Upcoming Events 2021
US-UA Security Dialogue XII
Washington, DC [Webcasting]
March 3-4 5, 2021 
US-UA BNS (Forum XI)
New York City [ [Webcasting]
April 15, 2021
US-UA WG Yearly Summit IX
Washington DC [Webcasting]
June 16-17, 2021

US-UA Energy Dialogue SE
Kyiv [Webcasting] 
August 30, 2021 
UA HES Special Event:
Ukraine at 30
Year Retrospective 
Ukrainian Institute of America
September 18, 2021 

Washington, DC
University Club 
October 21, 2021 

CUSUR 2016 - Project I
US-UA “Working Group” Initiative

The US-Ukraine “Working Group” Initiative was launched in 2007 in order to secure an array of experts in "areas of interest” for CUSUR and its various forums/proceedings; at the same time, it was hoped that the ‘experts’ might agree to write a series of ‘occasional papers’ to identify “major issues” impacting on US-Ukrainian relations.
CUSUR 2017 - Project II
Publication Efforts

Recognizing the urgent need to set up proper channels for the maximum circulation of the information/analysis CUSUR possessed or had at its disposal, the Center long focused on having ‘a publication presence’ of some form or another.
EAF VI Conference Summary

Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic Future:
International Forum VI

Ukraine at the Crossroads

Conference Summary

Walter Zaryckyj

Remarks by Walter Zaryckyj PhD, Executive Director, Center for US-Ukrainian Relations, presented at Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic Future Forum VI in Ottawa, Canada on March 8, 2012.

Dear Participants of the "Ukraine at the Crossroads" Forum—Dear Friends! In some ways, I find myself on unfamiliar grounds—and that can be intimidating. At gatherings such as ours, I have had the privilege of being a chair, a discussant, a panelist and even a host moderator (presently Jars Balan's taxing job). In each named case—yes even as host moderator—one can depend on a set of remarks, however informal, which one can prepare beforehand. Being a 'chronicler' (for lack of a better term) or 'providing a summary' does not allow for that convenience,

What is even more strikingly intimidating is trying to chronicle this particular event. I have had the honor to be involved with over forty some-odd symposia in the last dozen years—starting with the venerable DC based Ukraine's Quest Roundtable Series in 2000 and continuing with the UA/EU based Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic Future Forum Series. I will readily admit that this conference and the parliamentary hearings that immediately preceded it have provided/produced more intellectual and political firepower than any single set of gatherings that I can recall.

I guess that I should have surmised as much when I first saw the final draft of the program and then again when I looked across the crowd in attendance at our Opening Remarks dinner last night. The facts eloquently speak for themselves: (i) highly placed representatives from the three corners of the Euro-Altantic Community—Canada, the EU, the US; (ii) Ukraine's most articulate political players and civil society activists; (iii) democratic Russia's most distinguished spokesman; (iv) the best set of 'policy wonks' on the planet; (v) many of Canada's best academics; (vi) a sizable cross section of Canada's political leadership and (vii) an equally sizable cross section of the Ukrainian Canadian Hromada leadership.

Anyway, having confronted the intimidation (or 'fear') factor, I am now ready to put it in the past and turn to the task at hand. The forum, as it appeared to me, divided into two parts or 'phases'. The first part/phase involved an effort to assess Ukraine's 'internal dynamics' or, more practically, to provide Ukraine with a 'report card' in four categories: (a) democratic elections & governance, (b) economic development & social cohesion (c) energy security and (d) general security. The second part/phase was a focused effort to divine external factors impinging on Ukraine's 'internal dynamics'; in real terms, the speakers attempted to tackle the 'Russian Question & Ukraine'—particularly in light of Vladimir Putin's recent 're-election victory' as President (or Supreme Leader) of Russia.

The first effort proved quite a sobering affair. The speakers tasked to assess Ukraine's internal processes clearly indicated that the sunny, if overly anarchistic, democratic years under the Orange (2005-2009) ground to a halt in 2010. At first, many interested parties (in the 'West') prayed that the 'regress' would not be noticeable—given newly elected Pres. Yanukovych's professed Euro-integration aims. But by 2011 it appears that such hopes were misplaced. Yanukovych first consolidated the 'power vertical' by placing a lock-hold on all three branches of government and then launched a campaign to secure that 'vertical' thru the 2012 parliamentary elections campaign by making certain that the political opposition would be partially, in not fully, leaderless. Yanukovych's apparent single minded efforts to secure his political future and the future of his 'Regions' party left him badly neglecting Ukraine's social, economic, energy and security needs. In each just mentioned category, the speakers noted sizable regress. All of this has weakened the Ukrainian State (Derzhava) immeasurably. Yanukovych's own situation presently—his 'house of cards'—resembles that of the old Turkish sultans at the beginning of the early 20th c. (to borrow an image first proffered by my friend Alex Motyl) or the failed Arab leaders of the early 21st c. (Mubarak, Qadaffi and Assad come to mind).

The second effort—looking at the external factors impinging on Ukraine— proved no less sobering! The audience of the forum (like anyone interested in the fate of democracy globally) was probably hoping that Putin's re-election campaign and eventual 'inevitable' electoral victory would elicit a greater set of question marks in the international mass media centers—especially in the Euro-Atlantic Community. Apparently, that has not happened. If so, that is if Putin now feels good about his 'victory' and proceeds to consolidate his situation in Russia, then Ukraine, badly weakened by Yanukovych's sultan-like activities, is in for 'the ride of its young life'. Putin will certainly play the energy card, but it will not end there. His 'interest' will extend to Ukraine's food, metals, chemicals, machinery, aerospace and information technology sectors. 'Czar' Vlad and his oligarchic/ 'silovyk' allies will move in on everything in Ukraine that is 'not nailed down' (and as the joke goes, "being nailed down will not guarantee anything either"). At that point , Ukraine's national sovereignty would be at 'fundamental risk'.

Given the outlined inferences provided by both efforts during the several forum sessions, it might be easy to come away from our gathering sensing nothing except a bleak landscape ending with a scenario in which Ukraine would slip back into its terrible unwanted 'colonial' past—and such an assessment would not be altogether 'beyond the pale'. There is, however, a very large "however" that each speaker, without fail, seemed to provide as a subtext and a source of great solace (regardless of phase of analysis). That "however" could be summarized in three words: 'Ukrainian civil society'.

From the looks of it, 'Ukrainian civil society' is quite alive (Orange did have an impact on that level) and is not planning to disappear anytime soon (it is rooted among young urban 'middle class' Ukrainians). It has spread from the strictly political sphere (the political opposition or the 'original maidan') to the socio-economic sphere (small and medium businesses or the 'economic maidan') and possibly on to the religious/cultural sphere; on the last, one of the audience members during a Q & A made an excellent point: Ukraine has a rich variety of religious denominations that under the right circumstances could become a 'religious maidan'.

Equally important, the said civil society has a real support base around the world. First, it can depend on a network of friends in the governments of the Euro-Atlantic Community; a number of those were with us during our forum the last two days. Second, it can depend on a network of 'NGO policy shapers' the likes of James Sherr and Ariel Cohen and Anders Aslund and Amanda Paul and Nico Lange, all of whom took active part in our proceedings. Finally, it can depend on the global Ukrainian 'Hromada; in North America (Canada/US) alone, the Hromada (Diaspora) numbers over 2.2 million.

Given such an addendum, I suspect that our august forum has come to the same overarching conclusion that five EU member national foreign ministers reached in an op-ed printed in the International Herald Tribune three days ago. I suspect that neither they nor our forum would mind me reading the final words of their op-ed declaration as our final sentiment as well:

"We see ourselves as Ukraine’s allies. We believe in the people of Ukraine and in Ukraine’s democratic and economic potential. We know that the road of reforms, which Ukraine has chosen to take, is long and challenging. But we are convinced that closer political and economic ties, as well as people-to-people contacts, between the E.U. and Ukraine offer huge benefits for both partners. Twenty years of independence and sovereignty have brought an irreversible change in the mentality of the Ukrainian society. The people of Ukraine are Europeans and share European values. Our goal is to anchor Ukraine in the European family, as symbolized through the signing and ratification of the association agreement. We call on the Ukrainian leadership (I will add: both 'vlada' and the 'oppositsyia') to display the political courage and wisdom needed for this to happen."


Past Highlight Events

RT XVII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XVII: Ukraine & Religious Freedom, held in Washington, DC on Oct. 27, 2016
UA HES SE: UA 25th B-Day
Highlights from UA HES Special Event: 'Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Modern Ukrainian State', held at the NY Princeton Club on Sept. 17, 2016
US-UA WG YS IV Highlights
Highlights from US-UA WG Yearly Summit IV: Providing Ukraine with an Annual Report Card, held at the University Club in Washington, DC on June 16, 2016
US-UA SD VII Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue VII held on February 25, 2016 in Washington DC
UA HES SE: WW2 Legacy
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: 'Contested Ground': The Legacy of WW2 in Eastern Europe, held in Edmonton on October 23-24, 2015
Holodomor SE Highlights
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: Taking Measure of the Holodomor, held at the Princeton Club of NY on November 5-6, 2013
US-UA SD III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue III held on May 19, 2012 in Chicago, IL

  • Former UA Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko's keynote
UEAF Forum VI Highlights
Highlights from UEAF Forum VI, held in Ottawa, Canada on March 7-8, 2012
RT XII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XII: PL-UA & TR-UA, held in Washington, DC on Oct 19–20, 2011
US-UA ED III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue III, held in Washington DC
on April 15-16, 2008
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