If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 148, Part II, 1 August 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

FOUL PLAY IN UKRAINIAN PATRIARCH'S DEATH? Taras Romaniuk, son of the
recently deceased patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev
Patriarchate, and leaders of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Brotherhood have
suggested there may have been foul play in the religious leader's death
on 14 July, Nezavisimost reported on 28 July. They have accused the
regional coroners' office of covering up details of Volodymyr's death,
the official cause of which was a heart attack. But Kiev police
officials told Nezavisimost that one month before his death, Volodymyr
asked for protection after receiving threats from radical Orthodox
activists and supporters of Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev. The patriarch
told the police that he had been threatened following his decision to
investigate suspected money laundering by Filaret's supporters. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

EBRD CREDIT TO UKRAINE. Ukrainian Television on 31 July reported that
the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has approved a 12.5
million ECU credit to Ukraine. The loan is to be granted to the joint-
stock company Ukrinflot to build five ships. The vessels will be used to
carry cargo from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. -- Ustina Markus

CRIMEAN UPDATE. Ukrainian Radio reported on 31 July that the Crimean
legislature has appealed to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to rescind
his 31 March decree putting the Crimean government directly under Kiev's
control. The parliament leaders, who are mainly loyal to Kiev, have
promised not to break any Ukrainian laws in their legislative work.
Ukrainian authorities accused the previous legislature of doing so and
cracked down on Crimean separatists in March. Kuchma is reportedly
considering the appeal but has said the Crimean lawmakers must retain
Anatolii Franchuk, the current Kiev-backed prime minister, in his post.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC NEWS. According to official statistics, unemployment
in Belarus at the beginning of July was only 1.9%. But if those
employees working short time or without wages were to be included, that
figure would be 20%, Belarusian Television reported on 30 July.
Statistics from the National Bank of Belarus show that inflation fell
from 38% in December 1994 to 2.5% in June. Since last December, the
monthly growth of the dollar against the Belarusian ruble fell from 21%
to 2%, while the exchange rate for the ruble has remained at 11,500 to
$1 since February. Meanwhile, Belarusian Radio on 31 July reported that
industrial production in Belarus fell by 8.2% in the first half of the
year. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC STATES DIVIDE UP ANTI-CRIME ACTIVITIES. Interior Ministers Edgar
Savisaar (Estonia), Janis Adamsons (Latvia), and Romasis Vaitekunas
(Lithuania) met on the Estonian island of Saaremaa on 29-30 July to
discuss combating crime, BNS reported the next day. They signed a
document giving each country specific areas on which to concentrate.
Illegal weapons, ammunition, counterfeit money and securities, and
illegal immigration are to be priority areas for Estonia. Latvia will
focus on illegal drugs, traffic police activities, fire and rescue
operations, and prosecution. Lithuania is to deal with money laundering,
stolen vehicles, and developing information and visa systems. The
ministers also signed a joint statement on measures against organized
crime. -- Saulius Girnius

SIGNATURES FOR ALTERNATIVE LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW. Representatives of
the For Latvia and the Homeland Union submitted 12,000 signatures to the
Central Election Committee on 31 July in support of holding a popular
vote on the union's draft of an alternative citizenship law, BNS
reported. The draft severely restricts the naturalization of non-
citizens by establishing an annual quota of 0.1% of the ethnic Latvian
population. Although the union began gathering signatures nearly a year
ago, the Saeima only passed the necessary legislation on the popular
vote on 26 July. The law requires the CEC to set a 30-day period during
which petitioners have to gather the signatures of one-tenth of the
voters (some 100,000 people). If the union succeeds in collecting these
signatures, the CEC will submit the alternative citizenship law to the
president and Saeima. If the Saeima rejects the law, a popular vote will
take place. -- Saulius Girnius

WALESA SENDS PRIVATIZATION BILL TO CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL. Polish
President Lech Walesa on 31 July sent the privatization and
commercialization bill to the Constitutional Tribunal, Polish and
international media reported. The Sejm overrode the president's veto of
the draft law on 21 July. Walesa argued that allowing the Sejm to have a
say in privatization "violates the government's exclusive authority and
the constitutional principle of the division of power." Prime Minister
Jozef Oleksy said the president's veto was a political decision dictated
by Solidarity's opposition to the bill. Finance Minister Grzegorz
Kolodko commented that Walesa arguments were "unconvincing." The Sejm
can overrule the Constitutional Tribunal's decision by a two-thirds
majority. * Jakub Karpinski

UPDATE ON POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Twelve organizations supporting
former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski's presidential candidacy formed the
Alliance of Pro-Independence Organizations on 31 July. Olszewski said he
no longer believed that the St. Catherine's Convent could select a
right-wing presidential candidate. In another development, 44
politicians, mostly from the Christian-National Alliance (ZChN, a right-
wing party not represented in the Sejm), have been listed as supporting
President Walesa. The list was handed over to journalists on 31 July by
ZChN leader Jan Lopuszanski. Other ZChN leaders support Polish National
Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz candidacy, although she has not
yet declared she will run for the post, Polish media reported on 1
August. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH COMMUNIST LEADERS CHARGED WITH TREASON OVER 1968 INVASION. Five
former leaders of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC) were charged on
31 July with treason over the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion, Czech media
reported. The charges were brought by the Office for the Documentation
and Investigation of Crimes of Communism, which did not publish the
names of the five. However, former KSC Secretary-General Milos Jakes, a
central figure in the "normalization" program after the invasion, and
KSC Central Committee member Karel Hoffmann both confirmed receiving
notification of the charges, which they called absurd and fabricated.
The pursuit of KSC officials who allegedly wrote to Soviet leaders
"inviting" them to intervene to end the Prague Spring has been
continuing for years. The main figure implicated, Vasil Bilak, is beyond
the reach of Czech investigators as he is a Slovak citizen. -- Steve
Kettle

ROMANI YOUTH DIES FOLLOWING ATTACK BY SLOVAK SKINHEADS. The 17-year-old
Romani youth who was set alight and beaten by skinheads on 21 July in
Central Slovakia (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 July 1995) died in the
hospital on 31 July, TASR reported. The Slovak government the same day
officially condemned the attack--10 days after it took place. But Jan
Slota, leader of the Slovak National Party, said he believed that high
"Gypsy" crime rates were the cause of such "truly unacceptable"
incidents. Human rights organizations in Slovakia and abroad had
expressed outrage over the event and criticized the state's inaction.
Romani representatives on 30 July sent an open letter to Slovak citizens
saying that by not officially condemning the attack, the state was
silently condoning it, TASR reported the same day. The Romani
representatives warned that if the government does not negotiate with
them, they will stage demonstrations within a month. -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S VETO CAUSES CONTROVERSY. In response to Michal
Kovac's veto of economic legislation passed by the parliament in mid-
July, the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) has once
again called for his resignation, Narodna obroda reported. The HZDS, in
a statement released on 31 July, said the return of laws on
privatization and on investment firms and funds shows his "close
political connections to the opposition, without regard for the real
needs of citizens." In the interest of "maintaining social stability,"
the HZDS demanded that Kovac "finally resign." There is speculation that
the coalition deputies will call an extraordinary parliament session in
August in order to pass the laws again. But according to Slovak press
reports on 1 August, it is unlikely that the coalition would get the 76
votes needed to override the veto. Many deputies are currently on
vacation or out of the country. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO GET MORE RUSSIAN ARMS IN DEBT REPAYMENT. A Hungarian Defense
Ministry spokesman on 31 July announced that Hungary will receive some
$132 million worth of military equipment from Russia this year in lieu
of cash debt repayments, MTI reported. Peter Haber said the Hungarians
will be given 97 armored personnel carriers, 20 rocket launchers, an
unspecified number of rockets, and MiG-29 jet engines. Earlier in July,
the Russians agreed to supply $58 million worth of military equipment to
the Hungarian Border Guards. -- Doug Clarke

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATS SHELL KRAJINA. International media on 1 August reported that
Croatian and Bosnian Croat forces are shelling Serb-held Strmica near
the border between Croatia and Bosnia. Serbs continue to flee toward
Knin or toward Drvar in Bosnia. Press reports from Knin say that the
situation is bleak and the population demoralized. Croatian troops are
also closing in on Donji Vakuf on the road to Jajce. The International
Herald Tribune reported that the supposed Serbian withdrawal from Bihac
was just a ruse to re-position personnel and that armor and artillery
are still in place. UN spokesmen said that Bosnian Serb forces fired on
the helicopter of UN commander General Ruppert Smith on 31 July as he
was flying to a meeting with indicted war criminal General Ratko Mladic.
Novi list reported that President Franjo Tudjman has promoted General
Ante Gotovina, commander of the Croatian forces that took Grahovo and
Glamoc on 28 July, to colonel-general. -- Patrick Moore

MORILLON CALLS FOR "DESERT STORM" AGAINST SERBS. Officials in Washington
and some other Western capitals are privately hoping that the Croatian
offensive will succeed and rid the international community of a conflict
it has been unable to handle, the International Herald Tribune said on 1
August. AFP quoted former UN special rapporteur for human rights,
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, as saying that the situation in Bosnia will worsen
unless the West takes action against the Serbs. The head of UNPROFOR in
1992-1993 and now the commander of the Rapid Reaction Force, General
Philippe Morillon, told the German weekly Stern that armed intervention
on the model of the Gulf War may be necessary if there is no improvement
on the ground soon. He said that one would have to deal with the Serbs
the way Operation Desert Storm dealt with Saddam Hussein. -- Patrick
Moore

AKASHI, PORTILLO ARE "PESSIMISTIC." UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi told
reporters on 1 August that he fears "a lot of bloodshed" if the Croats
launch an offensive against Knin. "They seem very prepared to attack,
the danger of a military offensive is still there, we are watching the
situation with great concern," AFP quoted him as saying. Nasa Borba
reported him as saying that the Krajina Serbs have never been more
willing to negotiate. British Defense Secretary Michael Portillo shared
Akashi's fears: "I don't want to be melodramatic, but the intervention
of the Croats does now raise the prospect of an all-out war, at least
between the Croats and the Bosnian Serbs, And that is of course of great
concern to us," he told the BBC. -- Patrick Moore

IRAN PROMISES AID FOR CROATIA, BOSNIA. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali
Akbar Velayati met with his Bosnian and Croatian counterparts in Split
on 31 July. The three leaders called for NATO intervention to protect
internationally recognized borders, Vecernji list reported on 1 August.
Velayati went on to Mostar to discuss military aid with President Alija
Izetbegovic. Bosnia and Croatia both enjoy good relations with the
Muslim world as a whole, ranging from secular Turkey to fundamentalist
Iran. (See related item in the Russian section) -- Patrick Moore

CHANGING IDENTITIES IN MONTENEGRO? Montenafax on 28 July reported the
results of a poll recently taken in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica
in which respondents were asked to name their identity. Only 44.7%
identified themselves as Montenegrin, down from the official 1991 census
figure of 72.3%. The percentage who recognized themselves as Serbian
also fell to 5.3%, from 7.7% in 1991. The number of Albanians remained
constant, at 8.4%, while 4.8% identified themselves as Muslims, a
decrease of 0.2%. Those calling themselves Yugoslavs increased from 3.3%
in 1991 to 5.3%. Most of the remaining respondents described themselves
in terms of hybrid categories blurring the Montenegrin and Serbian
identities. -- Stan Markotich

SPLIT IN SANDZAK PARTY? The leadership of the Party of Democratic Action
(SDA) of the Sandzak has distanced itself from the party's coordinating
body, BETA reported on 31 July. The SDA leaders questioned the legality
of an extraordinary meeting of the coordinating body on 29 July, arguing
that it was organized without their knowledge and that only two of nine
regional committees were represented at the meeting. They also alleged
that the only purpose of the meeting was to "prolong the political
survival of [SDA leader] Sulejman Ugljanin." Ugljanin, who has lived in
Turkey for the last two years, has been criticized by party members for
a lack of credibility. -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN GANGSTER HANDED OVER TO BELGIUM. Macedonia has
handed over the ethnic Albanian Basri Bajrami to Belgium, BETA reported
on 31 July. BETA describes Bajrami as "one of the best-known criminals
in Belgium" and the "brain" behind the kidnapping of former Belgian
Prime Minister Paul Boeyenants in February 1989. Boeyenants was freed
one month later after a ransom of $1.8 million was paid. Bajrami was
also one of the leaders of the "Patrick Haemers Gang," which specialized
in robbing armored trucks. He was arrested in early 1993 but escaped
shortly after from the prison of St. Jules in Brussels, taking a guard
as hostage. Bajrami then fled to Macedonia, where he opened a disco and
various luxurious boutiques. His extradition was requested by Interpol.
-- Fabian Schmidt

U.S. AIR FORCE SECRETARY ENDS VISIT TO ROMANIA. A U.S. military
delegation headed by Sheila Widnall, secretary of the Air Force at the
Defense Department, ended a two-day official visit to Romania on 31
July, Radio Bucharest reported. Widnall stressed the "constructive
character" of her talks with Romanian Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca,
Secretary of State for Defense Ioan Mircea Pascu, and Air Force Chief-
of-Staff Maj. Gen. Ion Sandulescu. She also said that the U.S. is
interested in expanding cooperation with Romania within the framework of
the Partnership For Peace program. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST LEADERS MEET. The National Board of Directors of
the nationalist organization Vatra Romaneasca (Romanian Hearth) met in
Targu Mures on 29 and 30 July. Adevarul on 1 August reported that the
gathering was in response to the meeting organized by the World
Association of Hungarians in Debrecen on 27 July. Vatra Romaneasca
leaders called on the Romanian government to suspend negotiations with
Hungary over a new bilateral treaty until Budapest distances itself from
what was described as "irredentist provocations." They also insisted
that Romania not accept the inclusion of the Council of Europe
Recommendation No. 1201 either in the treaty itself or as an annex. --
Dan Ionescu

U.S. ASKS ROMANIA, BULGARIA, OTHERS TO TIGHTEN EMBARGO AGAINST RUMP
YUGOSLAVIA. The Sofia daily Pari on 1 August reported that U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke said the previous day the
U.S. has asked Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Greece to tighten the
embargo against rump Yugoslavia. The request comes at a time when
Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece are considering a joint initiative to
further ease the embargo. Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko
Vlaykov told RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service that so far, the U.S. has not
submitted an official request to Bulgaria. Standart cited an unnamed
senior diplomat as saying that "calls to tighten the sanctions actually
mean that we are not enforcing them as we should." -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION STILL WITHOUT COMMON MAYORAL CANDIDATE.
Representatives of 15 opposition parties and alliances on 31 July met to
find a common mayoral candidate for Sofia, Bulgarian papers reported the
following day. Stefan Sofiyanski of the Union of Democratic Forces was
supported by 12 groups, and former interim Prime Minister Reneta
Indzhova by three. Indzhova stressed the independent nature of her
candidacy but refused to present her program before the Socialist
candidate has been nominated. Sofiyanski, on the other hand, gave a
detailed account of his plans if elected as mayor, Demokratsiya
reported. Observers expect Sofiyanski to be officially nominated at a
meeting scheduled for 1 August. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN ETHNIC TURKS DEMAND NEW VISA STATUTE FROM ANKARA. The ethnic
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) has asked Turkish
authorities to allow ethnic Turks from Bulgaria to enter Turkey for up
to three months without a visa, Duma reported on 1 August. They demanded
equal treatment with ethnic Turks living in Greece, who under a Greek-
Turkish agreement do not need a visa. The DPS leadership also requested
that Bulgarian ethnic Turks be allowed to visit Turkey for urgent family
business without a visa and that Turkey drops a regulation stating that
tourist groups traveling there must not include more than 10 people with
Turkish names. DPS officials on 31 July said that these questions are
raised at every meeting with Turkish officials but that Turkey has not
responded to the party's latest request. -- Stefan Krause

[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


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole