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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 229, Part II, 30 November 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 229, Part II, 30 November 1998

A daily report of developments in Eastern and
Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central
Asia prepared by the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning
Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.  Part I
covers Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is
distributed simultaneously as a second document.  Back
issues of RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI Daily Digest are
online at RFE/RL's Web site:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINIAN CABINET FORECASTS INFLATION AT 20 PERCENT
NEXT YEAR

* GEORGIEVSKI ANNOUNCES CABINET LINEUP

* ALBANIAN SECRET SERVICE DISCOVERS BIN LADEN NETWORK

End Note: UKRAINE'S LACK OF DIRECTION JEOPARDIZES REFORM
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN CABINET FORECASTS INFLATION AT 20 PERCENT NEXT
YEAR... The government has increased its projected
inflation rate for 1999 to 20 percent from 7.8 percent,
AP reported on 26 November. The revision came after
President Leonid Kuchma criticized the draft 1999 budget
the previous day, saying it was based on figures worked
out before Russia's financial crisis impacted on
Ukraine. Kuchma also repeated his former proposal that
the government allow the hryvnya exchange rate to float
freely. JM

...WHILE CENTRAL BANK VOICES WARNING. The Ukrainian
National Bank on 27 November warned that the economy and
the currency will collapse if the government allows the
hryvnya to float freely and inflation to reach the
projected rate of 20 percent. A floating exchange rate
will "cause the currency to devalue, trigger inflation,
and ruin the economy," AP quoted a bank representative
as saying. Bank chairman Viktor Yushchenko said the same
day that he sees "no fundamental reasons" to devalue the
national currency. "The hryvnya is in a strengthening
trend," Ukrainian News quoted him as saying. JM

KUCHMA ACCUSED OF INTERFERING IN MURDER TRIAL. Amnesty
International has accused President Kuchma of violating
the principle of the independence of the judiciary and
the right of the accused to be presumed innocent. That
accusation is in relation to the ongoing trial of a
serial killer who has confessed to murdering 52 people.
"As a human being I cannot see any punishment for him
other than death," Kuchma said on 23 November. Amnesty
International also said Kuchma's statement puts at risk
the existence of a moratorium on executions in Ukraine.
Kuchma's spokesman dismissed the criticism, saying that
the president "has always considered Ukraine's judiciary
to be independent," AP reported on 27 November. JM

BELARUS ADMITS 'SERIOUS MISTAKES' IN RELATIONS WITH
WEST. Belarusian Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich told
the 30 November "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" that
Belarus has made "serious mistakes" in its relations
with the West and "deeply regrets" them. He added that
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has assured U.S.
President Bill Clinton in writing that these mistakes
will not be repeated. The daily reported that "foreign
observers" in Minsk reacted to Antanovich's statement
skeptically, suggesting that it is the ongoing economic
crisis, rather than remorse, that has forced Lukashenka
to seek to normalize Minsk's relations with the West and
the U.S. JM

MOSCOW MAYOR LUZHKOV IN MINSK. Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov visited Minsk on 26 November and met with
President Lukashenka, Belarusian Television reported. "I
think [Luzhkov] will remain my greatest friend because
no one else in Russia has provided greater support to
our people and to me," Lukashenka commented after the
meeting. Luzhkov visited a Minsk plant and a cancer
research institute. The trip was widely considered an
attempt by Luzhkov, a leading presidential hopeful in
Russia's next elections, to enhance his international
reputation. JM

EUROPARLIAMENT DEPUTY RECEIVES BELARUSIAN VISA. Belarus
on 26 November granted an entry visa to Europarliament
deputy Elisabeth Schroedter after initially ignoring her
request (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 November 1998),
RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported. Schroedter told an
RFE/RL correspondent that the Minsk OSCE mission chief
and the Belarusian people must be credited with the
reversal of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry's decision
since they had exerted "big pressure" on the government
to allow her to travel to Minsk. JM

MERI CALLS FOR SECURITY POLICY TO BE LEFT OUT OF
ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Estonian President Lennart Meri has
handed over to opposition leaders a document calling for
security policy to be left out of the election campaign,
BNS reported on 27 November. The document was given to
the leaders of the Moderate Party, the Fatherland Union,
and the People's Party. It also calls for a gradual
increase in defense spending, a presidential spokeswoman
told the news agency. Over the past two years, Estonia
has spent 1.18 percent of GDP on defense. Also on 27
November, the 13th session of the Baltic Assembly opened
in Tallinn, ETA reported. A draft declaration states
that NATO's Washington summit in April 1999 would be the
best opportunity to include the Baltic States in the
second round of NATO expansion. Lithuania, which is
considered the most likely of the three Baltic States to
be invited to join, was the main force behind the
declaration. JC

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT. Almost two
months after general elections, lawmakers on 26 November
voted by 59 to 24 with no abstentions to approve the
minority government of Vilis Kristopans. Kristopans's
Latvia's Way has seven portfolios, including foreign
affairs (Valdis Birkavs) and finance (Ivars Godmanis).
The Fatherland and Freedom party also has seven
portfolios, including defense (Girts Kristovskis) and
internal affairs (Roberts Jurdzs). Outgoing Prime
Minister Guntars Krasts, also of the Fatherland and
Freedom Party, has been appointed deputy prime minister
for European integration. The New Party has the Justice
Ministry (Ingrida Labucka) and the Economics Ministry
(Ainars Slesers), while the agriculture portfolio has
not yet been filled. Speaking to reporters after the
vote, President Guntis Ulmanis said he believes one of
the new government's main tasks in the near future is to
expand its ranks to include members of other parties,
BNS reported. JC

MOSCOW WELCOMES KRISTOPANS'S COMMENTS ON BILATERAL
RELATIONS. Among the priorities outlined in the new
government's program are seeking entry into the EU, the
further privatization of state-owned monopolies,
conservative fiscal policies, and improved relations
with Russia. Kristopans has also said he himself intends
to follow the political dialogue between Moscow and
Riga, according to BNS. On 27 November, Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin told Russian news
agencies that Moscow "positively assesses" Kristopans's
comments about his intention "to actively help improve
Latvian-Russian relations." Rakhmanin added that "we
expect these words to be confirmed by concrete deeds in
the nearest future--the more so since Latvia is well
aware of our priorities and concerns." JC

LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT TO APPEAL TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
The Lithuanian government is to appeal to the
Constitutional Court to rule whether it needs new powers
in order to continue in office, BNS reported on 27
November. That move follows the resignation last week of
Transport Minister Algis Zvaliauskas (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 November 1998). More than half the members
of the cabinet formed in 1996 have now been replaced.
Ruling Conservative Party chairman and parliamentary
speaker Vytautas Landsbergis said in a statement on 26
November that "we do not think new powers are
necessary," commenting that "the Constitutional Court
gave new powers to the cabinet at the beginning of this
year, after the presidential elections." In a poll
carried out earlier this month by the Vilmorius opinion
and market research center, 61 percent of respondents
were satisfied with the government, while 39 percent
wanted it to be replaced. JC

POLISH PARLIAMENT ADOPTS MINING RESTRUCTURING PLAN...
The parliament on 26 November voted by 218 to 67 with
102 abstentions to approve a restructuring plan for
Poland's coal mining sector, AP reported. The bill calls
for reducing coal production from 137 million tons last
year to 110 million tons in 2002. The number of jobs
will be cut from the current 245,000 to 138,000 over the
next three years. Of the 105,000 miners who will lose
their jobs, only 30,000 will be laid off since the
remainder will retire. Jan Kisielinski of the leftist
opposition, which abstained from the voting, says the
government failed to take into account workers in
mining-related companies who will lose their jobs
because of the reform. He estimates their number at
400,000. JM

...PASSES NEW PENSION BILL. By 194 votes to 123 with no
abstentions, the parliament also approved a new bill
that makes the size of pensions dependent on the
duration of employment. The plan guarantees state
pensions for workers over 50 and gives workers between
30 and 50 the option of splitting their pension
contributions between state and private funds. Workers
under 30 can choose between state, private, and mixed
pension plans. Social security contributions will remain
at the current level of 45 percent of the payroll, split
evenly between employer and employee. The retirement
ages are 65 for men and 60 for women. The new system is
expected to ease the burden on the budget by eliminating
subsidies for social security payments. JM

CZECH PARLIAMENT APPROVES DEFICIT BUDGET. The Chamber of
Deputies on 25 November approved a deficit budget of
just over $1 billion, AP reported. The budget was
supported by deputies from the Social Democratic Party
(CSSD), the Christian Democratic Party and the Communist
Party of Bohemia and Moravia. In other news, architect
Jan Kasl of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) has been
elected Prague mayor, replacing Jan Koukal, also of the
ODS, who gave up his bid for re-election after losing in
the elections to the Czech Senate. Kasl was supported by
the ODS and the CSSD. Mayors in the Czech Republic are
elected not by direct vote but by their municipal
assembly colleagues. MS

CZECH REPUBLIC SETS UP COMMISSION TO RETURN JEWISH
PROPERTY. The government on 26 November set up a
commission that is to draw up a list of all unrestituted
Jewish properties by March 1999, AP reported, quoting a
spokesman for the Jewish community. The commission
includes representatives of the government and of the
Jewish community. The Czech Republic has already
returned some 80 percent of confiscated Jewish
properties that it held. The government now plans to
return to surviving Holocaust victims all remaining
property confiscated by the Nazis and to create a fund
for compensation where restitution is impossible. The
Federation of Jewish Communities is demanding the return
of properties whose ownership has been passed to
municipalities and individuals. MS

SLOVAKIA TO INCREASE PRESSURE FOR NATO ADMISSION. Slovak
Premier Mikulas Dzurinda on 27 November said he plans to
increase pressure on NATO for Slovakia to be admitted
into the alliance, Reuters reported. Slovakia will "bang
on the door as strongly as possible" after the April
1999 Washington NATO summit, he said. That day, Dzurinda
met with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana in
Brussels. Solana declined to set a date by which
Slovakia might be admitted to the alliance but said that
Bratislava will be well prepared for admission if it
continues with reform. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

GEORGIEVSKI ANNOUNCES CABINET LINEUP. Macedonian Prime
Minister-designate Ljubco Georgievski said in Skopje on
27 November that his 27-member cabinet will consist of
14 members of his own Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization, eight of Vasil Tupurkovski's Democratic
Alternative, and five of Arben Xhaferi's Democratic
Party of the Albanians. The foreign minister will be
Aleksandar Dimitrov of the Democratic Alternative.
Georgievski added that "all coalition partners have the
good will to resolve [Macedonia's] economic and
interethnic problems," Reuters reported. The parliament
is expected to approve the cabinet on 30 November and to
elect at least three deputies to Speaker Savo Klimovski,
MIC news agency reported. Elsewhere, a spokesman for the
IMF welcomed Georgievski's recent statement that he will
try to hold the exchange rate of the denar at 31.5 to
the German mark. PM

WALKER SEEKS EXPANDED ROLE FOR MONITORS. U.S. diplomat
William Walker, who heads the international monitoring
team in Kosova, said in Brezovica on 29 November that
the Belgrade authorities interpret the agreement with
the OSCE on the verification mission "in the narrowest
possible way and we're reading it in the widest possible
way," Reuters reported. He added that "the international
presence, even in a feeble form, has had an impact and
[as more monitors arrive] things will become more
normal." Walker said that his group's mission will
include preventing violations of human rights, reforming
the police, preparing for elections, and giving the
ethnic Albanian majority access to the electronic media.
PM

SERBIA SAYS NATO FORCE MUST NOT INTERVENE. On 27
November, the Frankfurt-based independent Serbian daily
"Vesti" quoted unnamed Yugoslav military authorities as
saying that Belgrade will regard any intervention by
NATO's rapid reaction force on Yugoslav territory as an
"act of aggression." The spokesmen added that there is
no provision in the agreement between Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic and U.S. special envoy Richard
Holbrooke for a rapid reaction force to cross into
Yugoslav territory. NATO's Klaus Naumann had earlier
said that the alliance expects the Yugoslav military to
ensure the verifiers' safety from attacks by Serbs and
that the Macedonia-based rapid reaction force will
protect the verifiers from threats to their safety by
the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK). PM

PERISIC CALLS SACKING 'ILLEGAL.' General Momcilo Perisic
said in a statement that Milosevic's recent decision to
fire him as chief of the general staff was taken
"without consultation, without preparation, and in an
illegal fashion" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 November
1998). The general added that his dismissal shows that
"the current authorities do not wish to have [military]
leaders who have a high degree of integrity and who
think for themselves," "Vesti" reported on 27 November.
Spokesmen for the government and for Milosevic's
Socialist Party of Serbia called Perisic's removal part
of a "routine rotation" of top officers. In recent
years, Perisic has disagreed with Milosevic on a number
of key issues and has refused to use the army against
Milosevic's domestic enemies. PM

BELGRADE BLASTS HILL PLAN... Serbian Deputy Prime
Minister Milovan Bojic said in Belgrade on 29 November
that U.S. envoy Chris Hill's plan for broad autonomy for
Kosova "is an indirect way to full succession" of the
province from Serbia. Bojic added that the Kosova
problem cannot be solved by what he called "chopping up
Serbia" and that the Hill plan is "short-sighted and
perfidious" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 November 1998).
PM

...WHILE UCK MOVES CLOSER TO IT. UCK political spokesman
Adem Demaci told Belgrade's independent Radio B-92 on 28
November that the UCK is willing to "temporarily" drop
its demands for independence. He said the guerrillas
would accept a gradual transition lasting three years,
during which Kosova would have equal status with Serbia
and Montenegro within federal Yugoslavia (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 November 1998). Demaci stressed that the
Kosovars must be guaranteed the right to a referendum on
independence at the end of the transition period. He
called the Serbian 11-point program for Kosova, which
reduces autonomy to the local level only and gives
Belgrade the last word in the province's affairs,
"something that not even a dog would swallow." Demaci
told the Prishtina daily "Koha Ditore" that the "UCK
will accept nothing less than what was demanded in the
1991 referendum," in which Kosovars voted overwhelmingly
for independence. PM

UCK FREES JOURNALISTS. Kosovar guerrillas on 27 November
freed Tanjug journalist Nebojsa Radosevic and
photographer Vladimir Dobricic in central Kosova in
Walker's presence. The two Serbs said they had been well
treated by the UCK, which captured them on 18 October.
Uncertainty surrounds the fate of two other Serbian
journalists, who went missing in August. Meanwhile in
the Skenderaj region on 28 November, the UCK held a
swearing-in ceremony for 300 fighters and a memorial
service for a schoolteacher whom the Serbs killed one
year ago. The man's funeral marked a milestone in the
Kosova conflict because uniformed UCK fighters made
their first public appearance there. PM

MONTENEGRO WANTS MONITORS. Miodrag Vukovic, who is a top
adviser to President Milo Djukanovic, said in Podgorica
that the Montenegrin authorities want an OSCE monitoring
mission to come to the country, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported on 27 November. The following day,
State Prosecutor Bozidar Vukcevic said that Montenegro
recognizes the "legality and legitimacy" of the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal and will actively cooperate
with it. PM

ALBANIAN SECRET SERVICE DISCOVERS BIN LADEN NETWORK.
Secret Service chief Fatos Klosi told the "Sunday Times"
of 29 November that the Albanian authorities have
discovered a network of Islamist terrorists operated by
Osama Bin Laden. Klosi confirmed earlier reports by a
French terrorist suspect of Algerian origin that Bin
Laden has tried to send units to fight in Kosova (see
"RFE/RL Newsline" 9 November 1998). He added that Bin
Laden's agents include "Egyptians, Saudi Arabians,
Algerians, Tunisians, Sudanese, and Kuwaitis...from
several different organizations." Klosi also said that
terrorists have already infiltrated other parts of
Europe from Albania as illegal immigrants. Bin Laden
visited Albania in 1994 as a member of a Saudi business
delegation. FS

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS CONSTITUTION INTO LAW. Rexhep
Meidani signed into law the country's first post-
communist constitution on 28 November, which is Albanian
Independence Day (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 25 November
1998). The final official results of the 22 November
referendum showed 93.5 percent in favor of the law.
Turnout, however, was only 50.57 percent.
Representatives from the opposition Democratic Party,
which boycotted the referendum and sessions of the
parliamentary commission that drafted the constitution,
claimed that the results have been falsified. They also
refuse to recognize the new constitution, charging that
turnout was only 39.6 percent. And they have recently
urged their supporters to bring down the government
through peaceful means. International observers say the
referendum was carried out correctly. FS

ROMANIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER FIRED. Prime Minister Radu
Vasile on 27 November dismissed Agriculture Minister
Dinu Gavrilescu. Government spokesman Razvan Popescu
said Gavrilescu was dismissed because of slow progress
in reforming the agricultural sector and in meeting
demands to qualify for World Bank agricultural credits,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. He is replaced by
Reform Minister Ioan Muresan, whose ministry is to be
abolished under the government restructuring program
approved in September. The previous day, six members of
the ruling National Peasant Party Christian Democratic
(PNTCD), including former Premier Victor Ciorbea, sent
an open letter to PNTCD county organizations demanding
that an extraordinary congress of the party be convened.
The group wants to examine, among other things,
relations with the PNTCD's Democratic Party coalition
partner and the possibility of the PNTCD's withdrawing
support for Radu Vasile's cabinet. MS

MOST ROMANIANS BELIEVE LIFE WAS BETTER UNDER CEAUSESCU.
A public opinion poll conducted by the Media Metro
Institute on behalf of the Soros Foundation indicates
that 51 percent of Romanians believe life before 1989
was "better than now." Nineteen percent are of the
opinion that the country would fare better if ruled "by
a single person with clear-cut opinions" rather than by
people who have different opinions. Sixty-four percent
believe Romania is "heading in the wrong direction." The
Democratic Convention of Romania heads electoral
preferences with 29 percent, followed by the Party of
Social Democracy in Romania (26) and the Greater Romania
Party (16 percent). In a presidential contest, 34
percent would back Emil Constantinescu, 22 percent Ion
Iliescu, and 18 percent Greater Romania Party leader
Corneliu Vadim Tudor. MS

MEDIATORS SUBMIT DRAFT AGREEMENT ON TRANSDNIESTER'S
STATUS. The international mediators in the
Transdniestrian conflict have drafted an agreement for
settling the conflict between Chisinau and the
separatist region, Infotag reported on 25 November. John
Evans, head of the OSCE permanent mission, and the
Russian and Ukrainian presidential representatives on
the mediation commission said they have submitted the
draft agreement to President Petru Lucinschi and to
Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov. They also said the
document fully respects Moldovan sovereignty,
independence, and territorial integrity, while
envisaging a special status for the Transdniester
region. The mediators stressed the two sides are free to
submit their own proposals to improve the document.
Addressing the parliament in Chisinau on 27 November,
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
chairwoman Leni Fischer said the Council of Europe will
support a summit aimed at solving the Transdniester
conflict. MS

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT MOVES TOWARD ABOLISHING DEATH
PENALTY. The parliament on 27 November passed in the
first reading amendments to the penal code abolishing
the death penalty, Reuters reported. The amendments are
part of the effort to harmonize Bulgarian legislation
with that of the EU. The vote was 128 to 30 with 20
abstentions (see also "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 November
1998). MS

EU APPROVES AID FOR BULGARIA. The EU on 25 November
approved humanitarian aid worth $1.7 million for
Bulgaria to help the needy through the winter. The funds
will help provide food and medicine to individuals as
well as to clinics, hospitals, and social institutions.
The funding will be channeled through humanitarian
organizations, AP reported. MS

END NOTE

UKRAINE'S LACK OF DIRECTION JEOPARDIZES REFORM

By Christopher Walker

	Seven years into its post-Soviet experience as an
independent state, Ukraine has distinguished itself as
much by what it has avoided as by what it has
accomplished. On the one hand, the country has managed
to escape the deep ethnic divisions many predicted and,
for the time being at least, has sidestepped the near
total economic and social collapse Russia has undergone.
But at the same time, Ukraine has also avoided many of
the critical reforms necessary to pave the way for long-
term prosperity.
	Thus, Ukraine now finds itself at a crossroads,
uncertain whether the belated implementation of strict
reforms would generate Polish-style prosperity or
Russian-style destabilization. The reluctance to proceed
with an ambitious program of painful measures is in many
ways understandable. Average Ukrainians have suffered
enormous hardships since 1991. If asked to endure even
more in a bid to achieve the promised, albeit
theoretical prosperity, many Ukrainians would answer
"no."
	A kind of symbiotic paralysis has developed between
Ukraine's political decision-makers and the country as a
whole. Each knows action must be taken, but neither is
able to identify the force that could act as the
catalyst for change.
	Recognizing this, the Communists, in cooperation
with leftist forces in the parliament, point to Russia's
difficult experience with Western-style reform to
bolster their argument for taking a different course at
home. The battle lines are visible in the current
dispute over the state budget, in which members of the
opposition are heavily attacking the government's
proposed budget as endangering Ukraine's social safety
net.
	While Russia's difficulties loom large on Ukraine's
eastern border, a more constructive example is provided
by Poland, to the West. Poland's success did not come
easily. The economic recovery, which began in 1992, was
preceded by nearly three years of economic suffering and
social dislocation.
	After the fall of communism, Poland was
indisputably in a better position than Ukraine to make
the difficult post-Soviet transition, but despite the
initial hardships, Poland has steadfastly stayed the
reform course. It now is enjoying the rewards of its
hard-fought efforts. Poland has achieved rapid private-
sector growth, estimated at 10 percent annually from
1995 through 1997. Unemployment has been steadily
declining and is now under 10 percent, down from a high
of 16 percent in 1994.
	Moreover, Poland has attained positive GDP growth
annually over the past six years. Foreign investors have
acknowledged Poland's commitment to economic reform.
>From 1990 to mid-1997, total foreign investment in
Poland was $16.2 billion. By comparison, foreign
investment in Ukraine from independence in 1991 through
the third quarter of 1998 totals $2.6 billion. Of
course, as long as the Ukrainian authorities dither over
reform, foreign investors will be reluctant to commit
significant resources to the Ukrainian market.
	Ukraine should also consider the implications of
Poland's growing prosperity and its entry into the
Western sphere of influence. To both countries' credit,
they have worked assiduously to forge a balanced and
constructive relationship. However, the EU is asking
Poland to take firmer steps on a number issues related
to Poland's eastern neighbors. For example, Warsaw is
facing considerable pressure from Brussels to tighten
border restrictions with Ukraine, but for the time being
it has refused to impose visa requirements on
Ukrainians.
	At home, Ukraine is beset by a host of other
problems, including pension and wage arrears, rampant
organized crime, and widespread official corruption. A
burgeoning shadow economy has evolved in response to the
dysfunction of the official market. The shadow economy,
along with the many individuals and businesses that
flout the law, accounts for a huge loss in desperately
needed tax revenues. In fact, the authorities'
frustration with widespread tax evasion payment was
revealed last summer when Prime Minister Valeriy
Pustovoytenko ordered 1,500 business executives to a
tent camp outside Kyiv until they paid delinquent taxes.
	Other evidence of Ukraine's economic weakness is
observable in the vast number of Ukrainians who travel
abroad in search of employment. Large numbers of
Ukrainians work as manual laborers in the Czech
Republic, Poland, Germany, and other countries for
periods of several weeks or months. Many of these jobs
are run by Ukrainian gangs or criminal syndicates that
claim to offer safe transport, employment documents, and
a large amount of money by Ukrainian standards. After
completing their terms of employment, many are
disappointed to learn that they will receive only a bus
ticket back to Ukraine, if that.
	By venturing westward to countries that already
belong to the EU or are within striking distance of
joining that organization, these Ukrainian workers are
implicitly acknowledging the direction their own country
should take.

The author is manager of programs at the European
Journalism Network.

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