The Communist Party of Ukraine held an extraordinary congress on November 1 in Kyiv behind closed doors. It approved an electoral program calling for an alliance of leftist forces against two main foes: the "antipopular regime" of Leonid Kuchma and the "right-wing" Rukh and other national-democratic parties. The program promises inter alia to renationalize privatized property, to return power to local soviets, to confer the status of state language on the Russian language (on a par with Ukrainian), to cancel the Charter of Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO, and to strive for a "renewed, voluntary union of equal fraternal nations" with Russia, Belarus, and other former Soviet republics. The Communist slate of candidates is topped by the party’s first secretary, Petro Simonenko, kolkhoz chairman and twice Hero of Socialist Labor, Omelyan Parubok, Stakhanovite miner Anatoly Nalivaiko, and the nationally famous poet, Boris Oliinyk, who is also chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee. (UNIAN, November 2, 4)
Oliinyk, an unusual figure in the CPU, favors national independence and close relations with the West, against the views of his Moscow-oriented party. The CPU is likely to court in particular the Socialist Party, both out of ideological considerations and in order to avoid dividing the two parties’ common natural electorate. According to local observers, that electorate tends to perceive the similarities between the Communists and Socialist parties more clearly than the differences between them.
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