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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.

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  • 20 Nov 2019 8:02 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Rule of Law and Ukraine. What Needs to Be Done?

    Culture eats strategy for breakfast. – Peter Drucker

    Drucker’s famous quote means that when strategy and culture collide, culture will win. Rarely has Drucker’s quote had more direct applicability than with respect to the legal system in Ukraine.

    Culture refers to the dominant set of professional values, attitudes and behavioral expectations in a given organization or identifiable group of people, whether we are speaking of the prosecution service or the judiciary or all of a country’s lawyers. 

    Read More:




  • 20 Nov 2019 7:56 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Why Is Raising the Level of Rule of Law In
    post-Soviet Ukraine Such a Challenge?

    The past is never dead. It’s not even past. – William Faulkner

    A country with a legal system that possesses the rules, norms, mechanisms and procedures to produce results that most of that country’s inhabitants perceive to be just in the sense of being fair has a high level of rule of law. Countries that are not so blessed have a low level of rule of law. Ukraine has thus far fallen into the second category of countries as is, for example, reflected by its low ranking in the World Justice Project rule of law index. Why?


    Read more


  • 14 Oct 2019 11:15 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

      

    UKRAINIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION

    42nd ANNUAL CONFERENCE

    November 1-2, 2019

    Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2044

    45 Independence Ave., SW

    Washington, DC 20515

     THE TENACITY OF UKRAINE’S DEMOCRACY:

       OVERCOMING OBSTACLES AND AGGRESSION

    Click here to view full Conference Program



  • 30 Sep 2019 4:01 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Seeking to merely “contain” Putin is not enough.  We have been outplayed, outsmarted and outmaneuvered in Europe, the Middle East, Venezuela, Africa and the Arctic. And at home. Point by point “cost imposing” measures against Russia have not worked. And simply repeating the pattern of reacting, deterring, responding, defending will not work.  Moscow–minimally as a beneficiary and perhaps more–emerges in seemingly Iran’s recent provocations in the Persian Gulf.  And now the possibility of a Presidential impeachment looms. We have anchored ourselves squarely at the confluence of dual domestic and international storms.

    Read More as posted on the Foreign Policy Association Web pages

  • 19 Sep 2019 4:38 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    September 12, 2019, in Toronto at the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 80th Anniversary (“The Black Ribbon Day Conference”) at The University of Toronto.

    Video of Panel Discussion: Victor Rud, Chairman, UABA Committee on Foreign Affairs; at 35 min 20 seconds  click here to view   

    Gary Kasparov's talk transcript; Click here to read


  • 10 Sep 2019 10:15 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Amid Diplomatic Strain, House Opens Inquiry Into Trump’s Dealings With Ukraine

    WASHINGTON — The White House delayed a package of military assistance to the new government in Ukraine, and has yet to schedule a White House meeting for its new president. After abruptly pulling the previous American ambassador out of Kiev when conservatives questioned her political loyalty, President Trump has yet to nominate a successor.

    Behind the scenes, Mr. Trump has told aides that he sees Ukraine as corrupt and suggested that he harbored a grudge from what he saw as that nation’s support for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

    Read Article

  • 08 Sep 2019 8:56 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Victor Rud: Banquet du Congrès ukrainien canadien pour 28e anniversaire de l'indépendance de l'Ukraine.

    Click here to view video

    Святковий банкет організований Монреальською філією Конгресу Українців Канади на честь 28-ій річниці відновлення Незалежности України. Головний доповідач, пан Віктор Рудь, юрист з міжнародного права. Закінчив Гарвардський Коледж та Факультет Права при Університеті Дюк. Голова комітету закордонних справ Українсько-Американської Асоціації адвокатів. Статті надруковані в часописах Атлантик Кансол, Форбз, Київ Пост та інших.

    Banquet organisé par la section montréalaise du Congrès ukrainien canadien pour commémorer le 28e anniversaire de l'indépendance de l'Ukraine.

  • 08 Sep 2019 8:47 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Nazi – Soviet Pact 80
    Black Ribbon Day Conference

    September 12, 2019, 6pm

    Isabel Bader Theatre: 93 Charles St W, Toronto, ON M5S 2C7

    A discussion about the legacy of the Nazi-Soviet Pact signed by Hitler and Stalin on August 23, 1939, featuring a keynote address by Russian chess grandmaster and opposition leader, Garry Kasparov.

    Global Event Livestream of Event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB8w-BO5WEI

    Panelist:

    Victor Rud, Chairman, Committee on International Affairs & Foreign  Policy, Ukrainian American Bar Association.

    Program:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NGVQlmxHYoIxOC6UWFEnLNx3z9qSld6xPJA7HygQ3QI/edit


  • 23 Aug 2019 10:29 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Greeting of the
    UKRAINIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
    On the Occasion of the
    28th Anniversary of Ukraine's Independence

    With deepest respect and sincere pride, the Ukrainian American Bar Association salutes the Ukrainian people who continue to bravely demonstrate their gargantuan moral strength by shedding their blood and sacrificing their lives to forge a truly free, national, and democratic Ukrainian consciousness which is a God-given right of every nation. Despite the thunders of war, the Ukrainian people's resolve for freedom will be graced with true independence.
     Слава Україні! --- Героям Слава!

    Вітання
    Асоціації Українських Правників Америки
    З Нагоди
    28-ї Річниці Незалежності України
      

    З найглибшою повагою і щирою гордістю, Асоціація Українських Правників Америки вітає український народ, який продовжує мужньо демонструвати свою гігантську моральну силу, проливаючи свою кров і жертвуючи своїм життям, щоб викувати справді вільну, національну і демократичну українську свідомість, яка є дане Богом правом кожного народу. Незважаючи на громів війни, рішучість українського народу за свободу буде прикрашений справжньою незалежністю.
    Слава Україні! --- Героям Слава
    !


  • 21 Aug 2019 10:38 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    The Provocation of “Sanctioning” Russia

    25 June 2018 – New York, US

    by Victor Rud


    Public focus on President Trump’s comments earlier this month about readmitting Russia to the G7 group of the most advanced democracies has somewhat dissipated in light of the ensuing North Korea summit. Now, even that has been overtaken by the controversy over immigration. But these were no off-the-cuff comments; they were made beforeduring and again after the G7 summit in Canada.  Make no mistake, however. “Sanctioning”– as in rewarding, not punishing– Russia would propel Putin ever more. It would be another entry in a catalog of Western fecklessness and would both materially and predictably degrade America’s global security posture.

    Memory is short.  President Truman wrote in his diary, “I’m not afraid of Russia.  They’ve always been our friends, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t always be . . . so let’s just get along.” Fifty-three years later, in 1998, President Clinton prevailed on the G7 to admit Russia. Admission rules were for naught, and the “can’t we just be friends” moment allowed Putin to leverage admission to the club into a hecatomb. Membership was the eau de cologne for Russia’s path of domestic tyranny and imperial imperative, as a self-assured Russia began to up-end the international order that the West had secured for generations and represented by the very G7. First, the Kremlin solidified its grip on its internal empire marketed as the “Russian Federation.” Putin walked to the Presidency of Russia on the bodies of hundreds of civilians, killed a year later in a string of apartment bombings in Russia, a false flag operation of the FSB seeking to pin it on the Chechens.  Following the resulting atrocities in Chechnya, we saw a roll call of domestic and international terrorism, invasions, occupations and annexations in Georgia and Ukraine, use of women and children as human shields, assassinations, castration of prisoners, carpet bombing, the destruction of Malaysia Flight 17. Putin’s contempt for the West played out as miniaturized nuclear (Polonium 230) and chemical (novichok) warfare in Big Ben’s front yard. And his hardly concealed hacking of our and European elections and infrastructure broadcast his disdain.

    Iranian President Rouhani, Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan, 2017

    But it’s worse. Fully a year beforeRussia’s admission to the sanctum sanctorum of Western democracy, Putin’s ideologue, Alexander Dugin, together with General Nikolai Klokotov of the General Staff Academy, authored the Foundations of Geopolitics, Russia’s blueprint for assaulting the West.   I wrote earlierabout the battleplan–from Brexit, to the hacking of elections in Europe and the US, to the splitting of the Western Alliance, to the shattering of societal and political cohesion in Europe and the U.S.  Turkey was to be turned, Ukraine, as an independent and democratic counterweight to Russia, was to be erased, and Iran was to be the key to a Russian-Islamist alliance against America.  Russia 9, the West 0.

    Yet Washington turned a blind eye to the future. Why? Throughout history tyrants have clearly announced their intentions.  (Remember the little painter from Braunau?) But it’s no more complicated than their targeted victims simply not believing it all.  They expected, rather hoped, that the tyrant du jour “can’t be serious,” “it’s all just talk,” etc. Ultimately, however, the innocence of successive Administrations in the White House distills to an inability to assimilate who and what it is that we’re dealing with. Putin (as did his predecessors) functions in an entirely different solar system than do Western democracies and is only understood if we are prepared to “believe the unbelievable” or to “accept the unacceptable“.  Otherwise, he and Russia’s pedigree and continuing trajectory as a predator state are unfathomable by any Western parameter.

    The opposite, however, is not true and in this regard some of our Russian experts, with all due respect, are simply wrong. Thus, for example, Fiona Hill, formerly with the Brookings Institution and now with the National Security Council in the White House, wrote in her book about Putin that he is “unable to understand the mindset of Americans and Europeans and their political dynamics.” Somehow, he has managed rather well.

    Our ineffectiveness is partially rooted in Calvin Coolidge’s dictum, “the business of America is business”. We are hard wired to graft our domestic commercial/cultural experience onto dealing with Russia. We are driven by a mercantile instinct for “stability” and “management.” And that means “negotiation” looking toward “agreement.” At a conference last year I said, “[T]he one exception to our trying to superimpose our commercial heritage in dealing with Russia is that we tolerate and encourage the very kind of behavior that we would never tolerate in a business setting–endless breaches of agreements by the other side of the table. And the only exception to our lack of predictive capacity is that we have a superb predictive capacity concerning Moscow’s breach of the very next agreement. Inexplicably, we simply ignore the breaches, always coming back for more.” It’s Pavlovian.

    Russia jack booted the very international order that is based on precisely a complex of these very “agreements”.  (It’s encouraging to know that in his interview with Oliver Stone in The Putin Interviews, 2017, Putin said, “We have to stick to certain rules. Otherwise international relations cannot be built.”) But it was not unilateral.  Western flaccid response ensured the implosion. Russia’s war against Ukraine and occupation and annexation of its territory is now in its fifth year.  That was the very reason for ejecting Russia from the G8.  Yet Russian aggression has grown in scope, brazenness, and consequence to us. Western pusillanimity in Ukraine led to Syria led to the Potomac. We see the fallout in China and North Korea.  It will get worse.

    And so, we have this: (1) we were warned twenty years ago of Russia’s impending assault on the international order and the US specifically; (2) we ignored the warning and tried to “make nice,” (3) we were unable to prevent that assault; and (4) we have been casting about for years, ruminating how to react, defend, respond.  It doesn’t occur to us to conceive a policy that would place Russia on the defensive, compelling it to turn inward.

    But what about the White House now having provided, albeit in limited scope, defensive weaponry for Ukraine, or having bolstered our military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics?  Laudatory as they are, these measures are years late, are defensive and accordingly limited in scope and purpose, and therefore necessarily surrender the status quo to a war criminal on the other side of the line.  Admitting Russia to the G7 in the first place helped fuel the resulting disaster now requiring precisely those defensive measures. This time, however, with its established record Russia’s readmission to the G7 would be a felony, making us knowing and intentional aiders and abettors of Russia’s international marauding. We can then provide even more military aid . . .  though perhaps not, because we will need it ourselves.

    And what of President Trump’s explanation, five days after his initial comment about Russia’s readmission? “If Vladimir Putin were sitting next to me today . . . I could say, ‘would you do me a favor? Would you get out of Syria? Would you do me a favor, would you get out of the Ukraine. . . .’ If he were at that meeting, I could ask him to do things that are good for the world, that are good for our country, that are good for him.”  This is hardly convincing. (1) Admission to the G7 is not necessary for talking. (2) Merely talking is not only not enough; it has been counterproductive. We’ve been talking with furrowed brow and faux angst for 18 years–and what exactly have been the results? (3) Do we seriously believe that  Putin will defer to our judgement as to what is good for him?

    Predictability in international relations has no price. Readmission to the G7 would cement Putin’s understanding of our “mindset and political dynamics,” regardless of the political party at the helm.  That understanding is clear and correct–we exhibit no consistency, constancy or direction, whether grounded in principle, logic, morality, or strategic self-interest. Each Western overture, each reset, each excuse, each encomium, each soccer match is an accelerant propelling Putin in his self-assurance. Readmission would accomplish that immeasurably. Our temporizing will have become permanent. Despite the otherwise obsequiousness of especially Germany and France, for now on this issue the G5 (sansItaly) stand firm. We can do no less.

     

    Feature Photo – Putin chairs the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects, 2017 – Kremlin.ru, 2018

    Inset photo – Rouhani, Putin and Erdogan, 2017 – Wikimedia Commons, 2018

    DefenceReport’s weekly recap is a multi-format blog that features opinions and insights from DefRep editorial staff and guest writers. The opinions expressed here are the author’s own and are separate from DefRep reports and analysis, which are based on independent and objective reporting.

     

    Victor Rud

    Victor Rud is a former chairman of the Ukrainian American Bar Association, and is the current chairman of its Committee on Foreign Affairs.

    Mr. Rud has more than thirty-five years experience as an international attorney. Before Ukrainian independence, he was co-counsel, in the West, for members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Accords Watch Group, and for other dissidents in Ukraine. He was also counsel to the US Public Member to the Helsinki Accords Review Conference in Madrid. He has written, and spoken before various audiences, on issues in US/Russian relations. Mr.Rud is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Duke Law School


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