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UKRAINIAN CABINET MOVES TO ABOLISH 14 STATE BODIES... Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko told journalists in Kyiv on 12 February that her cabinet decided earlier that day to liquidate 14 state committees and other offices, Interfax reported. The functions of the liquidated bodies will reportedly be passed to ministries and other committees. The abolished bodies will include the State Committee for the Chornobyl Disaster, the State Aviation Service, the State Committee for Natural Resources, the State Committee for Religions, and the State Committee for Sports. According to official sources, the Ukrainian government currently comprises 17 ministries and 45 other bodies of state control. JM

...CANCELS DECISION ON KRYVORIZHSTAL PRIVATIZATION... The Ukrainian cabinet on 12 February canceled the previous cabinet's decision and instruction that led to the controversial privatization of the Kryvorizhstal metallurgical giant last year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 and 8 February 2005), Interfax reported. "This [cancellation] removes the legal grounds that were illegally approved by the [previous] government to start the privatization of this facility [Kryvorizhstal] in the past," Prime Minister Tymoshenko commented. "The process is moving on: In the next few weeks we will adopt all resolutions necessary to return Kryvorizhstal to the state." JM

...WANTS TO REVISE CONTROVERSIAL DECISIONS ON LAND LEASE, TAX PREFERENCES... The Ukrainian cabinet on 12 February decided to draw up a register of the previous cabinet's resolutions on long-term land and forest leases as well as on tax preferences, Interfax reported. Prime Minister Tymoshenko told journalists on 12 February that her cabinet wants to know the resolutions that "illegally leased the best land resources in Crimea, around Kyiv, and in all of Ukraine for 49 years to absolutely specific persons from the former president's entourage." Tymoshenko said her cabinet has already canceled two cabinet resolutions on leasing 114 hectares of forests near Kyiv and 11 hectares of land near Sevastopol. "Both resolutions were adopted in favor of structures [controlled by former President Leonid Kuchma's] son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk," Tymoshenko added. JM

...AND PLEDGES TO MODIFY DECISION ON FORMER PRESIDENT'S DEPARTURE BENEFITS. Prime Minister Tymoshenko also told journalists in Kyiv on 12 February that Justice Minister Roman Zvarych will soon propose a resolution on some benefits for former President Kuchma after his departure from office, Interfax reported. Tymoshenko said the former cabinet exceeded its powers in January when it granted Kuchma the right to continue drawing his presidential salary, use a state dacha and two cars, and have three assistants paid from the state budget for the rest of his life (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 February 2005). JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VISITS SWITZERLAND FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT. President Viktor Yushchenko visited an unidentified dermatology clinic in Switzerland on 12-13 February, Ukrainian media reported on 14 February, quoting the presidential press service. Yushchenko's face remains visibly disfigured and pockmarked following his poisoning by dioxin in September, which was diagnosed by doctors from an Austrian clinic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 December 2004). Yushchenko claims to be in good health but has not ruled out treatment to improve his appearance. JM

PUTIN AGAIN SETS SIGHTS ON UPPER CHAMBER. President Putin recently told a group of Federation Council members that the 50 senators whose terms expire this year should not be reappointed, "The Moscow Times" reported on 14 February. "I am convinced that the personnel should be reshuffled to make the chamber's work and personnel more stable," Putin said. An unnamed Federation Council staffer told the daily that "the president is well aware of what happened in Ukraine and is frightened of the prospect of an Orange Revolution at home. The Kremlin is now trying to avoid even the smallest possibility of the emergence of a potential opposition." Many Federation Council members owe allegiance to the financial structures that financed their appointments, and members linked to LUKoil, Sibneft, Rusneft, and the Alfa Group are among those whose terms expire this year. Analyst Vladimir Pribylovskii told the daily that it is likely that the Kremlin wants to increase the representation of the so-called siloviki in the upper chamber. "In this way, they will make sure that everything is under their control," Pribylovskii said. RC