UKRAINIAN TRADE UNION LEADER ARRESTED. Yuri Pyvovarov, leader of the All-Ukrainian Trade Union "Solidarnist," was arrested in Donetsk on 6 September, Interfax reported. Donetsk Prosecutor Oleksandr Almezov told journalists that the Kharkiv Prosecutor's Office had launched a criminal investigation into "Solidarnist" activists on charges of abuse of office and had ordered "Solidarnist" headquarters in Donetsk to be searched. Almezov said Pyvovarov put up resistance to police officers and inflicted serious injuries on three of them when they tried to enter his office. Subsequently Pyvovarov spent eight hours on a window ledge of the "Solidarnist" headquarters' building to protest the search. After finally persuading Pyvovarov to leave his ledge, police interrogated and then arrested him after he had made two attempts to "disappear." Almezov said there is no link between Pyvovarov's arrest and the 29 August protest action in Donetsk, organized by "Solidarnist," among other groups. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 7 September)

CABINET REPORTS REPAYMENT OF PENSION ARREARS... Premier Viktor Yushchenko on 10 September said he has fulfilled his pledge to pay off pension arrears by 15 September. "I want to apologize to all our pensioners for what they had to go through. The government has done everything possible to avoid a repeat of such a situation," Interfax quoted Yushchenko as saying. At the beginning of this year, wage arrears in Ukraine stood at 1.25 billion hryvni ($230 million). Yushchenko also pledged that the government will seek to increase pensions. The average monthly pension in Ukraine is some 50 hryvni ($9.2). ("RFE/RL Newsline," 9 September)

RUSSIA LESS CORRUPT THAN UKRAINE, MORE CORRUPT THAN BELARUS. In Transparency International's annual Corruption Perception Index released on 13 September, Russia ranked 82 out of 90 countries, with the 90th being perceived as the most corrupt (see The only countries that scored worse than Russia were Cameroon, Angola, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, and Nigeria, with Nigeria occupying the last place. Of countries of the former Soviet Union included in the survey, Belarus fared best, occupying 42nd position. The Corruption Perception Index is based on surveys of business people, the general public and country analysts (see also "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 September 2000, Part II). JAC

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY DEEMED 'UNRELIABLE.' Viktor Volkov, head of the Revival of Regions parliamentary caucus and an influential "oligarch," told journalists on 14 September that amending the constitution in line with the 16 April referendum will be difficult since the pro-government parliamentary majority is unreliable. According to Volkov, only six groups--Revival of Regions, Labor Ukraine, Social Democratic Party (United), Greens, Popular Democratic Party, and Yabluko--adhere strictly to the majority's obligations, while such groups as Fatherland, both factions of the split Rukh, and Reforms-Congress support the majority only when "it suits their interests," Interfax reported. Volkov added that his caucus wants Deputy Premier Yuliya Tymoshenko to be dismissed from Viktor Yushchenko's cabinet for her "incompetence" in the energy sector. Some Ukrainian commentators assert that Tymoshenko's energy policies have substantially reduced Volkov's control over Ukraine's gas and oil supplies as well as his personal financial gain. JM

UKRAINE MAKES TIMELY EUROBOND PAYMENT. The Finance Ministry said on 14 September that Kyiv made a second scheduled payment of $56.3 million on its Eurobonds, Interfax reported. The Eurobonds are part of the debt rescheduling scheme drawn up in the spring, whereby Ukraine swapped $2.7 billion worth of bonds maturing in 2000 and 2001 for seven-year Eurobonds denominated in euros (10 percent interest annually) and U.S. dollars (11-percent interest annually). Ukraine must pay interest on Eurobonds every quarter. The country's foreign debt currently stands at $10.6 billion, according to the Finance Ministry. JM