KUCHMA SAYS CORRUPTION IN UKRAINE NO BIG DEAL... Speaking on regional television in Vinnytsya on 20 October, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said the situation in Ukraine with regard to combating corruption is "far better than in many other countries of the world," Interfax reported. Kuchma noted that corruption is not a "Ukrainian invention." At the same time, Kuchma admitted that there are cases of corruption in Ukraine, "but they are being brought about by the system itself." According to Kuchma, corruption can be defeated by introducing economic and administrative changes. "If a state servant is paid appropriately, not 100 hryvni ($23) a month, then I think he will have sufficient wisdom and will not to deal with such matters as corruption," Kuchma noted. JM

...PLEDGES TO MAKE PARLIAMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR FORMING CABINET. Kuchma also said that if he wins the presidential elections, he will ask the parliament to create a constructive majority that will share responsibility with the president for forming a cabinet. "Then there will be no mutual accusations, fruitless discussions in the parliaments, or reporting to the parliament [on the government's performance] every week," Kuchma noted. He also repeated his threat to call for a referendum to create a bicameral legislature if the current parliament refuses to cooperate with the president after the elections. JM

ELECTORAL INCENTIVES NOT GOOD FOR HRYVNYA? Citing an "informed source" in Ukraine's financial circles, Interfax reported on 20 October that the volume of cash in circulation in the country has increased by 1.23 billion hryvni ($570 million) since 1 July. According to financial experts, this increase is linked to the government's effort to pay back wages and pensions before the 31 October presidential elections. The hryvnya has been officially devalued from 3.95 to $1 to 4.46 to $1 since the beginning of July. Street dealers and Ukraine's interbank currency market have recently quoted the hryvnya at 4.7-4.8 to $1. JM