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REFORMS AND ORDER PARTY CHANGES NAME TO OUR UKRAINE. A convention of 375 delegates from the opposition Reforms and Order Party, which is a member of the Our Ukraine bloc in the Verkhovna Rada, on 18 July changed the party's name to Our Ukraine, Interfax reported. "Such a move demonstrates our readiness for creating a single, united democratic Our Ukraine party," said Viktor Pynzenyk, the leader of the renamed party. According to him, this step should encourage other democratic forces to consolidate into a single party. The convention also endorsed Viktor Yushchenko's candidacy in the 31 October presidential election. AM
UKRAINIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY BEGINS INVESTIGATION INTO GONGADZE SURVEILLANCE. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has started an official inquiry into the reasons behind the surveillance of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze before his abduction and murder in 2000, Interfax reported on 19 July, quoting First Deputy Interior Minister Mykhaylo Korniyenko. The internal investigation, initiated following a recent inquiry from the Prosecutor-General's Office, is expected to last one month. AM
PUTIN SIGNS OFF ON CFE TREATY. President Putin on 19 July signed a federal law ratifying the modified Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE), Russian media reported on 20 July. The legislation was adopted by the Duma on 25 June and by the Federation Council on 7 July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 July 2004), RIA-Novosti reported. The agreement, which so far has been ratified by Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, comes into force only after it has been ratified by all 30 signatory countries. According to a statement released by the presidential press office, the agreement "will boost the defensive potential of the Russian Federation because, as a result of the coming into force of the treaty, the potential of the conventional forces of major European powers, the United States, and Canada will be reduced, as will their offensive capabilities," newsru.com reported. RC
KREMLIN EXPERT OPENS 'RUSSIAN CLUB' IN KYIV. Effective Politics Foundation head and Kremlin insider Gleb Pavlovskii announced during a 19 July press conference in Kyiv that his foundation plans to open a nongovernmental organization in Kyiv that will focus on relations between Russia and Ukraine, glavred.info reported. The organization, to be named the Russian Club, will be funded by public and commercial organizations in Russia and will host Russian politicians and other public and cultural figures. In reference to the Ukrainian presidential campaign, Pavlovskii said Russia is not intervening as it simply has no leverage to do so, RTR reported. Pavlovskii said that among the candidates in the October election, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych appeals most to Russia, while Our Ukraine candidate Viktor Yushchenko has given "no clear answers" to questions of interest to Russia, RIA-Novosti reported on 19 July. VY