The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 43, Part II, 1 March 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

POLISH PRESIDENT SPURNS CONSULTATION ATTEMPT. Lech Walesa continued his
game of cat and mouse with the ruling coalition on 28 February, refusing
to discuss the composition of the proposed new cabinet with prime
minister candidate Jozef Oleksy, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. The
president's spokesman said Oleksy came to the meeting "unprepared."
Unless he was actually appointed prime minister, the spokesman argued,
Oleksy lacked the constitutional authority to conduct cabinet
consultations. Walesa's move forces the coalition to proceed with the
constructive no-confidence vote on 1 March, without any certainty that
the president will cooperate afterward by naming Oleksy prime minister,
as the constitution requires. The president may be aiming--as he has
done in the past--to strengthen his bargaining position in talks on the
new cabinet. But the sarcasm and nonchalance that have infused recent
presidential statements suggest that Walesa is determined to try to
block the formation of any new government and may even intend to use the
constitutional ambiguity that will arise after Pawlak is ousted and
before Oleksy is appointed to try to dissolve the parliament. -- Louisa
Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

COALITION PUSHES AHEAD, OLEKSY RELUCTANT. Party colleagues from the
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) needed several hours on 28 February to
persuade prime minister candidate Jozef Oleksy to continue attempting to
form a new government, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. After his unsuccessful
meeting with President Lech Walesa, Oleksy was apparently ready to give
up. "I don't want to, but it looks as if I'm going to have to [try],"
Oleksy reportedly told parliament deputies from the Polish Peasant Party
(PSL), paraphrasing Walesa's familiar saying about running for
president. Oleksy concluded that the president's attitude signaled a
"lack of good will" that would undermine any new government. But SLD
leader Aleksander Kwasniewski announced that "the new government will be
elected, regardless of the president's opinion." Most PSL deputies also
favored a tough stance, although some supporters of Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak see the president's opposition as a good reason to leave
the current cabinet in office and simply change a few ministers. Both
parties voted on 28 February to impose discipline in the constructive
no-confidence vote. Any deputy who votes against will be thrown out of
his caucus. The biggest opposition parties will abstain. -- Louisa
Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SEEKS TO SPEED UP REFORMS. Leonid Kuchma, on
returning from a two-week working vacation in western Ukraine, has taken
further steps to accelerate economic reforms, Interfax reported. He
issued a decree on 27 February offering shares in restructured joint-
stock companies on the Ukrainian stock exchange. Some 30% of those
shares will be up for sale to individual and corporate investors, and
the proceeds will finance the establishment of new voucher auction
centers throughout Ukraine as well as a national electronic stock
exchange. Ukraine's privatization agency, the State Property Fund, was
instructed to compile a list of 100 joint-stock firms from the so-called
"D category" of enterprises, which includes large monopolies, defense
plants, and most enterprises whose value exceeds 45 billion Ukrainian
karbovantsi. Shares in companies in the "C category" (comprising
companies worth between 0.7 and 45 billion karbovantsi) that are not
sold at voucher auctions will also be made available through the
Ukrainian stock exchange. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS DISBANDS POW COMMITTEE. Komsomolskaya pravda on 28 February
reported that Belarus has decided to disband its committee for the
exchange of information with the U.S. on MIAs and POWs. The committee
helped determine the fate of 10 Americans shot down in Vietnam. Until
the breakup of the USSR, the participation of Soviet servicemen in the
Vietnam War was kept secret, and all servicemen who took part were
pledged to silence. Some 150 retired air defense officers who
participated in the war currently live in Belarus. Along with servicemen
throughout the former USSR, they have been providing the U.S. with
information on American MIAs and POWs. In exchange, the U.S. gave
Belarus information on a dozen Belarusians captured or missing in
Afghanistan. The head of the Belarusian committee, Lt.-Gen. Cherhinets,
said he has information on another five US servicemen listed as missing.
But now that the committee has been disbanded, it is uncertain whether
this information will be made available to the U.S. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Russian Ambassador to Riga Aleksandr Rannikh
on 27 February handed over to Latvian Prime Minister Maris Gailis a
letter from his Russian counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdin, Reuters
reported the next day. Chernomyrdin promised to help find "a peaceful
and conflict-free solution" to the problem of the estimated 2,000
Russian retired servicemen who are still in Latvia, despite agreements
signed by Russia saying they would leave by 31 August 1993. Latvia
agreed to give the Russian servicemen temporary residence permits until
30 April if they registered by 1 March. Less than half have done so and
could therefore be deported. Russia has asked that the retirees be
allowed to remain in Latvia until the end of the year so that problems
with their resettlement can be resolved. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN ISRAEL. Algirdas Brazauskas--accompanied by the
foreign affairs and health ministers, three parliament deputies, and 29
businessmen--arrived in Jerusalem for an official three-day visit on 28
February, Western agencies reported. At a welcoming ceremony hosted by
President Ezer Weizman, Brazauskas said he was ashamed that some of his
countrymen murdered Jews during World War II and pledged to prosecute
war criminals. He was confronted outside the Yad Vashem Holocaust
Memorial by dozens of protesters carrying signs reading: "No
rehabilitation for Lithuanian Nazi murderers." Brazauskas also met with
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

PIRATED SOFTWARE, VIDEOS, AND CDs FLOOD CZECH MARKET. More than 85% of
all software programs marketed in the Czech Republic are pirated,
causing legal producers to lose 5.5 billion koruny since 1993, Czech
media reported on 1 March. Experts say 35% of video cassettes and 8% of
compact discs are also illegal copies. The latter are mainly produced in
Bulgaria. Pirating is one of the major sources of "dirty money" in the
Czech Republic, alongside prostitution and drug dealing, according to
Mlada fronta dnes. The newspaper quoted Alenca Kinclova of the Czech
Anti-piracy Alliance as saying that courts regularly levy "ridiculously
low" fines rather than imposing the maximum punishment for forgery or
infringement of copyright. Offenders can be sentenced up to five years
in prison or fined 2 million koruny. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

IMF RECOMMENDS SLOVAKIA SPEED UP PRIVATIZATION. An IMF representative is
expected to take part in the 1 March session of the Slovak parliament
committee on finance, currency, and the budget, at which the 1995 draft
budget will be discussed. The last IMF mission to Slovakia was on 18
January-1 February, when representatives decided to delay the third
installment of Slovakia's stand-by loan. Deputy Premier and Finance
Minister Sergej Kozlik on 9 February said that the installment was
delayed only because the 1995 budget had not yet been approved. The
budget, approved by the government on 15 February and expected to be
passed by the parliament in early March, has been criticized as
unrealistic. It provides for a budget deficit of 21 billion koruny, GDP
growth of 5%, 10% annual inflation, and a 14% unemployment rate.
According to a Sme on 1 March, the IMF recommends the following goals: a
budget deficit of 13 billion koruny, GDP growth of 2%, 8% annual
inflation, larger foreign currency reserves, the implementation of
structural reforms, lowering the import surcharge to 5% by the end of
June and eliminating it by the end of 1995, speeding up privatization
(by the coupon method, in particular), and gradually liberalizing energy
prices for households. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN-RUSSIAN TREATY RATIFIED. The Hungarian parliament on 28
February ratified the Hungarian-Russian basic treaty by a vote of 264 to
2, MTI reports. The treaty was signed by former Prime Minister Jozsef
Antall and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in December 1991, but its
ratification by the Russian parliament was delayed because of some
deputies' objections to the passage condemning the former Soviet Union's
intervention in Hungary in 1956. The State Duma finally ratified the
treaty in January 1995. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs
emphasized that the document was very important for Hungary because
Russia was its largest trading partner in Eastern Europe. The two
countries will exchange documents on the treaty during Prime Minister
Gyula Horn's visit to Russia next week. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

"THE DIRTY JOB HAS STARTED AGAIN." This is how leading UN refugee
official Sylvana Foa described the latest wave of Serbian "ethnic
cleansing" in the Banja Luka area, where the Muslim population has
dropped from 500,000 three years ago to 37,000. She said that "it looks
like the mopping up of what is left, mainly old people," AFP reported on
28 February. Vecernji list on 1 March carries a similar report on the
fate of the local Croats. Meanwhile, in the Bihac pocket, news agencies
reported that fighting increased on 28 February and that unknown gunners
subjected nine empty relief trucks to heavy shelling, forcing the crew
to take shelter in armored vehicles nearby. Bosnia and Herzegovina marks
its third anniversary of independence on 1 March with political,
cultural, and sporting events in Sarajevo. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

"VENOMOUS ROW" BETWEEN UN AND NATO OVER TUZLA MYSTERY FLIGHTS. The New
York Times on 1 March reported on the deepening feud between the world
organization and the Atlantic alliance over at least two flights by
unidentified aircraft near Tuzla in mid-February. NATO says they were
its own normal patrols or "commercial aircraft on approved airways in
Serbian airspace." The UN replies that "the idea that trained officers
could mistake a low-flying transporter over Tuzla for a commercial
aircraft flying at 35,000 feet in Serbian airspace is frankly ludicrous
and insulting." The UN has hinted that the U.S., possibly together with
Turkey, is secretly dropping arms to the Muslims, a charge NATO firmly
denies. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

IS CROATIA HUNTING FOR AN ALTERNATIVE TO UNPROFOR? Nasa Borba reports on
repeated hints by Croatia that it is willing to accept some form of
international presence on its borders once UNPROFOR's mandate runs out
on 31 March. Other accounts suggest that Zagreb is desperate to bring in
NATO or WEU patrols as the only means to avoid another war. The problem
is that to patrol Croatia's borders, the forces would have to position
themselves between Krajina and both Bosnian Serb territory and Serbia
proper, which the Serbs generally reject. NATO has also publicly
rejected Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's calls for it to form a new
international force in Croatia. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ETHNIC ALBANIAN DEPUTIES BOYCOTT MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT. The ethnic
Albanian legislators in the Macedonian parliament have boycotted the
parliament's latest session, Flaka reported on 1 March. The legislators,
who have four minister posts in the coalition government, are demanding
serious negotiations on higher education in Albanian and a solution to
the conflict over the self-proclaimed Albanian-language university in
Tetovo. They took the decision to boycott the 1 March session following
the police crackdown on their university on 17 February. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

GRAVES DESECRATED IN NORTHERN SERBIA. Tanjug, citing local police
sources, reported on 28 February that 63 Roman Catholic graves have been
desecrated in the town of Novi Sad, in the Serbian province of
Vojvodina. According to police sources, the incidents seemed to be
random acts of vandalism, possibly with no connection to ethnically or
religiously motivated groups. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ANOTHER PARTY TO QUIT ROMANIAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE? The executive board
of the Liberal Party '93 announced on 28 February that it has
recommended that the party's National Council not sign the revised
protocols of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR). A final
decision on whether the LP '93 will withdraw from Romania's main
opposition alliance is expected to be taken on 11 March, when the
party's National Council is scheduled to meet. Dinu Patriciu, a leading
member of the LP '93, was quoted by Radio Bucharest as saying that only
a number of "noisy" political formations have remained in the alliance
and are trying hard to "give the impression that the CDR still exists."
-- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT FAVORS SENDING TROOPS TO ANGOLA. Ion Iliescu, in a
letter addressed to Senate Chairman Oliviu Gherman on 28 February, asked
the parliament to approve the participation of Romanian troops and a
medical unit in the UN peacekeeping force in Angola, Radio Bucharest
reported. Iliescu proposed sending an 800-strong infantry battalion and
a field hospital with 200 staff. He said the troops could leave by mid-
May and the hospital could be ready as soon as 15 April. Under the
Romanian Constitution, the parliament must be consulted before any
decision is taken on sending Romanian troops abroad. Romania sent a
medical unit to the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia last year, but
this would be the first time it has contributed troops to a UN mission.
-- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES. Mircea Snegur, in a recent
interview with RFE/RL, summarized by Infotag on 27 February, said the
international community would like to see Moldova as a zone of security
and stability in the region. He said he had witnessed once again the
support of the international community during his visit to Washington in
late January. According to Snegur, the United States believes Moldova
has taken a step forward compared with other former Soviet republics and
deserves support. Answering a question about the possible expansion of
NATO, Snegur noted that membership in that organization should be based
on mutually acceptable international accords and should not be damaging
to any country. He further praised the economic advantages of Moldova as
a member of the CIS. As for relations with Romania, he said "they remain
priority ones for Moldova." -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION CHANGES STATUTES. The National Coordinating Council
of the Union of Democratic Forces on 28 February approved changes in the
coalition's statutes, Demokratsiya reported the following day. The
National Conference is to be the UDF's highest body. It will be called
at least once a year and attended by representatives of the UDF's local
and regional councils and member organizations. The conference will
elect the chairman of the UDF and his deputies for two years. Until now,
they were elected for one year by the National Coordinating Council, in
which each of the 15 member organizations has one seat. A newly
established National Executive Council--to include the UDF chairman, his
deputies, the chief secretary, and the chairman of the parliament
faction--will be in charge of day-to-day affairs. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

JOINT MILITARY MANEUVERS IN GREECE. Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and the
U.S. will hold joint military maneuvers in Greece in May within the
framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, AFP reported on 28
February. The Greek army announced that Germany will attend as an
observer and that Albania has been invited to participate in the same
capacity. No answer has been received from Tirana yet. The Greek and
Bulgarian chiefs of staff, Adm. Christos Lyberis and Gen. Tsvetan
Totomirov, have also agreed on the details of joint naval exercises in
the Black Sea. Totomirov is on a three-day visit to Greece and is to
meet with Greek Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis. Arsenis visited
Sofia last week where he signed a bilateral defense accord with his
Bulgarian counterpart, Dimitar Pavlov. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GERMAN PRESIDENT IN ALBANIA. German President Roman Herzog and Albanian
Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi have signed a joint declaration pledging
to expand cooperation and deepen mutual ties, Rilindja Demokratike
reported on 1 March. Herzog, on a two-day visit to Albania, expressed
support for the re-establishment of Kosovo's autonomy and called on
Albania to prevent the Yugoslav conflict from spreading. He also
discussed Albania's further participation in NATO's Partnership for
Peace program, minority questions, and the situation in Macedonia.
Albanian Democratic Party leader Eduard Selami did not attend a
reception at the German embassy in Herzog's honor, as expected, but
instead went to a party meeting in Fier to discuss his own position
within the party, Populli PO reported the same day. Selami had offered
his resignation before the meeting because of continuing disputes with
DP government members. An extraordinary party meeting on 5 March will
decide on Selami's fate. -- 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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