U.S. Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2004 - Ukraine

Released by the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor on September 15, 2004, covers the period from July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004.

The 1996 Constitution and the 1991 law on Freedom of Conscience provide for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects these rights in practice; however, there were isolated problems at the local level, at times as a result of local officials taking sides in conflicts between religious organizations. Religious groups of all beliefs flourished; however, some local officials at times impeded attempts by minority and nontraditional religions to register and to buy or lease property.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. Registration and property restitution problems remained; however, the Government continued to facilitate the return of some properties.

The generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom; however, there were some exceptions, particularly among leaders of rival branches of the same faith. There were isolated instances of anti-Semitism and anti-Islamic sentiments. The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (All-Ukrainian Council) provided a forum to resolve disputes and discuss relevant legislation.

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has a total area of 233,088 square miles, and its population is 47.3 million. Estimates of those who consider themselves believers have varied widely. A nationwide survey conducted in October 2003 by the Razumkov Center found that 75.2 percent considered themselves believers, 37.4 percent said they attended church, and 21.9 percent of the respondents did not believe in God. As of January 1, there were 29,785 religious organizations, including 28,614 religious communities. Religious practice is strongest in the western part of the country.

More than 90 percent of religiously active citizens are Christian, with the majority being Orthodox. The poll conducted by the Razumkov Center in April shows that most citizens identify themselves as Orthodox Christians of one of three Orthodox Churches. Of the respondents, 10.7 percent belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC)-Moscow Patriarchate, 14.8 percent to the UOC-Kiev Patriarchate, 1.0 percent to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Of respondents, 6.4 percent said they were members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, sometimes known as the Uniate, Byzantine, or Eastern Rite Church. Roman Catholics claim approximately 1 million adherents, or approximately 2 percent of the total population. However, according to the April Razumkov Center survey, Roman Catholics comprised 0.8 percent of respondents, while Protestant Christian comprised 0.9 percent, other religious denominations 2.1 percent, and undecided 1.8 percent. There are small but significant populations of Jews and Muslims, as well as growing communities of Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Evangelical Christians, adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC)-Moscow Patriarchate has 10,628 registered organizations, most of which are located in the central, southern, and eastern parts of the country. The Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of Kiev heads the Church within the country.

The UOC-Kiev Patriarchate was formed after independence and has been headed since 1995 by Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), who was once the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine. The UOC-Kiev Patriarchate has 3,508 registered organizations, approximately 60 percent of which are in the western part of the country.

The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) is the smallest of the three major Orthodox churches in the country; it was founded in 1919 in Kiev. It was legalized in 1989 and has 1,190 registered organizations, most of them in the western part of the country. In the interest of the possible future unification of the country's Orthodox churches, it did not name a Patriarch to succeed the late Patriarch Dmitriy. The UAOC is headed in Ukraine by Metropolitan Mefodiy of Ternopil and Podil.

The adherents of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church constitute the second largest group of believers after the Christian Orthodox churches. The Council of Brest formed the Church in 1596 to unify Orthodox and Roman Catholic believers. Legalized in 1989, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church had 3,480 registered organizations communities as of January 1. Its members constituted a majority of the believers in the west, and approximately 10 percent of the population as a whole, or approximately 4.5 to 5 million persons.

The Roman Catholic Church is traditionally associated with historical pockets of citizens of Polish ancestry who live mainly in the central and western regions. The Roman Catholic Church has 1,000 registered organizations serving approximately 2 percent of the population, or 1.2 million persons.

The Jewish community has a long history in the country. Estimates vary about the size of the current Jewish population. According to the State Committee of Statistics, the Jewish population during the 2001 census was estimated at 103,600, although some foreign observers estimate it at 300,000. Observers believe that 35 to 40 percent of the Jewish population is active communally; there are 240 registered Jewish organizations.

Emigration to Israel and the West decreases the size of the Jewish population each year by 14,000 to 21,000. In addition the average age of Jews in the country is 60; local Jewish leaders and foreign observers estimated that approximately 9 deaths occur for every birth in the community. Despite these demographic indicators, Jewish life continues to flourish, due to an increase of rabbis entering the country since independence, an increased proportion of Jews practicing their faith, and an increased willingness of individuals to identify themselves openly as Jewish. Most observant Jews are Orthodox. The Progressive (Reform) Jewish movement has 37 communities.

Sheik Tamim Akhmed Mohammed Mutach, head of the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Ukraine and representative on the All-Ukrainian Council estimated that there are 2 million Muslims, although other estimates are substantially lower. There are 467 registered Muslim communities. According to Sheik Tamim, 50,000 Muslims, mostly foreign, live in Kiev. Many of the country's Muslims are Crimean Tatars. The Crimean Tatars were deported forcibly from Crimea in 1944, but they began returning in 1989. There are approximately 300,000 Crimean Tatars in Ukraine; 267,000 live in the peninsula.

Protestant Churches have grown in the years since independence. According to the State Committee for Religious Affairs (SCRA), 28.7 percent of all religious organizations in the country are Protestant. Evangelical Baptists are perhaps the largest group, claiming over 140,000 members in approximately 2,788 organizations. Other growing communities include Anglicans, Calvinists, Evangelical Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutherans, Methodists, Mormons, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Seventh-day Adventists, and others. There are also new communities of Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and others.

The SCRA estimates that here are more than 15 nontraditional religious movements in the country. As of January 1, 45 Krishna Consciousness communities, 48 Buddhist communities, and 13 Baha'i communities were registered.

According to the SCRA, as of January 1 there were 163 theological educational institutions with 9,458 full-time and 9,992 correspondence students. Foreign religious workers are active in many faiths and denominations. The SCRA estimates that 56 percent of priests in the Roman Catholic community are foreign citizens. Foreign religious workers also play a particularly active role in Protestant and Mormon communities where missionary activity is central to community growth. The Jewish community also depends on foreign religious workers; many Rabbis are not Ukrainian citizens. In 2003, 11,947 foreign religious workers were admitted to the country, including 6,283 U.S. citizens.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The 1996 Constitution and the 1991 law on Freedom of Conscience provide for freedom of religion and the Government generally respects these rights in practice; however, some minority and nontraditional religions have experienced difficulties in registration and in buying and leasing property.

The country officially celebrates numerous religious holidays, including Christmas Day, Easter Monday, and Holy Trinity Day, all according to the Julian Calendar shared by Orthodox and Greek Catholics.

The law virtually requires all religious organizations to register with the State. The SCRA is responsible for liaison with religious organizations and for the execution of state policy on religion. The SCRA's headquarters are in Kiev; it maintains representatives in all regional centers, as well as in the autonomous cities of Kiev and Sevastopol. Each religious organization with more than 10 adult members must register its articles and statutes either as a local or national organization to obtain the status of a "juridical entity," necessary to conduct many economic activities including publishing, banking, and property transactions. Registration is also necessary to be considered for restitution of religious property. National organizations must register with the SCRA, and then each local affiliate must register with the local office of the SCRA in the region where it is located. By law the registration process should take 1 month, or 3 months if the SCRA requests an expert opinion on the legitimacy of a group applying for registration. In practice according to the SCRA, the average registration period is 3 months, and registration may take 6 months for cases in which the SCRA requires additional expert evaluation. The Progressive Jewish Community reported that its application for registration in Kharkiv took a year before being approved. Denial of registration may be appealed in court. In addition to registering religious organizations, local offices of the SCRA supervise compliance with the provisions of the law.

The SCRA often consults with the All-Ukrainian Council, whose membership represents the faiths of over 90 percent of the religiously active population. The All-Ukrainian Council meets once every 2 or 3 months and has a rotating chairmanship. Representative members also use the council as a means of discussing potential problems between religious faiths. The council also has provided a forum through which religious organizations can consult with the Government on relevant draft legislation.

There is no state religion; however, the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church tend to dominate in the east and west of the country respectively. Local authorities tended to side with the religious majority in a particular region, taking the side of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate in many areas of the country, and supporting the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the western part of the country. Each of the major religions and many of the smaller ones maintain a presence in all parts of the country. The central Government has spoken in favor of unity of the country's Orthodox Churches; it has tried to treat all Orthodox Churches equally.

Officially, religion must be kept out of the public school curriculum; however, the Government has attempted to introduce training in "basic Christian ethics" into schools. While Jewish leaders supported the teaching of ethics and civics in school, they insisted on a nonsectarian approach to this training. In late 2002 and early 2003, a working group was formed in the All-Ukrainian Council to discuss the issue; however, a resolution has yet to be reached. Schools run by religious communities may, and do, include religious education as an extracurricular activity.

On June 7, President Kuchma signed into law the amendments to the Law on Alternative (Non-Military) Service, adopted by the Supreme Rada in May. The amended bill stipulates that the term of alternative service shall be 1.5 times the duration of active military duty. Orthodox symbols and ceremonies are routinely used in the armed forces as well.

According to the law, religious organizations maintain a privileged status as the only organizations permitted to seek restitution of property confiscated by the Soviet regime. During the period covered by this report, mostly buildings and objects immediately necessary for religious worship were subject to restitution. Communities must apply to regional authorities. While the consideration of a claim should be completed within a month, it frequently takes much longer.

According to the SCRA, as of January 1, religious organizations in Ukraine were using 19,975 religious buildings. There were 863 religious buildings and premises, including 53 architectural heritage sites, transferred into ownership and or use to religious organizations in 2003. Religious organizations rent 29.4 percent of those buildings. As of January 1, 2,435 religious buildings were under construction. In 2003 the government allocated more than $661,000 (3.5 million hryvnyas) for inventory and reconstruction of sacred buildings, including the Assumption Cathedral in Volodymyr Volynsky, Volyn' Oblast, Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God in Izmail, Odesa Oblast, Annunciation Cathedral in Nizhyn, the Transfiguration Cathedral in Novhord-Siverskiy, Chernihiv Oblast, and a monastery in Manyava, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.

Intracommunal competition for particular properties complicates the restitution issue for both Christian and Jewish communities. The slow pace of restitution is also a reflection of the country's difficult economic situation, which severely limited funds available for the relocation of the occupants of seized religious property. Some groups asserted that there was progress in the restitution of property, while others reported a lack of progress.

Upon the instruction of the Cabinet of Ministers, a working group continues to operate in Kiev to settle issues pertaining to the use of premises and territory of the Upper and Lower Lavra of the Kiev-Pechersk National Historical and Architectural Preserve and the male monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Commission has developed mechanisms to return former church premises and other property for use by the Kiev-based St. Iona's, St. Florus and Laurus, and St. Panteleymon's monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The commission has formed a working group to address the issues pertaining to further use and preservation of sacred buildings of the Pochayiv Lavra monastery in the Ternopil Oblast. According to the SCRA, the Government is also seeking to transfer of the following church buildings: St. Cyril Church in Kiev, Church of the Seven Holy Martyrs in Symferopol, and former monastery premises in Starokostyantyniv, Khmelnytsky Oblast to the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate; the Dominican Cathedral and a former church building in Lviv, St. Nicolas Cathedral in Kiev, Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Mary in Ivano-Frankivsk, and premises at Bunin Street in Odesa to the Roman Catholic Church; religious building in Balta, Odesa Oblast to the Russian Old Rite Orthodox Church; and a building at Khmelnytsky Street in Kiev to the All-Ukrainian Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists.

The Government has instructed the State Property Fund and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist the Ukraine-U.S. Foundation in finding new premises in order to resolve a dispute between the Foundation and the Monastery of the Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple (UOC-Moscow Patriarchate) over the use of the former monastery premises.

In May the Supreme Rada rejected the Amendments to the Land Code, which would have provided for the permanent use of land by religious organizations, drafted with participation of the SCRA in 2003. The SCRA also participated in the drafting of the law on pension coverage for clergy, sextons, and individuals who held elective posts in religious organizations prior to the adoption of the Law on the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations. This draft is still under Supreme Rada examination.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

Government policy and practice contributed to the generally free practice of religion. The Government continued to facilitate the building of houses of worship; however, members of numerous communities described difficulties in dealing with the municipal administrations in Kiev and other large cities to obtain land and building permits. These problems were not limited to religious groups.

The law restricts the activities of foreign-based, religious organizations and narrowly defines the permissible activities of members of the clergy, preachers, teachers, and other noncitizen representatives of foreign-based religious organizations; however, in practice there were no reports that the Government used the law to limit the activity of such religious organizations. Religious worker visas require invitations from registered religious organizations in the country and the approval of the SCRA. They may preach, administer religious ordinances, or practice other canonical activities "only in those religious organizations which invited them to Ukraine and with official approval of the governmental body that registered the statutes and the articles of the pertinent religious organization."

Representatives of the Muslim community noted that they have been unable to register a community in Kharkiv for the past 11 years. Muslims often are subject to document checks by local police, particularly in Kharkiv and Poltava. They have raised this issue with the Presidential Administration and the SCRA. Islamic community leaders expressed frustration with the Ministry of Education, which has yet to register a single Islamic school. These leaders suggested they are continuing to work with the SCRA to register their primary and secondary schools.

Although evangelical groups have expressed concerns in the past about possible government discrimination against individual believers of nonnative religions, evangelical leaders indicated that their members had reported no such discrimination during the period covered by this report.

Representatives of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church cited difficulties in providing religious services to soldiers and objected to the need to obtain approval for prison ministry activities from prison chaplains of the Moscow Patriarchate. There was no alteration in these procedures during the period covered by this report.

There continue to be charges that religious land is being used inappropriately. Local officials in the western district of Volodymyr-Volynskyy continued to allow construction of an apartment building on the site of an old Jewish cemetery despite a 2002 court ruling to halt construction and a letter from the Ministry of Culture and Arts asking for a halt in construction until the court case is resolved. Local authorities have refused to implement the relevant court decisions. Despite requests from the Roman Catholic Church, the Government has not transferred its ownership of St. Nicholas's Cathedral and a former residence of Roman Catholic bishops in Kiev to the Church. The Church uses the cathedral on weekends and major religious holidays. Local authorities in Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast, have not yet fulfilled their pledge to provide land for church construction to the local Roman Catholic community.

At times local governments in regions that are traditionally dominated by one or another religious group discriminate against their rivals in restituting property and granting registration. Representatives of the UOC-Kiev Patriarchate, the UAOC, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church alleged local governments preference for the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate in the east. UOC-Moscow Patriarchate representatives claim that their worshipers in Lviv and other Western Ukrainian cities experience intense pressure. Despite their continued efforts to acquire land for the construction of a new cathedral in Lviv, UOC-Moscow representatives say that the local administration has been obstinate and slow to action, repeatedly balked on promises, and obstructed the process. UOC-Moscow Patriarchate representatives attribute such discrimination to the marked predominance of Greek Catholics in the region, especially those in the upper echelons of local government. UOC-Kiev Patriarchate representatives cited local authorities' failure to return cathedrals' church buildings in Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, and Zhytomyr and complained that some local governments in regions traditionally dominated by the Moscow Patriarchate, including Odesa, Poltava, and Rivne and Volyn oblasts, deliberately delayed registration of congregations that had left the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate for the UOC-Kiev Patriarchate. Roman Catholic representatives expressed frustration at unrealized restitution claims in Sevastopol, Bila Tserkva, Uman, Zhytomyr, and Kiev. During the period covered by this report, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad complained of pressure from the Moscow Patriarchate to surrender church buildings to the Moscow Patriarchate in Malyn, Zhytomyr Oblast, and in the Odesa Oblast.

The Government continued to return properties expropriated during the Soviet era to religious groups; however, not all groups regarded the pace of restitution as satisfactory, and all major religious communities continued to have outstanding restitution claims. Many properties for which restitution is sought are occupied, often by state institutions, or are historical landmarks.

There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees.

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversions, including of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

Abuses by Terrorist Organizations

There were no reported abuses targeted at specific religions by terrorist organizations during the period covered by this report.

Improvements and Positive Developments in Respect for Religious Freedom

On May 11, President Kuchma signed into law the bill on Approving the State Program of Preservation and Use of Cultural Heritage Sites for 2004-2010, after the Parliament (Rada) adopted the law in April. The program envisages further improvement of the legislation regulating protection and use of cultural heritage sites; measures to enhance protection of cultural heritage sites, including inventory of all such places, examination of historical cemeteries, burial and memorial sites, and measures to preserve them; and further implementation of the country's international commitments pertaining to protection of cultural heritage sites.

Government officials worked with members of Jehovah's Witnesses to facilitate the preparations for the Church's World Congress held in Kiev, Kharkiv, Simferopol, and Lviv in August 2003.

Jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Border Guard Committee, State Customs Service, State Committee for Tourism, and other agencies the SCRA held several working meetings, including site visits, to support Jewish pilgrimages to the burial site of Nakhman Tsadyk in Uman, Cherkasy Oblast.

The Government returned a synagogue in Kharkiv, which in April was transferred to representatives of Progressive Jewish religious communities of the Kharkiv Region. On February 5, the Zhytomyr Oblast Archive returned 17 Torah scrolls to the local Jewish community. In May the Government returned the former residence of Catholic Bishop in Lviv for use to the Roman Catholic Church.

Section III. Societal Attitudes

The generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom; however, there were strains, particularly among the leadership of contending religious organizations.

The debate regarding possible unification of some or all of the three Orthodox Churches and granting them canonical status as an autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church lost momentum in 2001. Leaders of the UOC-Kiev Patriarchate and the UAOC began negotiations on unification in the hope that, when unified, they would be recognized as the country's Orthodox Church by Orthodoxy's "First Among Equals," Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Tensions remain between some adherents of the Ukrainian GreekCatholic Church and the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate over control of property in the western part of the country, which is a legacy of the forcible reunification of these two churches under the Soviet regime. The UOC-Moscow Patriarchate also accused the Ukrainian GreekCatholic Church of attempting to expand in regions where traditionally the Moscow Patriarchate is strong. The UOC-Moscow Patriarchate opposed plans of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to establish a Greek-Catholic Patriarchate in Ukraine. Disputes between the Kiev and Moscow Patriarchates also continued.

In Poltava an ongoing dispute began in May 2002 when a priest, churchwarden, and several other parishioners of St. Nicholas' Church left the UOC-Kiev Patriarchate and joined the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate. The parishioners loyal to the Kiev Patriarchate filed a lawsuit against what they described as an illegal seizure of the church building by the Moscow Patriarchate. In April a local court ruled that the church belongs to the Kiev Patriarchate.

Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate in Rivne seek the return of the Holy Resurrection Cathedral and a former eparchial chancery. At present both premises are used by the Kiev Patriarchate.

Crimean Tatar representatives claim significant societal discrimination against their people, but not necessarily for religious reasons. In Kharkiv Muslim university students primarily of Arab and African origins reported instances of discriminatory documentation inspection and slander perpetrated by the local police force and other citizens. Crimean Tatars demand the removal of the central market from the territory of an old Muslim cemetery in the Crimean town of Bakhchisaray.

A Pentecostal religious organization alleged the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate ordered the reprinting of criticism of Pentecostals, originally published in Russia, in a Crimean newspaper. The same organization alleged that the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate sought to intervene with government officials in an attempt to derail the construction of religious buildings.

Acts of anti-Semitism continued but were infrequent. There were no reports of anyone having been apprehended following the June 2002 vandalism of a Holocaust memorial in Zhytomyr. One Jewish community leader stated that this and earlier attacks were not indicative of an overall anti-Semitic societal attitude; he did not see a rise in anti-Semitic acts from prior years.

In April Jewish community activists discovered that vandals were removing gold from the mass graves of Jews killed by Nazis at the Sosonky memorial in Rivne. The local police are investigating the case. On May 23 vandals destroyed several dozen tombstones, at Jewish and Christian burial sites, at the Kurenivske Cemetery in Kiev. Police are investigating the incident.

Anti-Semitic articles appear frequently in small publications and irregular newsletters, although such articles rarely appear in the national press. The monthly journal "Personnel," whose editorial board includes several parliamentary deputies, generally published one anti-Semitic article each month. The Jewish community received support from public officials in criticizing articles in the journal. On April 20, the State Committee for Nationalities and Migration filed a lawsuit with the Kiev Economic Court to stop publication of "Personnel" journal and "Personnel-Plus" newspaper for violation of the Law on Information and the Law on the Print Mass Media. On March 12, the State Committee for Nationalities and Migration filed a lawsuit against "Idealist" newspaper for publication of anti-Semitic articles. On January 28, the Shevchenkivsky Local Court in Kiev ruled that publication of the newspaper "Silski Visti" be suspended for fomenting interethnic hatred in connection with "Silski Visti" publishing on November 15, 2002, professor Vasyl Yaremenko's article "Myth about Ukrainian Anti-Semitism", and on September 30, 2003, another article by professor Yaremenko "Jews in Ukraine: Reality without Myths." The paper is appealing the ruling. "Silski Visti" views the court decision as an attempt to close the major opposition newspaper (circulation 515,000) prior to the October 2004 presidential elections.

Section IV. U.S. Government Action

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. A majority of foreign religious workers are U.S. citizens, and the Embassy has intervened as necessary to defend their rights to due process under the law.

The Ambassador, as well as other Embassy officers, demonstrated the U.S. Government's concern for religious freedom by maintaining an ongoing dialogue with government and religious leaders on this topic, as well as by attending significant events in the country's religious life. During November 2003 in Lviv, the Ambassador and Embassy officers met with various denominations in an effort to better understand inter-confessional relationships in the West. During June in Zhytomyr and throughout the period covered by this report in Kiev, Embassy officers observed religious freedom court cases involving different denominations. In October 2003 in Dnipropetrovsk, an Embassy officer participated in the cornerstone-laying ceremony for Ukraine's first Holocaust museum. In Uman an Embassy officer attended the annual pilgrimage of Breslover Hasidic Jews to the burial site of their sect's founder in September 2003. Embassy officers encouraged the Government of Ukraine to send a high-level delegation to the Conference on Anti-Semitism in Berlin. Embassy officers met with Muslim leaders in Kiev, Odesa, and Crimea throughout the period covered by this report in an effort to understand the concerns of those communities. An Embassy officer also met with Crimean Karaim religious leaders in order to learn more about issues import to them. The Ambassador hosted an Iftar dinner in Kiev.

During the period covered by this report, Embassy officers maintained close contact not only with clerics but also with lay leaders in religious communities and representatives of faith-based social service organizations, such as Caritas, Sokhnut, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which are active in the country. In addition the Embassy facilitated similar meetings with such groups for U.S. Members of Congress and other visiting U.S. officials.

The Embassy closely monitored the Sambir and Volodymyr-Volynskyy cemetery cases, raising them with the State Committee on Religious Affairs. Embassy officers visited the cemetery in Volodymyr-Volynskyy and met with local officials to discuss the case. The Embassy also raised the Volodymyr-Volynskyy cemetery case with the Volyn State Administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Prime Minister's office, and the Presidential Administration. In addition the Embassy has raised these cemetery cases as well as the general restitution situation with government officials. The Embassy sent four secondary schoolteachers to two summer institutes run by the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. The Embassy co-sponsored an all-day seminar on reporting in a multiethnic society that used the documentary film on the life of the eminent Ukrainian Jewish lawyer Arnold Margolin as a launching point for the discussion. A significant portion of the discussion focused on issues of religious differences, as well as ethnic minorities in the country. The seminar featured journalists, government officials, and representatives of NGOs. The Fulbright program in Ukraine conducted a seminar on "Exporting Religion, Translating Beliefs: American Religions in Europe," which featured discussions on the way in which the U.S. religious movements have (and have not) influenced European religious trends. During the period of this report, the Eurasian Exchanges and Training Grant competition focused on the issue of building tolerance in the country, including religious, ethnic, and linguistic tolerance. The Embassy presented three International Visitors Program proposals focusing on Islam, Crimean Tatars, and the promotion of interethnic harmony. Embassy officers met with students of the International Summer School of Religious Tolerance at the Religious Studies Department of the Philosophy Institute, National Academy of Sciences.

Representatives of the Department of State and representatives of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Cultural Heritage Abroad met with various government officials and religious leaders during the year.


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