True heroism consists not in fighting under a flag but in not fighting at all. - Freidrich Nietzsche

No. 45, Part II, 3 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.


designated prime minister Jozef Oleksy, after a series of meetings on 3
March, appeared to have narrowed their disagreements over the
composition of the new Polish government, Polish media report. The
disagreements centered on the three "presidential" ministries, whose
heads, Walesa claims, must be approved by the president. Walesa and
Oleksy appeared to agree on two of the three ministers: Wlodyslaw
Bartoszewski, currently the Polish ambassador to Austria, would become
minister of foreign affairs and the current minister of internal
affairs, Andrzej Wilczanowski, would remain in his post. Henryk
Goloszewski, whom Walesa has proposed for the post of defense minister,
said on 3 March that he will not accept a post in the new government,
Radio Zet reported. Tension between the president and the ruling
coalition was also apparent in the parliament. The legislature asked
Oleksy to present his government program on 4 March, regardless of the
results of his talks with Walesa. Aleksander Kwasniewski, the leader of
the strongest Polish political group, the Democratic Left Party, told
Radio Zet on 3 March that "President Walesa may be in for a surprise" if
he continues his campaign "aimed at political destabilization." -- Jiri
Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

Symonenko, leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine, has claimed that
former Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitalii Masol was forced to resign by
reformist ministers who want to dominate the government, Interfax-
Ukraine reported on 2 March. Symonenko said his large communist faction
will insist on the resignation of the entire cabinet during the
parliament debate on the confirmation of First Deputy Premier Yevhen
Marchuk as acting prime minister. Marchuk, who is considered an expert
in security issues, was nominated by President Leonid Kuchma. Neither
Symonenko nor other deputies ruled out the possibility of a vote of
confidence in the government. Supporters of reform in the parliament
hailed Masol's resignation as the removal of a major obstacle to
implementing Kuchma's bold economic reform program. The former premier
told Ukrainian radio on 1 March that he plans to take a long rest and
then take up his duties as a deputy. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE TO ACCEPT TERMS FOR IMF LOAN. Vasyl Havrylyshyn, Ukraine's
representative to the IMF in Washington, and Anders Aslund, President
Leonid Kuchma's economic adviser, have said that Ukraine will sign a
letter accepting the IMF's terms for a $1.5 billion loan, The New York
Times reported on 2 March. The credit should help Ukraine win some $4
billion in foreign economic assistance in 1995 to finance economic
development. Aslund said he hoped to raise the rest of the money by
persuading Russia to reschedule the $2.5 billion Ukraine owes it in
payments for energy supplies. But Russia may be reluctant to reschedule
the debt if it does not secure a $6.5 billion credit it is negotiating
with the IMF. Ukraine's agreement to IMF terms puts pressure on Russia
to accept the conditions for its loan. The Russian Finance and Foreign
Trade Ministries have been reluctant to meet the IMF's demand that they
surrender control over oil exports. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER RESIGNS. Serhiy Tsekov, the speaker of the
Crimean parliament, resigned on 1 March during a closed session of the
legislature in Simferopol, Reuters reported the same day. Tsekov
threatened to quit after deputies charged him with failing to improve
relations with either Ukraine or Russia. Sixty-six of the 75 deputies
approved his resignation, despite warnings of a power vacuum on the
peninsula. His resignation came after the legislature voted to dismiss
two of Tsekov's deputies and 12 members of the parliament leadership. A
political struggle has gripped the region since the Crimean parliament
stripped President Yurii Meshkov of most of his authority last
September. As an intermediary between the parliament and president,
Tsekov saw his influence grow until deputies turned against him, fearing
that both he and the pro-Russian Meshkov would cheat them out of the
benefits of privatization in the region. The move has cast the troubled
region into uncertainty, as neither the president nor the legislature is
in a position to govern. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

ELECTION NEWS FROM BELARUS. Belarusian Radio on 2 March reported that
the first phase of the parliament election process has begun. Initiative
groups have begun to register their candidates, and deputies have been
promoting their own candidacies in the parliament by making use of the
floor's microphone to publicize their positions on various issues. The
Belarusian mass media have recommended that deputies refrain from this
practice. Meanwhile, the parliament has set 11 June as the date for
elections to local councils. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS. Some 800,000 eligible voters will be able
to cast ballots on 5 March to elect a new Estonian parliament. There are
1,256 candidates from 16 coalitions and parties competing for 101 seats,
Western agencies reported on 3 March. More than half the parties are not
expected to break the 5% threshold to gain seats. The front-runner in
the final pre-election poll was the Coalition Party and Rural People's
Party alliance, led by former Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and former
Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel, with about 30%. The Reformist
Party won 15%; the Center Party with 13%; the Moderates 7%; the current
ruling party Pro Patria, in a coalition with the National Independence
Party, 6%; and the Rightists 6%. Voters will be able to cast ballots at
688 electoral offices, 24 of which are outside Estonia. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

of the state-run company Lithuanian Gas, told reporters on 2 March that
the Russian gas company Gazprom stopped shipping natural gas to
Lithuania the previous day, BNS and Interfax reported. Gazprom cut off
supplies because Lithuania failed to pay a $56.6 million debt by 1
March. It also imposed an additional fine of $5.8 million for late
payment. Sumakeris noted that his company is owed about $100 million;
state companies and seven major plants whose closure would result in
huge losses for Lithuania account for more than half of this sum.
Cutting off Gazprom supplies has reduced the daily inflow of gas to
Lithuania from 9 million to 6.8 million cubic meters. Gas supplies to
individual consumers have not been affected, but those to industrial
consumers have been reduced from 5.2 million to 2.6 million cubic meters
per day. Lithuania is seeking foreign loans from Germany and Japan to
repay the gas debt. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

Committee announced that the number of Latvian residents at the
beginning of 1995 was 2,529,000--representing a decrease of 36,200 in
1994, BNS reported on 1 March. The number of deaths (41,400) was greater
than those of births (24,000), and emigration exceeded immigration by
18,800. Since the January 1989 census, Latvia's population has decreased
by 137,000. The Lithuanian Statistical Department reported that at the
beginning of 1995, the country's population was 3,717,000--down 6,300 on
the 1994 level, BNS reported. Births totaled 42,832 and deaths 46,486,
while emigrants exceeded immigrants by 2,700. Last year was the first
since World War II in which the population declined, but despite losses
due to emigration since 1991, the current population still exceeds the
1989 census figure by 27,000. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

Movement for a Democratic Slovakia deputy Dusan Macuska has proposed
that a law be passed transferring powers to appoint and remove the
director of the Slovak Information Service from the president to the
government, Pravda reported on 2 March. SIS Director Vladimir Mitro
recently offered his resignation, but President Michal Kovac refuses to
accept it until the government formally nominates a replacement. A
leading candidate is said to be Ivan Lexa, whom the president rejected
for the post as well as that of privatization minister in 1993.
According to Slovak media on 3 March, several deputies from the MDS and
the Slovak National Party agree with Macuska's proposal, while deputies
from opposition parties have criticized the move. Party of the
Democratic Left Chairman Peter Weiss told Sme that "the secret service
must serve the state as a whole, not just the government." -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK DAILIES SHOW SOLIDARITY.  In Bratislava on 2 March, editors-in-
chief from Pravda, Narodna obroda, Praca, Novy cas, Smena, Sme, and Uj
Szo reached "a considerable degree of mutual solidarity," Sme reports.
Slovak Syndicate of Journalists Chairman Julius Gembicky said the
regional dailies Smer dnes and Slovensky vychod also joined forces with
their national counterparts. He said the editors agreed to cooperate if
another proposal is made in the parliament to increase value-added tax
on the commercial press. The move follows a proposal by MDS deputy Jan
Fekete on 24 February recommending that VAT be levied on all commercial
publications and radio and TV broadcasts whose foreign capital share
exceeds 30%. The editors also provisionally decided that editorial staff
will not accredit representatives from their dailies for the upcoming
Worldwide Conference of Workers' Parties and Labor organizations. The
decision follows statements by Association of Slovak Workers Chairman
Jan Luptak that journalists from Sme, Novy cas, and Smer dnes will not
be given accreditation for the conference. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

Santer, head of the European Commission, said on 2 March that the
security issue is the major problem that has to be solved before East
European countries can join the EU, Reuters reported. In response to
questions from the European Parliament, Santers said "the current debate
on enlarging NATO eastwards prefigures in many ways another debate, that
of how we prepare a security dimension for an enlarged union."  --
Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

US official said on 2 March that NATO will defend East European
countries if they become members of the alliance, international agencies
report. Undersecretary of Defense Walter Slocombe's comments follow
speculation in the West that those countries will not be granted full
membership in NATO and thus will not be automatically entitled to
assistance if attacked. Slocombe dismissed Russian fears about NATO
expansion as "unfounded and irrelevant." He also said that East European
countries will need to bring their militaries up to NATO standards to
gain admission. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.


Reuters on 2 March all agreed that the chances are virtually zero that
President Franjo Tudjman will reverse his decision to end UNPROFOR's
mandate when it runs out on 31 March. It also appears unlikely that NATO
or the WEU will accede to Tudjman's request to replace the international
force on the front lines between Croatian troops and Serbian rebels with
units of European or North American origin stationed on Croatia's
internationally recognized borders with Serbia and Bosnia. Washington
has now announced that Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke
will go to Zagreb next week to explore alternatives. A Croatian Foreign
Ministry official told Reuters that the Contact Group countries might
supply border monitors and that this "would not require thousands...of
troops. There are only about 20-25 important border crossing points that
need to be monitored to prevent military interference from Bosnia or
[rump] Yugoslavia." He made it clear, however, that such monitors could
not be called UNPROFOR or be under UN control, since "Croatians now
regard the UN banner as a symbol of international impotence and inertia
in the face of the dismemberment of a UN member state by a rogue
minority." Meanwhile in Belgrade, Nasa Borba on 3 March quotes Mihajlo
Markovic, a top official in the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, as
saying that "the Serbian people" could not sit idly by if Croatian
troops massacred the Krajina Serb rebels. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

IMPASSE IN BOSNIA. The Bosnian Serb leadership says it is trying to
start direct talks with the Bosnian government, but the 3 March Los
Angeles Times reports that the Muslims deny the story. The two sides
differ over the substance of some recent remarks by President Alija
Izetbegovic on the subject of possible negotiations. Finally, AFP said
on 2 March that the Krajina Serbs have put a total ban on food convoys
for the embattled town of Bihac, in northwestern Bosnia. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN UPDATE. "It didn't sound like much... I didn't see any
breakthrough," is how one unnamed US official in Washington summed up
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's counterproposals to recent
Contact Group peace initiatives for the former Yugoslavia, Reuters
reported. The remarks came in the wake of preliminary reports on the 2
March Contact Group talks in Paris. The same source added:  "The problem
is always the same. [Milosevic] wants more sanctions relief but he
doesn't want to give anything in return for that. We can't accept that."
-- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

Council of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania convened on 2
March to discuss, among other things, the party's strategy for the 1996
parliament elections. Radio Bucharest reported that President Ion
Iliescu sent a message to the council expressing hopes that the meeting
would give new life to the party's activities. PSDR Executive Chairman
Adrian Nastase, whose address carried the motto "Let's win the
elections," described 1995 as a "pre-election year." He urged the party
leadership to draft an election platform as soon as possible and start
preparations for the election campaign. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

Committee of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), the country's
main opposition alliance, reiterated on 2 March that the CDR's revised
protocols were not subject to further negotiation. CDR Chairman Emil
Constantinescu was quoted by Radio Bucharest as saying the CDR
considered the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania to have
withdrawn from the coalition, since it refused to sign the protocols. In
what appeared as a last-ditch attempt to avoid further defection from
the CDR, the leaders of two more parties that have refused to sign the
documents--the Liberal Party '93 and the Party of Civic Alliance--were
invited to attend the meeting. But both LP leader Horia Rusu and PCA
chairman Nicolae Manolescu expressed dismay over the atmosphere at the
meeting, with Manolescu complaining about "a certain lack of democracy"
in the alliance. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

Otechestven Front on 2 March quoted Chief State Prosecutor Ivan
Tatarchev as saying that parliament deputy and Business Bloc leader
George Ganchev was a U.S. citizen until 31 January 1995. Ganchev, who
was elected to the parliament in the December 1994 elections, claims he
gave up his citizenship to run for the Presidency in the 1991-1992
elections. (Under the Bulgarian Constitution, only Bulgarians without
another citizenship can be elected to the parliament or as president.)
Tatarchev, who is drawing up a petition to the Constitutional Court in
order to have Ganchev's election declared null and void, referred to a
letter he received from the U.S. embassy. Ganchev, for his part, has
submitted a letter to the parliament which, he says, is from the U.S.
government and proves his Bulgarian citizenship. Meanwhile, deputies
from the ruling Socialist Party are considering contesting the election
of President Zhelyu Zhelev, Otechestven Front reported. Velko Valkanov,
who was Zhelev's main rival in 1991-1992, claims he would have become
president if Ganchev's U.S. citizenship had been known. He argues that
he would have received two-thirds of the votes cast for Ganchev. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GREECE DEPORTS OVER 300 ALBANIANS. Greek police on 2 March announced
that they deported 329 Albanians who tried to enter the country
illegally during the previous 24 hours, Reuters reported the same day.
The driver of a Greek truck carrying 94 Albanians from the border to
Athens was arrested. Greek border patrols are being stepped up to stop a
recent increase in the number of Albanians trying to cross the Greek-
Albanian border. A police spokesman attributed the increase partly to
the good weather, which makes crossing the border easier. Meanwhile,
government sources said the Greek Labor Ministry is preparing a bill to
legalize the status of Albanians living in Greece. The issue is to be
discussed during Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias's visit to
Tirana, scheduled to begin on 13 March. Some 300,000 Albanians are
estimated to be living and working illegally in Greece. -- Stefan
Krause, 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
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
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