|If there is anyone listening to whom I owe money, I'm prepared to forget it if you are. - Errol Flynn|
No. 144, Part II, 26 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 EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE EASTERN AGRICULTURE "N0 THREAT" TO EU. Reports released on 25 July by the European Commission paint a bleak picture of agriculture in the 10 East European countries that have signed association agreements with the EU. The reports claim that agriculture in these countries poses no threat to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, according to international agencies. Eastern Europe's food industry is reportedly so inefficient that it cannot "meet growing demands regarding quality, variety, and general marketing of products." Moreover, problems in East European agriculture reflect structural economic problems that will take years to overcome. EU Agricultural Commissioner Franz Fischler said, "We are not going to see the Community flooded by products from these countries." The EU trade surplus in agriculture has been growing since 1992. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc. ACTING UKRAINIAN JUSTICE MINISTER RESIGNS OVER PATRIARCH'S FUNERAL. International news agencies on 25 July reported that acting Ukrainian Justice Minister Vasyl Onopenko resigned the same day for what he called the illegal use of force by riot police at the funeral of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 July 1995). Onopenko said it was "the country's most tragic (event) since the Chornobyl disaster." He also complained of a lack of support from Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who has yet to name a new justice minister to his newly appointed government. (A recent report by UNIAR that Kuchma has appointed Volodymyr Stretovych as justice minister was incorrect.) Onopenko said law enforcement and internal security officials failed to inform him about what happened at the funeral. The Ukrainian government has yet to resolve the controversy over the patriarch's final resting place. He remains buried in a makeshift grave in front of St. Sophia's Cathedral. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE TO SET UP NEW ANTI-TERRORIST UNIT. The 20-26 July issue of Obshchaya gazeta reported that the Ukrainian government has decided to set up a new anti-terrorist unit. Lt. Col. Anatolii Lahoda, who will head the unit, said only one-fifth of its members will be officers; the remainder will be regular conscripts. He also said that the fight against terrorism has not received priority, noting that the anti- terrorist unit "Alpha" has never been used to combat such crimes. Lahoda said he hoped terrorist crimes would decrease with the establishment of the new unit. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE CONCERNED ABOUT IMF TARGETS. Reuters on 25 July reported that Ukraine is concerned about the economic austerity program it must adhere to in order to have the third tranche of a $1.57 billion IMF stand-by loan released. The IMF has insisted that Ukraine reduce inflation to 1- 2% by December and that IMF targets for budget deficits and year-end inflation are non-negotiable. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has said year-end inflation of 4% is less likely to strangle the country's industrial base. Ukrainian officials have not yet identified targets they want changed, which the IMF regards as a sign that Kiev will try to meet the targets. A two-week working visit to Ukraine by an IMF delegation ends later this week. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE WILL NOT BLOCK TRANSIT OF 14TH ARMY WEAPONS. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov told a Kiev news conference on 25 July that Ukraine has no objection to the transit of armaments of the Russian 14th Army across its territory, ITAR-TASS reported. Shmarov had just met with visiting Moldovan Defense Minister Pavel Creanga. The two leaders signed a protocol on military cooperation. Creanga was quoted as saying that Moldova will give preference to cooperation "with its closest neighbors- -Ukraine and Romania." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. SUSPECTED RADIUM SALESMEN ARRESTED IN ESTONIA. Estonian security police on 24 July arrested two men in Tallinn after finding 1,720 grams of radium 226 in their car, Western agencies reported the next day. The deputy director of the security police indicated that the radium was smuggled into Estonia and that more people were probably involved in the operation. According to an anonymous police source, the suspects hoped to sell the radium abroad for $3.06 million. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. LATVIA OPENS STOCK EXCHANGE. The Riga Stock Exchange reopened on 25 July after being closed by the Soviet authorities in 1940, Reuters reported. Speaking at the opening ceremonies, Prime Minister Maris Gailis said: "We connect our hopes for economic development on the establishment of a securities market." Only four companies were listed, and the volume of shares traded amounted to only $354, with additional sales worth $7,676 for government bonds. The exchange is modeled on the Lithuanian National Stock Exchange, established two years ago, and will initially operate on Tuesdays only. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. YELTSIN INVITED TO LITHUANIA. Sergei Filatov, head of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's administration, said Lithuanian parliament chairman Ceslovas Jursenas has invited Yeltsin to visit Lithuania before the December parliamentary elections, BNS reported. Filatov added that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin planned to visit Lithuania in the near future. He noted that he had discussed with Jursenas the possibility of signing a bilateral agreement on double citizenship. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. POLISH COMMISSION RAISES 1995 WAGE CEILING. Representatives of the Polish government, the trade unions, and employers' organizations agreed on 25 July to raise the ceiling for wage increases this year from 23.5% to 27%. Solidarity had demanded that the limit be raised to 30% to compensate for higher-than-expected inflation, Rzeczpospolita reported. The ceiling is merely "informational" under the relaxed wage control legislation that took force this year, Deputy Labor Minister Andrzej Baczkowski told reporters. But directors of state firms can face sanctions if excessive wage hikes undermine company finances. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. CZECH PARLIAMENT LIFTS DEPUTY'S IMMUNITY. Recalled from its summer recess for a special session, the Czech parliament on 25 July lifted the immunity of extreme-rightist Republican deputy Jan Vik. Police requested Vik be stripped of his immunity to face charges over the distribution of leaflets claiming that the Czech and German governments have made an agreement to rehabilitate Sudeten Germans (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 and 18 July 1995). The vote was 73 in favor, 21 against and 35 abstentions. The seven-hour session, broadcast live by Czech Television, was repeatedly interrupted by Republican supporters, including party leader Miroslav Sladek, in the public gallery. After the vote, they shouted "Pigs, pigs" at the deputies. Vik, 26, was not immediately arrested after the vote. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE DUBCEK'S DEATH. Social Democratic Party (SDSS) Deputy Chairman Miroslav Spejl said all parties in the Slovak parliament are agreed on the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the death of Prague Spring leader Alexander Dubcek. Dubcek, a former SDSS chairman, died in November 1992 following complications from a car accident. According to Spejl, the commission should be established in September, and all parliamentary parties will be represented, Pravda reported on 26 July. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. CONTROVERSY RAGES OVER LEADERS OF SLOVAKIA'S HUNGARIAN MINORITY. Recent statements made by the chairmen of the three ethnic Hungarian parties represented in the parliament (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 July 1995) continue to cause controversy in Slovakia. Sme on 26 July reported that the Slovak National Party has requested that the attorney-general start criminal proceedings against the three chairmen. The party said it aims to pass a law on the protection of the republic at the September parliamentary session. The Slovak Green Alternative (SZA), which is also allied with the ruling coalition, proposed on 25 July that a new round of talks between the Slovak and Hungarian premiers be launched to clarify certain aspects of the bilateral state treaty. Also on 25 July, the three Hungarian party chairmen met with US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Russell, but no information about the meeting was released to the press. Meanwhile, the Slovak Education Ministry has expressed "concern" about a protest demonstration by ethnic Hungarians scheduled for 27 July in Debrecin, Pravda reported. The ethnic Hungarians want to protest a draft law on the state language and the implementation of "alternative" (bilingual) education. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. HUNGARIAN POLICE ARREST FORMER UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY CHIEF. Victor Palivoda, head of security for former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, has been arrested in Hungary, AFP reported. A police spokesman said Palivoda was taken into custody on 11 July in Budapest. He is wanted by Interpol and the Ukrainian authorities on embezzlement charges. The Hungarian Justice Ministry will decide the date for his extradition to Ukraine, the spokesman added. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE KARADZIC, MLADIC, MARTIC INDICTED FOR WAR CRIMES. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on 25 July formally indicted 24 more Serbs for crimes against humanity, bringing the total to 46. Heading the list are Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic, his military counterpart, General Ratko Mladic, and Krajina Serb "President" Milan Martic, AFP reported. The indictment said that the two Bosnian Serbs "intended to destroy Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat people as national, ethnic, or religious groups and killed, seriously injured, and deliberately inflicted upon them conditions intended to bring about their physical destruction." Martic was singled out for the rocket attacks on Zagreb in May. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 26 July that not everyone has such a bleak view of the Serbs. Dutch UNPROFOR commander Colonel Karremans said he admired the Serbs' military feat in taking Srebrenica, while Dutch army commander General Couzy denied that genocide had taken place in Srebrenica. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. INHABITANTS OF ZEPA FLEE TO THE HILLS. International media reported on 25 July that Bosnian Serb forces entered the UN-declared "safe area" town of Zepa. Most of the inhabitants, including Bosnian government soldiers, had fled to the surrounding hills, caves, and forests, where they prefer to fight and face mines and booby traps rather than be massacred. Wounded and infirm civilians were evacuated to government- held territory in buses and have begun to reach Sarajevo and Kladanj. Some told reporters that Serbian heavy weapons, including 15 tanks, had decided Zepa's fate. The Bosnian government wants the UN to airlift its soldiers out of the area to make sure they are not killed, as happened in Srebrenica. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. WHO IS NEXT? The Serbs appear to have Gorazde next on their list, although the U.S. State Department has warned them to be cautious, the VOA said. NATO continued on 25 July to be hamstrung in drawing up a plan for air strikes should the Serbs attack Gorazde or the other remaining "safe areas." The problem is that the alliance has conceded the UN's right to a veto over strikes, and it can only hope that Secretary- General Boutros Boutros Ghali will delegate such authority to a UNPROFOR commander on the ground. The International Herald Tribune on 26 July reported that the Rapid Reaction Force may not be doing much in Sarajevo, either. In response to a question about whether British and French forces will open the supply road on Mt. Igman, a British spokesman said it is not an "easy military option" since it would involve taking land and silencing Serbian guns. On 26 July, one of those guns shelled downtown Sarajevo, seriously wounding six, Reuters reported. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. ATTACK ON BIHAC CONTINUES. Meanwhile in the Bihac pocket, Croatian forces have begun massing and firing on Serbian positions. Bosnian government commander General Atif Dudakovic told Croatian Television on 25 July that 30,000 Serbs and Muslim renegades are attacking him and the Croats. Croatian media reported Serbian shelling of Livno and of parts of eastern Slavonia. Meanwhile, indignation is growing worldwide over inaction against the Serbs. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told Reuters of his "disgust" for Western inaction and said he is willing to face sanctions if he send arms to the Bosnian government. Saudi Arabian King Fahd called on the UN to lift the embargo, and similar sentiments have come from top officials in Egypt, Vecernji list reported. The International Herald Tribune on 25 July and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the following day noted growing anger over Bosnia in Muslim countries in general. Jewish leaders in Germany have also spoken out. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. REACTIONS TO ROMANIAN EDUCATION LAW. The promulgation of a new education law by Romanian President Ion Iliescu on 24 July has sparked various reactions. The extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party--an ally of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania--was one of the first organizations to express "satisfaction" over the new legislation. Most political parties, including several in opposition, praised the government's determination not to give in to what they described as "pressure from the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR)." But Horia Rusu, chairman of the Liberal Party '93, was quoted as saying that the UDMR's protest was justified because Romania was not abiding by international norms on education for ethnic minorities. UDMR Chairman Bela Marko, in a letter to European Parliament Chairman Klaus Hansch, said his party was disappointed with Bucharest's reaction to the EP's recent resolution on minority and human rights abuses in Romania. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. GAGAUZ TROOPS SURRENDER ARMS. Members of the "Budjak" battalion in Moldova's autonomous Gagauz region have begun laying down arms and ammunition, BASA-press and Infotag reported. Moldovan Premier Andrei Sangheli, who observed the operation on 24 July, was quoted as saying that those who voluntarily surrender arms before 27 August will not be prosecuted. He added that troops in Ciadir-Lunga and Vulcanesti appeared more willing to abide by the decision than those in the region's capital, Comrat. Armed Gagauz troops were active in Moldova's southern districts during the early 1990s. Their immunity from prosecution is provided for by the Law on Amnesty, adopted by the Moldovan parliament on 22 July, which grants immunity to those who committed crimes during armed conflicts in Gagauz-Yeri, the Dniester region, and the town of Bender (Tighina). The law was criticized by Moldova's main opposition force, the Christian Democratic Popular Front. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN OPPOSITION ARGUES OVER COOPERATION IN LOCAL ELECTIONS. The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) and the People's Union (NS) on 25 July issued differing statements on cooperating in the upcoming local elections, Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day. The NS said the possibilities for talks at the local level have been exhausted and insists on talks between the central leaderships. The SDS, for its part, still wants talks at the regional level. Neither formation is willing to withdraw its candidate for Sofia mayor, even though the opposition has agreed to try to find a common candidate. Stefan Sofiyanski has been nominated by the SDS, and former interim premier Reneta Indzhova is the NS candidate. Meanwhile, Executive Director of the First Private Bank Ventseslav Yosifov announced he will also run. Duma reports that the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party will support him. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. RUMP YUGOSLAV HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTER ON BULGARIAN MINORITY. Margit Savovic on 25 July met with Ginyo Ganev, chairman of the Sofia-based Agency for Bulgarians Living Abroad, Bulgarian media reported the same day. She said that the 27,000 Bulgarians living in eastern Serbia have every possibility to keep up their national identity and traditions but added that the state cannot subsidize them because of the UN sanctions. She denied the existence of blacklists of Bulgarians who are not allowed to travel to Bulgaria, saying the Bulgarian authorities should request information from rump Yugoslav institutions rather than trust "other sources." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT DRAFTS LAND LAW. The Albanian government has drafted a controversial law regulating the buying and selling of real estate, BETA reported on 25 July. The parliament is expected to vote on the law soon. Until 1991, land in Albania was either communal or state-owned. Thereafter, it was divided up between those who worked on it. Some opposition parties have criticized the draft law, arguing that it would undermine the property rights of those who owned land before communism. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ETHNIC TURKISH POLITICIAN KILLED IN GREECE. Former parliamentary deputy Ahmet Sadik was killed on 24 July when his car crashed into a tractor in northern Greece, Reuters reported the following day. Sadik, who was a deputy from 1989 to 1993, was one of the most influential politicians representing the 120,000-member Muslim community in Greece. In 1994, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison for spreading false information after he accused Greek officials of suppressing the Muslim minority. But he was allowed to pay a fine instead of serving time. Despite Greek objections, Sadik always described himself as Turkish. He failed to be reelected in 1993 after a 3% threshold for entry to the parliament was introduced. -- Stefan Krause, 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. ISSN 1211-1570
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.