RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report Vol. 1, No. 22, 26 October 1999

A Survey of Developments in Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine by the Regional Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.


KANIV FOUR ANNOUNCES SINGLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The socalled Kaniv Four alliance of Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr Moroz, Volodymyr Oliynyk, and Oleksandr Tkachenko on 25 October announced that it has agreed to field Marchuk-- Ukraine's prime minister from June 1995 to May 1996--as its candidate in the 31 October presidential ballot. "We have agreed on the candidacy of Yevhen Marchuk. The date for the others to withdraw their candidacies will be announced later," Tkachenko said. Press spokesmen for Marchuk and Moroz also confirmed that an agreement had been reached, but Moroz's representative cast doubt on the deal, saying that for now it is "just a declaration" and the other candidates do not need to formally pull out before 27 October.

Meanwhile, the situation with regard to a single candidate of the "national democratic forces" remains unclear. On 23 October, a forum of those forces adopted a statement urging the Ukrainian people to support the candidacy of Yuriy Kostenko, leader of one of Rukh's two factions, in the presidential elections. It had been expected that Kostenko and Vasyl Onopenko (a presidential candidate supported by the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party), both of whom had signed an agreement on cooperation in the campaign--would announce a single right-wing candidate at the forum. However, Onopenko did not show up at the forum. His representative, Dmytro Hunyaha, said Onopenko has "no reason" to withdraw his candidacy for the sake of anyone else. According to Hunyaha, Onopenko--"the most left-wing candidate of all the right-wing ones"-- stands a better chance of winning the elections than Kostenko or other rightist hopefuls.

LUKASHENKA DEALT ANOTHER BLOW BY KYIV. On his 22 October campaign trip to Kyrovohrad, central Ukraine, Kuchma criticized the Belarusian regime for its policy of selfisolation. "The path chosen by the leadership of Belarus is the way of deadlock," AP quoted Kuchma as saying. "If Russia does not help Belarus, I don't know what will happen there," Kuchma added.

Earlier the same week, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had lashed out at Belarus for breaking up the 17 October opposition "freedom march" in Minsk. Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk reaffirmed that position on 22 October by saying Ukraine is interested in strengthening cooperation with Belarus, "but it should not be done at the expense of [tolerating] human rights violations in that country."

"Belarus today provides us with an important [illustration of the thesis] that one should not hide problems or conserve them. There are problems connected with the economy, social life, and social structure [in Belarus]. No matter how they are being concealed, they will crop up on the surface all the same. Therefore, we, too, need to air the entire system of power, all nooks of power structures in advance. Especially those connected with democratic processes. What is taking place in Ukraine during the election campaign is a very ill omen, and this may in essence initiate syndromes similar to Belarusian ones. What takes place in Belarus is infamy." -- Ukrainian Presidential candidate Yevhen Marchuk in an interview with the 21 October "Kievskie vedomosti."

"How does it become you to organize [election campaign] shows with dances and fireworks throughout the country while everyday able-bodied people commit suicide because they are not paid wages to support their families? While doctors cannot save lives of the newly born because they lack elementary medicines? While the country, which until recently was rich, is now dying in agony? How is it possible to treat ordinary people so contemptuously? What-- is there no money? In the Social Protection fund alone, you have collected for your campaign more money than [Ukraine's] education and culture need for the whole year. Has everything been stolen under your patronage even there? How is it possible to go to the people and tell them stories about enormous successes of the reform under your leadership when production collapses, land is not plowed, and people remain without work?" -- Presidential candidate Oleksandr Moroz, criticizing Kuchma on national television on 18 October. Quoted by the 21 October "Tovarysh."

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.

UKRAINE'S MOROZ NOT TO QUIT PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN FAVOR OF MARCHUK. Despite the announcement that the so-called Kaniv Four election alliance will support Yevhen Marchuk as a single presidential candidate (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 October 1999), Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz said the same day that he will not withdraw from the race. Moroz's statement came after a meeting of his party's leadership and other groups that support his presidential bid. Moroz said the meeting confirmed that those political forces want him "to continue the struggle to reach the second round" and to deprive incumbent President Leonid Kuchma of leftist votes. Simultaneously Moroz said he "fully backs" the alliance's decision to uphold Marchuk as the most likely candidate of the Kaniv Four to win support among right-wing voters and prevent Kuchma from reaching the second round, according to Interfax. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER SAYS HIS LIFE UNDER THREAT. Oleksandr Tkachenko on 25 October said that a terrorist act is being planned against him. "This is not a provocation, and I have reported the names and telephone numbers of terrorists to the appropriate bodies," Interfax quoted Tkachenko as saying. He added that attackers want to assassinate him by planting a bomb near the parliamentary building or in his car. The same day, Tkachenko issued a statement to the Ukrainian people in which he appealed to President Kuchma to withdraw from the presidential elections. "This is the only good deed that [Kuchma] is still able to do for the people. Then, I think, the elections will be completed in the first round, and the millions of hryvni he is so worried about on television will be spared," Tkachenko said. JM

UKRAINE'S KUCHMA REJECTS DIRTY CAMPAIGN ALLEGATIONS. The president on 25 October denounced allegations that his reelection campaign is engaged in dirty tricks and pressure on the media, Reuters reported. "I am leading an honest campaign," Kuchma said in Dnipropetrovsk where he was greeted, according to the agency, by "thousands of supporters" on the streets. At the same time, Kuchma noted that "a dirtier campaign than the one unleashed against me has never existed in a single country of the world." JM