UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT CONTINUES ITS WORK, BUT MINORITY REMAINS DEFIANT. The parliament continued its session on 9 February, with 242 majority deputies participating and minority lawmakers remaining unregistered for the session, Interfax reported. "The situation is developing in the right direction," majority coordinator Leonid Kravchuk told Reuters. Majority lawmakers debated three draft bills on referenda and decided to take one of them as a "basis" for further discussion. Communist Petro Symonenko demanded that the parliament hold a repeat vote on all resolutions adopted by the majority, Socialist Oleksandr Moroz announced that his caucus will remain in opposition to the majority. Eleven lawmakers from Natalya Vitrenko's Progressive Socialist Party left the parliamentary hall, pledging to return only after a Constitutional Court ruling on the legislative crisis. JM

KYIV COURT SAYS MINORITY LEADERSHIP'S BEHAVIOR 'ILLEGAL.' A district court in Kyiv on 9 February ruled that former speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko and his deputy, Adam Martynyuk, took "illegal" action by preventing the majority from entering the parliamentary building and by not allowing the newly elected parliamentary leadership to take its place in the parliamentary presidium, Interfax reported. The court ordered that Tkachenko hand over the parliamentary seals to the new leadership. It also obliged the parliamentary guard to ensure that the new leadership is protected from "illegal attempts" on the part of "some people's deputies." Moroz commented on the verdict by saying that a district court has no right "to meddle in affairs that are questionable from a constitutional viewpoint." JM

UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL TO RE-EXAMINE TKACHENKO'S 'CASE.' Mykhaylo Potebenko on 9 February said he will reexamine the case of the Zemlya i lyudi (Soil and People) association headed by Oleksandr Tkachenko, which has not repaid credits worth $70 million, Interfax reported. In 1993, Tkachenko's association obtained U.S. credits for an agricultural project that resulted in losses covered by a state bank. An investigation against Tkachenko was dropped in 1998 after what many commentators believed to be a deal between Tkachenko and President Leonid Kuchma. Tkachenko reportedly pledged to support presidential policies if Kuchma supported Tkachenko's bid to become parliamentary speaker. Potebenko denied that Tkachenko's case has been reopened because of the former speaker's current opposition to Kuchma. JM

JEWS SEEK EU SUPPORT FOR PROPERTY RESTITUTION IN POLAND. Holocaust survivors met with European Parliament representatives in Brussels on 9 February to seek ways to press the Polish government to take measures toward the restitution of former Jewish property, AP reported. Gary Titley, a British Labour Party member of the European Parliament, said Poland must resolve the problem of Jewish property restitution before entering the EU. Mel Urbach, a U.S. lawyer representing 11 claimants in a class action suit against Poland (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 10 August 1999), stressed the need for a quick resolution of the case, noting that the average age of the claimants is 83. The Polish parliament is currently working on a reprivatization bill to address property restitution claims, but neither the extent of the restitution nor how long it will take to pass the necessary legislation is known. JM

FOREIGN MINISTRY REPEATS CONCERNS ABOUT RUSSIAN LANGUAGE USE IN UKRAINE. The Russian Foreign Ministry has leaked another statement to the Russian press about its concerns over the situation facing Russian-language speakers in Ukraine. Interfax reported on 9 February that it has obtained a ministry statement saying that "certain forces in Ukraine appear to create an unprecedented phenomenon in Europe, that is, exiling the native language of the overwhelming majority of the people, reducing it to a marginal level, and possibly ousting it completely." The ministry statement cites a draft government decree dealing with "additional measures to broaden the spheres of Ukrainian as the state language." JAC