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RUSSIA TO EXPORT NO MORE THAN 3 MILLION TONS OF GRAIN. In the face of stiff competition from Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Russia this year will export no more than 3 million tons of grain, export officials told Interfax on 30 October. PG

UKRAINIAN PREMIER CONTINUES U.S. TRIP. U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill assured Anatoliy Kinakh in Washington, D.C., on 30 October that the U.S. is ready to provide expert assistance to Ukraine in combating money laundering, New Channel television reported. Kinakh emphasized during the talks that Kyiv wants to enter the World Trade Organization. Kinakh's main objective during his three-day visit is to persuade Washington to give Ukraine the status of a country with a market economy, which would mean lower tariffs and larger quotas for Ukrainian goods in the United States. The same day, Kinakh also met with World Bank President James Wolfensohn. Ukrainian Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov commented that the talks with the World Bank are the most successful and constructive in the last several years. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION BILL, BUT WITH OBJECTIONS. Leonid Kuchma has signed into law a bill on parliamentary election that was passed by the parliament earlier this month (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 23 October 2001), Interfax reported on 30 October, quoting presidential spokesman Ihor Storozhuk. Storozhuk told journalists that Kuchma simultaneously asked the parliament "to urgently introduce a number of amendments" to the bill in order to hold next year's parliamentary election "with full observance of Ukraine's Constitution and legislation." In particular, Kuchma proposed to change the procedure for forming precinct election commissions and cancel the clause banning the participation in elections of parties that were set up less than one year before the election date. JM

UKRAINE DESTROYS LAST SS-24 MISSILE SILO. On 30 October, in Pervomaysk Raion of Mykolayiv Oblast, Ukrainian field engineers blew up the last of the country's 46 silos that were built to launch SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles, Ukrainian media reported. In this way Ukraine met its international commitment to liquidate its strategic offensive arms. The same day, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Mykhtyuk and John Connell, the director of the program for elimination of strategic arms in Ukraine, signed a document providing for U.S. assistance of $30 million toward the dismantling of Ukraine's infrastructure used to construct SS-19 and SS-24 missiles. UNIAN reported that the U.S. also pledged its assistance in destroying Ukraine's 47 Tu-22 heavy bombers. JM

COMMUNISTS WANT U.S. AMBASSADOR OUT OF UKRAINE. The Communist Party of Ukraine has called on the Foreign Ministry to declare U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Carlos Pascual persona non grata for interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs, Ukrainian media reported on 30 October. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko said Pascual has grossly interfered in the country's affairs by sending a letter to the Ukrainian parliament and urging the "so-called parliamentary majority" to adopt laws on curbing copyright violations. According to Symonenko, some legislative provisions designed to crack down on Ukraine's market in pirated video, audio, and computer software were inspired or even dictated by U.S. experts. The U.S. previously indicated that it could impose sanctions over Kyiv's inability to curb the piracy of intellectual property. JM

UKRAINIAN MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX CHIEF CALLS FOR CIVILIAN DEFENSE MINISTER. Volodymyr Horbulin, the head of the State Commission for the Military-Industrial Complex, said on 30 October that he is ready to assume the post of defense minister, following last week's dismissal of Oleksandr Kuzmuk over the accidental downing of a Russian passenger plane. Horbulin added, however, that this post has not been offered to him. Horbulin believes that Ukraine's defense minister must be a civilian. "I believe that the military is simply unable to carry out reform, without which the existence of the Ukrainian armed forces is impossible," One Plus One television quoted Horbulin as saying. JM

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT REJECTS STATEMENT OF OPPOSITION PARTIES AS 'DEMAGOGIC.' A statement released by the government on 31 October said the cabinet considers a declaration adopted the previous day by representatives of the National Liberal Party, the Democratic Party, and several parties from the extraparliamentary opposition, as well as civic organizations, as a "demagogic text that distorts reality," Mediafax reported. In the declaration, the signatories criticized the government for "negotiating away Romania's national interest" in both the discussions under way with Russia on the new basic treaty and in the proposals made by the premier on the implementation of the Hungarian Status Law in Romania. The government said it is being criticized by the same people who "hastened to conclude the bilateral treaty with Ukraine" without taking into consideration the then-opposition's plea to introduce in it a condemnation of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. It also said the cabinet "nowhere" said it is willing to renounce the return of the Romanian state treasury from Moscow. The government said the signatories "in bad faith" have ignored its statements that Romania will never accept the Status Law's extraterritorial and "socioeconomically discriminating" aspects. MS

SMIRNOV DISMISSES POTENTIAL 'PRESIDENTIAL' OPPONENT FROM JOB. Separatist leader Igor Smirnov on 30 October dismissed Tom Zenovich, the chief of the Bendery-Tighina city administration, from his job due to "the worsening situation in the town and the administration's failure to take the necessary measures," Flux reported. Smirnov claimed that his decision has "nothing to do" with Zenovich's announced intention to run in the "presidential elections" scheduled for 1 December, but Valerii Litskay, the Transdniester "foreign minister," told ITAR-TASS that "Zenovich became involved in the presidential race and started to criticize the authorities whose representative he was. That is why he has been dismissed." Political observers said earlier that Zenovich enjoys the backing of both Moscow and Kyiv. In related news, Flux reported that following Vladimir Skok's decision to withdraw from the "presidential" race, four candidates remain in the competition. They are Deputy Aleksandr Radchenko, Zenovich, and "Novaya gazeta" Editor in Chief Andrei Safronov. Only Smirnov has thus far managed to collect the 8,500 signatures necessary for registering as a candidate. MS