Genius is an African who dreams up snow. Vladimir Nabokov - Vladimir Nabokov
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 3, 4 January 1995

We welcome you to the Open Media Research Institute's
Daily Digest - a compilation of news concerning the
former Soviet Union and East-Central and Southeastern
Europe. The Daily Digest picks up where the RFE/RL Daily
Report, which recently ceased publication, left off.
Contributors include OMRI's 30-member staff of analysts,
plus selected freelance specialists. OMRI is a unique public-
private venture between the Open Society Institute and the
U.S. Board for International Broadcasting.

RUSSIA

RUSSIAN TROOPS RETREAT FROM GROZNY. Russian
artillery and aerial bombardment of Grozny and
surrounding villages intensified on 3 January as Russian
ground troops withdrew in disarray from the city center,
Russian and Western agencies reported. Some 100 people
were killed when Russian planes bombed a hospital in the
town of Shali 30 kilometers southeast of the Chechen
capital, according to AFP quoting Radio Moskvy. Russian
press coverage of the fighting was at odds with
developments on the ground, claiming that Russian forces
had regained the initiative and were consolidating control
of Grozny, the Los Angeles Times reported on 4 January. A
spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry quoted by
Interfax on 3 January denied Chechen claims that as many
as 600 Russians had been killed during the storming of
Grozny on 30 December-1 January, and hundreds more,
including one general and four colonels, taken prisoner; the
Los Angeles Times quoted eyewitnesses in Grozny who
claimed to have counted over 400 Russian corpses and 150
disabled tanks and armed personnel carriers in the streets.
-- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CHECHEN LEADERSHIP "READY TO BEGIN
NEGOTIATIONS." AFP of 4 January quoted Ostankino
Television as reporting on 3 January that Russian parliament
deputy Sergei Kovalev had sent an open letter from Grozny
to Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin stating that
at the request of Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
he had held informal talks with the Chechen leadership.
Kovalev said that the Chechens had expressed their
readiness to begin talks immediately on a cease-fire and the
coordinated disengagement of forces, on condition that
Russian forces withdraw to the positions they occupied
before the onslaught on Grozny on 30 December.
Chernomyrdin began talks on the Chechen situation on 3
January with State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin and
Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko; they are
to continue on 4 January. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISASTER? Both
Western military experts and Yeltsin's spokesman
Vyacheslav Kostikov argued on 3 January that blame for the
military debacle in Grozny lies squarely with the Russian
military leadership. Reuters on 3 January quoted unnamed
Western experts as commenting that the assault on Grozny
was badly planned and incompetently executed with
demoralized troops who had minimal experience street
fighting and little combat experience in general. Kostikov
for his part was quoted by ITAR-TASS as contending that
"the legitimacy of the president's and the government's
actions should not be questioned . . . instead we should
question the professionalism of the people who planned
this operation." Also on 3 January, former Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar told a news conference in Moscow that the
Chechen crisis increases the chances of a coup that would
lead to the imposition of a dictatorship in Russia, according
to the Los Angeles Times of 4 January. Arguing that "only the
president can stop the bloodshed in Chechnya" Gaidar said
that "Yeltsin must get rid of those who pushed him into the
Chechen adventure, above all, Egorov, Grachev, and
Lobov." -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV, CHRISTOPHER MEETING IN THE OFFING?
AFP reported on 4 January that US Secretary of State Warren
Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
are to meet in Geneva, probably on 17 and 18 January.
Recently, the Chechnya crisis has placed a strain on US-
Russian relations, and AFP quotes State Department
representative Michael McCurry as saying that while
"Chechnya is by international recognition part of Russia,"
Washington's view is that "we don't like innocent civilians
losing their lives." Recently Kozyrev defended Russian
actions in Chechnya by comparing the situation there to
that in the secessionist US South during the US Civil War
more than 125 years ago. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN ANALYSTS EVALUATE SOCIETY. On 2
January Interfax reported on a poll of 145 political analysts
throughout Russia, conducted by the Russian Academy of
Public Service this past December. According to the report,
half those questioned described the current social and
political climate in Russia as "alarming and threatening."
Survey respondents indicated they felt that social
conditions will make conflict likely in 1995, with possible
"conflicts between the public and the authorities . . .
especially dangerous." Analysts also saw opportunities for
continuing ethnic conflict, but speculate that tensions
between federal and regional authorities will not be as grave
as other forms of strife. A full 60% observed that some form
of "mass social protest actions" are likely in the regions
where they live. On the brighter side, analysts predict that
most conflicts will not escalate to the point where aggrieved
parties opt for violent solutions. Non-violent forms of
protest, including strikes and demonstrations, are projected
as dominating the political and social landscape. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

PREDICTION: RUSSIA'S FARM OUTPUT TO DROP 6-7%
IN 1995. If the government clears its arrears of 11 trillion
rubles (current exchange rate is approximately 3,500 rubles
to $1) for last year's farm purchases and retains the same
volume of subsidies in the agro-industrial sector, farm
production will fall by 6 to 7% this year, compared with
1994, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksander Zaveryukha told
Interfax on 3 January. Zaveryukha said the government
allotted only 10 trillion of the 18 trillion rubles that was
planned for the farming sector in 1994. This year's budget
allocates 8 trillion rubles, a considerable reduction.
Zaveryukha said the farm sector will have to repay a total of
8 trillion rubles on interest alone in 1995 for the normal
term for the 7.5 trillion ruble credit it received from the
government last year. As a result, Zaveryukha said that this is
the main cause of the grain, meat , milk, sugar and cooking
oil shortages the population is presently encountering. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

INFLATION BATTLE IS CHALLENGE FOR NEW YEAR.
According to Russian Minister of Economics Evgeny Yasin
in a 31 December article in Rossiskiye Vesti,  the economic
situation in Russia should brighten, but not without sacrifice
and difficulties in 1995. Yasin said that in order to prevent
Russia's financial structure from further deteriorating, the
government will have to infuse money into the economy. So
far, 9.3 trillion rubles have been committed from the federal
budget, a 33% increase from 1994. Yasin further stressed the
"politics of effective investment," that is, financing only
projects that will enable quick and large profits. Although
Yasin abstained from giving a prognosis for inflation in
1995, he hoped that toward the end of the year the level will
settle around 2 to 3% per month. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI,
Inc.

RUSSIA FILLED ENERGY DELIVERIES FOR CIS
COUNTRIES. The Russian Ministry for Cooperation with
CIS Countries told Interfax on 3 January that Russia has
fulfilled most of its obligations in supplying energy to CIS
countries. According to the report, in the first three quarters
of 1994 Russia supplied Belarus with 28% more gas than
agreed to, Moldova received 15% more than contracted,
and Ukraine received 55% more. These three countries are,
ironically, Russia's largest gas debtors. In all, Russia supplied
over 28 million tons of oil, 64 billion cubic meters of gas,
over 4 million tons of coal, 600 tons of gasoline, 1.5 million
tons of diesel and 1.4 million tons of fuel to CIS states in the
first 10 months of 1994. Russia did not meet its full
obligations of oil supplies to Armenia, Georgia, and
Kazakhstan. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

DEFENSE GIANT IN FINANCIAL CRISIS. Perm Motors--
Russia's leading manufacturer of jet engines and one of its
15 largest joint-stock companies--announced on 2 January
that it was restructuring in an effort to work its way out of its
current financial crisis. According to Interfax, Financial
Director Oleg Skvortsov told the company's shareholders
that the company's debt was more than 200 billion rubles
and the monthly interest on this debt exceeded the
company's revenues. Perm Motors plans to split into four
major affiliates: one producing jet engines, another natural
gas pumping units and small gas turbine engines, a third
devoted to space technology--Perm builds the second stage
of the Proton space-booster rocket--while the fourth would
build reduction gear boxes for helicopters. Eleven smaller
companies will engage in other businesses and trade. Perm
President Mikhail Makarov said it might take the company
as long as three years to end its financial problems. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN-CHINESE RAIL LINK DELAYED. Due to
financial problems, the construction of a railway link from
the Chinese border to the main railway in the Khasan
region has not been completed, Interfax reported on 3
January. The 21-kilometer stretch of rail was begun in 1992
and should have been finished by the end of 1994 at which
time the Chinese were to link the railway to the rails on
their side of the border. Presently only 10% of the project is
complete. The joint stock company Golden Link, which is
building the railway, has been given another year to finish
the project, while the territorial administration is planning
to establish a mortgage fund to attract foreign investment
into the project. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

THAI AIR FORCE LOOKING AT RUSSIAN FIGHTERS.
An official of the Royal Thai Air Force has indicated that
for the first time it is considering Russian and European
fighters as well as the U.S. planes it has traditionally
purchased. UPI on 3 January quoted Group Capt. Khatiatip
Koonchorn Na Ayudhaya as saying that his service would be
looking at the MiG family of fighters as well as the Su-27.
"The Su-27 is better than the MiG-29," he said, "and as good
as the top-of-the-line U.S. F-15 or F-14." Thailand belongs to
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a
prime target for Russian arms salesmen. Malaysia--another
ASEAN member--last year became the first country in the
region to buy Russian arms when it signed a contract for 18
MiG-29s. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

SERGEI KOVALEV NAMED "MAN OF THE YEAR" FOR
1994. Several newspapers in Moscow and St. Petersburg
reported recently on the results of a Public Opinion
Foundation survey in which the respondents were asked to
name the persons they regarded to be the "best" and the
"worst" personality of 1994. Sergei Kovalev, the veteran
human-rights campaigner, currently in Grozny as an
eyewitness to the events in Chechnya, was "almost
unanimously" chosen as the "man of the year." Russian
President Boris Yeltsin was awarded the title of "worst man
of the year." In a separate development, RFE/RL and Russian
TV reported that Kovalev's colleagues from the Russia's
Choice faction in the State Duma, Nikolai Vorontsov and
Egor Gaidar, urged on 3 January that Kovalev be nominated
for the Nobel Peace Prize. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

SAKHALIN WORKERS GET LIQUOR INSTEAD OF
MONEY. Interfax reported on 3 January that management at
a Sakhalin joint-stock paper company has paid a portion of
its workers' salaries in "mostly low-quality wine" shipped in
from the mainland and bartered for the paper produced by
the company. Previously, firemen working with the firm were
paid in red wine, perhaps explaining why "they failed to
extinguish fire in a coal gallery on the same day." -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

RECORD PRIVATIZATION DEAL IN LITHUANIA. The
Kaunas-based company Minta and 18 individuals won in a
contest the right to purchase the Kedainiai Chemical
Factory, the largest producer of mineral phosphorus
fertilizers in the Baltic States, BNS reported on 3 January.
They will pay 135 million litai ($33.75 million)--26.5 million
litai more than the initial asking price--for 69.7% of the
factory's shares. The 18 unnamed individuals were described
as businessmen who previously were engaged in the
nonferrous metals trade. The factory is the most expensive
enterprise privatized in Lithuania. The new owners estimate
that necessary modernization will cost $50-60 million. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN DEPUTY MAY BE STRIPPED OF IMMUNITY.
Estonian Justice chancellor Eerik-Juhan Truuvali said that he
had not yet received a request sent late last year by police
investigators to prosecute former Justice Minister and
parliament deputy Heiki Kranich, BNS reported on 3
January. Kranich is accused of abuse of power in his
position as head of the Haapsalu branch of the West
Estonian Bank in 1992 when he allegedly interfered in
money transfers between several competing companies.
Truuvali noted that he would be obliged to request
parliament to lift Kranich's legislative immunity, but there
are no laws regulating the issue. He said that parliament
could pass the necessary laws rather quickly since several
drafts were already under consideration, but the process
could be dragged out to influence the preelection
campaign. Kranich is a member of the Reform Party. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

WALESA SAYS HE WON'T PAY NEW INCOME TAXES.
Polish President Lech Walesa told reporters on 3 January
that he will refuse to pay personal income taxes at the
higher rates set by Waldemar Pawlak's government last week,
PAP and international agencies report. Walesa said he does
not recognize the government's decision. The rates were
changed without the passage of new tax legislation. Asked by
reporters on what basis he will pay his taxes, Walesa said he
will abide by the 1991 tax law. Reuters quotes the president's
legal adviser, Lech Falandysz, as saying that if Pawlak cannot
reach an understanding with Walesa, he should either quit
or be prepared for a fight. The two leaders have recently
been at loggerheads over economic policies and control
over key ministries. Meanwhile, the Senate on 3 January
passed the 1995 state budget approved by the Sejm (the
lower house of the parliament) last week. Out of the 100
senators, 74 voted in favor of the budget's passage. Walesa,
who was opposed to two key measures eventually removed
from the Sejm's final version, now has 30 days in which to
give his seal of approval to the document. He told reporters
that he will sign it, but not before the end of the week. -- Jan
Cleave, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN TRADE UNIONS CRITICIZE
GOVERNMENT'S ECONOMIC PROGRAM. The Federation
of Trade Unions of Belarus and the Belarusian
Confederation of Industrialists and Manufacturers issued a
statement criticizing the government's program for pulling
the country out of its economic crisis, Belarusian Radio
reported on 3 January. They were especially critical of the
new taxation law. According to their statement, the new law
does not alleviate taxes on manufacturers; it is not
conducive to encouraging import or export operations; it
does not encourage investment; and it taxes banks which
could otherwise issue credits. The unions also charge that
the law does not support small and medium businesses and
levies taxes on non-state enterprises which are three times
as high as those for state enterprises. The unions appealed
to the parliament to reconsider the reform policy. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

KUCHMA SAYS UKRAINE WILL ISSUE NEW CURRENCY
IN 1995. Ukraine will introduce its new national currency,
the hryvna, in 1995 in its effort to reform its monetary
system and ailing economy, President Leonid Kuchma told
Ukrainian Television on 3 January during a tour of the
newly-renovated National Bank of Ukraine. On the same
day, Kuchma signed a decree creating a presidential
advisory Council on Economic Reforms, formally
establishing his current team of economic advisors as a
group charged with developing economic policy. The new
council will be chaired by Viktor Pynzenyk, the first deputy
prime minister for economic reforms. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

SIXTH REACTOR AT ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR
POWER STATION TO GO ON LINE IN 1995. The
Ukrainian government has decided that the sixth nuclear
reactor at the Zaporizhzhia atomic energy station,
considered the largest of its kind in Europe, will go on line
for testing purposes in the first quarter of 1995 in
preparation for its planned commercial usage by the end of
the year, Ukrainian Radio reported on 3 January. Heavily
dependent on and debt-ridden from Russian energy
imports, Ukraine obtains up to 40% of its energy from five
nuclear power stations throughout the country, including
Chornobyl. Despite protests from environmental groups,
Ukrainian authorities have said the energy crunch in the
country is forcing them to continue to rely on and even
expand their civilian nuclear program, including
completing construction on unfinished reactors such as the
sixth bloc at Zaporizhzhia, left idle after the collapse of the
former USSR. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT ON CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
The Czech government agreed at its 3 January session to
amend the existing law on conflicts of interest, Czech media
reported. The proposed law will cover only politicians: the
president, prime minister, ministers, and parliamentary
deputies, but will not apply to their relatives or civil
servants. If the amendment is approved by parliament,
politicians will not be allowed to sit on executive boards of
companies and firms; they will also not be allowed to own
firms or serve as company administrators. The politicians
covered by the law will be allowed to accept gifts but will
have to inform the chairman of the parliament about
receiving any such gift and about their overall income. The
government approved the amendment in the wake of
several corruption scandals that recently shook Czech
politics. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAKIA PLANS TO COMPLETE EU APPLICATION
IN JUNE. In its session on 3 January, the Slovak cabinet
asked Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk to prepare Slovakia's
application for EU membership by 30 June, Pravda reports.
Schenk said this move clearly confirms the continuity of
Slovakia's foreign policy and its orientation towards West
European structures. The cabinet also approved the removal
of Police Chief Stefan Lastovka, who was appointed by the
Moravcik government in March, and replaced him with
Jozef Holdos. A proposal for a Slovak-Russian
intergovernmental commission, chaired by Deputy Premier
Sergej Kozlik, as well as for a trade agreement between
Slovakia and Iran were also passed. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
Inc.

MORE CHANGES AT SLOVAK TELEVISION. In a press
conference on 3 January, newly-appointed Slovak TV
Director Jozef Darmo said he plans to implement several
basic changes at the station, which include guaranteeing
STV's independence and financial means, and returning
production of main programs from external sources back to
the station. Darmo justified the recent personnel changes at
STV, which include replacing the directors of the Banska
Bystrica and Kosice studios, saying that it is normal for
management to resign when leadership changes occur.
Concerning the recent cancellation of the political satire
"An evening of Milan Markovic," which with 62.3% of
viewers was STV's most popular show, Darmo said that
viewership is not the only criterion to consider, Sme
reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY SEEKS CLOSER TIES WITH NATO. Hungarian
Defense Ministry spokesman Lajos Erdelyi, in an interview
with Magyar Hirlap on 3 January, says his country wants
British and German troops to hold joint exercises with
Hungarian forces in Hungary later this year. Erdelyi
explained this is part of a Hungarian plan to take a more
active role in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. He
added that Hungary has set aside 400 million forint ($3.5
million) for this purpose. Hungarian troops are to
participate in NATO exercises in Italy this year. Erdelyi also
said the Hungarian military would be further reorganized to
bring it up to the standards of "Euroatlantic integrational
structures." Personnel changes in 1995 are to include
dismissing some 20% of army officers and drafting 7,000
fewer conscripts than in 1994. Also on 3 January, Foreign
Ministry spokesman Gabor Szentivanyi said Hungary
expects Austria, a member of the European Union since 1
January, to tighten border controls, AFP reports. Szentivanyi
noted that although no irregularities have yet been reported
on the Hungarian-Austrian border, Hungarian officials were
reckoning with the introduction of stricter tourist and
transport checks. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

TRUCE HOLDING AROUND SARAJEVO . . . International
media report on 4 January that the truce between the
Bosnian government and rebel Serb forces signed on 31
December is largely holding. Fighting around Sarajevo on 3
January was so low that the main tram line along Marshall
Tito Boulevard was able to resume running with little fear of
sniper fire, the Los Angeles Times says. On 4 January
government and Serb forces are expected to meet at the
airport under UN mediation to discuss further steps to
implement the ceasefire. UN spokesmen told reporters,
moreover, that government troops are expected to withdraw
from the demilitarized zone on Mt. Igman by mid-day on 4
January. Government representatives, however, pointed out
to AFP that any such move would be conditional upon the
UN's monitoring the road from that mountain to Hrasnica.
The mainly Muslim army has stayed on Mt. Igman to help
control the Hrasnica road, which is Sarajevo's link with
other government-held territory. Meanwhile in London,
British government spokesmen called for a rapid follow-up
to the truce in order to produce a lasting political
settlement to the conflict. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

. . . BUT NOT NEAR VELIKA KLADUSA. News agencies
reported on 3 January from the embattled Bihac pocket in
northwestern Bosnia that some 250 shells had landed near
Velika Kladusa. The town is the main base for local kingpin
Fikret Abdic, who recently retook it following its loss to
government forces in August. UN spokesmen said it was not
clear whether the firing came from Abdic's forces or from
those of his Krajina Serb allies. Abdic verbally agreed to the
ceasefire on 28 December, but the Krajina forces have yet
to sign on. Meanwhile, refugees loyal to Abdic have been
returning to Velika Kladusa from their primitive camps in
Krajina despite warnings from the UN that the area is not
safe. Vjesnik on 4 January describes conditions in the
nearby Sector North region of Krajina as "chaos," and
suggests that other refugees are trying to leave the area for a
third country. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

REOPENED CROATIAN HIGHWAY ATTRACTS MORE
THAN 14,000 VEHICLES. Vecernji list reports on 4
January that the highway linking Zagreb and Lipovac (and
ultimately Belgrade) has been used by more than 14,000
cars, buses and trucks since it was reopened to traffic on 23
December. The stretch between Nova Gradiska and Novska
runs through Krajina Serb territory and is monitored by
UNPROFOR, which makes sure that vehicles do not stray
from the main road into Serb-held areas, the New York
Times adds. The Zagreb daily cites UN spokesmen as saying
that the highway will now be in use only from 6 a.m. to 6
p.m., following 24-hour access during the holiday period.
That regimen may return as early as next week, however,
since UN spokesmen note that arrangements are nearly
complete with Croatian and rebel Serb authorities for
round-the-clock access. Croatia regards the reopening of the
road as a key step in the reintegration of Serb-held
territories into Croatian life, while the Krajina Serbs have
misgivings about the disruption of the hitherto closed
"border." In another Croatian development, Novi list writes
on 4 January about problems surrounding vacancies for top
judicial positions. Some 37 jobs will be contested by only 67
individuals, virtually all of whom are virtually unknown to
the public and to much of their profession. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

INDEPENDENT SERBIAN DAILY TO FIGHT ON. Reuters
reported on 30 December that the independent staff of
Borba under chief editor Gordana Logar will resist
government takeover attempts by setting up a new firm of
their own. Their company will be called Fininvest and will
be located in Novi Sad. Their paper will be named Nasa
Borba to differentiate it from the old Borba, which the
Milosevic government took over just before Christmas and
put in the hands of a top government information official.
Fininvest will be owned by Dusan Mijic, the former leading
shareholder of the old daily. The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung noted on 31 December that the government is
actively persuing its attempts to take over or shut down the
other leading voices in the independent media, namely the
weekly Vreme, the TV station Studio B, and the radio
broadcaster B-92. Vreme on 2 January reported on Serbia's
50-odd local TV stations, but concluded that they are not
yet willing or able to become centers of independent
broadcasting. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

OIL POLLUTION AT ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN
BORDER. Quoting a spokesman for the Environment
Ministry, Romanian television said on 3 January that an
oilfield accident has polluted more than 40 kilometers of
the river Barcau and the pollution might cross the border
into Hungary. The spokesman said the oil from a refinery in
the Bihor county was detected on 30 December. About 35
tons were removed by technicians but it was impossible to
collect it all and the pollution was now spreading down-
river. The Barcau enters Hungary above the town of Oradea
and becomes the Berettyo, which eventually joins other
rivers in the Hungarian plain. The deputy prefect of Oradea
county was quoted by Reuters as saying that a special
commission was investigating the cause of the spill. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

PROTESTS IN BULGARIA AGAINST NEW WATER
WORKS. Residents of the Sapareva Banya region
temporarily blocked work on a new pipeline that is to
connect rivers in the Rila Mountains with Sofia's water
supply system, Otechestven Front reported on 3 January.
Members of the Committee for Civil Disobedience blocked
streets and stopped workers from entering the construction
site. The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of
March and is part of a new system to end Sofia's water crisis.
The residents of the Rila region fear that this will mean a
shortage of water for them. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREECE WANTS NEW TALKS WITH BULGARIA ABOUT
WATER FROM THE MESTA. Greece wants to negotiate a
new treaty with Bulgaria regarding use of water from the
Mesta River, Standart reported on 3 January. The present
agreement divides 300 million cubic meters annually
between the two countries and is valid for 30 years. Greece
wants a permanent agreement but apparently is willing to
conclude one for 50 years. Ekoglasnost, a political
formation in coalition with the Bulgarian Socialist Party,
said that Bulgaria should insist on financial compensation
in case Greece wants more water from the Mesta. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT CRITICIZES MACEDONIA.
Albania's parliamentary commission on foreign policy has
expressed concern over recent developments in
Macedonian-Albanian relations, the Tirana edition of
Rilindja reported on 4 January. The legislators are
responding to the continuing refusal by the Macedonian
authorities to allow an Albanian-language institution of
higher education in that republic, and to the recent
deportation of exiled Kosovar parliamentarians from
Macedonia to Serbia. The legislators issued a declaration
that described calls for an Albanian-language pedagogical
faculty as a "minimum demand." They added that the
violent police raid on the Albanian university illegally
founded in Tetovo in early December "stands in
contradiction to Albania's friendly orientation, goodwill
and concrete moves for promoting stability in Macedonia."
The commission also criticized the arrests and expulsions
of the Kosovar legislators, who have been meeting in
Macedonian exile since 1991. The deportations followed the
police attack on the university on 14 December. Reuters
noted on 29 December, however, that Macedonia has
deported over 660 people to rump-Yugoslavia in the last six
months. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIA TO RECEIVE ELECTRICITY VIA
YUGOSLAVIA. Citizens of a Tirana district have
complained about a three-week electricity cut-off and a 10-
day absence of water in a letter to Zeri i Popullit published
on 4 January. This one case is indicative of a much larger
water and power problem, and Albania will soon import
electricity from Bulgaria via the rump-Yugoslav grid,
Politika reported on 28 December. The committee on
sanctions against rump-Yugoslavia at the UN Security
Council agreed to the arrangement under the precondition
that the amount of current entering and leaving rump-
Yugoslavia be monitored. However, Politika said that "the
transport will not be free of charge" and implied that some
of the electricity will remain in Yugoslavia. Albania has cut
its own production in hydroelectric power plants from
about 15 million kWh to about eight million kWh because of
a lack of water in the recent dry season. Albania has also
negotiated to receive Greek and Romanian current via the
Greek grid. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner and Steve Kettle

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest
news from the former Soviet Union and
East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is
published Monday through Friday by the
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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole