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MOSCOW DENIES PERMIT FOR ANTI-PUTIN RALLY. Moscow officials have denied the youth organization We permission to hold a rally in the Russian capital to call for Putin's resignation, Ekho Moskvy reported on 11 September. "The prefecture of the Moscow Central Administrative Area has officially refused to authorize the picketing we intended to hold on 11 September together with democratic movements from Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan," said We leader Roman Dobrokhotov. "The most interesting thing is that the refusal was based on the evaluation made by some legal experts, according to whom calls for Putin's resignation should be regarded as extremism," Dobrokhotov added. BW

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT WANTS OPPOSITION TO HOLD CONGRESS AT HOME. Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on 9 September that he has advised the authorities in Minsk to assist the opposition in organizing a congress to nominate a presidential candidate for the 2006 presidential election, Belapan reported, quoting official sources. Lukashenka's announcement came in the wake of the opposition's complaints that it cannot find a venue in Belarus for holding such a convention and is considering the possibility of holding it abroad (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 September 2005). "I have been informed that our opposition wants to be denied a place for holding the gathering in Belarus," Lukashenka said. "It is better for them to conduct it somewhere in Ukraine or Russia. The Russians have expressly refused, that is why they wanted to hold the congress in Ukraine. Kyiv agreed to host the gathering. As soon as I received the information, I recommended that our authorities offer them assistance in conducting the event, so that they will not make fuss abroad, in Ukraine, or Lithuania, or Poland that they are stifled here [and] not allowed to hold [the congress]." JM

DISMISSED UKRAINIAN PREMIER BREAKS WITH PRESIDENT... Speaking on Inter television on 9 September, Yuliya Tymoshenko said her dismissal by President Viktor Yushchenko the previous day was "deeply unfair" and provoked by members of the president's inner circle. In particular, Tymoshenko blamed National Security and Defense Council Secretary Petro Poroshenko for creating a "parallel government" and meddling in her cabinet's work. She confirmed allegations voiced publicly during the past week that Poroshenko and some other presidential aides have been involved in corruption (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 and 8 September 2005). Tymoshenko said she will run in the 2006 parliamentary elections, but not in the pro-Yushchenko camp. "I can firmly say that Viktor Yushchenko and I will run in the election by parallel paths," she said. "It does not mean we are at war. But we have two different teams, two very different sets of people. Our teams are different, and I will not go to the elections together with the people who have so discredited Ukraine. I do not mean the president, I mean his entourage." JM

...ACCUSES UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT OF 'DESTROYING UNITY.' Tymoshenko said on Inter on 9 September that she refused to follow Yushchenko's "set of conditions," one of which was to make peace with his team. "The first condition [was that I had] to extend my hand not to the president but to his team -- Poroshenko, Martynenko, Tretyakov, Bezsmertnyy, that I should give them a hand," Tymoshenko said. "By how could I extend my hand to them if their hands are constantly busy stealing something?" According to Tymoshenko, minutes before the announcement of the cabinet's dismissal by Yushchenko she was trying to convince the president not to make that step. "At that moment Poroshenko stormed into the president's office," Tymoshenko said. "He was covered, excuse me, in tears and snot, and he started yelling that he had just been stripped of his parliament seat and that the decision had been backed by the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc.... So the president looked, stood up, turned his back to me and said that the conversation was over. He went on, having practically destroyed our unity, our future, and the future of our country." JM

...AND SIGNALS TURNAROUND ON POLITICAL REFORM. Tymoshenko also said on Inter on 9 September that she has to reconsider her position on the political reform that is to take effect on 1 January 2006 and give more powers to the prime minister and parliament at the expense of the president. "I have always said that this reform is not a good thing for Ukraine," Tymoshenko said. "Back at that time I really hoped that the arrival of the new president, of the new team will be able to give the country a new impetus without changes to the constitution. Now I just see what is happening, and to be honest, all of this reminds me of the old days which it seems are returning now. So we just have to choose now between the bad -- the constitutional reform -- and the very bad, the things that are now happening under this administration. So we will think about it, and our party will define its position on this." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOWS TO PURSUE DEMOCRATIC PATH. Yushchenko said on 11 September that his decision last week to dismiss the government was "absolutely correct," Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. "Ukraine has been pushed to the verge of a serious conflict. I put an end to it," Reuters quoted him as saying. Yushchenko stressed that he appointed Yekhanurov as acting prime minister to form a "pragmatic government." "I became the president to ensure welfare, freedom, and development. We will have the rule of law, media freedom. We will not have a shadow economy," Yushchenko pledged. JM

GAZPROM SUGGESTS DOUBLING GAS PRICE FOR MOLDOVA IN 2006. Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom is considering increasing the price for gas supplies to Moldova in 2006, Infotag reported on 9 September. Gazprom Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Ryazanov reportedly said the previous day that Moldova "will most probably have to get morally prepared" to paying the rate that will soon be imposed on Ukraine, that is, $180 per 1000 cubic meters of gas. Speaking in Chisinau in July, Ryazanov said the current price Moldova was paying -- $80 per 1,000 cubic meters -- is disadvantageous for Gazprom, which according to him suffered a loss of $5 million in 2004 alone. JM