UKRAINIAN CABINET FAILS TO REPAY BACK WAGES, PENSIONS. The Finance Ministry said on 21 September that since the beginning of the year, the government has repaid only 5 percent of its 2.4 billion hryvni ($524 million) debt in pension and wage arrears, AP reported. President Leonid Kuchma has ordered the government to pay off the debt by October. The parliament recently made this task even more difficult by increasing the minimum pension from 24.9 hryvni to 55 hryvni (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 September 1999). "If the decision takes effect, those paid 30 hryvni a month will be getting 60 and those paid 500 will be getting 1,000," Interfax quoted Kuchma as saying on 20 September. JM

UKRAINE'S MARCHUK VOICES DOUBT OVER SURVIVAL OF ANTI-KUCHMA ELECTION ALLIANCE. Former Premier Yevhen Marchuk has voiced doubt whether his presidential election coalition with Oleksandr Tkachenko, Oleksandr Moroz, and Volodymyr Oliynyk (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 August 1999) will field a single candidate against Kuchma in the 31 October elections, UNIAN reported on 20 September. Marchuk said the coalition may turn into a "group of three or even two" because "each member of the alliance is sure that he will be the candidate from the group." JM