Fear of life in one form or another is the great thing to exorcise. - William James
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 28, Part II, 8 February 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

POLISH COALITION OUSTS PAWLAK, SELECTS OLEKSY. Poland's two ruling
parties, meeting on 7 February, have agreed to remove Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak from office and replace him with Jozef Oleksy of the
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). Oleksy, a former communist party chief
in Biala Podlaska voivodship and the minister charged with trade union
relations in Poland's last communist government, is currently Sejm
speaker. Under the new agreement, the Polish Peasant Party's Jozef Zych
will take over Oleksy's post in the parliament leadership in exchange
for the PSL's relinquishing the premiership. The deal was one of three
proposed by Pawlak (who suggested as alternatives that SLD leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski assume the posts of deputy prime minister and
foreign minister or that the PSL leave the government entirely). Talks
on the composition of the new government begin on 8 February. The
coalition expects to make the changes through a "constructive no-
confidence vote," one of the few constitutional options that does not
require the president's approval. A spokesman indicated on 7 February
that the president would sign the 1995 budget if a new government were
formed under a new prime minister. "If there were changes in the
government, the issue of dissolving the Sejm would probably not have the
same urgency," the spokesman was quoted as saying by Gazeta Wyborcza. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

BALANCE OF POWER SHIFTS IN POLISH COALITION. SLD leader Aleksander
Kwasniewski has stressed that the coalition would now form a "new
government" rather than make personnel changes in the old cabinet. The
SLD said in a communique that new ministers would be chosen for their
"professionalism and high ethical standards." That has been interpreted
to mean that cabinet members currently facing corruption allegations
(including Foreign Trade Minister Leslaw Podkanski and Customs Office
chief Ireneusz Sekula) will be removed. Public administration chief
Michal Strak is also likely to step down. The PSL is promising to drive
a hard bargain on the division of cabinet posts, particularly key
economic ones, so the formation of the new government could take several
weeks. But the imminent change at the top suggests that the balance of
power in the government has shifted away from the PSL to the SLD. This
could spell an end to the paralysis afflicting official policy since the
Pawlak government took power in late 1993. Movement on privatization and
other issues could help blunt charges from the Solidarity opposition
that selecting a former communist as prime minister signifies
"recommunization." -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATE OVER CONSTITUTIONAL BILL DELAYED. Parliament
Speaker Oleksander Moroz says a controversial draft law on the
separation of government powers, submitted by President Leonid Kuchma
and approved by parliament at its first hearing in December, is not
ready for a second debate in mid-February as planned, Interfax-Ukraine
reported on 7 February. Moroz told Interfax the previous day that he was
unsatisfied with the work of the commission set up to define the main
points of contention in the draft legislation and with suggestions made
by parliament deputies. Moroz said he disagreed most with the suggestion
to abolish the post of prime minister and turn over its authority to the
president. Kuchma last week also came out in favor of retaining the post
of premier. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT ASKS PARLIAMENT TO APPROVE NEW CASH EMISSION. The
Ukrainian government and the Central Bank have requested permission from
the parliament to put another 25 trillion unbacked Ukrainian karbovantsi
into circulation to meet outstanding payments for energy and fuel
deliveries, pay wages and pensions, and finance this year's spring
sowing, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 7 February. The request was
prompted by the recent price liberalization ordered by President Leonid
Kuchma and the parliament's failure to debate the 1995 budget, according
to a letter sent to the parliament. The government estimates that the
emission would cause the monthly inflation rate to jump to 30-35% in
February, over 15% in January. The exchange rate of the karbovanets is
expected to fall to 131,000 karbovantsi to $1 in February and 150,000 in
March, if the emission is approved (the current rate is 118,400
karbovantsi to $1). The request opposes the president's efforts at
introducing tight fiscal policy measures to cut the country's budget
deficit and reduce inflation. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. DELEGATION IN KIEV, MINSK. Ukrainian Radio reported on 7 February
that a U.S. government delegation headed by Thomas Simons, the State
Department's coordinator of assistance to the newly independent states,
met with parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz. Simons was quoted as saying
that a great deal of progress has been made toward economic reform in
Ukraine. He met the previous day with President Leonid Kuchma. The
delegation arrived in Minsk on 7 February. During its visit, the U.S.
Congress is expected to debate aid to Belarus from an $800 million fund
set up on 25 May 1994 to help the former Soviet republics. Concern has
been expressed that the Republican-dominated congress is considering
cutting the aid program. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT SENDS ARMS CONTROL BILL TO PARLIAMENT FOR
RATIFICATION. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has sent a bill
on chemical weapons to the Belarusian parliament for ratification,
Belarusian Television reported on 6 February. The convention forbids the
development, sale and proliferation of chemical weapons and also calls
for the destruction of such weapons. This is the first convention which
calls for the complete destruction of a whole category of weapons. The
convention calls for the government to work out a plan for the
liquidation of all chemical weapons within 30 days of its ratification.
-- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

FRENCH DEFENSE OFFICIALS VISIT BALTIC STATES. A delegation from the
French Defense Ministry's Strategic Affairs Department, headed by Deputy
Director General Alain Faupin, began a tour of the Baltic States on 6
February, BNS reported the following day. It held discussions with
Lithuanian parliament deputies in Vilnius on national defense concepts
and cooperation between the Baltic States. On 7 and 8 February, the
delegation visits Riga for meetings with representatives of the Latvian
Defense Ministry, the National Defense Academy, and State Presidential
Adviser on Military Issues Col. Dainis Turlais. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

INFLATION IN ESTONIA AND LITHUANIA. The Estonian State Statistics Office
has announced that the consumer price index in January increased by 3.5%
over December, BNS reported on 7 February. Prices of goods rose by 2.9%
(food by 3.8% and manufactured items by 1.6%), while the price of
services increased by 4.2%. Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Statistics
Department reported that inflation in January reached 5.7%, mainly owing
to a 8.7% increase in food prices. Prices for tobacco and alcohol
increased by 2.7%, for transportation and communication by 2.5%, and for
housing expenses by 2.2%. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CSCE COMMISSIONER IN SLOVAKIA. CSCE Commissioner on Minorities Max van
der Stoel, on a visit to Bratislava from 6-7 February, said Slovakia
should offer education in both the Slovak and Hungarian languages.
Slovak President Michal Kovac assured Van der Stoel that parents would
be free to choose schools for their children, and he agreed that an
independent committee should be set up to deal with education questions,
Slovak and international press report. Van der Stoel said that the
signing of the Slovak-Hungarian basic treaty will help bring stability
to Central Europe. He stressed that the document should be signed by 21
March, the scheduled date for signing the Pact on Stability in Europe.
Van der Stoel also met with Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, parliament
chairman Ivan Gasparovic, and leaders of several opposition parties.
Discussions focused on territorial divisions in Slovakia. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

NEW HUNGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER, BANK CHAIRMAN NOMINATED. Hungarian Prime
Minister Gyula Horn on 7 February nominated Budapest Bank President
Lajos Bokros as finance minister and Gyorgy Suranyi, current head of the
Central European International Bank, as Hungarian National Bank
chairman, MTI reports. Bokros and Suranyi, both in their early 40s, are
regarded as competent and independent-minded. Bokros is a former
Hungarian Socialist Party parliament deputy, while Suranyi belongs to no
party but supports the HSP's coalition partner, the Alliance of Free
Democrats. The nomination of two respected bankers is designed to
restore confidence in Hungary's financial management structure and to
reassure foreign investors that the government will carry on with
economic reforms. The AFD approved the nominations, but the coalition
partners still have to reach agreement on a candidate for the post of
minister without portfolio charged with overseeing privatization. --
Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN COURT RULING ON COMPENSATION. The Hungarian Constitutional
Court has ruled that several paragraphs of a 1992 law on compensating
people deported during World War II for political reasons were
discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional, Magyar Hirlap reports on
7 February. The court ruled that the law's description of deportations
for racial, religious, or political reasons as "mere deprival of
liberty" was arbitrary. It also nullified the provision giving only
those victims compensation who were forced to work in combat troops
while denying it to those who were in noncombat units or were sentenced
without a fair trial. The court called on the parliament to draft a new
law by 30 September 1995 compensating all those left out of the
reparation process. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UN REPORTS 62 HELICOPTER FLIGHTS FROM SERBIA INTO BOSNIA. The New York
Times on 8 February quotes UN spokesmen as saying that during the first
four days of the month, 62 helicopter sorties took place apparently from
bases in Serbia to Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia, where Bosnian Serbs
have stepped up attacks in recent weeks. Some of the helicopters were
reported to have flown "in military formation." The U.S. is demanding a
UN investigation and wants to know why UN monitors were denied access to
Serbian airfields at Surcin and elsewhere during that time. If it can be
proved that the flights indeed came from Serbia, economic sanctions
could automatically be reimposed on that country. Meanwhile, Vjesnik
reports UN sources in Croatia as saying the number of flights of
airplanes and helicopters from the Krajina Serb base at Udbina is
increasing. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

YET ANOTHER CHANGE IN U.S. BOSNIAN POLICY. The Clinton administration
has apparently done another flip-flop on Bosnia, The New York Times
reports on 8 February. During December and January, Washington
cultivated direct contacts with the Bosnian Serbs at Pale and Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke was said to be the "architect" of
that policy. But after failing to persuade Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic to cooperate in reaching a settlement, Holbrooke is now quoted
as saying that "there is no point in shuttling up the hill from Sarajevo
to Pale to listen to the kind of crap which is dished out by Karadzic."
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

MILOSEVIC REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE CROATIA AND BOSNIA. AFP reported on 7
February that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has rejected French
and EU calls for a Yugoslav-area summit, calling it "a waste of precious
time." He also ruled out Belgrade's recognition of Croatia and Bosnia,
saying such a move "would prejudge fundamental solutions," Tanjug
reported. Reuters quoted rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav
Jovanovic as saying that such recognition was "out of the question."
Croatian and Bosnian officials have long called for Serbia to recognize
them in their internationally valid frontiers as proof that Belgrade has
given up on plans to carve out a Greater Serbia at its neighbors'
expense. Hina cites Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic as noting that
President Franjo Tudjman would attend a summit "provided the meeting is
organized and thoroughly prepared." He also pointed out the connection
between holding a summit and the participants' recognition of one
another's frontiers. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BELGRADE, MOSCOW SIGN TRADE ACCORD. Tanjug on 7 February reported that
Russian Deputy Premier Oleg Davydov and rump Yugoslav authorities signed
a bilateral trade accord paving the way for Russian deliveries of
kerosene and gas to the rump Yugoslavia until 2010. Davydov was on an
official visit to the Serbian capital. Reuters quotes him as saying
Russia will deliver kerosene even if the UN Sanctions Committee,
monitoring the international embargo against Belgrade, were to signal
its disapproval. "Should the UN Sanctions Committee fail to accept our
decision, the only way out for us would be to leave the committee, or
find a way of carrying out those deliveries," he commented. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN COALITION TRIES TO RESOLVE INTERNAL ROW. The leaders of the
four ruling parties met on 7 February to resolve a dispute triggered by
the Party of Romanian National Unity leader Gheorghe Funar's attacks on
President Ion Iliescu and his position on Hungarian minority demands for
autonomy, Radio Bucharest reports. The four parties agreed to "actively
support" the presidential institution and Iliescu's role in defending
"[Romanian] independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity" and in
ensuring that the country's laws and constitution" are respected. Funar,
who accused Iliescu of failing to fulfill those duties, said after the
meeting that the positions of the PRNU and the Party of Social Democracy
in Romania (the major coalition partner) on the country's Hungarian
national minority continue to differ. Presidential spokesman Traian
Chebeleu, in reply to Funar, said the government would have to "explain
how it can work with a party whose leader expresses extremist views
unacceptable to public opinion in Romania and abroad." RFE/RL's
correspondent in Bucharest reported on 7 February that 53 coalition
deputies asked the parliament to reject recent Hungarian demands for
autonomy. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TALKS ON BILATERAL TREATY RESUME. Negotiations
between Hungary and Romania on the bilateral treaty resumed in Budapest
on 7 February. Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geoana told
RFE/RL's correspondent in Bucharest that the document may be completed
and signed before the end of March. He said the recent tensions in
Romanian interethnic relations have had a negative impact on ties with
Hungary, but he added that he did not believe those tensions are
crucial. Radio Bucharest quoted Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman as
saying that Budapest was ready to accelerate negotiations with both
Romania and Slovakia and that the basic treaties could be signed in
March. Radio Bucharest's correspondent in Budapest said on 8 February
that the negotiations have been "constructive" but that national
minority rights (one of the two main issues over which the two sides
disagree) remain a sticking point. He noted that Hungary wants a
separate document detailing the rights of the Hungarian minority in
Romania. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIA INCREASES ROAD TRANSIT FEES. The Bulgarian Transport Ministry
has trebled the charges for bus and truck transits through Bulgaria, dpa
reported on 6 February. The new fees are 24,000 leva ($360) plus a
highway fee of 64 leva ($1) per kilometer. Passenger cars are exempted
from the transit payment but have to pay a highway fee of 6 leva per
kilometer. The Transport Ministry said the increases are due to the
steep devaluation in 1994 of the Bulgarian currency. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN POLICE MAKE COUNTRY'S BIGGEST-EVER DRUG HAUL. Albanian police
have seized 3 kilograms of heroin in the country's biggest-ever drug
haul, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 8 February. Four Turkish citizens
were arrested in possession of the drug on 6 February. The haul has an
estimated West European market value of about $500,000. The newspaper
also noted that the consumption of heroin, virtually unknown in Albania
until 1993, has somewhat increased. The first proof of heroin usage in
Albania since the end of communism was the case of a 17-year-old girl
admitted to the hospital for an overdose in early 1994. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN ETHNIC GREEKS' SENTENCES TO BE LIFTED? International agencies
reported on 7 February that the prison terms of four ethnic Greeks
sentenced for espionage and illegal possession of arms will likely be
lifted by the Supreme Court. Gramoz Pashko, leader of the opposition
party Aleanca Demokratike, said he is "confident" the court will make
the right decision, adding that Tirana should take a more flexible
attitude toward its ethnic Greek minority. Supreme Court chief judge Zef
Brozi, who will preside over the trial, said a recent government move to
lift his immunity may have been aimed at preventing him from freeing the
four. The parliament voted against lifting his immunity. Greece has
demanded the release of the four prisoners as a precondition for
reestablishing normal diplomatic relations. -- 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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