FSB LINKS PLANE CRASH WITH CHECHNYA. The plane crash at a Moscow airport on 9 March that killed the prominent journalist Artem Borovik and Gruppa Alyans head Zia Bazhaev has prompted speculation in the press about both the accident and the business relations of the two men. Federal Security Service spokesman Aleksandr Zdanovich hinted that a Chechen group might have been behind the blast. He told Interfax on 9 March that "Chechen rebels were trying to force Bhazaev to fund rebel units. But he refused." Bazhaev was born in Chechnya and reportedly maintained close ties to the region. According to "Kommersant-Daily" on 10 March, Borovik constantly faced threats for his investigative reports. A spokeswoman for Bazhaev's company said the two men were friends and that "is probably why they ended up on the same plane," "The Moscow Times" reported. However, Borovik's company issued a statement that Bazhaev had shown "some interest" in Borovik's effort to establish a local edition of the publication "Versiya" in Ukraine. On 10 March, Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov said that "what experts are saying hardly suggests that the crash was an act of terrorism." JAC

UKRAINIAN NATIONALISTS SEIZE COMMUNIST PARTY HEADQUARTERS. Eleven radical nationalists from the previously unknown youth organization Independent Ukraine seized the Communist Party headquarters in Kyiv on 9 March and spread gasoline inside the building, threatening to set it on fire if their demands are not met. In particular, the group, whose members were aged 19 to 24, demanded the "decolonization" of Ukraine, the withdrawal of Russia's Black Sea Fleet from Crimea, a ban on the Communist Party of Ukraine, and Ukraine's withdrawal from the CIS. The building was cordoned off by the police, fire squads, and elite anti-terrorist troops. A group of Communists who had gathered near the building sang revolutionary songs at one point during the incident. The youths surrendered early on 10 March, announcing that the government has pledged to consider their political program. "We hope that our trial will turn into a trial of Ukraine's Communist Party," Reuters quoted one nationalist as saying. JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER DISCUSSES CABINET ACTION PROGRAM WITH SPEAKER. Viktor Yushchenko presented the "Reforms for Prosperity" program (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 March 2000) to parliamentary speaker Ivan Plyushch and his deputy, Viktor Medvedchuk, on 9 March, Interfax reported. Plyushch said the parliament might approve the program by the end of March. He added that only following that approval can the parliament sign an accord on "shared responsibility" with the government in order to implement the program. Finance Minister Serhiy Tyhypko said that if the legislature rejected the program, Yushchenko's cabinet would almost certainly resign, according to the 10 March "Eastern Economist Daily." He added that if the program is approved, the parliament will not be able to dismiss any ministers. JM

RUSSIA EXTRADITES SUSPECT IN LUKANOV MURDER. Russia has extradited Ukrainian citizen Oleg Protsenko to Bulgaria, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 March. Protsenko is suspected of having been an accomplice in the assassination of former Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov in October 1996. MS