MORE REVELATIONS FROM FORMER BELARUSIAN CHIEF BANKER? Former Belarusian National Bank Chairwoman Tamara Vinnikava on 20 January called the Belarusian Helsinki Committee to announce that she will "soon" give an "extensive interview" to the media, Belapan reported. Vinnikava said she will describe how she managed to escape from house arrest in Minsk last April and what happened to the opposition politicians who disappeared last year, including Viktor Hanchar and Yury Zakharanka. Vinnikava already gave some inside information to the media last month (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 21 and 28 December 1999). Some Belarusian observers believe she is now in Great Britain. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT IN TURMOIL... The center-right majority in Ukraine's legislature on 20 January failed to push through a vote calling for the resignation of parliament chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko and his deputy Adam Martynyuk. After failing to get the vote, the deputies started yelling at Tkachenko to step down. But the Communist and other leftist deputies stood up to block access to the parliamentary presidium and the speaker's rostrum, and Tkachenko announced a recess. The center-right majority claims to have collected 235 signatures in support of a motion to oust both Tkachenko and Martynyuk and to introduce amendments to the parliament's regulations. Later the same day, the majority decided to hold an alternative parliamentary session on 21 January at a separate location, Interfax reported. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT TO PRESS ON WITH REFERENDUM. Leonid Kuchma on 20 January pledged to press ahead with a referendum aimed at creating a more compliant parliament, Reuters reported. "The referendum will take place. Let no one doubt that. The world should see that our country is moving ahead and developing," the agency quoted Kuchma as saying at a meeting with local authority heads. Speaking at the Academy of State Management later that day, Kuchma said the voters' responses to five of the referendum's six questions (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 January 2000) will be written into the constitution "immediately." He said a special law will have to be adopted if voters decide to support the creation of a bicameral legislature. JM

GAZPROM AGREES TO RESCHEDULE UKRAINE'S GAS DEBT. Following his meeting with Gazprom head Rem Vyakhirev in Kyiv on 20 January, Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko said the Russian company has agreed to reschedule Ukraine's gas debt payments, Interfax reported. Yushchenko added that Gazprom and Ukraine will combine the country's state and commercial debt obligations into one package and sign a joint protocol on repayment within a month. He declined to provide a precise gas debt figure, saying only that Gazprom estimates it to be about $1.7-2 billion. Vyakhirev refused to comment on his talks with Yushchenko. JM