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OFFICIAL REPORTEDLY SAYS LAW WILL PREVENT ORANGE REVOLUTIONS. The newspaper "Kommersant-Daily" on 6 December quoted an unidentified senior Kremlin official as saying that the NGO law would prevent a Ukrainian-style Orange Revolution in Russia and would pass with minor changes. "Don't worry. There will be no Orange Revolutions," the official said. "Because this bill will become law in the nearest future," the official added, saying that there will be some changes in the bill to quell mounting opposition to the legislation. Speaking at a government meeting on 5 December, Putin said the controversial legislation is necessary "to safeguard our political system from outside interference, to safeguard society and individuals from the spread of terrorist and misanthropic ideologies that may be operating covertly," Interfax reported the same day. BW

AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION CONDEMNS INTERNATIONAL ENDORSEMENT OF FLAWED BALLOT... The three opposition parties aligned in the Azadlyq bloc, together with the Azerbaijan National Independence Party and the National Unity Movement, have issued a statement decrying what they termed the endorsement by the governments of Russia and Turkey of the outcome of the 6 November parliamentary election, and Turan reported on 6 December. The statement also criticized what it termed the "over hasty" endorsement by the U.S. Embassy in Baku of the 30 November Constitutional Court ruling approving the election results. The opposition parties accused the United States of double standards, noting that Washington's stance toward Azerbaijan differed from its support for the Rose Revolution in Georgia in November 2003 and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine one year later. Sardar Djalalloglu, first deputy chairman of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, one of the three members of Adazlyq, told journalists on 5 December that the opposition may refrain from contacts with the media and with ambassadors who described the 6 November ballot as democratic, reported. LF

...AND CIS OBSERVERS PRONOUNCE ELECTION 'FREE AND FAIR.' Vladimir Rushailo, the head of the Russian-led CIS election monitors, announced on 5 December that the 4 December presidential election was free and legitimate, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. He said, "The state electoral bodies that organized elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan ensured the realization and protection of the electoral rights of citizens in the presidential elections of Kazakhstan. International observers from the CIS concluded that Kazakhstan's presidential elections were held in accordance with the country's legislation." As has been the case in previous elections in CIS countries, including Ukraine last year, the CIS monitors' conclusions differed from those of the OSCE, which rendered an ambiguous assessment of Kazakhstan's presidential election (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 December 2005). DK

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRATIC CHOICE HAS NO FUTURE. President Lukashenka told journalists in Beijing on 6 December that the Community of Democratic Choice, which was formally set up in Kyiv last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 December 2005), has no "prospects" or "future," Belapan reported. "If you have chosen the so-called democracy, then follow your way," Lukashenka said about the nine countries that created the community. "Why to come up against the East and go to the West? First, nobody needs them in the West. The EU must chew up, digest the East European countries that joined it recently. Second, what will they bring to the West? Criminality, brigandage, banditry? Will they show how to come to power in an unconstitutional way? Europe does not want that." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT FIRES TOP VETERINARIAN OVER BIRD-FLU OUTBREAK. President Viktor Yushchenko on 5 December announced the sacking of Petro Verbytskyy, Ukraine's chief veterinarian, for the latter's inability to react in a timely manner to an outbreak of bird flu in Crimea (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 December 2005), Ukrainian media reported. Yushchenko was visiting one of the several Crimean villages subject to quarantine last week in connection with the flu outbreak. However, villagers have reportedly complained that their birds had been dying since September with officials taking no action. "Today, the issue is absolutely under control," Yushchenko said in Crimea. "The birds are being destroyed and by 12 December all residents, first of all children, will be vaccinated." Russia and Belarus on 5 December banned poultry imports from Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry said on 6 December that its staff has destroyed some 22,000 domestic birds seized in house-to-house checks of the villages affected by the outbreak of bird flu. JM

UKRAINIAN COURT SUSPENDS APPOINTMENT OF PROSECUTOR-GENERAL. The Pecherskyy District Court in Kyiv on 5 December suspended President Yushchenko's decree appointing Oleksandr Medvedko as the country's prosecutor-general, Ukrainian media reported. The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by former Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun, who was fired by Yushchenko in October and won a case for his reinstatement before the Shevchenkivskyy District Court in Kyiv in November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 November 2005). Justice Minister Serhiy Holovaty, acting on behalf of the president, has filed an appeal against the Shevchenkivskyy District Court's ruling. The Prosecutor-General's Office said on 5 December that the latest ruling in favor of Piskun was illegitimate, adding that it was made with "gross and manifest violations" of Ukraine's Code of Administrative Judicial Practice. The Prosecutor-General's Office also said it will appeal the ruling. JM