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No. 139, 25 July 1994
RUSSIA SOLZHENITSYN RENEWS CALL FOR UNITY OF SLAVS. Speaking on Russian Television on 22 July, the writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn renewed his call for "a union of Slavic people" who live in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and northern Kazakhstan. He dismissed the CIS as an "amorphous" structure lacking in clear purpose or character. In 1990, Solzhenitsyn's call for a Slavic union (in his pamphlet, "How to Reconstruct Russia?") provoked strong criticism and protests in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Speaking on 24 July on another TV program, NTV's "Itogi," Solzhenitsyn said that he had no intention to occupy any political posts in Russia after twenty years in exile, but would continue to speak out about Russia's problems. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. RUTSKOI ON "GREAT POWER" MOVEMENT. Former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi told Interfax on 22 July that he had received 462,000 applications for membership in the "Great Power" political movement that he is currently setting up. Rutskoi said the main goal of the new organization is the restoration of what he called "the great power of Russia" within the borders of the former USSR "by means of the freely expressed will of its peoples." He said he hoped to have the movement in full operation by December. Rutskoi added that the "Great Power" would try to win a parliamentary majority in the next elections. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN DECREES SECOND STAGE OF PRIVATIZATION. Faced with stiff opposition from the State Duma, President Boris Yeltsin opted on 22 July to implement the second stage of privatization by decree, Interfax reported. Despite three attempts on two days (13 and 21 July), the Duma failed to muster the required majority to approve further work on "post-voucher" privatization. Privatization Minister Anatolii Chubais drafted the decree, which reportedly incorporates most of the amendments accepted by the government in a vain attempt to win the Duma's approval. The government plans to privatize 20% of state assets through the direct sale of shares; this method is designed to remedy the shortcomings of voucher privatization, by concentrating ownership, luring new capital investment, and bolstering the state budget. Post-voucher privatization is expected to generate revenues of 2.5 trillion rubles ($1.25 billion) in 1994. In the interest of better management, employees will receive fewer preferential shares. To encourage investment each enterprise will be able to retain 51% of the proceeds from the sales of its own shares. Yeltsin's office said that the decree shows the president's "political will to proceed with the strategic course of market reforms." The Duma is set to continue work on privatization legislation after its summer recess, but opposition is unlikely to die down. Communist deputies denounced Yeltsin's decision and on 24 July appealed for a "massive opposition movement" to halt the "theft of national assets." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY WITHDRAWAL FROM ESTONIA HALTED? Contradictory reports continue to appear concerning Russia's military withdrawal from Estonia. ITAR-TASS on 22 July quoted General Staff Chief Mikhail Kolesnikov as stating that the withdrawal had been stopped in accordance with an order from Yeltsin. The New York Times reported on 24 July that Western diplomats remain "relatively confident" that all Russian troops will be out of Estonia and Latvia by 31 August. They suggested that the threat of halting the withdrawal is mostly bluster and that Yeltsin, who is scheduled to be in Berlin on 31 August for a ceremony marking the withdrawal of Russian troops from Germany, would find it too embarrassing if Russian troops were still in the Baltic. This and other reports suggested that Russian troops continue to leave the Baltic, despite the rhetoric emanating from Moscow. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. FOREIGN MINISTRY: ENLARGEMENT OF NATO NOT ON AGENDA? Moscow also continues to send mixed signals regarding the way it views NATO's eastward expansion. On 22 July Interfax quoted senior Russian diplomat Andrei Androsov as saying that European security and stability would not be served by the inclusion in NATO of Eastern European and Baltic states. In an apparent new twist, he also said that Russia had agreed to participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program in the belief that the issue of NATO's enlargement was no longer on the agenda. Androsov said that the creation of a comprehensive European security system should not exclude any state but suggested that Moscow continues to view the CSCE, rather than NATO, as the preferred vehicle for movement in that direction. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. BACKTRACKING ON ROLE OF CSCE? In Vienna, however, another Russian diplomat has told reporters that Moscow does not want to make NATO and other European regional security organizations subordinate to the CSCE, as was earlier reported. RFE/RL reported on 22 July that Vladimir Shustov, Russia's chief delegate to the Vienna arms talks, said that a recent letter from Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev had been "misunderstood." That letter, which has been circulated among the 52 CSCE members states, says that the CSCE should be given "overriding responsibility for the maintenance of peace and the strengthening of democracy and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area" and that the CSCE should be considered "the leading partner of the UN in settling conflicts in the region," RFE/RL reported. Shustov was quoted as saying that "we do not mean that the CSCE should be a commanding body . . . [but that] the CSCE should be the central organization coordinating activities by these other organizations, particularly in regard to security and peace." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN-US EXERCISES ON AGAIN. The chairman of the Duma's defense committee, Sergei Yushenkov, told reporters on 22 July that a joint Russian-US peacekeeping exercise, originally scheduled for July, will now take place in the first half of September at Totsk training ground in Russia's Orenburg region, Interfax reported. Yushenkov, just back from a visit to Orenburg region with a parliamentary delegation, said that he had briefed Yeltsin on the trip and that Yeltsin had approved the maneuvers. According to Yushenkov, Yeltsin said that he would not take orders from the communist forces which oppose the exercise. It was Yeltsin who originally postponed the maneuvers, which are to involve some 250 US soldiers and an equal number of Russian troops. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. TURKEY MODIFIES NEW STRAITS SHIPPING RESTRICTIONS. The Turkish leadership, apparently in response to Russian pressure, has modified the new regulations introduced as of 1 July restricting the passage of shipping through the Turkish straits, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Asia Department, Valerii Egoshin, told Interfax on 22 July. Egoshin affirmed that Russia would comply with those new restrictions that did not contradict international law, but he said that it was too early to speak of a final solution to the dispute. He further echoed Russian First Deputy Premier Oleg Soskovets's stated commitment during his recent visit to Turkey to a "new stage" in Russian-Turkish cooperation. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA MANUCHARYAN CHARGED WITH LIBEL. Ashot Manucharyan, former national security adviser to Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, has been officially charged by the Armenian Procuracy with defamation following his allegations at a protest demonstration in Erevan on 15 July that the Armenian leadership was responsible for the murders of three people, including former KGB chief Marius Yuzbashyan, Interfax reported. Manucharyan, who since January 1994 has been engaged in a heated polemic about security issues and high-level corruption with Interior Minister Vano Siradeghyan, refused to provide the procuracy with any evidence to substantiate his accusations. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. NAGORNO-KARABAKH UPDATE. Russian Presidential envoy Vladimir Kazimirov arrived in Baku from Erevan and Stepanakert on 21 July for confidential talks with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev on the latest draft of the Russian peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh, Interfax reported. Russia is reportedly insisting that the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic be granted autonomous status within Azerbaijan, which would necessitate modifying the existing Azerbaijani constitution (according to which Azerbaijan is a unitary state) to define the country as a federation or confederation. Speaking at a news conference in Baku on 21 July, Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov proposed that the eleven member states of the CSCE Minsk Group engaged in mediating a settlement of the Karabakh conflict could all provide troops for a peacekeeping force, providing that no single state contributed more than 30 percent of the total contingent. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. TAJIK PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Citing a strong feeling of responsibility for the fate of his country, the chairman of Tajikistan's parliament and present head of state, Imomali Rakhmonov, has said that he is considering running for the newly-restored post of president, Interfax reported on 24 July quoting an interview in the Dushanbe newspaper Biznes i politika. The same day Interfax reported that a spokeswoman for the opposition Coordinating Council of Gorno-Badakhshan Democratic Forces had announced that the council would support only a candidate from Leninabad Oblast, which has supported the return to power of former Communists but stayed out of the civil war. The Council will not support the candidacy of Rakhmonov, according to the spokeswoman, and expects the next president to represent the interests of only one region and be unable to end the confrontation between various Tajik political forces. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS RUSSIAN TROOPS IN MOLDOVA BECOMING "LOCAL" ? Repeating in Izvestiya of 20 July the standard claim that most of his 14th Army's personnel in Moldova are "local people," Russian Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Lebed offered updated figures of 51% of the Army's officers and 79% of its NCOs as being "local." This is one of the Russian military's chief arguments against withdrawing from Moldova. The 14th Army has in the past year drafted residents of the Transdniester region of host country, Moldova, and unilaterally awarded at least some of them Russian citizenship without the host country's authorization, all against international law. Replying on Radio Chisinau on 21 July, Moldova's First Deputy Foreign Minister and chief delegate to the troop talks with Russia, Nicolae Osmochescu, pointed out that under Russian law, only Russian citizens may serve in the Russian armed forces, so that any "local" servicemen of the 14th Army can only be considered Russia's citizens and responsibility. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING IN MOLDOVA: DNIESTER TRUCE VIOLATIONS CONDONED. Following Nezavisimaya Gazeta's 16 July story (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 20 July) in which the Russian chief delegate to the armistice control commission for the first time admitted publicly to long-time violations by "Dniester" forces, members of the commission provided additional information to Basapress in Bendery on 20 July. According to them, the stronghold in the Bendery fortress, taken over unlawfully by "Dniester" forces in the demilitarized zone, is being used as a training center for "Dniester" soldiers recruited in the city in another violation of the armistice; 200 of those recruits have just taken the "Dniester" military oath. The same forces have recently strengthened some of their already existing fortified positions in the demilitarized zone and added new ones, all in violation of the armistice agreement signed by Presidents Yeltsin and Mircea Snegur two years ago on 21 July 1992. Russian peacekeepers have failed to react thus far. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CHRISTOPHER WARNS SERBS OF "CONSEQUENCES" OVER PEACE PLAN. AFP on 24 July quoted the US secretary of state as saying that the Serbs should "change their mind" in the course of the week regarding their "no" last week to the Contact Group's partition plan. He meets today with his Russian counterpart Andrei Kozyrev, and on 30 July with other Contact Group foreign ministers. They will then decide on "consequences" if the Serbs do not agree to the plan in the meantime. Measures are expected to begin with tightening economic sanctions, but as The Economist points out in its latest issue, these are in their third year and have proven ineffective. Another step involves expanding the UN's "safe areas" around Muslim enclaves, but it is not clear who would enforce them, The Guardian noted on 23 July. The final option is lifting the arms embargo against the Muslims, but Russia, Britain, or France could veto such a move in the UN Security Council. Other British media suggested over the weekend that the Serbs stand an excellent chance of humiliating the Contact Group if it fails to agree on effective action. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. MUSLIMS STILL BACK PEACE PLAN. News agencies on 22 July quoted Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic as saying that his government still endorses the Contact Group's proposal. This clarifies the Bosnian government's position following remarks by President Alija Izetbegovic on 21 July, which were widely interpreted as signaling a policy change. Attention remains centered on the Serb position, which the US regards as a "no" but which some Russian spokesmen regard as "rather positive" and "not devoid of logic." Russian special envoy Vitalii Churkin, however, told news agencies on 24 July that the Serb reply "to put it mildly can't satisfy us to the fullest extent." At issue are questions the Serbs raised regarding the status of Sarajevo, access to the sea, and the constitutional set-up for Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as their comment that "the map needs work." Reuters on 23 July quoted US envoy Charles Redman as saying, however, that the Serbs know full well what the answers to these questions are and that they are merely stalling for time. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. CLASH IN SERBIA'S PARLIAMENT. The 23-24 July issue of Borba reported on a fight that erupted in Serbia's parliament on 22 July. What appears to have caused the incident was remarks made by Serbian Radical Party (SRS) Vice-president Tomislav Nikolic, in which he was highly critical of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and his wife. After delivering his statement, Nikolic was ejected from the legislative proceedings, but reportedly refused to leave, prompting the chain of events leading to the brawl. No life-threatening injuries were reported, but SRS accounts of the incident stress that some 60 armed Serbian police officers became involved, targeting the 39-member SRS parliamentary faction, in what the ultra-nationalist party ironically dubbed in a post-incident press conference "Milosevic's assault on the democratic opposition." The SRS has vowed to boycott parliament, while SRS leader Vojislav Seselj is currently facing charges of attempting to incite a brawl as a result of an incident which took place in the federal parliament on 18 May. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. UN SAYS SERBS FIRED ON UKRAINIAN PLANE. The Washington Post on 24 July said that it was Serb gunners who hit a Ukrainian plane the previous day, the fifth case in roughly 72 hours. A UN officer said that "the Serbs just want to make sure everyone realizes they still have the will and the guns to make everybody's life miserable. . . . It's not polite, but it gets your attention." Reuters on 22 July quoted a UN spokesman as calling the attacks the worst on aircraft near Sarajevo in two years. Elsewhere in Bosnia, local and international media reported an increase in cease-fire violations not only around the capital but as far afield as Travnik, Bugojno, and Tuzla, among other places. Croatian authorities said that Serb artillery in the nationalist stronghold of eastern Herzegovina shelled Croatia's Konavle region south of Dubrovnik, the first time that that area has been hit in months. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. AKASHI SLAMS SERB HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. AFP on 22 July quoted the UN special envoy as saying that the Serbs in their latest ethnic cleansing campaigns around Bijeljina had committed "flagrant violations of human rights and humanitarian principles. He also referred to the Serb "labor camp" at Rogatica. Meanwhile in Mostar, an EU administration began work under Mayor Hans Koschnik, formerly of Bremen, on 23 July. In Croatia, Hina said the previous day that refugees who are blockading UNPROFOR checkpoints will allow UN personnel to pass in cars if they register their trips in advance. Finally in Kiev, Radio Ukraine quoted defense ministry officials as denying Serb press reports that Ukraine had supplied anti-missile systems to Croatia. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. KOSOVO UPDATE. The trial is over of 14 Albanians, who were accused of founding and being members of an alleged Ministry of Defense of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The Albanians were sentenced to between one and seven-and-a-half years imprisonment, Kosova Communication reported on 18 July. Lawyer Destan Rukic called it a "political trial," adding that "it has not been proved that [the defendants] had created any defense ministry or had engaged in actions of similar nature. The main proceedings and prosecution evidence totally contradicted the charges." According to Rukic, the detainees were continuously tortured. The charge of "numerous reports of police torture" in Kosovo had already been brought up by the Amnesty International Yearly Report, which also said that most "victims were ethnic Albanians." The report added that earlier trials had been unfair because lawyers were denied access to their clients. AI stated that out of 18 Albanians charged with seeking Kosovo's secession last year, none could be accused of having used violence. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. BOMB DAMAGES HISTORIC BUDAPEST CHURCH. Early morning on 23 July a bomb exploded at the Matthias church, one of Budapest's most treasured landmarks, MTI and Western news agencies report. No one was hurt but the blast destroyed a back door of the church, part of the steps leading down to the crypt, and valuable stained glass windows. The Matthias church dates back to the thirteenth century, and served as a coronation site for Hungary's monarchs over the centuries. Damage to the building is estimated at around 30-35 million forints. Authorities posted a three million forint reward for information on those responsible for the bombing. The explosion was the third bomb attack on an historic building in Hungary in less than two months. Police said that they cannot rule out a possible connection between the Matthias church blast and the other two bombings. Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze was quoted by MTI as saying that "there are certain signs which point to ex-Yugoslavia." Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA APPOINTS ZAORSKI TO TV COUNCIL. Within hours of returning from Bulgaria on 22 July, President Lech Walesa appointed former TV chief Janusz Zaorski to serve as chairman of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT), PAP reports. Walesa's move, the latest in his long-running "war" with the KRRiT, is certain to disrupt the work of the council and heighten conflict over the independence of the mass media in Poland. One of the few remaining "president's men," Zaorski headed the state-controlled precursor of the KRRiT from 1991-1993 (with a short interruption in 1992). In that office, he was widely viewed as a willing promoter of the president's interests in TV and radio. His ouster was accompanied by charges of financial abuses. Zaorski replaces another Walesa loyalist, Ryszard Bender, who resigned on 21 July after other council members objected to his plans to accept paid travel from a Dutch cable TV firm seeking broadcasting rights in Poland. The Constitutional Tribunal has already ruled that Walesa's dismissal of the council's first chairman, Marek Markiewicz, was unlawful. Several council members criticized the president for appointing Zaorski before the legality of the dismissal was fully clarified. A Gazeta Wyborcza editorial on 23-24 July accused Walesa of planting a "bomb" under the council. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. UOP: POLAND ATTRACTS DRUG TRADE, DIRTY MONEY. Meeting with reporters on 21 July at Magdalenka, the site of behind-the-scenes bargaining during the round-table talks of 1989, State Security Office (UOP) chief Gromoslaw Czempinski reported that foreign crime cartels--many of them Russian--favor Poland as a site for money-laundering. Poland is also a prime route for the drug trade, Czempinski said, citing as an example the 517 kilos of Colombian cocaine discovered in banana crates on a Polish freighter in Gdynia in January 1994. UOP is stepping up cooperation with Russian security forces to fight such activities, Czempinski said. UOP conducted 107 investigations into domestic economic crimes in the past 18 months. These bilked the state of 5 trillion zloty, but UOP managed to recover 300 billion zloty and $4 million of this sum. Domestic attempts to depict UOP investigations as politically motivated were an impediment to efficient work, Czempinski added. UOP officials also complained that their budget, which amounts to only 5% of the internal affairs ministry total, is too small to fight organized crime effectively. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. DEMONSTRATORS AT CZECH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. Czech and international media report that on 24 July about 150 environmentalists--including Czechs, Austrians, and Germans--began demonstrating and blocking the roads to the Czech nuclear power plant at Temelin. A spokesman for the demonstrators told journalists that the demonstrators will try to prevent 3,000 construction workers, technicians and other Temelin employees from getting to work on 25 July. A spokesman for the Czech Electric Company told reporters that he will ask the police for help if demonstrators attempt such an action. Work on the Temelin plant, near the Austrian border, began in 1986. Environmentalists and the Austrian government oppose its completion. Earlier this year the United States Export-Import Bank provided credit guarantees for the US Westinghouse Electric Company to bring the Soviet-era reactors at Temelin up to Western standards. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. During its session on 23 July the Republican Council of the Democratic Union decided against setting up a coalition with the Democratic Party and the Entrepreneurs' Party because of the lack of time for election preparations, TASR reports. During the session the DU and the National Democratic Party agreed on a joint candidate list for the upcoming elections. In other development, Slovak National Party Chairman Jan Slota said following a party session on 23 July that all past and present Slovak cabinets have been oriented against the Slovak nation. Several politicians reacted angrily to the statement; but DP Chairman Ivan Miklos said that one cabinet in particular acted against the nation, namely that in which the Movement for Democratic Slovakia and the SNP participated, which "brought to Slovak citizens economic and social decline, a fall in the value of the currency and savings, failure of health care and education, rapid growth of crime, lack of loans and the liquidation of thousands of entrepreneurs." Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN AND HUNGARIAN OFFICIALS IN BRATISLAVA. Bulgarian Premier Lubyen Berov completed a three-day visit to Slovakia on 23 July, TASR reported. Expressing satisfaction with the results of talks with top Slovak officials, Berov stressed the need to further develop bilateral relations. Slovak Premier Jozef Moravcik pointed to possibilities for Slovak arms sales to Bulgaria. On 23 July Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti visited Slovakia to discuss cooperation with Slovak officials. Following a meeting with Deputy Premier Ivan Simko, Simko stressed the importance of good relations among the Visegrad countries. Both expressed interest in passing a bilateral treaty, which Simko said could be concluded before the Slovak elections. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. ILIESCU UNDERGOES GALLBLADDER SURGERY. President Ion Iliescu underwent on 22 July surgery for an acute case of gallstones, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest and local media reported on the same day. Health Minister Iulian Mincu, who assisted with the operation, and the director of the hospital where it was performed, issued a statement saying Iliescu's condition was "normal." On 24 July Iliescu granted a short interview to Radio Bucharest, thanking well-wishers. A spokesman for the hospital said the president may be kept in bed for ten days. Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu was quoted by Reuters as saying there will be no interim transfer of power to the chairman of the Senate, Oliviu Gherman, since "the president is not incapacitated." Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA IN BULGARIA. On the first visit of a Polish head of state since the end of communism, Lech Walesa spent 21 and 22 July in Bulgaria. One objective was to give new impulses to bilateral trade, which has fallen steeply in the early 1990s. Walesa, who was accompanied by a large delegation including the ministers of transport and industry, told a press conference on 22 July that the post-1989 decline should be perceived as "natural" but that the time had come to forge relations on a new basis. Speaking on the same occasion, Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev said the second goal of the visit had been to discuss common approaches to European integration. In an address to parliament earlier on 22 July, Walesa had proposed joint initiatives regarding the countries' prospective entry into the European Union and NATO. He had also spoken candidly about the problems of Poland's young democracy, mentioning indifference to the rule of law and frequent changes of party allegiances on the part of politicians as two particularly destabilizing factors. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW REVISED. The Latvian parliament, acting on President Guntis Ulmanis's request, passed a revised citizenship law on 22 July, eliminating quotas for the naturalization of non-Latvians, mostly ethnic Russians. Baltic and international media report that the new version satisfies Ulmanis's concerns. He refused to sign an earlier version of the bill. Instead of quotas, the new version lists various categories of people who can be nationalized in stages up to the year 2003. The first group to be processed would be those married to Latvian citizens and ethnic Estonians and Lithuanians. The next group to be considered would be immigrants. After 2003, all groups would be handled equally. The head of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe mission to Latvia, Hugh Hamilton, said the vote was "a major step forward." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. LAST RUSSIAN TROOP UNIT TO LEAVE LATVIA ON 30 JULY. Russia's defense ministry was quoted by Interfax on 24 July as saying that the last Russian troop unit will leave Latvia on 30 July and that a farewell ceremony will be held at the Adaji Community near Riga that day. Under the Latvian-Russian troop withdrawal agreement, a general troop withdrawal is to be completed by 31 August. Only a few liaison officers will remain after that date, and Russian troops will be permitted to operate a radar station in Latvia for several more years. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. REACTOR AT IGNALINA BACK IN OPERATION. Reactor number 1 at the troubled Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania was restarted on 21 July. BNS quoted the plant director on 22 July as saying that the start-up of the reactor went smoothly--it had been undergoing repairs since March 1994--and will be brought up to full power next week. Ignalina's other reactors will be shut down for maintenance on July 30. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. ANOTHER ROUND OF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE. On 24 July elections were held in Ukraine to fill 112 vacant seats in the county's 450 member parliament, various agencies reported. Low voter turnout made the elections invalid in most districts. Officials estimated that the minimum 50% voter turnout was reached in only 38 districts. Voting was reportedly heavier in western Ukraine than in the eastern part of the country. Elections were invalidated in Kiev and Odessa because of insufficient voter turnout. Of the 905 candidates, over 730 do not have any party affiliation. The result is considered to be a disappointment to President Leonid Kuchma who needs to pack the parliament with more supporters. Support for his alliance, the Inter-Regional Bloc of Reforms (IRBR), is strongest in eastern Ukraine. At the moment IRBR deputies hold only 27 seats, while the communist/socialist alliance holds around 145. The low voter turnout is attributed to voters' weariness with the country's complicated election process. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Dan Ionescu The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. RFE/RL NEWS BRIEFS, an edited compendium of items first published in the Daily Report, is distributed along with the RFE/RL RESEARCH REPORT, a weekly journal providing topical analyses of political, economic and security developments throughout the Institute's area of interest. Longer analyses are available in a monograph series, RFE/RL STUDIES, and brief analytic summaries appear monthly in the RESEARCH BULLETIN. 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