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...AS ZYUGANOV JOINS PUTIN IN STUMPING FOR UKRAINIAN PREMIER. Meanwhile, Communist Party leader Zyuganov has called on the Ukrainian Communist Party to hold consultations with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych about ways to support him in the 21 November second round of the presidential election in Ukraine, Interfax and ORT reported on 5 November. The Ukrainian Communist Party (KPU) leader Petro Symonenko finished fourth in the race's first round held on 31 October. He subsequently called on his supporters to vote against all candidates. However, on 5 November, he declared that "support in the runoff for the candidates who represent the continuation of the current antipopular course and regime is inadmissible," but, the KPU "reserves the right to conduct further work regarding political consultations with those political forces that are ready to hold such consultations on issues that are important for the working people." President Vladimir Putin has also expressed his support for Yanukovych on any number of occasions, most recently visiting him in Kyiv on 28 October days before the first round (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 October 2004). Zyuganov was also in Kyiv during the week leading up to the first round. JAC

...AS PETERSBURG REACTOR COMES BACK INTO SERVICE FOLLOWING LIFE EXTENSION. Interfax reported on 7 November that more than 90 million Russians live in danger zones surrounding the country's nuclear-power plants, chemical factories, and other such establishments. Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Mikhail Faleev told the news agency that Russia has about 2,500 chemical plants, 1,500 plants working with radioactive materials, 30,000 hydroelectric facilities, and about 8,000 plants that present a danger of fire or explosion. REN-TV reported on 6 November that a planned refurbishment of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant near St. Petersburg is nearing completion and that its first bloc has begun working. The refurbishment is part of a project to extend the life of the plant, which is Russia's oldest Chernobyl-type reactor, by another 15 years. Local activist and physicist Olg Bodrov, head of the Green World NGO, told the channel that information relating to accidents at the plant is classified. RC

AMBASSADOR SAYS U.S. WANTS TO BRING BELARUS TO EUROPE. U.S. Ambassador to Belarus George Krol said in Warsaw on 6 November that his country's "long-term goal" is to bring Belarus to "the mainstream of the European history," Belapan reported. Krol was speaking at an international conference organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation that focused on the West's policies toward Belarus and Ukraine. Krol said the United States is determined to continue supporting Belarus's civil society, noting that Washington's cooperation with the Belarusian government will be conditional on the latter's respect for freedom and democracy. Krol said Russia has been reluctant to confer with the United States and the European Union on cooperation with Belarus, adding that the Kremlin treats relations with Belarus "as a family question" and pays little attention to the opinion of other countries. JM

UKRAINIANS RALLY TO BACK YUSHCHENKO'S PRESIDENTIAL BID. An estimated 50,000 people gathered for a rally dubbed "People Won't Be Overpowered" on Independence Square in Kyiv on 6 November to express support for opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko's presidential bid prior to his runoff with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on 21 November, Ukrainian news agencies reported. Addressing the crowd, Yushchenko criticized the Central Election Commission (TsVK) for being too slow in counting the 31 October voting results and charged that the presidential administration has adjusted the election returns. According to a parallel vote count by Yushchenko's campaign staff on the basis of data from 98.8 percent of polling stations, Yushchenko won 40.46 percent of the vote, while Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was backed by 38.51 percent of voters. The TsVK reported on 2 November that, with 97.67 percent of the ballots counted, Prime Minister Yanukovych won 39.88 percent of the vote, while opposition candidate Yushchenko obtained 39.22 percent. JM

UKRAINIAN SOCIALISTS THROW THEIR SUPPORT BEHIND YUSHCHENKO. The Socialist Party of Ukraine led by Oleksandr Moroz has decided to support Yushchenko in the presidential runoff on 21 November, Ukrainian news agencies reported on 6 November. Earlier the same day Yushchenko and Moroz signed a political accord envisioning joint steps by both sides in the event of a Yushchenko victory. In particular, Yushchenko's Our Ukraine and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc agreed to work with the Socialist Party toward passing a constitutional-reform bill (registered in parliament under No. 4180) by 1 January 2005 and put it in effect no later than 1 January 2006. Yushchenko also pledged to introduce upon taking office a ban on the sale of agricultural land, cancel "the acts of privatization of properties of strategic importance," and move for an immediate pullout of the Ukrainian military contingent from Iraq, Interfax reported. JM

YUSHCHENKO TO TAKE PART IN RUNOFF TELEVISION DEBATES WITHOUT RIVAL. Presidential candidate Yushchenko told journalists in Kyiv on 6 November that he will take advantage of the presidential election law's provision calling for television debates of the two main presidential contenders before a runoff despite the fact that his rival, Prime Minister Yanukovych, refused to do so (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 November 2004), Interfax reported. Under the law, if one of the runoff participants does not take part in the debates, the full airtime envisioned for them is awarded to the other candidate. JM