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DAILIES CRITICIZE TV COVERAGE OF PROTESTS. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" argued on 18 January that the state television broadcasters resolved the dilemma of how to cover the wave of pensioners' protests across Russia by showing no more than one or two protests a day -- that way, viewers will not get the impression that the unrest has seized the whole country. ORT and RTR have also found just the right emphasis, the paper added: they concentrate viewers' attention on the alleged mistakes of local authorities. The daily suggested that the analytical programs that air on Sunday could hardly ignore the protests, and ORT's and RTR's solution was to show only guests of one type: Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zhukov, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, and Deputy Speaker Oleg Morozov. The same day, "Moskovskii komsomolets" commented that "the chief PR specialist of Russia is no longer Gleb Pavlovskii or Marat Gelman but television." It continued: "Whomever they get to explain things, it all comes out skewed. There is a huge difference between [the official] explanation of social benefits and what you hear on your bus or at the drugstore.... Now you want to throw rotten eggs at your television. And this was how it all started in Ukraine." JAC

GOVERNOR KILLS PEDESTRIAN. Bryansk Governor Nikolai Denin allegedly killed a female pedestrian during the early morning hours of 18 January while driving along the Moscow-Kyiv highway, and Radio Rossii reported on 18 January. According to the oblast administration, the traffic police's preliminary finding is that Denin was not at fault. JAC

...AS ANOTHER ANNOUNCES HIS BID FROM EXILE. Zyanon Paznyak, exiled leader of the opposition Conservative Christian Party of the Belarusian Popular Front (KKhP-BNF), told RFE/RL's Belarus Service on 18 January that he is planning to run in the 2006 presidential election. "It has been decided that I will run, my candidacy has been called a national alternative," Paznyak said. "I will lean not only on the Belarusian Popular Front and my party, but also on the entire Belarusian nation. I will take my political position...from the threat posed by Russia to our nation, independence, culture, and economy." Paznyak left Belarus in 1996 citing threats to his life and obtained political asylum in the United States later the same year. For the past several years, he has been living in Poland, from where he is coordinating the activities of the KKhP-BNF. The KKhP-BNF has evolved from the Belarusian Popular Front, the opposition group headed by Paznyak in 1988-99, which split in 1999 into the faction led by Paznyak and another one headed by Vintsuk Vyachorka (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 9 November 1999). JM

UKRAINIAN SUPREME COURT ALLOWS PUBLICATION OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS. The Supreme Court -- which is currently mulling the appeal by presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych against the victory of his rival, Viktor Yushchenko -- decided on 18 January to lift its last week's ban on publication of the official results of the 26 December 2004 vote (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 January 2005), Ukrainian and international media reported. The court said the results may be published in "Uryadovyy Kuryer" and "Holos Ukrayiny" after 19 January, thus opening the way for Yushchenko's inauguration. The decision is widely regarded as a signal that the court will soon reject Yanukovych's appeal. "This is a brutal violation of our rights. Now we know what the final verdict of the court will be," Yanukovych's proxy Nestor Shufrych told AFP on 18 January. JM

SUPPORTERS OF UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL LOSER PITCH TENTS IN DONETSK... Some 5,000 people took part in a rally in Donetsk on 18 January to express support for former Prime Minister Yanukovych, whom they believe to be the elected president of Ukraine, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( reported. Yanukovych's supporters have also pitched some 90 tents on Donetsk's central square for the past week. They are collecting signatures under a petition to hold a referendum on establishing a federal system in Ukraine. According to ITAR-TASS, more than 50,000 Donetsk residents signed up by 18 January. JM

...AS WINNER'S ADHERENTS REMOVE THEIRS IN KYIV. The residents of a tent camp on Khreshchatyk, Kyiv's main thoroughfare, have begun dismantling their tents, following a 15 January directive from President-elect Yushchenko, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported on 18 January, quoting Yushchenko's spokeswoman Tetyana Mokridi. Mokridi said some 100 tents are still remaining on Khreshchatyk, out of more than 450 pitched there by Yushchenko's supporters after the second presidential election round on 21 November 2004. According to Ukrainian news agencies, some residents of the tent camp on Khreshchatyk have decided to remain there until Yushchenko's inauguration. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT TO SPEAK IN STRASBOURG NEXT WEEK. Ukrainian President-elect Yushchenko is scheduled to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on 25 January, Council of Europe press officer Andrew Cutting reported. The same day, Yushchenko will hold a joint news conference with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who will address the PACE on 26 January. Lawmaker Oleh Rybachuk from Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc told Interfax that in Strasbourg Yushchenko will present his five-year action plan. " [Ukraine's] full membership of the European Union has been and remains the strategic aim of Viktor Yushchenko as president," Rybachuk said. JM

UKRAINE 'SURPRISED' AT MOLDOVAN RESTRICTIONS ON DIPLOMATS' MOVE. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Markiyan Lubkivskyy said in Kyiv on 18 January that his country was "surprised, putting it mildly" by Moldova's decision to curb the freedom of movement to Transdniester of foreign diplomats accredited in the country, Infotag reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 January 2005). Lubkivskyy said the three mediators in the Transdniester conflict (Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) will soon issue a joint statement on the Moldovan decision. MS