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UKRAINIAN STUDENTS BACK OPPOSITION CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT. Some 40,000 students from all of Ukraine took part in a rally in Kyiv on 16 October to support the presidential bid of Viktor Yushchenko and pass a "no-confidence vote" in the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Yushchenko's main rival in the 31 October elections, UNIAN reported. Yushchenko called on the crowd not to believe the pro-government media's reports that the result of the presidential elections in Ukraine has already been determined. "All this is a lie, manipulation of the public opinion, political speculation," Yushchenko said. He was apparently referring to recent surveys showing Yanukovych to be favored by more people as the favorite in the presidential race (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 October 2004). The latest poll by the Democratic Initiatives fund and SOCIS and released on 15 October, however, found that Yanukovych will be supported by 34.2 percent of voters and Yushchenko by 33.6 percent on 31 October, Interfax reported. The narrow difference being well with the poll's margin of error. JM
UKRAINIAN INVESTIGATORS LOOK FOR TERRORISTS IN YOUTH ORGANIZATION. Prosecutors in Kyiv have opened a criminal case under articles referring to terrorism and the formation of illegal armed groups in connection with the disclosure of explosive devices and materials in the offices of the nongovernmental youth organization Pora (It's Time) in Kyiv on 15 October, Ukrainian media reported. Police reportedly found a homemade explosive device, six TNT slabs, two electric detonators, and a grenade at the Pora headquarters. Members of the organization and some opposition lawmakers called the discovery a provocation. "The authorities want to portray us as a terrorist organization," UNIAN quoted Pora activist Volodymyr Lesyk as saying. "Such methods shows that the authorities do not want honest elections," Lesyk noted, adding that Pora is conducting a "nonviolent campaign of resistance" against the authorities in the presidential election race. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SHRUGS OFF FEARS OF EMERGENCY SITUATION BEFORE ELECTIONS. Leonid Kuchma on 15 October described as "mere fantasy" the rumors claiming that the military parade in Kyiv on 28 October will be used as an excuse to bring troops to the capital and introduce a state of emergency before the 31 October presidential ballot, Interfax reported. Kuchma said the parade, which is intended to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Ukraine from German invaders, will feature no other military hardware except one World War II-era tank. "It is our duty to pay tribute to those who gave Ukraine and the nations of the world an opportunity to live in peace for many years," the president added. Commenting on dirty techniques used in the presidential election campaign, Kuchma said they "exceed the framework of human decency." JM
TIRASPOL READY TO NEGOTIATE WITHOUT CHISINAU. Tiraspol "Foreign Minister" Litskay on 15 October told William Hill, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) mission to Moldova, that Transdniester is ready to continue negotiations with the mediators in the conflict even in the absence of representatives from Chisinau, Infotag reported. Litskay said that Voronin interrupted negotiations in summer 2001, only to later return to them. He said that during that period Tiraspol negotiated with the three mediators (Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE) despite the Moldovan absence. "The current behavior of the Moldovan leaders might lead to a repetition of that situation," he said. In July, Moldova suspended and later canceled participation in the negotiations as a result of the dispute over the closure of the Moldovan schools in Transdniester using the Latin script. MS