President Leonid Kuchma on May 21 publicized his 1998 income declaration, and was followed on May 24 by his main challengers in the run-up to presidential elections–Communist leader Petro Symonenko, Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz and Progressive Socialist Party leader Natalya Vitrenko. Kuchma declared an annual income of 19,217 hryvnyas (US$4,902 at the current exchange rate), a land plot, an apartment and a summer house as his personal property. The president’s monthly salary equaled 1,500 hryvnyas (US$383). The newspaper “Den,” which backs one of Kuchma’s main presidential rivals, former Premier Yevhen Marchuk, ironically commented that the salary of Kuchma is comparable to salaries of entry-level managers at representative offices of foreign companies in Kyiv. It is to be remembered, however, that the average Ukrainian’s monthly wages are currently at less than US$50 and are often paid irregularly (Den, May 22; Holos Ukrainy, May 21).
The leftist presidential aspirants were in even poorer financial shape than Kuchma. Symonenko declared an income of 8,906 hryvnyas (US$2,272) and a small Russian-made automobile, and Moroz admitted earning 12,193 hryvnyas (US$3,110) and an apartment. The sworn enemy of private property and capitalists, the outspoken “red,” Vitrenko, declared a 9,832 hryvnyas (US$2,508) income and no real estate, securities, banking deposits or cars (Ukrainian television, May 24). –OV
SHEVARDNADZE SAYS GEORGIAN LEADERSHIP WAS TARGETED BECAUSE OF ITS WESTERN ORIENTATION.