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END NOTE: YUSHCHENKO VOWS 'PEOPLE'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN' IN UKRAINE xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
OUR UKRAINE LEADER ACCUSES PREMIER OF SPYING ON HIM. Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who leads the opposition Our Ukraine bloc, said on 11 August that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is responsible for Yushchenko being shadowed in Crimea earlier this week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 August 2004), UNIAN reported. "It is work of this government, Yanukovych's government, to which the Interior Ministry and Interior Minister Mykola Bilokon are directly subordinated," Yushchenko said. Yushchenko was referring to the detention of an Interior Ministry officer who was clandestinely filming Yushchenko's stay in Crimea on 10 August. Meanwhile, Deputy Interior Minister Petro Opanasenko said on a national television channel on 11 August that the detained officer was there merely to ensure Yushchenko's own safety and protect him from possible "terrorist acts." Asked by the TV presenter why Yushchenko was not informed about this extra security measure, Opanasenko replied that Yushchenko did not have to know. JM
...AND VOWS TO RETURN TO CONTROVERSIAL PRIVATIZATION OF STEEL GIANT. Yushchenko said on the private Channel 5 television in Kherson on 12 August that the Our Ukraine parliamentary caucus deems the privatization of the Kryvorizhstal steel manufacturer illegal and will return to this issue in order to punish those who violated the law in the privatization process, UNIAN reported. "The privatization of Kryvorizhstal is theft that has nothing in common with the privatization that should have been held on the principles of honest competition," Yushchenko said, adding that Kryvorizhstal's real worth is $4 billion-$5 billion. A 93.02 percent stake in Kryvorizhstal was bought for $800 million in June by a corporation led by Viktor Pinchuk, President Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law, and Donetsk-based oligarch Rynat Akhmetov, despite much higher bids from foreign companies (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 15 June 2004). JM
UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES BLOCK PUBLICATION OF OPPOSITION NEWSPAPER. The tax authorities on 11 August froze the bank accounts of the Mega-Plus publishing house, which printed "Vechirni visti," a newspaper linked to opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko, UNIAN reported. Tymoshenko's Fatherland Party said in a statement that the move was made "without any explanation." The party described "the illegal acts by the tax-collecting agencies as a repressive action aimed at depriving the Ukrainian people of an opposition newspaper and taking revenge on the independent publication for its articles on crimes committed by the authorities." JM
NAFTOHAZ, GAZPROM AGREE ON PAYMENT OF UKRAINIAN GAS DEBT FOR 1997-2000. Naftohaz Ukrayiny, Ukraine's national operator of oil and gas pipelines, and the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom have signed an accord setting Ukraine's debt for Russian gas supplied in 1997-2000 at $1.25 billion and establishing a debt-repayment mechanism, Interfax reported on 12 August. Naftohaz will pay the sum to Russia's Vneshekonombank, which has been previously empowered by Gazprom to claim the debt on Naftohaz's corporate bonds. Under the accord, Gazprom will make a onetime transfer of $1.25 billion to Naftohaz as an advance payment for the transit of 19.2 billion cubic meters of Russian gas across Ukraine in 2005-09, while Naftohaz will pay this money to Vneshekonombank. JM
TRANSDNIESTER PULLS 'ROMANIAN RABBIT' FROM SCHOOL-CONFLICT HAT... Valerii Litskay, who holds the foreign-affairs portfolio in the Transdniestrian separatist government, told a visiting delegation of EU diplomats on 10 August that the schools in Transdniester teaching Moldovan (Romanian) with Latin script are in fact Romanian schools and that Tiraspol might discuss with Bucharest ways to overcome the crisis over the schools' closure, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau and Infotag reported. Litskay also told the EU delegation that the current crisis has been over-politicized by Moldova, which "speaks the language of ultimatums" and raises demands that have nothing in common with the crisis, accompanying them with economic sanctions. Litskay said Transdniester will present counterproposals to those put forward by the three mediators (Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE), and that the essence of these counterproposals will rest on basing school licensing and registration in Transdniester on European standards. MS
...AND SAYS UKRAINE SHOULD DISPATCH PEACEKEEPERS. Transdniestrian "Foreign Minister" Litskay told Ukrainian journalists in Tiraspol on 10 August that Ukraine should dispatch peacekeepers to Transdniester, Infotag and Flux reported. Litskay said that the 1998 Odesa accords stipulate that Kyiv has the right to send to Transdniester a contingent of peacekeepers as large as the contingent sent by Russia. However, he said, until now Ukraine has only dispatched military observers who are stationed in the demilitarized zone between the two former belligerents. Litskay said Tiraspol is curious why Ukrainian peacekeepers could be sent to places as far away as Iraq, but not to neighboring Transdniester, where events might take a turn unfavorable to Kyiv's interests. MS
YUSHCHENKO VOWS 'PEOPLE'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN' IN UKRAINE
Speaking on Radio Liberty on 3 August, Oleksandr Zinchenko, the manager of Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko's presidential campaign, said this campaign will be different from that of his main rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. "The people's president will have a people's election campaign," Zinchenko asserted.
Unfortunately, Zinchenko provided few enlightening details regarding this type of campaigning. He claimed, however, that Yushchenko has "hundreds of prepared campaigners in every town and village."
The presidential campaign for Yushchenko formally began on 4 July when the Central Election Commission registered him as a presidential hopeful. It is apparent to virtually everybody in Ukraine that Yushchenko cannot count on the propagandistic resources of much of the electronic media in the country. Indeed, the only television channel sympathetic to Yushchenko's presidential bid -- Channel 5, owned by Yushchenko political ally Petro Symonenko -- has recently reported that its programs were removed from several cable-distribution networks in eastern and southern Ukraine. Other television channels -- whether state-owned or private -- remain generally biased in favor of Yanukovych's presidential bid.
Under such circumstances it appears that the only efficient way for Yushchenko to promote his presidential platform is to hold as many face-to-face meetings with voters in the regions as possible. Therefore, on 3 August, Yushchenko started his campaign tour of Ukraine in Odesa Oblast. Yushchenko's campaign staff, judging by press reports, has been prepared for such an eventuality. But some aspects of the mechanics of his campaign provoke anxieties on the part of his sympathizers, who fear that this campaign might lack the impetus and energy it needs to be fully efficient.
Yushchenko started his presidential campaign with an impressive rally of some 50,000 people, who saw him off submitting registration documents to the Central Election Commission in Kyiv on 4 August. Credits for such a remarkable start were generally given to Zinchenko, whom Yushchenko appointed as his campaign manager in mid-June. Yushchenko was generally praised for this nomination, which he reportedly made under pressure from some Our Ukraine activists who have became dissatisfied with the performance of Roman Bezsmertnyy, head of the Our Ukraine staff.
However, further developments -- primarily an inconspicuous start to Yushchenko's regional tour of Ukraine -- have somewhat diminished faith in Zinchenko's capabilities to sufficiently organize Yushchenko's election campaign. First of all, some observers maintain that Zinchenko and Bezsmertnyy have not shared their responsibilities within the Our Ukraine bloc as smoothly as was expected.
According to the Kyiv-based weekly "Zerkalo nedeli," there is a multilayered system of responsibilities in Our Ukraine as regards its leader's presidential bid. The highest "legislative authority" in the bloc is a Coordinating Committee, which consists of Yushchenko (chairman), Yuliya Tymoshenko (first deputy), Zinchenko (campaign manager), Bezsmertnyy (head of the bloc's staff), as well as prominent Our Ukraine leaders and activists: Yuriy Kostenko, Mykola Martynenko, Anatoliy Matviyenko, Petro Poroshenko, Viktor Pynzenyk, Ivan Plyushch, Borys Tarasyuk, and Oleksandr Turchynov. Every member of this committee is simultaneously a coordinator of Yushchenko's campaign in specific regions.
It is noteworthy that the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc -- a staunch political ally of Our Ukraine in the presidential campaign -- has to take care of the most populous Ukrainian regions.
Turchynov coordinates Yushchenko's campaign in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Kyrovohrad, Sumy, and Volhynia Oblast, while Matviyenko is responsible for Khmelnytskyy and Kharkiv oblasts.
Zinchenko personally leads the "executive" arm of Yushchenko's presidential campaign: press services, speechwriters, election experts, and the administrative apparatus of the bloc. He is also responsible for working out a campaign strategy, negotiating with potential political allies, and maintaining relations with the media. Zinchenko and Bezsmertnyy reportedly share equal responsibility for staging rallies, advertising Yushchenko's presidential bid, coordinating Yushchenko's representatives in regional election commissions, and solving legal problems in the campaign. Yushchenko is the only one allowed to directly comment on the political campaign or, following a prior agreement with him, Tymoshenko, Zinchenko, Poroshenko, Martynenko, Kostenko, Pynzenyk, and Tarasyuk can as well.
According to "Zerkalo nedeli," Bezsmertnyy's sole responsibility is financing all campaign actions and measures, which he does in cooperation with Our Ukraine's "cashier," lawmaker and businessman Davyd Zhvaniya.
Because of this complicated distribution of political and organizational responsibilities in Yushchenko's bloc, his presidential campaign has not yet settled into a smooth rhythm or acquired a satisfying scope. "Zerkalo nedeli" suggests that many local leaders of Yushchenko's campaign treat working on it only as a convenient opportunity to spend campaign money. At the same time, the weekly emphasizes that Yushchenko's people have not yet been able to tap his main asset in the campaign -- the enthusiasm of ordinary citizens who are ready to work for him without any expectation of payment or other compensation.