Facing the critical scrutiny of international lenders and governments, Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma told a meeting of senior ministry and regional leaders yesterday that large-scale privatization in Ukraine would be a strategic goal in 1996. The ultimate objective of privatization will be to create a property-owning class, he said. According to Kuchma, privatization targets have not been met to date due to reform-resistant leaders at the regional level and the strong communist bloc in the national parliament. Last year, less than 40 percent of the approximately 8,000 medium-size and large state firms, together with 51 percent of small state enterprises, were turned over to the private sector. Kuchma asserted that the government would strive to speed up the process in 1996. A Kiev-based IMF official, Graeme Justice, told news media that Kuchma’s remarks were an encouraging sign of the Ukrainian president’s concern about the pace of privatization. (15)
Moscow Attacks Senior Kazakh Advisor.