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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CALLS ON WORLD TO RECOGNIZE 1932-33 FAMINE AS GENOCIDE. President Viktor Yushchenko on 25 November called on the international community to recognize the man-made famine in Ukraine in 1932-33 as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. The same day, Yushchenko participated in a ceremony of lighting 33,000 candles -- the daily number of deaths at the famine's height -- on a square in Kyiv to commemorate the estimated 7.5 million Ukrainians who died during the famine. "The famine was a crime against humanity that had perpetrators, but from a legal standpoint, no guilty parties have been found," Yushchenko told some 5,000 people on the square. Historians say the famine was created by Soviet leader Josef Stalin to force Ukrainian peasants to give up their land and join collective farms. JM
UKRAINE VOWS TO 'STAND TO THE DEATH' IN GAS TALKS WITH RUSSIA. Ukraine's state company Naftohaz Ukrayiny vowed on 24 November to "stand to the death" to defend the country's interests in talks with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom on gas supplies and transit for next year, Reuters reported. "This has now turned into a strictly political issue. Gazprom has painted itself into a corner with its ultimatums," Naftohaz Ukrayiny head Oleksiy Ivchenko told journalists. "A proposal has been put forth to buy [Russia] gas at European prices," ITAR-TASS quoted Ivchenko as saying. Ukraine now pays some $50 for 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas under a barter scheme, while Gazprom reportedly wants to switch to cash payments for gas supplies to Ukraine. Russian media has reported that Gazprom wants Ukraine to pay $160 for 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas in 2006 but the Russian gas monopoly has not officially confirmed this new tariff. JM
UKRAINIAN PROSECUTORS SEND GONGADZE CASE TO COURT. The Prosecutor-General's Office has submitted a case against three former police officers accused of murdering Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze in 2000 to the Supreme Court, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 25 November. The Prosecutor-General's Office said the investigation has not yet found out who ordered Gongadze's murder. JM
UKRAINIAN PARTIES PREPARE FOR 2006 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Six Ukrainian parties signed an accord in Kyiv on 25 November to set up the Our Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko Bloc to form a joint election list for the 2006 parliamentary elections, Ukrainian media reported. In particular, the pro-Yushchenko bloc includes the Our Ukraine People's Union, the People's Rukh of Ukraine (led by Borys Tarasyuk), and the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the Fatherland Party led by former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko resolved at a convention on 26 November to form a Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc for the elections. The bloc is expected to come up with an election program and a list of candidates in December. At a convention on 27 November, the Communist Party approved an election program and a list of 450 candidates for the parliamentary ballot. Former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on 26 November announced the entering of the parliamentary campaign by his Party of Regions from Krasnoyarsk, Russia, where he was attending a congress of the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party. According to a Razumkov Center poll conducted on 3-13 November, if elections were held now the Party of Regions would win 17.5 percent of the vote, the Our Ukraine Bloc 13.5 percent, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 12.4 percent, the Communist Party 5.8 percent, the Socialist Party 5.6 percent, the Lytvyn Bloc 3.3 percent, and the Progressive Socialist Party 2.6 percent. JM