Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. - Henry Ward Beecher
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 68, Part II, 5 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

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT LOSES CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Ukrainian parliament on
3 April voted 292 to 15 to pass a no confidence resolution in the
government after hearing the cabinet's annual report on the state of the
economy, Interfax-Ukraine and UNIAR reported the same day. Under
Ukrainian law, a no confidence vote automatically leads to the
government's dismissal, though legislators instructed cabinet members to
remain in office until the Ukrainian chamber approves a new government.
Deputies also voted to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Vitaliy
Masol, who stepped down in late February. Parliament deputy speaker Oleh
Diomin blasted what he called the government's failure to implement
parliament resolutions and presidential decrees. Reaction to the
government's dismissal was mixed. Presidential adviser and National
Security Council secretary Volodymyr Horbulin told Interfax that it
paves the way for President Leonid Kuchma to reform the entire system of
government and make personnel changes he has long wanted to implement.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PLEDGES FURTHER REFORMS, CALLS FOR UNITY. President
Leonid Kuchma, in his annual state of the nation address to the
Ukrainian parliament, promised further economic reforms but with a
greater social orientation, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 4 April. While
warning deputies not to delay approving the austere 1995 draft budget,
he pledged to look into overhauling the social welfare system to help
the neediest in Ukrainian society. Kuchma also appealed for an end to
the ongoing struggle between the executive and legislative branches and
called on legislators to pass the constitutional bill on the separation
of government powers, which would him greater authority to implement
reforms. He defended his recent crackdown on Crimean separatism as a
peaceful solution to a potentially explosive conflict in Ukraine. Kuchma
also said he supported giving the National Bank of Ukraine an
independent status. The bank is currently under the Ukrainian
parliament's jurisdiction. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT SUSPENDS INVESTMENT FUNDS. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
has issued a decree suspending all specialized investment funds and
calling for a comprehensive inquiry into their activities, Interfax
reported on 4 April. The president's press secretary, Uladzimir
Zamyatalin, said the decree should not be regarded as anti-market
reform. He explained that it was issued because there are no appropriate
legal mechanisms regulating the operations of the investment funds. Some
200 entities currently participate in the securities market, including
31 specialized investment funds. Belarusian radio on 3 April quoted the
president of the first Belarusian investment fund, Alyaksandr Samankou,
as saying that the more than 100,000 people who have handed their
privatization checks over to such funds will suffer losses as a result
of the decree. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

N0-CONFIDENCE MOTION AGAINST LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY CHAIRMAN. The
Seimas on 4 April decided to hold a secret no-confidence vote in Deputy
Chairman Juozas Bernatonis, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reported. The
opposition proposed the motion, saying that Bernatonis had acted
improperly on 12 March when he ended a Seimas session before a vote on a
resolution on Chechnya could be taken. Bernatonis has said he acted
properly. It seems unlikely that the no-confidence motion will get the
necessary 71 votes because the ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party
has said its members will not participate in the ballot. -- Saulius
Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN GAS COMPANY TO CUT SUPPLIES TO TARDY ENTERPRISES. Adrians Davis,
president of the state shareholding company Latvia's Gas, has begun
implementing the government's decision to decrease gas supplies to
companies that have not paid for gas this year, BNS reported on 4 April.
Davis said households would not be affected as 80-85% are paying their
gas bills. Latvia's Gas is now owed about 52 million lati ($100
million). But the company owes its largest supplier, Russia's Gazprom,
about $18 million and the state about 8 million lati. If the debt to
Gazprom is not paid by the end of April, Russia has threatened to stop
sending gas to the Incukalns storage tanks where next winter's gas is to
be stored. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

COMPROMISE ON CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS IN POLAND. The commission drafting
the new constitution on 4 April voted to accept a compromise formula on
Church-state relations proposed by the Freedom Union's Tadeusz
Mazowiecki. Twelve versions were put to the vote, Rzeczpospolita
reported. The final version of Article 16 uses the term "impartiality"
rather than "neutrality" to describe the state's position on worldview
questions. It guarantees equal rights for all faiths, says that Church
and state are "autonomous and independent," and stipulates that a
concordat will regulate relations with the Roman Catholic Church. These
formulations address most of the objections raised by the Catholic
hierarchy. Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, the episcopate secretary, expressed
satisfaction with the outcome. Complaints by left-wing deputies
suggested that commission chairman Aleksander Kwasniewski will be hard-
pressed to retain the support of his own Democratic Left Alliance when
parliament votes on the draft, which is one-quarter finished. -- Louisa
Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

NUMBER OF FOREIGNERS IN CZECH REPUBLIC DOUBLES. Hospodarske noviny on 5
April reports that the number of foreigners with long-term residence in
the Czech Republic grew by 56% in 1994, reaching 104,300. Of these, the
biggest groups are Poles and Slovaks, while there are a significant
number of Ukrainians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Germans, Americans, and
citizens of the former Yugoslavia. A total of 319,000 Slovaks and 2,881
other nationals gained Czech citizenship in 1993 and 1994. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET TO DECIDE ON MOCHOVCE. The Slovak cabinet on 4 April
began discussions on alternative financing to complete the nuclear plant
at Mochovce. The EBRD was scheduled in late March to vote on whether to
grant Slovakia a loan to complete the project in cooperation with
Electricite de France (EdF). Just before the decision was to be made,
Slovak officials asked the bank to delay the vote. Two other options are
now being discussed: funding from Russia and an offer from the Czech
firm Skoda Praha to be financed by Czech banks. The Czech offer
reportedly undercuts the French one by a third. A fourth alternative is
a combination of the Russian and Czech proposals. An official from the
Slovakia's Nuclear Supervisory Authority submitted a report to the
cabinet saying that security at the country's other nuclear plant, at
Jaslovske Bohunice, has improved significantly over the past year. The
EBRD has emphasized that the older reactors would have to be closed once
Mochovce was running, but the Czech proposal does not stipulate this
measure. According to TASR on 4 April, Skoda Praha has said it will
implement all the security measures planned by the EdF. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK FOREIGN RELATIONS. Chinese Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister
Qian Chichen on 4 April completed a four-day official visit to Slovakia,
where he met with top officials. Discussions focused on bilateral
economic relations and Slovakia's efforts to integrate into European
structures, Slovak media reported. The Chinese expressed interest in
establishing a business center in Bratislava. In other news, Slovak and
Austrian Transport Ministers Alexander Rezes and Viktor Klima agreed on
3 April that by the end of the century a new fast train will link Vienna
with Bratislava and pass through the two cities' airports, Narodna
obroda reports. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FAIR WEATHER MEANS MORE WARFARE IN BOSNIA. The arrival of spring in the
Balkans in recent days has meant intensified combat in Bosnia-
Herzegovina. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 5 April quotes UN
sources as saying that the Tuzla area, in the northeast, continues to be
the scene of particularly stiff combat and that government forces have
captured a key television relay station on Mt. Vlasic, just above
Travnik in central Bosnia. But it appears that the Serbs' threatened
counteroffensive has yet to materialize, although it could begin soon if
the snows melt in the mountains. As late as last week, there were
blizzards in western Bosnia's mountains, which led to five Croatian
soldiers freezing to death and the rescue of the rest of their convoy,
including Croatian Chief of Staff General Janko Bobetko, by UNPROFOR.
-- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CONTINUES PROTESTS, THREATS IN EX-YUGOSLAVIA.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 5 April reported that the UN has
protested to the Serbs over continued attacks on Bihac and the five
other UN-protected "safe areas" in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nasa Borba said
that the Contact Group, meeting in London, wants to apply more pressure
on the Sarajevo government to extend the current ceasefire beyond its 1
May expiry date, although the agreement has largely broken down in
recent weeks and was never really in force in the Bihac area. That paper
also reported that international mediator David Owen told the Albanian-
language Kosovo weekly Koha that the international community will not
accept the secession of any parts of existing ex-Yugoslav republics--
namely, Krajina, Kosovo, and the largely ethnic Albanian areas of
western Macedonia. He denied, however, that any solution eventually
worked out for Krajina could be automatically applied to Kosovo. Owen
advised the Kosovo Albanians to forget about independence and to talk to
the Serbs about political autonomy. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
abolished Kosovo's wide-ranging self-rule granted by Josip Broz Tito's
1974 Yugoslav constitution. Nasa Borba also reported on the cost of the
current conflict for all parties in the former Yugoslavia and concluded
that Austria has made more money out of that area than it has with its
former trading partners in EFTA. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN UPDATE. Reuters on 4 April quoted international sanctions
monitors as saying that Belgrade appears to be keeping its border with
Bosnia-Herzegovina closed. "We have given Belgrade a clean bill of
health in our report to the Geneva headquarters of the Co-Chairmen of
the International Conference on Former Yugoslavia," ICFY spokesman Geoff
Gartshore said. Reuters adds, however, that some Western diplomats in
Belgrade have said that while there is no evidence that Belgrade is
violating its own blockade, "a vast body of pin-prick violations" and
reports of helicopter supply flights from Serbia to Bosnian Serb-held
territory are worrisome. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 5 April reports that
farmers and agricultural workers staged protests in Belgrade against the
government's agricultural policies. Farm representatives are scheduled
to meet with Serbian government officials on 14 April. -- Stan Markotich,
OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO SOLVE TELEVISION CONFLICT. A joint session
of Romania's bicameral parliament on 4 April failed to solve the
conflict over the appointment of the Television Administrative Council.
The legislature approved five of the 13 members endorsed by the
parliament's commissions for mass media and culture but none of the
candidates proposed by the opposition. Niculai Constantin Munteanu, who
was elected by television employees and approved by the commissions,
failed to win the necessary votes in the parliament to secure the
nomination, Radio Bucharest reported. He is the second employees'
candidate not to be appointed to the council. The failure of the
commissions to approve the candidacy of philosopher Gabriel Liiceanu
triggered the hunger strike of television Free Trade Union leader
Dumitru Iuga, whose protest action has now lasted for more than one
month. The elections were boycotted by the bulk of the opposition to
show solidarity with Iuga and to protest the parliament majority's
handling of the appointments. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

TAROM CRASH UPDATE. Radio Bucharest on 4 April, citing the Belgian daily
Le Soir, reported that the cause of the Tarom aircraft disaster was
technical failure, not a bomb explosion. The Romanian airline plane
crashed on 31 March en route to Brussels. Le Soir said it had obtained
the text of the last conversation between the co-pilot and the control
tower in Bucharest. It reported that the co-pilot had complained about a
technical problem just before the plane crashed. According to Romania
libera on 4 April, the co-pilot had asked what was going on "in the
back" of the plane. Radio Bucharest quoted the city's chief coroner,
Vladimir Belis, as insisting that the crash was caused by an explosion
but not necessarily by a bomb. Hoax bomb calls continued on 4 April.
Romanian Television reported that a Tarom flight bound for Copenhagen
made an emergency landing in Warsaw after a phone call claiming a bomb
had been planted on board. Bucharest's Otopeni and Baneasa airports were
again closed several times following anonymous bomb threats. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

CHRISTOPHER URGES ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN ACCORD. US Secretary of State
Warren Christopher on 3 April urged Romania and Hungary to settle
through diplomacy their differences over the treatment of ethnic
minorities, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Christopher said he was
encouraged by the treaty, concluded in March, between Hungary and
Slovakia and hoped a similar treaty could be negotiated between Hungary
and Romania. He added that "we will do all we can to encourage it."
Chrisopher was speaking at a conference of human rights activists and
minority representatives at the State Department in Washington.
-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

SHUMEIKO WANTS RUSSIAN FORCES AND WEAPONS OUT OF MOLDOVA. Russian
Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko, arriving in Chisinau for
a two-day visit on 4 April, said the 14th Army should withdraw from
Moldova immediately, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Shumeiko said "the
experience of the Chechen conflict shows that weapons should be urgently
withdrawn from hot spots." He also said the problems involving the
breakaway region are Moldova's internal affair and should be settled by
political means. Russia, he noted, should act "only as a mediator in the
process." Radio Bucharest quoted Shumeiko as saying Moldovans were
"fully justified" in protesting the presence of Duma deputies as
observers in the recent referendum on the withdrawal of the 14th Army.
-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON CHISINAU STUDENT STRIKE. Anatol Petrenco, leader of the
strikers' committee, said the special commission set up by President
Mircea Snegur was unable to meet the strikers' main demands, according
to Radio Bucharest on 5 April. Some demands of an economic nature are
reported to have been met. But the strikers want changes in the
constitution's preamble, which refers to historical aspirations for an
independent Moldova. They also want Article 13, defining "Moldovan" as
the country's official language, to be amended. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ON UN SANCTIONS, SCHENGEN AGREEMENT. Zhan
Videnov, speaking at the Atlantic Club in Sofia on 4 April, said that
countries hit by trade losses caused by the UN sanctions against rump
Yugoslavia should appeal jointly to the UN and other international
organizations for compensation, Bulgarian media reported the next day.
He also considered the consequences of the Schengen agreement for
Bulgaria. The Schengen countries, he noted, want to protect themselves
against organized crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism. Videnov said
his government will fight all these criminal manifestations so that the
visa restrictions for Bulgarian citizens can be lifted. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN DAILY ALLEGES RELEASED ALBANIAN GREEKS INVOLVED IN MAVI
TERRORISM. Gazeta Shqiptare on 5 April alleged that five ethnic Greeks
from Albania who were arrested in April 1994 on charges of illegal arms
possession and espionage were involved in terrorist activities. The five
were released on 8 February following Greek diplomatic and economic
pressure. Greek police, following the recent arrest of a group of seven
armed men near the Albanian border, cracked down on MAVI activists and
gathered evidence about the terrorist activities of the Greek
nationalist Northern Epirus Liberation Front (MAVI). Gazeta Shqiptare
quoted former Greek Transport Minister Theodoros Pangalos as saying that
"it is very possible that [the five] have connections to the
ultranationalist command that has been arrested recently." -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN TRADE UNIONS THREATEN STRIKE. The Albanian government has
rejected trade union demands for a 35% rise in public sector wages,
Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 5 April. Dashamir Shehi, deputy head of the
Council of Ministers, is quoted as saying that "the state's current
finances do not allow it to meet these demands." Trade unions
representing workers in the education, health, and telecommunications
sectors have threatened to strike if their demands are not met. An
unspecified number of newspapers also threatened protest action after
the publishing house Demokracia raised printing costs by about 35%, Koha
Jone reported on 31 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
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
"SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation
marks and inserting your name where shown) to
LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
No subject line or other text should be included. OMRI also publishes
the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of
many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For Transition subscription
information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ
To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries
to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or
electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396.


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole