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ARMENIAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ESPIONAGE FOR AZERBAIJAN. Armenian citizen Sergei Maziev pleaded guilty on 9 June in a Yerevan district court to charges of high treason, violating public order, and plotting a terrorist act and the assassination of a senior politician, Noyan Tapan reported. Maziev, 44, is said to have been recruited in late 1999 by Azerbaijani intelligence, which he supplied with numerous photographs of President Robert Kocharian landing at Zvartnots Airport in 2000 after official visits abroad. Maziev is also accused of passing to his Azerbaijani contact photos of the embassies in Yerevan of the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Lebanon, Ukraine, and China, and of the official representation in Yerevan of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. LF
BELARUSIAN INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FINED, FACES ANOTHER HEAVY FINE. A district court in Minsk on 9 June ordered the independent daily "Narodnaya volya" to pay 15 million rubles ($7,000) in damages to six persons who denied signing a statement in support of the Will of the People opposition movement, whose lists of signatories were published by the newspaper earlier this year, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported. Alyaksandr Kazulin, leader of the Will of the People movement, suggested that the authorities might have pressed the claimants to sue "Narodnaya volya" in order to cripple the newspaper with damages (see "RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova Report," 6 June 2005). Next week, the same court is scheduled to hear another libel suit against "Narodnaya volya," in which Liberal Democratic Party head Syarhey Haydukevich is demanding some $93,000 in damages from the daily (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 April 2005). JM
SCALE OF UKRAINIAN REPRIVATIZATIONS STILL UNCLEAR. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko told journalists in Kyiv on 9 June that he has instructed the government to shorten the list of companies that are to be subject to resale because of their questionable privatizations in the past, Interfax reported. Yushchenko said he discussed this issue with Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko last week. "At that time I obtained a number of [reprivatization] projects that, mildly speaking, did not satisfy me, and I gave them back to the government for reworking," Yushchenko noted. "I think this issue [will be resolved] within a few days." Last month, "Kommersant-Daily" published a list of 29 Ukrainian companies that was allegedly compiled by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh for the government to review their questionable privatizations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 May 2005). Tymoshenko denied that such a list existed at all, adding that her cabinet was working out a law on the revaluation of privatized properties in Ukraine (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 May 2005). JM
GAZPROM GIVES UKRAINE TWO WEEKS TO PONDER NEW GAS PRICES FOR 2006. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has passed to Kyiv a proposal of new prices for Russian gas supplies in 2006 in connection with an earlier bilateral agreement on switching to cash payments for Russian gas deliveries to and gas transit across Ukraine as of 2006, Interfax reported on 9 June. Gazprom deputy head Aleksandr Ryazanov said in a statement on 9 June that the proposal sets the new prices at a "European level," adding that Kyiv has asked for two weeks to prepare an answer. RIA-Novosti reported earlier this week that the price of Russian gas for Ukraine in 2006 might soar from the current $50 for 1,000 cubic meters to $160 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 June 2005). "Should the Russian side insist on transferring to cash payments, we, of course, might raise the gas-transit charges accordingly, paying no attention to European tariffs on gas transit, and we might set our tariffs higher than those in Europe," Interfax quoted Naftohaz Ukrayiny head Oleksiy Ivchenko as saying on 8 June. JM
MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES UKRAINIAN PLAN FOR TRANSDNIESTER. The Moldovan parliament on 10 June endorsed the plan for the settlement of the Transdniester conflict that was proposed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko earlier this year (see "RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova Report," 6 June 2005), ITAR-TASS reported. The legislature noted in a special resolution that the plan does not include provisions for pulling Russian troops out of Transdniester or establishing reliable border control on the Transdniester stretch of the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. Therefore, the resolution reads, these two problems should be tackled additionally, "with support from international community and Ukraine's vigorous cooperation." Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, who attended the parliamentary session jointly with other government officials, told lawmakers that Yushchenko's plan is the most promising of all documents that have ever been discussed between Chisinau and Tiraspol. The parliament also adopted two appeals to international community, calling for assistance in democratizing and demilitarizing the separatist region of Transdniester. JM