreled over them with a tank, forward and back. It’s the ultimate multi-national and monumentally rewarding fraud. What went through the minds of the delegates at the recent nuclear disarmament conference in Washington? Who will ever again dare to roll the dice based on US assurances of their national sovereignty and security?

    This Administration has dismissed Ukraine as not being of “strategic interest” to the US. On the Republican side, a presidential candidate, no less, Donald Trump joins in the verdict. But a map would help. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, larger than England, Germany and Hungary, combined (still, less than 3% the size of Russia). It is the land through which passed the greatest number of people who then settled to become the nations and countries of Europe that we know today. Ukraine saved the life of Captain John Smith, making possible the founding of Jamestown, the first English settlement in the New World. Ukraine established the world’s first democratic standard of governance, separating the three branches of government, limiting the power of the executive, and providing for a democratically elected parliament. This was 77 years before Philadelphia.

    After WWI, Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine was pivotal to the formation and viability of the “Soviet Union”, all the while as Ukrainians were warning the West what to expect from Russia. Instead, the West threw Ukraine under the bus; on November 16, 1933, the US extended diplomatic recognition to a tyrannical regime as Moscow starved to death millions of Ukrainians in order to finally break their resistance to Russian communist rule. The “USSR” was to remain impervious for generations. Little wonder that Ukraine’s declaration of independence in 1991 triggered the dissolution of that empire, and the West reaped the dividends. No longer were we to be concerned about learning “duck and cover,” and M[utual] A[ssured] D[estruction] was to be no more, or so we thought. Anomalously, Washington congratulated itself, despite the day before having striven mightily to ensure that Ukraine remained a Russian colony. And Ukraine’s steadfast contribution over the years to American’s war on terror? Well, let’s not bring up awkward arguments.

    Paralleling Israel’s role in the Middle East, a secure, independent Ukraine is the West’s single best hope for anchoring democracy in an immense swath of the globe. It is the cheapest investment and carries the lowest risk. But if we turn a blind eye, then the US, bewildered, will increasingly flail about as the world implodes around it. We will have yet again feloniously squandered the most exponentially significant asset to counter Russia’s predatory drive. And what remains of America’s credibility and respect, ironclad certainty about America’s international commitments, will have vaporized.

    “The ignorance, the laziness, the pusillanimity, the perpetual fickleness and the credulousness of Western governments enabled Russia to achieve successively every one of her aims.” Karl Marx had it right then. And now?

    Past Chairman, Board of Governors
    Ukrainian American Bar Association

  • 01 Apr 2016 5:32 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)


    Donald Trump’s recent remarks regarding Ukraine [and his self – professed friendship with Putin] brings into sharp focus a foreign policy philosophy that is isolationist in nature and totally disinterested in Ukraine’s future.  It is a recent re-manifestation of a philosophical undercurrent in American political thought that Ukraine and its people do not matter.  This is precisely the myopic foreign policy that the Ukrainian American community has been combating for well over a century.  One would think that the Ukrainian American Diaspora would vehemently condemn this fundamental assault on its basic core values.  However, this dangerous isolationist rhetoric has been met – with a few exceptions -  with deafening silence from the Ukrainian American media, its intellectual and political elite, and its community organizations as if they were mesmerized by some irresistible gravitational political force. 

    There are those that argue that the Ukrainian American organizations and media should not be publicly critical of these remarks since that would constitute political partisanship.  Accordingly, such actions should only be taken by individuals on their own personal behalf.

    I most respectfully disagree. One must distinguish between criticizing a flawed parochial foreign-policy position on the one hand, and opposing a particular politician or political party on the other. 

    Throughout its history, the Ukrainian American organizations and media have openly and stridently criticized and opposed certain American foreign-policy positions that were viewed as detrimental to Ukraine and its people. In large part, the Ukrainian-American organizations and media have always viewed their duty as precisely that – to effect a pro Ukrainian foreign policy in Washington and to counter Soviet/Russian influence and propaganda.  Examples are legion.  After WWI, Ukrainian-American organizations and media lobbied for the US to recognize Ukraine as an independent state.  In the 1930’s, they shouted for the American government to stop the Holodomor Genocide.  In the 1970s and 80s, they were in the vanguard in contending that it was in America’s foreign policy interest to strongly support human rights in the Soviet Union and to support dissidents such as the Ukrainian Helsinki Group.  The Ukrainian American community submitted various position papers to the White House and testimony to Congress pointing out that US policy was woefully lackluster in this regard.  Also, in the 1980s, the Ukrainian Diaspora criticized US policy in deporting Ukrainian refugees who sought safe haven in America. Nor should we forget the vociferous Ukrainian Diaspora organizational and media outcry in response to the “Chicken Kyiv” speech! 

    In the first decade of this century, the Ukrainian Diaspora continually advocated for a strong US policy of support for Ukraine’s continued independence - especially so, during the Orange Revolution and criticized American politicians when they failed to do so.  In the past 7 years, the Ukrainian Diaspora organizations and media have consistently, continually - and very vocally - criticized American foreign-policy vis-à-vis Ukraine.  The criticism ranged from America’s abandonment of its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum to the present Administration’s absolute refusal to supply military weapons to Ukraine that were authorized by Congress.

    These criticisms were made irrespective of the party in power in Congress or which president was sitting in the White House.  By its actions, the Ukrainian Diaspora organizations and media were not supporting any particular politician or political party, but were opposing a foreign policy ideology that was deemed severely detrimental to the fundamental beliefs of the Ukrainian American community and also to the foreign policy interests and security of Americans.

    The issue before us is not whether we support or oppose Trump or any other candidate for president of either political party. The question is not about Trump – it is about Ukraine’s independence and the future of its people – and the future of the United States as well.  The issue is simply whether the Ukrainian Diaspora organizations, media and political elite are going to fulfill their moral obligations and stridently oppose an isolationist foreign policy philosophy that, if implemented, will most assuredly alter Europe and catapult Ukraine back into the orbit of Moscow for the next hundred years without any hope of escape.  Or, is the Ukrainian Diaspora going to now meekly abandon its traditional moral obligations, and blindly follow the siren tunes of political pied pipers into subservient muteness and idly sit on the wayside of history, “lost in time, space, and meaning”?

    Myroslaw Smorodsky   March 30, 2016

    The views expressed herein are solely those of the author


  • 01 Apr 2016 5:29 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Lawsuit: Trump Aide Funneled Mob-Linked Ukrainian Oligarch’s Fortune into U.S. Real Estate

    A senior aide to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump helped a scandal-plagued Ukrainian oligarch with ties to political and criminal figures in Russia park millions of dollars in offshore real estate investments, according to documents released as part of a federal racketeering suit.

    The lawsuit, brought by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, accused U.S. political consultant Paul Manafort of complicity in a complex scheme of retaliation against Tymoshenko and her political allies for impeding the business interests of Ukrainian gas tycoon Dmitry Firtash. The Washington Free Beacon

    Read More 


  • 25 Mar 2016 1:32 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    London ‘Kleptocracy Tour’ features oligarchs’ mansions (with video)

    How do the wealthiest citizens of post-Soviet countries keep their money safe? For some, it's simple: just buy a palatial home in London.

    To show the public how it's done, anti-corruption campaigners took journalists on a "Kleptocracy Tour" of London, showing them residences owned by foreign oligarchs. See more at The FCPA Blog  

    View Video from Radio Liberty

  • 21 Mar 2016 6:03 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    How do you automate a law practice? Here are some practical tips

    Lawyers have plenty of demands on their time—but repetitive everyday tasks don’t have to be one of them.
    That was the message of “The Automatic Law Firm,” a panel at ABA Techshow on Thursday morning. Panelists Andrew Legrand and John Mayer evangelized the benefits of templating many of the most mundane documents of law practice—client engagement letters, routine filings—in order to save both time and staffing costs. ABA Law Journal

  • 21 Mar 2016 5:49 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Trump questions need for NATO, outlines noninterventionist foreign policy

    Comments on Ukraine 

    ....... [Trump] questioned the United Statesʼ continued involvement in NATO and, on the subject of Russiaʼs aggression in Ukraine, said Americaʼs allies are "not doing anything."

    "Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet weʼre doing all of the lifting," Trump said.

    "Theyʼre not doing anything. And I say: 'Why is it that Germanyʼs not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why arenʼt they dealing? Why are we always the one thatʼs leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.' "

    Trump's Advisers

    For the first time, Trump also listed members of a team chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that is counseling him on foreign affairs and helping to shape his policies: Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz. Washington Post

    Детальніше-Read More

  • 20 Mar 2016 5:40 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    March 17, 2016

    Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on “Crimea Was, Is, and Will Remain Part of Ukraine,” at an Event on the Second Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution, “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine”

    Thanks to all the colleagues who have come out for this very important event. It has been more than two years since Russia held its sham referendum in Crimea in an attempt to legitimize its occupation of a part of sovereign Ukraine – a sovereign UN Member State. It has been nearly two years since 100 Member States of the United Nations General Assembly, including the United States, adopted a resolution affirming our shared commitment to “the sovereignty, political independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” and underscoring that the referendum, “having no validity,” should not be recognized.

    Детальніше-Read More

  • 15 Mar 2016 2:39 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukrainian Reforms Two Years After the Maidan Revolution and the Russian Invasion

    Victoria Nuland
    Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
    Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
    Washington, DC
    March 15, 2016

    Click here to view in PDF format  --- Натисніть тут для перегляду  у форматі PDF

  • 13 Mar 2016 12:48 PM | Anonymous

    The maintenance of Western sanctions is contingent upon Ukraine’s willingness to reform itself, according to former Ukrainian foreign minister Vladimir Ogryzko. If Ukraine does not act, the West will ultimately lift the sanctions; and Ukraine will have only itself to blame for its resulting isolation. In a commentary today, the diplomat argues that the West is ready “to forgive us a very great deal both in regard to the Minsk process and to questions related to it if we demonstrate in our domestic policy good tempos, real changes and so on. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening”   Window on Eurasia.   Read More

  • 08 Mar 2016 8:25 PM | Anonymous

    For decades the Dutch political party Democrats ‘66 campaigned for the introduction of a referendum as part of political life in The Netherlands. The main reason was to bring politics closer to the people, to let them have a say in key issues that affected the country, and strengthen the connection between politicians and the citizens. In the end they succeeded, and an advisory referendum was added to the Dutch political system. How could they imagine that this creation, introduced as the ultimate tool of democratic governance, would became a mechanism hijacked and used for non-democratic purposes?   Human Rights in Ukraine.  Read More

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