Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. - Jennie Jerome Churchill
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 38, Part II, 22 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.

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE HESITATES OVER IMF DEMANDS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
has hesitated over signing an agreement with the IMF which would release
$1.3 billion in standby credits, Western agencies reported on 22
=46ebruary. Ukraine needs the credits to finance a balance of payments
deficit estimated to be $5-6 billion for 1995, but Kuchma appears
reluctant to agree to two IMF demands. One is that Ukraine's budget
deficit be limited to 5% of GDP. This would mean cutting subsidies to
unprofitable state industries and the agricultural sector. Such a move
is strongly opposed by the industrial lobby and Ukraine's leftist-
dominated parliament. The other condition is the liberalization of
foreign trade. Ukraine's foreign trade ministry has been unwilling to
relinquish control over trade and exporters must register every deal
with the ministry and have an "indicative price" ascribed to it by the
state. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

LEFTIST GROUPS TO PICKET UKRAINIAN STATE TELEVISION AND RADIO. Members
of left-wing parties and organizations are planning to picket outside
Ukrainian Television and Radio's broadcasting facilities in Kiev on 22
=46ebruary to protest what they call an anti-communist bias in its
programming, Interfax-Ukraine and Radio Ukraine reported on 21 February.
Organizers of the protest have accused the state broadcasting company of
violating their civil rights by denying them fair and equal access to
the airwaves, especially the right to respond to what they say is the
prevalent nationalist and even fascist propaganda in its programs.
Leftist forces have complained that there were too few programs in
Russian and that many broadcasts tended to distort historical events and
ignored the positive aspects and achievements of the Soviet era. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

BALAKLAVA MAY BE BASE FOR UKRAINE'S NAVY. The Commander of the Ukrainian
Navy, Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy, has said that Balaklava Bay
near Sevastopol is being considered as a potential base for Ukraine's
navy, Interfax reported on 21 February. According to Bezkorovainy, the
bays of Sevastopolskaya and Yuzhnaya in the city of Sevastopol will be
leased to the Russian navy while Ukraine may base its vessels in the
bays of Kazachya, Streletskaya and Karatinnaya within city limits.
Russian naval commanders had earlier opposed sharing Sevastopol as a
naval base with Ukraine's navy, while Ukrainian commanders were hostile
towards leasing bays in Sevastopol for the Russian share of the Black
Sea Fleet. The latest statement indicates that both sides have
compromised over the issue. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH FINANCE MINISTER BLASTS CENTRAL BANK. Deputy Prime Minister and
=46inance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko criticized the decision by the
National Bank of Poland to raise interest rates on 21 February, Radio
Warsaw reported. Kolodko said the move was counterproductive, as it
would merely heighten inflationary expectations. He also condemned the
rate rise as a "political decision" and charged that the central bank
had become a fourth "presidential ministry." President Lech Walesa
nominated National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz for the
banking post; she had supported Walesa in his presidential election
campaign. Responding to Kolodko's comments, Gronkiewicz-Waltz said that
"whenever someone lacks economic or substantive arguments, politics is
always to blame." Prime minister candidate Jozef Oleksy had more
temperate criticism of the bank, arguing that the government should have
been consulted. He called the bank's autonomy disturbing. Meanwhile,
coalition talks on the new cabinet bogged down amid new personnel
conflicts, and Oleksy admitted that he had no idea when they would
likely conclude. A day earlier Oleksy had estimated his chances of
forming a government at 60%. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

UNION AGREEMENT SIGNED IN SLOVAKIA. Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar, Confederation of Slovak Trade Unions President Alojz Englis, and
Association of Employers President Michal Lach signed a three-party
General Agreement for 1995 on 21 February, Praca reported. The agreement
was originally to be signed on 15 February; however, controversy between
the cabinet and trade unions over wage regulations led the unions to
delay signing the agreement. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET CREATES MEDIA COUNCIL, NEW MINISTRY. The Slovak cabinet
named at its 21 February session the members of the government's new
council for mass media, which will be an advisory organ without
decision-making powers. Deputy Premier Katarina Tothova will serve as
council chairwoman, and Minister of Culture Ivan Hudec will be deputy
chairman. Aside from the two government members, the 20-member council
includes three parliamentary deputies from the Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia; the directors of Slovak TV, Radio and the state news agency
TASR; and four members of the Association of Slovak Journalists
(formerly known as the Club for a True Picture of Slovakia). Only one
member of the Slovak Syndicate of Journalists is represented, Sme
reports. Still, Tothova said the members represent "a wide spectrum of
experts." The cabinet also approved the creation of a new Ministry of
Construction and Public Works, which was pushed forward by the
Association of Slovak Workers. Jan Mraz of the ASW was appointed
minister in December. The Ministry of Transportation, Communications,
and Public Works will be changed to the Ministry of Transportation,
Post, and Telecommunications, Narodna obroda reports. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

KLAUS LESS POPULAR. The results of an opinion poll conducted by the
Center for Empirical Studies (STEM) published in Czech media on 21
=46ebruary indicate that the popularity of President Vaclav Havel has
grown in recent weeks, while the popularity of Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus has dropped. About 75% of the poll's respondents said they trusted
Havel, 7% more than in October 1994; only 54% said they trusted Klaus,
10% less than in October. According to STEM researchers, the president
has support among members of all political parties, whereas support for
Klaus has diminished among those who are not members of his Civic
Democratic Party. The drop in the premier's popularity is thought to be
have =7Fbeen caused by growing tension within the ruling coalition. --
Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT'S STATE OF NATION SPEECH. In his hour-long annual
address to the parliament on 21 February, Lithuanian President Algirdas
Brazauskas noted that Lithuania's Gross Domestic Product increased in
1994, the first time that had occurred in five years, RFE/RL's
Lithuanian Service reported. He added that inflation was less than 5% of
what it was in 1992, and said that trade with the West was greater than
with the CIS, although Russia remained Lithuania's main trading partner.
Brazauskas said exports must be increased to diminish the existing
foreign trade deficit. Implementation of laws and resolutions was the
weakest part of the government, he noted. Speaking on foreign policy
strategy, he said that the primary focus will be greater integration
into European political, economic, and defense systems. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIA PASSES LANGUAGE LAW. By a 35-1 vote (with two abstentions) the
Estonian parliament on 21 February passed a new language law, based on
similar legislation in 1934, BNS reported. The law will go into effect
on 1 April, replacing a 1989 law that State Law Commission Chairman Mart
Nutt described as "a law of the Estonian SSR that was not fit for an
independent country." The law defines Estonian as the official language
and requires its use by the Estonian armed forces. In areas where an
ethnic minority comprise the majority of the residents, its language can
be used as an internal administration language in local government
bodies. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MACEDONIA ACCUSES ALBANIA OF INTERFERENCE. Macedonian Prime Minister
Branko Crvenkovski accused Albania of interfering in its internal
affairs, Western agencies reported on 21 February. Crvenkovski said at a
news conference that by supporting the self-proclaimed Albanian-language
University in Tetovo, the Albanian government "encourages illegal acts,
even if only verbally." Albania sharply criticized the conduct of the
Macedonian government after police cracked down on the university on 17
=46ebruary. One ethnic Albanian died in a subsequent riot. Meanwhile
Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister Arjan Starova said that the Albanian
government will "reconsider the political course towards Skopje," Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 22 February. Relations between both countries had
improved in the past three years, but mutual confidence suffers from the
Albanian minority conflict in Macedonia. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

TUDJMAN FIRM ON EXPELLING UNPROFOR. The Los Angeles Times reports on 22
=46ebruary on the Croatian visit of EU external affairs commissioner Hans
van den Broek, which is one of a series of high-level contacts underway
or soon to take place between Zagreb and Brussels or Strasbourg.
Commenting on President Franjo Tudjman's decision to end UNPROFOR's
mandate when it expires on 31 March, van den Broek said that "it was
quite clear that his decision was irreversible." A UN spokesman added
that there is "a real danger of an immediate return to war" as a result
of both sides trying to take strategic positions once UNPROFOR abandons
them. This view was echoed by Dobroslav Paraga, the leader of the right-
wing Croatian Party of [Historic] Rights. Nasa Borba quotes him as
saying that "the departure of UNPROFOR from the occupied territories
would just be the lead-in to a big war with the Krajina Serbs, who would
be backed by Karadzic's Bosnian Serbs, and then the [rump] Yugoslav
army." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIA, SLOVENIA, AND BOSNIA MAKE JOINT PROTEST. The ambassadors to the
UN from Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina jointly protested to
the world body against Serbia-Montenegro's claim to be the legitimate
successor to Tito's Yugoslavia, Hina reported on 21 February. Belgrade
made the demand in order to automatically acquire seats in international
organizations and valuable properties around the world. Zagreb,
Ljubljana, and Sarajevo point out that federal Yugoslavia has long
ceased to exist and that all successor states must be treated equally.
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

AKASHI'S LATEST "GLIMMER OF HOPE." Back in Krajina, UN negotiator
Yasushi Akashi held talks with rebel Serb leaders on 21 February to try
and persuade them to stop holding hostage 10 relief trucks headed for
Bihac. He told Reuters that he saw "a glimmer of hope" and that "there
is a willingness to commence fruitful dialogue and that's the first time
they have made an indication of that kind." A UN refugee spokesman saw
things a bit differently, saying that "the bottom line is both the Abdic
forces and the Krajina Serbs are using food as a weapon of war, trying
to deny food to the people of Bihac." Meanwhile, the Serbs still have
the trucks. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN UPDATE. On 22 February Politika reports on the apparent growing
cooperation between three of Serbia's main opposition parties--the
Democratic Party (led by Zoran Djindjic), the Democratic Party of Serbia
(led by Vojislav Kostunica), and the controversial Serbian Radical Party
(led by the accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj), which now includes
"an opposition agreement on the defense of the independent media." In
other news, on 22 February The New York Times reports that the UN
Security Council appears to have "reached an agreement that could allow
a steady flow of Russian natural gas into both the capital of Bosnia and
to Yugoslavia, which includes Serbia and Montenegro." -- Stan Markotich,
OMRI, Inc.

HDFR TO LEAVE THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION OF ROMANIA? Csaba Takacs,
executive president of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania,
told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest on 21 February that the HDFR
will quit the Democratic Convention of Romania if the alliance does not
give up its commitment to the "national character" of the Romanian
state. The Constitution defines Romania as a "unitary and national
state" and the HDFR says the definition ignores the existence of
national minorities. On 17 February the DCR leadership demanded the HDFR
explicitly state its respect for the constitution, including the
provision on the state's national character. Tackacs accused the DCR of
long ignoring and failing to support the Hungarian minority's demands,
and said this neglect had its roots in Romanian history. The HDFR
refused to sign the modified protocol of the DCR on 17 February and, if
it does not do so within 30 days, will be considered by the DCR as
having left the alliance. Three other parties, the Party of Civic
Alliance, the Liberal Party '93, and the Romanian Social Democratic
Party, refused to sign the protocol. The PCA and the RSDP wanted the
convention restructured, to distinguish between parties and civic
movements. The Liberal Party '93 objects to having joint electoral lists
in the forthcoming local and general elections. The RSDP decided on 18
=46ebruary to leave the alliance and protested against what it called "the
dictatorship" of the National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic over
other members. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

VACAROIU ENDS MOLDOVAN VISIT. Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu
ended a two-day visit to Moldova on 21 February, Radio Bucharest
reported. Vacaroiu and Moldovan Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli signed
agreements covering taxation, tourism, and rail transport, as well as
several other accords on 21 February. After a joint press conference
with Sangheli, Vacaroiu was received by the president of the Moldovan
parliament, Petru Lucinschi and met with representatives of
parliamentary parties. Vacaroiu reiterated that the two countries must
do away with the lack of trust that had impaired their relationship and
turn bilateral relations into "something special." Romanian Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu said at a press conference in Chisinau that
the two countries are about to begin high level talks on a basic treaty.
He said drafts had been exchanged in the past but no discussions have
yet taken place. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA WANTS TO BUILD FRENCH MISSILES. A Romanian official was quoted
by Reuters on 21 February as saying his company was in the advanced
stages of negotiations for an agreement to build French air-to-air
missiles in Romania. Col. Costica Laptes, head of Grupal Industrial al
Armetei RA (GIA), said Romania planned to adapt Matra's Magic 2 missile
for its fleet of MiG-23 fighters. Initially, Romania would import 20% of
its requirements and produce the remaining 80%. Laptes said that GIA was
also negotiating with Euromissile to produce an "advanced" missile based
on the French firm's Mila 2T anti-tank missile. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
Inc.

GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS BULGARIA. Gerasimos Arsenis arrived in
Sofia on 21 February on an official visit, Demokratsiya reported on 22
=46ebruary. The Greek Defense Minister held talks with his counterpart
Dimitar Pavlov, Chief of General Staff Gen. Tsvetan Totomirov, President
Zhelyu Zhelev, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, and Foreign Minister Georgi
Pirinski. Arsenis denied speculations aired in the Greek press that the
formation of an "Belgrade-Sofia-Athens axis" is being prepared, saying
that this is an outdated understanding and that Greece and Bulgaria will
cooperate for stability in the Balkans. Duma cited Arsenis as saying
that a "gray zone" of security would be created in the region if the
Balkan countries are not admitted into NATO together with the Visegrad
states. During talks between the defense ministers, an agreement on
joint military maneuvers was reached. The Greek navy will take part in
maneuvers in Bulgarian territorial waters, while Bulgarian troops will
participate in maneuvers in Greece in May, to be held in the framework
of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. No official documents were
signed, but Bulgaria proposed a meeting of the Bulgarian, Greek,
Romanian, and Turkish defense ministers. Arsenis, however, expressed the
opinion that the preconditions for such a meeting do not yet exist. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREEK-ALBANIAN BORDER INCIDENT. After the shooting of an Albanian trying
to enter Greece illegally, Athens and Tirana put blame for the incident
on each other, Reuters reported on 21 February. The incident took place
on 18 February near the village of Vidohova. An Albanian Interior
Ministry spokesman said the group of Albanians was still "ten meters
inside Albania when the Greek opened fire without warning and then
followed them 57 meters inside our territory," whereas Greek government
spokesman Evangelos Venizelos claimed that they were already on Greek
territory. He said a Greek army border patrol opened fire when the
Albanians refused to stop and called the incident "common." Venizelos
said that the injured Albanian was taken to a Greek hospital and will
either be returned to Albania or seek a legal visa and remain in Greece
if he wishes. Venizelos also told the press that Greece and Albania will
try to reach an agreement over the status of Albanians living and
working illegally in Greece. The question will be discussed during a
scheduled visit by Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias to Tirana in
March. More than 100,000 Albanians are estimated to live in Greece,
while Athens has expelled another 50,000 after the conviction of five
ethnic Greeks on charges of espionage and illegal arms possession in
1994. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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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