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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WRAPS UP VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN. Leonid Kuchma ended his three-day visit to Astana on 28 September during which he and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbaev focused on expanding economic cooperation and trade, Russian agencies reported. Specifically, the two sides declared their readiness to participate, with Russia, in implementing the Dnepr space program, and agreed on the creation of a joint venture with Russia to extract and process uranium for use as nuclear fuel, ITAR-TASS and "Vek" reported. Also discussed was the possibility of increasing from the present level of 6 million tons exports of Kazakh oil to Ukraine for refining. LF
YUGOSLAV PREMIER IN KYIV. Ukrainian Premier Anatoliy Kinakh met with his Yugoslav counterpart Dragisa Pesic in Kyiv on 1 October, Interfax and AP reported. The two politicians discussed ways to combat terrorism as well as bilateral issues. They spoke about the renewal of shipping on the Danube River, which Kinakh said is a "priority matter in our bilateral relations." Pesic said his government will issue a temporary permit for limited shipping this week. He added that the most pressing issue is to clear the Danube of debris resulting from the 1999 NATO bombing raids, and to construct at least one permanent bridge, with which Ukraine has promised to assist. The sides signed four documents, including a consular convention. JM
UKRAINIAN SPEAKER WANTS COURT TO DEPRIVE 10 CABINET OFFICIALS OF PARLIAMENTARY MANDATES. Parliamentary speaker Ivan Plyushch has filed a lawsuit with the Kyiv City Court against 10 government officials who have not given up their parliamentary mandates, Interfax reported on 1 October. Under Ukrainian law, a lawmaker going to work in the government must resign his/her parliamentary seat. The 10 includes Premier Anatoliy Kinakh, Deputy Premier Volodymyr Seminozhenko, and Environment Minister Serhiy Kurykin. JM
UKRAINIANS OFFICIALLY EARN $61.50 MONTHLY. The State Statistics Committee on 1 October said Ukrainian workers earned an average 327.31 hryvni ($61.50) in August, Interfax reported. Bank employees, subway construction workers, aviators, and sailors are among the highest-paid, earning an average of 850 to 900 hryvni per month. The lowest-paid include farmers (178.0 hryvni), medical workers (197.10 hryvni), and teachers (227.20 hryvni). JM
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A Survey of Developments in Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine by the Regional Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team
TYMOSHENKO PINS YUSHCHENKO DOWN. Former Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko has called upon former Premier Viktor Yushchenko to form an election bloc consisting of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko's National Salvation Forum, and Oleksandr Moroz's Socialist Party. In an open letter published by Ukrainian media last week, Tymoshenko wrote:
"Today we are proposing to unite Our Ukraine, the National Salvation Forum, and the bloc led by Oleksandr Moroz into a single electoral democratic bloc with a single election list. It is exactly this bloc, according to my deep conviction, that will claim a victory in [next year's] parliamentary elections and install in power honest politicians who are able to introduce order in the state....
"If you fail to respond to this proposal, separately we will, of course, make it to the parliament, but it will be a parliament controlled by oligarchic, antidemocratic, and antireformist forces that will continue with the shameful practice of suppressing people, stealing national wealth, and ruining the independent state....
"[Your] idea of building a single coalition of all 'constructive forces' is worth attention. However, this outwardly noble goal should not serve as a cover for making fools of people. The Party of Regions, Labor Ukraine, or other 'court-clique' structures, which are today pushing forward to become your allies, will never be building democracy or supporting national revival because they are being guided by 'principles and rules' that have noting to do with either democracy or Ukraine's revival."
Some Ukrainian commentators have called Tymoshenko's open letter a good propagandistic move that is intended to demystify Yushchenko and show the public that Yushchenko primarily seeks power and not necessarily democratic reforms championed by a 'nationalpatriotic' parliamentary coalition.
"Today, the ex-premier [Yushchenko] needs not Tymoshenko with national patriots (he already has a lot of them) but parties with backing in individual regions: Solidarnist -- this [is leverage in] the Vinnytsya region; the Liberal Party -- this [means] the Sumy region; Mejlis -- this [means] Crimea; the Agrarian Party -- this [means] the Volyn region; Ukraine's Regions -- this [means] Donbas," the "Ukrayinska pravda" website commented.
While publicizing her open letter, Tymoshenko most likely did not believe in the possibility of any election coalition with Yushchenko. It appears that she made her offer only to clear the political field for herself in the upcoming election campaign. Yushchenko's anticipated "no" to her proposal will leave her an indisputable leader on the right-of-center side of the anti-Kuchma opposition forces.
And indeed, Yushchenko's first reaction to Tymoshenko's letter was negative: "We are not going to consider somebody else's advice or recommendations, to speak correctly. We have our own vision. Our bloc is not aiming to fight the authorities or anybody else," ICTV television quoted Yushchenko as saying.
RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report is prepared by Jan Maksymiuk on the basis of a variety of sources including reporting by "RFE/RL Newsline" and RFE/RL's broadcast services. It is distributed every Tuesday.