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UKRAINE, POLAND SIGN VISA AGREEMENT. Ukraine and Poland signed an intergovernmental agreement on 30 July regulating travel between those countries by their respective citizens, Ukrainian media reported. The agreement provides for free visas for Ukrainians and visa-free travel to Ukraine for Poles. The new regime should come into force on 1 October. The document was signed on the first day of Polish Premier Leszek Miller's visit to Ukraine. Miller said Poland intends to maintain free visas for Ukrainians after it joins the Schengen zone in 2006. AM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT UNSEATS MORE GOVERNORS. President Leonid Kuchma further asserted Kyiv's authority over regional governments on 30 July, sacking the governors of the Dnipropetrovsk (Mykola Shvets) and Zaporizhia (Yevhen Kartoshov) oblasts, Interfax reported. The move came one day after Kuchma dismissed the governors of the Poltava and Chernivtsi oblasts, and one week after the government recommended those and other dismissals over perceived failings in agricultural and economic policymaking (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 and 30 July 2003). Kuchma also named individuals to succeed all four governors. The replacements are: Oleksandr Udovichenko (a senior bank official in Poltava prior to his appointment) in Poltava; Mykhailo Romaniv (a senior official in Ukraine's state monitoring department) in Chernivtsi; Volodymyr Yatsuba (a minister without portfolio) in Dnipropetrovsk; and Volodymyr Berezovsky (chairman of the regional council of Zaporizhia Oblast) in Zaporizhia. AM
POLISH PARLIAMENT REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL MEDIA AMENDMENTS... The Sejm voted 375-2 with five abstentions on 30 July to reject the draft of sweeping new amendments to Poland's media law, PAP reported. Premier Miller last week asked the speaker of the Sejm to suspend work on the amendments and ordered Culture Minister Waldemar Dabrowski to prepare new drafts. Work on the draft has taken years and given rise to the so-called Rywingate bribery scandal (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 14 January 2003). Prosecutors in Warsaw said last week that there are grounds for suspecting illegal activities during the preparation of the amendments and officially launched an investigation into the case, according to PAP. Tomasz Nalecz, head of the special commission investigating Rywingate, filed the motion with prosecutors to launch the probe. AM