The leaders of nine of Europe’s former communist states meeting in Ukraine have created a new organisation aimed at advancing democracy. They signed a joint declaration setting up a “Community for Democratic Choice”,which is described as a “governmental and non-governmental forum of cooperation and dialogue.”The statement said the member states would work together to support democracy and human rights. Taking part were Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Macedonia, Moldova and Slovenia. All of them have made the transformation to democracy since the collapse of communism in Europe – some more recently than others. Ukraine has just celebrated the first anniversary of the Orange Revolution which brought President Viktor Yushchenko to power. Leaders in the new group say they don’t want to undermine ties with Russia. But it has its critics in Ukraine – the leader of the country’s communists denounced it as a pro-American body which wanted to expand NATO further into eastern Europe.
Former communist leaders put democracy first