RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report Vol. 1, No. 13, 24 August 1999

A Survey of Developments in Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine by the Staff of RFE/RL Newsline


PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN KICK OFF WITH 'DIRTY FALSIFICATION.' In the first half of August, some Ukrainian regions witnessed the dissemination of leaflets attacking two presidential candidates: Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz and Social Democratic Union leader Yevhen Marchuk. The leaflets were signed by the Communist Party of Ukraine. According to the three parties involved as well as many commentators, those leaflets heralded the inauguration of "compromising information wars" in the Ukrainian presidential campaign.

The leaflets accused Moroz of "betraying the interests of the working people" and of forging a "criminal alliance" with Marchuk. They warned that "fascists from the [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] urge their stooges to uphold these [two] gentlemen and create throughout the country militarized staffs to support their criminal alliance and organize provocations against the true defenders of the working people's interests--the Communists."

"Komunist," the press organ of Ukraine's Communist Party, suggested in an article titled "Another Dirty Falsification" that the leaflets were the work of the "ruling regime." The newspaper wrote: "It is known that the ruling regime long ago lost its peace of mind because of the growth in authority and influence of the leftist forces. ...It is possible [for the ruling regime] to bring back that peace of mind only by driving a wedge in the unity of the left-wing parties."

The heads of Moroz's and Marchuk's election staffs said in a joint statement that the leaflets were disseminated by the All-Ukrainian Fund Social Protection, which is headed by Oleksandr Volkov, an aide to President Leonid Kuchma. That statement came after several packages containing the leaflets in the Social Protection local office in Kamenka, a raion town in Cherkasy Oblast, were found by representatives of the local branches of the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Social Democratic Union, and the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists. The Social Protection branch in Cherkasy Oblast stressed that the fund has nothing to do with the leaflets. He accused the election staffs of "some presidential candidates" of resorting "to extremely dirty methods in order to discredit one candidate--the incumbent president."

"Do you see what Ukraine has finally come to? Today Ukrainian women travel to Belarus to give birth. But some say that it is necessary to close the borders, not to let people in. How can we forbid letting people in? [Women need] to give birth, while they have no maternity wards [in Ukraine]. As for us, we still manage [to have maternity wards] somehow." -- Lukashenka, quoted by Belarusian Television on 12 August.

"We will begin [by making] Russian the second official language [in Ukraine]. Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus will pull together as much as possible and begin actively coordinating their domestic and foreign policy. Together we will be able to get rid of the IMF's financial yoke and to successfully develop [our] economy and culture. In my opinion, we can resolutely introduce a common currency for external use. This will allow us to get rid of the [U.S.] dollar's pressure. It is definitely necessary to restore a single nuclear shield. We will find a positive solution to the issue of dual citizenship in Ukraine. This will allow us to practically resolve the problem of Crimea. Our union will be open for other Slavic states. We, the Slavs, number 300 million. And we can look very impressive to the rest of the world. Nobody will dare to behave toward us as NATO did in Yugoslavia. In short, Ukraine's foreign policy will be oriented to the northeast." -- Presidential candidate Natalya Vitrenko on her election program in the 17 August "Parlamentskaya gazeta."

"To optimize the numerical strength and structure of the army in accordance with the military doctrine. To provide the army with highly efficient modern weaponry and sufficient budget subsidies. To work out a collective security program of the three Slavic states: Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. To renounce Ukraine's nonnuclear status." -- From Vitrenko's election program "theses," published in the 19 August "Holos Ukrainy."

RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report is prepared by Jan Maksymiuk on the basis of a variety of sources including reporting by "RFE/RL Newsline" and RFE/RL's broadcast services. It is distributed every Tuesday.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS NO RETURN TO SOVIET SYSTEM. On 23 August, the eve of the eighth anniversary of Ukraine's independence, President Leonid Kuchma said there can be no return to the Soviet political and social system, Reuters and AP reported. Kuchma called on the government to implement economic measures, including tax and agricultural reforms and restructuring of the country's foreign debt. He predicted that Ukraine's GDP will grow by 2 percent in 2000 and by 4-6 percent in the following years. He blamed the country's economic decline on the Soviet past and the parliamentary obstruction of key legislation. "The parliament's work must be formed on the basis of a responsible majority," Kuchma said without elaborating. JM

'PATRIOTIC FORUM' IN KYIV CALLS FOR SINGLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. A forum of "patriotic, anti-corruption, proindependence, and democratic forces" took place in Kyiv on 22 August, Interfax and RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported. The forum was organized by the Open Politics association and attended by five presidential hopefuls: Yuriy Kostenko, Yuriy Karmazin, Volodymyr Oliynyk, Vasyl Onopenko, and Oleksandr Rzhavskyy. Hennadiy Udovenko, Yevhen Marchuk, and Vitaliy Kononov, all of whom also aspire to the presidency, failed to appear. Anatoliy Matviyenko, who heads the association and resigned the leadership of the Popular Democratic Party after it pledged support to Kuchma's re-election bid, urged all presidential candidates to agree on a single candidate to represent the right-wing in the elections. JM