|Be slow of tongue and quick of eye. - Cervantes|
No. 123, Part II, 26 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 KUCHMA APPEALS TO PARLIAMENT TO REINSTATE GENERAL PROSECUTOR. President Leonid Kuchma appealed to Ukrainian lawmakers to overturn their 21 June resolution dismissing General Prosecutor Vladislav Datsiuk, Ukrainian TV reported on 23 June. Kuchma's appeal says the decision contravenes article 44 of the new law on separation of powers where the parliament is authorized to appoint and dismiss the general prosecutor only upon the president's recommendation. Legislators sacked Datsiuk for failing to deal with growing crime, but Datsiuk claimed the move was politically motivated in an effort to halt investigations into high-level corruption. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE TIGHTENS BORDER CONTROLS. The head of Ukraine's border guard, Viktor Bannikh, has said that Ukraine is tightening its border controls along the Russian frontier because of the situation in the northern Caucasus, Ukrainian radio reported on 22 June. The move aims to prevent armed bands from penetrating Ukraine's border. The decision follows the recent deployment of Russian marines from the Black Sea Fleet in Georgia where they are advancing on Abkhazia with Georgian troops. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. LI PENG IN UKRAINE. Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng arrived in Kiev on 23 June for an official visit, Ukrainian radio reported. Li met with his Ukrainian counterpart Yevhen Marchuk and President Leonid Kuchma. Talks focused on economic cooperation. Last year Ukraine's trade with China amounted to more than $800 million and there are now over 40 joint ventures between the two countries. The two sides signed further agreements on cooperation and Li passed on a letter in which China promised financial assistance to Ukraine. Marchuk said that China was Kiev's third largest trading partner after Russia and Turkmenistan, but the latest talks showed that trade potential between the two could increase two to three times over the next year. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. CRIMEANS VOTE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS. Just over 50% of eligible voters in Crimea cast ballots in local elections on 25 June, filling some 75% of seats on local councils, Russian radio and television reported on 26 June. Over half the candidates represented the Communist Party. Crimean Tatar leaders said their community didn't participate in the poll because less than half of the 200,000 Tatars repatriated from other regions of the former Soviet Union have taken Ukrainian citizenship. The elections were rescheduled from 29 April after Ukraine clamped down on Crimean separatists by canceling the region's constitution and abolishing its presidency in March. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. ESTONIAN LAW ON FOREIGNERS. The Estonian Citizenship and Migration Department told Interfax on 23 June that the government had decided the previous day to submit draft amendments to the law on foreigners. The government proposed removing a provision calling for the expulsion within a year of non-citizens who did not apply for residency and job permits by 12 July. It, however, suggested raising the cost of processing applications from 30 kroons ($2.67) to 300 kroons after 12 July. Non-citizens who do not apply by the deadline will lose the right to participate in the fall local elections. The department noted that about 140,000 of the 400,000 non-citizens had not yet submitted applications. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. LITHUANIA PROTESTS RUSSIAN AIRSPACE INCURSION. Two Russian Antonov AN-2 planes on 22 June flew from Belarus to Kaliningrad across Lithuania without asking for permission. One of the pilots told air traffic controllers that they were carrying coffins and did not have enough fuel to fly around Lithuania. Deputy Foreign Minister Albinas Januska said: "We cannot tolerate such acts, If Russia continues to violate Lithuania's airspace, this can touch upon Lithuania's goodwill attitude towards Russian military transit," Reuters reported on 24 June. The incursion occurred while US Undersecretary of Defense Walter Slocombe and the warship "USS Phillipine Sea" were visiting Lithuania. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. POLISH PARLIAMENT ON RESTITUTION. The Sejm left-wing majority voted on 23 June against restitution draft laws prepared by President Lech Walesa and the opposition party Freedom Union. The drafts provided for confiscated property to be returned to former owners, or offered comparable property in exchange or compensation in treasury bills. The Sejm sent two other draft laws on restitution to committees for further elaboration. A government draft provides for an inheritance tax up to 90%, while a Polish Socialist Party project proposes very limited compensation in treasury bills. According to an OBOP public opinion poll conducted in June, 65% of Poles favor returning property to former owners, Polish media reported on 24 June. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. POLISH GOVERNMENT ON 1996 BUDGET. The Polish government accepted on 24 June general assumptions for next year's budget. They provide for a 20% capital gains tax and a budget deficit of around 10%. Pensions are to rise by 2.5%, Polish media report. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. EIGHTEEN DIE IN CZECH RAIL CRASH. The Czech Republic's worst rail crash in 25 years took place on 24 June when four runaway goods wagons smashed head-on into a single-car passenger train. Czech media reported that most of the 21 passengers were youngsters on their way to a dance. The driver and guard were among 18 people who were killed; four others were seriously injured and only one escaped with minor injuries. The goods wagons, loaded with iron and wood, were apparently not properly secured and rolled away from a station at Cechnov in East Bohemia. After running free for about 5 kilometers, they hit the oncoming passenger train on the same track at about 100 kph. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. MECIAR PUBLICLY ACCUSES HIS PREDECESSOR OF ELECTORAL FRAUD. Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on 25 June publicly accused Democratic Union (DU) chairman Jozef Moravcik of electoral fraud. In a debate on Slovak Television, Meciar said a parliamentary investigation commission has confirmed claims that the DU did not gather the required 10,000 signatures to take part in last fall's elections. Moravcik, Meciar's predecessor as prime minister before the elections, termed the statement "political irresponsibility and stupidity" and said the commission has not yet published its findings. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK, HUNGARIAN PRESIDENTS MEET AT ETHNIC FESTIVAL. Michal Kovac and Arpad Goncz both attended a festival of Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian minority in the southern Slovak town of Gombasek on 25 June and held informal talks afterwards, international media reported. In a speech at the festival, Kovac said Slovakia is and will be a good homeland for all its citizens regardless of their nationality, religion or political convictions. Hungary's parliament on 13 June ratified a bilateral treaty with Slovakia, but Slovakia's parliament has yet to do so. Kovac reportedly told Goncz he expected ratification before the end of this year. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE ZAGREB PROTESTS RUMP YUGOSLAV ARMY PRESENCE. Vecernji list on 26 June reports that the Croatian president's chief-of-staff and head of Croatia's commission for UNCRO Hrvoje Sarinic has contacted UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi by letter to protest the increasing presence of rump Yugoslav forces on Serb-occupied territories of Croatia. According to Sarinic's letter, the rump Yugoslav army presence in terms of men and materiel has been increasing appreciably since the recent transfer of Lt. Gen. Mile Mrksic, formerly of the rump Yugoslav army, to the post of commander of the Krajina Serb forces. Sarinic also observed that since Belgrade began press-ganging ethnic Serb refugees on 11 June throughout the rump Yugoslavia for forced military service, an estimated 4, 000 men have arrived in Krajina. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. BILDT ON BOSNIAN CRISIS. International media reported on 25 June that new European Union mediator Carl Bildt spent time that day briefing French President Jacques Chirac on developments in the former Yugoslavia. Almost no details of the closed-door meetings, described as "informal," are expected to emerge before the EU summit in Cannes on 26 June, where discussion on Bosnia is slated for the first day. Bildt has also spoken to representatives of the international five-member Contact Group about details of his first mission to the war-torn country, which involved a rapid and dramatic exit from Sarajevo as the EU negotiator's convoy came under fire, Nasa Borba reports on 26 June. In other news, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's cabinet on 26 June resolved to send military back-up for UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. The historic decision has yet to receive parliamentary approval. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. "MORALE IS HIGH" SAYS BOSNIAN COMMANDER. Bosnian army Chief of Staff Rasim Delic, assessing the military situation throughout Bosnia, has concluded that Bosnian Serb forces are overextended and weakening while "morale is high" in all Bosnian government units . "We will try to maintain the present advantage at all costs," he was quoted as saying by the Croatian news agency Hina on 25 June. Meanwhile, Bosnian government military sources have said for the record that the siege of Sarajevo is not, contrary to Bosnian Serb reports, weakening and may be expected to continue throughout at least the summer; on 25 June international media reported that on that same day Bosnian government forces captured a strategic hill just outside Sarajevo that had been occupied by Bosnian Serb troops. Finally, on 25 June Reuters reported that the Bosnian army continues to block peacekeepers' movements while it awaits clarification of the role of 'rapid reaction' reinforcements for the UN mission." The Bosnian government has expressed concern that the forces' presence may effectively hamper offensives against the Bosnian Serbs. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. NINE KILLED IN SARAJEVO. Reuters reported on 25 June that a shell exploded near a playground in the war-torn city, killing three adults and three children and bringing the death toll from shelling and sniping for that day to nine. At least thirty others were wounded, police sources reported. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. SCANDAL OF MILITARY ATTACK ON ILIESCU CONTINUES . . . The leader of the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, told a press conference on 23 June that his formation continued to support President Ion Iliescu, Radio Bucharest reported the same day. Tudor said his party's weekly had published the letter of the 300 active and reserve officers implying the president was guilty of high treason (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 June 1995) in the name of "freedom of the press." The daily Evenimentul zilei reported on 24 June that Iliescu said he believed the Prosecutor General's office was manned by "professionals" who know how to "go about their business," in what seems to be a threat to sue Tudor. Meanwhile, three opposition parties, the Liberal Party '93, the Democratic Party-National Salvation Front and the Social Democratic Party, called on the Supreme Council of National Defense to investigate the affair and take action if the letter proves to have been forged. The daily Romania libera on 26 June quotes the chairman of the Senate's Defense Committee, Alexandru Radu Timofte, as saying that the letter had been written by just one person and the 300 signatories "do not exist."-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. . . . AS DOES SCANDAL ON ALLEGED ILIESCU KGB LINKS. The daily Ziua reported on 23 June that two agents of the Romanian Intelligence Service (RIS) have been identified while taking videotapes of the journalist who first revealed the alleged past links of President Ion Iliescu with the KGB. The journalist, Tana Ardeleanu, was filmed while meeting a reporter for the independent news agency Mediafax. An official of the RIS admitted that the two had taken the shots, but claimed that the operation had nothing to do with the allegations against Iliescu. The two agents, he said, were on a mission to "catch two spies" but had erred and also "acted unprofessionally." Ziua on 26 June said it was suing the two agents and the RIS. The Association of Romanian Journalists said in a press release carried by Radio Bucharest on 25 June that it was "astonished" by the RIS deed, which was branded as "an illegal action of a political police, directed against the independent press," and said the explanations of the RIS were "puerile." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIA OPENS STOCK EXCHANGE. The first stock exchange in nearly 50 years was reopened in Bucharest on 23 June, Radio Bucharest reported on the same day. President Ion Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, the Governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isarescu, and members of the parliament attended the opening ceremony. The director general of the stock exchange, Stere Farmache, said real trading on the stock exchange will start in the fall. Till then there will be "simulacrum operations" testing the ability of the exchange market. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu estimated that it will take some two years until the stock exchange will become "the barometer of our economic activity." More than 120 former state-owned companies issued public shares so far. More potential stocks may come from a mass privatization program approved last week. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. GRACHEV IN MOLDOVA, SNEGUR IN MOSCOW. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on 26 June begins a visit to Chisinau to discuss the implementation of the agreement on the withdrawal of the 14th Army, Radio Bucharest and international agencies reported on 24 June. He will also go to Tiraspol in the breakaway Transdniestr region, where the army is based. At the same time, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur starts a visit to Moscow, where he will discuss with Boris Yeltsin the implementation of the pullback agreement, Radio Bucharest reported on 25 June. The visits take place against the background of a declaration issued by the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in reaction to the bill adopted by the Duma on 21 June opposing the withdrawal of the 14th Army. The declaration, carried by Infotag and BASA-press on 23 June, says the Duma "continues to hinder the process of a political settlement of the Transdniestrian problem" and its position "contradicts the principles of international law," amounting to an "interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state." The withdrawal of the 14th Army, the ministry says, remains one of the conditions for the peaceful settlement of the conflict. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT REPLACES STATE MEDIA BOSSES. The National Assembly on 23 June elected new directors of national television and radio and of the state-run news agency BTA, RFE reported the same day. Ivan Granitski replaced Hacho Boyadzhiev as head of Bulgarian National Television, Vecheslav Tunev took over Bulgarian National Radio from Ivan Obretenov, and Milen Valkov became new head of BTA. He replaced Stefan Gospodinov, who died last week. Most opposition deputies voted against the candidates, who had been nominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). The BSP majority rejected opposition proposals to have the three candidates come to parliament and explain their future plans, to have the outgoing directors explain to the assembly the reason for their removal, and to broadcast the debate live. Opposition speakers called the replacement a move to put state media under effective BSP control. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF ALLOWING MANIPULATION OF SECRET FILES. Skender Gjinushi, leader of the Social Democratic Party, accused President Sali Berisha before the Constitutional Court on 23 June of encouraging manipulation of former secret police files, international news agencies reported the same day. He also asked the court to ban Rilindja Demokratike, the newspaper of Berisha's Democratic Party. The paper had accused Gjinushi, who was education minister in the last communist government, of having worked for the secret police Sigurimi under the code name Agap. This information can only come from Sigurimi files, but officially they have not been opened do far because there is no law on their disclosure. Gjinushi in return accused the newspaper of manipulating Sigurimi files, adding that "the President knows about this" and that Berisha is using these files "to threaten his opponents." The court did not announce its ruling on the case, but a ban of Rilindja Demokratike is unlikely. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. NEWEST U.S. SPY PLANE TO FLY FROM ALBANIA. The Pentagon is sending its newest unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to Albania where it will fly missions over Bosnia in support of NATO and U.N. forces, U.S. media announced on 23 June. The aircraft, called the "Predator", is a new- generation aerial reconnaissance system still in the experimental stage. It can stay airborne for up to 40 hours, and its sensors can see through clouds. In early 1994, the CIA for several months flew some older reconnaissance drones out of the airport at Gjader, in northern Albania. -- Doug Clarke, 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 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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