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...AND VOWS TO IMPROVE CHURCH RELATIONS WITH CHINA AND UKRAINE. During a 6 October meeting between President Putin and senior representatives of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, Baikal and Chita Archbishop Evlampii reportedly complained that Chinese immigrants are depriving local residents of work and income in Russia's Far East, ORT and RTR reported. "The Chinese are good people, but there are too many of them and they are depriving Russians of their livelihood," Evlampii said. Putin asked whether there were efforts to convert such immigrants to Russian Orthodoxy. Evlampii responded by saying that the church has opened a parish on Chinese territory but he accused Chinese customs officials of blocking the import of a church iconostasis. Putin said he would broach the issue with the Chinese leadership during his visit to China later this month. In a response to Russian Orthodox Church clerics in Ukraine complaining of similar obstacles there, Putin said he will discuss the matter with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Prime Minister and presidential hopeful Viktor Yanukovych in an "informal atmosphere." Putin said he has invited both Ukrainian politicians to his 52nd birthday celebration on 7 October. VY

WASHINGTON PROTESTS USE OF BUSH IMAGES, U.S. FLAG IN UKRAINIAN ELECTIONS. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has said the use of images of U.S. politicians and the American flag on political posters in Ukraine is absolutely unacceptable, Interfax reported on 7 October, quoting the embassy's press service. The embassy was referring to large stocks of campaign leaflets and posters caricaturizing opposition presidential candidate and Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko as a figurehead of the United States (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 and 6 October 2004). The "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( on 6 October posted reproductions of a dozen anti-Yushchenko campaign materials found by Yushchenko supporters at storehouses of the Ekspotsentr exhibition center in Kyiv. The Yushchenko campaign staff estimates that there may be up to 500 million copies of anti-Yushchenko leaflets at the Ekspotsentr storehouses. Some of them depict U.S. President George Bush and the U.S. flag with slogans reading "We are for Our Ukraine," "Yes! Yushchenko Is Our President," and "Yes! For Bushchenko." One of the posters depicts Taras Shevchenko, a Ukrainian national poet of the 19th century, and a slogan reading "Yankee! Go Home!" JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT EXTENDS MORATORIUM ON LAND SALES UNTIL 2008. The Verkhovna Rada on 6 October passed a new version of amendments to the Land Code, thereby extending the moratorium on the sale of farmland by individuals and legal entities in Ukraine from 1 January 2005 to 1 January 2008, Interfax reported. In June, the parliament adopted the bill that extended this moratorium to 1 January 2007, but President Leonid Kuchma vetoed it the following month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 2004). JM