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EURASIA PARTY CREATES ARMED UNIT IN VORONEZH TO AVOID 'ORANGE REVOLUTION.' A youth group within Aleksandr Dugin's Eurasia party announced on 15 June the creation of a militarized wing in the city of Voronezh to spread its ideology and combat an "orange revolution," the group's website (http://evrazia.org) reported. The site suggested that the Yabloko, the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS), the NBP, and other "democratic" organizations seek to unleash a revolution similar to that Ukraine experienced at the end of 2004. VY
POLAND SUSPENDS FUNDING MINORITY WEEKLY IN BELARUS. Warsaw has suspended the sponsoring of the Polish-language weekly "Glos znad Niemna" in Belarus after a printing plant in Hrodna, western Belarus, produced a fake issue attributed to an unidentified "editorial staff" and carrying articles attacking Andzelika Borys, head of the Union of Poles in Belarus (SPB), Belapan reported on 17 June. "The decision did not come as a surprise, as it was in line with Poland's policy regarding the organization. It would be inconsistent to continue supporting the newspaper, which is now published in violation of legal and moral standards," SPB spokesman Andrzej Pisalnik told the news agency. The Belarusian authorities did not recognize a new SPB leadership elected in March and have been pressing the organization to hold a new congress while Warsaw, which sponsors SPB activities and "Glos znad Niemna," said the March congress was legitimate and called on Minsk to back down (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 27 May 2005). In late May, the printing plant in Hrodna refused to print an issue of "Glos znad Niemna" edited by a staff loyal to Borys, but somewhat later printed the bogus issue, which included articles reflecting official Minsk's stance in the SPB conflict. JM
UKRAINE PROMISES COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT. President Viktor Yushchenko promised international businessmen participating in a World Economic Forum roundtable in Kyiv on 17 June that the government will provide investors with such "comfort and a level of relations that will best suit their interests," Interfax reported. Yushchenko said the government is going to set up a Council of Investors in order to facilitate the resolution of problems between investors and the authorities. Yushchenko also said his country hopes to secure membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) by October and intends to complete all legal requirements to meet that deadline. The same day Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko called on foreign businessmen to invest more actively in Ukraine, particularly in building transit highways, manufacturing airplanes, and developing the country's insurance and banking sectors. JM
UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT TO PROCEED WITH RESALE OF KRYVORIZHSTAL. Prime Minister Tymoshenko's cabinet on 18 June approved a decision to hold a new privatization of the Kryvorizhstal steel mill that was sold in 2004 under a controversial privatization tender to businessmen close to former President Leonid Kuchma, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. Tymoshenko said 93.07 percent of Kryvorizhstal's shares will be offered for an open tender while an additional 1.74 percent will be sold on Ukraine's stock market. Unlike previous selloffs, in which bidders submitted sealed letters to a commission, bidding for Kryvorizhstal will involve placing sums on raised cards or stating them aloud, Reuters reported. Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, one of the winners of the 2004 Kryvorizhstal privatization tender, commented the following day that he will take legal action against the government's decision. "[The decision] is wrong from a legal point of view, since legal procedures [concerning the privatization of Kryvorizhstal] are still continuing," Pinchuk said. Earlier this month the Kyiv Appellate Economic Court ruled that the Kryvorizhstal privatization in 2004 was illegal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 June 2005). The Investment-Metallurgical Union, the nominal owner of the mill, has announced that it will appeal against that verdict. JM
BEREZOVSKII EYES CREATION OF NEW UKRAINIAN NEWSPAPER
Exiled Russian media baron Boris Berezovskii has revealed plans to reshuffle his respected newspaper "Kommersant-Daily" and launch a similar broadsheet in Ukraine. A strong foe of President Vladimir Putin, Berezovskii says he is eager to extend his media activities to Ukraine following its recent Orange Revolution. Experts say the tycoon hopes to use his new publication to stir up similar political change in Russia.
Speaking to the staff of "Kommersant-Daily" via video linkup from London, Boris Berezovskii announced on 14 June that he is planning to replace the leadership of his Kommersant publishing house. He also said he is currently in negotiations to sell another of his dailies, "Nezavisimaya gazeta," though he refused to give further details.
But maybe more importantly, Berezovskii unveiled plans to launch "Kommersant-Ukraine," a new Ukraine-based broadsheet modeled on its Russian counterpart.
The general director of the Kommersant publishing house, Andrei Vasilev, is due to move to Kyiv to launch the paper, whose first edition is already scheduled for late July.
Yasen Zasurskii is the dean of the journalism department at the Moscow State University. Like a number of experts, he predicts Berezovskii's new publication will find great success in Ukraine.
"Certainly, his newspaper would be an asset for the Ukrainian media since it is known for its wide and quality coverage of economic affairs, and I think that the Ukrainian media don't have this kind of publication," Zasurskii said.
Explaining his decision to enter the Ukrainian media market, Berezovskii told reporters on 14 June he believes the fate of Russia will be determined in Ukraine. Berezovskii, who lives in Great Britain and France, has spent the past five years unable to return to Russia, where he faces charges of fraud and money laundering.
Berezovskii is a fierce critic of Putin's regime and is wanted in Russia on fraud charges. He voiced strong support for the Orange Revolution last year that brought the West-leaning Viktor Yushchenko to power.
Among Russia's newspapers, "Kommersant-Daily" is one of the most critical of the Kremlin. Zasurskii says Berezovskii's new Ukrainian broadsheet is very likely to maintain this tone.
"Berezovskii has openly expressed his support for the so-called Orange Revolution in Ukraine," Zasurskii said. "It is possible that Berezovskii will try to use 'Kommersant' in Ukraine for his campaign against the Russian government, against Mr. Putin, to try to find ways to influence public opinion in Ukraine."
Sergei Markov, the director of the Moscow-based Political Studies Institute, also predicts that "Kommersant-Ukraine" will be a hit, and praises Vasilev as a "brilliant" editor. He says he believes the main goal of the Ukrainian paper will be to provide fertile ground for Berezovskii's attempts at fomenting a revolution in Russia.
"I think Berezovskii's goal is not simply to create a quality newspaper," Markov said. "He would like to provoke a kind of political revolution in Russia, to once again be in power in Russia and help his allies here. For him, Ukraine could grow into a perfect parade ground."
Of course, in launching a newspaper in Ukraine, Berezovskii may have pure, simple profit in mind as well. Analysts have suggested the onetime tycoon may be having financial difficulties.
He has already sold off many of his oil and media assets -- the sale of "Nezavisimaya gazeta" could just be the latest attempt to obtain some extra cash.
During the 14 June video linkup, Berezovskii also announced that the current editor in chief of "Kommersant-Daily" will be changed, but did not say who would replace him and Vasilev. Berezovskii gave little explanation for the switch, saying simply the shake-up will help "Kommersant-Daily" to reach its full potential.
Changes of ownership in the Russian press tend to spark strong debate in Russia, where the Kremlin is seen as gradually tightening its grip on the media.
Last week, the state-run gas giant Gazprom acquired the leading daily "Izvestiya" from oligarch Vladimir Potanin. The sale was viewed as a sign that the Kremlin is seeking to gain control of the press, which traditionally enjoys more freedom than television.
Late June: Chinese President Hu Jintao to visit Moscow
15-16 June: Federal Atomic Energy Agency Director Aleksandr Rumyantsev to make a working visit to the United States to discuss security issues
16 June: Moscow Arbitration Court to open hearings on Yukos's suit against the government seeking $11.5 billion in compensation for the seizure of Yuganskneftegaz
16 June: Cabinet to discuss parameters of draft 2006-08 budget
19 June: Referendum in Samara on dismissing Mayor Georgii Limanskii
20-21 June: Norwegian Prime Minister Kjelle Magne to visit Moscow
20-22 June: Meeting of the Collective Security Council (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan) in Moscow
23 June: Yukos shareholders meeting 23-24 June: G-8 foreign ministers' meeting in London 24 June: A special commission created by Unified Energy
Systems expected to complete its investigation into the 25 May blackout in Moscow and the surrounding region
24 June: Gazprom shareholders meeting 24 June: NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to visit Moscow 25 June: Meeting of the CIS Defense Ministers' Council in Moscow 27 June: NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to visit Kyiv 1 July: Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski to visit Kaliningrad 4 July: 750th anniversary of the founding of Kaliningrad 5-6 July: Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan 6-8 July: G-8 summit in Scotland 9 July: End of the Duma's spring session 26 August: CIS summit to be held in Kazan September: First-ever Sino-Russian military exercises to be held on the Shandong Peninsula 1 September: Date by which President Putin has ordered the
government to submit its plans for the elimination of the estate tax, the simplification of individual tax declarations, and the simplification of the requirements for real-estate purchases
5 September: Fall plenary session of the State Duma opens 1 October: Date by which President Putin has ordered the
government to submit its economic-development plans for the Far East, the North Caucasus, and Kaliningrad Oblast
23 October: Referendums to be held in Kamchatka Oblast and the Koryak Autonomous Okrug about the merger of the two federation subjects
1 November: Public Chamber expected to hold first session 1 November: Date by which President Putin has ordered the
government to submit its proposals for limiting foreign-capital participation in the defense sector and strategic-resource development
1 November: Date by which President Putin has ordered the government to submit its proposals for judicial reform and combating crime, especially terrorism
Second half of November: Chechnya to hold legislative elections, according to pro-Kremlin Chechen President Alu Alkhanov
1 December: Date by which President Putin has ordered the government to submit its plans for reducing traffic accidents, alcoholism, and drug addiction, as well as its proposals for improving health care
1 December: Date by which President Putin has ordered the government to submit its plan to increase state-sector wages by 50 percent within three years
2006: Russia to host a G-8 summit in St. Petersburg 1 January 2006: Date by which all political parties must
conform to law on political parties, which requires at least 50,000 members and branches in one-half of all federation subjects, or either reregister as public organizations or be dissolved
4-7 June 2006: World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum to be held in Moscow, hosted by the Guild of Publishers of the Periodical Press.