ZYUGANOV CALLS FOR COALITION GOVERNMENT... Speaking in Simferopol and Sevastopol on 23 March, Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov claimed not to have been surprised by the sacking of the cabinet and called for the appointment of a coalition government, including representatives of the opposition, an RFE/RL correspondent in Kyiv reported. The Communists have long advocated forming a government that would be supported by a majority in the Duma and Federation Council. However, Yeltsin rejected a coalition government proposal in January. Meanwhile, Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev on 23 March appealed to Yeltsin to hold roundtable talks involving opposition representatives and a meeting of the "big four" (president, prime minister, and speakers of both houses of the parliament) to discuss the new cabinet appointments, Russian news agencies reported. LB

YELTSIN, CHERNOMYRDIN PHONE WITH KUCHMA. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and former Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin each called Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 23 March to discuss the changes in the Russian government, ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin stressed that foreign policy and bilateral relations will not change, Kuchma said. Kuchma said Chernomyrdin expressed his appreciation for the president's role in developing closer relations. The Ukrainian president, for his part, thanked Chernomyrdin for his efforts in bringing to fruition the long-term economic program recently signed in Moscow. PB