UKRAINE'S DOMESTIC DEBT CLOSE TO $15 BILLION. Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov told the parliament on 10 November that Ukraine's domestic debt was $14.9 billion, or 48.4 percent of GDP, as of 1 October. The foreign debt totaled $10.9 billion, of which $2.4 billion was to CIS countries and $4.6 billion to international financial organizations. Mityukov said the foreign debt grew by $1.4 billion, or 14.4 percent, since the beginning of the year owing to borrowing to finance the budget deficit and to provide guarantees for export contracts. He added that Ukraine currently has no overdue payments to foreign creditors. Planned spending on servicing the foreign debt amounts to 25.7 percent of budget revenues. Mityukov said he believes that a debt crisis in Ukraine is "unlikely." JM

UKRAINIAN CABINET WANTS TO PROBE TAX-EVADING COMPANIES. The government on 10 November requested that the Prosecutor-General's Office investigate companies suspected of hiding their hard-currency earnings abroad to avoid paying taxes, AP reported. The government has published a list of 363 companies in its daily, "Uryadovyy Kuryer," each of which is said to have concealed at least $100,000 in revenues in foreign bank accounts. Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko told a cabinet meeting on 10 November that as of 1 October, Ukrainian exporters have failed to report to tax authorities a total of $836 million. The cabinet's request is seen as another desperate move to collect money from debtor companies in order to pay off mounting wage arrears. This summer, Pustovoytenko locked managers in a government building, held them in a tent camp, and threatened to have money taken from their bank accounts to force them to make tax payments. JM

SOROS SAYS UKRAINE MAY FOLLOW RUSSIA'S PATH WITHOUT IMF HELP. U.S. financier George Soros said after a meeting with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Kyiv on 10 November that tension between the government and the leftist-dominated parliament puts Ukraine in danger of being left without IMF aid, AP reported. "It's very dangerous because without an IMF program, Ukraine could follow in the footsteps of Russia," Soros commented. He added that both Russia and Ukraine still can avoid a deeper crisis by reforming their economies. But he added that he currently does not see the "political will and leadership" to pursue reform. Soros admitted that Ukraine is maintaining economic stability but commented that it is achieved "at the expense of not paying social security arrears." JM

POLAND CELEBRATES 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE. On the eve of Poland's Independence Day, a joint session of the two parliamentary chambers adopted a resolution paying tribute to "the generations of Poles whose sacrifice of lives, solid work, and belief in the sense of sacrifice helped our homeland survive oppression and regain independence and sovereignty," PAP reported on 10 November. Former President Lech Walesa laid flowers at the tomb of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, who is considered the architect of Poland's independence. President Aleksander Kwasniewski stressed that "the importance of cooperation between various political groups is the lesson we learn from the events of 1918." The celebrations in Warsaw are attended by the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Hungary, and Romania. JM