Избери лучшее, а привычка сделает его приятным и легким. - Пифагор
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 146, Part II, 28 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

UPDATE ON POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The latest survey on Polish
presidential preferences puts Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander
Kwasniewski well out in front, with 23% support. He is followed by
President Lech Walesa (14%), National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-
Waltz (12%), Civil Rights Spokesman Tadeusz Zielinski (11%), and former
Labor Minister Jacek Kuron (10%). The Center for Public Opinion Research
survey was conducted in mid-July and reported by Gazeta Wyborcza on 28
July. Kwasniewski has a comfortable lead in all opinion surveys, but
competing polling organizations give slightly different rankings for the
other candidates. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH BANKING CHIEF TALKS TOUGH. Polish National Bank President Hanna
Gronkiewicz-Waltz on 26 July told reporters that she will not resign if,
as now appears almost certain, she decides to run for president.
Gronkiewicz-Waltz was responding to a report in that day's Zycie
Warszawy that President Lech Walesa has sounded out the ruling coalition
about having her removed from office. Walesa originally nominated
Gronkiewicz-Waltz to the banking post but now clearly resents her
presidential ambitions. In a veiled reference to the ruling coalition,
Gronkiewicz-Waltz also accused "certain political forces" of attempting
to limit the central bank's supervisory rights in order to conceal
improper lending practices in certain banks. The government is now
drafting revisions to the banking law. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH MILITARY FACES SCRUTINY. The armed forces are facing renewed
criticism following the crash of an Su-22 fighter-bomber on 26 July and
the mysterious theft of arms from a Warsaw army base on 21 July. The
crash, the fourth this year involving an Su-22 plane, occurred when a
bomb exploded during a test flight. Officials cited technical failures,
but Defense Minister Zbigniew Okonski conceded that funding shortages
have drastically limited flight time for Polish pilots. US pilots fly an
average of 250 hours per year, whereas Poles fly only 60, Rzeczpospolita
reported. The second incident, in which Russian-speaking, Kalashnikov-
wielding thieves absconded with 75 pistols and ammunition from a
virtually unguarded base, has raised questions about military security.
-- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

INDEPENDENCE DAY DEMONSTRATIONS IN BELARUS. Police in Belarus broke up
an Independence Day demonstration in Minsk on 27 July and detained a
number of demonstrators, Reuters reported. Several dozen people gathered
at Independence Square where demonstrations are prohibited. Five to
eight were carrying the red and white Belarusian flag, which was
recently replaced by the Soviet-era flag minus hammer and sickle. The
flag bearers were briefly detained by the police. The opposition has
criticized the police action, saying it showed that Belarus has reverted
to a Soviet-era police state. Opposition deputy Syarhei Naumchik said
the country now flies the Soviet flag and has an undemocratic leadership
that listens only to Moscow, just as it did before independence. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

RECORD ESTONIAN TRADE DEFICIT IN JUNE. Customs Department officials
announced that Estonia's foreign trade deficit in June reached a record
monthly high of 1.032 billion kroons ($93 million), BNS reported on 27
July. Estonia exported goods worth 1.877 billion kroons but imported
goods worth 2.909 billion. The major contributor to the trade gap was
the increase by 294 million kroons in the import of jewels and precious
metals, largely because of a single consignment of polished gems
temporarily brought into the country from Germany. As a result of this
shipment, Germany replaced Russia as the second-largest exporter to
Estonia. Finland remained in first place for both imports and exports.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN COMMUNIST LEADER SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS. The Latvian Supreme
Court on 27 July sentenced Alfreds Rubiks, first secretary of the
Latvian Communist Party from 1990-1991, to eight years in prison for
conspiring to overthrow the government during the failed coup against
Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991, Western agencies reported. Rubiks thus
became the only high-ranking communist official in the entire former
Soviet Union to be tried and convicted for backing the coup. He was
arrested on 23 August 1991, and his trial began in June 1993. Although
imprisoned, he was elected to the Saeima but not allowed to take up his
seat. His co-defendant, former communist party secretary Ojars Potreki,
was given a three-year suspended sentence. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI,
Inc.

IMF URGES STRICTER CONTROL OVER LITHUANIA'S COMMERCIAL BANKS. After a
final meeting on 26 July with Lithuanian Finance Minister Reinoldijus
Sarkinas and Bank of Lithuania officials, an IMF mission, headed by
Julian Berengaut, advised the bank to carry out stricter inspections of
commercial banks and not to rely on the audits they submit, BNS reported
the next day. The mission suggested that in state-run commercial banks,
the government guarantee only a specified average deposit. Berengaut
viewed favorably the government's efforts to improve tax collection but
advised cuts in spending to meet revenue targets. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

CZECHS STILL OPPOSE DIALOGUE WITH SUDETEN GERMANS. A majority of Czechs
still oppose a formal dialogue with Sudeten Germans, according to an
opinion poll conducted by the Institute for Public Opinion Research and
published in Rude pravo on 28 July. Thirty-one percent of respondents
said they were definitely against any talks and the same number were
"rather against." These responses were almost exactly the same as in a
similar poll two years ago, despite an extensive public debate on the
subject over the past six months. Only 23% of respondents in the 1995
poll were in favor of a dialogue that might lead to a resolution of the
issue; of those, one-third said they were supporters of Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party. The greatest opposition came from
residents of northern Bohemia, part of the Sudetenland handed over to
Germany in 1938 and from which 3 million Sudeten Germans were expelled
after World War II. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT VETOES PRIVATIZATION AMENDMENTS. Michal Kovac on 27
July returned amendments to the privatization law to the parliament for
further discussion, calling them "unconstitutional," Narodna obroda
reported. The legislation, passed in mid-July, cancels the coupon
privatization program drawn up by the previous government and
establishes a new privatization concept based on bonds. The president
has not yet received the official texts of other economic legislation
approved at the same parliamentary session, but he is expected to veto
those laws as well. The opposition Democratic Union on 27 July
criticized the cabinet for passing legislation that contradicts its
program declaration. Opposition Social Democratic Party Chairman
Jaroslav Weiss the previous day warned that the coalition parties will
collect the 30 signatures needed to call an extraordinary parliamentary
session in August in order to pass the legislation again. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET CRITICIZED OVER ROMA ATTACKS. Hungarian Civic Party
Chairman Laszlo Nagy on 27 July expressed regret that the Slovak
government has not taken a stand on the recent attacks on Roma by
skinheads in Ziar nad Hronom (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 July 1995). Nagy
argued that the current government "is neither able nor willing to
seriously oppose such undesirable acts." He singled out the Slovak
National Party, which, he said, "encourages such hatred" through some of
its statements, Sme reported. A local police official told Sme that two
youths are currently under investigation in connection with the attacks
but that the charges have not yet been classified as attempted murder.
-- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

MEETING IN HUNGARY ON RIGHTS OF ETHNIC HUNGARIANS ABROAD. The World
Association of Hungarians organized a meeting on 27 July in the
Hungarian town of Debrecen supporting unrestricted mother-tongue use for
Hungarian minorities in Romania, Slovakia, and Serbia, international
media reported. Sandor Csoori of the WAH stressed that whoever questions
nationality schools and equal rights for minority languages "is
attacking universal human values." Coexistence Chairman Miklos Duray,
who was the only leader of Slovakia's Hungarian coalition to attend the
gathering, criticized the current Slovak government for its efforts "to
eradicate our language." The Slovak cabinet was criticized in particular
for its draft law on the state language and plans to implement
"alternative" (bilingual) education. The meeting was attended by several
representatives of the Hungarian parliament and broadcast live on
Hungarian satellite television. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

REACTIONS IN ROMANIA TO DEBRECEN MEETING. Bela Marko, leader of the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), took the opportunity
to call the recently adopted Romanian education law "cultural genocide"
against ethnic Magyars, Radio Bucharest reported. UDMR Honorary Chairman
Laszlo Tokes was quoted as saying that Romania is currently "waging a
war against the Hungarian language." Traian Chebeleu, a spokesman for
Romanian President Ion Iliescu, said the accusations of the UDMR leaders
were "totally groundless" and part of a disinformation campaign aimed at
damaging Romania's image abroad. Iliescu later said that the Debrecen
meeting was feeding "primitive, extremist, and nationalist feelings." --
Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MAZOWIECKI BLASTS INTERNATIONAL "HYPOCRISY" OVER BOSNIA. Former Polish
Prime Minister and Solidarity-era human rights activist Tadeusz
Mazowiecki has released the text of the letter in which he resigned as
UN special rapporteur for human rights in the former Yugoslavia on 27
July. He stressed that the UN's failure to defend Srebrenica and Zepa
prompted his move. "One cannot speak about the protection of human
rights with credibility when one is confronted with the lack of
consistency and courage displayed by the international community and its
leaders," the International Herald Tribune on 28 July quoted him as
saying. He added that the "very stability of international order and the
principle of civilization is at stake over the question of Bosnia." --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBS SHELL MOSTAR, SARAJEVO. International media on 27 July reported
that two people died in Serbian attacks on the Bosnian capital. Habena,
the Herzegovinian Croat news agency, said that the Serbs fired on Mostar
as well. AFP on 28 July quoted Auxiliary Bishop of Sarajevo Pero Sudar
as calling on the West to end the conflict by destroying Serbian
weapons, ammunition, and military infrastructure. "We must not hit them
to kill them but hit them to make them understand that killing others is
not allowed," Sudar said. Bosnian government sources reported that the
Serbs were preventing 600 civilians from leaving Zepa by blockading
their convoy at a checkpoint. In Srebrenica, retreating Dutch
peacekeepers reportedly abandoned much of their military equipment to
the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SITUATION AROUND BIHAC REMAINS TENSE. As Krajina and Bosnian Serbs,
together with Muslim renegades, press their attack on the Bihac pocket
and ultimately on the smaller "safe area" itself, the UN has hit on a
way to "separate the warring parties." UNCRO's Canadian command wants to
interpose its men on the border between Croatia and Bosnia, which the
Croatian government has wanted for over three and a half years. "The
conditions of war exist now," Canadian Colonel Norris Pettis said in
Zagreb. "The plan is to move as quickly as possible to deter an outbreak
of hostilities," AFP quoted him as saying on 27 July. The UN reported
that 5,000 Serbian refugees are fleeing before the Croatian advance. In
the northwest, where the Serbs are attacking, the UN reported 1,000
detonations in one hour alone on 28 July. Elsewhere, the Krajina Serbs'
"parliament" has elected a new government headed by prominent hard-liner
Milan Babic. The cabinet includes 16 holdovers from the previous one, as
a concession to backers of deposed Prime Minister Borislav Mikelic. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

REACTIONS TO SENATE VOTE TO LIFT BOSNIAN ARMS EMBARGO. President Bill
Clinton is at pains to portray the decisive Senate ballot not as a
rebuke to him but to the UN for failing to protect Srebrenica and Zepa.
The VOA reported on his 27 July press conference at which he stressed
this message. Russia, France, the U.K., and various West European
politicians have condemned the vote, with British Foreign Secretary
Malcolm Rifkind calling it "bizarre." International media also noted
that the Senate move was warmly welcomed throughout the Muslim world,
notably by Turkey and Egypt. In Islamic countries, the belief is
widespread that the West would never have tolerated the Serbian
atrocities in Bosnia if they had been carried out against Christians or
Jews rather than Muslims. (See related item in Russian section) --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN OPPOSITION THREATENS WALKOUT. Serbian opposition deputies on 27
July agreed to boycott the republican parliament if the ruling Socialist
Party of Serbia's decision to halt live television coverage of the
legislature remains in force, BETA reported the same day. The decision
was handed down on 26 July, evidently in response to an incident that
day in which a member of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party
(SRS) assaulted a journalist from Radio and Television Serbia in the
parliament, Nasa Borba reported. SRS deputies, including party leader
and accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj, have been involved over the
past year in a series of assaults and near-brawls in the parliament. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN, SLOVAK PREMIERS ON ETHNIC MINORITIES. Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar, speaking at the end of his two-day official visit to
Bucharest, said his country is respecting individual rights of citizens
belonging to ethnic minorities. He added that the Council of Europe's
Recommendation No. 1201 should not be interpreted as recognizing
collective rights for minorities. He also said he hopes that the terms
of the future Romanian-Hungarian treaty will be "better" than those of
the Slovak-Hungarian one. Romania's treatment of its Slovak minority
shows that Romania "promotes a correct minority policy," he noted.
Romanian Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu said that his country will not agree
to including claims for collective minority rights and territorial
autonomy in its treaty with Hungary. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS UPDATE. Bulgarian newspapers on 28 July
reported that after meeting with representatives of all caucuses on 26
and 27 July, President Zhelyu Zhelev has still not set a date for the
local elections. They stated, however, that the elections will be held
sometime in October. The opposition favors a date in late October, while
the Bulgarian Socialist Party wants the elections to take place as early
as possible. The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) will ask the
Constitutional Court to review certain parts of the local elections law
that it considers unconstitutional, Demokratsiya reported. Other media
say Zhelev will do the same. Meanwhile, the national leaderships of the
SDS, the People's Union, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and
Freedom met on 27 July to discuss choosing a common mayoral candidate
for Sofia. No agreement was reached, however. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
Inc.

BULGARIAN TV BOSS SACKS TOP EXECUTIVES. Ivan Granitski, director-general
of Bulgarian National TV (BNT), on 27 July fired a number of top
officials, Standart reported the following day. Among them were BNT
Executive-Director Kiril Gotsev and the heads of the two state TV
channels. Granitski also dismissed four members of the board of
directors. Parliamentary Chairman Blagovest Sendov ordered Granitski to
return from a business trip to Moscow to explain the dismissals to the
parliament's media commission, but the TV chief was apparently unable to
do so. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ARSIDI TRIAL ENDS IN TIRANA. An Albanian court has sentenced former
central bank governor Ilir Hoti to six years in prison and three former
directors of Albania's National Commercial Bank--Adrian Xhyheri, Agim
Tartari, and Agron Saliu--to between four and seven years, Reuters
reported on 27 July. Hoti and Xhyheri paid $1.6 million to the French
citizen Nikolla Arsidi to negotiate Albania's foreign debts in 1991, but
the negotiations never took place. The two men were found guilty of
abuse of office for causing the state to lose 63 million leks
($630,000). Saliu and Tartari each accepted $160,000 in bribes, which
they deposited in a Luxembourg bank. The court ruled that former Prime
Minister Vilson Ahmeti, who had been accused of abuse of office for
signing the authorization for Arsidi, was innocent. The prosecutor had
demanded longer jail sentences and said he would appeal. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIA RESTRUCTURES FOREIGN DEBT. Albanian Finance Minister Dylber
Vrioni and Albania's creditors have agreed to cut the country's foreign
debt and restructure the remainder. Commercial debts will be reduced
from $500 million to $100 million. Banks now may swap their debts for
20% of the face value of the debt or exchange them at 100% of the face
value for 30-year bonds without interest. The principle is backed by
Zero-coupon 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds, which the Albanian government
will buy in August, international agencies reported on 27 July. --
Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

CLAES, GREECE CRITICIZE SENATE VOTE ON LIFTING BOSNIAN ARMS EMBARGO.
Following the U.S. Senate's vote in favor of lifting the UN arms embargo
against Bosnia-Herzegovina, NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes, on a
private visit to Athens on 27 July, said such a move would widen the
Balkan conflict, international agencies reported. In such a case, he
said, "the United Nations would lose its credibility" and 50,000
peacekeepers would be needed. "There is no military solution,
negotiations are the only solution," Claes was quoted as saying.
Government Spokesman Evangelos Venizelos the same day criticized the
Senate vote, AFP reported. He said the war in Bosnia must be solved by
long-term political and diplomatic means. Venizelos added that Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic should not be excluded from the peace
process, despite being indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia, saying Karadzic has to remain a party to any
talks seeking a settlement for Bosnia. -- 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
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OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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