Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 148

The Ukrainian parliament yesterday was forced to postpone its debate on joining the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly as a full member, because of a boycott of the session by national-democratic deputies. It was the second such protest in two weeks, and the twelfth time overall that discussion of the issue had to be adjourned. Upgrading Ukraine’s status in the Assembly has become a cause celebre of the Russocentric faction, notably since the formation in early October of the "Soyuz" (Union) group in parliament which seeks Ukraine’s military and political reintegration with Russia. Opposing full membership are pro-independence deputies and intellectuals who suspect the IPA, headed by Vladimir Shumeiko intends to transforms itself into a CIS parliament, the better to promote Moscow’s policies toward member countries. Ukrainian critics of the IPA see their suspicions confirmed by reported plans to greatly expand the IPA’s currently modest staff. President Leonid Kuchma’s recently-appointed representative to parliament has stated more than once that he strongly opposes upgrading Ukraine’s status at IPA. However some national-democratic deputies would like to see Kuchma himself come out against the idea in stronger terms than he has thus far. (6)

Duma Adopts Bill on Upper House.