We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 79, Part II, 21 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

RUSSIA PROMISES BALTIC STATES EXPLANATION OF KOZYREV STATEMENT. Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigory Karasin on 20 April said he was
surprised at the "fierce" response of the Baltic States to Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev's comments that Moscow may use military force to
protect compatriots abroad, BNS reported. The Lithuanian and Latvian
foreign ministries asked the Russian ambassadors in their capitals for
explanations, while Estonia appealed directly to the Russian Foreign
Ministry. Karasin commented that "every normal state considers all
possible measures to protect its citizens, beginning with diplomatic
steps and ending with the use of force. There's nothing new in this. The
reaction of the Baltic States seems all the more strange." Karasin
nevertheless said his ministry would explain to the Baltic States the
meaning of Kozyrev's remarks. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW DEPUTY CHAIRMAN. The Estonian parliament
on 20 April elected Center Party faction member Arvo Junti as its deputy
chairman to replace Edgar Savisaar, who resigned on becoming internal
affairs minister, BNS reported. Junti received 58 votes while his
opponent National Independence Party chairman Tunne Kelam received 30.
The 42-year-old Junti was a deputy in Estonia's last Soviet-era
parliament. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

OFFICIAL SAYS RUSSIAN MILITARY FLIGHTS OVER LITHUANIA TO BE BANNED. An
unnamed high-ranking official at the Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Ministry
told BNS on 20 April that the recent Seimas resolution stating that
Russian military flights in Lithuanian airspace "pose a threat to
Lithuania's security and [are] intolerable" can only be interpreted to
mean that such flights are "impermissible." The Foreign Ministry, he
said, must respect the Seimas's wishes by refusing to issue any more
permits for Russian military flights. The Seimas resolution was prompted
by the low-altitude flight over Vilnius of three armed Russian
helicopters on 25 March. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT APPEALS TO RUSSIA. Deputies from the Crimean
parliament have passed a resolution appealing to Moscow to protect the
rights of Russians living in Crimea, international agencies reported on
20 April. The resolution comes on the heels of Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev's statement that Russia may use military force to protect
Russians living in the former Soviet republics. It urges Kiev to
reconsider President Leonid Kuchma's March decrees annulling Crimea's
constitution and Presidency. Also on 20 April, the Ukrainian parliament
recommended that Crimean deputies abide by Ukrainian law and implement
Kuchma's decrees. Volodymyr Mukhin, head of the parliament's defense
committee, commented that Crimean legislators must make up their minds
whether they will respect Ukraine's constitution. If they choose not to,
the legislature will be dissolved, he added. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,
Inc.

ODESSA OBLAST COUNCIL CALLS FOR BELA VEZHA AGREEMENT TO BE DENOUNCED.
Ukrainian Radio on 20 April reported that the Odessa Oblast Council has
agreed to a proposal by the communist faction to appeal to the
legislatures of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus to denounce the Bela vezha
agreement of December 1991, which dissolved the USSR and created the
CIS. The faction also proposed that Kiev be urged to declare a state of
economic emergency. A majority of the Oblast deputies did not support
the proposal. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE'S FOREIGN DEBT. Ukrainian Minister of Finance Petro Hermanchuk
told Zakon i biznes that the country's foreign debt totals $6.7 billion,
Ukrainian Television reported on 19 April. Russia is owed $4.2 billion,
mostly for gas supplies. Hermanchuk said that 273 trillion karbovansti
have been allocated for debt repayment in 1995 and that Ukraine has paid
Russia more than $50 million so far. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS PRESIDENT THREATENS TO NATIONALIZE COMMERCIAL BANKS. Alyaksandr
Lukashenka, at a meeting with directors of the Minsk Tractor Factory on
19 April, threatened to nationalize the country's commercial banks if
they do not submit proposals to him on how to stabilize the country's
economy, Interfax reported the next day. Lukashenka is convinced that
the commercial banks played an important role in paralyzing the national
economy and discrediting reform. He said that a decree ordering all
commercial companies to reregister will probably be issued soon and that
half of them may choose to close. Lukashenka did not approve the
factory's request to the government for a two-year $20 million loan to
stabilize its operations. The factory also asked for the postponement
until September of its 52 billion ruble ($4.5 million) payment to the
state budget. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PRESIDENT RENEWS ATTACKS ON PARLIAMENT, PREMIER. Lech Walesa, in
an interview with Polish radio on 20 April, said he will renew his
efforts to dissolve the parliament. But under the constitution, he can
do so only after an "unconstructive" no-confidence vote in the
parliament (that is, without electing a new prime minister). Walesa also
sharply criticized Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy again over the latter's
decision to attend the Moscow celebrations of the end of World War II in
Europe. He compared the premier's readiness to go to Moscow to Polish
collaborators siding with Russian aggressors in the 18th century. "This
matter qualifies for the tribunal," Walesa said, probably referring to
the State Tribunal, which tries high-ranking officials. Walesa will be
represented in Moscow by his political adviser Andrzej Zakrzewski.
Meanwhile, Aleksander Kwasniewski and Jerzy Szmajdzinski of the post-
communist Alliance of the Democratic Left said that if Walesa is unable
to collaborate with existing political forces, he should resign. --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECHS FUMING OVER NEW ANTI-SMOKING LAW. The Czech parliament on 19
April passed a law banning smoking in workplaces, hospitals, schools,
and cultural centers. The new legislation also reduces the maximum
permitted amount of tar in cigarettes and raises the minimum age for
buying tobacco products from 16 to 18. The present discreet health
warnings on cigarette packs will be replaced by larger and stronger
statements, and smoking will be allowed in restaurants, cafes, and pubs
only in specifically marked areas. Deputy Prime Minister Jan Kalvoda, a
pipe smoker, called the new law "anti-civilized" and an attack on human
rights, Lidove noviny reported. Other leading government and opposition
politicians bemoaned likely price rises if the tar content in cigarettes
has to be reduced. Some compared the law to the 1930s prohibition in the
U.S. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION LEADER ON MEDIA. Hungarian Civic Party Chairman Laszlo
Nagy on 20 April said the previous week had been "black" for the
independent Slovak press, Slovak media reported. He cited the Finance
Ministry's decision to remove the license of the investment firm Prva
Slovenska Investicna Spolocnost (PSIS), giving temporary control over
its portfolio to Agroinvest and Harvard Investment (the latter is run by
the father of Movement for a Democratic Slovakia deputy and newly
appointed Slovak Information Service director Ivan Lexa). The PSIS is a
shareholder in the firm that publishes the opposition daily Sme. Nagy
commented that the decision could soon have a negative impact on the
paper's editorial staff. He also criticized the fact that a majority of
shares in Perex, which publishes the daily Pravda, were recently sold to
Harvard Investment. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY'S RAILROAD WORKERS GO ON STRIKE. Hungarian railroad workers
began an indefinite strike at midnight on 20 April, Magyar Hirlap
reported the same day. All international rail traffic was halted and
domestic services reduced to a minimum. Hungarian Railways (MAV) and
union leaders failed after weeks of negotiations to reach agreement over
the text of a new collective labor contract. The main bone of contention
was the unions' right to reject restructuring proposals and cutbacks
that would deprive workers of overtime pay and bonuses. Union leaders
charged that MAV was seeking to push through restructuring plans that
could lead to mass lay-offs and less job security for those employees
who remained. MAV's management stressed the need to revamp the
corporation in order to reduce huge losses. It is estimated that the
Hungarian economy will lose 700 million forint a day as a result of the
strike. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO EXTEND CEASEFIRE. News agencies on 20
April reported that Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic told visiting UN
mediator Yasushi Akashi that the Sarajevo government is unwilling to
extend the current ceasefire when it expires after 30 April. Silajdzic
charged that the UN has wasted the six-month negotiating period provided
by the truce by offering the Serbs only "carrots and not sticks." The
result, he said, was that the UN has helped preserve the status quo,
which is unacceptable to the Bosnian government. Akashi, for his part,
said he would persist in trying to secure a new and tighter agreement,
arguing that it is better to have a truce than no truce. "When we have
it, we can pinpoint the ceasefire violations," he concluded. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBS TO "TRY" ARRESTED FOREIGNERS. Bosnian Serbs plan to try two Swiss
citizens and a German they detained earlier this month, AFP reported on
20 April. The relief workers are charged with illegal border crossing
and helping the Bosnian army, an accusation based on their having
Bosnian army stamps in their documents. Five members of the Pharmacists
without Borders, who were arrested in March, are also expected to go
into the dock. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ARKAN IN FAVOR OF PEACE. Vjesnik on 21 April quoted internationally
wanted war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic, alias "Arkan," as confirming that
the rift between the Bosnian Serb civilian and military leaderships has
recently deepened. Arkan, who is a loyal backer of Serbian President
Milosevic, said that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has tried to
replace members of the officer corps on his own and that he, Arkan,
backs General Ratko Mladic. Arkan added that the Bosnian Serb soldiers
should be supplied "with clothing and food" and that the civilians
should accept the current peace plan on offer. He also suggested that
Karadzic's headquarters at Pale could be swapped for land in
northeastern Bosnia in order to widen the Serbs' key supply corridor.
Karadzic wants not only to keep his ski-resort base but to take some of
Sarajevo as well. Milosevic is widely believed to be courting Mladic as
an alternative to Karadzic. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

NO AGREEMENT ON CROATIAN PEACEKEEPERS. International media reported on
21 April that UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali has failed to
meet his deadline to get the Croatian authorities and the Krajina Serbs
to agree on specifics for a new mandate for UN troops there. The Croats
want about 5,000 highly trained soldiers of West European origin, while
the Serbs want at least 10,000 men from Russia, Kenya, and various other
countries. Zagreb insists that they must be stationed on Croatia's
international borders and interdict arms shipments by the Serbs. Knin
wants the men on the Croatian-Serbian front lines to play a monitoring
role. Croatia wants many checkpoints, while the Serbs agree to about 20.
Boutros Ghali on 21 April is to propose a plan to the UN that would
authorize 8,750 troops to monitor Croatia's internal and external
borders as well as human rights in Serb-held territories. Peacekeepers
finding arms shipments would be authorized to warn the guilty parties
that they are violating UN resolutions and will be reported to the
Security Council. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

FORMER YUGOSLAV DISSIDENT DIES AT 83. Belgrade dailies Nasa Borba and
Politika reported on 21 April that Milovan Djilas, a leading dissident
in socialist Yugoslavia and one-time confidant of Communist leader Josip
Broz Tito, died the previous day in Belgrade. Djilas, who was the last
survivor of the first Politburo under Tito, became government vice
president in 1953 and was generally regarded as a possible successor to
Tito. But by the end of that year, he was criticizing the socialist
authorities and the communist system, which led to his falling out of
favor with Belgrade. The publication of his books The New Class and
Conversations With Stalin led to prison sentences at home and acclaim
abroad. More recently, Djilas was a critic of Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic and his ultranationalist policies. He was born in Montenegro
on 12 June 1911. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

MORE ALBANIANS SENTENCED IN KOSOVO. The local court of Pec sentenced
three ethnic Albanians on 20 April for "jeopardizing the territorial
integrity of Yugoslavia," international agencies reported the same day.
Elsewhere, another six Kosovar Albanians were detained for "associating
in order to carry out hostile activity" in Gnjilane. The six were
allegedly planning to build the headquarters of a territorial defense
force for the Kosovar shadow-state. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

GERMANY TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT MACEDONIA. German Minister for Economic
Cooperation Carl-Dieter Spranger, during a two-day visit to Macedonia,
said his country will continue to support Macedonia, Western agencies
reported on 19 March. After talks with Macedonian Prime Minister Branko
Crvenkovski, Spranger told the press he would back Macedonian interests
at the spring meeting of the World Bank in Washington next week.
According to Vecher on 21 April, he also said Germany will help realize
infrastructure projects in Macedonia. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN MAJOR PARTY TRIES TO APPEASE JUNIOR PARTNER. The Party of
Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) on 20 April decided to offer the
Greater Romania Party (GRP) middle-ranking posts within the government
administration. Radio Bucharest reported the next day that the PDSR will
offer the GRP positions at the level of secretary of state (the
equivalent of deputy minister), deputy prefect, and ambassador. The GRP,
complaining that the PDSR has not abided by the January 1995 four-party
protocol, threatened on 7 April to withdraw its support for the ruling
coalition (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 April 1995). After signing the
four-party protocol, the GRP said it would accept only positions at
minister level. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN TRADE UNION LEADER ON HUNGER STRIKE. Vasile Baighic, chairman
of the Western Confederation of Free Trade Unions, which represents
workers in the health-care sector in western Romania, is reported to
need urgent hospitalization, according to Radio Bucharest on 20 April.
The trade union leader has been on a hunger strike for 46 days. He is
protesting the low budget of the health care system. -- Michael Shafir,
OMRI, Inc.

WORLD BANK DELEGATION IN ROMANIA. A delegation from the World Bank on 20
April met with Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, Radio Bucharest reported
the same day. Rachel Lomax, who headed the delegation, said the bank and
the Romanian government are agreed that the next phase of reforms must
be based on "radical restructuring" and must ensure the continuation of
"macroeconomic stabilization." In order to help Romania achieve these
targets, the delegation said the World Bank would release the second
installment of a loan. Meanwhile, Mugur Isarescu, governor of the
Romanian National Bank, said on Romanian TV that he hoped the
International Monetary Fund would soon resume financial assistance to
Romania. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

EBRD GRANTS LOAN TO MOLDOVA. Interfax on 20 April reported that the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has offered Moldova a
$40 million loan for the construction of the first section of an oil
terminal to be located on the Danube. The facility, which would have a
capacity of 1.2 million tons, would make it possible for Moldova to
receive fuel by sea from the Middle East. At present, 90% of the
country's energy resources are delivered by rail from Russia. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT VETOES LAND RESTITUTION LAW. Zhelyu Zhelev on 20
April vetoed amendments to the land restitution law, Reuters reported
the same day. The amendments, passed by the parliament on 14 April,
restrict the right of land owners to sell their plots (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 18 April 1995). Zhelev said he has "strong objections to these
amendments and [intends] to send the law straight back to parliament."
He also commented that the law "touches the essence of Bulgaria's
democratic reforms. The question about the land . . . cannot be a party
issue." Under the Bulgarian Constitution, the president can veto a law
once, but the parliament can override his veto. Zhelev said he will
appeal to the Constitutional Court if the parliament returns the law to
him unaltered. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

GENERAL STRIKE IN ALBANIA. The Albanian Confederation of Trade Unions,
successor to the communist labor unions, and the post-communist
Independent Trade Unions have announced a one-day strike for 22 April,
Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 21 April. The announcement was made
following a meeting with the government, which says it is unable to meet
union demands for a 35% wage increase to cover higher consumer prices. A
one-hour general strike took place in Albania on 11 April. Meanwhile, a
court of appeal has decided not to hold a retrial of Communist dictator
Enver Hoxha's widow. Nexhmije Hoxha, who still has three years to serve
in prison for embezzlement, requested a new trial in the hope of
receiving a milder sentence. -- 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.
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

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


[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