If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 53, Part II, 15 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.

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT TIGHTENS CONTROL OVER HARD CURRENCY OUTFLOW . . .
Leonid Kuchma issued a decree on 13 March aimed at preventing tax
evasion and the illegal flight of hard currency earnings to foreign
countries, Interfax-Ukraine reported the next day. The Ukrainian leader
also reprimanded Deputy Prime Minister Ihor Mityukov for failing to
carry out a similar order on the repatriation of hard currency
accumulated in Ukraine and deposited in foreign banks. It has been
estimated that billions of U.S. dollars, often illegally made by
Ukrainian businesses and officials, are held in foreign accounts,
depriving Ukraine of badly-needed tax revenues. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

 . . . AND VISITS CHORNOBYL. Kuchma visited the Chornobyl nuclear power
plant on 14 March in an effort to determine the fate of the two reactors
still operating , Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. Accompanied by
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko and other officials, Kuchma
told plant personnel that a final decision on the future of Chornobyl
would be taken by the Ukrainian government during a special meeting on
the matter in the near future. Despite pressure from the West to shut
down the plant as an environmental hazard, Kuchma opposes its closure
because it provides 7% of the country's energy at a time when Ukraine is
experiencing a deep energy crisis. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE WANTS SANCTIONS AGAINST BELGRADE EASED. Interfax on 14 March
reported that Volodymyr Yelchenko, deputy head of the international
organizations department in the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, has said
Ukraine will press for the easing of UN sanctions against Belgrade.
According to Yelchenko, Ukraine's losses due to sanctions amounted to $4
billion by the end of 1994. The heaviest losses were sustained by
Ukraine's inland water transportation enterprises, especially the Danube
Steamship Line, which has lost all its clients. Losses were also
sustained by smelting plants oriented toward exporting their products to
Austria. Yelchenko said that Kiev is aware that no one will compensate
Ukraine for all its losses but it wants to see Ukraine's position taken
into account. He added that Ukraine will at least press for an easing of
the navigation regime on the Danube. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN NAVAL COMMANDER RESIGNS. Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy,
commander of the Ukrainian Navy, submitted his resignation on 14 March,
AFP reported. The official reason for his resignation was reported to be
poor health, but the navy press center said that in the past 18 months,
Bezkorovainy had not been sick once. According to AFP, Bezkorovainy was
at odds with Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov over the Black Sea Fleet
and had a poor working relationship with the fleet's commander, Admiral
Eduard Baltin. Deputy Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk was reported to
have said that Bezkorovainy's resignation was unexpected and
regrettable. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

OPPOSITION LEADER ON RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN ACCORDS. Aleh Trusau, leader of
the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada, has said he hopes the
parliament will have "the common sense" not to ratify the Russian-
Belarusian agreements on setting up a customs union and leasing military
installations in Belarus to Russia, Interfax reported on 14 March.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov recently announced that
if Belarus does not ratify the agreement, Russia will reimpose customs
duties on Belarus. Trusau dismissed the remark as a political bluff,
saying that Belarus was a highway for some 60% of Russia's exports to
the West. He calculated that if customs duties were imposed, Russia
stood to earn less than $300 million, while Belarus would earn twice
that amount. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

TRIAL OF FORMER ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER BEGINS. The trial of former
Estonian Prime Minister Indrek Toome began at the Tallinn City Court on
14 March, Reuters reported. Toome, who was premier from 1988 to 1990, is
charged with offering a bribe worth 30,000 kroons ($2,700) to a police
officer for the return of three confiscated passports. Although Toome
could be sentenced for up to two years in prison, state prosecutor
Andres Ulviste asked only for a fine to be imposed. Toome's defense did
not deny the bribery charges. but accused the police of setting a trap.
The court is expected to pass judgment on 16 March. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

POLISH TRIBUNAL RULES ON WAGES. The Constitutional Tribunal ruled
against President Lech Walesa on 14 March in declaring wage legislation
adopted last December as constitutional, Rzeczpospolita reported. The
law governs wage levels for employees who are paid from the state
budget, such as teachers and doctors. It was designed to ease pressure
on the budget by abolishing a 1989 provision that set budgetary wages at
106% of those in the industrial sector. The provision was always a dead
letter; and successive governments struggled to obtain Sejm approval to
suspend its implementation. The new law states that wages will be set
through annual negotiations between unions, employers, and the
government. The president had argued that the new legislation violated
"the principle of social justice." In other economic news, Prime
Minister Jozef Oleksy has lowered the government's sights on inflation,
arguing that a December-on-December rate of 20-21% (rather than the
official 17% goal) would be a success. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

MOVEMENT ON POLISH CONCORDAT. The concordat with the Vatican signed on
28 July 1993 does not violate the current constitution, according to a
resolution approved unexpectedly by a special Sejm commission on 14
March. Following emotional debate, the commission rejected a
subcommittee proposal to declare that the concordat violated the
separation of Church and state and discriminated against non-Catholic
denominations. The commission noted (as had the Suchocka government,
which negotiated the treaty) that ratification would require amending
existing legislation to ensure equal rights for all religions. The vote
was carried by deputies from the Polish Peasant Party and the opposition
Freedom Union, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. All Democratic Left Alliance
deputies (except commission chairman Zbigniew Siemiatkowski) were
opposed. Sejm debate on the commission's report is expected in April. --
Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

HAVEL RENEWS CALL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED.
President Vaclav Havel on 14 March called again on the Czech parliament
to fill the "holes" in the country's constitution before they become an
issue in the 1996 election campaign. Havel said that the creation of a
second parliament chamber, the Senate, and the redrawing of the Czech
Republic's administrative districts were vital provisions in the
constitution that had never been implemented. Following several
political scandals in recent months, Havel also called on deputies to
show a greater sense of public responsibility, and he opposed government
policy on several points, including financing pension insurance from the
state budget. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus refused to comment publicly on
Havel's speech but told some cabinet members it was aimed against his
Civic Democratic Party, the main partner in the governing coalition,
Lidove noviny reported. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH INTERIOR MINISTRY SAYS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST GROUPS MUST LEAVE.
Czech Interior Minister Jan Ruml on 14 March confirmed that three
international organizations with close links to the former communist
regime will no longer be allowed to have their headquarters in Prague,
Czech Television and other media reported. The International
Organization of Journalists, based in Prague since 1947, the
International Students' Union, and the World Trades Union Federation
were ordered by the federal Interior Ministry to leave Czechoslovakia in
1992. After a two-year appeal process, Ruml confirmed that they must
remove their secretariats from Prague. But he added that the
organizations will still be allowed to conduct activities in the Czech
Republic. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET REFUSES TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE. The Slovak government
has reacted angrily to an initiative by a number of Slovak newspapers to
protest plans to raise value-added tax on commercial publications with
more than 30% foreign investment, Narodna obroda reported. A number of
Slovak dailies on 6 March printed a blank front page containing only a
warning about the higher tax. The government said that cabinet members
would not participate in a press conference "in protest against the
deception of the public, the damaging of the interests of the Slovak
Republic at home and abroad, the disruption of freedom of speech [as
well as] intolerance, arrogance and lack of culture." Chairman of the
Slovak Syndicate of Journalists, Julius Gembicky, said the blank pages
were printed as a preventative measure addressed not to the government
but to members of the parliament. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK TEACHERS DISSATISFIED WITH SALARIES. Kamil Vajnorsky, chairman of
the education and science trade union, warned on 14 March that social
tension is growing among teachers and scientists. Vajnorsky stressed
that low salaries mean that the number of unqualified teachers in
schools will continue to grow, while university professors and
scientists will continue to seek employment elsewhere. Demands for a
meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar to find a solution to these
problems were rejected because the premier has no time to discuss such
questions, Narodna obroda reported. Meciar pledged in his election
campaign that the salaries of university teachers and scientists would
double by 1995, but he reneged on such promises after signing the
general agreement with the trade unions and employer associations in
February. Association of Slovak Workers Chairman Jan Luptak criticized a
proposal during the parliament's recent discussion on the 1995 state
budget to raise teachers' salaries, stressing that workers' salaries are
also low. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN PROTESTERS URGE GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN. Nearly 10,000 people
marched through Budapest on 14 March to protest an austerity package
that will trim government benefits to families, MTI and Western news
agencies reported. Protesters joined Jozsef Torgyan, chairman of the
Independent Smallholders' Party, in calling for the resignation of Prime
Minister Gyula Horn and his government. Torgyan, whose party holds 26 of
the 386 seats in the parliament, accused Horn of "giving up our
country's basic social achievements." The Horn government's austerity
package, announced on 12 March, was also criticized by trade unions and
other opposition parties. Two ministers and a deputy state secretary
have tendered their resignations to protest the austerity measures,
which include drastically cutting allowances for child care and imposing
fees for university tuition. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UNPROFOR TO BECOME UNFIC. Vecernji list and Nasa Borba on 15 March
reported that the name of UN troops replacing UNPROFOR under a new
mandate will be United Nations Forces in Croatia, or UNFIC. The Zagreb
and Belgrade dailies also discuss the cacophony of opinions throughout
Croatia and elsewhere on President Franjo Tudjman's new deal with the
U.S. Nasa Borba quotes leaders of Croatia's Liberals and Independent
Democrats as criticizing Tudjman, while Zagreb's top Serbian politician,
Milorad Pupovac, welcomed the decision. The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung suggests that the Serbs of Knin may accept it as well, since UN
troops will remain to keep Croatian forces out of Serbian-held areas.
International media also comment that the 500 UNFIC troops on Croatia's
external borders pose no real threat to the Serbs, since UNFIC will not
be able to completely monitor, let alone seal, a frontier more than
1,000 kilometers long. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KARADZIC REJECTS UNFIC. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 15 March
also reported, however, that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has
slammed the idea of UN forces being stationed on that part of the
Croatian border separating his forces from those of the Krajina Serbs.
He threatened to take action against UNPROFOR in Bosnia if UNFIC indeed
takes up such positions. UN mediator Yasushi Akashi accordingly came
back from his latest talks with Karadzic depressed about the possibility
of a new war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hina reported on 14 March on a
series of Serbian attacks in the Gradacac, Stolac, Orasje, and Mostar
areas, while the same news agency and Slobodna Dalmacija on 15 March
discuss continued tensions between Croats and Muslims. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN LEADERS ON NEW UN MANDATE. The Croatian agency Hina on 13 March
reported on reactions by Serbian opposition leaders to the proposal for
a new UN mandate in Croatia. Vojislav Seselj, controversial leader of
the Serbian Radical Party, observed that "Serbia must not allow a change
in the name, mandate, or role of the peace forces." Democratic Party of
Serbia leader Vojislav Kostunica called the decision "dangerous." Vuk
Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, expressed the hope
for regional peace, observing that "the forces of peace will win the
battle with the forces of war." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ETHNIC ALBANIAN SHOT IN KOSOVO. An ethnic Albanian man has been shot and
killed by police in the Serbian province of Kosovo, international
agencies reported on 14 March. The Democratic League of Kosovo, the
leading Kosovar shadow-state party, quoted an eyewitness as saying that
police shot and kicked the 26-year-old Ejup Kasumi even after he had
fallen to the ground. The shooting reportedly followed police raids for
weapons in Urosevac. The Serbian military and police have launched a
campaign to forcefully induct ethnic Albanians into the Yugoslav army.
At least 20 Albanian youngsters have been arrested on charges of
desertion or draft dodging after authorities sent some 200 draft notes
to ethnic Albanians, Rilindja reported on 10 March. -- Fabian Schmidt,
OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE ON RECENT SPLITS. The Executive Committee
and the Council of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) on 14
March said they regarded the Liberal Party '93 (PL) and the Party of
Civic Alliance (PAC) as having withdrawn from the convention, Radio
Bucharest reported. The two parties recently decided not to sign the
CDR's revised protocols of 17 February. The leading bodies of the CDR
also announced that some members of the PL and the PAC have opted to set
up a new liberal party within the convention. The CDR includes two other
liberal parties, the National Liberal Party and the National Liberal
Party--Democratic Convention. The liberal formations in the CDR were
given until 31 May to unify. Meanwhile, the Civic Alliance movement
criticized the PAC's decision to leave the CDR and said it was
withdrawing its moral and political support for that party. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF OBSTRUCTING PRIVATIZATION. Stefan
Hadzhitodorov, a member of the Bulgarian Privatization Agency's
supervisory board, on 14 March accused the government of obstructing the
privatization process, Standart reported the following day. He claims
that ministers have forbidden their ministries to close deals on their
own. Bozhidar Kabakchiev, interim head of the Privatization Agency, said
Deputy Prime Minister Rumen Gechev asked him to refrain from
privatization sales. Gechev's deputy wants to check all deals concluded
by the agency, Kabakchiev said. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

IMF OFFICIALS IN BULGARIA. A delegation from the International Monetary
Fund is in Sofia to examine Bulgaria's state budget and balance of
payments, Otechestven Front reported on 15 March. If the IMF approves
the government's fiscal policies, a $300 million loan agreement will be
signed. The IMF delegation has held talks with officials from the
Bulgarian National Bank and will also meet with cabinet members. The
Bulgarian government wants to cut the budget deficit to 4.5% of GDP and
inflation to 50% in order to meet IMF requirements. Deputy Prime
Minister Rumen Gechev was quoted as saying that a $150 million loan
would cover Bulgaria's needs for 1995, but in the next few years, it
would need larger sums to pay its foreign debts. Bulgaria has to pay $1
billion by the end of 1995, of which $280 million is owed to the IMF.
National Bank Governor Todor Valchev was reported as saying that
Bulgaria "will look for new creditors" if an agreement with
international lending organizations cannot be reached. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

GREECE, ALBANIA TO DEVELOP FRIENDSHIP TREATY. Greece and Albania have
agreed to develop a friendship treaty, Reuters reported on 14 March.
Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, who was on a two-day visit to
Albania, met with Albanian President Sali Berisha on 14 March to discuss
the status of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania and the possible
legalization of the status of Albanians working in Greece. Berisha said
the treaty could be signed this year, while Papoulias expressed the
political will to solve a number of grievances between the two
neighbors, adding that the prospects for practical results were
excellent. Meanwhile, textile workers in Berat ended their hunger strike
after the government promised to maintain production at their factory,
Deutsche Welle's Albanian-language service reported on 14 March. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 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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