The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. - Thomas Paine
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 89, Part II, 9 May 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

KUCHMA COMPARES ECONOMIC STRUGGLE TO WORLD WAR II CHALLENGES. President
Leonid Kuchma said Ukraine's struggle to emerge from its current
economic crisis can be compared to the challenges faced during World War
II, Radio Ukraine and Reuters reported on 8 May. In an address to war
veterans, Kuchma stressed that a new unity of purpose was vital in
Ukraine's transformation to democracy and a free market economy, which
he said was being complicated by "fierce resistance, intrigues and
demagoguery" by political opponents to reforms. The president was
scheduled to preside over a military parade down Kiev's main
thoroughfare, the Khreshchatyk, on 9 May and then fly to Moscow to join
commemoration ceremonies there and discuss with Russian President Boris
Yeltsin the division of the Black Sea Fleet and other issues. The
Ukrainian leader emphasized that Ukraine was the "epicenter" of the war
on the Eastern front and the country lost more than eight million
people. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICIAL SAYS UKRAINE COULD JOIN THIS YEAR. The
chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Miguel
Martinez, said during a visit to Kiev that the procedure for Ukraine to
enter the CE is in its "concluding stage" and the country could join
this year, Interfax-Ukraine and Ukrainian Television News reported on 7
May. He said the lack of a post-Soviet Constitution would not hinder
Ukraine's bid for membership because the existing much-amended document,
adopted in 1978, does not contradict international standards. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS GENERAL PROSECUTOR RESIGNS OVER ADOPTION CHARGES. The chief
prosecutor of Belarus resigned on 6 May amid charges of backing trade in
children by wanting to relax rules for foreigners seeking to adopt
Belarusian children, Interfax-West and Reuters reported on the same day
and on 7 May. Narodnaya Gazeta also accused Vasily Sholodonov of
illegally privatizing two apartments for himself and his son, the
agencies wrote. Some commentators connected the allegations to
Sholodonov's growing criticism of recent government decisions. Stanislav
Bubin, a senior education ministry official, said Sholodonov had only
approved a memorandum, which carries no legal force, in favor of simpler
adoption procedures. Foreigners are currently allowed to adopt only
children with mental and physical disabilities. A new law is being drawn
up for approval by the government and parliament. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

BOMB ATTACK ON SYNAGOGUE IN LATVIA. Unknown attackers hurled a bomb from
a passing car into the synagogue in Riga on 6 May, Reuters reported.
There were no injuries, but damage was estimated at $30-40,000. The
Interior Ministry press center reported that an anonymous caller to the
police identified himself as the commander of the sabotage group
"Rubiks" and said there will be more bombings if former Communist Party
First Secretary Alfreds Rubiks is not discharged from prison within a
week, BNS reported on 8 May. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ONLY THREE LITHUANIAN BANKS WILL PAY 1994 DIVIDENDS. Laima Cernaite,
director of the Inspection Department of the Bank of Lithuania, told
Interfax on 6 May that only three of the country's 20 banks -- Vilnius,
Hermis,and Snoras -- will pay their investors dividends for 1994;
respectively, 15%, 20%, and 30%. Many banks paid dividends of 70-80% in
1993. Although Lithuania's banks had a net profit of 331 million litai
($82.75 million) in 1994, they ended the year with a shortfall of 167
million litai because a December 1994 law required them to transfer 498
million litai to the Bank of Lithuania for creating funds to cover
unrepaid credits. During 1994 the joint-stock capital of Lithuania's
commercial banks increased from 119 million litai to 262 million litai
and hard-currency deposits increased by 110%. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
Inc.

WALESA'S SPEECH ON VE-DAY COMMEMORATIONS. Polish President Lech Walesa
on 8 May paid tribute to the Red Army for destroying Nazism but
condemned Stalinist repression, the murder of Poles during and after the
war by Soviet security forces and abuses committed under Moscow-imposed
communism. In a speech to a joint session of the parliament, Walesa also
reproached Poland's western allies for abandoning it to Nazi and Soviet
aggression during the war and called for Poland to be accepted now into
Western and European structures. Aleksander Kwasniewski, the leader of
the ruling postcommunist coalition and possible rival to Walesa in the
upcoming presidential election, criticized the speech as too divisive.
-- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POLAND'S LABOR UNION SELECTS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Labor Union, a
leftist party with 37 deputies in the 460-seat Sejm, on 7 May selected
Ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski as its presidential candidate, Polish and
international media report. At the Union's congress, Zielinski, 69,
received160 votes against 81 for Jacek Kuron, who has already been
declared the candidate of another party, the Freedom Union. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH PREMIER REGRETS POSTWAR EXPULSION OF GERMANS. Vaclav Klaus has
admitted that his countrymen behaved unjustly and violently in the
postwar expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia, Mlada fronta dnes
reported on 9 May. "None of us can can mention these crimes without
regret. It should not have happened," Klaus told an East-West forum in
the Bavarian border town of Furth am Wald. "Everyone must begin (by
looking at) himself, and not with what wrong was done to him but with
how he did wrong," Klaus added. At a ceremonial concert in Prague on 8
May to mark the 50th anniversary of VE-day, Klaus said that the Czech
Republic has successfully rid itself of the legacy of occupation and
totalitarianism since the fall of communism in 1989. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN PRESIDENT. The
parliament on 5 May passed a no-confidence vote in Michal Kovac, Slovak
media reported. Slovak National Party deputy Vitazoslav Moric proposed
the motion, which was approved by 80 deputies representing the
government coalition. One deputy from the Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia abstained, while 40 opposition deputies voted against. There
are no legal consequences of the vote, since the Constitution states
that the parliament can only remove the president for activities
"against the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Slovakia" or
against the country's "democratic constitutional system." Even in that
case, the vote requires a three-fifths majority (90 votes in the 150-
member parliament). Kovac later called the vote unconstitutional and
stressed that he will not resign. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

CONFLICT BREWING WITHIN SLOVAKIA'S COALITION? At a press conference on 5
May, Slovak National Party Chairman Jan Slota said his party supports
neither the govern-ment's proposed amendments to the criminal law nor
its draft law on conflicts of interest. He also said the decision of the
SNP not to support the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty is
final. Speaking on Slovak Radio on 5 May concerning the ratification of
the treaty, Premier Vladimir Meciar said it is necessary to take
preventative measures to avoid a government crisis but that he will
begin discussions on the treaty with other political parties. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REJECTS REFERENDUM. Hungarian media and
Reuters reported on 6 May that the country's Constitutional Court has
rejected a call by the Smallholders Party for a national referendum on
strengthening presidential powers. Hungary's presidency is now largerly
a figurehead post with few executive powers. The court ruled that
constitutional changes cannot be the subject of referendums. The
Smallholders collected more than 156,000 signatures in support of a
directly elected, strong presidency and said they would nominate their
leader, Jozsef Torgyan, for the post. Hungary's presidents are currently
elected by parliament. A referendum must be held if it is requested by
more than 100,000 people. The ruling Socialists have indicated that they
intend to reelect Arpad Goncz to the post when his term expires in July.
-- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS STEP UP ATTACKS . . . On 9 May, international media report
that Bosnian Serb forces have intensified attacks against a number of
targets in Bosnia, including the two UN-protected cities of Tuzla and
Sarajevo. Serb forces, violating UN heavy weapons exclusion zone
regulations, used tanks against Bosnian government troops just north of
Sarajevo in one of the first reappearances of tank attacks in over a
year of the conflict. Meanwhile, on 8 May Hina reported that Serb forces
from parts of Croatia's Krajina region launched an estimated 24 rockets
at Coralici, western Bosnia, in the morning of the previous day. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

 . . . IN THE WAKE OF RECENT MORTAR ATTACK ON SARAJEVO. A Serb mortar
attack on a Sarajevo suburb on 7 May killed 11 persons. It was the worst
such incident since the February 1994 mortar attack which claimed 68
lives and has come to be known as the "Sarajevo Market Massacre." On 8
May, UN officials in Zagreb ruled out calling for retaliatory NATO
airstrikes on the grounds that such a move may have "possible
repercussions," prompting strong reactions from US and Bosnian
government officials. US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright was
quoted by Reuters as saying "I fail to understand the logic behind
turning down such a request [for NATO air power] given the kinds of
activities that have taken place in and around Sarajevo." -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ZAGREB ON KRAJINA. According to Croatian media accounts, official Zagreb
is involved in a concerted effort to normalize life in the recently
retaken territory of western Slavonia, formerly held by the country's
rebel Krajina Serbs. On 8 May, Croatia's army chief-of-staff General
Zvonimir Cervenko told a press conference that "I have assured the
people in Pakrac area [in Western Slavonia] that the Croatian army will
withdraw as soon as the police begin operating regularly." Meanwhile,
Adalbert Rebic, Croatian minister and head of the government office for
displaced persons and refugees, met with some 160 evacuated persons,
mostly elderly and of Serb ethnicity, promising them that "You will go
home in a few days as soon as the security condition allows such a
move," Hina reported. In other news, Reuters on 9 May reports that,
contrary to earlier accounts, a monument at Jasenovac to Serbs and Jews
slaughtered by Croatian fascists during World War II as well as the
Serbian Orthodox Church in the area survived intact the advance of the
Croatian army in western Slavonia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE IN ROMANIA. Romania's President Ion Iliescu on 5
May signed a decree replacing the culture and commerce ministers in
Nicolae Vacaroiu's left-wing government, Radio Bucharest reported. The
new culture minister, Viorel Marginean, is a painter and director of the
National Arts Museum; he replaces the writer Marin Sorescu, who has been
accused in the media of having mismanaged the cultural sector. The new
commerce minister, Petru Crisan, replaces Cristian Ionescu, who had
asked to be released from duty on health grounds. Both Marginean and
Crisan stated that they have no party affiliation. At the swearing-in
ceremony, Iliescu stressed that the changes in the government had no
political connotation. On 8 May, the two ministers were officially
installed in the presence of Prime Minister Vacaroiu. The media noticed
that this was the fifth reshuffle since the fall of 1992, when
Vacaroiu's cabinet took office. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN CIVIC PARTY HOLDS CONGRESS. Between 4 and 6 May, the opposition
Party of Civic Alliance (PAC) held its second nation-wide congress in
the Transylvanian town of Alba Iulia, Radio Bucharest reported. The
congress adopted a new party program and statutes and reelected Nicolae
Manolescu as party president. PAC, which defines its doctrine as neo-
liberal, supports the idea of reconstructing Romania's political elite,
which had been destroyed under the Communists. This was the first
national meeting of the organization since leaving the opposition
alliance known as the Democratic Convention of Romania in March this
year. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

GENERAL LEBED DENIES RESIGNATION REPORTS. Lieutenant- General Aleksandr
Lebed on 6 May denied that he had submitted his resignation from the
post of commander of the 14th Russian army headquartered in Tiraspol,
Interfax reports. Lebed added, however, that he would soon announce his
final decision on his future. At a press conference in Moscow on the
same day, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said that Lebed, whom
he described as "the army's capricious child," has been told to either
carry out his superiors' orders or to quit the army. He accused Lebed of
making statements "under the influence of different political groupings
which seek to come to power" in Russia. Grachev further defended his
ministry's recent decision to downgrade the 14th army. -- Dan Ionescu,
OMRI, Inc.

IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR IN CHISINAU. Michel Camdessus, the managing
director of the International Monetary Fund, paid a two-day visit to the
Republic of Moldova, Interfax reports. On 7 May, Camdessus told
President Mircea Snegur that his organization would continue to assist
Moldova in getting Western credits for developing its industry. He also
said that the IMF was supporting economic reforms in that country, which
should be irreversible. He pleaded for structural reforms and price
stabilization, and expressed the hopes that the fall in Moldova's
industrial output will stop in 1995. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT DEFENDS ANTI-CRIME MEASURES. Interior Minister
Lyubomir Nachev on 5 May defended the government's proposal for new
anti-crime measures, Reuters reported the same day. Nachev said the
government plans to extend police investigative powers, tighten arms
licensing, and curb the activities of private security firms. Private
individuals will be allowed to carry arms only in exceptional cases,
while private security guards will be allowed to carry them only while
on duty. According to the minister, 49,775 crimes were committed during
the first three months of 1995, of which 15,504 are unsolved. Crime rate
growth has halved compared to the first quarter of 1994, and murder
cases have fallen by 20%. Also on 5 May, Justice Minister Mladen
Chervenyakov announced that the government will tighten residence permit
requirements for foreigners in order to curb the spread of international
crime into Bulgaria. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ILLEGAL BUSINESS IN BULGARIA ON THE RISE. Illegal business activities in
Bulgaria amounted to $9.5 billion in 1994, equivalent to the country's
Gross Domestic Product, dpa reported on 8 May, citing an article in Trud
the same day. The trade union newspaper referred to statistics of the
Bulgarian National Bank. Illegal business includes drug trafficking,
forged customs declarations, and trade with countries that are under an
embargo. According to Trud, many private restaurants, hotels and casinos
are just front businesses created in order to justify profits to the
revenue office. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

MACEDONIA RECEIVES $55 MILLION IMF LOAN. The International Monetary Fund
on 5 May granted a $55 million loan to Macedonia, dpa reported the
following day. The money is intended to assist economic reforms in the
country. IMF officials in Washington said the loan was granted after the
marked stabilization of Macedonia's state finances, which ended
hyperinflation and lowered state debts. -- Stefan Krause
OSCE TO MEDIATE MACEDONIA MEMBERSHIP. The Organization for Cooperation
and Security in Europe (OSCE) has received agreement in principle from
Greece and Macedonia to mediate the issue of Macedonian membership in
the organization, international agencies reported on 8 May. The current
chair of the OSCE, Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, said:
"During his recent visit, the foreign minister of FYROM [Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia] raised the issue and today Greece has also
indicated that it would welcome OSCE playing a role in solving the
problems." Greece has blocked Macedonia's entry into the OSCE because it
objects to the country's use of the name Macedonia. Greek Foreign
Minister Karolos Papoulias, visiting Budapest for talks with Kovacs,
said: "We want to overcome the crisis." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIA TIGHTENS BORDER CONTROLS. Albanian police and army tightened up
border and coast controls to cope with illegal immigration and
emigration, AFP reported on 8 May. Interior Minister Agron Musaraj said
that an additional 300 police, as well as helicopters and motorboats,
have been mobilized to check boats on the Adriatic and stop Albanians
and other citizens from illegally crossing the sea to Italy. The
government also wants to stop illegal immigration to Albania. Musaraj
said that 600 persons without valid documents were denied entry to
Albania over the past two weeks. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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