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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT... Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said on 18 May that the flawed policy of the cabinet and the monopolization of the fuel market caused the current fuel crisis, UT1 reported. Yushchenko on 18 May signed into law a government-sponsored bill abolishing import duties on gasoline and diesel that the Verkhovna Rada passed the previous day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 May 2005). Yushchenko also declared that "for once and forever no one will regulate prices using administrative methods in Ukraine," warning that such a policy sends an "unhealthy signal" to internal and external markets. Yushchenko also explained the process under which firms would be reprivatized, Interfax-Ukraine reported. He said that if an enterprise is determined to have been privatized illegally, then a new tender commission will be set up and the firm will undergo a new privatization tender with the participation of domestic and foreign investors. The largest bid will be presented to the current owners. The current owners will then either have to pay the difference between the sum they paid during the previous privatization and the new price, or, if they refuse, the enterprise will be transferred to the winners of a new tender. JAC
...AS PRIME MINISTER SLAMS FIRST DEPUTY. Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko told reporters in Kyiv that the government welcomes the president's criticism, which is an "absolutely normal occurrence," "Ukrayinska pravda" reported. She also "thanked" First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh for his criticism of her personal role in the crisis. Kinakh said that she authorized "the chaotic introduction of more than 100 amendments to tax legislation without prior item-by-item discussion" or "any grounded analysis," ITAR-TASS reported. Tymoshenko criticized Kinakh for asserting that the government has compiled a list of 29 enterprises designated for reprivatization (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 May 2005). "One minister compiles some lists on his own. I just want to ask why some companies get onto the list and not others.... This simply smells of corruption," she said, according to the "Ukrayinska pravda" website (http://www2.pravda.com.ua). She promised that a list will be presented to the president in two days of "possible firms that could be revalued." JAC
NEW CRIMINAL CHARGE ADDED TO LIST AGAINST FORMER UKRAINIAN REGIONAL GOVERNOR. The prosecutor's office in the Transcarpathian Oblast has added a third charge -- large-scale bribery -- to the list of charges against former oblast Governor Ivan Rizak, Unian reported on 18 May. According to the prosecutor's office, Rizak in June 2004 demanded a "particularly large bribe" from the director of a company, whose name was not disclosed. Rizak allegedly threatened to dismiss the director, persecute his family, and even murder him. Rizak was detained on 13 May on charges of abuse of power and of driving a former rector of Uzhhorod University to commit suicide (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 May 2005). The opposition believes the arrests of Kolesnykov and Rizak are part of the authorities' revenge campaign against officials who supported former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych during the 2004 presidential campaign. JAC
UKRAINIAN MEDIA BODY WARNS NOVYI KANAL TV STATION. The National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting issued a warning on 18 May to Novyi kanal for violating the terms of its license, Interfax-Ukraine reported. The violations included an insufficient volume of Ukrainian-produced programs, informational and educational programs, and an absence of cultural programming. The channel also showed films without the state certification of its right to show the films in question. Novyi kanal is owned by Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. JAC