To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 240, 16 December 1993







RUSSIA

RUSSIA'S CHOICE RECOUPS IN SINGLE-MEMBER DISTRICTS. As the tallies
of candidates elected from single-member districts came in on
15 December, it appeared that the Russia's Choice bloc would
form the largest single bloc in the new parliament, Interfax
of 15-December and The New York Times of 16 December reported.
The leaders in Interfax's projections of combined party list
and district candidates for the State Duma were: Russia's Choice-94;
Liberal Democratic Party-78; Communist Party-64; Agrarian Party-55;
YABLOKO-28; Independent Deputies-27; and Russia's Women-24. Interfax
did not say how many votes or districts remained to be counted,
or cite a source for the new figures. -Keith Bush

RUSSIAN REFORMERS REITERATE CALL FOR ANTI-FASCIST COALITION.
Russia's main reform bloc, Russia's Choice, issued a statement
on 15 December, reiterating its call for a coalition of "all
anti-fascist forces" to block the rise of ultra-nationalists
led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The statement said responsibility
for the strong showing by Zhirinovsky's party lay with all reformist
parties which failed to unite, ITAR-TASS and Russian TV reported.
The same day, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev called on communists
to help in an anti-fascist alliance. -Vera Tolz

SHAKHRAI ON FASCIST THREAT. Deputy Prime Minister and a leader
of the reformist Russian Party for Unity and Concord, Sergei
Shakhrai, told a press conference in Moscow on 15 December that
fascism in Russia was a threat, but it was not yet on the march.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow quoted Shakhrai as saying that
Zhirinovsky's party was very close to the threshold at which
national socialism begins. He rejected any cooperation with Zhirinovsky
in the new parliament, but at the same time urged respect for
those citizens who trusted Zhirinovsky's promises. Shakhrai said
Zhirinovsky's party would have a very strong parliamentary faction
that could bloc democratic initiatives. He also expressed concern
that Zhirinovsky would use the parliament as a stage to publicize
his ideas and attack the government and the president. -Vera
Tolz

HOW DID THE RUSSIAN MILITARY VOTE? WHILE MOST WESTERN REPORTERS
HAVE ASSERTED THAT ZHIRINOVSKY'S LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP)
FOUND WIDESPREAD SUPPORT AMONGST RUSSIAN MILITARY OFFICERS, THE
DATA RELEASED SO FAR APPEARS CONTRADICTORY. Radio Mayak reported
on 15 December, citing a defense ministry source, that 95% of
servicemen voted, and that 74% of those voting supported the
proposed constitution. Western news agencies reported that the
Taman Guards division stationed near Moscow voted heavily for
the LDP, as did the Pacific Fleet and Russian troops in Tajikistan.
However, on 15 December Moskovskii Komsomolets reported that
the Taman division's troops had voted in six separate areas,
making a complete tally impossible. Furthermore, it noted that
in other areas for which data has been released, notably the
Tver and Vladimir military hospitals the Liberal Democrats received
only 15% and 8% of the vote, respectively. In the Black Sea Fleet,
where some 12,000 Russian servicemen voted, the LDP received
only 19% of the vote, while Russia's Choice received 11%, according
to a Lvov newspaper. Until final results are tallied, the extent
of the military's swing behind the LDP will remain unclear. -John
Lepingwell

GORE-YELTSIN MEETING. US Vice President Al Gore met with Russian
President Boris Yeltsin on 15 December in Moscow to discuss preparations
for the January summit meeting between Yeltsin and US President
Bill Clinton. Gore delivered a letter of support from Clinton
to Yeltsin and expressed confidence that the latter would be
successful in forming a coalition "to perform effectively." During
his visit Gore also held a series of meetings with Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin on trade between the United States and Russia,
Western and Russian agencies reported. -Suzanne Crow

GORE SAYS YELTSIN PROMISED TO RESIST ZHIRINOVSKY PRESSURE. Al
Gore said Yeltsin assured him during their talks in Moscow on
15-December that he would resist any pressure from Zhirinovsky
to expand the borders of the Russian Federation, Western agencies
reported. Gore said Yeltsin expressed great confidence in his
ability to stay on a reform course. The US Vice President quoted
the Russian president as saying the new Russian constitution,
which gives most of the decision-making powers to the president,
would stand against any fascist or communist. -Vera Tolz

ZHIRINOVSKY, KASHPIROVSKY ALLEGED TO HAVE HYPNOTIZED VOTERS.
In a statement for the press released on 15 December, Konstantin
Borovoi, the leader of the "Economic Freedom" Party, alleged
that Zhirinovsky and Anatolii Kashpirovsky (a faith healer) used
hypnotism in their TV addresses before the election, Interfax
reported. Borovoi claimed that Kashpirovsky had offered some
two years ago to teach him the use of "key words" in political
statements or on TV to persuade more than 40% of the listeners/viewers
to obey him. Borovoi reported that he had declined Kashpirovsky's
offer. -Keith Bush

KOHL ON ZHIRINOVSKY, EUROPEAN UNITY. German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl said during a visit to the eastern German town of Soemmerda
on 15 December that the ultra-nationalist win in Russia causes
concern. Ideas that "we thought had long ago disappeared in the
garbage heap of history" are being espoused again, Kohl said.
He added, "some people are now finally going to have to come
to terms with the fact that European unity is not simply an economic
matter," Reuters reported. -Suzanne Crow

KOZYREV ON FOREIGN POLICY FORMULATION. In an interview broadcast
by Ostankino Television on 15-December, Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev said that the country's foreign policy would not change
radically as a result of the right-wing showing in the elections.
"Our foreign policy is being made by the president; it has been,
it is now, and always will be . . . Its fundamental policy will
remain the same because it is being made by the president." He
added that the foreign policy of Russia would, in accordance
with the constitution, "take account of the spectrum of views
voiced in the Duma on the part of all sorts of parties and individual
deputies." -Suzanne Crow

RUSSIAN WOMEN'S PARTY COMMENTS ON RESULTS. The leader of the
"Women of Russia" party, currently in fifth place in the election
race, was quoted by Reuters on 15-December as saying her party
would not side with any of the three largest blocks (the Liberal
Democrats, Russia's Choice or the Communists) in the new Russian
parliament. She said her party supports the government's reforms
but that they are causing too much suffering, and that her party
therefore agrees with the Communists' stress on the need for
a bigger state role in social protection. Her remarks lend weight
to predictions that the Communists may emerge as holding the
balance of power in the new parliament. -Elizabeth Teague

STANKEVICH REMOVED. A presidential decree of 15-December freed
Sergei Stankevich from his duties as presidential adviser, ITAR-TASS
reported. A spokesman for the president said that Stankevich
was removed in connection with the elections and as part of a
broad review of the president's entourage. However, Stankevich's
spokesman later said that the adviser resigned of his own will
after deciding, as an honest politician, that he had to step
down. -Keith Bush

OSTANKINO CHIEF DISMISSED. The chairman of Ostankino television,
Vyacheslav Bragin, has been removed from his post, a political
appointment, ITAR-TASS reported on 16-December. The agency said
Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, informed Bragin of
his dismissal. On 15 December, Russian television's "Vesti" carried
a request to Yeltsin from the Council of Directors of Ostankino
to dismiss Bragin, citing his alleged incompetence. In the aftermath
of the elections, Bragin had also been criticized by both journalists
and members of the government for allowing Zhirinovsky to appear
so often on his station. -Vera Tolz and Julia Wishnevsky

KOTENKOV ALSO SACKED. ITAR-TASS reported at mid-day on 16 December
that the head of Yeltsin's State and Legal Administration, Aleksandr
Kotenkov, has been dismissed. The reason for his dismissal remains
unclear, but is apparently linked to the dismal election results.
Kotenkov supported Sergei Shakhrai and the Party of Russian Unity
and Accord in the elections. -John Lepingwell

YELTSIN BLASTS UKRAINE OVER NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The ongoing dispute
over Ukraine's conditional ratification of the START-1 treaty
reached a new level on 15 December, when President Yeltsin accused
Ukraine of cheating and deception in its dealings over nuclear
weapons, Interfax reported. The criticism is apparently Yeltsin's
first public reaction to the Ukrainian parliament's decision.
Ukrainian officials were quick to reject his comments, and during
a press conference carried by Ukrainian TV, President Kravchuk
noted that he felt that the question of compensation for the
warheads should be separated from the issue of non-nuclear status.
He implied that a second attempt at ratification might produce
both a ratification document and a separate resolution containing
conditions. -John Lepingwell

HEAD OF BLACK SEA FLEET PRESS SERVICE KILLED. The head of the
press service of the Black Sea Fleet, Capt. Andrei Lazebnikov,
was gunned down in Sevastopol on 15-December, Unian reported.
Both civil and military authorities are investigating the killing.
The possibility of the murder being politically motivated cannot
be excluded. Ustina Markus

FIRST JURY TRIAL IN 75 YEARS. The jury trial of two men accused
of a triple murder opened in Saratov on 15 December, Interfax
and the Cox Newspapers reported. It was said to be the first
such trial in Russia since 1917 and was authorized under the
jury law of 1-November which provided for a pilot program of
jury trials in five regions of European Russia. -Keith Bush

PAVELETSKY STATION CLINIC CLOSED. The only walk-in medical clinic
for the homeless in Moscow, in the Paveletsky railway station,
was closed by the station authorities on 15-December, the Washington
Post of 16-December reported. Ten days earlier the mayor's office
had told the Medicins Sans Frontieres group that ran the clinic
that it would be allowed to operate until May 1994, by which
date the city hoped to open its own rehabilitation centers for
the homeless. -Keith Bush

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIKISTAN UPDATE. The head of Russia's border troops, Colonel-General
Andrei Nikolaev, was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 15 December as saying
after a brief visit to Tajikistan that CIS forces on the Tajik-Afghan
border may need strengthening because of the danger of massive
attacks in the spring by Tajikistan oppositionists based in northern
Afghanistan. Nikolaev also discussed extending the agreement
under which CIS forces have provided military assistance to Tajikistan's
government; the original agreement was to have expired in December.
The same source also reported on a visit to Dushanbe of representatives
of the US State Department and National Security Council who
were, according to ITAR-TASS, studying the legal status of CIS
peacekeeping forces in the country. Russia and Tajikistan have
tried to get the CIS forces recognized as an UN peacekeeping
mission. -Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



SERBS CONTINUE "CULTURAL CLEANSING" OF MUSLIM SITES. Reuters
reports on 16-December that UN High Commissioner for Refugees
spokesman Peter Kessler said that four of his local staff were
"manhandled and detained by Serb police" in Banja Luka in western
Bosnia. The four were trying to inspect sites where mosques had
stood but had been dynamited by Serbs in the course of 1993,
including some recently. Serb officials claim that the destruction
is the work of "extremists," but mosques and Ottoman cultural
monuments have been favorite targets of Serbian gunners throughout
the war. Serbian intellectuals have even developed a theory of
Bosnia as "historic Serbian space," from which all alien elements
must be removed. Two of Banja Luka's mosques, including the Ferhadija,
were UNESCO-recognized international cultural properties. Banja
Luka became a major Muslim urban center in the second half of
the sixteenth century. -Patrick Moore

DEPOS RALLY IN BELGRADE. On 15 December a rally organized by
the coalition Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DEPOS) attracted
an estimated 30,000-50,000 people in Belgrade. The rally, DEPOS's
last major campaign initiative prior to the parliamentary elections
of 19-December, was broadcast live by Belgrade's independent
Studio B TV. The highlight came when DEPOS leader, Vuk Draskovic,
addressed the crowd and condemned the policies of Serbian president
Slobodan Milosevic and his Socialist Party of Serbia. Draskovic
alleged that Milosevic was guilty of selling out Serbian national
interests and promised to provide Serbia with sound policies
if DEPOS were to be in a position to govern. Reuters quotes Draskovic
as saying that a DEPOS government would "stop the war [in former
Yugoslavia], abolish sanctions, reconcile Serbia with the world."
-Stan Markotich

ATHENS SLAMS EC PARTNERS ON BALKAN POLICY. On 15 December Greece
sharply attacked Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands, and
Denmark, saying that all five countries had informed Athens they
plan to recognize the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia within
the next few days. Western agencies quoted government spokesman
Evangelos Venizelos as saying that recognition of Macedonia would
"harm community solidarity and the principles which govern the
joint foreign and security policy." Hinting that Athens might
react by imposing a blockade against its landlocked neighbor,
Venizelos reiterated his government's position that the word
"Macedonia" implies territorial designs on Greece and must therefore
not be accepted by the international community. Regarding the
Greek demand that Skopje erases the Star of Vergina-an ancient
Hellenic symbol-from its flag, the Athens News Agency said that
the Macedonian Foreign Minister, Stevo Crvenkovski, in a conversation
with UN mediator Cyrus Vance has agreed to accommodate Athens.
Skopje has not yet reacted to the report. France, Britain and
Denmark have confirmed that they intend to extend recognition
to Macedonia before 1 January 1994, when Greece takes over the
rotating EC presidency. -Kjell Engelbrekt

GRANIC IN BULGARIA. On 15 December Croatia's foreign minister,
Mate Granic, ended an official two day visit to Sofia. Granic
expressed hope at a press conference that Greece could pressure
Serbia into recognizing Croatia with all its territorial boundaries
intact, Reuters reports. BTA reported on 15 December that Granic
remarked that he hoped Greece could predispose Serbia to "accept
international standards of conduct" and that all outstanding
differences between Zagreb and Belgrade could be "resolved in
accordance with these standards." During his stay in Sofia Granic
held talks with high ranking government officials, including
President Zhelyu Zhelev, Prime Minister Lyuben Berov and Foreign
Minister Stanislav Daskalov. The talks focused on the ongoing
war in Bosnia and Hercegovina, the impact that sanctions against
rump Yugoslavia were having on regional economies, and economic
and political issues common to both Sofia and Zagreb. -Stan Markotich


ARAB AMBASSADORS LAUNCH PROTEST IN BULGARIA. According to BTA
on 14-December, ambassadors from 10 Arab countries have approached
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Stanislav Daskalov to express their
concern over the treatment of their nationals following police
action in a case involving drug trafficking. According to Reuters,
on 6-December two Iranian suspects killed one police officer
and wounded two others during a police drug raid. In a subsequent
manhunt, two Iranian suspects were killed by police. The police
killings have stirred controversy, with some Bulgarian media
sources condemning the police actions and others wholeheartedly
supporting them and stirring anti-Arab sentiments. Daskalov has
informed Arab ambassadors worried about the safety of their citizens
residing in Bulgaria that the government would respond to their
concerns but stressed that Sofia cannot censor media coverage.
RFE/RL's Bulgarian service reported on 15 December that the Bulgarian
interior ministry has pledged to take measures to ensure the
safety of Arabs in Bulgaria. Ministry sources confirm that individuals
and businesses in Sofia have received threatening and harassing
correspondence from an anti-Arab organization calling itself
"Free Bulgaria." -Stan Markotich

SLOVAK PRESIDENT WANTS MECIAR TO RESIGN. On 15 December Michal
Kovac told Reuters that Premier Vladimir Meciar's resignation
would be "the only way" to stabilize the political scene. Meciar's
the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and its coalition partner,
the Slovak National Party, together have only 80 seats in the
150 member parliament, and both parties seem set for a split.
Kovac said Slovakia needs a government with the support of "at
least 90 deputies" representing "four to five political parties."
If Meciar were to resign, Kovac promised to reappoint him as
premier if he could find willing coalition partners. Otherwise,
Kovac said, he would look for someone else to set up a new government.
According to Kovac, "anybody who is able to form a stable coalition
government is acceptable." -Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT CONSULTS WITH PARTY REPRESENTATIVES. On 14
and 15-December Hungarian President Arpad Goncz consulted with
the leaders of various parliamentary parties to determine their
views on the election of the Hungarian Democratic Forum's nominee
Peter Boross as Hungary's next prime minister, MTI reports. Conversations
with opposition leaders revealed that most opposition parties
would vote against any HDF candidate, and that opposition votes
would not be directed against Boross personally. The votes of
the Party of Hungarian Justice and Life co-chaired by Istvan
Csurka, which has 12-parliamentary seats, are likely to be crucial
for Boross's election. Csurka stated that his party would vote
for Boross only if Boross agrees to replace Geza Jeszenszky as
Foreign Minister and Tamas Szabo as Privatization Minister. Csurka
also rejected parliamentary caucus leader Imre Konya as Boross's
possible replacement as Minister of the Interior. Goncz told
reporters that he hopes to present Boross as the Prime Minister
candidate to parliament next Tuesday. If parliament fails to
elect a premier within 40 days after Antall's death, new elections
must be called. -Judith Pataki

SLOVAKIA'S ETHNIC HUNGARIANS PROTEST. On 15 December the ethnic
Hungarian Coexistence Movement sent a proclamation to TASR to
protest statements by Slovak officials that the assembly of ethnic
Hungarians to be held on 8 January in Komarno to discuss regional
self-rule is unconstitutional. The group's statement says that
the government's harsh reaction "is designed to divert the public's
attention from the economic and political crisis in Slovakia,
from the questionable proposed 1994 budget, and from the instability
of the ruling coalition." In a 15 December meeting, President
Michal Kovac told Coexistence Chairman Arpad Duka Zolyomi that
the Komarno initiative "results in a tense atmosphere and is
not a way to overcome points of disagreement." In a public address,
Kovac told ethnic Hungarians to differentiate the demands of
their political representatives which correspond with the population's
interests from those which correspond with the "interests of
certain political circles." He called the initiative "a very
dangerous game" which "does not solve any problems of the Hungarian
national minority." -Sharon Fisher

CONFLICT BREWING BETWEEN WALESA AND GOVERNMENT. President Lech
Walesa told a group of journalists on 15 December that he objects
to the designation of deputy ministers from the two government
parties to the three "presidential" ministries: defense, internal
affairs, and foreign affairs. "These are apolitical ministries,"
Walesa said. The ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and Polish
Peasant Party (PSL) had indicated earlier in the week that they
planned to meet with Walesa to discuss candidates for the deputy
posts. During the formation of the government, the president
was widely believed to have conceded these posts to the coalition
in return for his own right to chose the three ministers. SLD
leader Aleksander Kwasniewski responded to Walesa's statement
by saying that "this is not the president's government, but that
of the PSL-SLD." The constitution requires the government to
consult with the president on the three ministers, he conceded,
but not on the "deputy ministers, department directors, secretaries,
and janitors." Kwasniewski theorized that "the president is already
a little bored with stability and is trying to pick new arguments."
-Louisa Vinton

MORE CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK BUDGET. On 14 December the government's
budget proposal was rejected by the parliament's constitutional
committee as well as by the commissions for education, science
and culture, TASR reports. Each parliamentary opposition party
has expressed criticism of the budget proposal, while several
deputies of the Slovak National Party, a member of the two-party
coalition government, are also reportedly against it. TASR reports
that the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and the SNP are now
discussing the proposal again. -Sharon Fisher

OLECHOWSKI: YES TO NATO, NO TO YALTA. Polish Foreign Minister
Andrzej Olechowski warned on 15-December that Poland and the
rest of the Visegrad group could refuse to take part in the "partnership
for peace" program if their path to eventual NATO membership
were not clearly mapped out. Olechowski stressed that he was
speaking for all four Visegrad countries, Gazeta Wyborcza reports.
"We will say 'no' if we come to the conclusion that this program
is just a second Yalta or that it closes the door to NATO membership,"
he told reporters on the second day of his official visit to
Washington. Olechowski said that in his talks with US officials
the Polish stance had met with understanding but that this did
not mean it had been understood, Polish TV reports. -Louisa Vinton


BALTIC PRESIDENTS' STATEMENTS. On 15 December after a two hour
meeting in Tallinn Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian Presidents
Lennart Meri, Guntis Ulmanis, and Algirdas Brazauskas issued
three joint statements, Western agencies report. One called on
democrats to "consolidate the democratic gains of the past few
years on the European continent and democratic values in Europe,"
Calling NATO "the main long-term guarantor of our security,"
the presidents expressed the hope that the "partnership for peace"
program to be discussed at the NATO summit in Brussels on 10-11-January
1994 would not be an "empty bottle" but have an adequate content.
Another statement called on the Nordic Council countries to support
the Baltic initiative to have regular joint meetings of Nordic
and Baltic Foreign Ministers. The presidents also welcomed increased
cooperation among the Baltic States to ensure the independence
of Baltic energy needs. -Saulius Girnius

BELARUS TO CONTINUE WITHDRAWING NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO RUSSIA. Despite
the electoral success of the nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's
party, the Belarusian First Deputy State Secretary for National
Security, Valyeri Pavlau, told Interfax on 15 December that the
republic would continue withdrawing the nuclear weapons on its
territory to Russia. According to Pavlau, President Boris Yeltsin
and the Russian government are guarantors of security. He emphasized
that he had full faith in the Russian Prime Minister, Viktor
Chernomyrdin, so that even if the Liberal Democratic Party were
to take full control of the Duma, the nuclear button would remain
under government control. Opposition leader Zyanon Pazniak, however,
told AFP that Belarus should follow Ukraine and stop the transfer
of nuclear missiles to Russia because there is no stability there.
-Ustina Markus

MOLDOVA TO ADHERE TO CIS CHARTER? MOLDOVA INTENDS TO BECOME A
FULL MEMBER OF THE CIS, INTERFAX REPORTED ON 10 DECEMBER CITING
"RELIABLE SOURCES IN KISHINEV." The sources stated that the Moldovan
leadership would ask the heads of CIS states to allow Moldova
to adhere to the CIS charter after 22 January 1994, when the
charter is due to come into force. Under the terms of the charter
those CIS member states that have not ratified the charter by
that date will cease to be members. Moldova argues that it will
not be able to ratify the charter until its new parliament meets
following the elections on 28 February. -Ann Sheehy

THOUSANDS PROTEST AT RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN BUCHAREST. Thousands
of Romanians protested on 15 December outside the Russian embassy
in Bucharest over the death sentence of an ethnic Romanian by
Russian-speaking separatists in the self-proclaimed Dniestr Republic.
The march was staged by municipal authorities and was joined
by Bucharest mayor Crin Halaicu and other local officials. In
an appeal read on Radio Bucharest, Russia's ambassador to Romania
denied any Russian involvement in the Tiraspol trial which ended
on 9 December with Ilie Ilascu being sentenced to death and five
other defendants receiving long terms in jail. Halaicu was quoted
as saying that Bucharest population did not believe " a single
word in the [ambassador's] appeal in view of the fact that the
14th Russian army is stationed on Bessarabia's territory and
offers protection to the illegal Tiraspol court." -Dan Ionescu


ROMANIA SIGNS PROTOCOL AGAINST DEATH PENALTY. Romania signed
on 15-December the protocol no. 6 to the European Human Rights
Convention on abolishing death penalty. Radio Bucharest said
the document was handed over by Nicolae Micu, Romania's consul
to Strasbourg. Death sentence was abolished in Romania in 1990.
In 1993, however, some media and groups staged a campaign for
restoring the death penalty to combat rising criminality. -Dan
Ionescu

OFFICIAL ON BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Valyeri Tsepkalo,
an advisor to the Belarusian Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Stanislau
Shushkevich, told Interfax on 14 December that the republic could
find itself internationally isolated if the parliament did not
stage early elections in the spring. Tsepkalo said that failure
to hold early elections would dissuade foreign investors from
ventures in Belarus and elicit protests from Western governments.
The present parliament was elected in 1990 and has ignored proposals
for a national referendum on confidence in it and the government.
Deputies have compromised, however, and declared their intention
to disband themselves before their term expired. This would lead
to the holding of early elections, but Tsepkalo fears this may
not happen because parliament could take too long debating the
new law on elections. Not only that, but parliament can refuse
to dissolve itself before its term runs out, and even extend
its term under some pretext. Under the Soviet constitution still
in force, no one has the authority to prevent it from doing so.
For this reason, Tsepkalo thinks the presidential election should
precede the parliamentary one. -Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES CURRENCY RUMORS. Officials from the
Ukrainian National Bank and government denied rumors that Ukraine
planned to introduce its full-fledged currency, the hryvna, this
week to replace the interim currency, the hyperinflationary karbovanets,
Reuters reported on 13 December. Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl
Yevtukhov, said he had seen no documents supporting reports that
the hryvna was about to be introduced. Such reports had circulated
in the Russian and Ukrainian press last week, The karbovanets
has plummeted in value to 32,000 on the black market. The Chairman
of the National Bank, Viktor Yushchenko, said the bank and government
planned to start setting the official exchange rate of the karbovanets
this week through a "tender commission" headed by Deputy Prime
Minister Valentyn Landyk. -Ustina Markus

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vera Tolz and Edith Oltay



THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
(A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the
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