UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT TARGETS BARTER TRADE. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 21 October issued a decree that will give special tax breaks to companies that reduce the percentage of output bartered for other goods rather than sold during the first half of 1999, Reuters reported. The Ukrainian State Statistical Committee said that during the first eight months of 1998, more than one-third of the country's industrial output was bartered rather than sold. The same day, Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Borys Supykhanov complained that the country's farmers are increasingly reluctant to supply approximately 3.5 million tons of grain that they had pledged earlier in 1998 in exchange for seeds and machinery, AP reported. PG

OPPOSITION LEADER ACCUSES KYIV OF ASSASSINATION PLOT. Pavlo Lazarenko, a former prime minister and currently an opposition leader in the Ukrainian parliament, told the "Kievskie vedomosti" newspaper on 21 October that several high government officials are plotting to discredit and then assassinate him. "They want to throw me out of politics, out of Ukraine, and out of the circle of the living," he said. Meanwhile, Interfax reported the same day that Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko has ordered an investigation of a company associated with Lazarenko that benefited excessively from the privatization of an airfield. PG

CRIMEA APPROVES NEW CONSTITUTION. The Crimean Autonomous Republic parliament on 21 October approved a new constitution that gives that region neither separate citizenship nor a separate legal system, Interfax reported. The constitution--the fifth one to be proposed since 1992--must now be approved by the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv. PG

LUKASHENKA SEES UKRAINE JOINING BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN UNION. Speaking in Omsk on 21 October, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Ukraine would join the Belarusian-Russian Union "tomorrow" if the arrangement began to work efficiently, Interfax. He said that such a union of Slavic countries would "alter the geopolitical situation of the world." At the Russian Polyot defense plant, Lukashenka said that the Belarusian defense industry remains among the most powerful in the former Soviet Union: "We did not make our defense industries manufacture saucers; instead, we kept their production lines alive." Meanwhile, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Grigoryev told ITAR-TASS that Minsk wants to help restart the production of Kvarts television sets at an Omsk plant. PG

ILYUMZHINOV TO SEEK ANOTHER PRESIDENCY. Just days after reaffirming his intention to run in the Russian presidential elections in 2000, Republic of Kalmykia President Kirsan Ilyumzhinkov declared that he will also seek the presidency of the Russian Soccer Union (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 October 1998). Ilyumzhinov is already president of the World Chess Federation and hinted that he will bolster the soccer league's current budget of $5 million. Ilyumzhinov built what some have described as lavish facilities in his republic to host this year's chess matches. Ilyumzhinov said, according to ITAR-TASS, that he was "ashamed" by the nation's soccer team, particularly by its loss to Ukraine. "How is it possible in a nation of 150 million that 11 good players could not be found?" he asked. JAC