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BELARUSIAN KGB EXPELS RUSSIAN POLITICAL LEADER FROM MINSK... The Belarusian KGB detained Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) leader Boris Nemtsov on his arrival at a Minsk airport on 23 October and promptly put him on a plane back to Moscow, Belarusian and Russian media reported. Nemtsov, accompanied by State Duma Deputy Speaker Iryna Khakamada (SPS), planned to attend a conference on Belarusian-Russian integration in Minsk. Khakamada, although not detained, chose to return to Moscow with Nemtsov. An unnamed KGB official told Interfax that more than $50,000 and "literature aimed at destabilizing Belarus" were confiscated from Nemtsov. "We received a phone call today in the morning warning that Nemtsov is going to bring a large sum of money in hard currency into the Republic of Belarus to support his allies," KGB spokesman Fyodar Kotau commented. "I think there is no need to name these allies. Everybody remembers the well-known conversation about overthrowing the legitimately elected president of our country by joint efforts," he added. Kotau was apparently referring to the transcript of a telephone conversation between Nemtsov and Belarusian opposition leader Anatol Lyabedzka -- published in Russia and Belarus in September -- in which the two politicians seemed to discuss plans to oust President Alyaksandr Lukashenka with assistance from the Kremlin (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 10 September 2002). JM
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MULLS POLITICAL CRISIS... The Verkhovna Rada on 23 October discussed the current political situation in the country, as demanded by the caucuses of Our Ukraine and the opposition Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, Socialist Party, and Communist Party, UNIAN reported. Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko said Ukraine is closer to a "dictatorship and a clannish political-system model" than it has ever been, adding that lawmakers contribute to strengthening this model with their "helplessness and passivity" in the parliament. Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz said the opposition's main goal is to change the current political system into a parliamentary-presidential republic. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko announced that his party will continue organizing street protests against what he called the "social genocide" perpetrated by the current authorities. Lawmakers from the pro-presidential caucuses that form a fragile parliamentary majority appealed to the opposition to stop leveling accusations against the authorities and return to normal legislative work. JM
...AND PREPARES TWO DRAFT RESOLUTIONS. The parliamentary hearing on the political situation in Ukraine has resulted in two draft resolutions on which the Verkhovna Rada is expected to vote on 24 October, UNIAN reported. The resolution proposed by the opposition urges President Leonid Kuchma to step down and, in the event he refuses to do so, calls on lawmakers to launch an impeachment procedure against him and amend the constitution to make Ukraine a parliamentary-presidential republic. The resolution proposed by the nine caucuses that form the pro-Kuchma majority stresses that the subsequent elections of the president and the Verkhovna Rada should be held "according to democratic principles and within the terms determined by the Ukrainian Constitution," according to UNIAN. JM
UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS DECIDE TO DISCUSS FREEDOM OF SPEECH, CENSORSHIP. The Verkhovna Rada on 24 October decided to hold a hearing on the freedom of speech and censorship in Ukraine on 4 December, UNIAN reported. The motion was supported by 294 of the 428 deputies registered for the session. The parliamentary caucuses of Our Ukraine and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc did not participate in the voting, having announced that they will resume voting only after the parliament passes a resolution prohibiting deputies from voting for absent colleagues. The opposition has formerly charged that majority deputies resort to such tricks to ensure the minimum 226 votes needed to pass bills and most resolutions in the Verkhovna Rada (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 September and 17 October 2002). JM
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES EC PRESIDENT'S REMARKS ON EU EXPANSION. Meeting in Chisinau on 23 October with Finnish Ambassador to Moldova Pekka Harttila and Danish Ambassador to Moldova Erik Bom, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin reaffirmed his country's wish to join the European Union, Flux reported. He criticized European Commission President Romano Prodi's recent statement that EU expansion will stop at the borders of Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 October 2002). Bom said Prodi is not entitled to make such declarations, as the European Council and not the European Commission is to decide which countries to admit to the union. Bom added that Denmark, which currently holds the EU's rotating Presidency, is prepared to offer its full support for Moldova's integration with the EU. ZsM