Ukrainian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko resigned yesterday under pressure from President Leonid Kuchma. The president had been behind calls for the dismissal of Lazarenko as an obstacle to reforms, and on June 19 tasked the first deputy prime minister, Vasyl Durdinets, to serve as acting prime minister "for the duration of Lazarenko’s illness." Not known to be ailing, Lazarenko was hospitalized four days later and was diagnosed with thrombophlebitis and varicose veins. Lazarenko was Ukraine’s sixth prime minister since 1991.
Presidential administration chief Yevgeny Kushnaryov announced yesterday a plan to "accelerate the reform of the cabinet of ministers, which will never reform itself on its own accord." Deputy Prime Minister Serhy Tyhypko is in charge of the plan. (Ukrainian agencies, July 1; see Monitor, June 20 & 24) The move appears to presage the ouster of Lazarenko’s allies from the cabinet and an effort by Kuchma to pressure that body into promoting economic reforms. Apart from slowing down those reforms, Lazarenko has also been tainted by corruption charges, which turned him into a political liability to the president.
Ukraine Seen as Part of Central Europe.