Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 10, 13 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

NEW ASSAULT ON GROZNY IMMINENT? Russian troops
intensified their artillery bombardment of Grozny on 12
January amid predictions of a "final assault" on the city
in the next few days, according to AFP. ITAR-TASS
reported the dispatch to Chechnya of several hundred
naval reinforcements, including marines, while Interfax
said a large convoy of armored vehicles set out on 11
January from Vladikavkaz toward the Chechen frontier.
Both Chechen and Russian military spokesmen suggested
that Chechen forces might pull out of Grozny and regroup
in the south of the republic to continue resistance
against the Russians. In an interview with Krasnaya
zvezda on 12 January, Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev warned that the war in Chechnya "will last for
years." Meanwhile, the higher echelons of the Defense
Ministry "swamped the Kremlin switchboard" with calls
protesting the 11 January proposal that President Boris
Yeltsin assume direct control of the military, according
to AFP quoting Yeltsin's adviser for national security
issues, Yurii Baturin. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA REJECTS WESTERN CRITICISM OF CHECHEN
POLICY. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on 12
January, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii
Karasin rejected as "inadequate and hasty" calls by
Western political leaders for freezing economic and
political cooperation with Russia in response to its
handling of the Chechen crisis, Interfax and AFP report.
While conceding the importance of the human rights aspect
of the conflict, Karasin argued that "the scale of the
challenge that Russia faced in Chechnya made human
tragedies and losses practically inevitable." He hinted
that Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev would brief
US Secretary of State Warren Christopher on the Chechen
situation at their meeting in Geneva on 17-18 January. In
Vienna, a meeting of the OSCE Standing Committee on 12
January announced Russia has agreed to cooperate with an
OSCE mission that will travel to Chechnya to assess human
rights situation there, according to AFP. Also on 12
January, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, the current
EU president, announced in Brussels that the union will
lodge a new diplomatic protest with the Russian
leadership. He noted that "Russia's promises to seek a
negotiated solution have so far been without result." In
Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati
reiterated Iran's readiness to mediate in Chechnya. --
Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL COMPLETES FIRST STAGE OF
HEARINGS ON CHECHNYA Deputy Chairman of the
Federation Council Pavel Shtein said deputies regard
Dzhokhar Dudaev and his regime as "criminal," Interfax
reported 12 January. But he added that "Federation
Council members were split on assessing actions of the
federal authorities in eliminating Dudaev's regime."
Shtein said the council will continue its hearings at a
later date. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

CHECHEN CRISIS FANS CONFEDERATIVE AMBITIONS. The
Chechen crisis threatens to increase the desire of
Russia's regional leaders to loosen ties with the center,
Leonid Smirnyagin, a member of Yeltsin's Council of
Advisers told Interfax on 11 January. He expected the
regions to increase their demands for greater control
over ethnic issues, pointing to their growing criticism
of the federal authorities' failure to consult them about
the handling of the Chechen crisis. Smirnyagin said such
demands were groundless since the upper house of the
parliament represents the interests of the regions.
Meanwhile, Interfax reports that Yeltsin met with the
heads of the Moscow, Kostroma, Rostov, Chita, and
Stavropol regions on 12 January. According to the
president's press service, the regional leaders were
worried about legislation on the regions' status
currently being debated by the Duma. They said the
proposed law failed to guarantee the constitutional
principle of power-sharing and ensure political
stability. The regional leaders pushed for new
legislation that would give Moscow and the regions equal
standing. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

SOARING COSTS OF CHECHEN WAR. Russian TV newscasts
on 12 January quoted Yelstin adviser Aleksandr Livshits
as saying the month-long Chechen war has cost Russia 800
billion rubles ($220 million). He estimated that
rebuilding the Chechen economy would cost 4-5 trillion
rubles, "perhaps more but not much more," Ostankino's
"Vremya" newscast reported him as saying. Col. Gen.
Vasilii Vorobev, who heads the General Staff's budget and
finance department, told Interfax on 12 January that the
military operations in Chechnya have cost the Defense
Ministry 550 billion rubles to date. He said that each
day's operations added another 12-14 billion rubles to
the bill and that one shot from the 125-mm gun of a T-72
tanks cost 1.7 million rubles. Vorobev also said the
Defense Ministry has made no large purchases of equipment
or ammunition because of the recent events. -- Julia
Wishnevsky and Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

CONFLICTING CASUALTY FIGURES. According to ITAR-TASS
on 12 January, the Federation Council was told that 394
Defense and Interior Ministry personnel have been killed
and 1,000 wounded in Chechnya since fighting broke out.
Taken in conjunction with official figures released on 6
January, these data mean that 35% of the losses took
place in the five-day period from 7-11 January. But the
government tallies have been disputed. Interfax on 12
January quoted the Chechen General Headquarters as saying
3,000-4,000 Russian servicemen have been killed in 1995
alone. State Duma Deputy Aivars Lezdysh--a Liberal
Democrat--told a Moscow press conference on 11 January
that at least 1,500 Russian military were killed in the
last few days. He claimed to have counted 160 dead
servicemen in three Grozny districts he had visited. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN'S APPROVAL RATING. Russian TV's "Vesti" on
12 January cited Livshits as saying the president's
approval rating, which nose-dived after the Chechen war
broke out in December, has started to improve. A survey
conducted by the All-Russian Center for the Study of
Public Opinion at the beginning of January revealed that
only 17% of the respondents were satisfied with Yeltsin's
performance as president (compared with 28% in September
1994). While 70% of those polled in September were
dissatisfied with Yeltsin's work, this figure had climbed
to 81% in January. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

SOLZHENITSYN SAYS CHECHNYA SHOULD BE GRANTED
INDEPENDENCE. In an interview with Argumenty i fakty,
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reiterated his proposal that
Russia grant Chechnya independence. He criticized the
Russian authorities for not doing so when the republic
declared independence in 1991. Solzhenitsyn said that
immediately after the republic's declaration, Russia
should have cut its subsidies to Chechnya, sealed its
borders, and deported all Chechens residing in Moscow and
other Russian cities or treated them as foreigners.
Solzhenitsyn believed that continuing the war against
Chechnya might result in a Russian confrontation with the
entire Muslim world, which, he said, should be avoided at
all costs. He opposed signing a confederation treaty with
the breakaway Caucasian republic because of a possible
domino effect, even in those republics with a Russian
majority population. Only those republics where the
eponymous nationality constitutes two-thirds of the
population--namely, Chechnya, Chuvashia, and Tuva--could
be granted independence if they requested it,
Solzhenitsyn said. Meanwhile, Nezavisimaya gazeta
published on 11 January an appeal to Solzhenitsyn, signed
by 11 young Russian politicians, asking him to run for
the presidency in the next elections. -- Julia
Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

GAIDAR SAYS YELTSIN RISKS LOSING CONTROL OF
MILITARY. In London for a meeting of the International
Democrat Union grouping of center-right parties, Egor
Gaidar, the leader of Russia's Choice, told reporters
that if Yeltsin "continues in the way he is doing, in a
very short time he will not be in control of the
military." Gaidar said Yeltsin was already "much more
dependent on the army and military forces than he was,"
Reuters reported on 12 January. Gaidar was not optimistic
that the legislation his faction introduced in the Duma
this week, banning the use of military force in Russia
except in a state of emergency, would be adopted. --
Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DEFENSE WORKERS WANT YELTSIN OUT. At an emergency
conference of the Russian Defense Industry Workers' Union
on 12 January, workers decided to prepare for joint
action to bring down the government and replace Yeltsin.
According to Interfax, the union reported that more than
200,000 workers left Russian defense enterprises in 1994.
Workers were owed more than 160 billion rubles, while
their average wage was only 62.5% of the average
industrial wage. The union charged that less than 30% of
the necessary funds were provided in 1994 for programs to
convert defense plants to civilian production. -- Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

AIR FORCE GENERAL GUILTY OF MISAPPROPRIATION. The
military collegium of the Russian Supreme Court on 12
January sentenced Air Force Maj. Gen. Nikolai Seliverstov
to five years in prison for misappropriating government
property. According to Interfax, the court also required
him to return 64 million rubles to the treasury.
Seliverstov was the deputy commander of the air forces of
the Western Group of Forces in Germany. He went to trial
on 22 November for the theft of state funds, bribery, and
forgery. The last two charges were dropped by the court.
Interfax said the verdict was final and could not be
appealed. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN AIDE DENIES "DEPRIVATIZATION" PLANS.
Livshits, speaking at a 12 January news conference,
predicted that inflation would fall in the near future.
He dismissed as "absolutely groundless" rumors about the
collapse of the ruble and government plans to replace
50,000 ruble bank notes and to suspend hard-currency bank
accounts. Equally "groundless," he said, was the rumor
that newly appointed State Property Committee Chairman
Vladimir Polevanov plans to reverse the privatization of
Russia's economy. He ruled out both a "curtailment" of
privatization and the renationalization of industries
already privatized. In an interview with Russian TV's
"Pod-robnosti" on 29 December 1994, Polevanov revealed
plans to nationalize factories producing aluminum for
military purposes. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN URGES STATE DUMA TO APPOINT PARAMONOVA
AS RUSSIAN BANK HEAD. In a meeting with Duma deputies
on 12 January, Yeltsin called for the confirmation of
Tatyana Paramonova as head of the Central Bank, according
to Interfax. Paramonova has been acting head since the
Duma ousted former Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko on 23
November 1994. In order for the Central Bank to make
substantive progress in banking procedures, Yeltsin
stressed the importance of making a permanent
appointment. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

AUCTIONING BONDS AND FUTURES TRADING IN STORE
FOR MICEX. The Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange
announced on 12 January that it will begin auctioning
bonds and trading future contracts for US dollars in
February. Sergei Kharitonov, MICEX term operations head,
said in a 12 January news conference that 110 commercial
banks and financial companies have applied to take part
in the auction. Although the mechanism for trading term
contracts has been established, the auction format has
still not been finalized. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES DEFICIT-FREE
BUDGET. Meeting in emergency session on 12 January, the
Georgian parliament approved by 122 votes to 62 a
deficit-free budget for 1995, with revenue and spending
amounting to 243 trillion coupons, Interfax reported. (As
of 1 January, the National Bank exchange rate was 1.28
million coupons to $1.) The lion's share of expenditures-
-15.7%--will be on defense, followed by 13.7% on law
enforcement. In lines with IMF recommendations, spending
on the government apparatus will not exceed 4.8%. -- Liz
Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KUCHMA SEES 1995 AS TURNING POINT FOR UKRAINIAN
ECONOMY. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told
newspaper editors in the central Ukrainian city of
Zhytomyr that 1995 will be a turning point for the
Ukrainian economy, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 12
January. He said "either the situation will be changed
for the better or we will face a total collapse." He also
noted that the draft state budget for 1995 will include
the toughest austerity measures ever. Kuchma accused the
Cabinet of Ministers of lacking real commitment to
economic reforms and suggested a cabinet reshuffle was
possible. He said a new constitutional law giving the
president sweeping executive authority to preside over
reform must be passed by parliament this month so that he
can immediately adopt effective decisions. Otherwise, he
will be forced to call a national referendum on the
issue, he commented. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CRIMEAN LEGISLATURE LAYS CLAIM TO PROPERTY ON
PENINSULA. The Crimean parliament has voted to place
all property on its territory subject to privatization--
including ports, railways, and dozens of Black Sea
resorts--under the region's jurisdiction, Reuters
reported on 12 January. Legislators said they voted for
the resolution because they feared Ukrainians from
outside Crimea would buy up local property. Officials in
Kiev said the decision violates Ukrainian law. Crimean
government ministers had appealed to the legislators to
refrain from making rash decisions, while legal experts
had warned the parliament that the move violated
Ukrainian and international laws. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

UNEMPLOYMENT IN UKRAINE MAY CAP 2.5 MILLION IN
1995. Volodymyr Yerasov, director of the State
Employment Center, told journalists in Kiev that more
than 2.5 million Ukraine residents are expected to be
unemployed in 1995, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 12
January. Mass layoffs may begin in the first half of the
year, he said. While only 113,200 people were officially
registered as unemployed in 1994, hidden unemployment at
industrial enterprises and government agencies was
believed to approach 3.4 million, including many workers
who went on forced vacation for more than a month or
worked shorter weeks or days. Due to expected budgetary
restrictions and austerity measures in the draft state
budget for 1995, unemployment benefits will be cut from
the equivalent of three months' wages to one months'
salary, Yerasov said. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES IN BELARUS. The Belarusian
parliament has demanded to see the text of the recently
signed Russian-Belarusian agreements, Belarusian Radio
reported on 12 January. The agreements are considered
vital to an assessment of the budget since they will
affect Belarus's annual revenues. Deputy Prime Minister
Syarhei Ling said that the customs agreement with Russia
will generate $250 million for Belarus, but the country
will have to pay $500 million for Russian energy
supplies. Deputies complained that they were excluded
from the drafting of the accords with Russia and learned
of their signing only from the media. Uladzimir Novikau,
the head of the parliament Industry Committee, criticized
the government's trade policy, which calls for the export
of 80% of the country's output to Russia. Novikau said
Belarus must find new markets for its products, otherwise
its industries will be doomed. Debate on the budget is
proceeding smoothly, with deputies agreeing that the
budget deficit must be kept down to 4% of GDP. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER ESTONIYA DECLARED
BANKRUPT. Estoniya, one of the major Russian-language
newspapers in Estonia, has been declared bankrupt by a
Tallinn court, Interfax reports on 12 January. The
newspaper, formerly called Sovetskaya Estoniya, was the
official organ of the Estonian Communist Party. Its
acting editor-in-chief, Vyacheslav Ivanov, said that even
though Estoniya was one of the few official newspapers in
the country, the state decided not to invest in its
development. He added that despite the formal bankruptcy
of the state-run joint-stock company, Newspaper Estonia,
the daily will still be issued. Its journalists have set
up a joint-stock company called Kronist and will continue
to sell the newspaper at the same price. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

WALESA LOSES BATTLE IN TAX WAR. Poland's
Constitutional Tribunal on 12 January ruled that tax
legislation challenged by President Lech Walesa does not
violate constitutional guidelines. The tribunal ruled
only on Walesa's objection that the tax law fails to
raise a deduction for housing renovations to keep pace
with inflation. It did not consider the president's more
sweeping challenge to the tax rates themselves (21%, 33%,
and 45%), noting that such a challenge is possible only
after the bill has been signed into law. Rezeczpospolita
notes that most company accountants have been deducting
taxes in accordance with the government's instructions,
disregarding calls from some politicians (including
Walesa) to adhere to the pre-1994 20%, 30%, and 40%
rates. The lower rates would reduce budget revenues by
$500 million. The key question now is whether the
president will push ahead with his challenge to the
ruling coalition by vetoing the 1995 budget, which the
parliament passed at record speed early in January. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH TRIBUNAL RULES ON "CLEAN HANDS." In a
second ruling expected to decide the fate of Foreign
Minister Andrzej Olechowski, the Constitutional Tribunal
ruled on 12 January that the "anticorruption" law of 1992
bans high public officials from holding posts in private
firms and permits them to sit on the boards of commercial
firms in which the state has a stake only when expressly
assigned to do. They may accept no payment. But the
tribunal also stressed that officials who accepted extra
salaries in the past had done so "in good faith," as
government lawyers had instructed that this practice was
legal. Justice Minister Wlodzimierz Cimosewicz, who in
October published lists of dozens of officials who, he
said, were violating the 1992 law, claimed the ruling
justified his "clean hands" campaign. Olechowski, who was
included on the justice minister's list because of his
post as chairman of the board of Bank Handlowy, had said
he would resign if the tribunal ruled in Cimoszewicz's
favor. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN OIL DELIVERIES TO CZECH REPUBLIC
RESUMED. Russian oil supplies to the Czech Republic
have resumed after a four-day interruption, Czech media
report on 13 January. Deliveries were cut off because of
a dispute over pipeline transit fees between Russia and
Ukraine. The Czech Republic's biggest refinery had to
draw on state reserves to keep operating. Other
refineries had sufficient oil reserves and were not
seriously affected by the interruption. Officials said
30,000 tons of crude oil were expected to reach the Czech
Republic daily, almost twice the country's minimum needs.
-- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL
COURT. Opposition deputies from the Christian Democratic
Movement, the Democratic Union, the Party of the
Democratic Left, the Social Democratic Party, and the
three ethnic Hungarian parties submitted a proposal on 12
January to the Constitutional Court asking it to review
two laws recently passed by the parliament. One law is an
amendment to the large-scale privatization legislation
transferring control over privatization from the
government to the National Property Fund; the other
cancels all direct-sale privatization projects carried
out by the Moravcik government after 6 September. The two
laws were passed by the parliament on 4 November, vetoed
by the president, and then reapproved by the legislature
on 21 December. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES VISIT SLOVAKIA.
Delegations from three Hungarian opposition parties--the
Hungarian Democratic Forum, the Christian Democratic
Peoples' Party, and the Alliance of Young Democrats--
arrived in Slovakia on 12 January for a two-day visit.
Invited by the chairmen of the three ethnic Hungarian
parties in Slovakia, the Hungarian politicians are
seeking to strengthen ties with ethnic Hungarians in
Slovakia and contribute to the development of "good-
neighborly relations," HDF Chairman Lajos Fur said. The
delegation is expected to meet with Slovak Premier
Vladimir Meciar and the chairmen of the Christian
Democratic Movement and Democratic Union, Sme reports. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT CANCELS PRIVATIZATION DEAL.
The Hungarian government on 12 January canceled a major
hotel privatization deal and fired privatization chief
Ferenc Bartha, MTI reports. The government accused the
State Property Agency, headed by Bartha, of "professional
lapses" and ignoring "the interests of the national
economy." The State Property Agency agreed to sell 51% of
the shares of 14 Hungarian hotels to the American General
Hospitality for $57.5 million. But Prime Minister Gyula
Horn stopped the transaction because he considered the
price too low. The cancellation of the deal and the
dismissal of Bartha is likely to exacerbate growing
tensions between Horn's Hungarian Socialist Party and its
coalition partner, the Alliance of Free Democrats, which
was opposed to both moves. The Financial Times on 13
January reports that the index of the Budpaest stock
exchange fell 66 points, the biggest daily drop for
nearly a year, in anticipation that the government would
cancel the sale. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLVES TO CONTINUE WITH
EASING OF SERBIAN SANCTIONS. The UN Security Council
voted 14-0 on 12 January to continue easing sanctions
against the rump Yugoslavia for another 100 days. Russia,
objecting primarily to additional restrictions on oil
convoys from Serbia Serb-controlled territories of
Croatia, was the only nation to abstain. Reuters on 13
January reports the council's decision received mixed
reviews, with leaders from Islamic states arguing that
sanctions should not be eased until the Bosnian Serbs
show their full support for peace. Reuters also quotes
Muhamed Sacirbey, Bosnia's UN ambassador, as saying the
sanctions monitors' means for tracking activity along
Serbia's border with Bosnia and Herzegovina were "flawed
and inadequate from their inception." A partial easing of
sanctions was introduced by a resolution dating from
September 1994 in recognition of what appears to be
Belgrade's severing of some ties with the Bosnian Serbs.
Sanctions on transportation links and cultural and sports
events were first eased for a period of 100 days. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIA ENDS UNPROFOR MANDATE. Hina on 12 January
carried the texts of messages by President Franjo Tudjman
to the Croatian nation and to UN Secretary General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali saying Croatia will not renew
UNPROFOR's mandate when it expires on 31 March. The UN
forces will have three months to leave the country,
although they may continue to use Zagreb as UN regional
headquarters. He thanked the UN forces for their initial
successes in keeping peace and noted that many were
killed or wounded in the process. But he argued that
UNPROFOR has not promoted the reintegration of the Serb-
held one-third of Croatian territory despite repeated
warnings from the Croatian government to do so or face
the loss of its mandate. The president concluded that
UNPROFOR is not only "inefficient" but also
"significantly counterproductive to the peace process."
He added that UNPROFOR's departure could provide a fresh
impetus for a peaceful solution to the problems of
Croatia, Bosnia, and the region as a whole. Tudjman
stressed that his government seeks a peaceful solution to
the ongoing crisis, and he also reassured the Serbian
minority that its rights will be protected in keeping
with Croatian law. Croatian diplomats had informed
Contact Group representatives as well as Italy, China,
and the Vatican of Tudjman's decision in advance,
although speculation continues as to whether his word is
final. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM OF TUDJMAN'S STATEMENT.
Reuters on 13 January quoted some UN officials as
suggesting that the president's speech leaves little room
for maneuver, while also mentioning that the world
organization should not overreact but rather make a
"considered reply." Boutros-Ghali nonetheless said he is
"gravely concerned about the risk of renewed
hostilities," and Croatia's two closest major allies,
Germany and the United States, were also critical of
Tudjman's moves, the BBC reports. But public opinion
polls in Croatia have indicated widespread disgust with
the UN's role. The peacekeepers are often derided with
the nickname SERBPROFOR, reflecting the widespread view
that UNPROFOR has become a buffer between Croatian and
Serbian forces and hence protects Serbian conquests. The
Croatian media have long expressed the fear that the
country will become "another Cyprus," with UN forces
originally sent to promote a ceasefire eventually
ensuring the partition of the area. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. The Washington Post on 13 January
writes that Contact Group negotiators held talks with
Bosnian government leaders in Sarajevo the previous day
and are now off to visit the rebel Serbs in Pale. Bosnian
government officials told the diplomats that they will
allow no changes in the peace plan that Sarajevo accepted
in July. Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic nonetheless
seemed to take at face value a British statement that the
delegation "sticks to the Contact Group plan" and added
that "it is now clear that the Contact Group never
shifted its position." But this may be an exercise by
Sarajevo to forestall expected diplomatic concessions to
Pale by the international negotiators. The German agency
dpa on 12 January reported an increase in the fighting
around Bihac, while AFP said that the Serbs in the Livno
area are using Croats and Muslims as human shields. The
French agency also reported on threats by the Bosnian
army against UNPROFOR at Tuzla airport, apparently over
the presence of a Serbian liaison officer there. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA DENIES INTENTION TO COMPENSATE HUNGARY.
The Romanian Environment Ministry on 12 January denied
that Romania plans to compensate Hungary for damage
caused when oil spilled into the Hungarian part of the
Barcau River at the end of December, Radio Bucharest
reported the same day. The ministry issued a statement
denying a report by Radio Budapest maintaining that
Romania had agreed to pay compensation (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 11 January). The statement says Romania's
environmental protection agreement with Hungary does not
require compensation for such damage. It notes that
Romania has fulfilled all its obligations under the
agreement and eliminated the effects of the spill. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA READY TO SEND PEACEKEEPING TROOPS TO
ANGOLA. The National Defense Ministry, in a press
release carried by Radio Bucharest on 12 January,
confirmed that the UN has asked Romania if it is ready to
send peacekeeping troops to Angola and that Romania has
responded it is ready "in principle." The ministry said
the decision to send troops will be taken once the UN
officially asks for Romania to participate in the
operation. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF TRYING TO CONTROL
MEDIA. The Movement of Civic Alliance has accused the
Romanian government of trying to control the broadcast
media by blocking reforms of public radio and television,
Reuters reported on 11 January. The MCA pointed to a
five-month delay in appointing a new management board for
Romanian Television and Radio. The state-owned broadcast
media became public institutions subordinated to the
parliament under legislation that took effect in June
1994, but no administrators have been appointed to date.
The Media Commission of the Chamber of Deputies in late
1994 rejected the candidacy of prominent intellectuals
put forward by the broadcast unions. The MCA accused the
Party of Social Democracy in Romania of promoting its own
nominees, who, it claimed, are "politically subservient."
-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

NEW BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT OPENS, ELECTS CHAIRMAN.
At the first session of the new Bulgarian parliament on
12 January, Blagovest Sendov, a mathematician affiliated
with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was elected
parliament chairman, international news agencies
reported. Sendov received 138 votes and Aleksandar
Dzherov of the People's Union 55; no fewer than 42
deputies abstained. Sendov was a deputy during the
communist era but not a member of the communist party.
The parliament's session was opened by the oldest deputy,
Vladimir Abadzhiev of the Union of Democratic Forces.
Abadzhiev said the new assembly has to "bring about the
economic recovery of the country and deal with
unemployment, poverty, and crime." President Zhelyu
Zhelev's scheduled address to the legislators was
canceled because the election of the speaker took up most
of the day. The 18 December elections gave the Socialists
a majority of 125 seats in the 240-seat parliament. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS CALL FOR NEW ELECTIONS.
Server Pellumbi, deputy leader of the Socialist Party,
has called for new elections and said his party will
start the election campaign--not in a coalition, but on
its own. But he did not rule out the possibility of
forming a coalition later with another party. It is still
unclear when the next elections will be, but Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 13 January that all opposition
parties have called for an early ballot. President Sali
Berisha, whose term ends in April 1997, has nonetheless
ruled out early elections. Meanwhile, Albanian Ambassador
to Washington Lublim Dilja signed a treaty with the US
government regulating bilateral investments, Rilindja
Demokratike reported on 13 January. -- 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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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