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KYIV SET TO PREVENT RUSSIAN DAM'S CONNECTION TO TUZLA ISLAND. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Markiyan Lubkivskyy said on 21 October that Ukraine will not "under any circumstances" allow Russian workers to connect a contentious dam project with Ukraine's Tuzla Island in the Kerch Strait, Interfax reported. Builders of the Russian dam, which has stirred a bitter Russian-Ukrainian dispute (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 October 2003), are reportedly some 200 meters from the Ukrainian border, which is marked near Tuzla islet with buoys. The Verkhovna Rada is holding a hearing on 22 October devoted to Ukrainian-Russian relations. During that hearing, parliamentarians will reportedly be informed regarding a decree signed by President Leonid Kuchma on 20 October authorizing measures to prevent the Russians from violating Ukraine's territorial sovereignty in the Kerch Strait. Kuchma, who is currently in Brazil, has reportedly decided to interrupt his scheduled 11-day tour of Latin America and return home in connection with the dam controversy, according to Interfax on 22 October, which was quoting the presidential press office. JM
POLISH EDITOR CHANGES TESTIMONY IN RYWINGATE SCANDAL. Adam Michnik, editor in chief of the leading Polish daily "Gazeta Wyborcza," testified on 21 October before the parliamentary commission investigating the bribery scandal dubbed Rywingate by Polish media (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 14 January and 18 February 2003), Polish Television reported. The scandal involves film producer Lew Rywin, who allegedly sought a bribe of $17.5 million in 2002 -- by some accounts on behalf of Prime Minister Leszek Miller -- for lobbying a media law that could prove favorable for Agora, the publisher of "Gazeta Wyborcza." Michnik admitted that, contrary to his testimony in February, he spoke with Miller on 15 July 2002, the day Rywin allegedly solicited a bribe from Agora. Michnik said, however, that he did not tell Miller about Rywin's proposal that day but rather three days later. Michnik also opined that Rywin's blackmail attempt worked, since a draft media law that could be favorable to Agora was blocked in the Sejm after Agora declined to pay the requested bribe. Tomasz Nalecz, head of the parliamentary investigative commission, said Michnik's testimony has crucial significance, adding that the commission should question many witnesses again. JM