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UKRAINIAN TYCOONS WIN TENDER FOR STEEL GIANT... State Property Fund head Mykhaylo Chechetov announced in Kyiv on 14 June that the Investment-Metallurgical Union won the tender for the sale of a 93.02 percent stake in the Ukrainian steelmaker Kryvorizhstal, which accounts for some 20 percent of the country's steel output, Ukrainian news agencies reported. Chechetov said the union paid 4.26 billion hryvnyas ($800 million) for the stake, which was offered at a starting price of 3.8 billion hryvnyas (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 June 2004). The Investment-Metallurgical Union represents the interests of the Interpipe corporation -- owned by Viktor Pinchuk, President Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law and a parliament deputy -- and of the System Capital Management company, which is controlled by Donetsk-based businessman Rynat Akhmetov. JM
...AS FOREIGN BIDDERS PROTEST. Some potential foreign bidders have said the tender terms -- including the provision that the winner must have a history of producing at least 1 million tons of coke annually in Ukraine over the past three years -- clearly favored a local bidder, Ukrainian and international media reported. The LNM Group and U.S. Steel, which made a joint bid to buy Kryvorizhstal, said on 14 June that they are disappointed with the results of the tender. They stressed that they offered a bid of 14.31 billion hryvnyas in the Kryvorizhstal tender, including 7.95 billion hryvnyas for the stake and 6.36 billion hryvnyas in an investment package. LNM and U.S. Steel called on the Ukrainian government to revise the tender. JM
OUR UKRAINE LEADER APPOINTS PRESIDENTIAL-CAMPAIGN MANAGER. Our Ukraine head Viktor Yushchenko has chosen deputy parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Zinchenko as manager of his 2004 presidential campaign, Ukrainian media reported on 14 June. According to Yushchenko, Zinchenko's main task will be to coordinate the campaign staffs of the forces forming the Our Ukraine bloc. Zinchenko was elected to the Verkhovna Rada in 2002 from the list of the Social Democratic Party-united (SDPU-o), which is led by presidential administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the most bitter political opponents of Yushchenko. Zinchenko was expelled from the SDPU-o last September, reportedly for failing to back a constitutional-reform bill prepared by Medvedchuk in cooperation with the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. JM
KALININGRAD RESIDENTS PROTEST CASH-FOR-BENEFITS PLAN. About 200 pensioners gathered outside the administration building in Kaliningrad on 14 June and about 700 Afghanistan and Chechnya veterans rallied outside the mayor's office to protest a government proposal to turn in-kind social benefits such as free public transportation into cash payments, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 15 June. Veterans of the effort to contain the consequences of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster also participated in the protests. Protest organizers said that about one in three Kaliningrad Oblast residents qualifies for some form of social benefit. Mikhail Osboit, head of the local committee of Chornobyl veterans, told the daily that the oblast has a large number of military veterans who need medical treatment and that their problems cannot be resolved by the government's plan. The Communist Party has called on the public to protest the plan on a national scale on 2 July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 June 2004). RC