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RUSSIANS KEEP CLOSE EYE ON UKRAINIAN ELECTION. More than 600 election observers, several prominent politicians, and dozens of campaign specialists and spin doctors traveled from Russia to monitor Ukraine's 31 October presidential election, Russian media reported. First Deputy Duma Speaker Lyubov Sliska, Federation Council Deputy Speaker Aleksandr Torshin, and the head of the Duma's CIS Committee, Andrei Kokoshin, were among those who made the trip. The National Strategy Institute, headed by Stanislav Belkovskii, launched a website titled "Who Beat Whom In Ukraine" ( Several political groups and pollsters conducted exit polls in Ukraine. Speaking at a press center in Moscow early on 1 November, Political Research Institute Director Sergei Markov said that initial official results gave no clear-cut victory either to the government's candidate, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, or to opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, which he cited as "evidence of political instability" but also "the presence of real democracy and pluralism in Ukraine," NTV reported. Institute of Globalization President Mikhail Delyagin said he is afraid that the impending runoff will feature a "clash of civilizations, East and West, over Ukraine," reported on 1 November. Meanwhile, Sliska told ORT from Kyiv that Russian observers had witnessed some violations of electoral procedures by Yushchenko supporters in Western Ukraine, but said they were "within the norm." VY

PUTIN MAKES GOOD ON PLEDGE TO PUSH FOR DUAL UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN CITIZENSHIP... President Vladimir Putin said during a cabinet meeting on 30 October that it is necessary to speed up the adoption of legislation that will allow dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship, ORT and RTR reported. Putin pledged to support the initiative during his recent visit to Ukraine, which was widely seen as showing the government's support for Yanukovych's presidential candidacy (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 27 October 2004). Putin also spoke in the Kremlin with Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov and Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov and asked them to begin "practical consultations with their Ukrainian colleagues on this issue." Gryzlov said that dual citizenship will mean that between 4 million and 6 million Ukrainian citizens who permanently or temporarily live in Russia will be eligible for Russian citizenship. Mironov said that dual citizenship raises issues regarding compulsory military service and voting rights, but added that he believes that a citizen's residence should dictate his or her eligibility for voting and military service. VY

...AND FOR VISA-FREE TRAVEL. President Putin made good on another promise he made during his recent trip to Ukraine by asking Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a 30 October Security Council meeting to eliminate restrictions for Ukrainian citizens traveling to Russia, RTR and reported. Nurgaliev said that according to an agreement reached with Kyiv, Ukrainians will be able to stay in Russia for up to 90 days without registering as of 1 November, and will be allowed entry into Russia using their own domestic documents beginning in January. National Strategy Institute head Belkovskii told Echo Moskvy on 26 October that the initiative constitutes no more than an "electoral trick" on the part of Putin to support Yanukovych's candidacy in the Ukrainian presidential election. Belkovskii predicted that Putin will retreat from the initiative as soon as the election is over, as the trafficking of humans and drugs across the Russian-Ukrainian border is already too difficult to control. VY

WEEKLY EXPLAINS PUTIN'S INTEREST IN YANUKOVYCH. "Argumenty i fakty," No 44, commented that the Russian president's support for Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych's presidential candidacy is driven by Putin's plans to resuscitate the Commonwealth of Independent States. If all goes to plan, the weekly wrote, Yanukovych will become the first post-Soviet leader who came to power with Moscow's help. According to the weekly, Putin's vision also includes the creation of a Single Economic Space, the introduction of a common currency, a joint labor market, and other ambitious goals. VY

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT PROVES INCONCLUSIVE... With 94.2 percent of the ballots counted, the Central Election Commission announced on 1 November that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich won 40.11 percent of the vote, while his main rival Viktor Yushchenko obtained 39.16 percent of the vote in the 31 October presidential election, UNIAN reported. According to these incomplete results, Oleksandr Moroz was backed by 5.77 percent of voters, Petro Symonenko by 5.02 percent, and Natalya Vitrenko by 1.54 percent. Turnout stood at 74.38 percent. These results suggest that, as predicted by analysts and pollsters, Yanukovich and Yushchenko will fight for the Ukrainian presidency in a runoff on 21 November. AM

...AND GEOGRAPHICALLY DIVISIVE. As expected, Yanukovych was overwhelmingly supported in eastern Ukrainian regions, while Yushchenko received the most support in western Ukraine. With more than 90 percent of the vote counted, the Central Election Commission said Yanukovych obtained 86.74 percent of voters in Donetsk Oblast, 80.53 percent in Luhansk Oblast, 69.19 in Crimea, and 57.63 in Kharkiv Oblast. On the other hand, Yushchenko garnered 89.38 percent of the vote in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, 87.98 percent in Ternopil Oblast, 87.42 percent in Lviv Oblast, and 76.97 percent in Volhynia. In Kyiv, Yushchenko was backed by 62.36 percent of voters, while Yanukovych got 14.69 percent. AM

YUSHCHENKO ALLY DEMANDS EMERGENCY PARLIAMENTARY SESSION OVER 'MASS FALSIFICATIONS.' Yuliya Tymoshenko, head of the eponymous bloc and political partner of Viktor Yushchenko, demanded on 1 November that the Verkhovna Rada hold an immediate emergency session to discuss what she said were "mass falsifications" in the 31 October presidential ballot, UNIAN reported. According to an exit poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and the Razumkov Center, a total of 44.4 percent of respondents voted for Yushchenko and 38 percent for Yanukovych. On the other hand, an exit poll by SOCIS and the Social Monitoring Center found that Yanukovych obtained 42.67 percent of the vote, while Yushchenko got 38.28 percent. According to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (KVU), the results of the 31 October ballot could have been influenced by "numerous irregularities" in voter lists. KVU head Ihor Popov said up to 10 percent of voters could have been unable to exercise their election right because of those irregularities. According to the Central Election Commission, 37.6 million voters were listed for the 31 October presidential elections. AM

OUTGOING PRESIDENT SAYS UKRAINE WON'T CHANGE TACK AFTER ELECTIONS. Incumbent President Leonid Kuchma said after casting his vote on 31 October that Ukraine's strategic course will not change after the presidential election, irrespective of who becomes the country's next president, UNIAN reported. "Ukraine's European choices have been, and will remain, [the same] for the president and society," Kuchma said. "Today nobody doubts that -- the path has been determined." Kuchma rejected journalists' suggestion that he might become prime minister following the presidential elections. AM

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT INVITES U.S., EU TO PARTICIPATE AS OBSERVERS IN TRANSDNIESTER NEGOTIATIONS. President Vladimir Voronin on 30 October officially invited the U.S. and the EU to participate as observers in the current five-sided framework of negotiations on the Transdniester conflict, ITAR-TASS, Flux, and Infotag reported. The invitation was extended at a meeting held by Voronin with U.S. Ambassador to Moldova Heather Hodges. Hodges told Voronin that the United States considers it possible to sign at the next Organization For Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) December ministerial meeting in Sofia the Stability and Security Pact for Moldova (SSPM), which was proposed by Voronin on 1 June. Last week, EU foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana also endorsed the plan and, according to Infotag, German Ambassador to Moldova Wolfgang Lerke earlier on 29 October submitted to Voronin the EU's own proposals on the envisaged SSPM. Voronin and Hodges agreed that the document should leave no room for ambiguous interpretations and must reflect the interests of all signatories -- Moldova, the EU, the OSCE, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 June and 29 October 2004). MS