There is no love sincerer than the love of food. - George Bernard Shaw
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 16 part II, 23 January 1995


This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning East-Central and
Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, and the CIS, is distributed simultaneously as a second document.

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.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES DECREE ON AGRICULTURAL REFORMS. Leonid Kuchma
on 20 January signed a decree reforming the country's agricultural
market, Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. Farmers will be free to
sell their produce to the state, on commodities exchanges, in trading
houses, and through purchasing or brokerage agencies. The measure allows
foreign investment in the production, processing, and storage of farm
products, excluding grain. It also exempts foreign investors from export
quotas and licensing. Kuchma has instructed the National Bank of Ukraine
to arrange the sale of futures and forward contracts for agricultural
products by the Ukrainian Interbank Currency Exchange until  commodities
exchanges are set up. The central bank will also explore the possibility
of allowing commercial lending to farmers using future harvests as
collateral. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

RUKH, PARLIAMENT SPEAKER OPPOSE RESTORATION OF SOVIET UNION. Oleksander
Moroz, socialist chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, has criticized
organizers of a campaign supporting the restoration of the Soviet Union,
Interfax-Ukraine reported on 21 January. Addressing leftist political
forces in Dnipropetrovsk, he said internal developments in Ukraine,
Belarus, and Russia make renewal of the Soviet Union impossible and
could lead to war. But he added that the three republics should seek
closer political and economic ties and advance toward a new commonwealth
of nations. Interfax-Ukraine reported on 22 January that the nationalist
organization Rukh has circulated leaflets in Kiev demanding that the
Ukrainian prosecutor-general's office investigate the "illegal"
activities of procommunist groups collecting signatures for a referendum
on the reunification of the former Soviet republics. The leaflets called
the campaign "destabilizing" and said it could lead to civil strife. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIANS SAID TO BE TAKING ALL BLACK SEA FLEET PLANES. The commander of
Ukraine's naval air force has charged the Black Sea Fleet's leaders with
unilaterally disbanding the fleet's air force. Interfax on 20 January
quotes Nikolai Volovin as saying he fears that when the two countries
eventually divide the naval air force, there will be nothing left to
divide. He reported that the unit stationed at Veseloye, on the Crimean
peninsula, was disbanded in 1994 and its equipment moved to Russia.
Veseloye was the home of a naval heavy bomber regiment, equipped with
Tu-22M "Backfire" jet missile-carrying bombers. Volovin said he feared
the same fate awaited other naval air force units at Donuzlava,
Gvardeisky, and Oktyabrskoye. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN NEWS. The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus has called
for mass demonstrations on 26 January to protest the violation of their
rights, Belarusian Radio reported on 20 January. According to deputy
federation head Frants Vitko, the workers have decided on such action
because the problem of social security has not been solved and the
liberalization of prices has led to price anarchy. Meanwhile, the
Belarusian Cabinet of Ministers has approved an agreement with Italy on
military cooperation and investment in the defense sector. The agreement
was concluded by First Deputy Minister for External Economic Relations
Syarhei Veksham. It was also reported that Former Deputy Prime Minister
Viktar Hanchar was appointed secretary-general of the CIS Economic
Court. Hanchar resigned from President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
government in December because he said Lukashenka had fallen under the
influence of "adventurers" and could no longer influence policy. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIA NOT TO GRANT ASYLUM TO HIGHJACKER. The Estonian government on 19
January decided it will not grant political asylum to Vladimir Bozhko,
BNS reported on 20 January. The 36-year-old locksmith from Vorkuta
hijacked a Russian plane from Syktyvkar to St. Petersburg in mid-
November, demanding to be flown to Denmark. After the plane landed in
Tallinn, he surrendered peacefully and released all the passengers and
crew, When Russia asked for Bozhko's extradition on 25 November, he
requested asylum and threatened to kill himself if turned over to
Russia. Estonia is deciding when and how to transfer Bozhko to Russia.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

FURTHER TALKS ON BALTIC EU ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP. Deputy Foreign Minister
Albinas Januskas, heading the Lithuanian delegation to the first round
of talks on associate membership in the European Union, described the 19
January meeting as "successful," BNS reported on 20 January. The two
sides exchanged opinions on the draft association agreement proposed by
the European Commission. An Estonian delegation, headed by Foreign
Ministry Deputy Chancellor Priit Kolbre, held similar talks on 20
January. Estonian Ambassador to Brussels Clyde Kull noted that the draft
agreement's provisions on the movement of the work force, the transfer
of social insurance, and the setting up of businesses needed additional
work, BNS reported on 21 January. Estonia's major concern--the date of
possible full membership in the EU--was not discussed. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

SIEGE MENTALITY IN POLISH PARLIAMENT. The Sejm on 20 January
unexpectedly rushed through the first reading of a constitutional
amendment that, in the event of a presidential dissolution order, would
keep the parliament in session until after new elections. Current
regulations would leave the country without a sitting parliament for
several months, until the newly elected Sejm and Senate convened--such
as occurred in 1993, following the no-confidence vote in Prime Minister
Hanna Suchocka's government. Virtually all parties supported the
amendment, and a final vote could take place as soon as early February
(a presidential veto is likely, however). Sejm deputies continued to
insist that President Lech Walesa has no legal grounds to dissolve the
parliament, but an atmosphere of near-panic has clearly taken hold in
anticipation of the president's next move on the 1995 budget.
Rzeczpospolita notes on 21-22 January that some deputies are even
considering stockpiling food and supplies for a possible sit-in if a
dissolution order is made. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

FORMER CZECH COMMUNIST LEADERS AVOID PROSECUTION. Two former leading
members of the Czechoslovak Communist Party will not be prosecuted on
charges of illegally arming the party's paramilitary force, Czech media
reported on 21 January. Former General-Secretary Milos Jakes and Karel
Hoffmann could not be found when indictments against them and five
others were issued just hours before a statute of limitations covering
their alleged crime came into effect. They were charged in absentia, but
legal officials last week decided this procedure was illegal and
unjustified after the two proved they did not deliberately hide from the
law. Jakes and Hoffmann were key hard-line members of the
"normalization" regime that purged the party and cracked down on
dissidents following the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Because the statute of limitations came into effect at the end of
December, they can no longer be charged over the issue of diverting arms
from the Defense Ministry to the People's Militia in 1985. The five
others charged, including former Prime Minister Lubomir Strougal, still
face prosecution. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES CABINET PROGRAM. The Slovak parliament on 20
January approved the cabinet's program and passed a vote of confidence
in the government of Vladimir Meciar. Of the 139 deputies present, 83
supported the program, 44 voted against it, and 11 abstained. According
to Pravda on 23 January, two deputies from the opposition voted in favor
of the program: Lubomir Roman of the Christian Democratic Movement and
Peasant Movement Chairman Jozef Klein. Marian Andel of the Slovak
National Party reportedly voted against the program. Roman and Andel
both later claimed, however, that their votes were recorded incorrectly,
Sme reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

MDS MEMBERS PLEDGE TO PAY IF THEY LEAVE PARTY. Sme on 23 January reports
that deputies from the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia have pledged
to pay 5 million koruny to the MDS if they switch to another party
during the current parliament term. This was confirmed in a recent
interview with RFE/RL by MDS deputy and legal expert Jan Cuper, who said
his party justified the payment because of the money spent on the
election campaign. When asked whether this contravenes the constitution
(which says deputies are the representatives of citizens and are
responsible to vote in accordance with their conscience,) Cuper claimed
that other parties have similar agreements but refused to name them. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KOSCHNIK TO LEAVE MOSTAR? Hans Koschnik, former mayor of Bremen and
current EU-appointed mayor of Mostar, told Deutsche Welle on 22 January
that he regards obstruction by local Croats as the main problem in
implementing the terms of the Croat-Muslim federation in Mostar. He also
warned that he would give up his mandate if things do not improve.
Koschnik recently held meetings with top officials of the Republic of
Croatia, including the prime, defense, and foreign ministers, in
apparent preparation for meetings with Croatian and Muslim
representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina. He appears to have met with
the Zagreb Croats first to shore up their support in his dealings with
the Herzegovinian Croats. Hina added that the Croatian government
delegation also held talks with the Mostar Croats, all of whom "firmly
supported the Bosnian federation," according to Foreign Minister Mate
Granic. Prime Minister Nikica Valentic added that the Zagreb delegation
helped bring things "one step closer to a solution," Vecernji list
reports on 23 January. But he could not accept Koschnik's assertion that
the local Croats were the main problem. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

YET ANOTHER SHIFT IN US BOSNIAN POLICY. The New York Times and the Los
Angeles Times on 23 January report on the latest in a series of flip-
flops in Washington's policy toward Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely, the
decision to end the policy of no direct talks with the Bosnian Serbs and
to send a US envoy to Pale. Ambassador Victor Jackovich, who favors a
policy of pressure and sanctions against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic and his followers, was recalled to Washington on 18 January,
while his deputy went to Pale for talks the next day. US Contact Group
negotiator Charles Thomas beat the same path to Karadzic's headquarters
on 22 January, where he held talks that he called "very constructive."
US Secretary of State Warren Christopher had earlier announced the
change in policy to the Bosnian government in a letter saying the
decision was contingent on the Serbs' opening roads into Sarajevo. They
have promised several times to open the routes, but these still remain
closed. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

OTHER BOSNIAN NEWS. International media reported on 20 January that the
first Serbian-Muslim prisoner exchange took place under the terms of the
current cease-fire. The Los Angeles Times on 22 January noted that the
exchange of 100 people is the first time one of the provisions of the
current cease-fire has been honored. Meanwhile, in the Bihac pocket,
fighting again intensified over the weekend after a brief lull, while
AFP reported from Tuzla that a controversial Serbian liaison officer has
left the airfield there. The BBC on 23 January ran an interview with the
UN commander in Bosnia, General Sir Michael Rose, whose tour of duty is
about to end. Rose defended his and the UN's records, noting that they
are required to be impartial while "not being indifferent" to the
situation of the Bosnian government, which is a member of the UN. He
nonetheless repeatedly warned against the "siren voices calling us to
war." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

POLITICAL TRIALS IN SANDZAK. The independent Monitor reported on 20
January that since December, "almost the entire leadership of the Party
of Democratic Action for Montenegro (SDA)--20 youngsters from Cetinje
and the legislator Acim Visnjic"--have been sentenced to long prison
terms. The newspaper claims that these are political trials of "foes of
the current system" and quotes the lawyer of the ethnic Muslim SDA as
saying the prisoners have been physically and psychologically tortured.
The sentenced SDA members have been accused of separatist activity,
while the 20 ethnic Montenegrin youngsters from Cetinje were sentenced
to a total of 17 years in prison for slandering Montenegrin President
Momir Bulatovic. Of the 20, six have also been charged with obstructing
a parliament session. Visnjic, a member of the extreme nationalist
Serbian Radical Party, was sentenced to five months for publicly
"slandering the state and the president of the Republic of Montenegro."
-- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA'S RULING COALITION EMBRACES EXTREMISTS. The ruling Party of
Social Democracy in Romania and Party of Romanian National Unity have
signed a protocol of "collaboration" with the Greater Romania Party and
the Socialist Labor Party, thereby formalizing their alliance, Radio
Bucharest and Romanian TV reported on 20 January. It is expected that
the cabinet will soon be enlarged to include members of the chauvinist
GRP and the SLP, the heir to the Romanian Communist Party. The four
parties will consult on the "activity and the structure of the
executive" and on the "co-opting of specialists" from among the
signatory parties into "central administration" structures. GRP leader
Corneliu Vadim Tudor, who had threatened to withdraw parliamentary
support unless his party was allowed to join the coalition, expressed
satisfaction with the agreement. But PRNU leader Gheorghe Funar said he
regretted the accord did not include a clause on outlawing the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania, as his formation had proposed. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DENOUNCES NEW HUNGARIAN MINORITY COUNCIL. Radio
Bucharest on 20 January reported that the Romanian government has
denounced a recent decision by the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania to set up a council coordinating local administration policies.
It said that if the HDFR did not abolish the council, it intended to
appeal to "the judiciary and to [make use of] all other constitutional
and legal instruments" available in a "state based on the rule of the
law." The government said the HDFR council is an infringement of the
principles of local administration democracy and was bound to
discriminate between those who do and do not belong to the Hungarian
minority. The PRNU announced the same day that it will ask to the
Constitutional Court to ban the HDFR. Justice Minister Iosif Gavril
Chiuzbaian, a PRNU member, told the Mediafax news agency that in his
opinion there are sufficient grounds to start procedures for outlawing
the HDFR. At a press conference in Bucharest on 20 January, Train
Bandila, executive secretary of the GRP, also reiterated his party's
long-standing demand that the HDFR be outlawed. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
Inc.

LINE-UP OF NEW BULGARIAN CABINET. The Bulgarian Socialist Party and its
partners on 22 January approved the cabinet proposed by BSP chairman
Zhan Videnov, Reuters reported the same day. The government will be
headed by Videnov, who will have four deputy premiers: Rumen Gechev,
Doncho Konakchiev, Kiril Tsochev, and Svetoslav Shivarov. The first
three will also have economic portfolios, with Gechev exercising overall
control over the economy as minister for economic development. Georgi
Pirinski, who was deputy foreign trade minister under the Zhivkov
regime, has been named foreign minister. Historian Ilcho Dimitrov will
be education minister--a post he held in the 1980s. Reserve Admiral
Dimitar Pavlov will be the new defense minister; and Lyubomir Nachev, a
former police officer, will take over at the Interior Ministry. The
Finance Ministry will be headed by Dimitar Kostov. The BSP's coalition
partners will hold three of the 17 posts. Vasil Chichibaba of the
Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union "Aleksandar Stamboliyski" will be in
charge of agriculture, and Georgi Georgiev of the Political Club
Ekoglasnost will be environment minister. Of the 14 ministers nominated
by the BSP, only six are party members, 24 chasa reported on 23 January.
The new cabinet will be presented to President Zhelev on 23 January and
to the parliament on 25 January. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

FINANCIAL CRIME IN BULGARIA ON THE RISE. Financial crime in Bulgaria
increased last year, causing huge losses to the economy, Pari reported
on 19 January. National Police Director Hristo Gatsov said the number of
financial crimes reported in 1994 was 20.6% up on 1994 levels, while
losses to the country's economy increased by two-thirds, totaling 12
billion leva (about $180 million). The real number of crimes, however,
is eight to ten times higher, Gotsov added. He said money-laundering,
embezzlement, tax evasion, and privatization-related crime have
increased. He blamed this increase on delays in structural reforms of
Bulgaria's economy, which has allowed corruption and racketeering to
flourish. He added that the police are too poorly paid and ill-equipped
to cope with the problem. Interim Prime Minister Reneta Indzhova said in
December that crime is evident at all levels of state authority and that
the judicial system is unable to break the influence of criminal groups.
-- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIA TO HOLD MILITARY EXERCISES WITH U.S. As part of its attempts to
prepare for NATO membership, Albania will hold joint military exercises
with the United States from 26-29 January. The naval search-and-rescue
exercise, code named "Sarex '95," will involve the US Sixth fleet
warship Ponce and six Albanian naval vessels, 600 infantry, and
aircraft. "This is Albania's first step in the integration towards
NATO," Reuters reports Albanian Defense Minister Safet Zhugali as saying
on 20 January. Albanian already provides port and airfield facilities to
NATO and the WEU. -- Michael Mihalka, 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
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Telephone: (42 2) 6114 2114 Fax: (42 2) 426 396



Jeff Gardner
Information Services Dept.
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Tel: 42/2 6114 2114;  42/2 6114 2122
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