Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 67, Part II, 4 April 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.
Back issues of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are
available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

CRIMEAN LEGISLATORS AVOID NEW CLASH WITH KIEV. The Crimean parliament
held an emergency session on 3 April to debate a response to Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma's decision to assume temporary control of the
region's government, Reuters and Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day.
The deputies rejected a proposal to hold a regionwide referendum on
Crimea's status, voting instead to issue an appeal to the Ukrainian
parliament to overturn Kuchma's decree on the grounds that it violates
the Ukrainian Constitution. Several deputies told reporters they wanted
to avoid further endangering ties with Ukraine. The latest standoff was
sparked by the Ukrainian legislature's 17 March decision to annul the
Crimean Constitution and abolish the region's Presidency. Speaker of the
Ukrainian parliament Oleksander Moroz told reporters that his assembly
has no intention of overturning the president's decree. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN CHINA. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii
Shmarov arrived in China at the head of an official delegation,
Ukrainian Radio reported on 3 April. He participated in the second
meeting of a Chinese-Ukrainian commission on trade and economic
cooperation. According to the report, China, which is Ukraine's second
largest trading partner after Russia, is prepared to pay in cash for
Ukrainian machinery, including hardware produced by the military-
industrial complex. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES DECREE ON ELECTIONS. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
has signed a decree calling on local authorities to prevent unauthorized
rallies urging citizens to boycott the 14 May elections, Belarusian
Television reported on 31 March. The decree instructs the authorities to
register cases of chauvinistic propaganda or propaganda aimed at
changing the constitutional system or violating the territorial
integrity of the state. It also states that civil servants must suspend
their duties while campaigning for the elections. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS ON CUSTOMS UNION WITH RUSSIA. Following a meeting between
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov and his Belarusian
counterpart, Mikhail Myasnikovich, on 31 March, the head of the
Belarusian Customs Committee said the implementation of the 6 January
agreement on a customs union will take place in two stages, Belarusian
Radio reported. The first stage is to take four months, during which
period both countries will bring their legislation on trade into line
with each other's. The second stage foresees the lifting of trade
barriers and the establishment of a common trade zone. The relevant
documents still have to be confirmed by the Belarusian parliament. There
has been stiff opposition from Belarusian nationalists to the customs
union. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UN ASKS LATVIA TO FREE REFUGEES. Hans Tholen of the UNHCR told Reuters
on 3 April that Latvia has been asked to free the more than 100 refugees
confined to two train carriages at the railroad station at Karsava since
29 March. UNHCR representatives visited the scene and reported that the
conditions on the train were very bad. Tholen said the majority of the
group were political refugees who "can under no circumstances be
returned to their country of origin at the moment." This contradicts
Latvian government announcements calling the refugees "economic
migrants." Tholen stressed that whatever their status, the refugees have
to be treated "in a decent way" and not kept as hostages, as is the case
at the moment. He noted that Latvia could receive financial help for the
upkeep of the refugees from both the UN and the Nordic states. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

BALTIC PRESIDENTS WILL NOT ATTEND WWII CEREMONIES IN MOSCOW. President
Algirdas Brazauskas issued a statement on 3 April declaring that he and
his Latvian and Estonian counterparts, Guntis Ulmanis and Mart Laar,
will not attend the ceremonies in Moscow on 9 May marking the 50th
anniversary of the end of World War II, Western agencies report. ITAR-
TASS on 2 April erroneously reported that Brazauskas decided to attend
the ceremonies after a telephone conversation with Ulmanis. Brazauskas
noted that "the victory over fascism did not bring the restoration of a
democratic and independent Lithuanian state. Of all the pre-war European
states only the three Baltic States were not put back onto the political
map of Europe after the war." -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

BALTIC HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER IN ESTONIA. Ole Espersen, commissioner
for democratic institutions and human rights with the Council of Baltic
Sea States, began a four-day trip to Estonia on 3 April, BNS reported.
He visited the human rights information center in Tallinn, whose
director, Larisa Yakovleva, cited several cases where Estonian
citizenship was not issued to eligible applicants within the established
time frame. She also questioned the legality of the expulsion without a
court order of Petr Rozhok, the representative of Russia's Liberal
Democratic Party in Estonia, and noted that similar expulsion orders,
issued to nearly a dozen other non-citizens, have not yet been enforced.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLAND MARKS KATYN ANNIVERSARY. Speaking at ceremonies to mark the 55th
anniversary of the CPSU-ordered execution of more than 21,000 Polish
officers at Katyn and other sites in 1940, President Lech Walesa said
that Poland expects from "our eastern neighbors" the full disclosure of
all circumstances surrounding the murders, "sincere regret," and true
justice, Rzeczpospolita reported on 4 April. Good relations with Russia
depend on an honest reckoning with the past, Walesa said. Cardinal Jozef
Glemp criticized the Allied powers for maintaining decades of silence
about Soviet responsibility for the Katyn murders. -- Louisa Vinton,
OMRI, Inc.

SOLIDARITY STAKES OUT RIGHT-WING POSITION. Solidarity Chairman Marian
Krzaklewski, speaking on 3 April at a conference organized by the
union's Warsaw region, proposed reaching a "political contract" with
nationalist and right-wing forces on a joint candidate for the
presidential elections. Solidarity is the only force capable of
organizing a movement to prevent "recommunization," Krzaklewski argued.
The Solidarity chairman also proposed that right-wing forces campaign
jointly to block approval of any new constitution adopted by the current
parliament. He condemned current privatization policies as "theft,"
Rzeczpospolita reported. Krzaklewski's remarks were designed to present
Solidarity as the pivotal force for a right-wing challenge in the
presidential elections, but the union's populist stance on economic
questions has so far divided the right-wing parties. -- Louisa Vinton,
OMRI, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT ACTS TO REDUCE COMPANY DEBTS. The Czech government
plans to allow firms owed large amounts to offset the money against
taxes in an effort to avoid a wave of bankruptcies, Mlada fronta dnes
reported on 4 April. According to some estimates, inter-company debts
amount to some 200 billion koruny. It quoted Deputy Finance Minister Jan
Klak as saying firms could claim one-third of unrecoverable debts
against taxes or, if the company chose to take a debtor to court, the
whole amount would be offset against taxes over three years. Long-term
debts (that is, outstanding for more than two years) would not be
covered by the scheme. Indebtedness was expected to spark a series of
company failures when a bankruptcy law came into effect in 1992. In
practice, only a few hundred firms--mostly small businesses--have gone
under. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SHAKE-UP IN SLOVAKIA'S GOVERNING COALITION? Slovak media on 4 April
reported on internal conflicts within the Association of Slovak Workers,
a member of the governing coalition. Miroslav Kocnar, one of the party's
three parliament deputies who walked out of the ASW congress on 1-2
April, told reporters on 4 April that the meeting was poorly prepared.
He also said that several members of the ASW had decided to create a
club of independent deputies, which would continue to cooperate with the
other governing parties but on a different basis. "Until now, we have
done nothing for the people, we have not initiated a single law . . . ,"
Kocnar told Narodna obroda. He added that his party has supported things
that "we thought we would never vote for" prior to the elections. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PREMIER ON EDUCATION, AUTONOMY. Vladimir Meciar, speaking to
Slovak Radio on 31 March, said that Slovakia's education system will
have to be transformed and that raising wages is not enough, Pravda and
Sme reported the following day. He commented that "if, in fact, schools
want only money from the cabinet and [the government] does not have the
right to interfere with or influence the entire transformation process
in education, then we will reach a situation where everyone will be
dissatisfied." With regard to minorities, Meciar emphasized that
Slovakia's territory cannot be divided, saying the Slovak Republic is
the home of "Slovaks as well as all nationalities. We will not have
separation in Slovakia based on the ethnic principle. We will not create
autonomy." Meanwhile, more than 52,000 ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia
sent a letter to Pope John Paul II complaining about discrimination
within the Catholic Church in Slovakia. The letter stated that although
Hungarians make up approximately 10% of Slovakia's population, there are
almost no Hungarian representatives in the Church, Narodna obroda
reported on 1 April. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN UPDATE. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 4 April reported
that Bosnian Serbs have intensified their harassment of Western
citizens. Two Swiss nationals were taken the previous day from a UN
armored vehicle near Sarajevo, and two days earlier a German relief aid
worker was arrested. Meanwhile, the Krajina Serbs and their local allies
stepped up their attacks in the Bihac pocket on 3 April. Fierce fighting
also continued in the Majevica hills northeast of Tuzla. From Mostar,
EU-appointed administrator Hans Koschnick criticized the UN for not
enforcing its own arms embargo on the former Yugoslavia. He said that
all the embargo has meant in practice is that the various armies have to
pay a bit more for their weapons. Finally, China became the 92nd country
to recognize Bosnia-Herzegovina. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BELGRADE LIBEL CAMPAIGN WIDENS. Nasa Borba reported on 4 April that
Belgrade's ongoing campaign against charitable organizations, notably
the Soros Foundation, has spilled over from Serbia proper into the other
rump Yugoslav republic, Montenegro. Montenegrin Deputy Premier Rade
Perovic is reported as criticizing the foundation for its "anti-Yugoslav
character." Serbia's own campaign against the foundation reached fever
pitch last month in the state-run media. The state-run Borba on 20 March
ran a headline stating "Ban the Soros Foundation." -- Stan Markotich,
OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON ROMANIAN AIRLINE CRASH. Radio Bucharest, citing AFP, reported
on 3 April that an organization calling itself "The Hand of Allah" has
claimed responsibility for the crash of the Tarom aircraft on 31 March.
The head of the team investigating the accident said the wreckage shows
sign of an explosion. Sorin Stoicescu told Radio Bucharest on 3 April
that it was 40% certain there had been an explosion on board. The head
of the Bucharest coroner's office confirmed that the victims died
"before the aircraft hit the ground" and that the cause of death was an
explosion. Also on 3 April, an anonymous caller reported a bomb on board
a Tarom aircraft scheduled to fly from Bucharest to Paris. The plane
landed in Timisoara, where passengers were evacuated by emergency
measures. The authorities issued a security alert at Bucharest's
international airport, Otopeni, which was temporarily evacuated. A false
bomb alert on 31 March led to the evacuation of Baneasa airport, which
is mostly used for domestic flights from Bucharest. Another hoax call
said a bomb had been left in the Transylvanian town of Cluj, prompting
the closure of a large area for over three hours. -- Michael Shafir,
OMRI, Inc.

BUCHAREST SUBWAY WORKERS ON STRIKE. A wildcat strike by Bucharest subway
workers entered its sixth day on 4 April, causing serious traffic
problems in the city. Thousands of subway workers went on strike on 30
March after a court ordered a regular strike suspended for 40 days while
union demands for higher wages are discussed. The strikers blocked the
subway terminals, closing the network. The daily Romania libera reported
the same day that the strikers threatened to shut themselves in the
subway tunnels if force were used against them. Negotiations took place
with the management on 2 April but failed to bring any results. The
strikers are demanding a 30% pay increase, while management is offering
8.6%, Radio Bucharest reported on 3 April. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON MOLDOVAN STUDENT STRIKE. A Rompres report, cited by Romanian
Television on 3 April, said a solution to the problems that prompted the
student strike in Chisinau was expected later this week. Radio Bucharest
quoted Petru Lucinschi, chairman of the Moldovan parliament, as telling
student representatives on 2 April that the legislature would "promptly
examine those demands that are in line with the constitution" and that a
solution would be "gradually found." The strikers' demands, however,
include changes in the Moldovan Constitution (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3
April 1995). A commission set up by President Mircea Snegur to deal with
the economic implications of the strikers' demands met again on 2 April
with strike representatives. It said the government lacks funds to pay
arrears in pensions for February and March, although the students
received payments for March and will also receive those for April.
Meanwhile, workers in two Chisinau enterprises announced they intended
to go on strike, and Chisinau trolley bus workers ran substantially
reduced services, saying they supported the strikers' demands for better
pay. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIA, SOUTH KOREA SEEK CLOSER COOPERATION. President Zhelyu Zhelev,
in talks with his South Korean counterpart, Kim Yung-sam, on 3 April in
Seoul, pledged closer relations and extended economic cooperation,
Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day. A South Korean
spokesman said the two leaders agreed to encourage joint-venture
projects in electronics and chemical goods for sale to third countries.
Kim said that South Korea will actively participate in the privatization
of Bulgarian enterprises, while Zhelev stressed that Bulgaria is a
potentially important trade partner for South Korea because of its
location. Demokratsiya reported that Bulgaria will soon receive a $50
million loan from South Korea. According to Standart, Zhelev said that
Bulgaria will support South Korea's candidacy for a seat in the UN
Security Council. Zhelev, who is on a four-day state visit to South
Korea, is the first Bulgarian president to visit that country since
diplomatic relations were established in 1990. Also on 3 April,
Bulgarian Minister of Culture Georgi Kostov and his South Korean
counterpart signed an agreement to increase cultural and scientific
cooperation, Standart reported. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN GERMANY. Georgi Pirinski on 3 April began
a three-day visit to Bonn, Pari reported the following day. He held
official talks with Minister of State Bernd Schmidtbauer on the
consequences of the Schengen agreement for Bulgarian citizens, who are
now subject to stricter visa requirements, Duma reported. Pirinski is
also due to meet with his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, to discuss
bilateral relations, the prospects for Bulgaria's integration into
European structures, and trade losses sustained by Bulgaria owing to UN
sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN MEDIA FOCUS ON INTERNATIONAL BALKAN CONFERENCE. Bulgarian
dailies on 3 April gave prime coverage to a conference in Sofia dealing
with the current situation in the Balkans in light of the experiences of
the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. Speakers included President Zhelyu Zhelev
and former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Sofia
press generally gave front-page coverage to Brzezinski's remarks to the
effect that NATO is unlikely to take on new members in the Balkans
before the present conflict ends. Brzezinski warned the current
Socialist-dominated government not to offset Bulgaria's good standing
abroad by returning to Stalinist ways. He also said that the kind of
militant language used in the government's recent "White Paper" was
disturbing. Like numerous other participants, he praised Zhelev's
cautious policy toward Macedonia, a region that many speakers feared
could again find itself at the center of a general Balkan conflict. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

PERSONNEL CHANGES IN ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY? Aleanca on 4 April
alleges that there has been an "earthquake" in the Foreign Ministry.
According to the daily, at least 60% of the country's diplomatic
personnel, currently working in 25 embassies abroad, have been recalled
to Tirana. The paper says that the staff affected, including some
ambassadors, have been informed that they will be assigned new duties.
The Foreign Ministry reportedly confirmed the changes, saying they are
part of a new but normal practice. Aleanca, however, maintained that
"the Albanian foreign policy is undergoing an almost total reform." --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES 1995 BUDGET. The Albanian parliament on 3
April began discussions on the 1995 budget, Gazeta Shqiptare reported
the next day. The budget includes very optimistic predictions for
unemployment and economic growth. Gazeta Shqiptare said that Anastas
Angjeli, a member of the opposition Socialist Party who sits on the
parliament Financial and Economic Commission, "praised the work of the
specialists in the ministry." But he added that his party will "offer
some useful proposals." The Social Democrats reportedly made similar
statements. -- 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
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
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Digest, OMRI, Na Strzi 63, 14062 Prague 4, Czech Republic or send e-mail
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