|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Russia, China Try Diplomacy in North Korea Crisis
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev travelled to North Korea Oct. 13 to examine ways to defuse the nuclear test-related crisis. Alekseyev handles activity related to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in which China and Russia, along with the Central Asian nations are involved in promoting peace and stability in the region. In addition, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced he would visit South Korea the week of Oct. 23, for talks focusing on North Korea's nuclear test, as well as Russian-South Korean bilateral ties. South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun was in Beijing on Oct. 13 to discuss the North Korea crisis with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.
At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton circulated a revised draft resolution on North Korea at the Security Council, and pressed for a vote. Russian Ambassador Vitali Churkin urged Bolton to hold off. Russia and China both moved to soften the proposed U.S. resolution for sanctions against North Korea.
Russia Seeks Unmanned Lunar Base By 2011
Vladimir Shevchenko of the Astronomy Institute of Moscow State University said at an Oct. 5 conference in Moscow, that if the mission of the Russian Lunar satellite Luna-Glob is successful, there will be a series of projects for new landing modules and Lunar research vehicles. Russia might be able to establish an unmanned base on the Moon by 2011, Shevchenko said.
Yanukovych Moves To Change 'Orange Revolution' Policies
At an expanded session of the Ukrainian government Sept. 28, Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych raised the issue of government efficiency in the country's regions. Citing figures on an economic decline in a number of regions, he called for replacing the governors of Poltava, Kharkov, Ternopol, Kherson, and Chernigov regions. These five had all been selected by President Victor Yushchenko from the ranks of Orange Revolution activists. Since the Ukrainian constitution requires the nomination of governors by the President, Yanukovych could not himself remove the officials. He did, however, establish a special executive body, the Central Operational Staff, with representatives in every region. Taras Chornovil, speaking on behalf of Yanukovych's Party of the Regions, declared that the staff's mission is "to establish order in the country."
Members of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party, as well as the opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, accused Yanukovych of exploiting the economic crisis "to establish his own pyramid of power." Yushchenko refused to take part in the cabinet meeting. In the Supreme Rada, the parliament, Our Ukraine chairman Roman Bessmertny announced disagreement with other members of the government coalition (the Party of the Regions, Socialist Party, and Communist Party) and urged government ministers who are Our Ukraine members, to abandon the cabinet.