MINSK AUTHORITIES BAN MARCH ON CHORNOBYL ANNIVERSARY. The Minsk City Executive Committee has banned opposition organizations from staging any marches in the city on 26 April, the 14th anniversary of the Chornobyl accident, and allowed only a rally on the outskirts on Minsk, Belapan and RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 20 April. Tens of thousands of people have marched in downtown Minsk every year since 1989 to mark the world's worst nuclear accident. "[The authorities] cut benefits to Chornobyl victims, sow contaminated fields and harvest contaminated crops, which are then offered to Belarusians. The authorities apparently want to let the people of Belarus die out silently without a single protest," scientist Ivan Nikitchanka, head of the march's organizing committee, said. The organizers announced that the march will take place despite the ban. Parliamentarians from Germany, the Czech Republic, and Russia are expected to monitor the demonstration. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT URGES FIGHT WITH CORRUPTION... Leonid Kuchma told the presidential Coordinating Committee for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption on 20 April that all that has been "stolen" from the people and the state must be returned, Interfax reported. Kuchma added that there should be "no untouchables, no double standards, no double morals" in dealing with crime and corruption. The president said he is concerned with the situation in the energy and banking sectors and named the United Energy Systems and the bank Slovyanskyy as entities that have evaded payments to the state budget. He also noted that privatization "remains a favorable sphere for corruption and economic crime" and demanded that the government ban "privatization of Ukrainian entities through offshore zones." JM

...WHILE MAIN TAX INSPECTOR POINTS TO PARLIAMENT. State Tax Administration chief Mykola Azarov said at the same meeting that parliamentary deputies and their enterprises control 25 percent of imports and 10 percent of exports in Ukraine, the "Eastern Economist Daily" reported. Azarov added that 364 deputies are involved in economic activities and the number of organizations they control exceeds 3,000. According to his data, in 1999 these companies imported and exported 18.4 billion hryvni ($3.4 billion) worth of goods, failing to pay 4.1 billion hryvni in taxes and other dues to the state budget. Azarov also said only some 30 Ukrainian citizens declared incomes exceeding 1 million hryvni in 1999, while more than 5,000 citizens purchased Mercedes worth between $100,000 and $300,000. JM

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN HUNGARY. Visiting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk and his Hungarian counterpart Janos Martonyi on 20 April told journalists that "no controversial issues" exist between their countries, Hungarian media reported. He and Martonyi agreed that Ukraine will service half of its $1 million debt to Hungary in the form of financing projects aimed at aiding the Hungarian minority in the Subcarpathian region in Ukraine. Martonyi said the funds will go to Hungarian-language schools and cultural institutions. They also discussed ways of cutting red tape blocking commercial exchanges, noting that bilateral trade rose by 20 percent in the first months of 2000. Martonyi said Budapest supports Ukraine's "ideas on EuroAtlantic integration" and thanked Tarasyuk for Kyiv's assistance in combating the floods. Earlier, Tarasyuk visited the floods area in Szolnok, where he was received by Premier Viktor Orban. MS