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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 18, 00-01-26

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 4, No. 18, 26 January 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN TERRORIST GROUP MARKS ANNIVERSARY
  • [02] AZERBAIJAN PRISON MUTINY TRIAL BEGINS
  • [03] AZERBAIJAN TO RATION ELECTRICITY
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA FAIL TO AGREE ON OIL TRANSPORT TARIFFS
  • [05] MORE SHOOTINGS IN WESTERN GEORGIA
  • [06] TWO MORE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES NOMINATED IN GEORGIA
  • [07] KAZAKH OPPOSITION POLITICIAN FINED
  • [08] LOCAL NEWSPAPER IN KAZAKHSTAN LINKED TO SEPARATISTS
  • [09] AILING KYRGYZ OPPOSITION POLITICIAN BROUGHT TO TRIAL
  • [10] TAJIK INSURRECTION PARTICIPANTS ON TRIAL

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [11] SFOR ARRESTS SERBIAN WAR CRIMES SUSPECT...
  • [12] ...AND COURT CUTS TADIC'S SENTENCE
  • [13] BOSNIAN MUSLIM LEADER CALLS FOR REVISING DAYTON
  • [14] KOSOVA'S SERBS TO ENTER UN-BACKED COUNCILS?
  • [15] SERBIAN WRITERS' GROUP ELECTS KOSOVA ACTIVIST MEMBER
  • [16] DJUKANOVIC SAYS NO REFERENDUM YET
  • [17] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SAYS WEST MISSED OPPORTUNITY
  • [18] BALKAN WINTER WRECKS HAVOC IN SERBIA...
  • [19] ...AND ALBANIA
  • [20] CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER'S AIDE ASKED TO QUIT
  • [21] ROMANIAN RAILWAY WORKERS SUSPEND STRIKE
  • [22] ROMANIAN PREMIER URGES PEOPLE TO REFRAIN FROM PROTEST
  • [23] ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS ALBRIGHT
  • [24] MOLDOVAN, RUSSIAN LEADERS MEET IN MOSCOW...
  • [25] ...AS CIS EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT SUBMITS RECOMMENDATIONS ON
  • [26] BULGARIA DECLARES FLU EPIDEMIC

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [27] SUBDUING THE PARLIAMENT WITH A REFERENDUM

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN TERRORIST GROUP MARKS ANNIVERSARY

    In a statement

    issued in Yerevan on 20 January to mark the 25th anniversary

    of its inception, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation

    of Armenia (ASALA) vowed to continue its fight "to liberate

    western Armenian territories in Turkey," AFP and Noyan Tapan

    reported on 22 and 25 January, respectively. The

    organization, founded by young diaspora Armenians in the

    Middle East, mounted a terrorist and bombing campaign in the

    late 1970s and early 1980s with the objective of coercing the

    Turkish government to officially acknowledge as genocide the

    deaths of an estimated 1.3 million Armenians in Turkey in the

    early years of the century, and to cede territory in Eastern

    Anatolia claimed as Armenian. The 20 January statement

    conceded that it is "naive" to continue to hope for an

    acknowledgement by the the present Turkish leadership that

    the killings constituted genocide. LF

    [02] AZERBAIJAN PRISON MUTINY TRIAL BEGINS

    The trial began on 25

    January of 23 prisoners and one guard charged with high

    treason, theft of weapons, and attempted murder in connection

    with the January 1999 mutiny at the high security Gobustan

    prison near Baku, Turan reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8

    and 11 January 1999). A group of prisoners overpowered their

    guards and seized hostages, demanding transportation to leave

    the country, but were subsequently disarmed when Interior

    Ministry troops stormed the jail. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJAN TO RATION ELECTRICITY

    Muslim Imanov, chairman of

    Azerbaijan's state power generating company Azenergo,

    announced on 25 January that effective immediately,

    electricity supplies will be cut daily between the hours of

    7-9 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to midnight, Turan reported. The

    cuts will apply nationwide except for Baku, where they will

    be timed from noon-5 p.m. and from 1-6 a.m. Hospitals,

    schools, kindergartens, and TV and radio companies will not

    be affected. The rationing has been made necessary by the

    failure of up to 70 percent of all customers to pay their

    electricity bills. The resulting shortage of funds, in turn,

    had precluded badly needed repairs to transmission lines and

    transformer stations. Many rural areas of Azerbaijan have

    already received only sporadic power supplies for months,

    leading to repeated popular protests. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA FAIL TO AGREE ON OIL TRANSPORT TARIFFS

    During talks in Ankara on 21-24 January, Azerbaijani and

    Georgian representatives failed to resolve their dispute over

    transit tariffs that Georgia will receive from the export of

    oil via the planned Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, Caucasus Press

    reported. Nor did the Azerbaijani side agree to the Georgian

    demand that it be allowed to keep 2-3 percent of the crude

    transitting its territory for domestic use. Also on 25

    January, Georgian Minister of State Vazha Lortkipanidze told

    Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yushchenko in Moscow that Georgia

    will support the proposed export of some Caspian oil via the

    Odesa-Brody pipeline, ITAR-TASS reported. LF

    [05] MORE SHOOTINGS IN WESTERN GEORGIA

    Two Abkhaz police officers

    were shot dead on 25 January in the village of Saberio in

    Abkhazia's Gali Raion, Caucasus Press reported citing Abkhaz

    Interior Minister Amazbei Kchach. The same day,

    representatives of the ethnic Georgian Abkhaz government-in-

    exile told Caucasus Press that three Abkhaz guerrillas had

    been killed and one wounded in a shootout in the village of

    Rukhi in Zugdidi Raion, close to the border between Abkhazia

    and the rest of Georgia. LF

    [06] TWO MORE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES NOMINATED IN GEORGIA

    The

    Progressive Party of Georgia on 26 January nominated as its

    candidate for the 9 April presidential poll Vazha Zhghenti,

    who is 62 and unemployed, Caucasus Press reported. Two days

    earlier, the political union Mdzleveli nominated 42-year old

    architect Avtandil Djoglidze as its candidate. Mdzleveli

    polled less than 1 percent of the vote in the 31 October

    parliamentary election. Both candidates must collect 50,000

    signatures in their support by 29 February. LF

    [07] KAZAKH OPPOSITION POLITICIAN FINED

    An Almaty district court

    on 25 January found Bigeldy Gabdullin guilty of obstructing a

    police officer and fined him 5,075 tenges ($36), RFE/RL's

    Almaty bureau reported. Gabdullin had attempted last month to

    prevent a police officer from making an unsanctioned video

    recording of the proceedings of a meeting last month of a

    session of the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan

    Executive Committee, of which Gabdullin is vice chairman (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January 2000). Gabdullin said he will

    appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court as it sets a

    precedent for allowing police to attend meetings of any

    political party without obtaining prior permission to do so.

    LF

    [08] LOCAL NEWSPAPER IN KAZAKHSTAN LINKED TO SEPARATISTS

    The city

    court in Ust-Kamennogorsk, the capital of East Kazakhstan

    Oblast, on 25 January suspended for three months publication

    of the local independent commercial newspaper "HBC-Press,"

    for having published materials undermining the independence

    and sovereignty of Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau

    reported. On 25 November the paper had published an appeal by

    Viktor Kazimirchuk, the leader of a group of 22 ethnic

    Russians arrested several days earlier for having allegedly

    planned to attack and occupy administrative buildings in Ust-

    Kamennogorsk and proclaim an independent Russian Altai

    Republic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 24 November 1999). LF

    [09] AILING KYRGYZ OPPOSITION POLITICIAN BROUGHT TO TRIAL

    Parliament deputy and opposition El (Bei Bechara) party

    chairman Daniyar Usenov was taken from a Bishkek hospital to

    a district court in the city on 25 January to face charges of

    assault in a case closed last year and recently reopened,

    RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 21 and 25 January 2000). The court proceedings

    were interrupted when Usenov's condition deteriorated, and he

    was taken back to the hospital and is now in intensive care.

    Under Kyrgyz law, as a parliament deputy and registered

    candidate for the 20 February parliamentary elections, Usenov

    theoretically has immunity from arrest and legal proceedings.

    LF

    [10] TAJIK INSURRECTION PARTICIPANTS ON TRIAL

    The trial opened in

    Dushanbe on 25 January of 66 people accused of participating

    in an abortive armed insurrection led by former Tajik army

    Colonel Mahmud Khudoiberdiev in Tajikistan's northern

    Leninabad Oblast in November 1998, ITAR-TASS reported. Over

    150 people were arrested for their role in that insurrection,

    of whom some 50 have already been tried and sentenced on

    charges of treason, murder, terrorism, and banditry. Two of

    those accused have been sentenced to death. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [11] SFOR ARRESTS SERBIAN WAR CRIMES SUSPECT...

    The International

    Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said in a

    statement in The Hague on 25 January that French peacekeepers

    arrested Mitar Vasiljevic and sent him to the Dutch city.

    NATO troops captured him in the eastern Bosnian town of

    Visegrad, where he allegedly "participated in the mass

    murder, torture, and other cruel treatment of the Bosnian

    Muslim population, including women, children and the elderly"

    between May 1992 and October 1994. Charges against him

    include "extermination...of a significant number of Bosnian

    Muslim civilians...[as well as] inhumane acts and violence to

    life and person," AP reported. At the time, Vasiljevic

    belonged to a notorious paramilitary group called the White

    Eagles. PM

    [12] ...AND COURT CUTS TADIC'S SENTENCE

    On 26 January, the Hague-

    based tribunal cut the sentence of Bosnian Serb war criminal

    Dusan Tadic from 25 to 20 years. The presiding judge ruled

    that "although the criminal conduct underlying the charges of

    which the appellant now stands convicted was incontestably

    heinous, his level in the command structure, when compared to

    that of his superiors, or the very architects of the strategy

    of ethnic cleansing, was low," AP reported. This is the last

    step in the long-running court case of the former police

    chief convicted of the murder of Muslim civilians in 1992.

    Tadic's trial began in May 1996 and was the first and longest

    one of an individual for war crimes since the Nuremberg and

    Tokyo trials at the end of World War II. PM

    [13] BOSNIAN MUSLIM LEADER CALLS FOR REVISING DAYTON

    Haris

    Silajdzic, who is the Muslim co-chair of the joint Bosnian

    government, unveiled his Memorandum on Changes at a press

    conference in Sarajevo on 25 January. He called for a

    revision of the Dayton peace agreement on the grounds that it

    preserves the results of ethnic cleansing rather than

    reversing them. Silajdzic wants Bosnia's administration to be

    based on a system of cantons rather than on the current two

    entities, "Oslobodjenje" reported (see "RFE/RL South Slavic

    Report," 13 and 20 January 2000). Bosnian Serbs have demanded

    that Silajdzic be sacked for opposing Dayton (see "RFE/RL

    Balkan Report," 25 January 2000). PM

    [14] KOSOVA'S SERBS TO ENTER UN-BACKED COUNCILS?

    Kosova Serb

    leader Momcilo Trajkovic said at Gracanica monastery that his

    Serbian National Council is getting closer to an agreement

    with the UN's Bernard Kouchner on Serbian participation in

    the UN's provisional administrative system. Trajkovic

    stressed that he is negotiating Serbian participation on the

    local, regional, and provincial levels as a package, "Danas"

    reported on 26 January. Observers note that the key provision

    of any deal between the Serbs and the UN is a wide degree of

    self-rule for largely or purely Serbian communities. "Danas"

    reported that the Serbs will police their own "enclaves" and

    that the Kosova Protection Corps, which is composed largely

    of ethnic Albanian veterans of the former Kosova Liberation

    Army, will not be allowed to enter them. The UN still retains

    its formal opposition to the Serb demand for a

    "cantonization" of the province on ethnic lines. PM

    [15] SERBIAN WRITERS' GROUP ELECTS KOSOVA ACTIVIST MEMBER

    Members

    of the independent Serbian Writers' Forum voted on 25 January

    to elect imprisoned Kosovar poet and rights activist Flora

    Brovina an honorary member (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 November

    1999). The group condemned "political trials," of which hers

    is one, AP reported. Writers and writers' organizations

    traditionally enjoy immense prestige in the Balkans. PM

    [16] DJUKANOVIC SAYS NO REFERENDUM YET

    Speaking in London on 25

    January, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said that it

    is too early to hold a referendum on independence from the

    federal Yugoslav state headed by President Slobodan

    Milosevic. Djukanovic warned, however, that Montenegrins'

    "patience is not without limits," the "Financial Times"

    reported. British Prime Minister Tony Blair stressed the

    importance of Montenegrin reforms for the democratization of

    Serbia, "Danas" noted. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook

    praised Montenegrin reforms and pledged support for them. But

    he "pointedly declined" to offer any defense guarantees to

    the mountainous republic when journalists pressed him to do

    so, the "Daily Telegraph" added (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25

    January 2000). PM

    [17] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SAYS WEST MISSED OPPORTUNITY

    Democratic

    Party leader Zoran Djindjic said in Belgrade on 25 January

    that he regrets the EU foreign ministers did not agree the

    previous day to end at least the international flight ban

    against Serbia. A spokesman for the nationalistic Serbian

    Renewal Movement of Vuk Draskovic charged that Western

    governments in practice support the Milosevic regime because

    they do not lift sanctions that affect primarily ordinary

    Serbs, "Danas" reported. Opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica

    added that the EU's failure to override British and Dutch

    opposition to lifting sanctions showed the Serbs that they

    "can rely only" on themselves, Reuters reported. PM

    [18] BALKAN WINTER WRECKS HAVOC IN SERBIA...

    Winter is rarely a

    pleasant time in the western Balkans, where cold winds and

    often poor heating facilities can make for chilly times. This

    year, heavy snowfalls and a flu epidemic have added serious

    additional problems. In Belgrade, Serbian power company

    officials called on citizens on 25 January to save

    electricity and specifically to turn off electric heaters, AP

    noted. The company introduced two-hour power cuts in the

    capital and other major towns. Furthermore, ice and snow on

    Belgrade streets brought traffic to a virtual halt.

    Milosevic's Socialist Party said in a statement that the

    opposition-run city government is to blame. The Socialists

    suggested that, while the opposition leaders are on their

    "frequent trips abroad, they have completely forgotten that

    something has to be done in Belgrade." PM

    [19] ...AND ALBANIA

    "Half of Albania was plunged into darkness"

    on 25 January because of heavy snows and failures of the

    power grid, which is often unreliable even in good weather,

    dpa reported. Most of Tirana has power cuts of two to three

    hours per day. Heavy snows have cut off road communications

    in much of northern Albania. The southern port of Vlora had

    its first snow in 20 years. PM

    [20] CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER'S AIDE ASKED TO QUIT

    Acting

    president Vlatko Pavletic called on General Ljubo Cesic-Rojs

    to resign his post in the Defense Ministry following his

    public criticism of opposition presidential candidate Stipe

    Mesic. The general had suggested that he and some other

    hardline military officers would not accept Mesic's election

    as commander in chief. Mesic has been critical of some of the

    military and of hardliners among the Herzegovinian Croats.

    Pavletic made his appeal to Cesic-Rojs after discussing the

    matter with Mesic, "Jutarnji list" reported on 26 January. PM

    [21] ROMANIAN RAILWAY WORKERS SUSPEND STRIKE

    Romania's railway

    workers suspended their strike on the evening of 25 January,

    just a few hours after launching it, Rompres reported. The

    railway worker representatives said they decided to suspend

    the strike in the face of threats from Transport Minister

    Traian Basescu that they would face sanctions. Earlier, a

    Bucharest district court on 25 January declared the current

    railway strike illegal and requested workers to resume work

    immediately, Romanian Radio reported. VG

    [22] ROMANIAN PREMIER URGES PEOPLE TO REFRAIN FROM PROTEST

    Mugur

    Isarescu said on 25 January in a live television broadcast

    that Romanians must endure the hardships of the reforms

    necessary for the country's accession to the EU, Reuters

    reported. He urged the people to refrain from protests rather

    than calling on "the government to spend money

    irresponsibly." He added: "we don't have the right to miss

    the chance Romania has got by being invited to start

    accession talks." In other news, the IMF negotiator for

    Romania, Emanuel Zervoudakis, on 25 January announced he will

    extend his stay in Bucharest by at least one day, Rompres

    reported. The current round of talks between the IMF and

    Romania on a $547 million standby agreement were due to end

    on 25 January. VG

    [23] ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS ALBRIGHT

    Petre Roman was in

    Washington, D.C. on 25 January for talks with U.S. Secretary

    of State Madeleine Albright, Romanian Radio reported. The two

    agreed that Romania should speed up its military and economic

    reforms. In other news, the National Office of the Trade

    Register on 25 January announced that Romania received $256.2

    million in foreign direct investment in 1999, up by almost

    $28 million over 1998 but still far below investment in the

    early to mid-1990s, Mediafax reported. Also, Romanian

    Transport Minister Basescu on 25 January told the

    parliamentary Economic Committee that $1.2 billion worth of

    foreign credits which Romania has received have gone unused

    because of the country's inability to drawup projects

    required by the loans or live up to the terms imposed by

    foreign banks, Mediafax reported. VG

    [24] MOLDOVAN, RUSSIAN LEADERS MEET IN MOSCOW...

    Moldovan

    President Petru Lucinschi told his acting Russian

    counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on 24 January during a meeting

    on the sidelines of the CIS summit in Moscow, that he is

    confident the recent changes in the Moldovan government will

    allow for "a more efficient solution" of the two countries'

    bilateral problems, particularly in the areas of trade and

    the economy, Infotag reported. The two also reportedly

    discussed the withdrawal of Russian troops from the breakaway

    Transdniester and additional bilateral measures for settling

    the dispute in the region. They also discussed questions

    related to Moldova's debt for Russian natural gas. VG

    [25] ...AS CIS EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT SUBMITS RECOMMENDATIONS ON

    TRANSDNIESTER

    the CIS Executive Secretariat submitted on 25

    January its recommendations for settling the Transdniester

    conflict to the visiting heads of state and government in

    Moscow. For the first time ever, the Moldovan delegation at

    the CIS summit included a representative from Tiraspol, the

    deputy prime minister of the breakaway region, Victor Sinev.

    Also, a Spanish military delegation arrived in Transdniester

    to inspect Russian army depots as part of the CFE onventional

    Forces Treaty in Europe signed last November, BASA-Press

    reported. VG

    [26] BULGARIA DECLARES FLU EPIDEMIC

    The Bulgarian Health Ministry

    on 25 January declared a nationwide flu epidemic and closed

    schools across the country, BTA reported. Health officials

    have reported 329 cases of influenza for every 10,000 people

    in the country. In other news, the Foreign and Security

    parliamentary committees on 25 January approved a Bulgarian

    contingent for the KFOR operation in Kosova, BTA reported.

    The Bulgarian contingent will consist of 40 troops, and will

    be part of the Dutch KFOR contingent. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [27] SUBDUING THE PARLIAMENT WITH A REFERENDUM

    By Jan Maksymiuk

    Russia resolved its parliamentary crisis in 1993 with

    tanks. Ukraine, in a similar situation, opted for a

    referendum. Nonetheless, the parliament fiercely opposes this

    choice. That's how the pro-presidential Kyiv-based "Segodnya"

    commented on President Leonid Kuchma's decree to hold a

    constitutional referendum on 16 April, which may result in

    the ouster of the current uncooperative legislature. The

    implication of the comment is obvious: Ukraine is far more

    moderate than Russia regarding its choice of methods for

    developing democracy, so there is no ground for

    apprehensions. However, one almost automatically starts

    having such apprehensions as soon as one recalls the 1996

    constitutional referendum held by Belarusian President

    Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Will Kuchma follow in Lukashenka's

    footsteps?

    Taken at face value, the constitutional referendum--

    decreed by the president following the collection of some 4

    million signatures by citizens--is aimed at creating a

    legislature with a workable majority. The government needs

    such a majority very urgently. First, the parliament must

    pass an austerity budget, which is a necessary condition for

    the IMF and other Western lenders to resume providing credits

    to Kyiv. Ukraine is obliged to repay more than $3 billion

    this year and another $3 billion next year, and faces an

    immediate default without Western money. Second, Kuchma wants

    to capitalize on his recent election success by introducing

    as soon as possible the market-oriented reforms he had long

    pledged to the West. Again, this can be done only with prompt

    and reliable legislative support.

    Ukrainians on 16 April will be asked as many as six

    questions. Each of those questions, if answered in the

    affirmative, will entail essential changes in the

    constitution. The first question will be a vote of no

    confidence in the current parliament. Ukrainians will also be

    asked to give the president the right to disband the

    parliament if it fails to form a majority within a month or

    adopt a budget in three months; to abolish lawmakers'

    immunity from criminal prosecution; to reduce the 450-seat

    parliament to 300 seats; to create a second chamber; and to

    provide for the possibility to adopt a constitution via a

    referendum.

    All Ukrainian commentators tend to agree that Kuchma

    will win the referendum on all points, including the question

    about a bicameral parliament, which is an almost completely

    mystifying idea for the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians.

    The government-controlled media, those commentators argue,

    have already ingrained the conviction in the broad masses

    that the current Supreme Council is a hotbed of unpunished

    "thieves and bandits." There will be no difficulties for

    those media--as last year's presidential elections amply

    testified--to air more messages favorable to Kuchma and

    detrimental to his parliamentary foes, notably to speaker

    Oleksandr Tkachenko and the Communist Party parliamentary

    caucus led by Kuchma's presidential rival, Petro Symonenko.

    Anticipating the president's move, more than 300

    parliamentary deputies voted to introduce a temporary ban on

    referendums in Ukraine, but Kuchma paid no attention to it.

    Then 241 deputies from center and right-wing caucuses and

    groups formed a majority, claiming that they will support the

    government. This move sparked a full-scale parliamentary

    crisis and a split of the legislature into two irreconcilable

    factions. Some 180 leftist deputies remain loyal to

    Tkachenko, while the 261-strong majority is temporarily

    coordinated by former President Leonid Kravchuk. Both

    factions already held parallel sessions, claiming to be

    legitimate parliaments, and no immediate resolution of the

    impasse is in sight. Such a situation benefits primarily the

    president.

    Kuchma told the 15 January "Zerkalo nedeli" that he is

    not interested in dissolving the parliament if it proves to

    be "able to function" [deesposobnyi]. However, some Ukrainian

    political analysts argue that following the referendum, which

    is expected to overwhelmingly endorse the vote of no

    confidence in the Supreme Council, the parliament will be

    doomed. The president will be carried away by the course of

    events and will have to dissolve the legislature that is not

    trusted by the people. What is more, some analysts even say

    that Ukraine's current constitution may be called into

    question if the decreed referendum provides a yes answer to

    the question about approving the country's basic law via a

    referendum. Thus, Ukraine may likely face early parliamentary

    elections and a referendum on approving a new constitution

    following the 16 April plebiscite.

    Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz called Kuchma's

    referendum decree a "constitutional coup d'etat." It should

    be noted that a similar view is shared not only by Kuchma's

    leftist foes, but also by many politicians far from the left.

    When the opposition is deprived of free access to the media

    (as was the situation in Belarus's notorious referendum of

    1996), the parliament may be easily made the only scapegoat

    for the failures of socioeconomic policies in Ukraine under

    Kuchma and, as a consequence, popularly voted out.

    Consequently, the balance of power in Ukraine may be

    irreparably damaged or even eliminated, confirming many

    pessimists' much-publicized belief that democracy is good for

    the West, while the East prefers autocracy. Ukraine--after

    what seemed to be a nine-year period of trudging toward

    Western democratic values--now appears to be taking a step

    backward.

    26-01-00


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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