Человек, который осмеливается потратить впустую час времени, еще не осознал цену жизни. - Ч. Р. Дарвин

No. 90, Part II, 10 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


During a military march marking VE-Day, Valerii Shmarov stressed the
need to increase the combat readiness of the Ukrainian armed forces as a
sign of what he called the strictly defensive nature of the former
Soviet republic's military doctrine, Interfax-Ukraine and Reuters
reported on 9 May. But he added that political measures and friendly
relations with Ukraine's neighbors and other CIS countries "united by a
common history" were the key to preventing future conflicts. "The
creation of a strong, law-abiding Ukraine will be the best memorial for
those who gave their lives," Shmarov said. Unlike Moscow, the Kiev
celebrations featured no display of military hardware, only a parade of
soldiers and veterans. In western Ukraine, local radical nationalists
tried to tear up a red Soviet-era flag carried by Red Army veterans
during a parade. Veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who fought
both the Nazis and Soviet forces, held a separate commemoration in Lviv.
Crimean festivities were disrupted as officers of the disputed Black Sea
Fleet left their seats when Ukrainian servicemen marched past. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

sentiment prevailed during a military parade in Minsk which marked the
50th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe and which took place
less than a week before elections and a referendum on greater
integration with the young country's giant neighbor, international news
agencies reported on 9 May. Thousands lined the streets carrying mainly
the red flags of the ex-USSR, overwhelming the few flags of post-Soviet
Belarus. President Aleksandr Lukashenka delivered a nostalgic address of
"a unified homeland from Brest to the Kuriles and from the Black Sea to
the Barents Sea." Belarus suffered higher proportional losses as a World
War II battleground than any other European country, with nearly 2.25
million dead out of a population of eight million. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN EDUCATION MINISTER RESIGNS. Education and Science Minister Janis
Vaivads submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Maris Gailis on 8
May, BNS reported the next day. Vaivads said he resigned because he
could not fulfill financial promises made to teachers. Chairman of the
For the Homeland and Freedom faction Maris Grinblats, who had asked for
Vaivads's resignation several weeks earlier, said that a new minister
would be unlikely to resolve the teachers' problems. Vaivads will return
to the Saeima as a deputy. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

APRIL INFLATION IN THE BALTIC STATES. The consumer price index for April
in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia rose 1.0%, 1.4%, and 1.9%,
respectively, BNS reported on 9 May. In Estonia, the cost of services
increased by 1.2% while goods rose by 0.9% (0.6% for food and 1.5% for
manufactured goods). In Latvia, food prices rose by 0.7%, the greatest
increases being for potatoes (12.1%) and cabbage (23%). Household
expenses grew by 1.3%, transport costs by 3.7%, entertainment by 4.8%.
Cumulative inflation for the first four months of 1995 was 7.9% in
Estonia, 11.7% in Latvia, and 12.9% in Lithuania. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

Bastien and George Katsirdaki of NATO's International Military Staff
told reporters in Vilnius that Lithuania's armed forces make a very good
impression and should be able to reach NATO standards in two or three
years time, BNS reported on 9 May. They, however, declined to speculate
on the possible date for such admission. The two were in Vilnius for an
international seminar, attended by more than 70 delegates from 22
countries, on the planning of military exercises and the training of
forces for peacekeeping, search and rescue, and humanitarian operations.
Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius said Lithuania intends to participate
in six of the 14 planned Partnership for Peace programs this year. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

Poland's most important defense plants began a strike on 9 May, Reuters
reported. Some 1,000 workers at the Pronit explosives factory in Pionki,
south of Warsaw, walked off their jobs and Solidarity warned that the
strike might be extended to other defense factories unless the
government provides more aid to the embattled arms industry. Pronit is
one of four arms plants the Polish government considers crucial to state
defense. Reuters quoted Deputy Industry Minister Roman Czerwinski as
saying the strike was "illegal and self-destructive." He said the
government could not buy more arms from Polish producers without
altering the budget "and that's not going to happen." The Polish arms
industry has been hit by bans on exports to Iraq and the former
Yugoslavia and unpaid money owed by the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile,
workers at the state-owned tractor company Ursus began an indefinite
strike on 8 May, calling for the government measures to improve the
firm's finances. -- Doug Clarke and Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ISRAEL. Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw
Bartoszewski on 9 May began a four-day visit to Israel, during which he
is taking part in ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Allied
victory in Europe. On 9 May, he was a honorary guest at the "victory
celebration" in the Knesset courtyard, Polish media report. Bartoszewski
has held honorary Israeli citizenship since 1992; in 1963 he was awarded
the title of "Righteous Gentile." -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

National Property Fund, the state holding organization for property in
the process of privatization, is owed more than four billion koruny by
companies that have passed the deadline for paying for their acquisition
of businesses, Hospodarske noviny reported on 10 May. The first list
published by the Fund shows that full or partial payment is still
outstanding for 148 firms privatized in 1992 and 1993. At least six
purchasing companies or investment funds owe more than 150 million
koruny each. The total amount owing to the Fund was estimated to stand
at the end of March at 7.5 billion koruny, a reduction of 500 million
koruny from five months earlier, Hospodarske noviny wrote. It quoted
Fund official Pavel Suchy as saying publishing the list could pressure
some defaulters into paying; in some cases, the Fund has sued debtors,
filed for their liquidation or proposed canceling sale contracts. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

Representatives of the Slovak opposition have expressed concern
following the parliament's no-confidence vote in Michal Kovac of 5 May,
while government parties have defended the move. On 8 May, the Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) presented a declaration stating that
Kovac's two years in office confirm that "he is not capable of further
carrying out his duties" because he is causing a polarization of
society, his actions do not reflect impartiality, and he has failed to
respect the seriousness of the "democratic decisions" approved by the
parliament, and thus also the will of the majority of Slovak citizens.
For these reasons, the HZDS stressed that Kovac should resign from his
post, Pravda reported on 9 May. In an interview with Pravda on 10 May,
Milan Ftacnik, deputy chairman of the opposition Party of the Democratic
Left, stressed that "the first place in the polarization of society" has
long belonged to Premier and HZDS Chairman Vladimir Meciar. At a press
conference on 9 May, Ftacnik expressed concern that in the half year
since the elections, the HZDS has worked only to strengthen its own
power. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

an opinion poll carried out by the Slovak Statistical Office from 20-31
March, 48% of respondents said they trusted the institution of the
presidency, compared with only 39% for the government and 35% for the
parliament, Pravda reports on 10 May. Meanwhile, 41% distrusted the
president, 51% the government and 53% the parliament. Trust in the
president was higher among residents of Slovakia's largest towns and
those with more education while trust in the parliament was higher among
older people and lower among ethnic Hungarians. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,


AKASHI MEETS SERB LEADERS. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi on 9 May met
in Belgrade with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and heads of the
self-styled Republic of Serbian Krajina, including RSK President Milan
Martic and Premier Borislav Mikelic, Nasa Borba reports the following
day. Akashi urged Martic and the other Krajina leaders to refrain from
any drastic measures or retaliatory actions in response to Croatia's
recent retaking of territory in western Slavonia formerly under rebel
Serb control (see OMRI Daily Digest 2 May 1995). For his part, however,
Martic said that conditions and tensions were such that they "can
escalate into bigger conflicts," Reuters reported. Discussions with
Milosevic were reportedly aimed at winning over the Serbian president
for the purpose of averting a wider regional conflict. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SERBS LEAVE FOR BOSNIA. Reuters reported on 9 May that the UN moved into
the once Serb-held enclave in Croatia's western Slavonia to evacuate
local Serbs to Bosnia after "Serb leaders threatened reprisals if they
were not allowed to go." Two buses were slated to transport up to 100
people to Bosnia, and UN officials have said they expect that many more
individuals will leave, likely causing the "evacuation program" to
continue for at least several days. Meanwhile, on 9 May Hina, citing
Croatian army sources, reported that Serb paramilitary forces some 80
kilometers southeast of Zagreb are amassing heavy weapons and "building
up troops." The news agency also reported that Bosnian Serb forces fired
three shells at targets near the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. According to HABENA reports of 9 May, Bosnian Serbs
shelled the northeastern Bosnian city of Tuzla that day, allegedly
causing "significant damage" but evidently no casualties. Meanwhile,
international media continue to report on fighting throughout Bosnia and
Herzegovina. On 9 May, AFP reported that representatives of the
international Contact Group will meet on 12 May, and the topic of using
NATO airpower against the Bosnian Serb side is likely to be broached. On
8 May, UN officials decided against using the threat of airstrikes
against the Bosnian Serbs in response to the 7 May Serb mortar attack on
a Sarajevo suburb which resulted in 11 deaths. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,

executive chairman of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR),
told journalists on 9 May that there is a "broad opinion stream" within
his party in favor of supporting Ion Iliescu's candidature in the 1996
presidential election. Nastase added that Iliescu's official nomination
would be announced at a future party gathering (probably the national
conference). He said that Iliescu's participation in the VE-Day
Celebrations in London, Paris and Moscow both recognized Romania's war
efforts on the allies' side and acknowledged Iliescu's "role as a
national referee [in preserving] stability and social peace in the
country." Iliescu told Radio Bucharest that the celebrations in Moscow
had "the strongest political charge," including a clear message that
Russia "cannot and should not be isolated" internationally. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

FORMER KING ADDRESSES ROMANIANS. In a message marking the 10th of May,
Romania's national day in the pre-communist era, former King Michael
remembered Romania's decision to take up arms against Nazi Germany in
August 1944. The message, which was published in several independent
dailies, said that Romanians "deserved more than they could achieve in
the last five years" and that they had the duty to carry through the
democratic revival of 1944 and 1945. Michael's message was sent from
London, where he took part in the VE-Day celebrations. On 7 May,
President Ion Iliescu told the Romanian Service of the BBC he had not
been upset by the British government's invitation to Michael to take
part in the ceremonies. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

in Sofia on 9 May highlighted conflicting views of Bulgaria's communist
past. dpa reported the same day that representatives of the ruling
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) laid wreaths at the monument of the
Soviet Army, while opposition parties boycotted the ceremonies. The
ambassadors of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and Armenia took part
in the ceremonies, which were accompanied by Soviet military songs and
chants of "eternal friendship." A BSP statement honored the contribution
of Bulgarian soldiers and partisans to the victory over Germany, but
contained no criticism of communist rule after the war. Bulgaria was
allied with Germany until September 1944, and changed sides after being
occupied by the Red Army. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

Videnov on 9 May attended the VE-Day celebrations in Moscow, arriving
separately and following different programs, Bulgarian newspapers
reported the following day. Videnov attended the celebrations on Red
Square and the military parade at Poklonnaya Gora, and also met with
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Ivan Rybkin, chairman of
the State Duma. Zhelev, who attended the celebrations on Red Square, met
with Bulgarians living in Russia, Trud reported. Most papers noted that
the two politicians did not even greet each other on Red Square and
tried to avoid contact. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

between US businessman George Soros and Blagovest Sendov, chairman of
the National Assembly, failed to resolve a conflict over the role of the
Soros-sponsored Open Society Fund, Bulgarian newspapers reported the
following day. The parliament canceled a 42 million leva ($ 646,000)
contribution to the fund last week. The Fund's budget is $6.2 million
without the government contribution, $6 million of which is provided by
Soros himself. It finances the American University in Blagoevgrad,
scholarships, scientific projects and exchanges. Sendov was cited by 24
chasa as saying that Soros is trying to "interfere in domestic affairs,"
while Education Minister Ilcho Dimitrov told Duma that Bulgaria is
thankful for any help, provided "it does not offend our national
sovereignty and honor." According to the Fund's Managing Director Georgi
Prohaski, Soros during the meeting with Sendov "expressed his concern
over some recent publications . . .  which showed signs of xenophobia
and reluctance of the government to develop ties with the Western
world," international agencies reported. Soros himself told Demokratsiya
that he will continue to finance the Fund. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov
declined to meet Soros. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

Evangelos Venizelos on 9 May denounced Turkish allegations that his
country is training Kurdish rebels, international news agencies reported
on the same day. He was replying to statements made by an alleged
Kurdish rebel in Izmir on 8 May. Mehmet Kavak, who was captured along
with two other suspected Kurdish rebels, said he received two months of
military training at a camp 200 kilometers from Athens. Venizelos said
this is "not the first time that a Kurd who has been arrested is forced
to confess . . . that he allegedly was trained . . . in Greece." He
added that Greece "is accessible to all and is transparent," so that
"anyone can conduct a journalistic investigation here to see what is
going on." Greece has repeatedly denied Turkish claims that Kurds are
trained on its territory. -- 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
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