There is confusion in Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which now has two prime ministers. On April 9, the Crimean parliament thought it had won a two-month battle of wills and sacked Prime Minister Arkady Demydenko, an efficient administrator whom parliament considers too friendly toward Kiev. In Demydenko’s place, parliament appointed Anatoly Franchuk, who established a good working relationship with parliament when he was prime minister in 1994, before he was forced to quit by ill health. (Itar-Tass, April 9)
Yesterday, however, the office of Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma announced that Kuchma intends to reinstate Demydenko as prime minister. Presidential chief-of-staff Yevgeny Kushnarev called Franchuk’s appointment "premature and unjustified" and said it had not been coordinated with the president, as Ukraine’s constitution requires. (Itar-Tass, April 10) There was speculation that Kuchma might use the opportunity to dissolve the Crimean parliament on the grounds that it had violated the constitution. In the past, Kiev has been unwilling to take this step, calculating that fresh elections would not produce a parliament any easier to deal with than the existing one. Whatever the result of the present struggle, Demydenko will not be leaving Crimean politics: he has announced his intention of forming a new centrist political party called "Our Home is Crimea." (UNIAN, April 8)
Crimean Tatars to Switch to Latin Script.