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PARTIES REACH POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT IN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT. The leader of the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction, Viktor Yushchenko, said on 7 June that an agreement was reached earlier that day in the Verkhovna Rada on the distribution of posts of parliamentary committee heads, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Yushchenko said that opposition factions will head up 20 committees and pro-presidential factions five. According to the deal, Our Ukraine will head 10 committees, the Communist Party six, and the Socialist Party and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc two each. Of the pro-presidential factions in parliament, United Ukraine will head four committees and the Social Democratic Party one (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 May and 3 June 2002). CB
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS APPEAL TO PROSECUTE TYMOSHENKO. The Verkhovna Rada has rejected an appeal from the Prosecutor-General's Office to pursue criminal proceedings against former Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous opposition faction of parliament, AP reported on 6 June, citing the parliamentary press service. Deputy Prosecutor-General Mykola Obikhod appealed to the Ukrainian parliament on 3 June, asking for permission to continue a criminal investigation into charges of corruption against Tymoshenko. Parliament Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn rejected the prosecutor's appeal on 5 June, citing legal imperfections. Prosecutors accused Tymoshenko last year of hiding hard-currency profits, large-scale theft of state assets, and paying bribes to former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko while she was head of Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine. A Kyiv court dismissed the charges against Tymoshenko on 30 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 May 2002). CB
UKRAINE TO OUTLINE NATO BID IN JULY. Ukrainian officials plan to come up with an outline for their country's bid to join NATO that can be presented at the military alliance's summit in Prague in November, AP reported on 6 June. Ihor Kharchenko, deputy state secretary of the Foreign Ministry, said that Ukrainian authorities plan to discuss how to "qualitatively deepen relations with NATO" at a meeting with ambassadors of NATO member states and NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson on 9 July in Kyiv. He added, however, that many problems persist that would have to be resolved before gaining entry to the alliance, such as the need to carry out further economic reforms and to gain domestic parliamentary support for the former Soviet republic's accession to the Western alliance. Ukraine formally announced its bid to join NATO on 23 May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 May 2002). CB
TOP TV EXECUTIVE FOUND DEAD. Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the suicide death of Ukrainian National Television Company deputy chief Andriy Feshchenko on suspicion that he was forced to take his own life, Ukrainian media reported. Feshchenko was found dead on 31 May inside his jeep on a street in Kyiv. Police also found a hunting rifle and a note from Feshchenko in the car, but the content of the note -- which has not been released -- prompted prosecutors to start looking for suspects who might have forced Feshchenko to commit suicide. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 4 June)
ANTI-SEMITIC 'CLASSIC' REPRINTED IN KYIV. Despite laws in Ukraine that have been used to restrict hate speech, Oriany, a Ukrainian publishing house, continues to churn out anti-Semitic books, reports fsumonitor.org. The latest example is a new edition of Matvey Shestopal's Soviet-era book "Jews in Ukraine" written in the spirit of the then-prevailing climate of state-sponsored anti-Semitism. The new edition of this book, published in 2002 with a print run of 1,000 copies, features a preface from Professor Vasily Yaremenko, who characterizes Ukrainians as "bowing down before the financial and ideological thugs of the Jewish camp. During the 1930s, as a rule, Jewish officials determined which churches to blow up. We now see how an anti-Ukrainian campaign is being strengthened in various media sources that are in the hands of Zionist circles." Shestopal's book accuses Jews of slave trading, encouraging alcoholism among Ukrainians, and trying to raise Judaism above Christianity. He also claims Jews organize "anti-Ukrainian pogroms" and blames them for the anti-Jewish pogroms that took place periodically throughout Ukrainian history. (Fsumonitor.org, 3 June)