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ESTONIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR 'SELECTIVE ISOLATION' OF RUSSIA. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said on June 4 at the Democracy and Security Conference in Prague that democracies should respond to Russia's aggressive rhetoric with a policy of "selective isolation," news agencies reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 26 and 27, May 25, and June 4, 2007). Ilves stressed that "if it is true that democracies do not go to war with each other, then what the hell is a country that threatens to target its nuclear missiles at Europe doing in the G8, the club of industrial democracies?" Alluding to Russia and the recent "cyberwar" against Estonia, Ilves argued that "a lack of democracy [in some countries] is beginning to threaten our security. We just went through a threat to our security in Estonia, where for a while, my country was isolated electronically because we were disliked." He asked what will happen if "by some small miracle, a country further afield [than Ukraine or Georgia], say in Central Asia, opts for democracy? Will Russia follow the same pattern as it followed for every other [nearby] country that has opted for democracy? And, if so, how do we defend those countries because they are not in NATO, they are not in the EU?" Ilves suggested that "principled, selective isolation should be part of the menu" of options for democratic countries' policies toward Russia. He asked rhetorically, "why should a Russia that is not a democracy, that does not even bother to meet its membership commitments, continue to be a member of [and], indeed, dominate that organization of European democracies, the Council of Europe?" He suggested that keeping Russia as a member of groups of democracies like the Council of Europe and the G8 confers on it a legitimacy it does not deserve. Ilves argued that "Europe's citizens are poisoned, Europe's countries are subjected to cyberwar, their energy deliveries are halted, they are blackmailed and bribed, and now threatened with a retargeting of missiles -- and we say, 'No, we cannot isolate Russia.' We have allowed ourselves, through greed and naivete, to allow our security to become beholden to the policies of an undemocratic petro-state." PM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DECREES EARLY POLLS FOR SEPTEMBER 30. Viktor Yushchenko issued a decree on June 5 scheduling early parliamentary elections in Ukraine for September 30. The decree instructs the Central Election Commission to prepare and conduct the elections, and the government to finance them. In another decree, Yushchenko annulled his decree of April 26, in which he called for early elections on June 24. Both decrees are published on Yushchenko's presidential website (http://www.president.gov.ua). JM
UKRAINIAN SPEAKER SAYS RESIGNATION OF OPPOSITION DEPUTIES DEFIED PROCEDURES. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz said at a session of the Verkhovna Rada on June 5 that those lawmakers from the opposition Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc who withdrew last week did so in violation of relevant procedures, Ukrainian media reported. According to last month's deal between the president, the prime minister, and the speaker, the opposition lawmakers were to withdraw to make the Verkhovna Rada illegitimate, thus paving the way for its self-dissolution and early polls in the fall. Moroz said the pullout of lawmakers should have been announced in the session hall and confirmed by him. "But this has not been done since, firstly, many deputies were absent and, secondly, there are absolutely substantiated doubts that the resignation statements were signed by the people named in them," the "Ukrayinska pravda" website (http://www.pravda.com.ua) quoted Moroz as saying. "Unless the Central Election Commission signals to us that there is no one to replace those [deputies] who pulled out, and that those who pulled out have been stripped of their deputy powers, parliament will continue to work," he added. Moroz also asserted that nearly 40 lawmakers from Our Ukraine actually do not want to give up their parliamentary seats, UNIAN reported. JM