Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma has suspended a January 23 decision by the Crimean parliament to dismiss the peninsula’s Kiev-backed prime minister, Arkady Demidenko, and to replace his government with a new Council of Ministers. Saying that Crimea’s Supreme Soviet had exceeded its powers under the Ukrainian Constitution, Kuchma has referred the dispute to the Constitutional Court. The speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vasily Kiselev, said the Supreme Soviet would stick to its decision and that it intends to appoint a new government by February 5. He also said that members of the Crimean parliament want to elect themselves to government posts. (Interfax-Ukraine, January 28) Yesterday, the Crimean parliament punctuated its defiance by voting no confidence in Demidenko. The Crimean Tatar faction in the Supreme Soviet dissociated itself by leaving the chamber. The leader of Crimea’s Communist party, Leonid Grach, was pessimistic about the outcome. He predicted that Kuchma will dissolve the Crimean parliament and subordinate the government of the peninsula to Kiev. (Interfax, January 29)
Azerbaijan Sentences Two Groups of Coup Plotters.