A thing well said will be writ in all languages. - John Dryden 1631-1700
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 7, 10 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

RUSSIA OFFERS 48-HOUR CEASE-FIRE IN CHECHNYA. In an
appeal carried by ITAR-TASS on 9 January and summarized by
Western agencies, the Russian government, "at the president's
instigation," offered Chechen forces a 48-hour cease-fire beginning
at 8 a.m. local time on 10 January and announced that Russian
forces will cease hostilities during the same period; it also repeated
the amnesty offer contained in Yeltsin's ultimatum of 13 December
to all Chechen fighters who lay down their arms. No formal
response has yet been made by the Chechen leadership. AFP
reported on 10 January that after a two-hour lull beginning at
approximately 8 a.m., Russian forces resumed shelling Grozny. The
cease-fire offer was predicted by Russian Television newscasts earlier in the
evening of 9 January on the basis of Russian Human Rights Commissioner Sergei
Kovalev's disclosure to Interfax that Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin told him by telephone that he had reached an agreement with the
Russian military on a cease-fire. Interfax and Western agencies reported on 9
January that despite fierce resistance, Russian infantry reinforcements
advanced to within 200 meters of the presidential palace in central Grozny
and
now controlled two-thirds of the city. -- Liz Fuller and Julia
Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC RESPONSES. In an interview
given to Liberation and quoted by The Washington Post on 10
January, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe again raised the
possibility of unspecified countermeasures by the international
community in response to the Russian military incursion and
human rights violations in Chechnya. NATO Secretary-General
Willy Claes also urged Russia to halt the fighting in Chechnya
"without delay." OSCE Executive Secretary Istvan Gyarmati, who
previously headed a CSCE mission to South Ossetia and is thus
familiar with the Caucasus, left for Moscow on 9 January for talks
with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Afanasevsky on the
situation in Chechnya, AFP reported on 9 January, quoting MTI. --
Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

OMON UNIT IN CHECHNYA MUTINIES. Izvestiya on 9 January
carried an account of an OMON detachment from Ekaterinburg
which left Chechnya when its superiors would not provide it with
written orders. The 101-man unit had been called up on 2
December and was part of the column commanded by Maj.-Gen.
Viktor Vorobev that advanced on Grozny several days later. Its main
mission seemed to have been to keep an eye on the inexperienced
paratroopers in a neighboring unit. One OMON officer described
the airborne soldiers as "boys who were totally unprepared for
combat operations." The OMON unit's tour of duty was to end on 2
January but was extended to 26 January. The officers were told that
their mission was "to safeguard public order" in a war involving
tanks and artillery, but they were equipped with only small arms and
crowd-control agents. Virtually the entire unit returned to
Ekaterinburg when Moscow refused to provide it with written orders
to use its weapons or with the cards authorizing it to carry weapons
in a state of emergency. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

WHO ARMED DUDAEV? Top Russian officials have been accusing
each other of providing Dudaev with the ammunition used by
Chechen fighters against Russian forces. The controversy reached a
peak on 8 January in an interview on "Vesti" with the last Soviet
defense minister, Evgenii Shaposhnikov, who displayed a document
signed in 1992 by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev stating
that the weaponry of the Red Army division stationed in Chechnya
before it declared itself independent should be divided between the
Russian and Chechen armies on a 50-50 basis. On 9 January, Russian
Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov confirmed Shaposhnikov's
revelation in an interview with Ostankino Television news "Vremya."
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai, for his part, told Russian
Television on 7 January that Shaposhnikov and his deputies--
Gromov and Grachev--had agreed to turn over to Dudaev Soviet
Army heavy artillery and aircraft that "today are firing at Russian
soldiers." Shaposhnikov and Gromov responded by saying that in
1992, Grachev was acting in his capacity as head of the Russian
Defense Committee, rather than as Shaposhnikov's deputy, as
Shakhrai claimed. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

SOLDIERS' MOTHERS PICKETING GENERAL STAFF. The
mothers of Russian conscripts serving in Chechnya rallied on 9
January in front of the Russian General Staff headquarters in
Moscow. "Vesti" showed footage of crying women displaying
placards and demanding that the military be put under public
control. One of the mothers told "Vesti" that the army has not
informed parents about the whereabouts of their sons. The parents
demanded that the Security Council, which is widely regarded as
responsible for the decision to invade Chechnya, be dissolved, and
that Defense Minister Grachev resign and be replaced with a
civilian. The demonstrators resolved to picket the General Staff
every day. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

FEDOROV CRITICIZES PRESIDENT, MILITARY, DEMOCRATS.
Writing in Izvestiya on 10 January, Duma member Boris Fedorov
called for immediate presidential elections. He criticized Yeltsin for
his inability to impose order and argued that if one part of the
country is not obeying the law the government has a duty to stop
illegal activities there. Additionally, he claimed that the fighting in
Chechnya has demonstrated that the armed forces are not battle
ready. Fedorov said the military should be streamlined and the
practice of conscripting soldiers ended. He also criticized
democratic politicians, including members of Russia's Democratic
Choice, for not leaving the government and their lack of a
principled position in not protesting the presence of Russian troops
in such hot spots as Tajikistan, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, and
Turkmenistan. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA INITIATES INVESTIGATION. Chairman of the State
Duma Defense Committee Sergei Yushenko told a press conference
in Moscow January 6 that a public commission would begin
investigating violations of the Russian Constitution and military
crimes in Chechnya, Interfax reported. The commission will collect
information that will be used for "bringing to criminal
accountability those mainly responsible for the tragedy." At the
same press conference, Duma Deputy Ella Pamfilova said that
Yeltsin could not be blamed for everything: "much of what is
happening in Russia is done by Bolsheviks under disguised as
democrats, thus discrediting democracy in the eyes of the people."
-- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT COMMISSION WANTS MORE DEFENSE MONEY.
The Russian Security Council's Commission on the Defense Industry
has recommended that more money be given to Russia's ailing
defense enterprises. Yuri Andreyev, the commission's secretary, was
quoted by Interfax on 7 January as saying cuts in procurement and
research and development funds in recent years had led to an end
of production of 175 different types of arms. He warned that if
current practices were followed, only 10% of the equipment of the
Russian military would be modern weapons by the year 2000. The
commission was recommending that the defense budget be a
certain--and undisclosed--percentage of the GNP. It was also calling
for consolidation within the industry and more effective medium-
term (5 years) and long-term planning for military procurement,
research and development. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV POSTPONES VISIT TO JAPAN. A visit by Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to Japan scheduled to take place
this month has been postponed, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei
Kono told AFP on 10 January. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Aleksandr Panov reportedly informed the Japanese ambassador in
Moscow that it would be "difficult" for Kozyrev to leave Moscow now
because of the fighting in Chechnya. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

COMMUNISTS DENOUNCE VALENTIN KOVALEV'S
NOMINATION. Pravda reported on 10 January that the Communist
Party of the Russian Federation denounced the decision of Valentin
Kovalev, a member of the Communists' Duma faction, to join the
government as minister of justice. The Central Executive Committee
issued a statement saying that "there can be no discussion of the
Communists joining the government" while the president and
government continue their current policies. The Communists
characterized the nomination of Kovalev as an attempt to discredit
their party by giving the appearance that they were in coalition with
the Yeltsin leadership. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

GRAIN IMPORTS PREDICTED UP IN 1995. Deputy Prime
Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha said Russia is likely to import 25-30
million tons of grain in 1995, making it one of the world's largest
importers, Interfax reported on 9 January. Zaveryukha said last year's
draft budget initially reserved 18.1 trillion rubles ($4.9 billion) for
agriculture but was then trimmed to about 10 trillion rubles ($2.7
billion). The 1995 draft budget provides for investing 8 trillion
rubles ($2.2 billion) in agriculture. A leading member of the
Agrarian Party parliamentary faction, Zaveryukha said this was less
than 4% of total spending plans and was "clearly inadequate."
Zaveryukha's comments suggest there will be a battle for cash
between powerful lobby groups and the Finance and Economic
Ministries during the second reading of the draft budget expected
later this month, Russian and Western agencies reported. The prime
minister said the Agrarian Party will argue for a 2% increase in VAT
to support agriculture. An alternative to this might be a special tax
on profits from all enterprises, he said. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

BANK LIQUIDATION PROCEDURE ANNOUNCED. Banks on the
brink of collapse will now be liquidated either by decision of its
owners or by court arbitration, the Central Bank told Interfax on 6
January. Under existing legislation, licenses can be revoked from
banks that lose money and banks engaged in risky credit procedures
that could jeopardize the interests of creditors and investors. The
legislation also provides for voluntary liquidation of a debtor bank
under the supervision of the creditors. A decision to voluntarily
liquidate the debtor bank and officially announce its bankruptcy will
be made by the bank managers, together with the creditors and
approved by the bank owners. Once a liquidation commission has
been established in a commercial bank, the Central Bank will
transfer to its account the money from a compulsory reserve fund.
The bank customers and creditors will then have to apply either to
the bank or the bank board to resolve issues related to the
liquidation. Of the nearly 2,500 commercial banks  registered in
Russia, over 20% lost money by the third quarter of 1994, according
to Paramonova. Tighter regulations and requirements need to be
established if banks are to succeed. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

GERMAN OFFICIAL ACCUSES RUSSIA OF ESPIONAGE. Reuters
reported on 7 January that Eckart Werthebach, head of Germany's
Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, said in a
recent interview with Focus magazine that Russia's spies, frequently
using the cloak of diplomacy, remain highly active throughout
Germany. This disclosure was made despite German and Russian
security and espionage services effectively cooperating in areas such
as drug trafficking and terrorism. According to Werthebach, industry
is currently the favored target of Russian agents, with spies
frequently able to function in German industries, "operating like fish
in water." Werthebach's conclusion simply is that "the number of
legal residents we have identified (as spies) must be massively
reduced. . . . This is the job of politicians." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF ON RATIONALE FOR
ARRESTS. Speaking on national television on 6 January, Armenian
security chief David Shakhnazaryan reiterated that the arrests in late
December of several members of the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation (Dashnaktsyutyun) were motivated by the need "to put
an end to terror and new political assassinations which had only
one purpose--to destabilize the country," according to Interfax on 7
January. Shakhnazaryan further denied the existence of any political
prisoners in Armenia. Dashnak spokesman Ruben Akopyan told
journalists on 9 January that the ban on the party was illegal and
that it would continue its activities, Ekho Moskvy reported. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

KUCHMA IN GEORGIA. Ukrainian radio reported on 9 January
that President Leonid Kuchma arrived in Tbilisi on an official visit.
Kuchma met with Georgian Parliament Chairman Eduard
Shevardnadze and signed a series of documents on socioeconomic
relations, trade and coordinating their activities in international
affairs. The head of Kuchma's administration, Dmytro Tabchnyk,
said that the meeting signaled a new strategic partnership between
Georgia and Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

REGISTRATIONS FOR ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS.
The Fourth Force, Better Estonia/Estonian Citizen, and Our
Homeland is Estonia coalitions registered for the 5 March Estonian
parliament elections on 9 January, bringing the number of
groupings to seven, BNS reports. The Fourth Force combines the
Royalist and Greens parties. Our Homeland is Estonia unites three
Russian-speaking parties: Estonian People's Assembly Party, Russian
Party of Estonia, and Russian People's Party of Estonia. The other
four registered coalitions are the Moderates, The Pro-Patria and
National Independence Party Union, Coalition Party and Country
People's League and Justice. Eight other parties (Center Party,
Rightists, Reform Party, Estonia of the Future Party, Estonian Blue
Party, Estonian National League, Forest Party, and Estonian Farmer's
Party) have so far announced they will run on individual tickets.
Parties and coalitions are required to submit their candidatures by
19 January. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZES LITHUANIAN PRIME
MINISTER. At a press conference on 9 January, Homeland Union
Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis sharply criticized the policies of
Adolfas Slezevicius over military transit, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service
reports. Landsbergis said he feared that Slezevicius, in planned talks
with his Russian counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdyn, later this month
in Moscow, may agree to sign a separate military transit agreement
with Russia in exchange for getting most-favored-nation trade status.
Landsbergis noted that the premier's "inclination to improvisations"
in foreign policy had resulted in misunderstandings in talks with
Poland, Belarus, and Latvia.-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BRUSSELS. Uladzimir
Syanko flew to Brussels to sign NATO's Partnership for Peace
Program, Belarusian Radio reported on 9 January. The head of the
parliament Commission on National Security, Anatol Novikau, said
that although Belarus is joining the program the republic will not
change its military equipment to bring it into line with NATO's and
will not participate in joint NATO exercises. Belarusian officials
earlier said the country cannot afford the exercises or any
modification to its military equipment. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

WALESA BLASTS PAWLAK. Polish President Lech Walesa on 9
January launched his strongest attack to date on Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak. In an interview with Polityka reported by Gazeta
Wyborcza, Walesa proposed that Pawlak go on vacation because his
abilities were overtaxed. Descxribing Pawlak as "a young and
inexperienced politician who should not be punished further," the
president again hinted that Democratic Left Alliance leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski should take over as prime minister. Asked if
Pawlak intended to resign, however, the government press office
commented simply that "the prime minister will have his own
interview in Polityka next week." The regular Monday meeting
between the president and prime minister was canceled. In another
sign of the breakdown in cooperation and communication within
the government and between the president's camp and the prime
minister, Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski on 9 January sent
letters to Pawlak rejecting charges of dereliction of duty and
restating his offer to resign, with or without presidential approval. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

SURVEY SHOWS 64% OF UKRAINIANS STILL SUPPORT
INDEPENDENCE. In an annual survey taken by the International
Sociological Institute in Kiev, 64% of Ukrainians polled said they
continue to favor their country's independence, state-run Ukrainian
Television News reported on 9 January. This represents an 8%
increase over the previous December but is much lower than the
more than 90% who voted for a separate Ukrainian state in a
referendum on 1 December 1991, the institute's director, Volodymyr
Khmelko, said. Extreme left political groups, led by the Communist
Party, are collecting signatures for a petition, mostly in the more
Russified eastern regions of Ukraine, to hold a referendum on the
reestablishment of the former Soviet Union. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PREMIER SUPPORTS FURTHER FARM CREDITS.
During a tour of collective farms in the northern Chernihiv region,
Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitalii Masol told farm workers he
believes the cash-strapped Ukrainian government should continue
to subsidize the still mostly state-owned agricultural sector, as well as
private farmers, and bail out any potential bankruptcies, state
television news reported on 9 January. His statements contradict
President Leonid Kuchma's plans to overhaul radically the
beleaguered state financing system for the farm sector and push
ahead with privatization of farms and related industry. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

OIL DELIVERIES FROM RUSSIA TO CZECH REPUBLIC
INTERRUPTED. Kamil Cermak, spokesman for the Czech Ministry
of Trade and Industry, told journalists on 9 January that deliveries of
crude oil from Russia to the Czech Republic have been cut for a
second time since the New Year. He suggested that deliveries will
resume on 10 January. If that does not happen, the government will
have to release oil from state reserves, but Cermak said the extent of
the reserves was "a state secret." The country's biggest refineries
announced that they have enough oil for several more days. The
Czech Republic is heavily dependent on Russian oil, delivered by
pipeline through Ukraine and Slovakia. Officials said supplies were
interrupted because of annual negotiations over pipeline transit
fees. They said Ukraine wanted to increase fees five-fold for
pumping oil through its territory. -- Jiri Pehe and Steve Kettle, OMRI,
Inc.

CZECH VICTIMS OF NAZISM CLAIM COMPENSATION. More
than 15,000 Czechs have registered since a law enabling them to
claim compensation for persecution under the Nazi occupation
came into effect at the beginning of December 1994, Czech media
reported on 10 January. A special compensation fund has so far
paid out over 30 million koruny ($1.3 million) but many claims
have been sent back because they were incomplete. Former political
prisoners, or their surviving spouses, can claim 2,300 koruny for
every month spent in jail or internment. Widows, widowers, or
offspring of those who died under interrogation, in jails, or in
concentration camps, can receive up to 100,000 koruny. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY CRITICIZES CABINET, MEDIA.
At a press conference on 9 January, Party of the Democratic Left
Chairman Peter Weiss said his party will join other opposition
forces in asking the Constitutional Court to review two laws passed
by the parliament concerning privatization. Weiss accused the
governing coalition of an increasing tendency to disregard the
constitution, citing also the cabinet's delay in submitting its
manifesto to the parliament. Weiss stressed that within 30 days, the
document has to be presented to the parliament for a vote, not just
to parliamentary committees. PDL deputy Brigita Schmoegnerova
said the delay in presenting the program manifesto shows that the
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia is not prepared to govern. She
stated that the opposition will carefully follow how closely the
cabinet manifesto follows the basic promises the MDS made to its
voters, noting that the provisional budget was clearly lacking. Weiss
also criticized Slovak Television and Radio for presenting only the
opinions of the ruling coalition and stressed that, as public
institutions, they should be expected to present the views of all
parliamentary parties, including the opinions of the opposition on
government activities. Weiss encouraged STV to broadcast live the
parliamentary discussion of the cabinet manifesto. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UN TRIES TO FIRM UP BOSNIAN CEASEFIRE. Two issues are
preoccupying top UN officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are
working to maintain the current truce. The first is the situation
around Sarajevo, where government forces have yet to confirm that
they have completely withdrawn from the demilitarized zone
around Mt. Igman. The Serbs, furthermore, have demanded that the
mainly Muslim troops pull back even further. Reuters on 10 January
quoted a UN spokesman as saying that talks on 8 January between
UN commander General Sir Michael Rose and Bosnian Serb
General Ratko Mladic "were not overly positive." UN chief envoy
Yasushi Akashi said that agreements have been signed and must
now be speedily implemented without additional demands. The
second point of attention is the Bihac pocket, where UN officials are
trying to get the Krajina Serbs to sign the ceasefire. Bosnian Vice
President Ejup Ganic told Reuters that Akashi is sending a
delegation to Krajina and will contact the Security Council if Knin
continues to balk. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIAN UPDATE. Vjesnik reports on 10 January that President
Franjo Tudjman the previous day received a top-level delegation
from the Croatian-Muslim federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
including President Kresimir Zubak, Vice President Ganic, and the
defense ministers of both countries. The visit appears to be the
latest in a series of moves to shore up the federation. These moves
have greatly improved living conditions in much of the embattled
republic but have often been hindered by local warlords. On a
different note, the independent Feral Tribune on 10 January writes
critically about what government officials call "a Croatian
orientation" in the press. The paper asks how a publication staffed
by Croats in Croatia and writing in the local language cannot be
Croatian, but it concludes that what the authorities really mean by
"a Croatian orientation" is servility. Most of the media are in the
hands of the ruling party, and the director of state-run television has
said that television must be "a cathedral of the Croatian spirit." --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

RUMP YUGOSLAVIA'S INDEPENDENT MEDIA GARNER
INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT. The International Federation of
Journalists has come to the aid of the independent besieged rump
Yugoslav media, hoping to raise some $5,000 per day to keep the
independent Belgrade daily Borba operational, international media
reported on 9 January. At a Brussels meeting the same day,
organized by the IFJ, representatives of other independent media
from rump Yugoslavia joined with Borba staff members, such as
deputy managing director Branislav Milosevic, in appealing for
additional help to stay afloat. They stressed that without outside
support it may be only a question of time, perhaps no more than
several weeks, before independent media become a thing of the past
because of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's ongoing efforts
to silence all opposition. Since Milosevic's bid in late December to
take overBorba, the hardships imposed on the daily have forced
circulation to plummet to an estimated 10,000 copies a day from at
least 35,000. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

HDFR LEADER ON HUNGARIAN MINORITIES. The president of
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, Bela Marko, said
the situation of the Hungarian minority in Romania is the only real
point of contention between the two countries. In an interview with
the BBC summarized by Radio Bucharest on 9 January, Marko said
no basic bilateral treaty will be successful without providing a
solution to this problem. Marco said Magyar minorities living in
other countries are confronted with similar situations. The
Hungarian minority in Ukraine, he explained, has achieved cultural
autonomy and the issues of bilingual street signs, education in the
minority language, and the use of national symbols, have been
resolved. Marco added that, during a recent visit to Moldova, he
witnessed how the problem of the Gagauz minority was dealt with
successfully. The special status granted by the Moldovan parliament
to regions inhabited by compact national minorities resembles the
HDFR's proposals for Romania, apart from the right to secession
granted to the Gagauz in special situations, he said. -- Michael Shafir,
OMRI, Inc.

BANKING SCANDAL IN ROMANIA. The chairman of a private
Romanian bank has been taken into custody just before he was to
travel to the United States for a conference sponsored by President
Bill Clinton, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest reported on 9
January. Marcel Ivan of the Credit Bank was detained by police in
Bucharest on 7 January on charges of fraud and manipulating the
bank's credit policies for personal gain. Romanian police issued a
statement saying the charges against Ivan are the result of an
investigation conducted by Romania's Central Bank last fall. Ivan
was a member of a delegation of Romanian government officials
and businessmen who will attend the "White House Conference for
Trade and Investment in Central and Eastern Europe," to open on
12 January in Cleveland, Ohio. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ANTI-GYPSY VIOLENCE IN ROMANIA. Local residents burned
down two houses in the southern Romanian village of Bacu in
Giurgiu county, Radio Bucharest reported on 9 January. Police
intervened and prevented them from setting fire to other houses.
Several persons, both Gypsies and Romanians, were injured; some
were hospitalized, but none was reported to be in a serious
condition. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN COMMUNISTS WERE WILLING TO RECOGNIZE
TURKISH MINORITY IN 1984. An article in 24 chasa on 10
January reports that in 1984, the then-governing Bulgarian
Communist Party was about to grant political and social rights to
the country's ethnic Turks. Party leader Todor Zhivkov supported a
document recognizing "the national consciousness of the Bulgarian
Turks." In late 1984, however, the position of the party and the
government changed, resulting in massive repression and the
forceful Bulgarization of the names of the ethnic Turks. It has
remained unclear why the BCP's position on this question changed.
A commentary published in Kontinent on 10 January states that
even a decade later the Bulgarian public still does not know what
led to the so-called "renaissance process." The author assumes,
however, that this is "a political time-bomb, the explosion of which
might lead to the political death of many [politicians]." -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

LINE-UP OF NEW BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT READY SOON?
The members of the new Bulgarian government will be selected by
the end of this week, Duma reported on 10 January, citing Socialist
Deputy Chairman Yanaki Stoilov. Bulgarian Socialist Party legislator
Aleksandar Marinov told Trud the same day that by 20 January, BSP
leader Zhan Videnov must have a mandate to form a new
government. He also stated that the government's legislative
projects will have priority in the National Assembly's legislative
work. According to articles published in Demokratsiya and Zemya
on 10 January, there will be five or six new ministries. The
Committees for Energy and for Post and Telecommunications will
certainly be turned into ministries, while there will probably be a
Ministry for European Affairs. Demokratsiya also reported that
there are three candidates for every ministry, citing unnamed BSP
officials. Standard reported the same day that former Prime
Minister Lyuben Berov offered his help to the BSP as a counselor
for the economic part of the new government's program. Before
being appointed prime minister in late 1992, Berov was economic
adviser to the Union of Democratic Forces and to President Zhelyu
Zhelev. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

COLLEAGUES ACCUSE ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT JUDGE.
Two colleagues of Chief Supreme Court Judge Zef Brozi called his
decision to release a Greek citizen accused of drug smuggling "a
flagrant violation of the law and an arbitrary act," Gazeta Shqiptare
reported on 10 January. Judges Metush Saraci and Zef Nika also said
in an interview with Albanian Television on 9 January that Brozi
took the decision against the advice of other judges. Brozi reacted
to the charges by saying that "all this is a big fraud" and adding that
"the question has nothing to do with the release of the Greek but
with the quick elimination of myself." Brozi has become a political
enemy of President Sali Berisha by suggesting that the president is
corrupt and by criticizing Berisha's referendum on the constitution.
Parliament has refused to lift Brozi's immunity, as requested by
Chief Prosecutor Alush Dragoshi in late December. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

FATOS NANO HEARD AS WITNESS IN BANK SCANDAL.
Albanian Socialist Party Leader Fatos Nano, who is serving a jail
term for corruption, will be heard as a witness in a bank scandal
trial that began on 6 January. Former Prime Minister Vilson Ahmeti
is being tried for a second time, together with former Trade Bank
Director Agron Saliu and his deputy Agim Tartari. They were
sentenced to between two and seven years in prison, but a court of
appeal ordered the retrial on the basis of new evidence that also
implicated former National Bank Governor Ilir Hoti and former
Trade Bank Director Ardian Xhyheri. The five officials are charged
with misappropriating $1.2 million, which was paid in 1991 to a
French citizen to negotiate forgiveness of Albania's foreign debts.
Other witnesses in the trial will be former Economy Ministers
Gramoz Pashko and Genc Ruli and former Foreign Trade Minister
Ylli Cabiri, Gazeta Shqiptare and Aleanca reported on 10 January. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner and Steve Kettle

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news
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1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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Updated: 1998-11-

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole