GDP IN UKRAINE, RUSSIA DECREASES. The Ukrainian Ministry of Statistics on 19 August reported that of the 11 CIS states, only Ukraine and Russia registered a decrease in gross domestic product in the first half of 1997, compared with the same period last year, Infobank reported. Ukraine's GDP fell by 7.4 percent, whereas Russia's was down 0.2 percent. During the same period, industrial production fell in Armenia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Moldova but rose by 22 percent in Kyrgyzstan, the highest increase within the CIS states. With the exception of Belarus and Georgia, all CIS states registered a decrease in the production of consumer goods. Food production in Belarus increased by 16 percent and non-food production by 32 percent.

ROMANIAN ULTRA-NATIONALIST INVITES LE PEN, LEBED. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM), has invited French National Front chairman Jean-Marie Le Pen and former Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed to attend the PRM congress in November. Le Pen canceled a visit in May owing to the early French elections. At that time, Tudor announced the "imminent birth of a Nationalist International" (see "RFE/RL Newsline, 1 and 11 April 1997). After visiting Bucharest earlier this year, front deputy chairman Dominique Chaboche said the PRM and the front were "ideologically tied" in the struggle against a United Europe and the idea of "globalization dictated by the U.S." Tudor said he invited Lebed because he has a good chance of becoming the next Russian president and is among those with whom Tudor can discuss the reunification of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (now part of Moldova and Ukraine) with Romania.