RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
A Survey of Developments in Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine by the Regional Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.
MORE FUSS OVER KWASNIEWSKI'S LUSTRATION. Last week, Wieslaw Walendziak, head of the presidential election team of Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski, sued for libel his counterpart from President Aleksander Kwasniewski's election team, Ryszard Kalisz. Kalisz had suggested that Walendziak may have pressured the State Protection Office (UOP) to provide the Lustration Court with documents alleging that Kwasniewski was a communist-era security service agent (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 1 August 2000). The sides reached a settlement whereby Kalisz agreed to make the following statement for the media: "I publicly state that I never claimed and do not claim that Wieslaw Walendziak issues or has issued instructions to the State Protection Office."
Walendziak and Krzaklewski's election staff accepted this apology from Kalisz, but the latter on 4 August resumed his attack by saying on Radio Zet that he is still waiting for a reply from Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek to questions asked on 27 July: "Who now gives instructions to the UOP? Is this person the head of Marian Krzaklewski's campaign, Wieslaw Walendziak? Who prepared these materials? What is Jerzy Buzek's knowledge about this dirty business?"
Walendziak retorted the same day that "Citizen Kalisz will meet citizen Walendziak in court." Buzek's answer was short, too. He referred to former findings by the parliamentary Committee for Special Services (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 August 2000): [The committee] has stated that there have been no irregularities in the lustration of the presidential candidates. The UOP is under the authority of persons constitutionally entitled to fulfill such functions."
Andrzej Olechowski, an independent presidential candidate, suggested his own explanation of this continued hassle over Kwasniewski's lustration:
"It is difficult to avoid getting the perverse impression that there is some sort of plot, a conspiracy between the staffs of Messrs. Kwasniewski and Krzaklewski, who are through their mutual activities trying to draw attention to themselves, to cause the public to believe that the competition is [only] between them. And that, fortunately, is not the case, since I have the second place in the polls," PAP quoted Olechowski as saying on 4 August.
Olechowski admitted in his lustration statement that he had been a collaborator of the communist-era secret services but said that he had dealt exclusively with economic intelligence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July 2000). The Lustration Court confirmed that Olechowski told the truth in his statement. The admittance of the collaboration does not entail any legal consequences for presidential candidates. On the other hand, if the Lustration Court finds that a candidate lied in his lustration statement, that candidate may be excluded from the presidential race and banned from holding public posts for 10 years. Incumbent President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former President Lech Walesa--who both declared that they did not collaborated with communist secret services-- are now involved in lustration trials, trying to put paid to allegations by the UOP that they were secret agents.
SURRENDER TO RUSSIA AMID ANTI-RUSSIAN SLOGANS? The Moscowbased "Vremya novostei" published on 2 August an interesting interpretation of Kyiv's reaction to Moscow's accusations that the rights of Russians in Ukraine, including the right to use the Russian language, are being infringed.
"Vremya novostei" wrote that official Kyiv has not made any critical assessment of the anti-Russian campaign in Lviv that followed the death of Ukrainian composer Ihor Bilozir (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 6 and 13 June 2000). The newspaper said the only response to protests from the Russian Duma, the Russian Foreign Ministry, and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Ivan Aboimov was a note by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which rejected the accusation that Russians in Ukraine are being discriminated against and provided the following statistics: 30 percent of schools and 35 percent of higher educational institutions in Ukraine instruct their students in Russian; Ukraine has 1,200 periodicals published in Russian; 14 state theaters stage plays in Russian. "Indeed, the general analysis of the linguistic situation testifies to the fact that there is no discrimination," "Vremya novostei" admitted but added that the authorities' "noninterference in the [Lviv] conflict, which is potentially fraught with bloodshed, is tantamount to its encouragement." And here is the newspaper's explanation why Kyiv is behaving in such a way:
"The Ukrainian president, regardless of what is said by both sides, is sure of the [Russian] neighbor's loyalty. Surrendering its economic independence step by step, [Kyiv] can permit itself [some games with "national" themes]. Not having sufficient strength and possibilities to counter Russia's pressure in key economic issues, Kyiv is 'selfasserting' on the national front.
"The Ukrainian leadership is convinced that it will be forgiven for any political games if it opens its locks to Russian investment in [Ukraine's] strategic industries, which allow [those in charge] to control state policies. The first signs have already appeared: four of the six Ukrainian refineries are controlled by Russians; National Security and Defense Council Secretary Yevhen Marchuk offers to Russia one-third of Ukraine's gas pipelines as repayment of gas debts (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 1 August 2000); the presidential entourage sees Gazprom as the owner of the Khartsyzsk Pipeline Plant, which enables it to build pipelines in Central Asia. And Leonid Kuchma has publicly criticized an agreement on the supply to Ukraine of Turkmen gas, which may become an alternative to Russian gas. If all those advances are materialized, Ukraine's sovereignty will become largely formal, while Russia--which is busy with 'gathering the lands' [lost after the breakup of the USSR]--will obtain what it wants. Against this background, the Ukrainian authorities, in order to save face, may take such liberties as to open Chechen information centers or keep neutrality in the assessment of the Lviv events. As for Moscow, it is conducting a sufficiently flexible policy in order to realize [all] that, and a sufficiently pragmatic one in order to support the integration with Ukraine even if it is wrapped in anti-Russian slogans."
"[President Aleksander Kwasniewski] is implementing the policy dictated by Washington of favoring relations with Ukraine, but the sharp edge of this alliance is directed against Russia, which is something contrary to the Polish state imperative." -- Polish Socialist Party leader Piotr Ikonowicz, Kwasniewski's rival in the 2000 presidential race. Quoted by PAP on 4 August.
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.
U.S. TO STOP FUNDING UKRAINE IF RUSSIAN GAS DEBT PAID WITH BOMBERS. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer said on 7 August that the U.S. will stop financing the dismantling of Ukraine's nuclear arsenal if Kyiv transfers more strategic bombers to Russia in repayment of gas debts. "We will not pay Ukraine for cutting up the bombers if it does not destroy them," Interfax quoted Pifer as saying. Pifer added that Washington would prefer the planes to be dismantled because they "were made with the sole goal--to carry nuclear arms directed at the United States." Last year Ukraine sent 11 strategic bombers to Russia to repay $285 million for delivered gas, while last week the Ukrainian premier admitted that Kyiv has offered another 10 bombers to write off part of its gas debt to Russia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 August 2000). JM
WORLD BANK CONSIDERS THREE-YEAR LOAN PLAN FOR UKRAINE. First Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, who led a delegation for talks with the IMF and the World Bank in Washington last week, said on 7 August that the World Bank is considering a three-year loan program to Ukraine and will make a decision on it in September, Interfax reported. According to Yekhanurov, if the government fulfills its economic reform pledges, the World Bank may give Ukraine from $50 million to $200 million each year. He added that the bank's loan is dependent on the resumption of the suspended $2.6 billion loan by the IMF. Yekhanurov said the IMF will discuss this month possible sanctions against Kyiv for misinforming the fund about its hard currency reserves, while in September the fund is expected to send a "decisive" mission to Kyiv to agree on conditions for the loan resumption. JM
CRIMEAN SPEAKER SLAMS ACCORD BETWEEN PRESIDENTIAL REPRESENTATIVE, TATARS. Leonid Hrach has called the 2 August agreement between the Ukrainian president's permanent representative in Crimea, Anatoliy Korniychuk, and the Council of Representatives of the Crimean Tatar People an "overt insult to the Crimean Constitution," Interfax reported on 7 August. Korniychuk and Crimean Tatar activist Mustafa Dzhemilev signed "a plan of joint measures oriented toward the resolution of problems of the Crimean Tatar People in the socioeconomic sphere," according to the agency. "Who delegated those functions to them, who will carry out [that accord], where is, under such circumstances, the place of the official authorities of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea?" Hrach asked indignantly at a session of the Crimean Supreme Council. JM