Mrzekierdzej, 30 junie 2004 o.

Galician-Volhynian meeting in Czytać Leoniór

CZYTAĆ LEONIÓR (WASP) — According to an anonymous source within the Ruthenian National-Democratic Organisation (RNDO), a secret meeting has taken place last week in Czytać Leoniór between prominent Ukrainian members of the Galician High Council and the Provincial Council of Volhynia. Although no details were given about the subjects discussed, the meeting was in all probability aimed at preparing Galicia's expansion with the Lithuanian province of Volhynia.

Volhynia's relationship with the Ruthenian Autonomous Region of Galicia has been on the political agenda of both sides for several years. The province, with a Ukrainian population of 85 %, is the poorest of the entire Republic, and many Volhynians blame this to neglect on the part of the Lithuanian authorities. Last year, the Movement of Volhynian Ukrainians (RWU) gained the absolute majority in the provincial council, and governor Orest Paliczny has been lobbying for a merger with Galicia ever since. His ideas were quickly adopted by both the RNDO and the Galician High Council. But although Paliczny and RNDO leader Darko Popczuk are open about their ultimate goal – the unification of all Ukrainians of the RTC in one territorial/administrative unit – they have never been clear about the means by which they plan to achieve it.

The strategy that will most likely be followed by Paliczny and Popczuk is that of a parallel referendum: if a vast majority on both sides votes in favour of the merger, the governments of Veneda and Lithuania are confronted with an accomplished fact. Both are vehemently opposed to the plan, as they fear not without reason that it would de facto turn Galicia into a third, semi-independent constituent of the RTC and thus disturb the delicate balance between Veneda and Lithuania. This is also the reason why the Ukrainians are so secretive about it: they want to limit their opponents' response time to a minimum.

Both Popczuk and Paliczny were unavailable for comment. Minister Petruszenko of nationalities' affairs, RNDO member herself, denies any personal involvement in the plans. She added: "As long as nothing is official, I don't see why the Republican government should take any stance in the matter".