Веревка хороша длинная, а речь короткая. - Л.Н. Толстой

No. 137, Part II, 17 July 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


UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS 1995 BUDGET. Ukrainian lawmakers have
amended the austere IMF-approved 1995 state budget, UNIAR reported on 13
July. Legislators voted to increase value-added tax, now at 20%, as well
as individual income taxes. The extra income will be used to increase
spending on social programs, including raising pensions and assisting
people affected by the nuclear accident at Chornobyl. Deputies also
voted to increase capital investment to modernize Ukraine's transport
system and to restructure the ailing coal industry They also lifted
value-added and excise taxes on domestically-produced automobiles to
encourage people to buy local models instead of increasingly popular
foreign imports, Reuters reported on 14 July. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH DIES. Patriarch Volodymyr, the 69-year-old
head of the breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox Church, died on 14 July after a
heart attack, international news agencies reported the following day.
Volodymyr spent a total of 19 years in Soviet labor camps, first for his
participation in an insurgent army that fought both the Nazis and
Soviets during World War II, and then for campaigning for religious and
human rights in the early 1970s. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared
independence from the Moscow Patriarchate in June 1992 and Volodymyr
became patriarch in October 1993. But a third Orthodox branch, the tiny
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, split away from the Kiev
Patriarchate in a row over Volodymyr's deputy, Metropolitan Filaret,
whom they accused of cooperating with the Communist Party and KGB during
the Soviet era. Filaret is widely regarded as Volodymyr's likely
successor. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN TRADE UP. The Latvian State Statistical Committee has reported a
32.6% increase in exports over the first five months of 1995 compared to
the same period last year, and a 34.2% increase in imports, BNS reported
on 13 July. Exports totaled 269 million lats for the first five months
of this year, and imports stood at 347 million lats. In the first five
months of 1994, imports exceeded exports by 27.5%. In the same period
this year, the difference was 29%. Trade with the EU increased, while
trade with CIS countries fell. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

Lithuania intends to take only half of the $32 million credits which the
IMF was about to approve. Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius said that
$16 million would be accepted for further economic reforms, but the
other half of the loan, which is meant for a currency stabilization
fund, is not necessary. The IMF was scheduled to make a decision on
approving the loan on 14 July. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS TO SELL ARMS TO IRAN. Belarus and Iran signed a military
cooperation agreement on 14 July in Minsk, Reuters reported. Iranian
First Vice President Hassan Habibi was quoted as saying Iran would buy
some conventional weapons from Belarus and the two sides would hold
consultation on "some technological processes." Habibi gave no details
about the arms Iran would buy other than to say they would be "strictly
for defense and will not produce any imbalance in the world." Belarusian
officials were quoted as saying Iran was interested in missile
transporters and optical equipment for its Soviet-built aircraft. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PUBLIC OPINION ON ABORTION. In a public opinion poll conducted in
Poland in June by the Center of Public Opinion Research (OBOP), 83% of
respondents supported keeping abortion legal if the pregnancy results
from a criminal act like rape or incest, 86% if the pregnancy endangers
the woman's health, and 83% if the fetus is gravely malformed. Polish
law allows abortion only in these three situations. A majority of
respondents (53%) were for legalizing abortion if the woman was in
difficult conditions. Thirty-three  percent supported abortion on demand
while 55% were against it. Generally, women do not differ in their
opinions from men; the oldest and the youngest are the least inclined to
support abortion, Rzeczpospolita reported on 17 July. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

WORK OF THE POLISH PARLIAMENT. The Polish parliament, elected in
September 1993, passed more than 160 laws by the end of June 1995, but
another 130 bills are still waiting for parliamentary debate. In July,
which was to be a recess period, the Sejm has already met for two days.
The parliament's Constitutional Commission has already approved two
thirds of the draft constitution and intends to end its work quickly,
Rzeczpospolita reported on 17 July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

July that the election committee of former Premier Jan Olszewski has
been established. Former Interior Minister Antoni Macierewicz and
writers Jacek Trznadel and Jaroslaw Marek Rymkiewicz are among committee
members. Local committees apparently have already collected 70,000 of
the 100,000 signatures needed to register Olszewski's candidacy. --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

purporting to be a declaration by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and
Finance Minister Theo Waigel to Sudeten German leaders have been
distributed in recent days to thousands of households in Czech towns
including Prague, Plzen, and Brno, Czech media reported. The leaflets
claim that the current Czech governing coalition, if it wins next year's
elections, would restore Czech citizenship to Sudeten Germans expelled
after World War II and restitute their property. The Interior Ministry
spokesman called the leaflets a "very dangerous political provocation"
and said police were looking for the authors and distributors. Foreign
Minister Josef Zieleniec said the leaflets were an attempt to sow fear
among Czechs and showed desperation on the part of people trying to
prevent the Czech Republic's integration into Europe. -- Steve Kettle,
OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. The Slovak parliament session ended on 14
July with opposition deputies posing questions to ministers. According
to Slovak Radio, those most under fire were Culture Minister Ivan Hudec
and Education Minister Eva Slavkovska, both of whom have been criticized
for policies related to minorities. In other news, the Slovak National
Party filed a complaint with the Attorney General demanding that the
activities of the Open Society Fund be prohibited in Slovakia, Sme
reported on 15 July. The fund is sponsored by U.S. financier George
Soros, who was recently attacked for making statements critical of
Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. On 16 July, a number of Slovak
politicians participated in a ceremonial assembly at Kralova Hola in
central Slovakia to commemorate the third anniversary of the declaration
of Slovak sovereignty. Representatives of the three government coalition
parties attended, along with chairman of the opposition Party of the
Democratic Left, Peter Weiss, and chairman of the extraparliamentary
Christian Social Union, Viliam Oberhauser, TASR reported. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

IMMIGRANTS FOUND DEAD IN HUNGARY. Eighteen Sri Lankans, apparently
illegal immigrants on their way to Austria, were found dead on 15 July
in a truck parked near Gyor, Hungary; 19 others in the truck survived,
international media report. Local police told journalists that the
truck, carrying Bulgarian license plates, was locked from the outside
when they were alerted to it by residents in the area, who complained of
an unbearable stench. Survivors told the police that each of them had
paid $800 to a man who disappeared shortly after the police opened the
truck. Reuters reported from Sofia that Bulgarian police arrested a man
believed to be the truck driver on 16 July. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.


reported on 16 and 17 July on a growing body of evidence indicating that
Bosnian Serb forces committed extensive and grisly atrocities against
Muslim civilian refugees following the fall of the UN-designated "safe
area" of Srebrenica on 11 July. Persons of both sexes and all ages
appear to have been victims in what the VOA on 14 July already called
"massive massacres" and "horrendous crimes." Independent Belgrade media
are also investigating. The Bosnian Serbs have told the UN that no
relief convoys will be allowed through their territory in eastern Bosnia
for some days and have yet to let Red Cross monitors visit Muslim male
prisoners in Bratunac. Mlada fronta dnes reported on 17 July, however,
that the Serbs have released all the Dutch peacekeepers they had been
holding hostage. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

DID SERBS FROM SERBIA LEAD THE ASSAULT? Bosnian military authorities say
that the assault on the "safe area" was led by General Momcilo Perisic,
the chief of the rump Yugoslav General Staff. He was assisted by his own
army's artillery and by the irregulars of internationally-wanted war
criminal Zeljko Raznjatovic "Arkan," Vjesnik reported on 17 July.
Meanwhile, on the Croatian General Staff, General Janko Bobetko, 75,
resigned as chief and was replaced by General Zvonimir Cervenko, 64.
Bobetko was the architect of the strategy of retaking Serb-held
territories through small steps, and both men served in the former
Yugoslav army. Bobetko's retirement has long been expected, and Hina
carried the story on 15 July. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

"ZEPA ABOUT TO FALL." This is the headline of Nasa Borba on 17 July,
while the VOA talks of "a relentless Serb tank and artillery assault"
the previous day. AFP quoted Muslim defenders on the morning of 17 July
as saying that they have repulsed the Serb attacks and that the night
was quiet. On 16 July NATO jets flew over the "safe area" in response to
a call by Ukrainian peacekeepers for an "air presence," but the planes
did not attack Serb positions. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi told AFP
that the UN "is in a very difficult position," while EU negotiator Carl
Bildt warned that tough measures against the Serbs would only lead to a
broader "Balkan war." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Chirac on 16 July became the first holder of that office to discuss
publicly French complicity in the deportations of Jews during World War
II. He used the occasion to compare the atrocities of the Bosnian Serbs
to those of the Nazis, Nasa Borba and international media reported. He
warned of the implications for democratic values of tolerating such
behavior and cautioned against forgetting the lessons of history. Radio
France International said that Paris wants an international force
consisting of France, Britain, Germany, and the U.S. to keep the Serbs
out of Gorazde and Sarajevo. The French, British, and American chiefs of
the respective general staffs met in London on 16 July to discuss
Bosnia, and their defense ministers will gather later in the week. It is
unclear what, if anything, has been decided. AFP on 17 July reported
that the U.S. is reluctant to help a British and French effort to shore
up Gorazde. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

WILL THE U.S. MOVE TO LIFT THE ARMS EMBARGO? A vote is likely soon in
the Senate to oppose continuation of the UN mission in Bosnia and to
lift the arms embargo against the Bosnian government. The VOA and BBC
said that sentiments are growing in the face of Serb aggression and UN
helplessness that "enough is enough." One senator said that if the Serbs
in any way harm U.S. personnel assisting in the evacuation of UNPROFOR,
then Washington's response should be "the most massive air strikes
imaginable," including attacks on Belgrade. The Clinton administration
opposes such measures, but Secretary of State Warren Christopher said
that it was probably a mistake to put the international effort in Bosnia
under UN supervision. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

MONTENEGRIN ECONOMIC MIRACLE? According to Montenegro's official Bureau
of Statistics, June industrial production in that rump Yugoslav republic
provides grounds for optimism, Montena-fax reported on 14 July.
According to the bureau, overall June production was up some 22% from
the previous month. Leading the growth rates were sharp rises in coal
and metal production. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

passed a resolution condemning Romania for the new education law, which,
the resolution states, infringes the rights of national minorities. It
called on Bucharest to respect its international obligations, especially
with regard to human rights. The resolution also says the rights of the
Roma minority in Romania are abused, and detainees are subject to
torture and other mishandling. The parliament says it is worried about
the way police and other security bodies perceive their task when it
comes to respect of human rights. The resolution, whose text was
published in the daily Cronica romana on 17 July, says Romania cannot
become a member of the European Union unless it respects human and
minority rights; "invites" the Romanian government to "give up policies
of tolerating nationalist violence;" and says the parliament's bodies
should give special attention to this problem. Bela Marko, the chairman
of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, welcomed the
resolution in an interview with Radio Budapest, Radio Bucharest reported
on 15 July. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

POLITICAL UPHEAVAL IN MOLDOVA. President Mircea Snegur announced he was
setting up a new political party called The Party of Rebirth and
Conciliation, Radio Bucharest reported on 16 July, citing Snegur's
speech carried by Radio Moldova. Snegur said the new party will strive
to be a mass party of the center, unifying "all the healthy political
forces in the country." Among the founding members of the new party are
former members of the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova (PDAM), who,
like Snegur, resigned from that formation. On 15 July, 11 deputies
representing the PDAR in parliament announced they had resigned, BASA-
press and Radio Bucharest reported. They are among the 318 persons who
gathered on 15 July to form the new party. An "initiative committee" was
set up, and a congress of the new political formation was scheduled for
26 August, Romanian television reported on 16 July. The PDAR has now
lost its majority in the legislature, where it is now represented by 43
out of 104 parliamentarians. Two other deputies resigned from the PDAR
earlier. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIA LOWERS PRIME INTEREST RATE. The Bulgarian National Bank on 14
July cut its prime interest rate by five points to 39%, AFP reported the
same day. The new rate becomes effective on 17 July. BNB Governor Todor
Valchev said the rate has fallen from 72% at the beginning of 1995, and
might fall to 27-30% by the end of the year. The rate was reduced
because inflation is relatively low; in June, it was 0.5%, the lowest
since the beginning of economic reforms in 1991. Inflation for the first
half of 1995 totaled 15.2% as opposed to 59.4% in the first half of
1994. Economists say inflation has dropped because the buying power of
the population has fallen sharply, and because the government has taken
restrictive measures. But they warn that it may rise sharply at the end
of the year. The National Statistical Institute expects inflation to
fall to about 40% in 1995, down from 121.9% the previous year. -- Stefan
Krause, OMRI, Inc.

Indzhova is the most popular mayoral candidate in the Bulgarian capital,
according to an opinion poll published in Trud on 15 June. Indzhova,
whose candidacy for the fall elections was proposed by the People's
Union, would get 28% of the vote if the elections were held now. Stefan
Sofiyanski of the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) would get 20%, and
the as yet unnamed Bulgarian Socialist Party candidate 19%. Of the SDS
followers, 54% said they will vote for Sofiyanski, and 34% will support
Indzhova. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

Demirel and his Macedonian counterpart Kiro Gligorov signed a friendship
and cooperation agreement between their countries in Skopje on 14 July,
MIC and Reuters reported the same day. Foreign ministers Erdal Inonu and
Stevo Crvenkovski, meanwhile, signed a treaty on protection of
investments. Demirel defended the Macedonian position in the conflict
with Greece about its name saying that "Macedonia is a reality and the
name which it will bear belongs to it alone." Talking about the Bosnian
conflict, Demirel called for lifting the arms embargo against the
Bosnian government, arguing that "if you can't stop the war, at least
you give the attacked side a chance to defend itself." -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

Albanian Supreme Court, Zef Brozi, has warned Finance Minister Dylber
Vrioni he could be charged with failing to comply with his ministerial
duties, Koha Jone reported on 16 July. Brozi has accused Vrioni of
holding back the budget of the courts, which was approved in April, and
said he would ask the prosecutor on 17 July to start investigations
unless payments are made. Brozi claims that withholding the budget is an
attempt to diminish the independence of the courts. He had earlier
criticized plans by the ruling Democrats to subordinate the courts'
budget to the authority of the Ministry of Justice. The Democrats
withdrew the disputed bill before the admission of Albania to the
Council of Europe. -- 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
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved.

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