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[Notes from an anonymous member. Because of the importance and 
rapidity of recent events, I'll try to send these out once again, 
rather than waiting for UKL.--Rob]



Four important events occurred this week (January 21-27):



1.	Hearings on the Freedom of expression and functioning of 
parliamentary democracy in Ukraine were held in the Parliamentary 
Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE], January 25, 2001.
2.	Major Mel¹nychenko released a new set of audio recordings on 
Friday, Jan. 26.
3.	One more deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Oleh Turchynov of the 
Bat¹kivshchyna Party [Iuliia Tymoshenko, recognized his voice on the 
recordings and declared his intention to serve as a legal witness as 
to the authenticity of the audio materials].
4.	Iuliia Mostova of Zerkalo nedeli, Ukraine¹s most influential 
newspapers, called on President Kuchma to resign for moral reasons, 
see http://www.zerkalo-nedeli.com/statya.php?id=29403



Comments:

1.	The Hearings in PACE.  The hearings mark a turning point in 
Kuchmagate. There was plenty of warning that the reports of the 
Monitoring Committee, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights 
and an opinion presented by Mr UrbaŸczyk on behalf of the Committee 
on Culture and Education were going to be very critical of the 
conduct of the Ukrainian administration and that the recommendations 
would be stiff.  There was even talk that Ukraine¹s membership in the 
Council of Europe might be suspended.  The PACE stopped short of this 
action, but reserved the right to return to this issue in June.  If 
no progress has been made in the Gongadze investigation and 
violations of the freedom of the press and assembly continue, PACE 
will then also discuss economic sanctions against Ukraine.  Most 
importantly, PACE has agreed to oversee testing of the DNA of the 
corpse and the tapes‹there is some confusion about whether the 
Minister of Justice of Ukraine has made this request or not, but PACE 
is willing to go ahead at the request of the Parliamentary commission 
investigating the Gongadze case.



Despite the attempts of a couple of Ukrainian representatives to PACE 
to defend the conduct of Kuchma¹s administration [it was fascinating 
to hear Boris Oliynyk, the Communist rep, talk about a ³deecline in 
moral standards everywhere²], the Council of Europe held firm and 
delivered a very strong message, which seems to have had its effects 
on the Ukrainian political elite.  [The pro-Presidential deputies 
could not get any other PACE representatives to support their 
ammendments, so the voting was usually 72-4 on these issues.]  To 
read the transcript of the PACE hearings, see 
<http://stars.coe.fr/index_e.htm>http://stars.coe.fr/index_e.htm (the 
January 25 session in Verbatim).



2.	New Hits from Major Mel¹nychenko¹s Hit Parade.   New 
recordings were made public on Friday, January 26.  Transcripts can 
be read at 
<http://www.grani.kiev.ua/text01/meln/melnych.htm>http://www.grani.kiev.ua/text01/meln/melnych.htm. 
The new recordings, if authentic, demonstrate Kuchma¹s involvement in 
a variety of criminal actions:  getting secret shares (25%) during 
the privatization of Khimprom in Sumy; tapping the phones of 
politicians, the systematic blackmail of members of the State 
Broadcasting committee; the use of the tax administration to punish 
and reward friends, etc.   There is also a snippet of a conversation 
with Poteben¹ko, the Procurator General, during which the two men 
laugh about having sent Gongadze ³to the Chechens².  The latest 
recordings take the issue far beyond the Gongadze case, however, and 
eliminate what seemed to be the defense de jour  in the Presidential 
Administration­that the recordings, even if authentic, do not prove 
that Kuchma gave a command to eliminate Gongadze.  Even without this, 
there is plenty of evidence of criminal activity (if the recordings 
are authentic).  The new recordings also implicate Azarov, the Head 
of the Tax Administration, who until now had not figured directly in 
Kuchmagate.



3.	Voice Recognition.  The new recordings include conversations 
between Kuchma and 30 different parliamentary deputies.  Two deputies 
have verified the recordings and it is likely that in the coming 
weeks many more will do so as well.  This dramatically challenges the 
notion that the recordings were synthetically produced (which is what 
Poteben¹ko argued in his ill-fated report on January 10).  Moreover, 
the new recordings make it possible to verify other segments as well, 
e.g. through a forensic analysis of the privatization of Khimprom.



4.	Nervous Breakdown in Kyiv?  The latest developments seem to 
have confirmed what most people already believed‹that the tapes are 
real‹and have shredded the last remnants of Kuchma¹s defense.  The 
test results from the Council of Europe are expected to deliver the 
final blow.  Various reports from Kyiv suggest that the 
pro-Presidential politicians are discussing jumping ship and, if 
true, that should become evident in the next two weeks.  The 
oligarchs have also started fighting openly ­this evening (Jan. 28) 
on Epitsentr, a political talk show in Kyiv, Serhii Pikhovshchyk, the 
host, went after the Derkach-Rabinovych clan (Derkach, Sr. is the 
head of the Secret Service) and Rabinovych, in turn, accused another 
oligarch, Volkov, of masterminding the Gongadze affair.   This is 
further evidence of how disoriented the pro-Presidential forces are 
right now.  The question now seems to be whether the Parliament can 
put together a substantial enough majority to work out a legal 
mechanism and/or political deal to force Kuchma¹s resignation.   It 
is still a long, long way from this point right now, but discussions 
are beginning and the political crisis is not going away any time 
soon.  The ³Ukraine Without Kuchma² demonstration planned in Kyiv for 
February 6, the beginning of the new session of Parliament, could set 
the stage for this next phase of Kuchmagate.  [This is an 
all-Ukrainian action and there will be considerable participation by 
regional groups.] Further down the road, the Presidential 
Administration will also in all likelihood have to face the funeral 
of Georgii Gongadze, an event that will bring out huge crowds in Kyiv 
and Lviv.



5.	Iuliia Mostova¹s article in Zerkalo nedeli captures this new 
mood in Kyiv very well.  She makes a number of excellent points, 
including the point that a trial will not be necessary if the tapes 
are proved to be authentic (what for?), so the whole issue of their 
use as evidence in court is moot.  Mostova¹s shock at the stupidity 
and incompetence of the Presidential Administration is in itself 
shocking‹she is considered by many as the very best analyst of the 
innerworkings of the inner sanctum.



6.	There is a rumour that Pavlo Lazarenko is going to testify in 
front of Congress on February 25.  As one Ukrainian on the internet 
quipped, February is shaping up to be a very interesting month, too 
bad it¹s so shortŠ.



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