Ukraine causes Russia trouble in Chechnya
Since the beginning of the first Chechen war Russia has been trying to accuse Ukraine of providing different forms of support for the Chechen rebels.
Usually Ukrainian radical political groups were blamed by the Russian media, politicians and sometimes even by official authorities for sending volunteers to fight against regular Russian troops. During the second Chechen war the country was charged with providing information for the guerrillas.
It is often difficult to find out where truth intersects with falsehood, and a recent statement by the Russian General Staff has exceeded any earlier suppositions. According to Valery Manilov, colonel general and the first deputy head of the General Staff, Chechen rebels expect to get around USD 500,000 from Ukrainian nationalistic organisations in the very near future.
The second part of this sensational announcement once again accused Ukrainian citizens of fighting against Russian troops. It is alleged that Chechen commanders have used volunteers from Ukraine for different forms of sabotage. For example, it is allegedly planned to dress Ukrainians up as Russian soldiers and to send them to perform diversionary and terrorist acts in order turn the local population against the Russian army.
Moreover, such terrorist acts will be filmed by Chechens and published in the media and on the Internet.
Although Ukrainian nationalists do not deny the existence of so-called Chechen information centres in the country, the rest of the General Staff's story seems to have little basis in reality. It smacks of ideological movies from Soviet times and actual practices of the Soviet Army in Western Ukraine after the Second World War.
More than just a day-off?
This week, for the fourth time in its history, Ukraine celebrated Constitution Day. It was adopted on 28 June 1996 after 23 hours of heated political discussion in the national parliament. It was a remarkable and long day. Deputies decided not to leave the parliamentary hall before the Constitution was adopted, transforming a regular plenary session on 27 June into a sleepless night on the 28 June.
315 Members of Parliament supported the text of the Constitution, only 16 voted against. Four years later, the Ukrainian Constitution celebrated its birthday with the Constitutional Court's approval of the legitimacy of the constitutional amendments voted on in the referendum on 16 April (see April issues).
Despite strong objections towards such steps by many Ukrainian political parties and a warning from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), the Constitutional Court declared that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's draft bill on introducing constitutional amendments in line with the 16 April referendum is legal and should be implemented.
Amendments will substantially influence the division of "powers" between the president and parliament. Firstly, the president will have the right to dissolve the parliament under the certain circumstances; secondly, deputies will lose their immunity from criminal prosecution; thirdly, the number of parliamentary seats will be reduced from 450 to 300.
How to use the Internet when you do not have money to buy bread
According to the results of a sociological survey
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The average salary of the Ukrainian employees in the production sector is UAH 213 (around USD 39).
The results of another survey tells us that only six percent the citizens have the opportunity to use the Internet. Most people use it at work. 82 percent of the respondents questioned by GfK-USM do not use computers at all.
Natalya Krasnoboka, 1 July 2000
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Den', daily national newspaper
Kyiv Post, weekly national newspaper
Facty, daily national newspaper
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
UA Today, on-line information agency
Ukrainska Pravda, on-line independent