Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow; Naught may endure but Mutability. - Percy Shelley
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 20, Part II, 27 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

AUSCHWITZ LIBERATION MARKED. On the first day of ceremonies marking the
50th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
concentration camp, Nobel Prize laureates and delegates from 27 nations
whose citizens were prisoners drafted an "appeal for peace and
tolerance," to be proclaimed on 27 January, Rzeczpospolita reports.
World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman sent a telegram saying he
did not feel entitled to participate in the ceremonies as he had not
been a prisoner at Auschwitz. Journalists interpreted his comment as an
implicit swipe at President Lech Walesa, who was scheduled to speak
three times during the two-day ceremonies. But the general tone was one
of reconciliation aimed at countering charges that Polish organizers
were attempting to "Polonize" or "Christianize" the event. Izrael Gurman
of the Yad Vashem Institute stressed that "the Polish nation is not
responsible for Auschwitz . . . but because this land is soaked with
blood, because more than 3 million Jews lived here, we have a shared
responsibility." After the official ceremonies, several hundred Jews
(including Rabbi Avi Weiss, who was briefly detained by police on 25
January for picketing a Catholic church), local residents, and German
President Roman Herzog prayed for Holocaust victims at Birkenau. -
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH DRAFT CONSTITUTION: PRESIDENT AS "ARBITER." The Constitutional
Commission, currently preparing the draft constitution for submission to
the National Assembly, voted on 26 January to define the president as
"the guarantor of continuity" in the executive branch, rejecting the
broader French-style Presidency proposed by President Lech Walesa. The
vote on the issue was 43 to three. The commission also opted to retain
the pendulum-swing procedures for forming a government that are now in
force. Only two deputies favored giving the president the right to
appoint and dismiss the premier. The bicameral parliament structure was
preserved in the draft, but the Senate was saved from elimination by
only a three-vote margin. The commission voted on 25 January to
eliminate any preamble from the draft constitution, thus avoiding
fractious debate on whether to include formulations referring to God,
history, Solidarity, or "we the people." This pragmatic decision
reflects the parliament's inability to reach consensus on the Church's
role in public life or to come to a shared moral assessment of
communism. The commission does not have the last word on the
constitution. After the National Assembly votes on the draft, the basic
law must be approved in a national referendum. - Louisa Vinton, OMRI,
Inc.

UKRAINE'S FIRST AUCTION WITH PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS. Ukrainian citizens
have started bidding for shares in state-owned enterprises at the
country's first voucher auction center, AP reports. The center was
opened on 26 January in the central Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr. Yurii
Yekhanurov, chairman of the State Property Fund, said at the opening
ceremony that the government is now showing that "we really are
implementing radical reforms in our economy." After long delays due to
resistance from the hard-line parliament, Ukraine began distributing
vouchers to citizens in five regions, including Zhytomyr, at the
beginning of the year. The crowd was small, however, at the auction
center on its first day. Shares in 49 companies, including a sugar
refinery and machine factory, were available. Citizens may bid for
between 3% and 80% of a company's shares over a one-month period. Some
8,000 medium-sized and large businesses are slated to be transferred
into private hands this year. Vouchers will be distributed to the rest
of Ukraine's residents in February as auction centers are opened
throughout the country. - Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE SOVIET UNION VIEWED AS "NATIONAL THREAT." The
Ukrainian Justice Ministry issued a statement on 26 January saying the
initiative to hold a referendum on the restoration of the USSR was a
threat to Ukraine's sovereignty, TANJUG reports on 26 January. Leftist
forces in the heavily Russified eastern regions of Ukraine have been
collecting signatures for a petition to bring the issue of a new
political alliance with Russia and other republics to a national
referendum. Ukrainian leaders have condemned the initiative as a
potential catalyst for civil strife in the country. A ministry spokesman
announced that anyone forcefully campaigning to merge Ukraine with a new
union of former Soviet republics would risk a seven-year prison term. A
public opinion poll taken in December by the Kiev-based International
Sociological Institute revealed that 64% of Ukrainians continue to
support their country's independence. - Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN-JAPANESE RELATIONS. Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Hakio
Yanahisa was in Ukraine from 24 to 26 January on an official visit,
Ukrainian Radio reported. Yanahisa met with Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma and passed on a note from Japan's Prime Minister Tomichi Murayama
pledging Japanese help for Ukraine's economic reform. Yanahisa's visit
was intended to prepare for Kuchma's trip to Japan in March. - Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

STRIKES IN BELARUS. Reuters reported on 26 January that some 20,000
demonstrators rallied in Minsk to demand higher wages. Uladzimir
Hancharyk, head of the Federation of Belarusian Trade Unions, said that
wages had to keep pace with rising prices. He warned that the unions
would strike if the government did not meet their demands. Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said he was "insulted" by the
demonstration since the unions had promised to be patient with his
economic program. - Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

CASE DROPPED AGAINST BELARUSIAN EX-DEFENSE MINISTER. The Belarusian
Prosecutor-General's Office has stopped its investigation into Former
Defense Minister Paval Kazlouski's alleged abuse of office, Interfax
reported on 26 January. President Lukashenka had accused Kazlouski of
using state assets for the wedding last summer of Kazlouski's daughter
to the son of Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Mechyslau Hryb. It was
alleged that Kazlouski used 300 paratroopers to guard the wedding site.
The Prosecutor-General's Office said the charge was not proven.
Kazlouski has demanded that Lukashenka rescind the decree demoting him
from colonel general to lieutenant general. He has also demanded a
public apology from Lukashenka. Before Lukashenka's election as
president, Kazlouski filed a libel suit against him because Lukashenka
had accused him of corrupt practices. - Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BALTIC STATES PLAN UNIFIED AIRSPACE. The Estonian General Staff
announced on 25 January that senior air force officers from the Baltic
Republics have proposed a single airspace monitoring system. Interfax
reports that the system would combine military and civilian radar sites
and would be part of a future unified air defense system. Such a system
was approved in principle by Baltic military leaders in November. - Doug
Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT IN SWITZERLAND. Lennart Meri returned to Tallinn on
26 January after a five-day working visit to Switzerland, BNS reports.
During his trip, he met with members of the Zurich regional parliament
and gave a speech at the Vontobel Bank's annual meeting of diplomats and
financial leaders. He also held talks in Bern with President of the
Swiss Confederation Kaspar Villiger and the heads of both chambers of
the Swiss parliament. The talks focused on Estonia's political
development and how the war in Chechnya would affect relations between
Russia and Europe. The Estonian president also addressed the Institute
for International Relations in Bern and helped persuade several well-
known Swiss companies to open subsidiaries in Estonia. - Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

NEW LATVIAN HEALTH MINISTER. The Latvian parliament on 26 January
approved the candidacy of Peteris Apinis as health minister, BNS
reports. The 37-year-old Apinis replaces Normunds Zemvaldis, who
resigned on 16 January. A graduate from the Riga Medical Institute in
1982, Apinis was one of the founders of the Latvian Physicians' Society
and is currently its vice president. The Saeima also approved Latvia's
Way member Mariss Andersons as parliament deputy, replacing Valdis
Birkavs, who has suspended his mandate during his term in office as
foreign minister. - Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH MINISTERS VOTED AGAINST PARTY LEADER TO RESTORE CALM IN
GOVERNMENT. Two ministers who apparently deserted their party leader in
a key cabinet vote on 25 January did so at his request to calm recent
tensions within the governing coalition, Czech media report on 27
January. Only Civic Democratic Alliance leader Jan Kalvoda voted against
a resolution rejecting his charges that the counterintelligence service
BIS illegally collected information on political parties. CDA ministers
Vladimir Dlouhy and Jiri Skalicky said Kalvoda asked them to vote for
the resolution. But another leading member of the CDA, Tomas Jezek,
sharply criticized Kalvoda for making his charges public at a press
conference. In an interview with TV Noza, Jezek said Kalvoda's action
has damaged the country in the most serious way since the fall of
communism in November 1989. The issue has dominated Czech politics for
the past two weeks, highlighting differences and tensions among the four
coalition parties. - Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PROTESTS RESOLUTION AGAINST PRESIDENT. Slovak
opposition parties on 26 January condemned a parliamentary resolution
passed the previous day criticizing President Michal Kovac for his
response to a letter from William Orme, executive director of the
Committee to Protect Journalists. The opposition, in a statement to
TASR, called the resolution an attempt to prepare the public for Kovac's
removal from office and a serious violation of the constitution, which
guarantees freedom of speech and forbids censorship. Meanwhile, Milan
Knazko of the opposition Democratic Union warned that at its next
session, scheduled for early March, the parliament might try to take
away the union's 15 parliamentary mandates, Narodna obroda reports.
Knazko said eight of these mandates would go to the government coalition
and seven to the opposition, giving the coalition the 90 votes needed to
change the constitution and thus shorten the term in office of
Constitutional Court judges and the president. In other news, the
parliament on 25 January approved the nomination as attorney-general of
Michal Valo, a political independent who served as Czechoslovakia's
deputy military attorney-general until the end of 1992. The final
decision on his nomination will be made by Kovac. - Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CARTER LAUNCHES NEW BOSNIA INITIATIVE. Newsday reports on 27 January
that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has made fresh moves to break
the logjam in the international Contact Group efforts to involve the
Bosnian Serbs in serious negotiations about the current peace plan. The
Contact Group and the Bosnian government take the position that the
Serbs must first "accept" the plan as a basis for talks, while Pale
basically wants an open agenda. Carter calls the idea of first requiring
the Serbs to accept the plan "kind of forcing on the Bosnian Serbs the
government's language." He now suggests that the Serbs be allowed to
enter negotiations "on the basis" of the plan but without formally
accepting it. This is unlikely to wash with the Bosnian government. But
perhaps what is most interesting about Carter's move is how he made it.
While White House officials said they asked Carter to keep open his
lines of communication with Pale to ensure that the current cease-fire
remains alive, Carter apparently took the latest initiative without
consulting Washington but by sending a letter to Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic. He then informed the U.S. government in a fax sent
to the Belgrade embassy. When asked why he chose to deliver the message
to his own government in such a way, the former president said: "Well, I
didn't send it to them. I sent it to Milosevic." - Patrick Moore , OMRI,
Inc.

JUPPE SAYS "PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE" ON BOSNIA. Reuters on 26 January
quotes French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe as saying the Contact Group
must keep working to bring the Bosnian Serbs around to negotiations. He
told reporters that the mediators "must try and try again [but] not by
asking the Sarajevo government to agree to further concessions." He
added that much has already been achieved and argued that one should
avoid "painting the bleakest possible picture about Bosnia." Meanwhile,
dpa reports that another Serbian artillery attack on Bihac claimed many
civilian lives. Reuters added that Serbs hauled a Muslim journalist from
a UN armored transport at a Sarajevo checkpoint and detained him. The
agency also said government forces have resumed their siege of UN forces
in Tuzla after presenting fresh demands, including that the UN stop
making reconnaissance patrols. The UN rejected the government's position
as violating the cease-fire agreement. - Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN-GREEK MEETING. Former Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos
Mitsotakis on 26 January met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
in Belgrade, AFP reported the same day. Mitsotakis said Milosevic
reassured him Serbia would not recognize Macedonia until the conflict
between Athens and Skopje is resolved. Vecher on 27 January quotes
Mitsotakis as saying that Milosevic might help in solving the problems
between the two countries. Mitsotakis added that the Serbian president's
"policy of peace" is supported by the Greek people and parties, Politika
reports. - Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN DISPUTE CONTINUES. The Party of Social Democracy in
Romania, the main ruling party, has said the Romanian government never
proposed to ban the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania. In a
declaration broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 26 January, the PSDR
rejected the claim by six Hungarian parliamentary parties (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 24 January 1994) that Romanian democracy was endangered,
saying that ethnic minority rights are more respected in Romania than in
Hungary. The PSDR added that the democratization process in Romania is
threatened only by the HDFR's policies of promoting "personal, local
government, and territorial autonomy" based on ethnic criteria. In
another development, Nicolae Taran, vice president of the Party of Civic
Alliance, told Radio Bucharest that the HDFR's demands for autonomy make
it impossible for his party to continue collaborating with it. Both the
PCA and the HDFR are members of the opposition Democratic Convention of
Romania. Taran said the DCR must immediately take a clear position
opposing that of the HDFR, unless it wants to be perceived by the
electorate as an organization pursuing anti-national interests. -
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

SPANISH PREMIER IN ROMANIA. Felipe Gonzalez, on a two-day visit to
Romania, met with Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, President Ion
Iliescu, Chamber of Deputies Chairman Adrian Nastase, Foreign Minister
Teodor Melescanu, and leaders of the opposition, Radio Bucharest
reported. Gonzalez and Vacaroiu signed economic and cultural agreements
on 25 January. At a joint press conference with Iliescu the same day,
Gonzalez said Spain would support Romania's "political, economic, and
security aspirations" of integration into European structures. - Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN MINISTER ATTACKS ETHNIC TURKISH PARTY. Education Minister
Ilcho Dimitrov has said the predominantly ethnic Turkish Movement for
Rights and Freedom is anti-constitutional and its policies are harming
national interests. Dimitrov, in an interview with 24 chasa on 27
January, added that he did not take an active part in the forceful
Bulgarization of ethnic Turks' names in the 1980s, as the Turks have
charged. But in an interview with Standart, he admitted that he was head
of the Coordinating Council of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences,
responsible for the so-called "renaissance process." MRF deputy Ibrahim
Tatarla, in an interview with 24 chasa, accused Dimitrov of being "the
ideologist behind the assimilation of minorities." - Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

NEW PARTY FOUNDED IN ALBANIA. Defectors from the Social Democratic Party
have formed a new group, the Social Democratic Union, Reuters reported
on 26 January. The SDU's leader is Teodor Laco, who was appointed
minister for culture in President Sali Berisha's latest government
reshuffle. After Laco's appointment, the SDP left the coalition with
Berisha's Democratic Party, saying its leadership had not been consulted
about the move. Laco, who violated the party consensus by supporting
Berisha's referendum on a draft constitution in November, said that 30
members of the SDP's 90-strong Central Committee have joined the SDU.
The SDP now has six legislators, and the DP's only coalition partner is
the SDU, whose sole parliamentary representative is Laco. Meanwhile, the
joint military exercise involving troops from the U.S., Albania, Italy,
Britain, and Germany began in Durres on 26 January. - Fabian Schmidt,
OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN POLICE CLOSE PRIVATE RADIO STATION. One day after President
Sali Berisha proposed the legalization of private radio stations, police
closed down Radio Vlora and detained its director, Ferdinand Llambro,
international agencies reported on 26 January. Llambro, who started up
the private station with money he earned working in Greece, did not have
a license to broadcast. He avoided any political commentary in his
popular music programs. Another unlicensed private station is
broadcasting from Patos, in southern Albania. - Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,
Inc.

[As of 12:00 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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