Я чту человека, способного улыбаться в беде, черпать силы в горе и находить источник мужества в размышлении. - Томас Пейн

No. 94, Part II, 16 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


Belarusian and international news agencies reported on 15 May that 64.7%
of all registered voters in Belarus cast ballots in the elections to the
country's first post-Soviet parliament. In the referendum on closer ties
with Russia, all four questions proposed by Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka were overwhelmingly approved: 83.1% agreed that
Russian have equal status with Belarusian as a state language; 82.4%
voted in favor of Lukashenka's efforts at economic integration with
Russia; 75% supported the return of Belarus's Soviet-era state emblem
and flag, and 77.6% favored giving the president the authority to
dissolve the parliament if it violated the constitution. Only the
results of the first three questions are legally binding. ITAR-TASS
reported that only 18 out of a total 260 seats in the new parliament
were filled because of the large number of registered candidates (some
2,400). The second round of elections, scheduled for 28 May, will limit
the race to the top vote-getters in each district. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

Belarus and Ukraine initialed a bilateral friendship and cooperation
treaty on 15 May in Minsk, Interfax reported the same day. Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Henadii Udovenko arrived in the Belarusian capital on
15 May for two days of talks with his Belarusian counterpart, Uladzimir
Senko. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

director of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, told journalists that a
plan devised by Ukrainian experts on the gradual decommissioning of the
facility was being presented to the Ukrainian government on 15 May,
international agencies reported the same day. He said the timetable
depended on Western financing for construction of an alternative gas-
fired power station and rebuilding a cracked concrete sarcophagus
encasing Chornobyl's fourth reactor. Parashin added that the plan called
for the gradual shutdown of the two remaining reactors, as alternative
power units were introduced to replace the 7% of energy provided by the
Chornobyl plant. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

the Estonian government special representative to Paldiski, has said
that Russia will spend 17 billion rubles ($3.4 million) on dismantling
the nuclear reactors and cleaning up environmental damage at the former
submarine base, BNS reported on 15 May. Tikk said that Russia was
planning to cover one of the reactor bodies with concrete and remove
from Estonia all other remaining equipment by the end of September, when
Russian crews working at the base must leave. Sweden and the U.S. have
also promised to assist Estonia financially to reduce the environmental
damage around the base. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

signed the controversial alcohol control law passed by the Seimas in
April, BNS reported on 15 May. The law provides for stricter rules on
liquor sales and bans the advertising of alcohol on television, radio,
and newspapers. Under the new legislation, the sale of alcohol exceeding
100% proof as well as home-made beer and wine is banned and no alcohol
may be sold before 11:00 a.m. Only one liquor license can be issued per
1,000 residents in urban areas and per 500 in rural districts. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

officers, including General Edmund Bula, former chief of military
intelligence services, went on trial on 15 May in Warsaw charged with
the illegal destruction of intelligence files, Polish media reported. A
special commission found that some 20,000 files have been secretly
destroyed since July 1989. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

on 15 May formally protested to Russian President Boris Yeltsin over the
presence of troops involved in the Chechen conflict at the 9 May parade
in Moscow marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in
Europe, Czech media reported. The protest was delivered by the head of
Havel's office, Lubos Dobrovsky, to Russian Ambassador Alexander
Lebedev. While attending the Moscow celebrations, Havel said Russian
authorities broke a promise that only World War II veterans would take
part in the military parade. Havel also sent Yeltsin a personal letter
expressing deep concern about the new Russian offensive in Chechnya and
urging the Russian president to halt military operations there. -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS. National Bank of Slovakia Governor
Vladimir Masar, in a report released on 15 May, said monthly inflation
in April stood at 0.4% and annual inflation at 11.2%. He also noted that
the bank's foreign currency reserves exceeded $2.3 billion by 10 May.
Moody's Investors Service on 15 May granted Slovakia an investment grade
rating of Baa3. Of the countries in the region, only the Czech Republic
has a higher rating (Baa2). Premier Vladimir Meciar, speaking on Slovak
Radio on 15 May, said the abolition of the Czech-Slovak trade clearing
agreement will not mean the devaluation of the Slovak koruna. He also
stressed that, like the Czech Republic, Slovakia is preparing for
external convertibility of its currency. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

TURMOIL AT HUNGARIAN TV. Hungarian Television president Adam Horvath on
15 May announced that Janos Betlen, editor-in-chief of the major
newscast, is to be replaced, Magyar Nemzet reported. Betlen was
appointed to that post last summer, and his programs have been
repeatedly criticized by the Hungarian Socialist Party, including Prime
Minister Gyula Horn, for alleged bias and insufficient coverage of the
government's views. The opposition parties protested Betlen's dismissal
and accused the government of conducting political purges. Betlen's
replacement comes in the wake of government plans to dismiss 1,000
television personnel. While the government says the cuts are a necessary
cost-saving measure, the opposition and Hungarian TV staff believe they
are politically motivated and endanger the independence of television.
-- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

ministers from the six East European states that have European Union
association agreements as well as the three Baltic states attended the
Western European Union semi-annual ministerial meeting in Lisbon on 15
May, international agencies reported the same day. The meeting agreed,
among other things, to bolster the WEU's operational capabilities. All
27 European countries attending the meeting endorsed a report defining
the new security threats facing the continent, including unresolved
border disputes, terrorism, organized crime, migration, and
proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The East
European states are not full members of the WEU, which is the nascent
defense arm of the EU. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.


SERBIAN OFFENSIVE STALLED IN POSAVINA. Bosnian Serb forces regrouped on
15 May after largely failing to dent Croatian lines following a week-
long offensive. Croatian troops successfully repulsed attacks on
Vidovice and Grebnice in the Orasje area, and the Serbs withdrew "to
lick their wounds," as a UN spokesman put it to AFP. The Serbs are
trying to widen the narrow Posavina corridor that links Serbia with its
conquests in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. The Croats received support
from artillery on the Croatian side of the Sava River, but UN and
Bosnian spokesmen denied Serbian media reports that the Croats had
launched a counteroffensive against Serb-held Brcko. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

CROATIA TO WITHDRAW FROM UN BUFFER ZONES. International media reported
on 16 May that Croatia's ambassador to the UN, Mario Nobilo, has assured
the Security Council that the Croatian army will complete its pull-back
from buffer areas in Sector South by 5:00 p.m. local time. The leading
UN body has repeatedly demanded such a move but did not indicate what it
would do if the Croats stay put. AFP added that President Franjo Tudjman
has announced an amnesty for 47 Croatian Serbs and a brigade commander
taken prisoner during the recapture of western Slavonia on 1-2 May.
Zagreb is sensitive toward the views of the international community on
its treatment of the Serbs in the former Sector West and is hoping to
show Serbs there and elsewhere that they have nothing to fear from the
return of Croatian administration. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

sent his resignation to Krajina Serb President Milan Martic, saying that
he no longer has "the moral force necessary" to lead his forces. Serbian
and international media said it is not clear whether Martic will accept
the offer. Celeketic's move reflects growing tensions among Krajina Serb
leaders between allies of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and those
who seek to exercise their own authority. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

asked the U.S. to help his country gain exemption from the international
embargo against the former Yugoslavia, Reuters reported the same day.
During talks with U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry Handziski argued
that Macedonia should be excluded because it has not contributed to the
reasons for the embargo. He also expressed optimism that an agreement
with Greece can be reached, saying that in his opinion the problems will
be overcome "very soon." Perry said that the U.S. sees Macedonia as
critical to the stability of the region. If necessary, the U.S. will
send additional troops to Macedonia to help boost its security. At
present, 500 U.S. soldiers are stationed in Macedonia in the framework
of a UN mission. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

MONTENEGRIN JOURNALIST JAILED. A court in Podgorica has sentenced a
journalist from the independent weekly Monitor to two months in prison
for libel, Nasa Borba reported on 16 May. Seki Radoncic wrote an article
claiming that retired Yugoslav army General Radomir Damjanovic had
managed to obtain an expensive automobile for "little money." Radoncic
is the third Monitor journalist to be sentenced since the publication
was launched, Nasa Borba commented. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

minister of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, was arrested in
Pristina on 13 May, Kosova Communication reported on 15 May. After the
abolition of Kosovar autonomy and the declaration of Kosovar
independence in 1990, Zejnullahu headed the shadow-government until the
formation of the current coalition government in 1992. Zejnullahu was
later appointed director of the Belgrade Gama Bank's branch in Pristina.
He is charged with committing "criminal offenses of association aimed at
hostile activity" in connection with the approval of the Kosovar
Constitution of Kacanik in 1990. Zejnullahu was released on 14 May and
said he has no idea why he was arrested. He added that during his
detention, he was not questioned. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

GERMAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Roman Herzog on 15 May began a three-day
visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. He met with his Romanian
counterpart, Ion Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, and leaders
of opposition parties. Before his arrival, he told the press he hoped
his visit will encourage the process of reform and democratization in
Romania, RFE/RL and international agencies reported on 12 May. Herzog
said that Germany will back Romania's bid for membership in NATO and the
European Union but Romania must demonstrate that it can satisfy the
conditions for membership. Reuters reported on 15 May that at a state
banquet in his honor, Herzog called for a "change in the mentality"
implanted by decades of communist rule. Without such change, he said,
the establishment of a democratic government, a market economy, and
respect for the rule of law are not possible. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,

LABOR UNREST IN ROMANIA. Workers at the Transylvanian copper works at
Abrud are continuing their wildcat strike, which began some ten days
ago, Radio Bucharest reported on 15 May. They are accusing management of
violating the collective labor contract and ignoring the need to improve
work conditions. Management has said that the strikers must return to
work by 17 May or face the temporary closure of the mine. In the
Moldavian town of Botosani, a protest action that started three months
ago continues to disrupt work at the Integrata de in company, Radio
Bucharest reported on 12 May. Trade union leaders have met in Bucharest
with officials from the Ministry for Industry but have reached no
agreement on a program to save the company from bankruptcy. Health
workers demonstrated in Bucharest on 12 May demanding a pay rise and
additional social benefits. Meanwhile, employees of the Renel state
electricity company and miners in the Motru valley staged a two-hour
warning strike on 15 May to protest a government decision to link wage
hikes with increased productivity. Their trade unions have threatened a
general strike for 2 June. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

deputy chairman of the Moldovan parliament, survived an assassination
attempt on 12 May, Radio Bucharest reported three days later, citing
Radio Moldova. The report said a hand grenade thrown through a window
into Andronic's second floor apartment in Chisinau failed to go off.
Andronic threw the grenade out of the window. The Chisinau police
commissioner is quoted as saying that the device was found later and was
still ready to go off. The National Security Ministry has launched an
investigation into the case. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN GAS AGREEMENT. The Russian joint-stock company Gazprom
and the Moldovan state company Moldova-Gaz have signed an agreement to
set up a joint-stock company on a parity basis, Interfax reported on 15
May, citing sources close to Gazprom. The new company will guarantee the
stable supply of Russian gas to Moldova and the transit of supplies to
Central and Eastern Europe through Moldovan pipelines, which are to be
modernized. Gazprom's contribution is to consist in canceling part of
Moldova's $300 million debt for Russian gas deliveries. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

press conference on 15 May, revealed his government's program for the
next four years, Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day. The
five major goals are stabilizing state institutions, promoting a market
economy, increasing the competitiveness of domestic products, forming a
civil society that meets European standards, and improving the economy
and raising living standards to a level suitable for full EU membership.
The premier said his government aims at reversing the present decline in
GDP, lowering inflation from 121.9% in 1994 to 15% by 1998, and curbing
unemployment. But he did not explain how the government will implement
austerity measures while limiting social costs, as it has promised.
Zemedelsko Zname accused the government of presenting "a program in
communist style," while Demokratsiya said the program contains "nothing
new." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

UPDATE ON ALBANIAN EMBARGO-BUSTING. According to a report by German
Television on 15 May, some 500,000 liters of fuel cross the Albanian-
Montenegrin border every day. The report quoted EU sanctions monitor
Richardt Vork as saying that an estimated 40% of the fuel smuggled into
rump Yugoslavia comes from Albania. The U.S. State Department estimates
that Albanian oil imports are 50% higher than the country's needs. The
reports contradicts earlier statements by the Albanian sanctions
coordinator Arben Petrela, who said Albania's fuel imports dropped from
172,000 tons in the last three months of 1994 to 54,000 tons in the
first quarter of 1995. Albanian Interior Minister Agron Musaraj also
claims that Albanian police have seized various trucks and other
vehicles used for smuggling and have exerted tight control over the
border, international agencies reported on 15 May. -- 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
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