He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mind, receives light without darkening me. - Thomas Jefferson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 82, Part II, 26 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 VOTE TO HOLD REGIONWIDE REFERENDUM. The Crimean
parliament on 25 April voted by 57 to zero to hold a non-binding
regionwide referendum at the same time as the local elections on 25
June, Interfax-Ukraine and Reuters reported the same day. The poll would
ask voters whether they supported the controversial Crimean
Constitution, which stipulates that relations between the autonomous
region and Ukraine should be governed by bilateral treaties rather than
the Ukrainian Constitution. Crimeans would also be asked whether they
backed Kiev's recent crackdown on Crimean separatism and whether they
were in favor of political and economic union with Ukraine, Russia, and
Belarus. Ukrainian Justice Minister Vasyl Onopenko and Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma, who is on an official visit to the Czech
Republic, called the vote illegal. The Ukrainian leader said Kiev might
undertake further punitive action if Crimean
leaders went ahead with the unconstitutional poll. Leaders of the
Ukrainian parliament said their assembly would consider overturning the
Crimean deputies' decision. It would also look into dissolving the 98-
member body, which has split over Kiev's crackdown. Crimean legislators
also appealed to the parliaments of both Russia and Ukraine to monitor
the referendum to protect the rights of the large ethnic Russian
majority in the region. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF CHORNOBYL DISASTER. On the eve of the ninth
anniversary of the 1986 accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, a
special medical seminar revealed the results of research conducted by
the Ukrainian Health Ministry among 1 million residents in the three
regions most affected by the blast, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 25
April. The research revealed that in Kiev, Zhytomyr, and Rivne Oblasts,
the incidence of thyroid cancer has increased by 200%, heart disease
75%, respiratory diseases 130%, and digestive illnesses 280% The death
rate among inhabitants has risen by 15.7% since the accident. Health
care officials also revealed that health consequences are most serious
among the 233,507 cleanup workers, who have been exposed to high levels
of radiation. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN TRADE. The Ukrainian Ministry of Statistics has
released figures on non-CIS trade in January and February, Ukrainian
Television reported on 25 April. Ukraine exports totaled $140 million
and imports just under $40 million. Ukraine's largest exports were
sugar, meat, fish, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic beverages. Its biggest
imports were seed, tobacco, and cocoa. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT FIRES ANOTHER EDITOR. Trud on 25 April reported
that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has issued a decree
firing Mikhail Katyushenka, editor in chief of the youth newspaper
Znamya yunosti. Katyushenka is the fourth editor of a nationwide
newspaper to be fired by Lukashenka. Previous decrees had dismissed the
editors of Sovetskaya Belorussiya, Respublika, and Narodnaya hazeta. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BANK OF ESTONIA APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENT. The board of the Bank of Estonia
has asked President Lennart Meri to appoint Vahur Kraft as the bank's
new president, BNS reported on 25 April, Kraft, the bank's vice
president since 1991, was recommended by former bank president Siim
Kallas. Kallas submitted his resignation after being elected to the
Estonian parliament in early March, but Meri approved it only last week.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

HAZING IN LATVIAN ARMED FORCES. Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis, in an
effort to eliminate hazing of recruits in the armed forces, has proposed
establishing the posts of general inspector and deputy commander for
educational issues, BNS reported on 24 April. He also suggested that
operational groups be set up to launch speedy investigations into all
disciplinary infringements. According to information gathered by armed
forces staff, 2,954 cases of military discipline infringement were
registered in the first three months of 1995--218 fewer than in the same
period of 1994, BNS reported on 25 April. Although less than 1% of these
infringements were classified as recruit hazing, a survey among soldiers
revealed that 32.6% had experienced hazing between two and four times,
21.3% more than 10 times, and 9.5% regularly. Some 2,000 soldiers sought
medical help in 1994, of which 50-60% were for injuries and illnesses
due to hazing. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. Roman Jagielinski, who is
also minister of agriculture, arrived in Vilnius on 24 April for a two-
day visit to discuss expanding free trade between the two countries and
to speak about Poland's experience in transforming agriculture in line
with European Union standards, BNS reported. He held talks the same day
with President Algirdas Brazauskas and Lithuanian Minister of
Agriculture Vytautas Einoris. Jagielinski on 25 April visited the
international agricultural fair "AgroBalt 95." -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER'S VISIT TO U.S. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski
said in Washington that Poland is ready for full membership in NATO but
preparations for entering the EU will take more time, international
agencies reported. After meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary William
Perry, Bartoszewski announced that the first Polish-U.S. military
exercises will start in three months. Bartoszewski on 25 April quoted
U.S. Vice President Al Gore as telling him that "there will be no
problem about whether Poland is going to be in NATO, but there is a
problem about when and how." He called for a definitive statement from
NATO that no outside country will be able to veto the entry of new
members and that the enlargement process will "not be prolonged ad
infinitum." Asked about Russia, Bartoszewski played down the influence
of nationalist leaders such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He commented that
"the real threat to Russian democracy stems from the generals and from
defense-industrial circles, which would like to see another Afghanistan
or another Chechnya because events like that simply justify their
existence." -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN PRAGUE. Leonid Kuchma arrived in Prague on 25
April for a two-day state visit, Czech and international media reported.
He told a news conference that Ukraine hopes for early integration into
European institutions and that the first step would be membership in the
Council of Europe. President Vaclav Havel said the Czech Republic, which
is to take over the Presidency of the Council of Europe this year, will
support Ukraine's application. Havel also said he hoped for expanded
economic ties with Ukraine. The two presidents are due to sign a
friendship and cooperation treaty on 26 April. Kuchma told Czech
Television he is concerned about the possible eastward expansion of
NATO, which could leave Ukraine as a buffer state between the Western
alliance and a collective security bloc of the CIS. -- Steve Kettle,
OMRI, Inc.

TWO CZECH GOVERNING PARTIES DISCUSS POSSIBLE MERGER. Leaders of the
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the Christian Democratic Party (KDS)
held preliminary talks on 25 April about a possible merger before the
June 1996 parliament elections. If the two groups merge, they will run
under the banner of the ODS, the dominant force in the four-party
coalition, Mlada fronta dnes reported. The ODS and the tiny KDS joined
forces in the last elections as coalition partners. Leaders of both
parties said talks will continue but the KDS also plans to discuss a
possible merger with another governing party, the Christian Democratic
Union-People's Party. A final decision cannot be taken before the party
congresses, which are due in December. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH ROCK GROUP SENTENCED FOR RACIST SONGS. A Prague court gave the six
members of the Czech rock group Branik eight-month suspended sentences
on 25 April for racist texts attacking blacks, gypsies, and Asians. The
group broke up shortly after the offending album appeared in 1991. One
song contained the lines: "Your mission is sacred, you're going to beat
those swine; niggers, gypsies, and yellows, don't let them live in
peace." The prosecuting state attorney immediately appealed the
sentences, believing them to be too lenient, Czech media reported. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. The Slovak parliament's Mandate and
Immunity Committee on 25 April began disciplinary action against
Democratic Union deputy Milan Knazko for referring to Slovak National
Party members as "neo-fascists" and Association of Workers of Slovakia
members as "neo-bolsheviks" at the last parliament session. Committee
votes to bring charges against two other opposition deputies for recent
statements failed to gain sufficient support, Pravda reports. Also on 25
April, the Slovak government approved amendments to the criminal code
that "create conditions for a more effective fight against bribery and
corruption," Slovenska Republika reports. Meanwhile, parliament chairman
Ivan Gasparovic announced that at the seventh session of the parliament,
scheduled to begin on 3 May, the administration of supervisory body of
the Slovak Information Service will be discussed. Ivan Lexa, who was
elected to the parliament last fall as a deputy of the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia, currently heads both the SIS and the supervisory
body. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK COMMISSIONS CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE "CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS,"
DEMOCRATIC UNION. The Slovak parliament commission charged with
investigating the "constitutional crisis" of March 1994, when Vladimir
Meciar was removed as prime minister in a no-confidence vote, has
interviewed a number of former and current parliament deputies. Ivan
Korbela, who left the MDS and was interviewed on 25 April, said the goal
of the commission is to discredit President Michal Kovac and to remove
him from office, Sme and Pravda reported. A second commission, set up to
review the petition lists of the Democratic Union (the party needed at
least 10,000 valid signatures to compete in last fall's elections), is
also continuing its work, according to Dusan Macuska, an MDS deputy who
heads both commissions. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BRITISH WANT OUT OF GORAZDE. Britain on 25 April announced that it is
seeking relief for its contingent of 350 peacekeepers patrolling the
Bosnian Muslim enclave of Gorazde, in eastern Bosnia. "We have asked the
UN to try to find a replacement . . . when [the British peacekeepers']
tour ends in September," Reuters quoted a representative of the British
Ministry of Defense as saying. The latest British announcement comes in
the wake of a similar Dutch request to have soldiers relieved from duty
in Srebrenica. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA DEFENDS KARADZIC, MLADIC . . . Moscow has reacted negatively to
the international war crimes tribunal decision to name Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart, General Ratko
Mladic, as possible war criminals. One senior Russian diplomat has
stressed that bringing charges against them may escalate tensions
throughout the country. "Such a step would be damaging to peace efforts
in the Balkans . . . . [The Bosnian Serb leaders] are seen as freedom
fighters by one side and as criminals by the other," he told Interfax on
25 April. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

.. . . WHILE KARADZIC WELCOMES SERBIAN PATRIARCH. Karadzic, together with
speaker of the Bosnian Serb legislature Momcilo Krajisnik, received
Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle in the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale
on 25 April, Nasa Borba reported. Pavle used the occasion to sharply
criticize Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for allegedly abandoning
the Bosnian Serbs and imposing a blockade against them. He also gave his
indirect support to Bosnian Serb military efforts, observing "It is
better to die than to betray our soul." The patriarch commented that
"our forefathers fought . . . in defense of their freedom, land, and
faith." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

BELGRADE STANDS FIRM ON SANCTIONS. Federal rump Yugoslav Premier Radoje
Kontic is the latest major Belgrade political figure to attack recent
moves by the international community to tighten requirements for lifting
or suspending sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. He is quoted by Nasa
Borba on 26 April as saying Belgrade "has earned a complete lifting of
the sanctions." Meanwhile, Politika reported the same day that Russia
continues its lobbying to have sanctions removed against its Balkan
allies. According to the daily, Aleksandr Zotov, representative to the
international Contact Group, has said that "until the sanctions are
lifted, Belgrade is not prepared to extend diplomatic recognition to
Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

MAZOWIECKI REPORT ON BOSNIA. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, special rapporteur of
the UN Human Rights Commission, has submitted his 15th report since 1992
on human rights violations in former Yugoslavia, according to
international agencies. The report focuses on the Banja Luka and
Prijedor region, where non-Serbs have reportedly been "subjected to
unrelenting terrorization and discrimination," including plundering,
beating, and compulsory service on labor brigades, which often use them
as human shields on the front lines. Mazowiecki notes that "the de facto
Bosnian Serb authorities are very close to attaining their apparent aim
of achieving 'ethnic purity' in territory under their control." The
former Polish premier has been denied access to territory held by
Bosnian Serbs forces, but his report was based on interviews with recent
Muslim and Croatian refugees. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

KOSOVAR SCHOOLS PREVENTED FROM RESUMING CLASSES. Serbian directors of
several elementary schools in Pec, Prizren, and Pristina prevented
Albanian staff and pupils from entering the buildings on 24 April, the
Kosovo Information Center reported the next day. The schools are for
Albanians and Serbs and offer instruction in both languages. But this
week has been declared a public holiday by the Serbian authorities to
celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of the rump Yugoslavia on 27
April 1992. Private schools run by all-Albanian staff are the only ones
in Kosovo to continue classes. Serbian police reportedly also threatened
Albanians who allowed secondary school pupils to receive instruction in
their house. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA CRITICIZES COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICIAL. A statement by Miguel
Angel Martinez, president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary
Assembly, has caused widespread controversy in Romania. A Radio
Bucharest correspondent quoted Martinez as saying in Strasbourg on 24
April that the council's Recommendation 1201 on ethnic minority rights
should remain valid. Radio Bucharest described the statement as
"surprising" and said it contrasted with Martinez's earlier statements
that the recommendation lost its importance following the adoption of
the framework convention on ethnic minorities. Chamber of Deputies
Chairman and former Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase, in a lengthy press
release, suggested that Martinez was pressured into revising his views.
Romania opposes the inclusion of a reference to Recommendation 1201 in
its long-delayed basic treaty with Hungary. Meanwhile, Romanian and
Hungarian experts resumed negotiations on the treaty on 25 April. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

14TH RUSSIAN ARMY TO BE DOWNGRADED. Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev on 19 April issued instructions on reforming the 14th Russian
army, based in Tiraspol, according to ITAR-TASS on 25 April. The decree
provides for army headquarters to be scaled down to an office in charge
of a single division by 1 July. The same source quotes Lt. Gen.
Aleksandr Lebed, commander of the 14th army, as describing the decision
"to chop off [his army's] head" as "criminal." Lebed added that he
doubted he would be offered another position in the army and that he was
not prepared to accept any other office. Reuters said the 45-year-old
general planned to run in the 1996 presidential elections. Many Russians
see Lebed as a firm ruler capable of restoring order in post-communist
Russia. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION WARNS OF RECOMMUNIZATION. The Union of Democratic
Forces, in a memorandum to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly,
has warned of attempts by the government to recommunize the country,
Demokratsiya reported on 25 April. The UDF claims the Socialist
government's activities have halted economic and political reform and
are a step back toward a totalitarian regime. It also notes that the
opposition is being denied access to the media, "which are controlled by
the government." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ON EU MEMBERSHIP. Zhan Videnov, during his
visit to Brussels, said on 25 April that he hopes his country will be
granted membership in the European Union within the next five years,
Reuters reported the same day. He commented that Bulgaria "must prepare
very thoroughly" for membership and that talks can begin only after the
EU has reviewed the Maastricht treaty in 1996. At a press conference
after his meeting with European Commission President Jacques Santer,
Videnov said he realized that hopes for a quick admission into the EU
are "wishful thinking." Videnov also met with NATO Secretary-General
Willy Claes, who praised Bulgaria's participation in the Partnership for
Peace program as "very useful," Demokratsiya reported on 26 April. He
added, however, that NATO membership for Bulgaria and other East
European countries "is not on the daily agenda." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
Inc.

ALBANIAN-U.S. NAVAL COOPERATION. Albanian Defense Minister Safet Zhulali
met with a high-ranking U.S. naval official on 25 April, Rilindja
reported the next day. The two men discussed developing cooperation
between the two navies, especially in the field of hydrography. The U.S.
navy offered the Albanians modern equipment and handed over coastal maps
of American origin. -- 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