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...AS FSB DIRECTOR FOCUSES ATTENTION ON SOUTHERN BORDERS. Speaking to reporters following the 30 September Security Council session, Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Nikolai Patrushev, whose agency controls the country's border troops, said the FSB will adopt differentiated approaches to guarding Russia's borders with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and China in accordance with new threat assessments, RTR and RIA-Novosti reported. Moreover, the borders in the Caucasus -- especially the border between Chechnya and Georgia, where the threat of terrorism is very high -- will be more heavily guarded. Patrushev also expressed frustration with the Security Council's inability to define border policy, noting that the 30 September meeting was the 20th time the council had discussed the issue in the last 10 years. Commenting on that statement, TV-Tsentr said on 30 September that security officials should make no further mistakes in determining where security threats are and which countries are Russia's friends and which are not. VY

POLAND INTRODUCES VISAS FOR RUSSIANS. As of 1 October, Poland has introduced entry visas for citizens of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Razov told RIA-Novosti. Razov noted that the move does not reflect the will of either Moscow or Warsaw, but is a requirement of the European Union, which Poland expects to join next May. Although the introduction of visas "is causing no enthusiasm," Russia has managed to reach an acceptable arrangement with Poland regarding the issuance of visas to its citizens, Razov said. The application process will be simple, and many categories of Russian citizens -- including businesspeople, government officials, students, people under age 17, and people over age 70 -- will be exempted from paying visa fees. Currently, about 3.5 million people a year travel between Russia and Poland, but the new visa system could cause this figure to fall dramatically, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 30 September, noting that many small, private traders might stop making the trip. VY

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COUNTRY IS 'TIRED OF WAITING' FOR EU MEMBERSHIP... President Leonid Kuchma suggested in Kyiv on 30 September that Ukraine should not aspire to EU membership, saying Brussels has kept his country waiting too long, Ukrainian and international news agency reported. "How long can we be kept waiting on the threshold [to the EU]?" Interfax quoted him as saying. "Ukraine is tired of waiting.... None of the [EU] bureaucrats has declared that they want to see Ukraine in the EU." Kuchma also expressed his bitterness over the fact that Ukraine has been neither granted associate EU member status nor recognized as a country with a functioning "market economy." "If I were today invited to join the EU, I would refuse," Kuchma stated. "Who in Europe needs Ukrainian planes, the Ukrainian machine building, or the Ukrainian coal industry? We would not withstand [economic] competition even for a month." JM

...SUGGESTS HE IS TIRED OF POLITICS... President Kuchma also said on 30 September that he is in favor of electing a new president by direct ballot, Interfax reported. He was apparently referring to a recent proposal by a group of pro-presidential lawmakers that a new president be elected in 2004 by the current Verkhovna Rada (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 September 2003). "I am for a nationwide vote in the presidential election. And I am for holding the election in 2004," Kuchma told journalists. "I am not going anywhere -- either to run for president [for a third term] or to play other games," he added. JM

...AND SHRUGS OFF IMPEACHMENT MOVE OVER CIS SINGLE ECONOMIC SPACE. President Kuchma reiterated his opinion that an accord on the creation of the CIS Single Economic Space he signed recently along with the presidents of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 23 September 2003) does not contradict the Ukrainian Constitution, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. He said the opposition effort to impeach him for signing this agreement (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 September 2003) is pointless. "The opposition has been calling for the president's impeachment for the past several years when it had no other ideas," Kuchma said. "It is more political speculation and provocation by forces that have nothing else to say. I pity them." JM

POLAND INTRODUCES VISA REGIME FOR EASTERN NEIGHBORS. In compliance with its EU accession obligations, Poland introduced new visa requirements on 1 October for citizens of three neighboring countries -- Belarus, Ukraine, Russia -- and Moldova, Polish media reported. Ukrainians and residents of Russia's Kaliningrad exclave are not charged for their visas, while Poles may visit Ukraine and Kaliningrad Oblast without visas. Belarusians, Moldovans, and Russians living in the Russian Federation (apart from Kaliningrad Oblast) are charged 10 euros ($11.60) for a single-entry Polish visa and 50 euros for a multiple-entry one. JM