A trio of reports from the f.S.U.

Barry Stoller bstoller at SPAMutopia2000.org
Fri Apr 13 23:03:38 MDT 2001

Political Instability in Kiev

Ukrainian News. 13 April 2001. Of 226 votes necessary to nix Cabinet
next week, parliament reports 238 in the bag.

KYIV, Apr. 13. A government representative said Friday that as of
Thursday evening parliament registered the signatures of 238  deputies
who are prepared to examine the issue of the government's accountability
for its work, which could end in its dismissal next week.

Two hundred twenty-six deputy votes are needed to pass a vote of no
confidence in the government.

According to Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko’s advisor in parliament
Serhy Sobolev, the number of deputies who want to raise the issue of the
government’s dismissal has increased primarily through votes from the
Regions of Ukraine faction, which is controlled by State Tax
Administration head Mykola Azarov.

All the members of the Communist, Social Democratic Party of Ukraine
(united) and Yabloko factions have already signed.

Some members of the Democratic Union (formerly Regional Rebirth) and
Trudova Ukraina (Labor Ukraine) factions, and some non-faction deputies
are also interested in discussing the government's accountability.

Sobolev said that the probability is high that the deputies who have
signed up to discuss the government’s work over the last year will vote
for its dismissal.

He added that Prime Minister Yushchenko is opposed to concluding any
agreements with individual factions, but is ready to negotiate with
parliament's majority.

"[Yushchenko] is ready to hold negotiations only with the majority
council, and no trades with individual factions," Sobolev said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, parliament's economic policy committee has
recognized the Cabinet's work as unsatisfactory and will recommend that
parliament do the same, committee chair Oleksy Kostusev said.

According to Kostusev, 11 of the committee's 25 members voted in favor
of the decision, while 7 members voted in favor of the government's
satisfactory work.

"This is our evaluation, it’s pretty severe," said Kostusev.

But Yushchenko told journalists Thursday that the resignation of his
government will have negative consequences for the country.

... The government will report on its work since last April to
parliament on Tuesday.

Parliament’s Communist faction said it would like parliament to examine
the issue of no confidence in the Yushchenko government two days later
on April 19.


Georgians wise up to capitalism

Washington Post Foreign Service. Saturday, April 14, 2001. A hero to the
west, a villain at home: Shevarnadze leads Georgians to hardship.

TBILISI, Georgia -- Every day, Khatuna Alaverdashvili can be found at
the bazaar, hunched over a table selling lettuce and onions. Most days
she takes in just two or three laris -- about $1 to $1.50. She barely
gets by, and she knows whom to blame: President Eduard Shevardnadze.

"What did he do?" she says with disgust. "Only Shevardnadze and his
friends are eating. We are not eating."

It is a common feeling at the bazaar, which is filled with unemployed
engineers, teachers and actresses who have turned to hawking produce to
survive. As Alaverdashvili, 50, works herself into a rage, others gather
around, nodding in agreement, egging her on. She's waving a knife
menacingly in the air. Fortunately, it's a butter knife. But the anger
is razor sharp.

"If I had a gun," she declares, "I would shoot him."

She does not really mean it, not literally, but Shevardnadze is no
stranger to such sentiments, having survived two assassination attempts
during his nine years as Georgia's head of state. A hero in Washington
from his days as the charismatic Soviet foreign minister who helped
bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War, Shevardnadze has
become  a villain to many at home.

He was supposed to be the visionary who as a coda to his role in world
history would return to his homeland and transform this strategically
located former Soviet republic into a model of democratic, market
reforms, a tiny piece of the West right here in the Caucasus Mountains.
Instead, just after the 10th anniversary of its declaration of
independence, Georgia seems a forlorn place, mired in misery,
dismembered by civil war, sucked dry by corruption -- a "failing state,"
in the words of Western analysts.

None of this is a secret to Shevardnadze, who readily acknowledges the
broad public pessimism. "I know that many in Georgia hate me," he said
in an interview in the presidential offices.

... "Reform is not a revolution. Reform takes time," he counseled in
grandfatherly tones. "It requires a change in mentality or mind-set. And
it requires faith. And faith in what you are doing ultimately prevails.
Otherwise, there are revolutions."

Perhaps, he mused, his stature fueled grand expectations he could never
meet. "There are periods in the history of different nations," he said,
"when too much is put on the shoulders of one person."

Shevardnadze offered Georgia his broad shoulders in 1992 when he
returned to where he had been the Soviet-era Communist Party boss, this
time as a democratic reformer.

... Shevardnadze's attempts to introduce reforms earned admiration in
the West, which rewarded him with ample financial aid. The West has long
harbored special feelings for this country of 5 million, considering it
a reliable friend in a volatile region, a bulwark against Russian
imperialism and a safe conduit for oil from Central Asia.

However, Shevardnadze's push for change made him the target of two
attempts on his life, in 1995 and 1998. The United States, anxious to
protect a key ally, dispatched the CIA to train security for
Shevardnadze, who now likes to say he is "one of the best protected
presidents" in the world.

Insecurity, though, is still the order of the day for many of his
people. Pensions average $7 a month and often are not paid for months.
Work is hard to find. Many buildings shelled in Tbilisi during the civil
war that followed independence remain crumbled or abandoned. And
electricity shortages have taken on crisis proportions, especially
during winter when the heat was out for long stretches.

Even now, the lights in the city's nicest hotels blink on and off, and
government officials find their way around the pitch-black halls of a
ministry building with flashlights. Traffic signals often do not work,
inviting utter chaos at some of the busiest intersections while police
officers chat idly.

"Things were good when he started," Nudar Dzhamaspishvili, a 42-year-old
cab driver, said of Shevardnadze. "Now we see no results of his work --
only promises and promises. When he came to power, we hoped that
everything would be okay. We expected that we would have pensions and
wages paid on time, that there would be jobs, that things would work.
And nothing's working."

Marina Abesadze, 43, was trained as a mineral engineer, but now none of
the mines in her small town is operating, so she came to Tbilisi to look
for work. These days she buys odds and ends in the store -- shoe polish,
detergent, air freshener -- and tries to resell them door to door.

"You will not find a person in Georgia who will praise Shevardnadze,"
she said. "I know the West thinks he's a hero, but for us he's nothing."

Outside the railway station, Anya Olganezova and Natela Badzaguya sell
bread for a profit of just 2.5 cents a loaf. Olganezova, 80, said she
cannot live on her pension alone. "We're like paupers," she said. "We
sit here and cry."

Most of the former republics of the Soviet Union have suffered similar
problems during the transition from a planned economy, but Georgia's are
even worse than Russia's.

While 40 percent of Russians live below the poverty line, 60 percent of
Georgians do [NOTE THAT]; the per capita gross domestic product is
nearly twice as high in Russia. The double-digit economic growth Georgia
enjoyed in the mid-1990s slowed to an anemic 1.9 percent last year.

"The Russians, the Poles, the Czechs, they've adapted," said Jean-Michel
Lacombe, ambassador from the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe. "But here, 10 years after, you don't see any change, except
for decay."

... Even more so than in Russia, a handful of powerful oligarchs
controls much of the economic resources in Georgia and has profited
handsomely from privatization of state assets. Many of those accused of
corruption are Shevardnadze's relatives or advisers.

"It's impossible to do serious business in Georgia if you don't have a
relation of the president," said Ivane Merabishvili, the reformist
chairman of the economic committee in parliament.

... Shevardnadze has held on to power in part because of a reelection
that both domestic critics and Western observers say was rigged. The
OSCE reported that the April 2000 vote granting him another five-year
term was marked by ballot-box stuffing and other irregularities.


Moldova remembers Lenin

Daily news from Moldova/Basa press. 12 April 2001. Communists to Mark
Lenin's Birthday and Labour Day.

The Communist Party and pro-Russian diehard retirees will mark the
birthday of Vladimir (Ulyanov) Lenin, Bolshevik leader and founder of
the Soviet state, on April 22 and will rally for another meeting to mark
the Labour Day on May 1, the City Hall said.

The first meeting will take place in the Expo-Business-Chisinau free
enterprise zone, near the Lenin monument, which is flanked by the busts
of communism fathers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

The second meeting is to be organised in the square before National

Both events are authorised by the city administration.

Chisinau Mayor Serafim Urechean stressed on Thursday that these meetings
are traditional events and unrelated to the results of the February
parliamentary elections.

Communists across the ex-Soviet expanse gather twice a year to pay
respects to Lenin: on April 22, his birthday, and November 7, day when
the Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian provisional government in 1917.

They also march on May 1 which is considered the International Day of
Labourers, with thousands of people nostalgic for the past joining them.


Barry Stoller


Proletarian news & Leninist debate

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