PUSTOVOYTENKO THREATENS TO SEND TAX DEBTORS TO TENT CAMP. In order to force tax debtors to pay, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko has threatened to bring managers and top regional executives to a tent camp for civil defense training, Ukrainian News reported on 8 August. Pustovoytenko, who is head of Ukraine's Civil Defense, told a 7 August cabinet session that 3,000 tents have been prepared at Pereyeslav Khmelnytskyy near Kyiv. "We will train by manuring gardens," the agency quoted him as saying. Pustovoytenko's threat follows his 5 August attempt to force unpaid taxes from some 2,000 managers by locking then up in the Ukrayina palace in Kyiv (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 August 1998). The managers have paid only 81 million hryvni ($40 million), leaving Pustovoytenko, according to Ukrainian News, "dissatisfied." The total tax and pension fund arrears in Ukraine in July reached 8.9 billion hryvni. JM

KUCHMA REDUCES 1998 BUDGET DEFICIT, TAX BURDEN. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has signed a decree reducing the 1998 budget deficit from 3.3 to 2.5 percent of GDP, Ukrainian Television reported on 7 August. The decision meets the IMF's main requirement for providing Ukraine with a $2.2 billion loan, which was agreed last month. The budget spending in 1998 will be reduced by 4.7 billion hryvni ($2.2 billion). By another decree Kuchma has abolished obligatory payments to the state-run Chornobyl Fund, which amounted to 5 percent of the wages paid by each enterprise. The president also reduced mandatory payments to the Social Security Fund from 4 to 3 percent of the wage fund. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT HONORED BY CIS LEADERS ON 60TH BIRTHDAY. Leonid Kuchma on 9 August welcomed high ranking-officials from the former Soviet republics who came to his 60th birthday party at his summer residence in Crimea. Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, Russia's Deputy Premier Ivan Rybkin, CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii, and former Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin paid their respect in person. Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent a congratulatory telegram to Kuchma. Shevardnadze termed bilateral relations with Ukraine "verging on the ideal," while Aliev assured Kuchma that Ukraine "is assuredly part of the program" for the export of Azerbaijan's Caspian oil. JM/LF