It is not enough to show people how to live better: there is a mandate for any group with enormous powers of communication to show people how to be better. - Mary Mannes
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 93, Part II, 15 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

BELARUSIANS VOTE IN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUM. The Belarusian
Central Election Commission on 14 May reported that 41.1% of eligible
voters cast ballots in the republic's first parliament elections since
independence, Interfax and Reuters reported the same day. Voters were
also asked to take part in a referendum on four issues: economic
integration with Russia, Russian as a second state language, the return
of the Soviet-era state emblem and flag, and presidential authority to
dissolve the parliament. A turnout of 50% plus one vote is required for
the poll to be valid, and results are expected over the next several
days. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, after casting his vote in Minsk,
said he was confident the population would back his initiative to have
two state languages, Russian and Belarusian, and move toward new "Slavic
unity" with Russia and even neighboring Ukraine. He said that while
presidential power to dissolve the legislature would be non-binding,
public support would allow him to make political decisions of that
nature. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CLINTON ENDS VISIT TO UKRAINE. U.S. President Bill Clinton ended his
two-day state visit to Ukraine on 12 May with a rousing speech to some
15,000 Ukrainians in front of Shevchenko State University in Kiev,
international agencies reported on 13 May. Clinton pledged American
solidarity with Ukrainians during the painful transition to democracy
and a free market. He confirmed his promise to extend $250 million to
Ukraine to finance critical imports in 1995 and pledged an additional
$27 million, under the Nunn-Lugar amendment, for Ukrainian nuclear
disarmament and defense conversion. Clinton also said he would provide
more than $1 million to support Ukraine's participation in military
exercises within the Partnership for Peace program in 1995. Agreement
was reached that a Ukrainian cosmonaut will take part in a space mission
aboard the U.S. space shuttle in October 1997. In addition, the U.S.
agreed to help upgrade fire and safety conditions at the Chornobyl
nuclear power plant until its planned closure by 2000. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT AGAIN THREATENS PLEBISCITE OVER BILL ON SEPARATION
OF POWERS. Leonid Kuchma on 13 May again threatened to call a non-
binding nationwide referendum on confidence in the parliament and
president if the country's legislature rejects his proposed
constitutional bill on separation of powers, Interfax-Ukraine reported
the same day. The draft law, which is to be voted on later this week,
would enable him to implement much-needed economic reforms. Kuchma added
that the formation of a new government, following the parliament's no
confidence vote in the cabinet last month, depends on the resolution of
the power bill issue. He said he feared a long debate over his proposed
candidates would hinder the implementation of economic reforms. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN BANK DIRECTOR SHOT DEAD. Moisejs Gurevics, a co-founder and
board member of Latvia's largest commercial bank, Baltija Bank, was shot
five times in his car on 11 May, Reuters reported the next day. Gurevics
was also the president of Interpegro, a company operating a chain of
food stores in Riga. Baltija Bank president Talis Freimanis said that
"unknown structures" had been trying for two years to disrupt the
stability of the bank and that the murder was but another attempt to
achieve this goal, BNS reported on 13 May. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
Inc.

LITHUANIAN-POLISH COOPERATION. Polish and Lithuanian Defense Ministers
Zbigniew Okonski and Linas Linkevicius signed in Warsaw on 12 May
protocols on military cooperation under NATO's Partnership for Peace
program and on the creation of a joint airspace control system, BNS
reported. The first protocol provides for exchanging experiences in
training UN peacekeepers and establishing a peacekeeping training center
in the Lithuanian town of Rukla. The second protocol calls for
consultations on technical matters and how to bring the future system in
line with NATO standards. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH POSTCOMMUNISTS CHOOSE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Polish Social-
Democratic Party (SDRP) on 13 May chose Aleksander Kwasniewski,
president of the SDRP Supreme Council, as its candidate in the upcoming
presidential elections. Kwasniewski, who is currently leading opinion
polls with nearly 20% of the vote, was also chosen as the candidate of
the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). His nomination ends speculation
about a possible left-of-center joint candidate in the first round of
the elections. Support for such a candidate was recently voiced by SLD
leader and Sejm deputy speaker Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz. He argued in
Gazeta Wyborcza on 12 April that Jacek Kuron, nominated by the Freedom
Union, and Tadeusz Zielinski, candidate for the Labor Union, would win
the support of a broad electorate as left-of-center candidates. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH PREMIER REFUSES AUSTRIAN MONEY TO STOP NUCLEAR PLANT. Vaclav Klaus
on 12 May turned down an Austrian offer of 500 million schillings ($50
million) for the Czech Republic to stop construction of the
controversial nuclear power plant at Temelin, in southern Bohemia, Czech
media reported. The offer was made by Chancellor Franz Vranitzky during
an official visit to Prague. "The full completion of the construction is
a matter of overriding importance for us," Klaus told a news conference.
He said the plant will have a top-grade safety system, and he agreed to
improve the accident warning system at Temelin. Despite the long-running
dispute over the nuclear facility, Vranitzky said bilateral relations
are good. Austria supports the early entry of the Czech Republic into
the European Union. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT PARTY CALLS ON RENEGADE MEMBER TO RESIGN PARLIAMENT
POST. Leaders of the Christian Democratic Party (KDS) on 13 May called
on party member Pavel Tollner to resign his post as a deputy chairman of
the parliament, Czech media reported. The KDS leadership was responding
to the 4 May decision by Tollner and four other KDS deputies to leave
the party's caucus and form their own group in protest over plans for
the KDS to merge with Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic
Party. The KDS leaders said that if Tollner does not resign voluntarily,
they will discuss his removal with other parties in the governing
coalition. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

NEW HEAD OF SLOVAK COUNTERINTELLIGENCE? Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar told Slovak Radio on 14 May that he could "neither confirm nor
refute" reports that former Deputy Minister for Internal Affairs
Jaroslav Svechota has been appointed head of the Slovak
Counterintelligence Service. Meciar was speaking after a meeting with
Ivan Lexa, head of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS), which includes
counterintelligence. He noted that he had discussed with Lexa
developments within the SIS, in particular the need to "part with those
who gathered information about members of my government, deputies of the
parliament representing the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, and
institutions and organizations that cooperated with me." -- Jiri Pehe,
OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIANS PROTEST CUTS IN FAMILY ALLOWANCES. Some 10,000 Hungarians on
14 May demonstrated in front of the parliament building against planned
cuts in child care benefits, Magyar Nemzet reported on 15 May. They also
demanded the resignation of Finance Minister Lajos Bokros. Under an
austerity package drawn up by Bokros, from July 1 the government is to
pay allowances only to the poorest families. At present, all families
are eligible for the benefits. The demonstration was organized by the
National Association of Large Families. Several leading officials who
served at the Welfare Ministry under the previous, conservative
government, including former Welfare Minister Laszlo Surjan,
participated in the demonstration. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FIGHTING CONTINUES IN THE POSAVINA REGION. The narrow corridor linking
Serbia with its conquests in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia continued to
be the main theater of fighting in Bosnia over the past few days. The
Serbs stepped up pressure on the Croatian-held enclave of Orasje on the
Bosnian side of the Sava River. Hina on 15 May reported that tanks and
artillery were involved in the attack and that fighting in one village
in particular was hand-to-hand. Nasa Borba noted the same day that the
Croats responded by shelling Serbian-occupied Brcko. The UN said the
Bosnian fronts were otherwise relatively quiet. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
Inc.

KRAJINA SERB LEADER PRAISES RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Rajko Lezajic, president of
the Krajina Serb legislature, said that Belgrade's policies are aimed at
promoting peace in the region, Nasa Borba reported on 15 May. The 13 May
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung discussed at length the "division of
roles" among the various Serbian factions and spokesmen: Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and his supporters in Krajina were said to
be currently taking the part of peacemakers, while Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic and other Krajina officials follow a more bellicose
line. Meanwhile, the BBC on 15 May said Croatian forces that had
infiltrated into UN-controlled buffer zones in the Krajina's Sector
South have generally withdrawn but that some units in the Gospic area
are staying put. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

WHAT ROLE FOR THE U.S. IN WESTERN SLAVONIA? Novi list on 13 May and Nasa
Borba two days later reported on remarks by Washington's influential
Ambassador to Zagreb, Peter Galbraith. He warned against violations of
the current mandate for UN peacekeepers and called Croatia's
reoccupation of western Slavonia earlier this month a dangerous
precedent. Galbraith pointed out that neither the Krajina Serb
leadership nor the Bosnian Serbs "lifted a finger" to help the Serbs of
western Slavonia. He also commented that Croatia received "not a green
light but a red light" from the U.S. regarding the move. The Voice of
Russia in Serbian, however, hinted on 14 May that Washington may have
been behind the armed action, quoting British newspapers to the effect
that the only man in Croatia more powerful than Galbraith is President
Franjo Tudjman. The broadcast also carried stories that may reinforce
Serbian fears that the Croatian government is fascistoid and bent on
destroying Serbian national identity. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ORDERLY EVACUATION OF SERBIAN REFUGEES CONTINUES. Serbian civilians
continue to leave western Slavonia for Bosnian Serb-held territory under
UN supervision. The monitors said it was probably the most orderly
transfer of refugees in the Yugoslav conflict to date. International
media also reported that Croatian officials have tried to convince Serbs
that it is safe to remain. Many elderly people have no intention of
leaving. Nasa Borba on 13 May said that a UN commission has begun work
on investigating reports of massacres of Serbian civilians and that some
Croatian military authorities were cooperating. Previous reports by
Serbs of wholesale atrocities in western Slavonia have largely proven
unsubstantiated. But this has not been the case with accounts of Bosnian
Serb attacks on Croats and Roman Catholic centers in the Banja Luka
area. In one such incident, a church was destroyed with monks still
inside. Novi list on 13 May carried the text of the local bishop's
formal protest letter to Karadzic. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN UPDATE. Nasa Borba on 15 May reported that its chief editor,
Gordana Logar, has been elected president of the Independent Association
of Journalists of Serbia. Logar defeated Radio B 92 candidate Dusan
Masic at a convention of association members, netting 71 votes to
Masic's 44. In other news, the UN Security Council on 11 May approved a
resolution allowing rump Yugoslav ships to pass through Romainian locks
along the River Danube while the locks on the rump Yugoslav side undergo
repairs. The vessels had previously been barred from doing so by the
international sanctions imposed against Belgrade. The resolution is
slated to remain in effect for 60 days, but that period may be extended
upon recommendation of sanctions inspectors. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
Inc.

ROMANIAN GYPSY "EMPEROR" ON HUNGER STRIKE. Romanian self-styled Gypsy
"Emperor" Iulian Radulescu told Reuters on 12 May that he is on a hunger
strike to protest the government's decision to change the official
designation for Gypsies from "Romani" to "Tigan" (see OMRI Daily Digest,
3 May 1995). Radulescu said the decision was an "outrageous racial
discrimination," since "Tigan" is commonly used pejoratively. Gypsy
politician Petre Burtea said "Tigan" was a "derogatory word from old
Sanskrit for beggar and thief." Radulescu warned of unrest if the
government did not reconsider its decision. "There are enough of us to
turn into a problem if the government won't change its decision and
denigrates us," he said. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN LIBERAL PARTIES UNITE. The National Liberal Party (PNL) and the
groups that split away in March from the Liberal Party '93 and the Party
of Civic Alliance (PAC) merged on 13 May, Radio Bucharest reported. The
PNL, which failed to gain parliament representation in the 1992
elections, will now have 12 parliamentarians elected as representatives
of the PAC and the Liberal Party '93. But according to house
regulations, parliamentarians who leave the factions on whose lists they
were elected are to be regarded as independents. They can neither
represent other formations nor be recognized as constituting political
groups. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

COMMANDER OF 14TH ARMY CONFIRMS HE WILL NOT RESIGN. Lt. Gen. Alexander
Lebed on 12 May confirmed a statement carried by ITAR-TASS the previous
day saying he will not resign as commander of the 14th Army. At a news
conference in Tiraspol, Lebed said he will remain in his post and will
not engage in politics, international agencies reported. He reiterated
his criticism of the Defense Ministry's program to reform the 14th Army
command, saying this would "decapitate a well-tuned mechanism" and pose
the danger of a renewed outbreak of conflict in the region. Lebed also
said it would be "foolish" to remove the 14th Army from the breakaway
region before a solution is found that is acceptable to all sides. In a
related development, Moldovan parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi on 11
May said that Lebed was currently "the most suitable person" to command
the 14th Army, Infotag reported. A source "close to Moldova's president"
told the same news agency that Snegur has sent a letter to the Russian
leadership requesting that Lebed be kept in his post "until armaments
are withdrawn from the region." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT LEADS IN POPULARITY POLL. Mircea Snegur is the most
trusted politician in the country, according to an opinion poll
conducted by the independent Opinia institute and the International
Foundation for Electoral Systems. Snegur was supported by 42.3% of the
respondents. Parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi gained 31.1% and Prime
Minister Andrei Sangheli 8%. However, only 40.3% of the 1,700
respondents answered the question on which politician they trusted most.
A majority of interviewees (59.7%) did not trust any politician. The
most popular institutions were religious organizations (63.1%), the
media (57.8%), and the presidency (40.7%). The results of the poll were
carried on 11 May by Infotag and BASA-press. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
Inc.

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT WARNS OF RECOMMUNIZATION. Zhelyu Zhelev, at a press
conference on 12 May, said the "real threat [for Bulgaria] is...the
restoration of communism," Pari reported the following day. But he
refused to blame the Socialist-led government directly, saying it is
responsible to the parliament and that he will address the National
Assembly if it wishes him to do so. Zhelev stressed that he is
determined to exercise his constitutional rights, which include
appointing ambassadors and vetoing laws. In response to government
accusations that he ignores the people's will by vetoing laws, Zhelev
noted that the total votes for him in the presidential elections
exceeded the number who voted for the Socialist parliament majority and
government by 600,000. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION TO COOPERATE. Ivan Kostov, leader of the Union of
Democratic Forces, and the co-chairmen of the People's Union, Stefan
Savov and Anastasiya Dimitrova-Mozer, announced on 12 May that they will
cooperate in the forthcoming local elections, Demokratsiya reported the
following day. They agreed to nominate joint candidates, grant local
organizations a large degree of autonomy, and require candidates to
adhere to the local election platform. Extra-parliament opposition
groups will also be invited to cooperate, but according to Dimitrova-
Mozer, it is unclear which these will be. Talks are scheduled with the
Movement for Rights and Freedom, which is supported mainly by ethnic
Turks. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ETHNIC GREEKS UNDER PRESSURE TO LEAVE ALBANIAN PUBLIC LIFE. Five ethnic
Greek Albanians who are members of the minority organization Omonia and
have been sentenced to suspended prison terms for separatism and
espionage are under pressure from the ethnic Greek Albanian Party for
the Defense of Human Rights (PBDNJ) to leave public life. The PBDNJ was
founded after a court ruled that Omonia could not run as an ethnically
defined party in the 1992 elections. PBDNJ leader Vasil Melo was quoted
by Gazeta Shqiptare on 14 May as saying that "it would be better for
[Omonia], if the five disappear from political life." -- 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