ARMENIAN COMMUNISTS STILL WANT TO JOIN RUSSIA-BELARUS UNION. Communist Party chairman Sergei Badalyanon 6 November urged Armenia to hurry to join the Russia-Belarus union before Azerbaijan and Ukraine, which, he predicted, will do so "sooner or later," RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Badalyanon said accession to the union constitutes a security "guarantee" for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. He also demanded that the Armenian authorities heed "the people's will," pointing to the 900,000 signatures the Communist Party has collected in support of accession. Meanwhile, a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russia-Belarus Union in Kaliningrad on 4 November granted the Armenian National Initiative observer status, ARMENPRESS reported. In April, the National Initiative launched a campaign to lobby for Armenian membership in the Union. LF

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ACCUSES PARLIAMENT OF POPULISM. Addressing the parliament on 6 November, Leonid Kuchma accused deputies of populism and chronic absenteeism, Interfax reported. He said the parliament's productivity has "sunk to its lowest point." Kuchma further argued that the "regular" practice of putting several issues to a vote simultaneously "gives rise to doubts about the legitimacy of decisions that are important for the country." LF

UKRAINIAN AIRLINE STRIKE. Some 500 pilots and technical staff of the national airline Air Ukraine launched an indefinite strike on 6 November to demand payment of wage arrears since May, Reuters reported. All Air Ukraine flights from Kyiv's second airport, Zhulyany, to international and domestic destinations were cancelled. LF