Peace is indivisible. - Maxim Litvino
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 210, Part II, 27 October 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 210, Part II, 27 October 1999

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

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Note to readers: "RFE/RL Newsline" will not appear on 28
October, which is a national holiday in the Czech Republic.
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Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINE'S 'KANIV FOUR' ELECTION ALLIANCE FALLS APART

* ALBANIA'S MAJKO SAYS HE QUIT TO END TENSIONS

* CROATIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL ELECTION LAW

End Note: BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN AND BELARUSIAN SCENARIOS
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

LUKASHENKA URGES RUSSIA TO QUICKLY SIGN UNION TREATY...
Addressing the Russian State Duma on 27 October, Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka urged Russia to quickly
approve the treaty proposing a Belarusian-Russian union
state. "If we delay any further, the people will lose their
faith in the idea of a union state and the chance of carrying
it out," Reuters quoted Lukashenka as saying. Lukashenka
noted that the "fierce pressure of adversaries" of the
Belarusian-Russian merger has exceeded "all conceivable
bounds," according to ITAR-TASS. He criticized "individual
Russian media" for presenting Belarus as a "wild [and]
underdeveloped" country and a "communist preserve." After
talks with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 26 October,
Lukashenka said that agreement has been reached to wrap up
discussion of the draft union treaty by 20 November and to
sign it "in early December," Interfax reported. JM

...ACCUSES 'ABROAD' OF SPONSORING BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION
PROTEST. Speaking to Russian journalists in Moscow on 26
October, Lukashenka said the opposition "freedom march" in
Minsk on 17 October was planned and sponsored "from abroad,"
Belarusian Television reported. He claimed that the
Belarusian opposition received $300,000 through Belarusian
NGOs as well as through "our so-called fascist independent
media" to help stage the march. Lukashenka denied that riot
police beat the protesters. "We did not beat anybody because
we knew that [the demonstrators] need a feature [in
television news]," he said. Lukashenka also said he has
"reasons to say that the U.S. are exerting pressure not only
on Belarus." He quoted Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
as saying "indignantly" at the CIS Customs Union summit in
Moscow the same day that "the U.S. is interfering in domestic
affairs."Lukashenka, however, did not specify in which
countries' affairs the U.S. is interfering. JM

UKRAINE'S 'KANIV FOUR' ELECTION ALLIANCE FALLS APART. The
presidential election alliance of Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr
Moroz, Volodymyr Oliynyk, and Oleksandr Tkachenko fell apart
on 26 October after Moroz announced he will stay in the race
despite the alliance's earlier decision to support Marchuk
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 and 26 October 1999). "From now
on, everyone is conducting his campaign separately," Marchuk
commented, according to AP. Moroz noted that the Kaniv four
has fulfilled its task by "breaking the information blockade"
around its four candidates. Meanwhile, Tkachenko announced
the same day that he will withdraw from the race and called
on his supporters to vote for Communist Petro Symonenko.
Progressive Socialist leader Natalya Vitrenko commented that
Tkachenko has resigned in favor of Symonenko in order to
avoid his "political death," Interfax reported. JM

UKRAINE'S MOROZ WARNS AUTHORITIES AGAINST ORGANIZING
'PROVOCATION.' Socialist Party leader and presidential
candidate Oleksandr Moroz has warned Interior Minister Yuriy
Kravchenko and Security Service chief Leonid Derkach against
staging a "provocation" indented to discredit him in the eyes
of Ukrainian voters, Interfax reported on 26 October. Moroz
said Ukraine's "law enforcement bodies" will air on state-
controlled television channels a video that alleges his
involvement in the 2 October attempt on Vitrenko's life.
Moroz added that such a move would contravene Ukraine's
Constitution. JM

UKRAINIAN NATIONALISTS TO SUPPORT FORMER KGB GENERAL.
Yaroslava Stetsko, leader of the Congress of Ukrainian
Nationalists, said in Lviv on 26 October that her party will
support Yevhen Marchuk's presidential bid. Stetsko added that
this was a difficult decision for her organization, which had
been persecuted by the KGB in the past. General Yevhen
Marchuk was the Ukrainian SSR's KGB first deputy chairman in
1990 and chief of the Security Service in independent Ukraine
from1991-1994. JM

NEW CORRUPTION SURVEY RANKS BALTIC STATES IN MIDDLE OF PACK.
In Transparency International's annual corruption index,
released on 26 October, Latvia ranks 58th out of the 99
countries surveyed, according to BNS. TI's 1998 survey had
placed Latvia 71st out of 85 countries. This year, Estonia
ranked 27th and Lithuania 51st. The index attempts to rank
countries according to the public perception of corruption
(see also below). MJZ

RUSSIAN EMBASSY WARNS ESTONIA AGAINST TIES WITH CHECHNYA...
The Russian Embassy has warned Estonian authorities against
developing closer relations with Chechnya, according to BNS
on 26 October. Commenting on a visit this week by three
Chechen parliamentary members to Tallinn, a spokesman said it
is hoped that Estonia will stick to its policy of regarding
Chechnya as an inseparable part of Russia. MJZ

...WHILE DUMA CONDEMNS ESTONIAN DISCRIMINATION AGAINST
RUSSIAN MILITARY PENSIONERS. The Russian State Duma on 26
October adopted a resolution condemning the Estonian
parliament's approval of amendments to the law on foreigners,
which, the Duma said, "set a stricter procedure for granting
residency permits to Russian military pensioners and in
reality legitimized the possibility of deporting them," ITAR-
TASS reported. Duma deputies called the amendments yet
another effort "to force persons whose native language is
Russian to leave [Estonia]." MJZ

LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY ASKS RUSSIA FOR EXPLANATION OF
ILLEGAL BANKING ALLEGATIONS. The Latvian Foreign Ministry has
asked the Russian Embassy in Riga to explain the basis for
the Russian Federal Security Service's allegations of illegal
banking operations being conducted by the Latvian Embassy in
Moscow, according to BNS on 26 October. In an interview with
Latvian Radio, Latvian Foreign Minister Indulis Berzins said
the Russian Embassy has no facts to confirm the Russian media
report, stressing that Latvia is interested in good
neighborly relations with Russia. MJZ

LITHUANIA ANNOUNCES DELAY ON WILLIAMS DEAL... According to
BNS and ELTA on 26 October, the head of Lithuania's
negotiating team, Sigitas Kaktys, has announced that the
signing of the final agreements between Lithuania and the
U.S.-based Williams International, scheduled for 29 October,
has been postponed. The agreements must be approved by the
cabinet before their signing, but Prime Minister Rolandas
Paksas has not included the documents on the agenda of the
weekly cabinet meeting, which will take place on 27 October.
The documents are being reviewed by the cabinet's lawyers and
could be added to the agenda if a majority of ministers vote
to overrule the premier. AB

...WHILE REPRESENTATIVES OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL
INSTITUTION CONVERGE ON VILNIUS. The European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development is prepared to help Lithuania
secure more favorable terms in its negotiations with Williams
International, "Lietuvos Rytas" reported on 27 October. EBRD
Vice President Joachim Jahnke arrives in Vilnius on 27
October to evaluate the bank's on-going projects, which
include a loan to the Ignalina nuclear power plant to upgrade
security. His bank is prepared to lend the Lithuanian
government up to 20 percent of the financing needed to
upgrade the Mazeikiai oil refinery if the final agreement
with Williams guarantees the viability of the plant. A team
from the IMF is also expected soon to negotiate the terms of
Lithuania's latest structural stabilization loan. The
Lithuanian government's fiscal debt now reaches 5.8 percent
of GDP, and IMF and World Bank officials have expressed
concern that the Williams deal will raise that figure to
nearly 10 percent. AB

CORRUPTION IN POLAND REPORTED TO BE INCREASING. According to
Transparency International's annual index (see above), the
level of corruption in Poland is increasing, Polish media
reported on 26 October. The survey puts Poland in 44th place,
between Mongolia and Brazil. Jacek Leski, deputy head of TI
Poland, said that corruption in Poland is prevalent at all
administrative levels, in the parliament, and in the legal
system. "The root of Poland's corruption and the most
difficult problem still to be solved is the mechanism of
financing political parties and politicians," Reuters quoted
Leski as saying. Slovenia ranked 25th, suggesting that it is
the least corrupt country from Eastern Europe. Estonia ranked
27th, Hungary 31st, and the Czech Republic 39th. JM

POLISH TEACHERS ANNOUNCE STRIKE FOR 19 NOVEMBER. Polish
Teachers Union head Slawomir Broniarz announced on 26 October
that the union will launch a one-day nationwide strike on 19
November to demand increased funds for education and wage
hikes for teachers, PAP reported. The schools supporting the
strike will be closed on that day. "We feel we have done
everything we could to improve things in education," Deputy
Education Minister Wojciech Ksiazek commented, adding that
the ministry will raise teachers' wages. JM

CZECH UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICES MARK ROMA WITH 'R.' For years,
Czech unemployment offices have added an "R" into the
computer files of applicants who appear to be Romany, TV Nova
reported on 26 October. The station's reporters were able to
secure lists of Romany applicants from such offices in Prague
and Ceske Budejovice, which would be impossible to do if they
were not keeping track of unemployed Roma in some manner, the
television station noted. Vladimir Valek of the Olomouc
unemployment office said he has heard that the practice is
taking place but stressed that his own office is not engaging
in it. Social and Labor Affairs Minister Vladimir Spidla said
he did not know about the practice, "Lidove noviny" reported
on 27 October. He added that action should be taken "as
quickly as possible" against those offices that use such
techniques. VG

PROSPECTS OF CZECH 'RIGHT-OF-CENTER' COALITION LOOK DIMMER...
Parliamentary deputy Marie Machata on 26 October announced
that she is quitting the Freedom Union and will sit in the
lower house as an independent, Czech media reported. Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) deputy chairman Ivan Langer said
Machata's departure has made it impossible for the ODS to
form a "right-of-center" coalition government with the
Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats. Together, the
three parties would have only 100 deputies in the 200-seat
lower house, since former Christian Democratic leader Josef
Lux is undergoing treatment for leukemia in the U.S.

...WHILE CALLS FOR CABINET CHANGES CONTINUE. Leading Social
Democrat and deputy parliamentary chairman Stanislav Gross
said the government should not shy away from making changes
in the cabinet. He said he expects Prime Minister Milos Zeman
to dismiss Deputy Prime Minister Egon Lansky, adding that the
changes should not stop there. VG

CZECH DEPUTIES WANT STIFFER PENALTIES FOR RACIAL, CLASS
HATRED. A group of Czech parliamentary deputies on 26 October
submitted a bill that would impose stiffer penalties for the
propagation of movements that promote racial or class hatred,
Czech media reported. The bill would impose prison sentences
of up to eight years for such crimes. While some deputies
commented that the bill is partly a reaction to rhetoric from
the Communist Party officials, they said they do not think it
will lead to a ban on the party. VG

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT PASSES EUROPEAN CHARTERS. Lawmakers on 26
October passed European charters on local self-administration
and cross-border regional cooperation, TASR reported. The
government described the move as proof that Slovakia has the
political will to decentralize the state administration. The
same day, the parliament failed to pass a bill on the
protection of economic competition, which President Rudolf
Schuster had sent back to the legislature on 16 September.
Deputy parliamentary chairman Pavol Hrusovsky said the bill's
passage has now been delayed indefinitely. VG

VATICAN DISPUTE REVEALS FISSURES ON SLOVAK COALITION. Party
of the Democratic Left (SDL) leader Jozef Migas on 26 October
repeated his party's refusal to support the proposed
agreement between the Vatican and Slovakia (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 October 1999), TASR reported. Migas, whose
party is a member of the governing coalition, said the status
and funding of the Catholic Church in Slovakia should be
defined before any accord is approved with the Vatican. He
said such a process could "take years." Frantisek Miklosko of
the Christian Democratic Movement, which is also a member of
the governing coalition, said the SDL's position is based on
"atheism" and that it is "typical of [the SDL's] communist
electorate. VG

HUNGARIAN INTERNAL SECURITY HEAD RESIGNS. Minister of
Interior Sandor Pinter on 26 October "temporarily" accepted
the resignation of Laszlo Gal, head of the ministry's
internal security office. Gal had requested that his
resignation be valid as long as the investigation continues
into alleged police involvement in illegal oil dealings in
Bekes County. Gal was the head of the Bekes county police
until July 1998 and his name was repeatedly mentioned in
recent media coverage of illegal oil dealings. He said he
resigned in order to avoid speculation that he might obstruct
the ongoing investigation. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIA'S MAJKO SAYS HE QUIT TO END TENSIONS. Former Prime
Minister Pandeli Majko said in Tirana on 26 October that he
decided to resign because political tensions within his own
Socialist Party prevented him from doing his job (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 26 October 1999). Majko's move came just two weeks
after he lost a battle for the party leadership with former
Prime Minister Fatos Nano. The Socialists are expected to
nominate Deputy Prime Minister Ilir Meta for Majko's job on
27 October. Nano and Foreign Minister Paskal Milo stressed
that there will be continuity between the old and new
government. Meta is known as a close associate of Majko's. AP
reported that the controversial Nano came under strong
pressure from Albania's Western allies not to take the
premiership himself. PM

SECURITY TIGHTENED IN TIRANA. Police increased security in
the capital on 26 October, apparently fearing a fresh
outbreak of the gunshots and violence that often accompany
political changes in Albania. Police stopped cars with
license plates from outside Tirana and checked drivers'
documents. Majko said: "Yesterday after news of my
resignation broke, there were no gunshots in Tirana. Friends
and adversaries, thanks for your respect and silence,"
Reuters reported. Firing guns into the air is a traditional
sign of celebration in many parts of the Balkans. PM

DJINDJIC CALLS FOR DEAL ON SANCTIONS. Democratic Party leader
Zoran Djindjic said in Belgrade on 26 October that Western
countries should lift sanctions against Serbia in return for
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's agreeing to early
elections. "Sanctions are both outdated and ineffective, and
the idea is to 'trade' them for early elections, regardless
of the results.... If the opposition wins, there is no reason
for sanctions any more. If the majority of people votes for
Milosevic, then [the effects of Milosevic's rule are] the
problem of those people. What's the point of saying: 'You
either get rid of Milosevic or you will be ruined as a
nation?'" Djindjic concluded, according to Reuters. The
opposition leader added that he recently "passed on" his idea
to U.S. special envoy James Dobbins, who found it
"interesting" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 October 1999). PM

BELGRADE PUBLISHERS FINED $9,000... A Belgrade court ruled on
26 October that the publishers of the private daily "Danas"
must pay $9,000 for having violated Serbia's draconian 1998
media law. Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj sued
the daily for having published an interview with Montenegro's
outspoken Deputy Prime Minister Novak Kilibarda. In that
text, Kilibarda said that Seselj planned to expel
Montenegrins from Serbia or make them wear "yellow badges" if
Podgorica declares its independence from Belgrade. The
Serbian regime has made frequent use of the press law to put
financial pressure on private media. PM

...WHILE OPPOSITION EDITOR ALSO FACES LAWSUIT. Cedomir
Jovanovic, who is editor of the opposition Alliance for
Change's publication "Promene," said in Belgrade on 27
October that he has received a subpoena from a local court.
He is charged with unspecified violations of the media law.
"It seems that the trial will be held within 24 hours,"
Jovanovic said, adding he will not appear personally before
the court. He charged that "the lawsuit is just another
pressure on us and the Alliance for Change," AP reported. PM

BELGRADE COMMUTERS PROTEST TRANSPORT DELAYS. Hundreds of
angry commuters staged a spontaneous protest in the Serbian
capital on 26 October, Reuters reported. Demonstrators told
reporters that they are tired of having to wait up to two to
three hours to get home each evening. Serbia's public
transport system has greatly deteriorated over the past 10
years because of a lack of fuel and spare parts. PM

TALKS BETWEEN SERBIAN, MONTENEGRIN PARTIES END. Spokesmen for
the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and Montenegro's
Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) said in Belgrade on 26
October that talks on the future relations between the two
republics ended without agreement. The discussions will
resume at an unspecified time. The DPS spokesman said that
the next round of talks will be between "governments,
parties, and experts." The SPS official, however, said that
the discussion will take place "between parties and in the
parliament," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 1999). PM

SERBIAN OPPOSITION, CROWN PRINCE TO RALLY DIASPORA. Vladan
Batic, who heads the Alliance for Change, said in Belgrade on
26 October that a meeting will "soon" be held of Serbs living
abroad "to involve the diaspora in ending the current crisis
in Serbia." Batic added that the initiative for the meeting
came from Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, who is the
claimant to the throne. Aleksandar is a London-based
businessman who has frequently said that he is "willing to
serve his people" if asked. Observers note that the
monarchist tradition is strong among Serbs. PM

NATO TO MOVE KOSOVA LOGISTICS CENTER TO SLOVENIA? The
Atlantic alliance and Slovenia have agreed that NATO will
move the "logistics center" of its supply operation for
Kosova from Thessaloniki to Koper, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported on 26 October. NATO supplies will then
proceed to Kosova via the Montenegrin port of Bar. A
spokesman for the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said that the
agreement is a business deal and does not mean that Slovenia
has granted NATO a base. The pact will come into effect once
Montenegrin authorities agree. Earlier this year, Greece
insisted that NATO make Thessaloniki the headquarters for
most of its Kosova operations. That arrangement has, however,
been widely criticized in other NATO countries and in Kosova
as impractical and expensive. PM

HAGUE COURT: MILOSEVIC TO FACE FRESH WAR CRIMES CHARGES. A
spokeswoman for the Hague-based war crimes tribunal said in
Prishtina on 26 October that Milosevic may soon face
additional indictments for war crimes committed by his forces
in Kosova. In May, the court indicted him and four of his top
aides for atrocities committed in Kosova in 1999. The new
charges will involve war crimes from 1998, she added. The
spokeswoman noted that on 31 October, international forensics
experts will suspend for the winter their work in exhuming
mass graves in Kosova. In related news, forensics experts on
26 October exhumed a mass grave of 14 Muslims in Jelec, near
the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Some 24,000 persons are
still listed as missing from the 1992-1995 conflict in
Bosnia. PM

WORKERS STAGE PROTEST IN BOSNIA. Some 3,000 workers from the
textile and rubber industries demonstrated in Sarajevo on 27
October for better pay and job security. Speakers made
remarks such as "Starvation and idleness are killing us," and
"Politicians and ministers shouldn't be surprised if we ask
for their removal in the near future," AP reported. This is
the latest in a series of labor protests in the Muslim-
controlled areas (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 October 1999). PM

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL ELECTION LAW. The
upper house of the parliament adopted a new electoral law,
which the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ)
recently proposed (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 1999).
The controversial measure guarantees representation for the
generally pro-HDZ diaspora. The exact number of seats for the
HDZ will depend on the number of Croats living abroad who
cast their votes. The law reduces the number of seats
reserved for members of the dwindling Serbian minority from
three to one. The lower house is expected to approve the
measure on 29 October. The EU, the U.S., and the Croatian
opposition have repeatedly warned Zagreb to remove electoral
legislation that gives an unfair advantage to the HDZ. PM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT COMPLAINS ABOUT ORPHANAGE REPORTS. Emil
Constantinescu on 26 October complained about recent reports
in the international media about the "shocking conditions" in
the country's orphanages. Constantinescu said Romania "does
not need such help" from the foreign media, saying the
orphanage problems were "inherited from the Communist
regime." According to official statistics, there are 33,000
orphans and 98,000 disabled children living in Romanian
institutions. The number of institutionalized children has
reportedly risen by a fifth since 1989. Constantinescu also
said Romania has managed to keep up with its debt repayment
scheduled thanks to the "great sacrifices" of its people. VG

MOLDOVAN PARTY MAKES ITS PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT
CONDITIONAL. Party of Democratic Forces leader Valeriu Matei
on 26 October said his party will remain in the governing
coalition provided its partners fulfill certain conditions,
BASA-Press reported. Matei said one of those conditions is
support for the legalization of the Bessarabian Metropolitan
Church. He said it is "too early" to reveal the other
conditions. VG

BULGARIAN, TURKISH PREMIERS INAUGURATE CONSTRUCTION OF
HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT. Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov
and his Turkish counterpart, Bulent Ecevit, participated in a
ceremony inaugurating the construction of the joint Gorna
Arda hydroelectric system, BTA reported. The system will
consist of three dams on the Gorna Arda River in Bulgaria and
three hydroelectric plants. Bulgaria and Turkey will share
the estimated $220 million costs of the project. The project
is expected to create about 3,000 jobs in southern Bulgaria,
where some 800,000 ethnic Turks live. Ecevit said he is
grateful that Bulgaria has guaranteed its ethnic Turkish
minority equal rights. VG

END NOTE

BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN AND BELARUSIAN SCENARIOS

by Jan Maksymiuk

	Regardless of who wins this year's presidential
elections in Ukraine, no one should expect the country's dire
economic situation to improve soon. That is the only
certainty with regard to Ukraine at the present time.
	Ukraine's foreign debt stands at $12 billion, of which
$3.1 billion is due to be paid next year, while the National
Bank's reserves total $1.3 billion. The country is thus
facing a default on its foreign debt.
	Meanwhile, the government's "domestic" debt, in unpaid
wages, pensions, and social benefits, totals 10 billion
hryvni ($2.5 billion). Some 80 percent of the population
lives below the poverty line, and real unemployment stands at
25 percent. Some 17 percent of Ukraine's labor force is
occupied in the shadow economy, which accounts for more than
50 percent of the country's economic activity. Corruption is
pervasive. And one-third of the population wants to leave the
country because of economic woes.
	Even if these data--taken from the newspaper "Den,"
which supports Yevhen Marchuk's presidential bid and is very
hostile to incumbent President Leonid Kuchma--are
exaggerated, the true picture of Ukraine's socio-economic
condition is unlikely to be much rosier.
	All observers of the Ukrainian political scene agree
that none of the presidential hopefuls will obtain more than
50 percent of the vote on 31 October, meaning there will be a
runoff on 14 November. Observers also tend to agree that
Kuchma will be one of the two participants in that second
round. However, it is anybody's guess whom the incumbent will
be running against.
	Ukrainian opinion polls suggest that the most likely
candidates to reach the runoff with Kuchma are Natalya
Vitrenko, Petro Symonenko, Oleksandr Moroz, and Yevhen
Marchuk. However, many hopefuls, as well as political
analysts, have repeatedly cast doubt on the objectivity of
polls in Ukraine, claiming they are biased.
	Of the front-runners, Petro Symonenko, the uncharismatic
leader of the Communist Party, appears the rival against whom
Kuchma would prefer to compete on 14 November. Many analysts
argue that in such a case, Kuchma's election team could
successfully apply Boris Yeltsin's campaign tactics of 1995,
when the Russian president faced Communist Gennadii Zyuganov
in the run-off and, with the concerted help of Russian
electronic media, effectively instilled the fear of a "red
revenge" into the electorate. Those analysts assert that
Kuchma could successfully use the same strategy against
Symonenko. They also point out that Kuchma's campaign is
already closely following the "Russian scenario": the
Ukrainian incumbent, like his Russian counterpart four years
ago, is employing the services of a host of pop stars and
celebrities to promote him in the provinces.
	Kuchma's potential duel with Progressive Socialist
leader Natalya Vitrenko would be more difficult and its
outcome less easy to predict. That scenario could be called
the "Belarusian" one because of Vitrenko's extremely populist
election ticket, which strongly recalls Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's in the 1994 Belarusian presidential vote. The 2
October attempt on Vitrenko's life has most likely boosted
her surprisingly high popularity. The unpredictability of a
possible Vitrenko challenge to Kuchma lies in the fact that
her electorate cannot be defined in terms of its social or
economic status. Vitrenko's populism finds its appeal among
different social layers of the Ukrainian population, whose
only common denominator may be disappointment with Kuchma's
rule. It is easy to make mistakes in trying to neutralize the
populist appeal in the post-Soviet area, as the case of
Belarus five years ago amply demonstrated.
	Many would argue that Socialist Party leader Oleksandr
Moroz's possible runoff could be the worst scenario for
Kuchma. Despite his fierce and not always fair criticism of
the incumbent, Moroz is seen as a moderate leftist and, in
contrast to Symonenko, a likeable one. In the second round,
Moroz might be able to enlist the support of both Symonenko's
and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko's electorate--a
goal he failed to achieve while campaigning within the so-
called Kaniv Four election alliance of Marchuk, Tkachenko,
and Volodymyr Oliynyk. However, the failure to arrive at a
political compromise even with Tkachenko (who is now
supporting Symonenko) means that Moroz is less likely to
appear in the runoff than either Symonenko or Vitrenko.
	Marchuk's chances of reaching the second round seem even
more remote than Moroz's. In fact, Marchuk is seeking support
among the same electorate as Kuchma--that is, among those
supporting both Ukraine's pro-market reform and strong
statehood. Voters may rather prefer Kuchma, who has already
proven himself to be a reformer, if only a half-hearted one,
and a staunch supporter of an independent Ukraine.
	Ukraine's presidential election campaign has so far been
less than exemplary, to say the least. It has been
characterized by language that is invariably harsh, very
often offensive, and sometimes vulgar. The administration
keeps the electronic media--both state-controlled and
commercial--on a tight rein, not allowing those media to give
more air time to Kuchma's rivals than was prescribed by the
Central Electoral Commission. At the same time, Kuchma
receives extensive coverage in the state media as the
incumbent head of state.
	It appears, however, that neither Ukrainian citizens nor
the international community would protest very much if Kuchma
were elected for another five years. For many inside and
outside Ukraine, such an outcome would mean continuation and
stability, even if embarrassingly low political and economic
standards continue to prevail.

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