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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.

  • 29 Nov 2010 9:07 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    The Ghost of November Past!

    Commentary by Myroslaw Smorodsky
    President Yanukovych is experiencing a variation on the classic December tale “A Christmas Carol”. Rather than seeing a revelation about the true meaning of December’s Christmas, it is the prior events in the month of November that are giving him sleepless and frightening nights.  The irony of the situation should not be ignored. In 2004, it was November’s Orange demonstrators that were in vogue on the “Maidan” [Kyiv’s central plaza that hosted the Orange Revolution] and denied Yanukovych the presidency of Ukraine.  Now it is the Tax Revolution with small business owners from all political persuasions that have taken to the “Maidan” and are throwing a wrench into his allegedly “unassailable” administration.

    One of Yanukovych’s lynchpin planks in his political program was purported tax reform.  It was his Party of Regions that crafted the legislation and guided it carefully though Ukraine’s Parliament – the Verchovna Rada.  Its passage was lauded by international political pundits and applauded by the EU as a step in the right direction paving the way for IMF financing of Ukraine’s deficit economy.  

    But “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum Maidan”.   

    The Ukrainian middle class, small-business owners were outraged that the alleged “tax reform” gave preferential treatment to the rich oligarchs at their expense.  Having no response from the legislators to their pleas, they did what all good Ukrainians do – they decided to demonstrate.  So a tent city began to sprout on the Maidan.  And now Yanukovych seems to have blinked first.  He and his administration have stated that there is a strong probability that he will veto the legislation. We have yet to see whether these statements are accurate.  If he does not veto the legislation, then we can anticipate that the tax revolutionaries, having drawn first blood, will escalate their occupation of the “Maidan” creating a critical showdown with the president – which many observers predict he will lose. 

    In any event, the present situation has clearly shown that Yanukovych is not a replica of Putin.  Yanukovych’s administration is susceptible to the pressures of public opinion and his invincibility cloak has been compromised.  This may foreshadow future Maidan showdowns if Yanukovych attempts to mimic the repressiveness of Ukraine’s neighbor to the north.

    see RFE/RL reports on protests at http://www.rferl.org/content/ukraine_tax_protest/2234226.html

  • 27 Nov 2010 5:19 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)
    Controversial tax reform headed for veto in Ukraine
    (AFP) – KIEV
    Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on Saturday that he was likely to veto a controversial tax reform that has sparked the largest protests in the country since the 2004 Orange Revolution.  "The likelihood of a veto is high," Yanukovych said during a meeting with a group of Kiev protesters composed of small business leaders.
    SEE YOUTUBE Video of tax protests in Kyiv  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCEhhlzyWqQ&feature=channel
  • 27 Nov 2010 5:07 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Draft tax code brings many international changes
    Sergiy Melnyk of Salans in Ukraine describes how the new draft tax code in Ukraine constitutes a significant  departure from previous international tax provision in the country. Read entire article at http://salans.com/~/media/Assets/Salans/Publications/2010/20100924-Salans-Kyiv-Draft-Tax-Code-Sergiy-Melnyk-International-Tax-Review-September-2010.ashx

    ED NOTE: since the publishing of the article, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the new tax code on November 18 which has sparked numerous demonstrations. SEE YOUTUBE Video of tax protests in Kyiv  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCEhhlzyWqQ&feature=channel


  • 26 Nov 2010 6:31 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukraine's National Bank Requires Individual Licenses for Payments
    by Ukrainian Sureties to Foreign Creditors

    BY Armen Khachaturyan,  Senior Partner, Asters Law Firm, Kyiv
         On 15 November 2010 the National Bank of Ukraine (the "NBU") issued an official clarification letter (the "Letter") regarding the currency restrictions applicable to payments by Ukrainian sureties and guarantors to foreign creditors under guarantee (garantiya) and surety (poruka) agreements. In the Letter the NBU explained that in order to make a payment to a foreign creditor a Ukrainian surety must obtain an individual license from the NBU unless the surety is an authorized bank or financial institution.
         At the same time Ukrainian banks can make payments as guarantors or sureties without an individual license. Non-banking financial institutions do not need an individual license for such payments if they have a general license for transactions with foreign currency.  Read Article http://www.asterslaw.com/upload/medialibrary/newsletters/asters_newsletter_eng_23_11_10.html

  • 25 Nov 2010 11:01 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukraine Strengthens its Anti-Corruption Laws
    By Tatyana Tugolukova

         Unfortunately, when doing business in Ukraine, foreign and Ukrainian companies are often faced with requests by public officials to provide “contributions,” “facilitation payments,”or worse, in order to accomplish routine work. Western companies are familiar with these issues as well as Ukrainian requirements.     However, as of January 1, 2011, Ukraine’s legislation is significantly changing – for the better – in tackling these problems. Finally, the scope of corruption practices and prohibitions in Ukraine has been expanded, in large part because of Ukraine’s international obligations stemming from the UN Convention against Corruption and the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, which Ukraine ratified in 2006.

    Read More http://salans.com/~/media/Assets/Salans/Publications/2010/20101015-Salans-Kyiv-Anti-Corruption-Law-Ukraine-Tatyana-Tugolukova-September-2010.ashx

  • 23 Nov 2010 9:24 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Miranda Warning Lost in Translation!

    Steve Grogoza, a well known criminal defense lawyer in Naples, FL – and UABA Board of Governor’s Chairman --- successfully argued that his Spanish speaking client was denied his Miranda Rights as a result of translation errors during questioning by police.  Grogoza contended that a detective not only translated the conversation inaccurately but that investigators had deceived the suspect by promising his confession would be heard by no one outside of the room.

    Read Entire Story
  • 17 Nov 2010 10:26 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)
                         Is Yanukovich in Putin's Doghouse?
    from the World Affairs Blog:  Ukraine's Orange Blues, Alexander J. Motyl  
    That’s what a biting satire of the Ukrainian president on Russia’s state-controlled Channel One, the country’s most watched television station, suggests. Aired on Sunday, October 31, on the “Big Difference” comedy program, the skit undefined titled “Viktor Almighty” undefined depicts Yanukovich as an outright buffoon. Channel One’s Viktor speaks Russian with a comically broad Ukrainian accent, takes great pride in nailing a portrait of himself to the wall, orders a bowl of borscht, a bottle of vodka, a cigar, and a top hat as his first acts in office, and, after decreeing that all requests from citizens be made in writing, finds himself inundated with Post-its.
  • 15 Nov 2010 11:58 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)



    Comments by Bohdan A. Futey*

    October 14, 2010

    I.                 Background
    Ukraine adopted its Constitution on June 28, 1996.  This document exclusively tasks the court system with the administration of justice, according to Article 124, and judicial proceedings are to be held before the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the courts of general jurisdiction.  Under Article 125, the Supreme Court of Ukraine is the highest judicial body for courts of general jurisdiction, while the “respective high courts are the highest judicial bodies of specialised courts.”  Elsewhere in the Constitution, Article 126 sets nine different events that allow the removal of a judge, and that article also guarantees the independence and immunity of judges.  The people participate directly in the administration of justice as jurors and people’s assessors.

    Link to full article

  • 14 Nov 2010 8:39 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukrainian Education Ministry disapproves 'Russophobic' law textbook
          The Ukrainian Education Ministry has withdrawn its recomendation of "Russophobic" legal studies textbook written by professors at the Shevchenko Kiev National University , Education Minister Dmitry Tabachnik said.
         The textbook, entitled "The History of Ukrainian Law" and written under the editorship of the dean of the university's law department, previously received approval from the ministry for university study, despite criticism by some experts that the book contains controversial material aimed at sparking hatred towards Russia.

    READ story as reported in RIANOVOSTI

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