RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH WELCOMES PASSAGE OF LAW. Orthodox Church leaders, who had urged Yeltsin to sign the original religion law, hailed the passage of the revised version. Speaking in Ukraine, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksii II said the law is not discriminatory and would target "destructive totalitarian sects." He added that it would "streamline the activities of foreign sects and quasi-missionaries," ITAR-TASS reported on 20 September. In contrast, Democratic Russia co-leader Gleb Yakunin, a priest who was defrocked after criticizing the Russian Orthodox Church in the late 1980s, told RFE/RL's Moscow bureau on 20 September that he fears the law will harm Orthodoxy in Russia. Yakunin argued that the 2000-year-old history of Christianity indicates that official persecution does not stop the spread of religion. He predicted that within 10 years, the majority of Russian Christians will belong to Protestant denominations.

UNCTAD ASSESSES 1996 FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN EAST. A UN Agency for Trade and Development report on foreign investment in 1996 puts Poland at the top of a list of former Eastern bloc recipients of foreign direct investment, Reuters reported on 22 September. Poland is followed by Hungary, Russia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Direct investment in Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, and Latvia rose in 1996,. compared with the previous year, but fell in Estonia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SEEKS EAST EUROPEAN SEAT ON UN SECURITY COUNCIL. Before his departure for New York to attend the UN General Assembly annual session, Leonid Kuchma said he will propose creating a permanent seat for Eastern Europe on the UN Security Council, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 September. The Ukrainian leader also said he will press the UN to cut Kyiv's annual dues to the organization. While in New York, Kuchma is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Bill Clinton and other world leaders.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT BACKS TARIFF BREAK FOR DAEWOO. Lawmakers voted by 234 to 25 to free foreign companies investing more than $150 million in the Ukrainian automobile industry from import duties and tariffs for the next 10 years, Ukrainian Television reported on 19 September. Kuchma is expected to sign the bill, which observers regard as aimed at benefiting the Daewoo Group. The South Korean company recently announced plans for investing in Ukraine's automobile industry. In exchange for the tax exemption, Daewoo will hire 90 percent of its workers from among Ukrainians and contract for at least 70 percent of its parts from Ukrainian firms.