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FORMER PRIME MINISTER CRITICIZES 'RESTORATION OF SOVIET ORDER.' Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on 19 May, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said that Russia is moving in the wrong direction at an increasing speed, gazeta.ru and other media reported. "We are witnessing attempts to restore the Soviet order with elements of state capitalism," he said. Kasyanov, whom analysts see as a potential consolidating figure for the anti-Kremlin opposition, said that he does not want to create his own political party, but to unite all democratic forces ahead of the 2008 presidential election. Meanwhile, the leader of the unregistered Our Choice party, Irina Khakamada, told "Kommersant-Daily" on 19 May that it is possible that the Kremlin will now organize a "powerful information campaign" against Kasyanov. INDEM foundation head Georgii Satarov told "Kommersant-Daily" that he cannot exclude the possibility that Kasyanov could play a role similar to that played by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko during Ukraine's Orange Revolution. VY
UKRAINIAN PREMIER, FIRST DEPUTY ENJOYS SLIGHT EDGE OVER PRESIDENT IN POPULARITY. "Zerkalo nedeli," no. 18, discussed the results of an opinion survey conducted with 2024 respondents by the Kyiv International Sociology Institute about President Viktor Yushchenko's first 100 days in office. According to the weekly, the results show that the new government has maintained "a solid reserve of sympathy and hope." Across Ukraine, 51.6 percent of respondents said they viewed the policies of the new administration "basically positive." In the east, this percentage fell to 22.7 percent and rose to 73.1 percent in the West. Among respondents, Yuliya Tymoshenko's performance enjoyed slightly higher support than did that of President Yushchenko, 55.3 percent versus 50.2 percent. First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh also enjoys a high rating of 52.3 percent. On 19 May, Kinakh told reporters that he does not plan to resign voluntarily because this would be an attempt to evade "his responsibilities to the people," Interfax and "Ukrayinski Novini" reported. JAC
UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION TRIES TO DISRUPT WORK OF PARLIAMENT. About 2,000 people gathered outside the Verkhovna Rada on 19 May to protest the criminal case against Donetsk Oblast council head Borys Kolesnykov, RFE/RL's Kyiv bureau and UNIAN reported. Demonstrators were carrying placards of the United Social Democratic Party (SPDU-o) saying "Freedom to Borys Kolesnykov!" According to proUA.com, the parliament closed its session early because members of the SPDU-o, the Party of Regions, and the Communist Party of Ukraine were blocking the rostrum. SPDU-o and Regions of Ukraine demanded the release of Kolesnykov and former Transcarpathian Oblast Governor Ivan Rizak. Former Prime Minister and head of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych charged that more than 18,000 people have been fired for their political opinion since the new government took power, Interfax reported. JAC