The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are infliciting it upon me. - Frederick Douglass
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 6, 9 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

RUSSIAN COMMANDER KILLED AS ONSLAUGHT ON GROZNY
CONTINUES. Addressing a meeting of the Russian Security Council
on 6 January, President Boris Yeltsin received no clear answer to his
question of why the military had not complied with his order on 4
January to halt the bombing of Grozny; nor did the Security Council
act on Yeltsin's proposal to set a firm date for the cessation of
military activities, Western media reported. ITAR-TASS and Ekho
Moskvy quoted human rights activist Sergei Kovalev, who met with
Yeltsin on 6 January, as stating that Yeltsin had told him it was "too
early" to stop the fighting in time for the Russian Orthodox
Christmas festivities on 7 January. The Russian military
bombardment
of Grozny continued from 6-8 January; on 7 January, the Russian
general commanding the Interior troops contingent, Major-General
Viktor Vorobev, was killed by an exploding mortar shell as Russian
forces tried to advance on the presidential palace. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI,
Inc.

RUSSIANS REPORT CASUALTY FIGURES. Russian military officials
on 6 and 7 January released casualty figures from the fighting in
Chechnya. As reported by Interfax, the military said 116 members of
the ground forces, 100 paratroopers, and 41 Interior Ministry troops
had been killed. Moscow News as cited by The Washington Post on
8 January gave a figure of 1,800 Russians killed. Groups opposing the
military intervention suggested that the Russian losses were far
heavier. Moreover, the official figures would not have included all
the
casualties from the heavy fighting on 7 and 8 January. Ekho Moskvy
on 8 January carried a report from the Chechen defense
headquarters claiming that 100 Russians had been killed n 7 January
in an unsuccessful effort to storm the presidential palace in Grozny.
A
correspondent for Mayak Radio reported the next day that the
Chechens had captured 113 Russian soldiers in Grozny over the
weekend--many of them drunk--while Interfax reported that a unit
of
Russian paratroopers had been captured that day near a village 30
kilometers southwest of Grozny. In a 7 January ITAR-TASS report,
the
Russians claimed to have killed some 2,500 "militants" and to have
destroyed 26 tanks, 40 other armored vehicles and more than 150
aircraft--most of them L-29 and L-39 jet trainers. -- Doug Clarke and
Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

ANOTHER NUCLEAR SCARE IN CHECHNYA. In a statement read
on NTV on 7 January, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Yegorov
said that air reconnaissance had located four missile silos near the
Chechen village of Bamut. He said he doubted any missiles were still
there but would give a definite answer once he had all the facts. In
September 1994, Chechen military officials had claimed that there
were 24 nuclear warheads at a secret base in Bamut to which they
might gain access. The Russian Defense Ministry denied the claim at
the time. On 8 January, Colonel General Viktor Yesin, the chief of
staff of the Strategic Missile Forces, explained that there had been an
R-12 (SS-4) intermediate-range nuclear missile base--consisting of
four silos--near Bamut in the 1970s, part of a division based at
Ordzhonikidze (now Vladikavkaz) in neighboring North Ossetia. As
reported by ITAR-TASS, Yesin said the base had been abandoned in
1980, and its weapons and equipment destroyed under the terms of
the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. While Yesin's
explanation is plausible, the INF treaty was not signed until
December
1987, and it contains no reference to the units or locations he
described. The only nuclear weapons known to have been in the
region in recent years were at the strategic airbase at Mozdok, also in
North Ossetia. In the START-1 treaty, the Russians said that 22 Bear-
H
bombers equipped with long-range nuclear missiles were based in
Mozdok. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL REACTION. In a letter sent to President Yeltsin
on 6 January, US President Bill Clinton reaffirmed his concern over
the high number of civilian casualties in Chechnya and again called
on Yeltsin to resolve the crisis through dialogue, Reuters reported on
6 January. Speaking to a German radio station on 7 January,
Chancellor Helmut Kohl described civilian sufferings in Chechnya as
"sheer madness" but rejected as counterproductive the suggestion
voiced on 6 January by French Defense Minister Francois Leotard
and Danish Prime Minister Poul Rasmussen that economic sanctions
be imposed on Russia in retaliation for human rights violations in
Chechnya. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said Yeltsin needs
to bring the military back under his control and begin negotiations
on a peaceful solution of the conflict that would include an
acceptable degree of autonomy for Chechnya. Danish Defense
Minister Hans Haekkerup stated on 7 January that his country has
suspended until further notice an agreement concluded in September
1994 on military cooperation with Russia, Western agencies reported.
Russia has postponed indefinitely joint German-Russian military
exercises scheduled to take place near St. Petersburg in summer
1995,
according to German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe as quoted in
Der Spiegel. The German news agency dpa noted that this would have
been the first time Bundeswehr soldiers held exercises on Russian
soil. Ruehe and Grachev signed a military cooperation agreement in
Moscow in April 1993. Also on 7 January, AFP reported that on 2
January Libya had called for the convening of an emergency meeting
of foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference
(OIC) member states to discuss the Chechen crisis. -- Liz Fuller and
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA REACTION. Six members of the Russia's Choice faction
called for the Duma to meet on 11 January to consider a report on
human rights in Chechnya and legislative initiatives to amend the
constitution, Interfax reported on 6 January. State Duma Speaker
Ivan
Rybkin said the amendments would deal with strengthening
parliamentary control over the executive branch. The session will
also discuss draft laws proposed by Russia's Choice forcing the
government to publish a list of those killed and wounded in the
combat zone and prohibiting the financing of military operations
within Russia. Rybkin also said that Yeltsin will enlarge the Security
Council to include the leaders of both houses of the parliament, who
will have a "decisive vote." The Democratic Party of Russia also plans
to raise the issue of a no-confidence vote in the government at the
session. Sergei Glazyev, leader of the party and chairman of the State
Duma Committee on Economic Policy, said that events in Chechnya
confirm that "the government cannot resolve a single key problem."
According to Interfax, Glazyev claimed that if the Duma had
supported the party's October no-confidence proposal, the Chechen
conflict would have been resolved differently. -- Robert Orttung,
OMRI, Inc.

KOVALEV MEETS YELTSIN, AMBASSADORS. Russian Human
Rights Commissioner Sergei Kovalev met with Yeltsin on 6 January
but failed to persuade him to stop the fighting. Kovalev told a news
conference later that day that Yeltsin denied having poor knowledge
of the real situation in Chechnya but then contradicted himself,
trying to persuade Kovalev that there were no bombings in Grozny
after Yeltsin's address to the nation on 27 December. Kovalev, who
was monitoring human rights inside Grozny from 14 December to 5
January, told Yeltsin that he witnessed the bombings himself. Later
on
6 January, Kovalev met behind close doors with the ambassadors of
ten democracies to discuss with them the Chechen situation. -- Julia
Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

OLEG POPTSOV SURVIVES AS RUSSIAN TV CHAIRMAN. In an
interview with Russian Television on 7 January, First Deputy Prime
Minister Sergei Shakhrai confirmed that the "problem" of the RTV
chairman, Oleg Poptsov, was indeed raised at the session of the
Russian Security Council the day before. According to Shakhrai,
participants persuaded Yeltsin to refrain from firing Poptsov
because,
as Shakhrai put it, it would be counterproductive to punish the
media
for the poor performance of the military. At a news conference held
later on 6 January, Sergei Kovalev quoted Yeltsin as saying at their
meeting earlier that day that he (Yeltsin) had signed a decree,
relieving Poptsov from his duties as RTV chairman because, in his
view, "Vesti's" coverage of the Chechen crisis "distorted the positions
of both sides in the conflict." Kovalev's news conference was followed
by a meeting of all RTV employees, who unanimously voted for a
resolution reaffirming their confidence in Poptsov. RTV was founded
in 1990. After Yeltsin was elected speaker of the Russian parliament,
the RTV played a key role in his rise to president, serving as Yeltsin's
mouthpiece during his power struggle against former Soviet
President
Mikhail Gorbachev and during his later conflict with the parliament.
Poptsov, its first chairman, was elected rather than appointed to the
office. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

FOUNDING CONGRESS OF YAVLINSKY'S PARTY. The founding
congress of a new political party based on the Yabloko faction in the
Russian parliament opened on 6 January in the village of Golitsino
near Moscow, an RFE/RL corespondent reported later that day. The
leader of the new party, economist Grigorii Yavlinsky, is widely
regarded to be a front-running democratic candidate in the next
presidential election, scheduled for June 1996. -- Julia Wishnevsky,
OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL BANK HIKES KEY RATE TO SUPPORT RUBLE. In an
attempt to defend the ruble and calm inflation, Russia's Central Bank
raised its key refinancing rate from 180% to 200% on 6 January,
according to Russian and Western agencies on 6-8 January. The ruble
lost another 44 points in the 6 January trading session on the
Moscow
Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX), closing at 3,667 rubles to $1.
Tatiana Paramonova, the Central Bank's acting head, ordered the rate
increase and considered the move crucial in order for rates to
remain above inflation and prevent extensive borrowing that would
result in even higher prices. Aleksander Pochinok, deputy chairman
of the Budget Committee in the State Duma, reported that the
Central Bank was "reacting to a rise in money supply . . . which might
have been caused by the excess volume of the Central Bank's loans,
massive growth of speculative incomes of commercial banks, or
unexpected growth in budget expenditures." Many experts have said
that inflation has also spiraled as a result of the Chechnya military
campaign, which is placing a heavy burden on the economy. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NEW TURKMEN FOREIGN MINISTER APPOINTED. On 6 January
Turkmen President Sapurmurad Niyazov appointed Deputy Prime
Minister Boris Shikhmuradov as foreign minister, Interfax reported
on 7 January. Shikhmuradov, who is 42 years old, studied journalism
at Moscow State University; from 1971-92 he worked at the Novosti
press agency and then in the USSR Foreign Ministry. He returned to
Turkmenistan in May 1992 as deputy foreign minister; in January
1993,
he was appointed deputy premier responsible for foreign, defense,
national security, and internal affairs. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS' MANDATE IN ABKHAZIA TO BE
EXTENDED? The deputy chairman of the Russian Federation
Council, Ramazan Abdulatipov, met in Sukhumi on 6 January with
Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba and with the commander of
the
Russian peacekeeping force in Abkhazia, Lieutenant-General Vassilii
Yakushev, Interfax reported on 6 January. Abdulatipov said that on
16-17 January, the Federation Council would debate the renewal, for
an unspecified period, of the mandate of the Russian peacekeeping
forces sent to Abkhazia last June for an initial period of six months.
While conceding that they had played a positive role in stabilizing
the situation, Abdulatipov said that Russia "had undertaken a burden
that was too heavy" and that no country or international organization
could simultaneously wage an internal conflict and conduct five or
six peacekeeping operations. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

BLACK SEA FLEET DEVELOPMENTS. Vice Admiral Vladimir
Bezkorovainy, the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, has expressed
concern over what he believes might be a Russian effort to
circumvent agreed provisions of the joint talks on the division of the
Black Sea Fleet. As reported by ITAR-TASS on 6 January, the two
sides
agreed that a naval base at Balaklava would be used by the
Ukrainian
Navy. This base was once the main submarine base of the Black Sea
Fleet. However, rather than dealing with the Ukrainians, the Russian
commander of the fleet--Admiral Eduard Baltin--has sent all
documents concerning the turnover of this base to the Sevastopol
city council. In letters to the chairmen of the Sevastopol and
Balaklava councils, Bezkorovainy charged that Baltin's action was
unlawful and a provocation. He reportedly warned the Balaklava
authorities against taking any ill-considered steps. -- Doug Clarke,
OMRI, Inc.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

DISCHARGED RUSSIAN SERVICEMEN IN LATVIA. At an
extraordinary meeting on 5 January, the Latvian government
decided
to issue temporary residence permits, valid until 1 May, to Russian
servicemen who were discharged in Latvia after 28 January 1992,
Interfax reported on 6 January. They were required to leave the
country before 31 August 1994 but were allowed to stay until 1
January
due to the housing shortage in Russia. The government's decision
requires these servicemen to register with the citizenship office
before 15 February. If Russia does not give the Latvian Foreign
Ministry a full list of these people by that date and a schedule for
their departure, Latvia is threatening to expel them. Latvian officials
are calculating the costs of the servicemen's extended stay and the
Foreign Ministry is likely to demand compensation from Russia. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

RESIGNATION OF ESTONIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER? Viktor
Niitsoo, the head of the Estonian National Independence Party
parliamentary faction, said that Transport and Communications
Minister Andi Meister should resign because he quit the ENIP on 20
December and decided to run in the May parliamentary elections as
a candidate in the rightist coalition, BNS reported on 6 January.
Niitsoo noted that the transport minister's portfolio belongs to the
ENIP and thus it would be unethical of Meister to keep it after
leaving
the party. Meister said that his position as minister should be
decided by the government and Prime Minister Andres Tarand. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH COALITION PARTNER SUGGESTS CABINET
RESHUFFLE NECESSARY. Aleksander Kwasniewski, leader of the
Democratic Alliance of the Left, told private Radio Zet on 6 January
that some changes in the cabinet were perhaps needed to make the
current government more effective and to replace "weaker
elements,"
international agencies report. Kwasniewski heads the senior partner
in the governing coalition. While throwing his support behind Prime
Minister Waldemar Pawlak, Kwasniewski noted that the premier had
not consulted the Democratic Alliance of the Left before stating
publicly that Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski was doing a poor
job (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 January 1995). He also commented
that such charges were unjust. "The case of the foreign minister
shows
that we are being surprised by some decisions and, what is more, by
misguided decisions," Kwasniewski told Radio Zet. President Lech
Walesa made it clear last week that he wanted Pawlak replaced as
prime minister, possibly by Kwasniewski. Walesa and Pawlak have
recently been trading swipes over such issues as ministers, taxes,
and
the extent of their powers under Poland's interim constitution. -- Jan
Cleave, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH BISHOPS REJECT JOINT AUSCHWITZ STATEMENT
WITH GERMANS. Poland's Roman Catholic bishops on 6 January
refused to issue a joint statement with their German counterparts
marking the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration
camp at Auschwitz, Polish and international agencies report. Bishop
Stanislaw Gadecki said the decision not to issue the statement was
taken after "stormy debate." He added "there was a desire to avoid
the impression that Poles and Germans were jointly responsible for
Auschwitz," noting that in the past Western media have suggested
that
Polish anti-Semitism played an important role in the Nazis' decision
to build concentration camps in Poland. Gadecki also commented
that a joint statement by the Polish and German bishops would have
led to the conclusion that the Churches were "primarily responsible
for the misfortune met by Jews." Gazeta Wyborcza on 6 January
regretted the decision and commented that a joint statement would
have helped clear up any misunderstandings about the Churches'
wartime role. Polish President Lech Walesa will preside over a
ceremony at Auschwitz on 27 January commemorating the camp's
liberation. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER IN BELARUS. Aleksei
Bolshakov arrived in Minsk on 6 January to finish drafting a
memorandum on expanding Russian-Belarusian cooperation and
developing economic, political and military links, Belarusian media
reported. Eleven documents are ready for signing, but problems
remain in resolving a customs union and in organizing financial
bodies for trade. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

DEMOCRATIC BLOC "UKRAINA" AGAINST SIGNING RUSSIAN-
UKRAINIAN TREATY. Following a meeting of "Ukraina," the
democratic union which includes the Christian Democratic Party and
the Green Party, parliamentary deputy Dmytro Pavlychko issued a
statement regarding its stand on the Russian-Ukrainian friendship
treaty, Ukrainian television reported on 8 January. According to
Pavlychko, "Ukrainia" is opposed to the signing of the treaty, saying
it
threatens Ukraine's sovereignty. He also said that he was informed
that the Russians wanted to include a clause on dual citizenship, to
which Ukraine is opposed, and that the Russian side is not respecting
Ukraine's territorial integrity. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

INFLATION DROPS TO 28% IN DECEMBER, UKRAINIAN
PREMIER SAYS.  Vitalii Masol, citing preliminary statistics, said
Ukraine's monthly inflation dropped to around 28% in December
from last year's high, 72.3% in November, Interfax-Ukraine reported
on 6 January. Inflation jumped drastically in late 1994, from 2.6% in
August and 7.3% in September, after parliament ordered the
government to print 70 trillion unbacked Ukrainian karbovantsi in
cheap credits for the agricultural sector, Viktor Yushchenko,
chairman of Ukraine's National Bank, said in an interview with
UNIAR
News on 8 January. While the premier expressed hopes that monthly
inflation will not rise above 20% in the first quarter of 1995,
Yushchenko believed tight fiscal policy measures and planned
market
reforms in the farm sector can reduce inflation further. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

POLL REVEALS MOST CRIMEANS BELIEVE MAFIA IS IN
CHARGE. A recent public opinion poll by the Crimean Center for
Humanitarian Studies found that 58% of Crimea's residents believe
the peninsula is run by the mafia, Interfax reported on 4 January. Of
the 1,500 or so respondents, 21% found it difficult to give an opinion
on the issue, 10% think Crimea is controlled by the local parliament,
5% said the Ukrainian central government is in charge, while 2%
thought Crimean President Yurii Meshkov and Prime Minister
Anatoli Franchuk are in control. Only 1% think political power in the
autonomous republic resides with the people, while the same
number
believe it lies with the Crimean security service. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET ASKS UNIONS FOR SUPPORT. The Slovak
cabinet met with representatives of the Confederation of Slovak
Trade Unions on 6 January in an effort to gain support for its
program manifesto. According to a Narodna obroda report the
following day, Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said one of the main
controversies concerned wages. Noting that inflation will occur if
wage increases are not matched by increases in labor productivity,
Meciar said his government favors wages regulated by GDP growth
rather than by increases in the cost of living. In an interview with
Pravda on 5 January, Confederation President Alojz Englis expressed
disappointment that the provisional budget was passed without first
being discussed with the government's social partners and said his
group disagreed with changes in several laws which would affect the
lives of citizens. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK CABINET MANIFESTO. The
Slovak cabinet met in Trencianske Teplice on 8 January to discuss
the
proposal for its manifesto. Deputy Premier Sergej Kozlik later
announced on Slovak Television that the government was expected
to
work out the final version that day, approve it on 10 January, and
submit it to the parliament on 11 January. Still, Premier Vladimir
Meciar said the parliament would not discuss the manifesto until 19
January. According to the constitution, "within 30 days of its
appointment, the cabinet is obliged to appear before the parliament,
present its program, and request a vote of confidence." The cabinet
was installed on 13 December, and several opposition parties have
protested the fact that the manifesto will not be passed by 13
January.
The cabinet plans for GDP growth of 4-5% in 1995 and 8% by 1998.
The unemployment rate is expected to remain below 15% in 1995,
falling to 10% by 1998. In other political news, Slovak National Party
Chairman Jan Slota, who serves as both mayor of Zilina and as a
parliamentary deputy, announced on 6 Janiuary that he will donate
his 1995 parliamentary earnings to social groups in Zilina, TASR
reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

MECIAR ON PRIVATIZATION. During a meeting of the Slovak
cabinet with representatives of the Employers Association on 7
January, Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar held a press conference to
discuss his cabinet's plans for privatization, Sme reports. The start of
the second wave of coupon privatization will depend on several
factors, Meciar said. A review of the property to be offered is
expected to be completed by 15 January. Ministers will then meet
with representatives of trade unions and employers to decide on the
privatization concept for each industrial branch and for each firm.
Meciar also mentioned that "between the government and employers
there are no serious controversies" concerning the cabinet's
manifesto. According to Lidove noviny, Meciar said that in the near
future criminal proceedings will be launched against some
participants in privatization, although he did not give details. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY DENIES IT WILL BUY MILITARY EQUIPMENT FROM
ROMANIA. Radio Bucharest on 7 January quoted a spokesman for the
Hungarian Ministry of Defense as denying a report in the
independent Romanian daily Ziua that his country intends to
purchase military equipment from Romania. The spokesman also
denied a report by the Hungarian news agency MTI that, during talks
held in December with a Romanian military delegation in Budapest,
the immediate and long-range needs of the Hungarian military were
reviewed and that the Romanian side made an offer to which
Budapest did not react. Radio Bucharest's correspondent in Budapest
quoted unidentified "Western diplomatic sources," who said the
Pentagon would view favorably the prospect of military cooperation
between Romania and Hungary. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS MAKE NEW DEMANDS IN BOSNIAN CRISIS. International
media report on 9 January that Bosnian Serb commander General
Ratko Mladic introduced new conditions when he spoke to the UN's
General Sir Michael Rose the previous day. Until then, the Serbs were
insisting only that the government forces' withdrawal from Mt.
Igman's demilitarized zone near Sarajevo be confirmed; now they
want the mainly Muslim troops to leave some areas adjacent to the
DMZ as well. Rose is slated to meet with government commander
General Rasim Delic on 9 January. The Muslims insist that the Serbs
reopen roads into Sarajevo as soon as the government's withdrawal
from the DMZ is confirmed and that attacks by Bosnian and Krajina
Serbs against Bihac stop. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ARE THE SERBS ON THE VERGE OF A DIPLOMATIC VICTORY?
The Los Angeles Times on 9 January writes that Bosnian Serb forces
may be overplaying their hand and ignoring the possibility that time
is working against them and for the Muslims. Reuters and The New
York Times on 7 January, however, suggest that the Serbs are to be
rewarded for their intransigence by the five-nation Contact Group.
According to this view, the Serbs may have rejected the take-it-or-
leave-it peace plan last summer, but they will soon be offered
territorial concessions anyway. This has provoked bitterness from
the
government. Reuters on 9 January quotes Bosnian Prime Minister
Haris Silajdzic as saying that his side "has accepted the plan. But if
it's just a basis for further negotiations, then there is no plan."
Silajdzic had been meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for
European Affairs Richard Holbrooke, who is visiting several Balkan
countries and publicly criticized suggestions by Senate Majority
Leader Robert Dole that the US lift the arms embargo against the
Bosnian government. Bosnian Serb parliamentary leader Momcilo
Krajisnik told Borba on 6 January that his side regards "only 10-15%"
of Bosnian territory as disputed. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIAN UPDATE. Vjesnik on 9 January quotes Bosnian Croat
leader and Croat-Muslim federation President Kresimir Zubak on
some problems between the Bosnian Croats and the mainly Muslim
Sarajevo government. Zubak suggests that the differences stem from
contrasting interpretations of the nature of the Bosnian state: the
Muslims want a unitary polity while the Croats want a looser
federation. The daily writes that the congress of the Islamic
Community of Croatia met on 7 January. The group is reconstituting
itself following the effective dissolution of the former Yugoslav-wide
Islamic organization and establishment of an Islamic Community of
Slovenia separate from the Croatian body. Meanwhile, on the
international front, Prime Minister Nikica Valentic is visiting China at
the head of a high-powered economic delegation. Finally, one of
Croatia's key earners of hard currency, tourism, has had a good year,
with $1.3 billion coming in during 1994. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA TO REPRESENT FRENCH INTERESTS IN IRAQ.
Romania will soon begin representing French interests in Baghdad,
Radio Bucharest announced on 6 January.  French Foreign Minister
Alain Juppe announced the move after talks in Paris with Iraqi
Deputy
Prime Minister Tariq Aziz-the first time France has officially
received
a high Iraqi official since the Gulf War. The French decision was
criticized by the US State Department, whose spokeswoman Christine
Shelly said the US did not think the move was helpful or
constructive.
Britain had similar criticism. Juppe said the opening of an Iraqi
interest section at the Romanian Embassy was a technical measure
needed to solve practical questions, because France and Iraq had no
diplomatic relations. For its part, Romania said it was delighted to
represent France's interests. A Foreign Ministry official said the
move
was proof of the "privileged" relations between Romania and France.
He added that Romania did not withdraw the personnel of its
embassy from Baghdad during the Gulf Crisis, with the exception of
its ambassador. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

NO CHANCE FOR SURVIVORS IN CONSTANTA. Radio Bucharest
on 6 January quoted the head of rescue operations in Constanta as
saying there is no chance that any of the 54 seamen still missing
after
two freighters sank in the Black Sea port on 4 January will be found
alive. Nine bodies were recovered by the evening of 8 January. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS ELECT DEPUTY FACTION LEADERS,
NAME CANDIDATE FOR CHAIRMAN OF PARLIAMENT. The
parliamentary group of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and its allies
have elected its deputy leaders, Pari reported on 9 January. Rosen
Hubenov will be responsible for the legislative program, while
Krasimir Premyanov is in charge of contacts with the other
parliamentary groups. At the same meeting, Blagovest Sendov was
named candidate for chairman of the National Assembly, while Nora
Ananieva will run for deputy chairman. She will be the only
candidate for this post proposed by the BSP, regardless of whether
there are three or five deputy chairmen in the new parliament.
Standard on 9 January reported that the BSP wants the number to
rise to five "in the name of national reconciliation." The Socialist
deputies also decided to change the name of their faction to
Parliamentary Group of the Democratic Left. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
Inc.

BULGARIAN INFLATION IN 1994. According to specialists of the
Economic Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, the
monthly inflation for December 1994 will be about 5%,
Demokratsiya reported on 9 January. This will bring annual inflation
for 1994 to 121%, the second-highest figure since 1989. -- Stefan
Krause

ALBANIANS ELECT UNIVERSITY STAFF IN MACEDONIA. The
self-proclaimed University Council of the Albanian-language
university in Tetovo elected its officers on 8 January in the bureau of
the ethnic Albanian Democratic People's Party, Flaka and Vecer
reported the next day. Fadil Sulejmani was elected director of the
university which, the Macedonian authorities claim, is illegal. The
meeting of the University Council moved to another location after
police broke it up. Sulejmani criticized the police raid as an
"inhuman, vandalistic and undemocratic act." Police have intervened
against the University in the past, but the Albanians say they will
continue their work and the classes can begin on 20 January. So far
about 400 students have registered. Meanwhile, US Assistant
Secretary
of State Richard Holbrooke, visiting the country, said Washington is
considering increased economic and military support for
Macedonia, international agencies reported on 8 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 Union and East-Central and
Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
through Friday by the Open Media Research
Institute. The Daily Digest is distributed
electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe,
send a LISTSERV subscribe command to
listserv@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu
The publication can also be obtained for a fee in
printed form by fax and postal mail. Please direct
inquiries to: Editor,
Daily Digest, OMRI, Na Strzi 63, 14062 Prague 4,
Czech Republic or
send e-mail to: omnipub@omri.cz

Telephone: (42 2) 6114 2114 Fax: (42 2) 426 396


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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Updated: 1998-11-

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