A friend is a gift you give yourself. - Robert Louis Stevenson

No. 41, Part II, 27 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.


Kuchma has annulled decrees issued by Crimean President Yurii Meshkov on
dissolving the Crimean parliament and local councils and on holding a
referendum on a draft Crimean constitution for 9 April, Interfax-Ukraine
and AFP reported on 25 February. Kuchma said the decrees contravened the
Ukrainian Constitution, which stipulates that only the Ukrainian
legislature has the authority to dismiss the Crimean parliament and
local councils. Ukrainian law also states that councils, and not
executive officials, have the power to schedule local plebiscites. The
Crimean president and parliament have been locked in a power struggle
since 1994. Crimean legislators stripped Meshkov of most of his powers
last September and granted them to a new prime minister. Meanwhile,
several explosions have recently been reported in the Crimean capital of
Simferopol, believed to have been caused by rival gangs in an effort to
intimidate one another. No injuries were reported. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE SEEKS TO SECURE IMF LOAN. Reuters reported on 24 February that
the Ukrainian government is still working out the details of its budget
to clinch the $1.3 billion IMF loan. According to Mykola Azarov, the
head of the parliament budget commission, Ukraine cannot maintain the 5%
budget deficit demanded by the IMF. President Leonid Kuchma has been at
odds with the parliament over economic reforms, and the passage of the
budget is likely to rest on his ability to persuade deputies to approve
it. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

announcement that Belarus has stopped dismantling military equipment to
be destroyed under the CFE Treaty, Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka and the Foreign Ministry have issued somewhat contradictory
statements on the reason for the suspension. Lukashenka stressed the
disruption of the balance of power in Europe that would be caused by
NATO's expansion as the primary motive. But Deputy Foreign Minister
Mikhail Khvastau cited financial problems. The head of the Belarusian
Security Council, Viktar Sheiman, stated the country's official position
on 26 February. The decision to suspend the disarmament was caused by
financial considerations, Sheiman noted. Minsk has been claiming for
more than a year that aid donated by the West for disarmament is
insufficient. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

an official visit to Moscow on 24 February, held talks with Viktor
Chernomyrdin. Slezevicius called the discussions "constructive,
businesslike, and benevolent" and said they should give new impetus to
bilateral relations, Interfax reported. Agreements were signed on
cooperation in customs and on border check-points. The two premiers also
discussed the return of Lithuania's embassies in Paris and Rome and of
Lithuanian deposits in Russia's Vneshekonombank, but no timetable was
established. Chernomyrdin said Russia could not stop Lithuania becoming
a member of NATO but hoped it would not join at a rapid pace. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

meeting between President Lech Walesa and prime minister candidate Jozef
Oleksy on 27 February will decide whether Poland gets a new government
or faces new parliament elections. On his return from South America on
26 February, Walesa said he intends to express his opinion on all
proposed cabinet members, not just the three "presidential" ministries
required by the constitution. "The names of a couple of ministers are
the result more of horse-trading than their abilities," Walesa
explained. The president's objections center on Finance Minister and
Deputy Prime Minister Grzegorz Kolodko, who he has not yet decided
whether to take a post in the cabinet. Oleksy has adopted a flexible
approach to the meeting and intends to propose two candidates for each
of the contested posts (defense and foreign affairs) or even to offer
the president control over one in exchange for the coalition's control
over the other. Oleksy indicated that he may still abandon the mission
if presidential resistance is strong. "I cannot imagine how [the
government] can function if it is in conflict with the president from
the very start," he said. Oleksy's withdrawal would make new elections
almost inevitable (which, in turn, would give Walesa a pretext to
attempt to extend his term of office). At his 26 February press
conference, Walesa said he has not decided whether to accept the
resignation of legal adviser Lech Falandysz. He noted he would not
remove his controversial minister of state, Mieczyslaw Wachowski. "I
have no complaints [about him]," Walesa said. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI,

Klaus, speaking in Hamburg on 24 February, said Czech-German relations
must not be crippled by arguments about the past but built on trust and
with a view to the future. Echoing President Vaclav Havel's speech on
the same subject in Prague a week earlier, Klaus said every country has
its extremists and nationalists who play on people's prejudices and
fears. "It seems to me, however, that these forces do not play a
significant role on either the Czech or the German side," Klaus added.
"I have the feeling that the young generation, which is not burdened by
the past, agrees with this point of view." During his two-day visit to
Hamburg, Klaus also said that Czech-German relations are good and that
the Czech Republic will be a reliable partner both for Germany and for
Europe as a whole. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

two-day visit to the Czech Republic on 26 February amid exceptionally
tight security. Scalfaro is due to meet with President Vaclav Havel,
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, and parliament speaker Milan Uhde. He is
also scheduled to visit Brno. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

Trencianske Teplice on 25 February, Slovak economic ministers, along
with the minister of health and representatives of the National Property
Fund, discussed preparations for the second privatization wave. Property
with a combined value of 220 billion koruny will be sold, of which real
estate worth approximately 50 billion koruny will be sold through the
coupon method. Former Minister of Transportation Mikulas Dzurinda, in an
interview with Sme on 27 February, noted that the previous government's
program had provided for the sale of at least 70 billion koruny worth of
property through coupon privatization. He said that current figures mean
that the value of property for each coupon holder will fall from about
20,000 to 14,000 koruny. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, during his two-day
visit to Slovakia, stressed that countries wanting to join NATO will be
judged in accordance with two requirements: military compatibility and
political stability. Pravda on 25 February quoted Holbrooke as telling
Slovak President Michal Kovac that by mid-1995, a NATO mission will
visit Slovakia as well as other signatories to the Partnership for Peace
program, although he warned that no decisions will be made this year. At
the same time, he noted that the U.S. strongly supports Slovakia's entry
into NATO. Holbrooke and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar discussed
security issues and Slovak relations with Hungary, and Meciar noted that
there were no "basic differences." But in his meeting with parliament
chairman Ivan Gasparovic, Holbrooke said the U.S. is dissatisfied with
the confrontational tone on Slovakia's domestic political scene.
Gasparovic stressed that the changes in television and radio are aimed
at improving programming and broadcasting. Holbrooke also met with
representatives of three opposition parties to discuss the stability of
the presidential office, the mandates of the Democratic Union deputies,
and press freedom. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND PRAISES U.S.-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS. In Budapest for a meeting of
U.S. ambassadors to eight Central and East European nations on how the
region can integrate with Western institutions, Richard Holbrooke,
together with Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, told a press
conference that Hungary and the U.S. are already partners and are on
their way to becoming allies, MTI reported on 24 February. Holbrooke
praised Hungary's efforts to conclude basic treaties with Romania and
Slovakia and reiterated that NATO will not accept countries involved in
conflicts with their neighbors. In talks with Prime Minister Gyula Horn
on 25 February, Holbrooke stressed that the basic treaties will promote
the stability and security of the region. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

at a press conference on 24 February, warned that Hungary's economy was
at a crossroads between long-term stagnation and growth, MTI reports.
Bekesi, who resigned last month effective 1 March, said that 3% growth
and increased exports in 1994 compared with the previous year were
accompanied by worsening balances and increasing debts. He said the
growth could not be maintained or financed and that urgent measures were
needed to stabilize the economy. Bekesi recommended that the new finance
minister aim to cut the current $4 billion current account deficit by at
least $1.5 billion and reduce the planned 282 billion forint budget
deficit to 200 billion forint. Bekesi said many Hungarian Socialist
Party politicians, including Prime Minister Gyula Horn, believed there
was an easy way out of the economic crisis and had prepared programs
aimed at maintaining growth at the expense of further indebtedness. --
Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.


February reported that Bosnian Serb forces are completing their campaign
of "ethnic cleansing" in the Gradiska area of northern Bosnia. Their
methods include robbery, beatings, intimidation, and threat of rape or
execution. UN representatives said they hold the Bosnian Serb
authorities directly responsible: "We are not buying excuses that these
are rogue elements or . . . people out of control." Elsewhere, Vjesnik
noted continued Serbian helicopter flights over Bosnia and attacks on
Croatian units there. The Independent on 26 February said that the U.S.
is arming the Muslims through clandestine flights to Tuzla. The BBC's
Serbian Service reports on growing tensions between UNPROFOR and Bosnian
government forces, whose blockade of UN troops in Gornji Vakuf has
entered its third day. Meanwhile, Vjesnik on 27 February notes yet
another example of clerics active across battle lines, namely the visit
two days earlier by Roman Catholic Cardinal Vinko Puljic to Serb-held
Banja Luka. There have been a number of cross-border visits by Catholic
and Serbian Orthodox figures in recent days, often in connection with
charity groups and relief work. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

TUDJMAN ADDRESSES PARTY CONVENTION. Vjesnik on 27 February carries the
text of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's speech to the party faithful
of his Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ). The convention marked the
fifth anniversary of the HDZ's founding and provided Tudjman with the
opportunity to take stock. He stressed that the party's policies have
been consistent and correct and that the HDZ remains a party of the
center that rejects extremism from either the Right or the Left. He
identified upcoming tasks, including the reintegration of Serb-held
territories and of the Serb population, but did not explicitly refer to
the top issue in Croatia today, namely his decision to cancel UNPROFOR's
mandate and the possibility of a new Croatian-Serbian war as a result.
Novi list on 25 February nonetheless reported on a meeting of the
Defense and National Security Council, which discussed the possibility
of keeping on "international observers" once UNPROFOR's stay is formally
ended. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

AKASHI MEETS MILOSEVIC. Nasa Borba on 25-26 February reported that
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and UN special envoy Yasushi
Akashi, meeting in Belgrade on 24 February, discussed the humanitarian
and military situation in the northwest Bihac pocket of Bosnia and
Herzegovina as well as conditions in Croatia, from where UN peacekeeping
troops may withdraw soon. According to a Reuters report on 24 February,
"Akashi's trip was the latest in a week of secretive efforts to persuade
Milosevic...to help avert fresh fighting." Milosevic also met with
representatives of the international Contact Group on 23 February. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SITUATION IN MACEDONIA REMAINS TENSE. Supporters of the self-proclaimed
Albanian-language university in Tetovo have continued their protests,
Flaka reported on 27 February. Some 1,000 people gathered the previous
day to honor Abdylselam Emini, who died in a shooting incident between
Albanian students and Macedonian police on 17 February. The meeting was
attended by representatives of all ethnic Albanian parties and the
Albanian Writers Union of Macedonia. According to Flaka, the Albanians
are preparing a "quiet civic revolt." The Senate of the Albanian-
language university said it has found ways to continue the university's
work. Meanwhile, Macedonian parliament deputies from Tetovo have
denounced the university as illegal and unconstitutional. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

Democratic Party (PSDR) leader Sergiu Cunescu on 24 February reiterated
that his formation will not sign the revised protocols of the Democratic
Convention of Romania (CDR), a decision amounting to that party's
withdrawal from the country's main opposition alliance. Radio Bucharest
quoted Cunescu as saying he favored the setting up of a new, unofficial
grand coalition of opposition forces. He denied rumors of an imminent
split in the PSDR but said some members may consider quitting the party
following its break with the CDR. The Council of the Representatives of
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, the main political
organization of Romania's large Hungarian minority, issued a statement
in Targu Mures on 26 February saying that some documents adopted
recently by the CDR implied that the HDFR and other political parties
belonging to the coalition would separate from the coalition. In a
related development, Nicolae Manolescu, chairman of the Party of Civic
Alliance (another CDR member), on 25 February sent an open letter to
Constantinescu accusing him of having provoked "the dismemberment" of
the coalition. Constantinescu announced the previous day that the CDR
will change its name to the Romanian Democratic Convention and that its
future election symbol will be a key in a square instead of a circle. --
Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

Minister Hennadii Udovenko on 24 February told journalists in Chisinau
that his country was prepared to mediate in the conflict between the
Republic of Moldova and the breakaway Dniester republic. He and his
Moldovan counterpart, Mihai Popov, hailed the outcome of the visit as
marking a new stage in relations between their countries. The two signed
a number of agreements aimed at boosting bilateral ties. Udovenko met
with both Moldovan and Dniester officials during his two-day official
visit to Moldova. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

on 23 February scrapped a law preventing former communists from holding
higher academic posts, Reuters reported the next day. It also called for
new elections for the heads of state-run scientific bodies by the end of
October. The old law, which was introduced in 1992, prevented former
senior communist officials from taking up positions in governing bodies
of universities, research institutes, and the Central Examination Board.
It was criticized by international human rights organizations and by the
Council of Europe. The Bulgarian Socialist Party had declared that one
of its first goals was to overturn the 1992 law. It is now feared
however, that new purges in education and science are imminent. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

Zhelev on 24 February accused the governing Socialists of censoring
state television, Demokratsiya and Trud reported the following day.
Demokratsiya cited Zhelev as saying Socialist deputy Klara Marinova was
responsible for television censorship. Claiming to have been a victim
himself, he reported on how some of his statements at a recent press
conference had been cut and as a result his original meaning distorted.
Zhelev was speaking at a meeting of intellectuals and artists who had
gathered to defend a highly controversial film about the forceful
Bulgarization of ethnic Turks' names during the 1980s. Marinova accused
Zhelev in a letter published by Otechestven Front on 27 February of
"losing his nerve" and not supplying any evidence against her. She added
that in a state based on the rule of law, "such defamations are reason
enough to meet at court." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREEK BORDER GUARDS KILL ALBANIAN. An 18-year-old Albanian was killed
when he tried to cross illegally into Greece with another 17 Albanians,
Reuters reported on 26 February. According to Greek police, the Albanian
drew a knife before he was shot by a policeman. It was the second
Albanian-Greek border incident in two weeks. A 24-year-old Albanian was
injured on 18 February as he tried to cross the same border. Greek
Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias will discuss border issues during a
visit to Albania in mid-March. -- 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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