When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 4, 5 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.

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RUSSIA

YELTSIN ORDERS HALT TO BOMBING OF GROZNY. On 4
January Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the Russian
military to desist from bombing the Chechen capital Grozny
at midnight that night, according to Russian radio and
television. The exact military situation in Grozny on 4 January
was unclear: the Russian Interior Ministry press service as
quoted by Interfax of 4 January claimed that Russian interior
ministry troops "continued to force militants out of Grozny
during the morning;" other Russian media reported that
Chechen forces were retreating southwards from the city. ITAR-
TASS reported that Russian troop reinforcements were being
sent to Chechnya, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai
Egorov told a press conference in Mozdok that Russian forces
could be in control of Grozny by 5 January. He also said that
the Chechen "government of national revival" headed by
Salambek Khadzhiev would begin work in Grozny as of 5
January. Russian presidential advisor Emil Pain told Interfax
on 4 January that empowering either Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai or Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to
negotiate with the Chechen leadership in place of Egorov and
intelligence chief Sergei Stepashin could expedite the
resumption of talks on a political settlement of the Chechen
crisis. Interfax on 4 January quoted the head of the opposition
Chechen Provisional Council, Umar Avturkhanov, as stating
that his forces will not comply with Yeltsin's demand to
surrender their weapons until Dudaev's forces have been
completely neutralized. Also on 4 January, Interfax quoted an
unidentified senior Russian Foreign Ministry official as stating
that Moscow is drafting an official response to the OSCE
proposal to send a group of experts to evaluate the human
rights situation in Chechnya. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CHECHNYA SUBJECT NOT ON THE TABLE AT US-
RUSSIAN BILATERAL TALKS? "The situation in Chechnya is
not a subject for the talks," Nikolai Spassky, the Russian Foreign
Ministry's North American Department Director, told Interfax
on 4 January. Spassky was referring to talks between Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and US Secretary of State
Warren Christopher, tentatively scheduled to be held on 17 or
18 January in Geneva. Spassky did, however, say that except for
Chechnya, both sides would discuss the entire gamut of
bilateral relations and would likely concentrate on affairs in
Europe, including the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA WARNS MUSLIM AMBASSADORS OVER
MERCENARIES IN CHECHNYA. The Russian Foreign Ministry
summoned the ambassadors of Afghanistan, Iran, Jordan,
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and the Turkish charge d'affaires on
4 January and warned them that their respective governments
should take all necessary steps to preclude the further
recruiting and dispatch to Chechnya of mercenaries from
their countries, AFP and Interfax reported. Iranian President
Ali Akbar Rafsanjani warned on 4 January that the Russian
military intervention in Chechnya could undermine Russia's
links with the Islamic world, according to AFP, which further
quoted a statement by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Mahmud Mohammadi published in the Iranian press that the
Iranian government has offered to send humanitarian aid to
Chechnya "to relieve the sufferings of the Chechen people." In
Ankara, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ferhat Ataman
condemned the Russian military intervention and resulting
civilian casualties which he saId could have serious
destabilizing consequences for the entire Caucasus region, and
affirmed that Turkey considers a cease-fire declaration
"indispensable." -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

KOVALEV IN MOSCOW, TO MEET YELTSIN,
AMBASSADORS. Russian human rights envoy Sergei Kovalev
arrived in Moscow on 5 January, a day after he told a news
conference in the Ingush capital, Nazran, that he was going to
meet President Boris Yeltsin and foreign ambassadors to
inform them about human rights violations that have taken
place in the course of Russian air attacks on Grozny. Kovalev
also carried an appeal signed by 84 Russian POWs held
prisoner in the cellar of the Presidential Palace in Grozny who
condemn the Russian military intervention in Chechnya.
According to Kovalev, he and his fellow human rights
campaigner, Oleg Orlov, will return to Grozny if the military
action there continues. Along with three members of the State
Duma Human Rights Commission, Kovalev and Orlov had
been in Grozny monitoring the situation personally since 14
December 1994. The three deputies--Valerii Borshchev of the
liberal Yabloko faction in the Duma, and Mikhail Molostvov
and Yulii Rybakov (both of Russia's Choice) remain in the
cellar of the Presidential Palace. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

YAVLINSKY CALLS FOR YELTSIN TO RESIGN . . . Since
the new Russian Constitution does not make provision for the
legal replacement of the president, Yeltsin should resign his
post voluntary, Grigorii Yavlinsky, the leader of the liberal
Yabloko faction in the State Duma, told ITAR-TASS on 4
January. Yavlinsky believes that after the failure of the Russian
military action in Chechnya that has cost the lives of hundreds
of civilians as well as young Russian conscripts who were killed
or are being held prisoner in Chechnya, those responsible for
the deed could no longer remain in power in Russia.
Yavlinsky's call was echoed by that of the only liberal
politician who had supported the use of force against the
breakaway Caucasian republic, Boris Fedorov, the head of the
Liberal-Democratic 12 December Union in the Russian
parliament. Fedorov called for a vote of no confidence in the
government because of its poor performance in the Chechen
crisis. Unlike Fedorov, Yavlinsky figures in opinion polls as a
front-runner for the post of Russian president and thus has a
vested interest in elections being held as soon as possible. --
Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

. . . BUT RUMORS OF POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN
MOSCOW DENIED. Yeltsin press secretary Vyacheslav
Kostikov said that rumors of political instability in Moscow are
unfounded, Interfax reported on 4 January. Kostikov pointed
out that all was calm in Moscow and that President Boris
Yeltsin had a normal day holding numerous meetings and
then quietly went home. Kostikov blamed the rumors on
Yavlinsky's demand that Yeltsin should resign, which he
dismissed as merely the opinion of one man. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI, Inc.

CALLS FOR EARLY PRESIDENTIAL REFERENDUM. An
initiative group headed by Tatyana Novikova has collected
over 1.6 million signatures in support of an all-Russian
referendum on early presidential elections in the spring of
1995, Interfax reported on 4 January. Supporters of the MMM
joint-stock company's president, Sergei Mavrodi, were behind
the initiative to gather the signatures. They have now been
handed over to the prefect of Moscow's Southern
Administrative District. The collection of signatures does not
mean a referendum will be held immediately since the final
decision on its holding is made by the president. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN TRADE FIGURES. The Ministry of Foreign
Economic Relations told Interfax on 4 January that Russian
trade with non-CIS countries in 1994 increased by 7%
compared to 1993, amounting to more than $76 billion.
Russian exports to non-CIS countries increased 9% to $48
billion. Most of the positive trade was due to the increase in
the export of raw materials, oil and petroleum products.
Russian machinery exports were down 16% and made up less
than 5% of the country's total exports. Some 70% of the
exports went to industrialized countries, particularly the EU.
Russian imports amounted to $28 billion, an increase of 5%
over 1993. Half of the imports were food stuffs and consumer
goods. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

FEASIBILITY STUDY OF YAMAL GAS FIELDS
CONCLUDED. The Russian Petroleum Information Agency
reported that the feasibility study for developing the Yamal
gas fields will be concluded in the first quarter of 1995, Interfax
reported on 4 January. The gas reserves of the Yamal fields are
said to be 10 times greater than the Shtokman field reserves in
the Barents Sea. The project is estimated to be worth over
$100 billion. The Ukrainian designing firm Pivdenihiprohaz is
a major developer of the feasibility study and the Russian firm,
Gazprom, will implement the project. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
Inc.

UNEMPLOYMENT: RUSSIA'S BIGGEST SOCIAL
PROBLEM? On 4 January ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported
remarks by Employment and Labor Minister Gennadii
Melikyan, in which the minister said that actual national
unemployment was at least three times that reported in official
statistics. According to Melikyan, roughly 5.1 million people
are jobless, a figure contrasting sharply with the official
number of 1.5 registered unemployed. Melikyan also stressed
that if people on leave without pay and the underemployed
could be factored into the equation, that would effectively add
another 4.8 million to the ranks of the unemployed, who would
thus number 13% of the working-age population. Melikyan
observed that the high rate of unemployment could spur
social tension, making joblessness one of the gravest social
problems confronting Russia today. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
Inc.

INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES DOWNSIZE PERSONNEL. In
efforts to make the workplace more efficient, more than a
quarter of Russia's industrial enterprises reduced staffing in
1994, according to a report from the Federal Employment
Service (FES) to Interfax on 4 January. Reductions also
occurred in the transportation (10%), communication (10%)
and agricultural sectors (7%). The FES stated that
unemployment has affected 1.9% of the work population. More
than 73% of the unemployed live in urban areas and about
27% live in rural regions. Unemployment experts believe the
downsizing process in all work sectors will continue in 1995. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUBLE-DOLLAR TRADING MIXED ON FIRST DAY. A total
of $51.22 million was sold on 4 January at the Moscow
Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) on the first trading day
this year of the U.S. dollar, Interfax reported on 5 January. With
a stated demand for $83.26 million, creating a substantial
difference between supply and demand. Dealers reported to
the Financial Information Agency (FIA) that the Central Bank
sold $31.8 million during the session, which opened 45
minutes late due to the absence of a Central Bank certificate
confirming that banks wishing to buy dollars had transferred
ruble payments to MICEX accounts. As a result, the Central
Bank was the primary seller, offering $10 million sums at rates
of 3,569 and 3,570 rubles per dollar. At the Interbank money
market, however, the ruble lost more points with the dollar
costing 3,606 to 3,609 rubles in same day payments and
between 3,622 and 3,629 rubles in one-day spot transactions. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KYRGYZ INTERIOR MINISTER AND DEPUTIES RESIGN.
On 4 January Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev's National Security
Council accepted the resignation of Interior Minister Abdybek
Subalinov and his three deputies, Interfax reported. Although
the National Security Council criticized the ministry as
"incapable of organizing an effective struggle against the
criminal world or ensuring law and order in the streets," and
called for a radical reform of its work, Akaev charged
Subalinov with continuing to head the ministry until a
competent successor is appointed. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

BELARUSIAN MILITARY INSTALLATIONS TIED TO
RUSSIAN ECONOMIC UNION. On 4 January Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told a government meeting
that 11 of 30 documents which would establish the basis of an
economic union between Russia and Belarus have been
completed, Interfax reported. In another report, defense
minister Anatol Kastenka said that if Russia would be willing to
lift trade barriers and sign a customs union, then Belarus
would allow Russia to use military facilities on its soil for only
a nominal land rent. He added that Belarus did not want to
negotiate the use of military installations in Belarus separately
from other issues. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

LATVIA PROTESTS TO MOSCOW. Latvian Foreign Ministry
State Secretary Maris Riekstins on 3 January sent a note to
Russian ambassador Aleksandr Rannikh protesting that Russian
military personnel had not left Latvia on schedule, RFE/RL's
Latvian Service reported on 4 January. The troops were to have
left Latvia by the end of August, but because of the lack of
housing in Russia the Latvian authorities had allowed
discharged troops and their families to remain until the end of
1994. Riekstins's note said that Russian soldiers remained in the
country and asked for  a list of them. Latvian officials have
rejected Russia's claim that only 1,115 soldiers are involved,
saying that there are many more. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIA SUSPENDS GRANTING CITIZENSHIP. Interior
Minister Kaido Kama told reporters on 3 January that the
government had suspended granting Estonian citizenship to
people "on general grounds," Interfax reported on 4 January.
Kama indicated that the moratorium did not concern ethnic
Estonians and the republic's permanent residents who were
registered prior to the country's independence. Kama said the
suspension was necessary because of the continuing
investigation of Citizenship Department employees who are
alleged to have sold passports illegally. He denied statements
in the press that the moratorium had been adopted to reduce
the number of potential non-ethnic Estonian voters in the 5
March parliamentary elections. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PREMIER SAYS HE WON'T ACCEPT FOREIGN
MINISTER'S RESIGNATION . . . Prime Minister Waldemar
Pawlak on 4 January said he will not accept the resignation of
Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski, Polish and international
agencies report. He commented that, although Olechowski had
been doing a poor job, he had decided to give him another
chance "so that he can prove himself." Pawlak's remark
angered President Lech Walesa, whose spokesman Leszek
Spalinski responded by saying "this was a statement that does
not serve Polish interests." Olechowski, a close Walesa ally,
tendered his resignation last week for the second time in two
months after he was named in an anti-corruption probe.
Justice Minister and Prosecutor-General Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz listed Olechowski as one of 58 high-ranking
Polish officials who serve on the boards of companies in
which the government has a stake. The foreign affairs portfolio
has been one of the main bones of contention in the ongoing
feud between the president and the prime minister. -- Jan
Cleave, OMRI, Inc.

...WHILE WALESA REJECTS PREMIER'S CANDIDATE FOR
DEFENSE MINISTER. Another issue in that feud is filling the
defense portfolio, which has been vacant since November
when Piotr Kolodziejczyk was forced to resign over a dispute
about the reform and control of the army. Polish and
international agencies report that Walesa on 4 January refused
to accept Pawlak's nominee for defense minister, Longin
Pastusiak, a civilian who has a long communist record. The
president was quoted as saying that Pastusiak "used to blame
NATO for all the evil in the world" and therefore could not act
as defense minister in a country seeking membership in the
Western military alliance. Walesa continues to back Zbigniew
Okonski, a former deputy foreign trade minister, as his only
candidate for the post. Under the Polish Constitution, the
prime minister can appoint an acting defense minister but
requires the approval of the president to swear in a full
minister. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc.

CONCERN OVER BELARUSIAN DEFENSE BUDGET. The
former commander of the Belarusian border guards, deputy
Yauhen Bachrou, has said that he is unhappy with the 1995
budgets for the defense ministry and border guards, Belarusian
Radio reported on 4 January. In his opinion, the 798 billion
rubles allotted for the military is insufficient and the small
budget would prevent the armed forces from attracting any
qualified specialists to work for them. In addition, the 88.3
billion allocated to the border guards would not allow them
even to complete building projects which have already been
started. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE WANTS TO SALVAGE MISSILE SILOS. As
quoted by Interfax on 4 January, Ukrainian Defense Minister
Valery Shmarov has said that Ukraine plans to salvage
unoccupied strategic missile silos beginning this summer. He
said they would not be blown up as they were located near
populated areas. The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START-
1) treaty allows a silo to be destroyed either with explosives or
by excavating to a depth of at least 8 meters. For the SS-19 and
SS-24 silos in Ukraine, this would mean that roughly the top
one-third of the silo would have to be dug away. Both the US
and Germany are providing money to Ukraine to help pay for
silo elimination. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN HRYVNA TO BOLSTER ECONOMIC
STABILIZATION. Anatoly Halchynsky, economic advisor to
President Leonid Kuchma, says Ukraine's new national
currency, the hryvna, will be introduced sooner than planned
as a vehicle for financial stabilization, reversing earlier plans
to secure the economy before issuing the new tender, AP
reported on 4 January. According to his proposal, the hryvna
would be ushered in over a two-month period when it would
circulate alongside the temporary currency, the karbovanets.
Although the aide would not provide an exact date, he told
reporters that a package of seven decrees on fiscal reform will
be sent to Kuchma's office within a fortnight, after which, he
expects, the president will make his decision on timing.
Halchynsky also said the Ukrainian government is counting on
a $1.5 billion IMF stand-by loan to be used as a stabilization
fund to support the hryvna. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

KUCHMA AIDE OUTLINES GOVERNMENT'S GOALS IN
1995. Alexander Razumkov, a top presidential advisor, told a
news briefing on 4 January that the Ukrainian government's
chief goals in 1995 are to achieve economic stabilization,
reform the political system, step up its fight with organized
crime, stabilize the political situation and create a favorable
environment for further reforms, especially by strengthening
ties with Russia and other CIS countries, Interfax-Ukraine
reported. Razumkov expressed hopes that the parliament
would approve a new constitutional law on division of powers,
giving the president strong executive authority, and thus avoid
the need for a national referendum on the issue. He predicted
that if the law was passed in early 1995, a new constitution
could be adopted by the end of the year. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION CONCERNED ABOUT
GOVERNMENT MEASURES. Speaking on 4 January,
Democratic Union (DU) Chairman and former Premier Jozef
Moravcik expressed his party's concern about certain steps
taken by the current government, particularly in relation to the
electronic media, Pravda reports. He also criticized the
restrictive character of the provisional budget in the areas of
education and health care and the slashing of the budget of
the presidential office. According to Narodna obroda and
Sme of 5 January, the Christian Democratic Movement, DU,
the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement and the Social
Democratic Party plan to request that the Constitutional Court
review two controversial privatization laws recently passed by
the parliament. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

MECIAR INVITED TO BUDAPEST. During a meeting on 4
January, Hungarian Ambassador to Slovakia Jeno Boros
presented a letter from Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn
inviting Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar to visit Hungary. The
two prime ministers would discuss broad bilateral issues,
including the basic treaty between the two states, as well as
European integration and cooperation in international
organizations. A date for the visit has not yet been set, Pravda
reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN UPDATE. The BBC reported on 5 January that
follow-up talks on the ceasefire agreement between Bosnian
government and rebel Serb representatives had broken down.
The Los Angeles Times quoted a UN spokesman as adding that
fighting was continuing in parts of the Bihac pocket, notably
around Bosanska Krupa and Cojluk. Those actions were
launched by the Serbs, whose ally Fikret Abdic similarly has
not been living up to his pledge to respect the four-month
truce in his Velika Kladusa fiefdom. The Los Angeles paper
also cited UN reports that the Serbs were preventing the
evacuation of 35 sick and wounded people from Gorazde, two
of whom had since died. Meanwhile in Washington,
international media reported on 5 January that the new
Republican majority leader in the Senate, Robert Dole, had
introduced legislation the previous day to end American
compliance with the arms embargo against the Bosnian
government. He said it would put the necessary pressure on
the Bosnian Serbs to get them to accept a peace agreement.
Reuters quoted a State Department spokesman as responding
that such a move would be "the wrong thing to do at this very
important point in the crisis in Bosnia." -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

A TOUGH LINE IN CROATIA . . .  Reuters reported on 4
January that the Croatian government has threatened to end
all talks with break-away Serb forces unless the latter begin
implementing last month's economic agreement. So far the
only part of the pact to materialize has been the reopening of
the main east-west highway. Further provisions call for, among
other things, the reopening of the Adria pipeline connecting
Rijeka with Central Europe. Croatian chief negotiator Hrvoje
Sarinic said that his government will not talk about or sign
anything more until existing pledges are carried out. He also
suggested that Croatia might not renew UNPROFOR's mandate
when it runs out on 31 January. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

. . . OR JUST DEJA VU? These statements seem to fit an
established pattern in Croatian policy since the UN's presence
there began at the start of 1992: Croatia makes much noise in
the weeks leading up to the renewal of the mandate to the
effect that the UN must aid the reintegration of the occupied
territories into Croatia if the troops' stay is to be prolonged.
Zagreb's allies then quietly pressure it into extending the
mandate, while the Croatian government publicly claims
victory, pledging not to renew the agreement again if the
territories in question remain under Serb control much longer.
As part of the apparent ritual, the chief of the general staff
recently said that he would not rule out a military solution to
the Krajina question. This possibility has also been a central
subject of the Croatian rumor mill, amid reports of increased
conscription levies in Split and elsewhere. President Franjo
Tudjman, however, seems to be publicly taking the line that for
now diplomacy offers the best hope for Croatia to realize its
goals. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

MORE SUPPORT FOR INDEPENDENT SERBIAN DAILY.
Reuters reported on 4 January that the London-based
International Center for Censorship had protested to Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic over his attempts to take over
the daily Borba and extend censorship over the independent
media. That paper itself said that some 3,000 people had
formed a "ring of freedom" around its Belgrade offices on 1
January in response to a call by the Independent Media Union.
One speaker said that "our weapons are words of truth and
they reflect hard facts," but added that now more than words is
needed to stop government from destroying the freedom of
the press and airwaves and that of individuals. In other Serbian
developments, that same paper noted that the Steering
Committee of the independent union at the Ikarus-FAO plant
had entered the sixth day of a hunger strike for back pay.
Government officials continued to ignore the men's requests
for talks. Politika on 5 January, for its part, reported that rump-
Yugoslavia and Russia had concluded an economic agreement
that provides for mutual most-favored-nation trading status.
The text must first be approved by the Federal Assembly. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN CONCERN OVER CHECHNYA. The Romanian
Foreign Ministry expressed on 4 January concern over the
conflict and loss of life in Chechnya, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Bucharest reported on the same day. A
spokesman for the ministry said Romania considered the
Chechen conflict a Russian domestic problem but would like
to see both sides conduct peace talks "in the spirit of the OSCE
documents to which the Russian Federation had committed
itself." Asked if the conflict in Chechnya would prompt
Romania to increase efforts to join NATO, the spokesman said
all Romania could do was "to complete the steps that are
expected from all countries that have joined the Partnership
for Peace program." In a related development, the opposition
Civic Alliance denounced the Russian intervention in
Chechnya as "genocide" and "a continuation of the imperialist
policies of the former Soviet Union." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
Inc.

US AMBASSADOR TO BUCHAREST: NO NEW NATO
MEMBERS IN 1995. The US ambassador to Romania, Alfred
Moses, said in an interview with VOA on 2 January that NATO
will not admit new members from among the countries of
Eastern and Central Europe in 1995, Radio Bucharest reported
on the next day. However, he added, the criteria for admission
will be decided in the course of the year and, with this purpose
in mind, talks will be conducted with these states, Romania
included. Moses said the admission of new members by NATO
was a long process, since it involved approval by the
parliaments of the organization's present 16 members. On a
different matter, Moses said there was hope that the US
Congress will decide to forego the yearly revision of
Romania's MFN status. He said Romania's emigration policies
were "liberal" and from a "strictly technical point of view" the
country met the conditions imposed by the US Congress, but
matters such as the political and economic situation, as well as
respect of human rights, are usually also taken into
consideration before a decision is made. -- Michael Shafir,
OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION NAMES CANDIDATES FOR
PARLIAMENTARY POSTS. The National Coordinating
Council of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) has
proposed its candidates for the posts of leader of the UDF's
parliamentary group and for vice president of the National
Assembly, Demokratsiya reported on 5 January. The council
urged the deputies to elect Iordan Sokolov their chairman. Of
the 15 parties that are members of the UDF, nine supported
Sokolov, three favored Petar Stojanov and three abstained.
UDF leader Ivan Kostov and his predecessor Filip Dimitrov,
who were also proposed, refused to stand for office. Ivan
Kurtev was named the UDF's candidate for vice president of
parliament. According to the coalition's statute, the National
Coordinating Council recommends a candidate for faction
leader. Demokratsiya also reported that the leaders of the
UDF and the People's Union expressed their will to cooperate
in the new parliament. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

CORRUPTION IN THE BULGARIAN ARMY. Former Defense
Minister Valentin Aleksandrov has been accused of being
personally responsible for corruption in the civil
administration of the Bulgarian army. In interviews given to 24
chasa and Standart, lawyer and former chief of the Defense
Ministry's Social Administration Milcho Doychinov said he
received documents concerning the misappropriation of army
property--in this case army-owned apartments--from
Aleksandrov himself and from some of his closest
collaborators. Doychinov himself had been arrested and
questioned on the same charges at the end of December. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN UNIVERSITY IN MACEDONIA STILL IN
OPERATION. Fadil Sylejmani, a professor at the self-
proclaimed Albanian language university in Tetovo, said that
the work of the institution will continue even though police
tried to physically destroy it, Nova Makedonija reported on 5
January. Sylejmani said that the Macedonian government "will
not gain anything other than its own loss of face" if it
continues to oppose the university. Meanwhile, a journalist for
the Kosovar Albanian dailies Rilindja and Bujku, Ramush
Tahiri, said that the expulsion of Kosovar legislators from their
Macedonian havens affects all Macedonian citizens. Tahiri
added in a letter to Macedonian Interior Minister Ljubomir
Frckovski that the government's conduct showed an
undemocratic spirit. He also said that "the measures the
Macedonian authorities take against the Albanians now will be
taken against all citizens tomorrow." The letter was published
in Flaka on 5 January. -- 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
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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole