Kuchma scuttles debate
"It is impossible to live in this criminal society where human rights are violated in the most outrageous way." — Natalya Vitrenko
George-Soros-installed Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma continues on his relentless path to transform Ukraine from a fledgling democracy to a mafia dictatorship, and to transform himself from a mere corrupt politician to a mafia godfather. The chief benefit to Leonid Kuchma of re-election will be that he avoids for a while longer prosecution for the crimes he has committed while in office. Unfortunately for Leonid Kuchma, however, his victory this October will only delay the day of reckoning, and in the end will only increase the number of crimes for which he will be answerable.
Ukraine Candidates Barred From Debates
KIEV, Oct 31, 1999 — (Reuters) Opponents of
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma forced their way
into a television studio late on Friday and demanded
to be put on air, after the final debate before Sunday's
presidential vote was cancelled unexpectedly.
The debates, scheduled for 2200 (1900 GMT) were
important for the candidates as their last opportunity to
appeal to the nation of 50-million people. Starting
midnight Friday (2100 GMT) all electoral propaganda
is prohibited by law.
"We have been deprived of the opportunity to appear
on television," Kuchma's leading opponent, radical
leftist Natalya Vitrenko, told Reuters by telephone from
the television center.
"The rights of our voters have been violated as well,"
she said, adding she thought the debate was cancelled because Kuchma,
fighting for re-election against 12 challengers, was embarrassed at his
performance in a previous debate on Monday.
On that day, Kuchma, on a campaign trip to central Ukraine, spoke via satellite
to other candidates gathered in Kiev.
After Kuchma's routine speech, an old steel worker standing nearby suddenly
took the microphone and made the Kiev studio laugh at his gruff and
plain-worded interpretations of domestic politics and rude appeals to the nation
to vote for Kuchma.
Television showed a stone-faced Kuchma. Bursts of laughter in the studio were
"President Kuchma strongly disliked the debates, because he wanted to look
wise but appeared ridiculous," Vitrenko said.
Host Had Heart Attack
She said television officials had told the angry candidates that the host of the
program, Vyacheslav Pykhovshek, was ill. After Monday's debates officials
said Pykhovshek had been taken to hospital with a heart attack.
She said the station's producer, Olexander Rodnyansky, had told the
candidates that channel officials were urgently looking but could not find
another journalist to host the program.
While Vitrenko spoke to Reuters, Rodnyansky's Channel 1+1 was showing a
U.S. artistic film, while the first channel of state television was running a pop
concert in Kuchma's support.
Vitrenko, who alongside Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko is running
neck-and-neck trailing favourite Kuchma, said she expected Friday's incident
to "help voters understand at what regime they live".
"It is impossible to live in this criminal society where human rights are violated
in the most outrageous way," she said.
She accused Kuchma's administration of knowing beforehand that the debates
would not take place. The presidential spokesman could not be immediately
reached for comment.
"I think U.S. capital and the International Monetary Fund are behind this. The
IMF does not want a change of regime in Ukraine and it does not want the
Ukrainian people to have alternative information," she said.
Opponents have long accused Kuchma of leading a dirty information
campaign, but the president has denied this.
Vitrenko, if elected president, wants to rework relations with the IMF, stop
paying off foreign debts and send the rich to work in uranium mines.