|The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same. - Heraclitus|
No. 112, Part II, 9 June 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 NEW UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED. President Leonid Kuchma, in his first move since obtaining new executive powers under a deal with the parliament, appointed 54-year-old Yevhen Marchuk as prime minister, international and Ukrainian news agencies reported on 8 June. Marchuk is the former chief of Ukraine's security service. His appointment came as no surprise because he has served as acting prime minister since the government was dismissed by the Ukrainian legislature in April. Marchuk's confirmation followed a ceremony at Kiev's Mariinsky Palace, where the president and lawmakers signed a compromise accord to end a prolonged struggle over Kuchma's recently approved political reform law. The communist caucus, which opposed provisions giving Kuchma expanded powers to carry out political and economic reforms, boycotted the ceremony. Communist leaders likened the political deal to a constitutional coup. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. KUCHMA AND CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS REACH COMPROMISE ON POLL. The Ukrainian president has agreed to a compromise proposal by Crimean lawmakers and canceled his March decree placing the Crimean government under his direct control, UNIAR and Ukrainian Television reported on 8 June. Kuchma overturned his decision after the Crimean legislature canceled a regionwide non-binding referendum on union with Russia and Belarus, which was scheduled during local elections on 25 June. -- Chrystyna Lapychak , OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN FINANCIAL MEETING. Kuchma on 8 June met with the directors of 20 of Ukraine's biggest commercial banks to discuss the state of the country's underdeveloped banking system, UNIAR and Ukrainian Television reported the same day. The lack of domestic and foreign investment in Ukraine can be blamed not only on the lack of vital economic legislation but also on the poor state of the banking system, participants of the meeting concluded. There are only 217 banks with 1,860 branches in country with a population of 52 million people, said Oleksander Suhonyako, president of the Association of Ukrainian Banks. A clearer mechanism for declaring bankruptcy and increased privatization of Ukraine's state-owned enterprises would help resolve the debt crisis. Enterprises owe Ukrainian banks billions of karbovantsi. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR TOUGH ECONOMIC MEASURES. Alyaksandr Lukashenka, at an 8 June special meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers and Security Council, has called for tough measures to strengthen the Belarusian economy, Reuters and Interfax reported the same day. Lukashenka said that despite a drastic decline in production, inventories were overflowing and directors of enterprises were not seeking new markets to sell those goods. Most of the country's mainly state-owned businesses have been unable to meet their burgeoning debts, and some have not paid employees since January. Lukashenka described enterprise managers as " scroungers and idlers" and said they should be forced " against their will" to change the way they operate. He boasted, however, that his administration's tight fiscal policy has stabilized Belarus's financial situation and lowered monthly inflation from 40% to 3.5%. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. MAY INFLATION IN ESTONIA. The Estonian Statistics Department reported that the consumer price index increased by 2.6% in May, BNS reported on 7 June. The price of services grew by 6.6%, primarily due to an increase of 9.9% in housing costs and utilities. A 1.1% rise in the cost of manufactured goods was offset by a 1.3% decline in food prices, resulting in an overall drop of 0.4% in the cost of goods. The monthly inflation rate in April was 1.0% following rates of 3.5%, 2.9%, and 2.4% in the first three months of 1995. Compared with May 1994, the price of goods and services increased by 27.1%. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. NEW LATVIAN EDUCATION MINISTER. The Saeima on 8 June approved the nomination of Janis Gaigals as minister of education and science, BNS reported. Born in 1956, Gaigals headed the Riga Craftsmanship School and was an adviser to the previous education minister, Janis Vaivads, who resigned on 8 May over a pay dispute between educators and the government. The ruling Latvia's Way nominated Gaigals even though he is not a formal member of that party. -- Saulius Girnius , OMRI, Inc. POLISH SENATE SPEAKER VISITS LITHUANIA. Adam Struzik, during an official two-day visit to Lithuania, told the Seimas on 8 June that Poland and Lithuania have a common aim in joining the EU and NATO, BNS reported. While stressing the need to maintain friendly relations with Russia, he said the demilitarization of Kaliningrad Oblast would increase security in the Baltic Sea region. Struzik also met with members of the Seimas Foreign Affairs Committee and representatives of Polish social organizations. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. SOLIDARITY CONGRESS IN GDANSK. Solidarity trade union president Marian Krzaklewski was reelected in Gdansk on 8 June. Polish President and former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, addressing the congress, called for the creation of a broad pro-reform bloc before this years presidential elections. Meanwhile, Supreme Court President Adam Strzembosz, who is running for the presidency, also opted for unity in the upcoming elections in a letter to the congress, Rzeczpospolita reported on 9 June. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. POLISH PREMIER ADDRESSES SEJM. Jozef Oleksy, in his first speech to the Sejm since his inaugural address in March, said on 8 June that Poland's economic performance is good and that inflation is the price to be paid for high industrial output, growing exports, and the reduction of unemployment, Polish and international media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. CONTROVERSY IN POLISH DEFENSE MINISTRY. Polish Deputy Defense Minister Jerzy Milewski, speaking in the Sejm on 8 June, criticized Defense Minister Zbigniew Okonski for saying in an interview with Wprost that the Polish army is " not mature enough" to adopt West European command structures. Okonski, who wants to dismiss Milewski, attacked his deputy for telling the same magazine that he doubted there is civilian control of the Polish army, Gazeta Wyborcza reports on 9 June. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK RESPONSE TO CZECH MOVE TO ABOLISH CLEARING SYSTEM. A Slovak government official on 8 June responded to the Czech government decision the previous day to unilaterally abolish the Czech-Slovak payments clearing agreement used in bilateral trade. TASR reported that Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus sent a letter to his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, explaining the decision and pointing out that " he has not yet received a response to his letter [to Meciar] of 10 May." In that letter, Klaus proposed the abrogation of the agreement. The Slovak government official argued, however, that a letter from Meciar to Klaus was faxed (and its receipt confirmed) two hours before Klaus sent his letter to Meciar. -- Jiri Pehe , OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK DIPLOMATIC NEWS. Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk on 7 June arrived in Finland for an official visit--the first by a high-ranking Slovak diplomat since the split of Czechoslovakia on 1 January 1993, TASR reported. Schenk and his Finnish counterpart, Tarja Halonen, focused on the state of Slovak-Hungarian relations in their meeting on 8 June. Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Katarina Tothova began a two-day visit to Strasbourg the same day, where she held talks with Council of Europe officials on adapting Slovak laws to meet CE norms. Finally, Slovak Defense Minister Juraj Sitek left for Belgium to attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council for Cooperation. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN PREMIER ON BOSNIA. Gyula Horn, speaking at Washington's National Press Club on 8 June, said the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina proves that the countries of East-Central Europe should aim for a historic reconciliation. " If we keep looking into the past and licking old wounds, we shall not have the energy to solve our present problems," the Hungarian premier said. He argued that a continuation of the Bosnian conflict could adversely affect security in East-Central Europe. According to Horn, the quickest way to end the war is to persuade Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to isolate the Bosnian Serbs. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN SERBS SAY THEY WILL LIFT ROADBLOCKS TO SARAJEVO. The Bosnian Serb leadership on 8 June agreed to reopen land routes to the Bosnian capital, allowing humanitarian aid to pass, international media reported. According to Reuters, the Bosnian Serbs have also agreed to guarantee the safety of UN truck drivers delivering aid on the territory they control and to provide escorts. Bosnian Serb vice president Nikola Koljevic described the development as " an important step" and added that " we really believe in further peaceful developments." Meanwhile, the BBC on 9 June reported continued shelling of Sarajevo, where at least two people were killed, and Gorazde. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. NATO DEFENSE MINISTERS AGREE ON BOSNIA. The BBC on 9 June reported that NATO defense ministers, meeting in Brussels, reached a consensus on the creation of a rapid response force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The U.K. is slated to provide the bulk of the 10,000-strong reinforcement to the war-torn country. The New York Times on 9 June cites British Defense Minister Malcolm Rifkind as stressing that the new forces will fire in self-defense but will not " blast their way through resistance to ensure that relief supplies are delivered and other UN tasks are carried out." However, both Rifkind and French officials have raised the specter of withdrawal if the parties involved do not accept the UN role. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. SERBS HAND OVER REMAINS OF BOSNIAN FOREIGN MINISTER. Vjesnik and Nasa Borba on 9 June reported that the remains of Bosnian Foreign Minister Irfan Ljubjankic have been handed over to Bosnian authorities in Bihac. Ljubjankic was killed on 28 May when his helicopter was downed in Bihac by hostile Serbian fire. The Bosnian justice minister and five others also died in the incident. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. MORE KOSOVAR POLICEMEN SENTENCED. A court in Gnjilan on 8 June sentenced 15 ethnic Albanians to up to three years in jail, Reuters reported the same day. The former policemen are charged with creating a separatist shadow-state police force. Seven were tried in absentia and the court dropped charges against another four. In the largest legal proceedings ever in Kosovo, the trials of 159 ethnic Albanian former policemen are under way, while 16 policemen were sentenced in April. Defense lawyers have denied the charges, saying the policemen formed a trade union, not a paramilitary force. About 3,500 ethnic Albanian policemen were fired in 1991, after the abolition of Kosovar autonomy two years previously. -- Fabian Schmidt , OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN PRESIDENT RENEWS CRITICISM OF UNION LEADERS. Ion Iliescu has again criticized leaders of the country's main trade union organizations for planning more labor protests later this month, Radio Bucharest reported. Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu told journalists on 8 June that union leaders have broken an understanding mediated by Iliescu on 22 May that should have served as the basis for a final agreement between the unions, government, and employers. He repeated the assertion that recent strikes in the energy sector were politically motivated. Chebeleu also criticized the timing of the next big rally announced by the unions. A two-week protest is scheduled to begin on 14 June, the day when the opposition plans to commemorate victims of the June 1990 government-sponsored violence against pro-democracy demonstrators. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL ENDS VISITS TO ROMANIA. Csaba Tabajdi, Hungarian state secretary dealing with Magyars living abroad, ended a five-day visit to Romania on 8 June, Radio Bucharest reported. Tabajdi said at a press conference in Cluj-Napoca that he had met with local authorities and representatives of the Magyar minority from several counties in Romania. He spoke of " concern and anxiety" in connection with an education bill currently being discussed by the Romanian parliament. Tabajdi described the law as a " touchstone for Romanian-Hungarian relations." He said Hungary is expecting its neighbor to meet European standards by passing a law that is " acceptable to the Magyar minority." -- Dan Ionescu , OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN SENATE CHAIRMAN IN MOLDOVA. Oliviu Gherman, heading a parliamentary delegation, began a two-day official visit to Moldova on 8 June, Radio Bucharest reported. Gherman, who is also chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, met with Moldovan Premier Andrei Sangheli, Foreign Minster Mihai Popov, parliamentary chairman Petru Lucinschi and Dumitru Motpan, leader of the ruling Moldovan Agrarian Democratic Party. Addressing the parliament in Chisinau the same day, Gherman recalled that Romania was the first state to recognize the independence of the Republic of Moldova. He also stressed Romania's support for Moldova's admission into various international organizations, including the Council of Europe. Gherman will meet with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur on 9 June. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. KULIKOV: RUSSIA MAY GIVE BULGARIA TANKS. Marshal Viktor Kulikov, former military commander of the Warsaw Pact armed forces and now an adviser to Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, has suggested that Bulgaria might receive some of the tanks Russia must destroy under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, BTA reported on 5 June. This message was conveyed by Bulgarian Industry Minister Kliment Vouchev following his meeting that day in Sofia with Kulikov. Bulgaria would then destroy older tanks in its inventory to meet its CFE limits. Such a " cascading" of excess weapons is common within NATO but has not occurred among the former Warsaw Pact states. -- Doug Clarke , OMRI, Inc. MILITARY SEA EXERCISE IN BULGARIA. A one-day military sea exercise took place along Bulgaria's Black Sea coast on 8 June, international agencies reported. Dutch, Greek, Italian, and Turkish ships from NATO's southern fleet in the Mediterranean and eight Bulgarian ships participated in the maneuvers, which are taking place within the framework of the Partnership for Peace. NATO ships are expected to hold another joint exercise in Bulgaria and Romania later this year. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. DRUGS SEIZED IN BULGARIA. Bulgarian customs officers seized 21.7 kg of heroin at the Turkish border on 7 June, AFP reported the following day. The heroin, worth an estimated $3.3 million, was hidden in a British truck and two British citizens were detained. The consignment brings the total heroin haul this year in Bulgaria to 101 kg. -- Fabian Schmidt , OMRI, Inc. ENVER HOXHA'S SON SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR. Ilir Hoxha, the youngest son of Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha, was sentenced to one year in jail on 8 June, AFP and Reuters reported the same day. Hoxha was found guilty of " inciting national hatred by endangering public peace" and of calling for " vengeance" and " hatred against parts of the population" in an interview with the newspaper Modeste. Hoxha was quoted as saying during the trial that " The day will come when all those who have betrayed my father will have to answer for their actions." He is the first person to be tried under a new penal code that took effect in Albania on 1 June. Hoxha denied the charges, saying his trial was motivated by political revenge. -- Fabian Schmidt , OMRI, Inc. TURKEY AND GREECE CLASH OVER TERRITORIAL WATERS . . . The Turkish parliament on 8 June passed a resolution empowering the government to take military measures against Greece, Reuters reported the same day. The resolution follows the Greek parliament's decision to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention, which would allow Greece to extend its territorial waters. The resolution says that " the parliament has decided to invest the government with all powers to take all measures including military steps deemed necessary to protect the vital interests of our country." The resolution, however, was proclaimed " to the world and Greece with friendly sentiments." Ankara claims that an extension of the six-mile zone to twelve miles around the Greek Islands would make 70 percent of the Aegean Sea Greek and choke Turkey's access to the high seas. -- Fabian Schmidt , OMRI, Inc. . . . AND AGREE ON NATO MILITARY BUDGET. Turkey and Greece agreed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels to freeze a series of bilateral disputes that have blocked the adoption of the 1995 NATO military budget, AFP reported on 8 June. Under pressure from NATO allies, Turkey agreed to lift for six months its veto on adopting the military budget. Greece, for its part, pledged that for a period of three to four months, it would suspend its opposition to the financing of key NATO headquarters in Izmir. -- 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 OMRI 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 Copyright (c) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.
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