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'GAZETASNG.RU' NAMES 20 CIS MEDIA LEADERS. On 16 July, the online daily "GazetaSNG.Ru" ( publicized the results of its first research on the CIS media. The survey was conducted by the information and analysis portal of "GazetaSNG.Ru" and the Fund for Study of the Newly Independent States, and tried to find out who are the leading media figures;. 3,654 respondents were surveyed in 12 CIS countries, including 67 media experts. The survey found that TV personalities were the most prominent, while the print media is rapidly losing its influence in most CIS countries. Consulting and PR structures are gaining power plus "behind-the-stage players" who represent the authorities or major business. Among them the CIS experts noted the increasing influence of Eurasian Media Group and its leader Vartan Toganian. As to those included into the rating of 20 CIS media leaders, most of them represent Russia (14), Kazakhstan and Ukraine are represented by 2 each, and Belarus and Armenia by 1 each. Tigran Naghdalian, the chairman of the Council of Public Television and Radio of Armenia was rated 11th in the list of media leaders. From 1995 until 1997, Naghdalian was a correspondent of the RFE/RL Armenian Service. ("Yerevan Press Club Newsletter," 14- 20 July)


U.S. URGES POLITICAL REFORM, MEDIA FREEDOM. On 25 July in Kyiv, U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice delivered a strongly worded warning to Ukraine, saying its integration into Europe depends on political reforms, transparent probes into the recent killings of journalists, and fair elections, AP reported. "A very strong message is sent about political reform, about free press...judiciary reform and transparency in the [murder] cases that are of worldwide attention here. We hope to have good relations with Ukraine...but it can only be on the basis of forward movement on these very important issues," the agency quoted Rice as saying. Rice met with President Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh, and other officials. "Our Congress does have an important role to play in American foreign policy, but I think that you can be certain that the U.S. administration understands the importance of funding to civil society in Ukraine," Rice said, referring to the debate in U.S. Congress on a possible cut in aid to Kyiv. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 25 July)

KYIV PAPER REQUESTS HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTISE. The newspaper "Vecherny Vestnik" (Evening Herald), a Russian-language newspaper in Kyiv, intends to expand its treatment of human rights issues by running a regular section in the paper titled "The Defender of Human Rights." According to Vladimir Leonidovich Gumenuk, manager of "Vecherny Vestnik" (circulation of over 400,000), the newspaper receives about 50 letters a week from readers describing conflicts with authorities over laws and rights. The newspaper would like to become known as a more vigorous defender of citizens' rights, and a regular column, managed by a trio of experts, legal and journalistic, is the proposed answer. Gumenuk said the proposed section is intended "to raise public activity in Ukraine in a direction of upholding of protection of rights and freedom of the person." For further information, contact V. L. Gumenuk at or see (Center for Civil Society International, 26 July)

U.S. SAID WAGING INFO WARS AGAINST KUCHMA, LUKASHENKA. Konstantin Zatulin, who serves as the director of Moscow's CIS Institute, told on 19 July that current media campaigns about attacks on journalists and the disappearance of opposition figures are being directed from "a single center," the United States. He said that Washington is hoping to overthrow Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma because the Americans have lost interest in him, and Belarus leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka "for reasons of principle." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July)

RUSSIANS DIVIDED ON WHO IS A SLAV. Two-thirds of all Russians (68 percent) consider themselves to be Slavs, while 22 percent deny that they are, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation and reported by Interfax on 26 July. Twenty-eight percent of the respondents said that the term Slav is equivalent to the term Russian, 16 percent said it also includes Belarusians and Ukrainians, and 6 percent said it includes other groups as well. For 2 percent of the sample, Slav is the proper designator for everyone who lived in the Soviet Union. Fifteen percent said that Slavs are distinguished from other groups by their positive qualities, while 6 percent said they are set apart by their negative features. PG

UKRAINE TO CONTINUE MILITARY COOPERATION WITH MACEDONIA. Foreign Ministry spokesman Serhiy Borodenko said on 26 July that Kyiv will continue "military cooperation" with Macedonia under a bilateral agreement, although it is "ready to consider" discontinuing arms sales to Skopje, Interfax reported. U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said in Kyiv the previous day that Ukrainian officials promised to stop supplying weapons, which the United States fears could further stoke the conflict between ethnic Albanian rebels and the Macedonian government, AP reported. Borodenko did not specify what kind of military support can be included under the term "military cooperation." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW ON STATUS OF LAWMAKER. Leonid Kuchma has signed a bill introducing amendments to the law on the status of Ukraine's parliamentary deputy, Interfax reported on 26 July. Kuchma signed the document after the parliament overrode his veto on the bill earlier this month. However, the president is going to ask the Constitutional Court to rule whether the bill conforms with the country's constitution. According to Kuchma, many of its provisions contradict Ukraine's basic law, in particular one that bans police from launching investigations of people's deputies who committed a crime. JM