Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith. - Christopher Fry
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 8, 11 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

STREET BATTLES IN GROZNY CONTINUE. ITAR-TASS on 10
January reported that small groups of Chechen militants in Grozny
continued their resistance despite Russian troops' efforts to inform
them of the Russian government's ceasefire offer the previous day.
AFP on 11 January reports a lull in the fighting after continuous
artillery fire throughout the night. Outside Grozny, Russian Interior
Ministry troops were reported to be combing villages to neutralize
illegal armed formations, according to ITAR-TASS. The same news
agency cited an unconfirmed report that former Russian parliament
speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, who abandoned his widely publicized
mediation mission in Chechnya after the Russian invasion on 11
December, returned to Chechnya on 7 January. In an interview with
Interfax on 10 January, Russian Security Council Secretary Oleg
Lobov asserted that Russia is determined to crush the Chechen
resistance once the 48-hour ceasefire has expired. He rejected
charges that Russia had suffered "a defeat" in Chechnya or that the
hostilities constituted "a Russian-Chechen war." In Moscow, Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin held talks on Chechnya with Russian
President Boris Yeltsin and representatives of the Chechen
diaspora, whose input he solicited in stopping hostilities and
beginning talks on a peaceful solution to the conflict. A Chechen
representative subsequently told Interfax that Moscow-based
Chechens advocated a face-to-face meeting between Yeltsin and
Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. While expressing respect for
Salambek Khadzhiev, head of the Moscow-appointed Chechen
"government of national revival," he argued that the next Chechen
government should be elected by the Chechen people. -- Liz Fuller,
OMRI, Inc.

CHECHNYA "NO LONGER JUST A RUSSIAN ISSUE." In talks with
OSCE Executive Secretary Istvan Gyarmati in Moscow on 10 January,
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev conceded that the
Chechen conflict can no longer be considered a strictly Russian
issue, AFP reported on 10 January. Gyarmati told journalists that
Kozyrev also admitted that human rights violations had taken place
but contended that Russia had been constrained by the degree of
Chechen resistance to use greater force than originally intended.
Gyarmati reaffirmed the OSCE's view that any settlement to the
conflict must be based on the principle of Russia's territorial
integrity. He said he would propose to a meeting of the OSCE's
permanent council in Vienna on 12 January that it send a
delegation to Chechnya to gather materials on human rights
violations there. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told
Interfax on 10 January that there was "no question" of OSCE
involvement in resolving the Chechen conflict and that Moscow is
prepared to cooperate with the OSCE only in protecting human
rights in Chechnya. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

LUKIN: CHECHNYA HURTS RUSSIA'S INTERNATIONAL
PRESTIGE. Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the State Duma Committee
for International Affairs, said the protracted fighting in Chechnya
has undermined Russian prestige abroad, Interfax reported on 10
January. He said Russia's rating has reached its lowest level "since
1982, when Leonid Brezhnev and his team were living their last days
in the Kremlin." He claimed that the recent use of force has
increased the desire of East European countries to become
members of NATO as soon as possible. He also expected the new
US Congress to put pressure on President Clinton to "toughen its
policies in relation to Russia." He said the situation in Chechnya
dimmed prospects for Russia's entry into the Council of Europe.
Noting that Russia should allow OSCE observers into the conflict
zone, Lukin said: "This is going to be a difficult decision, but Russia
should take it." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

AUSHEV CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
VIOLATIONS BY RUSSIAN TROOPS IN INGUSHETIA. Ingush
President Ruslan Aushev has sent a telegram to Federation Council
Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko calling for the immediate dispatch to
Ingushetia of observers to assess human rights violations by Russian
army and Interior Ministry troops, Interfax reported on 9 January.
Ekho Moskvy reported the same day that a Russian combat
helicopter on 7 January shot a 12-year-old Ingush shepherd boy in a
village 10 km from the Ingush capital, Nazran. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI,
Inc.

ABDULATIPOV SAYS RUSSIA IS ZONE OF WHOLESALE
ABUSE OF NATIONALITY RIGHTS. Federation Council Deputy
Chairman Ramazan Abdulatipov told a new conference on 10
January that "Russia has turned into a zone of wholesale abuse of
nationality rights" and that "nationalities have no confidence in the
state," Interfax reported. Abdulatipov said the Chechen conflict was
not an ethnic but a political one, triggered by the inability of
"bodies of power--official or unofficial--of one of the members of
the federation to come to terms with the federal authorities." --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

MEDIA BLAMED FOR CHECHEN CRISIS. At a news conference
on 10 January, Russian Television Chairman Oleg Poptsov said
opposing factions within the Russian government are constantly
trying to make RTV a propaganda organ. He added that the
company would not give up its fight for unbiased reporting. Poptsov
fell out of favor with Yeltsin because of the coverage of the Chechen
crisis on RTV newscasts. Later on 10 January, Egorov, in a prime-
time interview with Ostankino TV's "Vremya," said state television
should not be allowed to allocate so much air time to opponents of
the Russian intervention in Chechnya. Shortly after, Sergei Filatov,
the head of Yeltsin's administration, said on Ostankino TV that "the
Chechen developments demonstrate that the Russian state has no
state media" and that measures should be taken to improve the
situation. He suggested that Ostankino and RTV be merged into a
body similar to the State Television and Radio Company--the
former Soviet propaganda behemoth. The idea of merging the two
companies was proposed by Yeltsin in November but quickly
dropped amid a flood of protests. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

OMON MUTINY DENIED. Interior Ministry officials in both
Moscow and Ekaterinburg denied an Izvestiya story describing the
mutiny of an OMON unit from Ekaterinburg serving in Chechnya.
As quoted by Interfax on 10 January, an Interior Ministry spokesman
in Moscow called the story "tendentious" and said the men had
been replaced "on a routine basis" because they were "tired." The
head of the OMON troops in Ekaterinburg said the group had been
replaced "according to schedule" by another contingent from the
city. The commander of the unit in question was quoted as saying
that 80% of his men had caught colds in Chechnya due to a
shortage of warm clothing and poor living conditions. This was why
they had turned down a "proposal" to stay on in Chechnya, he
noted. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

SHUMEIKO, RYBKIN JOIN SECURITY COUNCIL. President
Yeltsin on 10 January signed a decree naming Federation Council
Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko and State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin
permanent members of the Security Council, Interfax reported. The
Security Council, which played a major role in the decision to
invade Chechnya, has been made up until now of unelected officials
such as Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Interior Minister Viktor
Erin, and Federal Counterintelligence Service Director Sergei
Stepashin. Rybkin told Interfax and independent NTV that the move
to include the heads of both parliament chambers improves the
status of the legislature vis-a-vis the executive. According to Anatoli
Krasikov, the head of the presidential press service, only permanent
council members have full voting rights during discussions and can
chair sessions in the absence of the president and under his
instructions, Interfax reported. The other permanent members are
Security Council Secretary Lobov and Chernomyrdin.
Nonpermanent members are appointed by presidential decrees but
do not have full voting rights. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

DRAFT BUDGET REMAINS UNCHANGED DESPITE CHECHEN
CRISIS. The Finance Ministry sent the 1995 draft budget to the
State Duma for a second reading yesterday, leaving key figures
unchanged despite the cost of the Chechen crisis, the Financial
Information Agency reported on 10 January. The draft, first
approved on 23 December, projects expenditures of 231.97 trillion
rubles (3,705 rubles to $1 at current exchange rates) and income of
160.32 trillion rubles. The projected budget deficit remains 7.7% of
GDP. Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov told Interfax that spending
on Chechnya was estimated at 4-5 trillion rubles. In December 1994,
the Finance Ministry allocated 431 billion rubles to the Defense
Ministry for Chechen operations and another 50 billion rubles at
the beginning of January. But Panskov told Interfax that the
government will adamantly oppose increasing the budget deficit. --
Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

LIFE EXPECTANCY FALLS. Birth rates have plummeted and
death rates risen owing to political chaos and economic decline
since the collapse of the USSR, the Baltimore Sun reported on 10
January, citing a study by Carl Haub. Life expectancy for males fell
from 63.9 years in 1990 to 58.9 in 1993, the lowest among
industrialized countries. Female life expectancy declined from 74.3
to 71.9 years. The birth rate dropped from 1.9 in 1990 to 1.4 in 1994,
reflecting the gloomy outlook of the population. Infant mortality
more than doubled from 14 per 1,000 live births to 30 per 1,000.
Haub estimated that if current trends continue, the Russian
population could drop to 126.7 million by 2025, from 147.9 million
in 1990. Also on 10 January, the State Statistics Committee reported
that 90,000 women suffer occupational injuries annually. The
deterioration in women's health is due largely to poor working
conditions, particularly in agriculture, according to Interfax. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIK PEACE TALKS POSTPONED. The fourth round of UN-
mediated Tajik peace talks, scheduled to open in Moscow on 15
January, has been postponed until the end of the month in order to
resolve "related technical matters," the head of the UN mission in
Tajikistan, Liviu Botha, told Interfax on 10 January. A spokesman for
the Islamic Revival Movement told Interfax that the opposition sees
no point in continuing negotiations with the Tajik leadership, given
that the latter "regularly violates" the truce agreement signed in
Tehran in October 1994. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

UPDATE ON RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN RELATIONS. In a letter to
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Russian President
Yeltsin expressed a wish for greater cooperation between their two
countries. He said he hoped Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Bolshakov's recent visit to Minsk had led to further
progress in drafting a broad political agreement, Belarusian radio
reported on 10 January. According to Interfax, Bolshakov's visit
resulted in the signing of an agreement on a customs union and a
protocol on a free trade regime. The two countries also agreed on a
conversion mechanism and signed an accord setting up financial-
industrial groups to organize trade payments. Belarus has also
agreed to lease two military bases--the phased-array ballistic-missile
early warning radar under construction at Baranavichy and the
Russian submarine communications center in Vileika, near Minsk--to
Russia for 25 years for a nominal sum covering the maintenance of
the bases. In return Belarus will be given free access to the military
information Russia will collect at Baranavichy and to Russian air
defense missile ranges. -- Ustina Markus and Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN MILITARY INSPECTION IN TRANSDNIESTRIA. The
Russian Defense Ministry has ordered an inspection of the 14th
Russian Army deployed in Transdniestria, Interfax reports. A
commission led by Deputy Defense Minister and Commander of
Russia's ground troops Col.-Gen. Vladimir Semenov arrived in
Chisinau on 10 January; it was unable to land in Tiraspol because of
bad weather. According to Radio Chisinau, the inspection was
requested by Transdniestria's Security Ministry, which had
complained to Moscow that 14th Army Commander Lt.-Gen.
Aleksandr Lebed was interfering in the region's internal affairs. The
same source alleged that the commission's main goal was to remove
Lebed, who has repeatedly criticized the Russian Defense Ministry
for the military intervention in Chechnya. Other sources, however,
describe the inspection as a routine one and say no personnel
changes are expected in the near future. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

WESTERN ECONOMIST SAYS UKRAINE "ON THE RIGHT
TRACK" WITH ECONOMIC REFORMS. Anders Aslund, a
prominent Swedish economist who is an adviser to the Ukrainian
government, says Kiev is "on the right track" with economic reforms
and its prospects for success are "very promising," an RFE/RL
special correspondent reports on 11 January. Aslund told a
gathering at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in
Washington that in the last 18 months, Ukraine has undergone "an
extraordinary transformation from the worst-case situation to the
leader" among most former Soviet republics in the area of reform.
He said breakthroughs can be expected in the next few months, as
Ukraine stands on the threshold of real change. While Ukraine
succeeded in cutting its 1994 budget deficit to 8% of GDP, it will
need aid from the international community to meet its 1995 target
deficit of 4-5%. Aslund said he believes Ukraine can reach
agreement with IMF officials by late January for a stand-by loan of
around $1.3 billion. But he noted more funds will have to come
from the United States, the EU, Japan, and most important, from
Russia, Ukraine's chief creditor. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

KUCHMA NAMES DEPUTY PREMIER IN CHARGE OF
AGRICULTURE. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma appointed
Petro Sabluk, head of the Ukrainian Institute for Agrarian
Economics, as first deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture,
Reuters reported on 10 January. Ukraine has two other first deputy
prime ministers, one for economic reform and the other for
national security. The Kuchma administration has repeatedly
claimed that market-oriented reforms in the agricultural sector will
be a priority in their 1995 economic reform plan. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

IMF APPROVES SECOND LOAN FOR ESTONIA. The
International Monetary Fund on 9 January granted Estonia a second
loan worth $16.9 million under its Systemic Transformation Facility
for countries moving from communism to capitalism, Reuters
reports. The IMF said Estonia was very successful over the past two
years in stabilizing its economy, with monthly inflation down to 1-
2% and output growing by about 5% in 1994. Like the same-sized STP
loan approved on 27 October 1993, the new loan will be channeled
into the economy through Estonian commercial banks. While the
IMF charges an annual interest rate of 5%, commercial banks will
receive the money at an interest rate of about 7%. They are allowed
to raise the rate to up to 18%, but many are unlikely to do so. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CE OFFICIAL IN LATVIA. Council of Europe Parliament
Assembly President Miguel Angel Martinez met in Riga on 10
January with Saeima Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, leaders of its
factions and committees, and Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs, BNS
reports. He spoke positively about Latvia's citizenship law and said
Latvia would receive extensive support from international
organizations after its admission into the CE in February. Martinez
is also scheduled to meet with President Guntis Ulmanis, Prime
Minister Maris Gailis, other ministers, and representatives of ethnic
minorities. Latvia currently has three delegates to the CE Parliament
Assembly as special guests and will later be represented by six
deputies, elected by the Saeima. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN OIL REFINERY SHUT DOWN AGAIN. Gediminas
Kiesus, deputy director-general of the Nafta oil refinery in Mazeikiai,
said the facility closed down shortly before the New Year for the
fifth time in 1994 owing to irregular oil supplies, BNS reported on 6
January. Although it signed a contract to supply 250,000 tons of
crude oil in December, the Russian oil company Lukoil sent only
150,000 tons, forcing the shut down. Nafta, which has the capacity to
refine 13.8 million tons of oil per year, refined 3.7 million tons in
1994, of which 1.3 million tons came from Lukoil. Kiesus explained
that the major problem in obtaining crude oil was the lack of
circulating funds to purchase it. The US company ABB Lummus
Crest has agreed to lend Nafta $20 million, but the money cannot
be expected until late January, when the enterprise holds a
presentation in London with other potential creditors. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH INFLATION UNTAMED. According to preliminary
Finance Ministry estimates, prices rose 2.1% in December, bringing
the year-on-year figure to 29.7%. This is well in excess of the
government's original plan for 1994 of 23% and its subsequent
upward revision to 27%. Estimates by the Main Statistical Office were
even higher, at 30.2%. The Finance Ministry predicts that inflation
will amount to 2.6% in January, largely due to rises in electricity and
natural gas prices. The disappointing results for the year seem to
rule out any reduction in interest rates. They also call into question
the 17% inflation prediction for 1995 on which the government has
based its budgetary assumptions. Interviewed in Gazeta Wyborcza
on 6 January, reform architect Leszek Balcerowicz attributed
Poland's inflationary difficulties to uncontrolled wage growth, high
export revenues, sectoral pressures from agriculture and mining,
and political instability. He advised rapid and thorough
privatization as the best remedy. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLL SHOWS FEW CZECHS AND SLOVAKS WANT TO
REUNITE. Less than one in five Czechs but almost one-third of
Slovaks regret the breakup of Czechoslovakia into two separate
states, according to an opinion poll, published on 11 January,
marking the second anniversary of the split. Researchers said that
the 1,400 respondents in both countries accepted the split as
necessary and that the division into two states is still heavily
supported, particularly among the better-educated. Only 2% of
Czechs and 8% of Slovaks believed that going their separate ways
was the right solution to the problems at the time, but they now
considered it a mistake. The poll also revealed that, since the
division at the end of 1992, Czechs are preoccupied with cracking
down on crime, while Slovaks are more concerned with health and
unemployment. Slovaks have much more faith in their political
leaders, parliament, and army than Czechs, but a substantial number
in both countries (44% of Czechs, 57% of Slovaks) believe tighter
laws should be adopted to control Gypsies, who are frequently
blamed for a rising crime rate. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH INFLATION AT 10 PERCENT IN 1994. Data released by
the Czech Statistical Office on 10 January show that the country's
1994 annual inflation rate was 10%, compared with almost 21% the
previous year. The steepest increase in costs--14%--was recorded in
the service sector. Food prices rose by 13.9%. The government
estimates that the 1995 inflation rate will be 7-9%. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI,
Inc.

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT APPROVES MANIFESTO. The Slovak
cabinet on 10 January approved its program manifesto, which,
according to the constitution, must be presented to parliament
within 30 days of the government's installation. Deputy Premier
Sergej Kozlik said Slovakia's economic development strategy will
stress the use of both domestic and foreign investment. Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar noted the economic portion of the
program focuses on investment, foreign trade, agriculture, and a
continuation of reforms in health and education. He also said the
total value of firms to be sold in the second wave of coupon
privatization is approximately 50 billion koruny. Foreign Minister
Juraj Schenk added that Slovakia is still striving for European
integration, improved ties with its neighbors, and a stronger foreign
economic policy. Slovak Cultural Minister Ivan Hudec said the
government will support individual rights for Slovakia's ethnic
minorities in the cultural sphere and will ensure Slovak-language
education in all schools. Hudec also noted that the administration
wants to open a nongovernment agency to provide the world with
accurate information about Slovakia and to improve the work of
foreign journalists in the country, TASR reports. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK TRADE UNIONS REJECT WAGE REGULATION. The
Confederation of Trade Unions of Slovakia has rejected the Slovak
cabinet's wage regulation proposals as incompatible with a market
economy, Narodna obroda reports. In a statement on 9 January,
Confederation Vice President Vaclav Stevko noted that media
statements by some cabinet members suggest the trade unions agree
with wage regulation, but he stressed the unions are opposed to it.
Wage regulation is seen by the unions as an effort by the state to
extend its influence in the business sphere to the wrong area, the
statement said. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY'S BUDGET DEFICIT LESS THAN PLANNED. Tibor
Draskovics, the Hungarian state secretary in the Finance Ministry,
has said the 1994 budget deficit of 321,000 million forint ($2,850
million) was 5% lower than the government planned, Western
agencies report. He attributed the lower-than-expected deficit to a
30% growth in advanced corporate tax payments, a rise in customs
duty payments, and higher value-added tax payments. Draskovich
said the deficit is equal to about 8% of last year's gross domestic
product. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CONTACT GROUP PUSHES PEACE PLAN ONLY AS BASIS FOR
TALKS. International media report on 11 January that a delegation
from the five-nation Contact Group is to begin a new round of
shuttle diplomacy to the former Yugoslavia later in the day. The
diplomats have moved away from their earlier position that the July
peace plan must be accepted as a whole, a change that has already
angered the Bosnian government, which agreed to the plan on its
original terms. US Assistant Secretary Richard Holbrooke is now
echoing the Bosnian Serb position by saying the document is
merely "the basis for further negotiations." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
Inc.

KRAJINA SERBS REFUSE TO SEE GENERAL ROSE. Reuters
reports on 11 January that the UN commander in Bosnia, General
Sir Michael Rose, will meet the same day with Bosnian Serb General
Ratko Mladic. Rose may want to find out what was behind the
remarks by Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's spokesman,
Jovan Zametica, who suggested that Pale will open civilian traffic
routes to Sarajevo regardless of whether the Muslims leave the Mt.
Igman demilitarized zone. The Los Angeles Times says that if
Zametica's comments reflect official policy, this will mean that Pale
is unwilling to let the Mt. Igman issue hamstring the ceasefire. The
UN hopes to confirm on 11 January whether government troops
have left the DMZ. Elsewhere in Bosnia, Hina and the Los Angeles
Times report heavy fighting in the Bihac pocket. The Croatian
agency notes that the Velika Kladusa, Bosanska Krupa, and Bosanska
Otoka areas were particularly hard hit, while the Californian
newspaper adds that some eight out of a 100 shells hit the UN-
designated "safe area" of Bihac. Troops of the Krajina Serbs are
particularly active in the offensive, but their leaders refused to see
Rose on 10 January when he tried to visit them to urge the signing of
the current fourth-month ceasefire. Politika on 11 January says the
visit failed to take place because of "technical reasons." -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN UPDATE. Reuters reports on 11 January that the rump
Yugoslav economy is showing unmistakable signs of faltering.
National Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic halted the country's
spiraling hyperinflation in January 1994 by pegging the dinar to the
German mark at an exchange rate of 1:1. But recently the dinar has
been trading at a rate of 1.9 to the mark. The UN Security Council is
slated to review international sanctions against Belgrade on 13
January, but Reuters says "there is little prospect" the sanctions will
be "significantly eased or lifted" in the near future. Meanwhile,
Politika on 11 January reports that all political parties in rump
Yugoslavia have usurped symbols of Serbian nationalism as part of
a strategy to win and consolidate voter sympathies. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

MACEDONIAN GNP FELL BY 6.2 PERCENT IN 1994. The
Macedonian Statistical Office has announced that industrial
production in Macedonia fell by 10.5% in 1994, Nova Makedonija
reported on 10 January. Gross national product was 6.2% down from
1993, while investments dropped by 6.8%. The main reasons for the
decline are the Greek embargo against Macedonia and the war in
former Yugoslavia. The Macedonian trade deficit totaled $265
million in 1994. Nova Makedonija on 11 January reported that six
large enterprises have been successfully privatized, among them
four tobacco factories. Seventy small, medium-sized, and large
enterprises were privatized in 1994. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

MILOSEVIC REFUSES TO ALLOW OSCE OFFICE IN KOSOVO.
A top-level delegation from the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe has failed to persuade Belgrade authorities
to allow monitoring missions back into rump Yugoslavia, Reuters
reported on 10 January. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic said
that as a precondition for reopening its office in Kosovo, the OSCE
will have to readmit his country as a member. Yugoslavia's seat in
the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe was
suspended in July 1992 because of that country's involvement in the
Bosnian war. The mandate of a CSCE monitoring mission to the
potential conflict areas of Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Sandzak was not
extended in August 1993, and the monitors had to leave the country.
OSCE delegate Frank Swaelen said the delegation was "very much
disappointed" by the visit's results, while Milosevic saw the visit as
"the beginning of a normalization of relations," Politika reported
on 11 January. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA TO PAY COMPENSATION TO HUNGARY FOR RIVER
POLLUTION. Radio Bucharest, citing a Radio Budapest report,
announced on 11 January that Romania will pay Hungary 40 million
forint in compensation for damage caused by the oil pollution of
the River Barcau (Berettyo in Hungarian) in late December. The
sum will cover the costs of cleaning the river. -- Michael Shafir,
OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA MAY SEND PEACEKEEPING TROOPS TO ANGOLA.
Romania's Ministry of National Defense says it is considering a UN
proposal to send a peacekeeping battalion to Angola, RFE/RL's
correspondent in Bucharest and Reuters reported on 9 January.
Ministry spokeswoman Major Elena Olariu said the UN has
expressed an interest in using the new Romanian peacekeeping
force to help control the uneasy peace between factions in Angola's
civil war. Reuters quoted the independent daily Evenimentul zilei as
saying up to 900 Romanian troops are being trained for an
assignment in Angola in March. But Olariu said no decision has yet
been made on the matter. -- Doug Clarke and Michael Shafir, OMRI,
Inc.

CLINTON INVITES SNEGUR TO WASHINGTON. US President
Bill Clinton has invited Moldovan President Mircea Snegur to
Washington to discuss Moldovan economic progress, international
agencies and Radio Bucharest report on 11 January. The visit,
scheduled for 30 January, will focus on US support for Moldova's
developing market economy and political reforms, according to a
statement released by the White House the previous day. The two
presidents will also discuss the political situation in the
Transdniester region and the recent accord between Chisinau and
Moscow on the withdrawal of the Russian 14th Army from the self-
styled Transdniester Republic. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ZHIVKOV SAYS BCP WAS NOT ABOUT TO RECOGNIZE
ETHNIC TURKS. Former leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party
Todor Zhivkov, contradicting press reports, told 24 chasa on 11
January that the BCP had not thought about recognizing the
country's Turkish minority. "There was not and there could not have
been such a project as long as I was head of the party and the state,"
Zhivkov said. But a report to the BCP's county first secretaries on
the problems of the ethnic communities said "ethnic groups should
have the opportunity to merge with the Bulgarian community." A
copy of the report is in the possession of the state attorney. Yundel
Atilla, spokesman of the predominantly Turkish Movement for
Rights and Freedom, told 24 chasa the same day that the MRF also
has a copy of the report. The movement's Kardzhali local
committee issued a document saying efforts are afoot to revive the
mid-1980s campaign to forcefully Bulgarize ethnic Turkish names.
The document has been sent to the Council of Europe Parliament
Commission and to the diplomatic corps. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
Inc.

BULGARIA EXPECTS 750,000 UNEMPLOYED IN 1995.
Unemployment in Bulgaria is expected to rise to 750,000 in 1995,
Trud reported on 10 January. Economic change is unlikely to have
much effect on the labor market. Trud also reported that more than
300,000 unemployed receive no state compensation. The state paid
out some 2.7 billion leva (about $180 million) in unemployment
benefits in 1994. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

SUPREME COURT JUDGE TURNS TO ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT.
Zef Brozi has asked the parliament to set up a commission to
investigate the release of a Greek citizen accused of drug smuggling,
Gazeta Shqiptare reports on 11 January. Brozi, who ordered the
release, was accused of wrongdoing by Chief Prosecutor Alush
Dragoshi and two other judges. Dragoshi has asked the parliament
to lift Brozi's immunity and has started criminal investigations
against him, but the parliament has refused to cooperate. Brozi was
supported by the Association of Judges, which said the moves
against him are unjust. Brozi and his supporters claim that the
proceedings are part of a campaign by President Sali Berisha
against the judge, who has criticized Berisha's policies. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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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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