Anatoly Matvienko, chairman of the pro-presidential People’s Democratic Party (NDP), yesterday attacked Parliament Chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko’s recent endorsement of a “Slavic Union” of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Matvienko described Tkachenko’s position as “treason to Ukraine” and “much to the liking of imperial forces.” The NDP leader emphasized that the Ukrainian president to be elected next year “must lead Ukraine toward the European Union, not toward the CIS, that aborted child born of a divorce” (Ukrainian agencies, October 25).
Matvienko is thereby distancing himself from President Leonid Kuchma’s tentative modus vivendi with the leftist Tkachenko, whose faction’s votes in parliament are crucial to the government’s survival. Matvienko unsuccessfully urged close cooperation among the pro-presidential and the national-democratic camps in the recent parliamentary elections. He advocates again such an alliance for next year’s presidential election. Kuchma’s maneuvering with leftist groups, even as a tactical expedient, could compromise his chances of obtaining support from the Rukh and other national-democratic groups against the left in the upcoming presidential contest. –VS
UKRAINE: FORMER PREMIER COUNTERATTACKS.