. On October 19, thousands of trade unionists in Kiev, Kharkov and Sevastopol, staged protests to demand state help for the troubled machine-building sector, where collapsing production is causing severe cutbacks in salaries and hours worked per week. Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Kinakh agreed, after talks with demonstrators, to create a commission to review their complaints. A scuffle broke out outside government buildings in the capital when a group of Ukrainian nationalists tore up a Soviet flag being carried by workers. (11)
Earlier this month, the Ukrainian government adopted a program of macroeconomic stabilization to address such problems as falling production and the negative balance of payments. (12) It called for the maintenance of a mixed economic base until the end of 1995 and a 0.6 percent increase in production next year.
The general impoverishment of Ukrainians is a clear and present danger. The Ministry of Statistics calculates that an astonishing 90 percent of the population technically qualifies for social support funds. That compares to 10-20 percent in other countries, according to Yuri Buzduhan, chairman of the parliamentary commission on social policy and labor. (13) The October 19 protests were not a unique event. Recently there have been similar actions by destitute pensioners and war veterans. The demonstrations not only highlight the difficult economic situation but also appear to signal the intent of the Communist Party and its allies to stake out a position as defenders of Ukraine’s dispossesed classes.
Debut of New Ukranian Prosecutor Controversial.