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FOREIGN MINISTRY: RUSSIA AGAINST THE 'FORCIBLE DEMOCRATIZATION' OF CIS Deputy Foreign Minister Grigorii Karasin wrote in "Rossiiskaya gazeta" on 16 August that "Russia cannot agree to the forcible democratization of post-Soviet space" and considers "color revolutions" as falling within that category of democratization. He added that Russia believes "forcible democratization" will lead to destabilization and the growth of extremism in the region. He also said Russia has vital interests in the CIS and will persistently defend them. At the same time, Russia understands that other countries have their own interests in the CIS region and can protect these interests "in a fair competition of ideas and concepts, not power," Karasin concluded. Karasin was presumably responding to the recent initiative, unveiled by the Georgian and Ukrainian presidents, to create a "commonwealth of democracies of the Baltic, Black Sea and Caspian regions," (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 August 2005). VY
ROMANIA SUPPLIES INTERNATIONAL COURT WITH DOCUMENTS ON BORDER DISPUTE WITH UKRAINE... Romania said on 16 August that it has filed documents with the International Court of Justice in The Hague to support its suit of September 2004 asking the court to resolve its border dispute in the Black Sea with Ukraine, AP reported. Romania has been locked in a bitter quarrel with Ukraine over how to demarcate their maritime border near the tiny Serpents Island in the Black Sea. The continental shelf in that vicinity is reportedly rich in oil and gas deposits. The Romanian Foreign Ministry said on 16 August that the submitted documents include "a presentation of the juridical reasons for the demarcation option proposed," but did not elaborate. JM
...AND ASKS KYIV FOR INFORMATION ABOUT DANUBE-BLACK SEA CANAL. The Romanian Foreign Ministry has required information from the Ukrainian Embassy in Bucharest regarding Ukraine's reported resumption of the construction of the Bystraya Canal linking the Kiliya (Chilia) arm of the Danube with the Black Sea, Rompress reported on 16 August. The ministry said that, according to Romanian media, a Ukrainian vessel on 31 July resumed dredging the Danube's Bystraya estuary, which constitutes the main part of the controversial canal. The first stage of the Bystraya Canal construction was completed in August 2004, amid international protests that the project poses a serious threat to the unique ecological system of the Danube Delta (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 9 September 2004). A German company that participated in the Bystraya Canal construction in 2004 has reportedly withdrawn from the project. JM
INVESTIGATORS RAID UKRAINIAN FINANCIAL MOGUL'S COMPANY. More than 30 officers of the special-task force Berkut and an armored personnel carrier were involved in a search of the Donetsk-based firm Lyuks belonging to Ukrainian oligarch Rynat Akhmetov on 16 August, Ukrainain media reported. A regional prosecutor in Donetsk told journalists that the search was connected with the criminal investigation of a case involving tax evasion and abuse of office. Akhmetov, who is believed to be Ukraine's wealthiest man, is a political and business partner of former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. In July, Akhmetov failed to appear for questioning as a witness in a case related to a shooting in Donetsk in 1988. Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko suggested that Akhmetov may be arrested if he continues to evade investigators. Akhmetov is reportedly vacationing abroad. JM