|Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. - John F. Kennedy|
No. 147, Part II, 31 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 NEW APPOINTMENTS TO UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has made several new appointments to the recently named government, Ukrainian TV reported on 27 July. He appointed Vasyl Yevtukhov, a leader of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine, as deputy prime minister for the energy complex. Former Deputy Premier Ihor Mitiukov is special representative of the government to the European Union in charge of coordinating international financial assistance to Ukraine. Kuchma also re-appointed Mykhailo Kaskevych as labor minister and named Mykhailo Kovalko to head a new State Committee on Energy Conservation. Finally, he liquidated two state committees, on rare metals and on the light and textile industries, by merging them with various ministries. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINE SWITCHES CHANNELS FOR RUSSIAN PUBLIC TV BROADCASTS. Zinovii Kulyk, director of Ukrainian State TV and Radio, has announced that as of 1 August, Russian Public TV will no longer broadcast on Channel 1, the national channel with the strongest signal, UNIAR and Reuters reported on 27 July. The Russian broadcasts will be switched to Ukrainian TV's Channel 2, cutting back its potential audience from 92% of viewers to 70% nationally. He explained the move was prompted by Russian Public TV's failure to pay in full its annual fees, around $8.8 million. Russian Public TV is the most popular channel in Ukraine because its programs tend to be of a higher quality than those of Ukrainian TV. Many nationalists from western Ukraine, as well as Kulyk himself, have frequently complained that Russian coverage of Ukrainian affairs is biased toward Russian interests. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. PRIVATIZATION FALTERING IN BELARUS. Belarusian Radio on 28 July reported that Belarus has not been able to privatize state agricultural enterprises because of unspecified problems. Earlier this year, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a program calling for the privatization of such entities by the beginning of July. In all, 75 state and 606 communal enterprises in agriculture and food production are slated to be privatized this year. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. FIRST CITIZENS TAKE ALLEGIANCE OATH UNDER NEW LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW. Forty-three people on 28 July became the first individuals to obtain Latvian citizenship under the citizenship law passed in 1994, BNS reported. Naturalization Board Chairwoman Eizenija Aldermane told reporters that the government will probably grant citizenship to about 200 people during the next week and to about 5,000 by the end of the year. The candidates must pass tests in the Latvian language, history, and constitution and must also swear an oath of allegiance. Former employees of the KGB cannot claim Latvian citizenship. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. LITHUANIA'S BUDGET REVENUES ON TARGET. Finance Minister Reinoldijus Sarkinas on 28 July announced that Lithuania's budget revenues in the first half of the year totaled 1.763 billion litai ($441 million) or 99.7% of the planned amount, BNS reported. The collection of an additional 149 million litai in the second quarter of the year erased almost all the large deficit of the first quarter. The collection of all types of taxes improved significantly. The planned six-month revenues for individual income taxes were fulfilled 94.1%, for corporation profit taxes 93.5%, for value-added tax 96.3%, and 170.6% for excise taxes. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. POLISH LAW FACES CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE. President Lech Walesa announced in Gdansk on 30 July that he will challenge the new "commercialization" law before the Constitutional Tribunal, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. The Sejm overrode the president's veto on 21 July. The president is expected to question provisions in the law that require the Sejm's approval for privatization in selected sectors, on the grounds that this violates the division of powers among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. "We cannot destroy what we have achieved through five years of economic reform to serve the interests of a single social group," Walesa said, referring to the ruling coalition. The Sejm can vote to overturn Constitutional Tribunal decisions. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc. ARE BOSNIAN SERBS USING CZECH "STEALTH-SPOTTER?" NATO officials have "serious suspicions" that a Czech electronic system that can detect the latest "stealth" aircraft is being used by Bosnian Serb forces, Mlada fronta dnes reported on 31 July, quoting unnamed sources close to NATO headquarters. The daily said suspicions that the "Tamara" detection system was in use grew from the shooting down of an American F-16 fighter over Bosnia-Herzegovina in early June. The Czech Foreign Ministry said no Tamara system has been exported to the former Yugoslavia since the Czech Republic came into existence. The government on 26 July authorized the makers of Tamara, which detects the electronic emissions from a target aircraft's avionics, to export one of the devices. Mlada fronta dnes reported on 29 July that the recipient will be Kyrgyzstan. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK PRESIDENT VETOES MORE LEGISLATION. Michal Kovac on 28 July returned two more laws to the parliament for further discussion: one on investment firms and funds and another on securing state holdings in strategic companies. The previous day, he vetoed a privatization amendment canceling the coupon privatization program and replacing it with a bond scheme. The President's Office said the legislation would limit the rights of owners and change Slovak regulations retroactively, without consideration for the shareholders' wishes, Pravda and TASR reported. With regard to the privatization amendment, Kovac's office said it was marked by a "basic change of concept," which endangers the stability of the legal system guaranteed by the constitution. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK OFFICIALS ATTACK U.S. MEDIA. Roman Hofbauer, a parliamentary deputy of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, is currently leading an attack on the U.S. media. Hofbauer sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Russell complaining that the U.S. press uses sources originating outside Slovakia and reports on Slovakia's political scene in an "non-objective and disparaging way," TASR reported on 26 July. The U.S. Embassy responded by issuing a statement saying that Hofbauer "demonstrated regrettable ignorance about how the independent press functions in a democratic society." In an interview with TASR on 28 July, Hofbauer said his complaints were based on articles sent to him by Slovak Americans who feel "deeply provoked and offended." The Permanent Conference of the Civic Institute on 28 July called on the Slovak Foreign Ministry to distance itself from Hofbauer's statements, noting that they put the country's foreign policy orientation into doubt. Meanwhile, Slovak officials have also launched attacks against RFE/RL's Slovak Service, whose license is up for renewal this year. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE TUDJMAN STANDS FIRM ON KRAJINA. International media on 31 July reported that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman called a six-point agreement between the Krajina Serb rebels and UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi "unacceptable." The Serbs pledged to stop shelling Bihac and to pull their troops out of Bosnia, although they have previously denied involvement there and although the plan has no timetable. The Serbs would have received some benefits, including a share of aid shipments and a promise that UNCRO would deploy on Mt. Dinara, from which the Croats can shell Knin. Tudjman said instead that UNCRO must be stationed on all of Croatia's frontiers and that "this is particularly urgent because in recent days there have been new shipments of troops and equipment from the [rump] Yugoslav army across the Danube." He added that the Serbs must join serious talks about the reintegration of Krajina into Croatia. This includes reopening pipeline, railway, and highway links as well as guaranteeing the Serbs some autonomy in the Glina and Knin areas and a package of rights as an ethnic minority. Tudjman on 29 July warned the Serbs to negotiate or be reincorporated into Croatia by force. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MLADIC SAYS CROATS "WILL PAY DEARLY." Bosnian Croat and Croatian units on 28 July took Glamoc and the key town of Grahovo, which controls land communications between Knin and Bosnian Serb territory. Serbian refugees have been fleeing to Knin ever since, but UN officials on 31 July did not provide an estimate of how many people have been involved. Figures of about 5,000 refugees were given on 28 July. Krajina and Bosnian Serb leaders subsequently declared heightened states of emergency in their respective areas. Bosnian Serb commander General Ratko Mladic told Tanjug on 30 July that the Croats "will pay dearly" for their conquests. Some commentators noted that his men still control the high ground around the two towns and that the Serbs elsewhere might be tempted to fire rockets at Zagreb or shell the Dalmatian tourist centers. Fighting around Bihac appears to have subsided amid reports that the Croats are consolidating their gains while some Krajina Serb units are leaving to defend Knin. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. DID THE DUTCH AID MASSACRE OF MUSLIMS? The daily De Volkskrant on 28 July wrote that the Dutch UNPROFOR commander had made a deal with Mladic whereby the Dutch could leave Srebrenica but Muslim men between 17 and 60 would be taken and "debriefed." It now seems certain that many or most of the men from Srebrenica were massacred and that a similar fate met the men from Zepa who did not flee into the woods. The French group Doctors of the World on 30 July said that military-aged men from both "safe areas" had "completely disappeared." The BBC on 29 July reported that Zepa had been looted and burned, while its Muslim civilian negotiator had been "detained" and his military counterpart had "disappeared." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MAZOWIECKI FEARS FOR THE MISSING. The BBC on 29 July quoted former UN human rights envoy Tadeusz Mazowiecki as saying that witnesses told him of having seen decapitated and limbless corpses, while others spoke of Serbian soldiers carrying the heads and limbs of their victims. He said he feared that at least half of those still missing have met grisly deaths. Mazowiecki was speaking in Poland after having resigned his post in protest over the failure of the international community to act against genocide in Srebrenica in Zepa. He pointed out that "cutting off noses is not a civilized action, nor is silent consent." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. BELGRADE CAUTIOUS ON KRAJINA . . . Official Belgrade reaction to developments in and around Krajina was muted, international media reported. As Croatian and Bosnian Croat troops moved toward Knin, the Krajina capital currently held by rebel Croat Serbs, Belgrade refrained from offering them direct support, calling instead for a diplomatic resolution to the situation. AFP reported federal rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic as saying that the rump Yugoslavia "demands that all warring parties meet immediately around the negotiating table, without pre-conditions." BETA added that Lilic also renewed calls for lifting international sanctions against Belgrade, which, he said, would serve to promote regional peace and frustrate the ambitions of "extremist elements" advocating war. AFP reported that Belgrade failed to back calls by the Krajina Serb mission in Belgrade for a rally to protest what the mission dubbed "Croatian aggression." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. . . . BUT CONDEMNS CROATIA. Meanwhile, Belgrade has condemned Croatia for what was described as Zagreb's "aggressive behavior" in Bosnia- Herzegovina, AFP reported. Reuters on 30 July reported that retreating Bosnian Serb forces in the area called for Belgrade's direct intervention on their behalf but received no direct commitment from the Serbian capital. Belgrade, however, appealed for "energetic international political action" to halt Croatian "aggression." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. FOURTEEN MACEDONIAN OFFICIALS SACKED FOR CORRUPTION. The Macedonian government has sacked 14 senior officials in an anti-corruption campaign over two weeks, Reuters reported on 28 July. According to government spokesman Ismail Gjuner, no ministers were being held responsible. Those dismissed include Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Dimitar Belcev, Urban Development Ministry Under-Secretary Bogdan Karanfilovski, and a high- ranking official from the Interior Ministry, Blagoja Toskovski. The dismissals are part of a major purge ahead of elections next year. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT ON EMBARGO AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. The Romanian government has again rejected accusations in the independent media that it broke the UN embargo against the rump Yugoslavia. A spokesman for the government was quoted by Radio Bucharest on 28 July as saying that limited oil shipments to the rump Yugoslavia were approved by the UN Security Council to help maintain a joint Romanian-Yugoslav power station on the Danube. The government-backed Vocea Romaniei wrote the next day that Petre Mihai Bacanu, head of the daily Romania libera, will probably be asked to pay 30 billion lei (some $15 million) in damages for having alleged in an 26 July article that the cabinet endorsed oil contraband with Serbia. Meanwhile, The New York Times on 30 July reported numerous cases of Romanian oil smuggling into Serbia, including the overtanking of Yugoslav passenger jets during stopovers in Timisoara. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. 14TH ARMY RESUMES AMMUNITION DESTRUCTION. Russian troops in the Transdniester region of Moldova have resumed the destruction of old ammunition, their commander told ITAR-TASS on 27 July, one day after the operation was halted by local authorities. Maj. Gen. Valerii Yevnevich said that a new site has been chosen for the destruction some 25 km from the town of Rybnitsa and 3.5 km from the nearest residential area. Yevnevich estimated that all the old ammunition would be destroyed by 15 September. He said that the troops were currently disposing of mines made in 1936. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS HOLD PARTY CONFERENCE. The Bulgarian Socialist Party on 28-29 July held a national party conference in Sofia, Bulgarian newspapers reported on 31 July. The delegates approved the Socialist-led government's policies during its sixth months in office, which, they said, were in keeping with the party's election platform. They also approved the program for the rest of the BSP's term but called for stepped-up efforts in privatization, the energy sector, and fighting crime. Winning the local elections in October was described as the BSP's most important task in the near future. Demokratsiya reported that former party leader Aleksandar Lilov urged that a reshuffle take place in order to improve the cabinet's effectiveness. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN PREMIER ATTACKS PRESIDENT, CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. Zhan Videnov, speaking at the BSP conference, strongly criticized President Zhelyu Zhelev and the Constitutional Court, Reuters reported on 28 July. Videnov said both were obstructing the policies of his government. Zhelev, he commented, "blocks the rule of the Democratic Left [and] behaves more like a candidate [for] opposition leader than . . . a head of state," whereas the Constitutional Court "behaves like an alternative parliament." The Constitutional Court in June backed Zhelev in his row with the BSP over an amendment to the land law, arguing it violated the constitution. Videnov also said that the "confrontation between the institutions of the legislative, judicial, and executive powers [is] typical for countries in transition." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. ALBANIAN TV DIRECTOR SACKED. The Albanian parliament on 28 July dismissed Skender Bucpapa, director of Albanian TV and Radio, as well as other high-ranking officials, BETA reported the same day. The opposition had criticized Bucpapa frequently for bias toward the ruling Democratic Party and for declining to address major political and social problems in Albania. Members of the Democratic Party recently alleged abuse of office by Bucpapa. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. SECRET MEETING BETWEEN ALBANIAN, SERBIAN SOCIALISTS. The Albanian and Serbian socialist party leaderships on 29 July held a secret meeting in Sofia, BETA reported the next day. No details have been released on either the topics discussed or the outcome of the talks. Representatives of the Albanian Socialists had participated in the Conference of the Balkan Left in Belgrade on 21-22 July, which called for lifting sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. GREECE DEMANDS SOLE RIGHT TO STAR OF VERGINA. Greece took an unprecedented step in its row with Macedonia over the Star of Vergina, the Athens daily Kyriakiatiki Elevtherotypia reported on 30 July. The Greek government in early July demanded that the UN World Intellectual Property Organization grant Greece the exclusive rights to the symbol, which dates back to the times of ancient Macedonia. Greece regards it is a purely Greek symbol, and strictly opposes its use on the Macedonian flag. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. TURKISH ISLAMISTS PROTEST BOSNIAN ARMS EMBARGO. More than 50,000 Turks in Konya protested the arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina on 29 July. Shouting "God Is Great," the demonstrators burned U.S. and UN flags and demanded an immediate end to the embargo, Reuters reported the same day. Turkey was one of eight Organization of Islamic Conference states that on 26 July declared the UN embargo "invalid" and gave the West a "last chance" to take concrete action before they defied the arms embargo. Meanwhile, Anatolia, the semi-official news agency, on 25 July reported that Turkey plans to sign a military cooperation accord with Bosnia in early August. -- Lowell Bezanis, 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
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