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OPPOSITION APPEALS FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRACY. The "Ukraine Without Kuchma" Public Committee and the Forum for National Salvation have called on the world's democratic communities, parliaments, and governments to support democracy in Ukraine, Interfax reported on 2 March. A joint statement accuses Ukrainian authorities of failure to conduct a civilized dialogue with society; "grave crimes against man and humanity;" as well as corruption and embezzlement of state property. The statement notes that President Leonid Kuchma is "the obstacle upon Ukraine's path to democratic Europe [and] the free world." Addressing the Ukrainian people, the anti-Kuchma opposition appeals to "create structures of resistance in every town and village, on every plant and at home." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 5 March)

MOROZ SAYS DEMOCRACY AT RISK. Ukraine is now at "a turning point in its national history" and may either move toward a criminal dictatorship or become a democratic state, according to a major participant of the ongoing political drama in that country. Oleksandr Moroz, the chairman of the Ukrainian Socialist Party and one of the leading opponents of current Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, described the current political crisis in Ukraine to a briefing at RFE/RL's Washington office this week. Moroz suggested that the case of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, a journalist who many suspect was killed on the orders of people surrounding Kuchma, was "just another stroke in the picture" of the emerging nature of political power in Ukraine. Moroz, who unsuccessfully ran against Kuchma in the recent election and now seeks to replace him, said that the current Ukrainian president has blocked reforms in the economy, cultivated an authoritarian political style, and actively interfered in the country's national and religious life. A longtime Communist Party official in Soviet times, Moroz provided few clues as to what kind of Ukraine he would like to see. But he was clear on one point: he insisted that Kyiv must have the closest possible ties with Moscow. "The Russian Federation is Ukraine's greatest and closest partner," he said. (RFE/RL Press Release, 2 March)

POLICE DISMANTLE TENT CITY, ARREST ANTI-KUCHMA PROTESTERS. Some 400 policemen on 1 March cordoned off the tent city erected by opponents of President Leonid Kuchma on Kyiv's central Khreshchatyk Street, dragged some 100 occupants out of the tents, and dismantled the camp, Reuters and AP reported. Opposition activists and witnesses said some 30 protesters were detained. "This is the beginning of Kuchma's solution to this problem [of anti-presidential protests] by force," AP quoted opposition lawmaker Yuriy Karmazin as saying. "It was an absolutely correct decision by the authorities to show that they are the authorities, and everyone should remember that for the future. Nobody is against the opposition sitting in tents. They have a specific site allocated to them, as all civilized nations do, and let them sit there as long as they like," Kuchma commented. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 1 March)

SOROS CALLS ON PRESIDENT TO STEP DOWN. In an article published in the 2 March "Financial Times," international financier George Soros urged Leonid Kuchma to stand down pending an inquiry into his alleged role in the disappearance of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze. "If Mr. Kuchma cares about Ukraine's survival as an independent democratic state, he must take responsibility for his actions and hand over his duties to the prime minister," Soros noted. Soros also urged the West to take a clear position by denouncing Kuchma's behavior and discontinuing doing business with the Ukrainian president until an impartial investigation has been completed. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 2 March)

LOCAL PUBLIC MANAGEMENT OF MULTI-ETHNIC COMMUNITIES. The LGI Managing Multiethnic Communities Project (MMCP) publication "Diversity in Action: Local Public Management of Multi-Ethnic Communities In Central and Eastern Europe" (March 2001) offers theoretical and policy-oriented perspectives on local management of ethnically heterogeneous communities throughout Central Europe. The volume highlights problems faced by ethnic minorities in education, access to public services and media outlets, local level public participation, and linguistic rights, plus policy recommendations to encourage public administration reforms on multi-ethnic issues in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. To receive this publication, send a message to For more information visit (MINELRES, 3 March)

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WANTS OFFICIALS TO FOLLOW HIM, OR QUIT... President Leonid Kuchma said on 6 March that state officials have one week to publicly renounce ties to the opposition or resign their posts. "I suggest that every civil servant, starting with ministers, who are members of, or sympathize with... opposition groups, should decide within a week whether to give up their jobs in authority bodies or publicly renounce anti-state groups," Interfax quoted Kuchma as saying. According to Kuchma, such a step by officials would be "politically correct and honest." The president added that some officials, including those of "the highest rank," have taken a "wait-and-see position" on Ukraine's current situation. "One has an impression that some people want to keep silent, which is equivalent to passively encouraging those actions [by the opposition]. I do not understand or accept this," Kuchma said. JM

... LASHES OPPOSITION FOR DRAFT LAW ON PARLIAMENTARY REPUBLIC. President Kuchma harshly criticized a draft law proposed recently by the opposition to change the constitution in order to transform Ukraine into a parliamentary republic. "How much cynicism and disregard for the people is needed in order to practically reject the implementation of the [constitutional] referendum results, in order to redraft the constitution for satisfying personal political ambitions?" Kuchma asked. Kuchma noted that the current political campaign against him was initiated "not for national salvation or strengthening the state or the people's well-being, but for [gaining] power itself." He added: "It is necessary to do everything, in both the center and the provinces, in order to defend society in a democratic way from such deliverers." JM

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN GERMANY. Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana on 6 March met in Berlin with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer and other officials to discuss bilateral relations, Romania's quest to join the EU and NATO, and the prospects of increasing German investments in Romania. Geoana told journalists that it would be "premature" to say that Germany has decided to "firmly engage in backing Romania's joining of NATO in 2002" but that he could "sense a clear inclination in favor of EU expansion if our country fulfills the EU criteria." He also said German investors are interested in Romania "provided certain conditions are met" and later explained that his government is "doing its best" to remove the numerous bureaucratic hurdles hindering foreign investment and to pass clear legislation to encourage it. In his capacity as rotating OSCE chairman, Geoana also discussed with Fischer the evolution of events in Macedonia, Moldova, the south Caucasus, Russia, and Ukraine. MS

PATRIARCH PROMISES TO PROTECT RUSSIANS ABROAD. Aleksii II told a group of Russians from the former Soviet republics that "you are flesh of flesh and blood of blood of our people," adding that "we see it as our duty to take part in all actions aimed at consolidating the unity of our compatriots living abroad," Interfax reported. The patriarch also condemned efforts to separate from the Russian Orthodox Church orthodox congregations in Estonia and Ukraine and said that it is not yet time for Pope John Paul II to visit Ukraine, the news agency reported. Meanwhile, Russian media gave prominent play to the closure of the only Russianlanguage daily in Lithuania, noting that its editors had informed President Putin that the paper will cease publication, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 6 March (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 March 2001). A committee headed by Duma speaker Seleznev announced the same day that a Slavic Congress of the Peoples of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine will take place in Moscow 1-2 June, Interfax said. PG