IMF MISSION CRITICAL OF UKRAINE'S 2001 BUDGET DRAFT. Julian Berengaut, head of an IMF delegation currently visiting Kyiv, said on 21 September that the government's prediction that budget revenues will total 9 billion hryvni ($1.65 billion) next year is "somewhat unrealistic," Interfax reported. Berengaut added that if this provision is approved by the parliament, the 2001 budget will in fact have a deficit equal to 5 percent of GDP instead of being balanced, as the government asserts. Berengaut refused to say if and when the fund will resume its suspended $2.6 billion loan package to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Premier Viktor Yushchenko commented the same day that the government has made "obvious progress" in its talks with the IMF mission. The 2001 budget draft foresees that the country will obtain $1.72 billion in foreign loans, including $1.13 billion under the IMF's suspended loan program (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 September 2000). JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY ELECTS ITS HEAD. The Supreme Council's pro-government majority elected Oleksandr Karpov as its leader on 21 September. Karpov, who heads the parliamentary caucus of the Popular Democratic Party, will replace Leonid Kravchuk of the Social Democratic Party (United). The pro-government majority elects a new leader for each parliamentary session. Karpov told Interfax that the majority currently numbers 171 deputies. He added that "one can be quite confident" that the majority will soon be reinforced by 15 other lawmakers, while "four or five" are now negotiating the possibility of access. The majority needs at least 300 votes to pass constitutional amendments in line with the 16 April referendum. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPOINTS COMMISSION TO EXAMINE JOURNALIST'S DISAPPEARANCE. The parliament on 21 September set up a 15-strong commission to look into the disappearance of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 September 2000), Interfax reported. The commission is headed by Oleksandr Lavrynovych of the Popular Rukh of Ukraine. More than 40 journalists accredited to the parliament asked the lawmakers not to appoint those deputies who have been criticized by Gongadze in his Internet newsletter "Pravda Ukrainy." Many Ukrainian journalist believe that Gongadze's disappearance is politically motivated. Meanwhile, Deputy Interior Minister Mykola Dzhyha said the same day that police rule out "political motives" in Gongadze's disappearance. "[Gongadze] is not a political or public figure who would be able to influence politics," Dzhyha noted. JM

Romania____________5_______2_______4______11 Ukraine____________2_______6_______3______11 Belarus____________0_______1_______6_______7 Slovakia___________1_______3_______1_______5 Bulgaria___________3_______1_______0_______4 Poland_____________2_______2_______0_______4 Hungary____________2_______1_______1_______4 Czech Rep._________1_______0_______3_______4 Estonia____________0_______0_______2_______2 Croatia____________1_______0_______0_______1 Lithuania__________1_______0_______0_______1 Yugoslavia_________0_______1_______0_______1 Moldova____________0_______1_______0_______1 Latvia_____________0_______0_______1_______1 Albania____________0_______0_______0_______0 Bosnia-Herzeg._____0_______0_______0_______0 Macedonia__________0_______0_______0_______0 Slovenia___________0_______0_______0_______0

REPORTEDLY LEAST CORRUPT COUNTRY IN EASTERN EUROPE. According to the annual Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International, Estonia scored 5.7 on a 10-point index (with 10 signifying virtually no corruption), coming in 27th out of 90 countries, BNS reported on 13 September. This was the highest placing of an East European country. Estonia came just ahead of Slovenia and Taiwan (5.5 points each), followed by Hungary (5.2) and the Czech Republic (4.3). Lithuania, Belarus, and Poland tied with El Salvador and Chile with 4.1 points in 43rd place, while Latvia scored 3.4 points in 57th place. Russia received 2.1 points in 82nd place, while Ukraine received 1.5 points and Yugoslavia came last among East European countries with 1.3 points. Finland topped the index with 10 points, while Nigeria was last with 1.2 points. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 14 September)


BROADCAST LICENSES TO BE ISSUED. The Ukrainian government is planning to convene a national meeting in October with the country's TV and radio companies to initiate licensing procedures, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 13 September. This plan was announced on the same day by Boris Kholod after a joint session of the National Council and the Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information. The necessary documents for this procedure have already been prepared by the National Council, according to Kholod. For more information, see

CHERNIHOV HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE. The Chernihov Public Committee of Human Rights Protection, formed in 1998, is officially registered as a public non-governmental organization. The 27 committee members include lawyers, teachers, psychologists, and economists and is financed by member's and sponsor's fees. The purpose of our organization's activity is protecting civil, political, personal, and other rights, including free legal consultations, legal casework, human rights monitoring, conducting educational and media work. The committee also cooperates with other human rights groups in Ukraine and particularly in Russia and Poland. For more information contact Aleksei Tarasov, chairman; email: (Center for Civil Society International, 30 August)