Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 218

Yevhen Kushnaryov has resigned as head of President Kuchma’s administration following his election as first deputy head of the People’s Democratic Party [NDP] (on the congress, see yesterday’s Monitor). Kushnaryov, who headed Kuchma’s administration since December 1996, explained his decision by his plans to engage in active party politics. Kuchma, after signing a decree dismissing Kushnaryov, by another decree appointed him as a special presidential adviser (Ukrainian media, November 23). Kushnaryov, known for his personal loyalty to Kuchma, changed the style of managing the presidential administration from his predecessor Dmytro Tabachnyk. Tabachnyk the flamboyant intriguer was replaced by Kushnaryov the presidential shadow and mouthpiece.

Prior to his resignation, Kushnaryov dismissed rumors about his pending appointment as information minister (STV, November 23). This post remains vacant after another Kuchma’s loyalist, Zinovy Kulik, left the ministry to chair the State Television Company (see the Monitor, November 19). The NDP, created in early 1996 as the pro-Kuchma party, at its Sunday’s congress was wary about nominating the incumbent president for the elections of 1999. Kushnaryov’s concentration on party politics may reflect Kuchma’s intention to more actively influence the NDP to back his presidential bid. The newspaper “Den,” which is in opposition to Kuchma, however, suggested that the president simply fired Kushnaryov (Den, November 24).

Kushnaryov, along with Premier Valery Pustovoytenko, proposed to the NDP congress to nominate Kuchma as the party’s presidential candidate. The NDP, however, decided to postpone a final decision until after consultations with other right-of-center forces, which may not necessarily support Kuchma’s nomination (Ukrainian media, November 22-23).–OV