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U.S.-EURASIA TOURISM CONFERENCE (6 MARCH) A U.S. government-sponsored conference in Istanbul will focus on tourism development in Eurasia on 29-31 May. The event will help match U.S. companies with tourism infrastructure projects in 12 Eurasian countries. The conference will provide participants with information on large-scale projects involving roads, airports, railways, hotels, resorts, parks, monuments, and other cultural heritage sites. Plans for tourism-related water-treatment plants, power plants, and telecommunications networks will also be featured. The combined value of projects to be presented at the conference is expected to exceed $350 million. Organized by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the conference will highlight opportunities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Turkey. (JMR)

GOLDEN TELECOM REPORTS PROFITS (5 MARCH) Russian telecoms provider Golden Telecom's net loss widened in the fourth quarter of 2001 due to a heavy charge, while revenues were hit slightly by a lower take in Ukraine. Russia's largest Internet service provider reported growth in core earnings as margins on long-distance and Internet services widened, however. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to $10 million in the fourth quarter, from $7.4 million in the previous three months, Reuters reported. Troika Dialog telecoms analyst Tom Adshead said that without a $31.3 million write-down on Internet and Ukrainian mobile assets, Golden Telecom would be profitable. Golden's consolidated net loss deepened in the fourth quarter to $29.7 million from $1.9 million in the previous quarter after an impairment charge. "The severely reduced expectations in demand for Internet advertising in Russia, as throughout Western markets, have impacted the value of our portal assets, and we have written these down by approximately $20.9 million," Golden Telecom Chief Financial Officer David Stewart said in a statement. "In addition, operating difficulties are impacting our Ukrainian mobile division and we have written down those assets by approximately $10.4 million." (JMR)

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WANTS MILITARY COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA... Leonid Kuchma on 18 March visited the state-run Artem military giant that produces air-to-air missiles, parts for the An-70 and An-140 transport aircraft, as well as some nonmilitary goods including vacuum cleaners and parts for tractors and combines, Ukrainian media reported. Kuchma said he is sure that new weapons are needed by the Ukrainian army and that they will find buyers on the global market. He also touched upon his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 March 2002). "We discussed the level of our technical and military cooperation in detail... We do not have any alternative to the unification of efforts of the Ukrainian and Russian military-industrial complex, as well as of our other partners that used to be in the former Soviet Union and are now republics or, rather, countries of the CIS," Inter Television quoted Kuchma as saying. JM

...STRESSES NEED FOR 'ORGANIZED FORCE' IN PARLIAMENT. Commenting on the upcoming parliamentary ballot, Kuchma said stability in the country can be preserved only if the government receives political support from a future parliament. "If 32 parties...with 14 people from each come into [a 450-strong] parliament, tell me please: Can they come to terms with each other? Everyone wants to be at the top and wield the scepter. It took us two months to elect the previous parliament's head. This will be the case with the next parliament unless a really organized force comes to power -- or two or three of them -- which can unite on one platform," Inter Television quoted him as saying. JM

OUR UKRAINE CAMPAIGNER REPORTEDLY BEATEN BY POLICE. Citing the press service of the Ukrainian Popular Rukh, UNIAN reported on 18 March that Oleksandra Kravchenko, a campaign activist of Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine election bloc, was harshly beaten by two policemen in Sumy (northern Ukraine) on 12 March. According to the press service, she was attacked by members of the Velyko-Pysarivskyy District police department in Sumy Oblast: Oleksandr Polyakin, the deputy head of the department, and Serhiy Korniyenko. Kravchenko has appealed to the Prosecutor's Office for protection. JM

UKRAINIAN CITY GIVES COMBATANT STATUS TO FORMER SS DIVISION SOLDIERS. The City Council of Ivano-Frankivsk (western Ukraine) has recognized veterans of the SS Division Galizien (Halychyna) as participants in combat for the freedom and independence of Ukraine, UNIAN reported on 18 March, quoting a source in the city authorities. The Halychyna Division was formed in German-occupied Ukraine in 1943, following a proposal from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-M, the faction led by Andriy Melnyk). The OUN-M viewed the division as a nucleus of a Ukrainian army necessary for winning Ukrainian independence. More than 80,000 young Ukrainians volunteered for the division, and some 13,000 of them became soldiers. The Ivano-Frankivsk authorities granted combatant status to 24 Halychyna veterans living in the region, of whom most are disabled former prisoners of the Soviet gulag. Under the council's resolution, they are now entitled to a pension increase and benefits in paying for public utilities. UNIAN added that the Russian community of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast has protested the council's resolution, arguing that the Halychyna Division could not contribute to the defense of Ukraine since it fought a battle with Soviet troops in the summer of 1944. JM

RUSSIA TO DELIVER CHEAP ELECTRICITY TO MOLDOVA. As of 1 April, Russia's Unified Energy Systems (EES) will start delivering electricity to Moldova at reduced prices, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 Match, citing a letter sent by EES Chairman Anatolii Chubais to President Vladimir Voronin. The price charged for the deliveries will be $23.5 per 1 MW/hour. At present, Moldova purchases electricity from Ukraine at the price of $29 per 1 MW/hour. The agreement on the deliveries was reached during Chubais's visit to Chisinau in February. It is based on the setting up of a joint company, whose stock is 74 percent Russian-owned. MS