The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 151, Part II, 4 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

SLOVAK PRESIDENT IN U.S. Michal Kovac on 3 August left for a 12-day
visit to the U.S. He will receive on 5 August an award from the American
Bar Association in Chicago for his role in promoting democracy since
Slovakia's independence. Kovac is also expected to meet with U.S. Vice
President Al Gore. His visit takes place amid a continuing conflict with
Premier and Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) Chairman Vladimir
Meciar, whose party has several times called on Kovac to resign.
According to an opinion poll carried out by the Slovak Statistical
Office in late May and early June, 42% of the respondents said Kovac
should remain president, 36% said he should resign, and 22% were
uncertain. Only 15% said Kovac is "always apolitical," while 26% said he
is "mostly apolitical," Sme reported on 3 August. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI, Inc.

CONTINUED CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK MEDIA. Anti-Monopoly Office Chairman
Pavel Frano on 3 August dismissed Imrich Juhar as department director,
Narodna obroda reported. Juhar the previous day requested that the
Ministry of Culture stop giving state funds to the pro-government
dailies Slovenska Republika and Hlas ludu to publish supplements for
national minorities, arguing that the subsidies limit economic
competition. Also on 3 August, the Slovak opposition criticized Premier
and HZDS Chairman Meciar for giving prizes to controversial publications
and journalists the previous day. The awards, named after 19th-century
Slovak linguist Ludovit Stur, went to journalists and newspapers
nominated by the pro-HZDS Association of Slovak Journalists (ZSN).
Winners included ZSN Chairman and Slovak TV director Jozef Darmo, HZDS
deputies Roman Hofbauer and Dusan Slobodnik, Slovenska Republika, and
the weeklies Extra and Zmena. Democratic Union Deputy Chairman Jan Budaj
called it "scandalous" that Meciar awarded a prize to Zmena, which has
been accused of anti-Semitism. This week's issue features a number of
attacks on U.S. financier George Soros, Reuters reported. -- Sharon
Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

TOP REFORMER RE-APPOINTED TO UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT. President Leonid
Kuchma has re-appointed the country's top reformer, Viktor Pynzenyk, as
deputy prime minister for economic reforms, Reuters and UNIAR reported 2
August. The decision was made during the visit by IMF officials for
talks on the next installment of a $1.5 billion loan granted to Ukraine
earlier this year. Kuchma initially did not include Pynzenyk in his
government after announcing he would ease up on tight fiscal policy in
favor of support for the ailing industrial sector. Roman Shpek, a more
moderate reformer, will remain deputy prime minister in overall charge
of the economy. Pynzenyk will focus on macroeconomic issues. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS OVERTURN NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Crimean legislature
on 2 August voted to overturn its 22 March vote of no confidence in
Anatolii Franchuk, the Kiev-backed prime minister, Ukrainian TV reported
the same day. Deputies made the move as a step toward regaining control
over the region's government, which was placed under Kiev's jurisdiction
by President Kuchma on 31 March. Kuchma said he would consider an appeal
from the Crimean Assembly to rescind his decree if Crimean legislators
overturned their no-confidence vote in Franchuk. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN ENERGY NEWS. Belarusian Radio on 2 August reported that Rem
Vyakhirev, chairman of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, arrived in
Minsk to discuss building a pipeline through Belarus to the West. The
pipeline would stretch from Yamal, in Siberia, to the Polish border,
with 209 km passing through Belarus. If it were built, it would give
Belarus additional transit fees, making it easier to pay for the
country's gas supplies. Meanwhile, Anton Loika, president of the
gasoline concern Belnaftapradukt, told a press conference that despite
the Russian-Belarusian customs union, the discrepancy in gasoline prices
between the two countries will continue, Belarusian Radio reported on 2
August. Gasoline now costs around 2,000 rubles (45 cents) per liter in
Russia and 2,500-3,000 Belarusian rubles (24 cents) in Belarus. Since
Belarus is resisting price rises, gasoline vendors cannot increase their
prices to match those in Russia. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ESTONIA. Lawrence Taylor presented his
credentials to Estonian President Lennart Meri on 2 August, BNS
reported. He also discussed with Foreign Minister Riivo Sinijarv the
possibility of U.S. economic and military aid. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi
and Taylor on 3 August discussed relations between Russia and Estonia
and border issues. Vahi received assurances that the U.S. will back
Estonia in questions of vital importance. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN SAEIMA REJECTS DISMISSING CHIEF BANKERS. The proposal by
deputies of the Popular Concord Party, the Political Association of
Economists, and the Democratic Party Saimnieks to dismiss Bank of Latvia
President Einars Repse and his deputy, Ilmars Rimsevics, was rejected by
the Saeima on 3 August, BNS reported. Deputy Igors Burkovskis blamed the
bank for the unstable financial situation in the country and predicted
that the economy will collapse in three months. Repse called his
prediction "totally groundless," but he admitted that he had chosen
wrong strategies for supervising commercial banks, since he had not
taken into account the high level of corruption and crime among bankers.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIA DEPORTS ALL ASIAN REFUGEES. Lithuania on 3 August deported
about 30 refugees from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan,
leaving no officially registered Asian asylum seekers in the country,
BNS reported. Fourteen refugees from Bangladesh with Russian visas were
detained on 30 July near the seaside resort of Palanga, while 12 from
India were captured on the Polish-Lithuanian border two days later. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

SUPPORT FOR CZECH OPPOSITION CONTINUES TO GROW. The ruling Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) now has less than a 3 percentage point lead over
the opposition Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), according to an
opinion poll taken by the Factum agency in late July. The ODS won 22.8%
support, compared with 20.2% for the CSSD. The Communist Party came
third with 9.3%, followed by the Civic Democratic Alliance with 7.7%,
the Czech People's Party with 7.1%, and Pensioners for Life Security
with 5.1%, Prace reported on 4 August. ODS supporters tend to be
university graduates, businessmen, and those who earn over 5,000 koruny
($200) a month. In other news, Rude pravo reported on 4 August that CSSD
Chairman Milos Zeman has offered former Czechoslovak Premier Marian
Calfa, an ethnic Slovak, membership in the CSSD. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
Inc.

HUNGARY TO OPEN NEW CAMPS FOR REFUGEES FROM EX-YUGOSLAVIA. AFP on 3
August reported that Hungary will open more camps to deal with the
latest wave of refugees from the former Yugoslavia. A new camp housing
some 2,000 refugees will be opened soon in Debrecen in former Soviet
Army barracks. Hungary's main refugee camp in Nagyatad is now full with
2,000 people, of whom half arrived in July. Philippe Labreveux of the
UNHCR said that so far this year, a total of 2,000 refugees have arrived
in Hungary from the former Yugoslavia, mainly from the Croatian region
of Slavonia and the Serbian province of Kosovo. Hungary has allocated
$7.87 million for refugees from its state budget. -- Jan Cleave, OMRI,
Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

"BATTLE FOR KRAJINA HAS BEGUN." This is what a UN spokesman told the BBC
just after dawn on 4 August. At 3:00 a.m., the Croatian authorities
informed the UN that military action was imminent; at 4:00 a.m., the
peacekeepers went on "red alert"; and one hour later, the Croatian
offensive began. Hundreds of shells fell on Knin, while others hit
Slunj, Gracac, Petrinja, Glina, and Udbina with its major air base. Some
20 tanks sped out of Gospic and into the Medak pocket just 65 km from
Knin. Croatian media said that the Serbs in return shelled Sibenik,
Sisak, Karlovac, Gospic, Ogulin, Otocac, Sunja, Novska, Topusko, and
Dubrovnik. They had already blasted the Dubrovnik area the previous day.
Reuters reported that the Croatian army wanted to quickly take out the
Serbian missile batteries trained on Zagreb. The BBC quoted UN spokesmen
in Knin as saying that the streets there were deserted and the
atmosphere "grim" and that the center of the city is on fire. Early and
unconfirmed reports suggest that the Croats are making rapid progress,
especially in the north. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

TUDJMAN PROMISES SERBS FAIR TREATMENT. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman
issued a statement to the Krajina Serbs urging them to lay down their
arms. He said that all will be treated fairly, that innocent civilians
have nothing to fear, and that war criminals will be given a fair trial.
He added that "we were forced to make such a decision in order to put an
end to the four-year long deception of the Croatian and international
public and ensure the beginning of a return of [250,000 Croat]
refugees." International media on 4 August noted, however, that the
Serbs are likely to flee like the Serbs in western Slavonia, which the
Croats retook in May. The Krajina Serbs have been fed a steady diet of
nationalist and anti-Croatian propaganda by their media for years, and
their ranks contain more than a few war criminals who may be skeptical
of Tudjman's words. Some 3,000 new Serbian refugees were reported headed
for Banja Luka on 3 August in what the BBC called one of the largest
migrations of Serbian civilians since 1991. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

"KRAJINA SERBS ARE ON THEIR OWN, AND THEY KNOW IT." This is how the BBC
on 3 August described the fate of the Croatian Serb rebels after Bosnian
Serb commander General Ratko Mladic made it clear that he will stay out
of any conflict in Krajina. The broadcast added that "he takes his
orders from Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic." Things have come a
long way since 1990, when Milosevic's media and agents promoted Serbian
nationalism and fear of the Croats among ordinary Serbs in Krajina.
Their chetnik militias sang in return: "Slobo, Slobo send us salad,
because we'll soon have much Croatian meat." But now many Krajina Serbs
believe that Milosevic and his followers have decided to abandon the
Croatian Serbs, except for those in the prosperous eastern Slavonia,
which many expect Serbia to annex formally. Rumors are also rife of a
deal between Zagreb and Belgrade to this effect. Few observers believe
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's pledge to reverse recent Croatian
territorial gains. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

UN SAYS "PEACE PROCESS SHOULD TAKE ITS COURSE." International media on 4
August reported that the talks in Geneva headed by UN mediator Thorvald
Stoltenberg the previous day came to nothing. A Croatian spokesman said
that the Serbs refused to budge on the key issue of their political
reintegration into Croatia. Stoltenberg, however, felt that more
progress has been made than he had hoped. Meanwhile in Belgrade, the
influential U.S. ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, met with
Krajina Serb "Prime Minister" Milan Babic, who agreed to the principle
of a political settlement. Babic promised to reopen the oil pipeline
immediately and launch talks on political and economic issues. Galbraith
said that the Serb concessions based on the so-called Z-4 plan provided
an opportunity to end the war. A UN spokesman, however, told the BBC
that the Croats were "cynical and skeptical" about Babic's pledges. The
UN expressed regret that the Croats will not "allow the peace process to
take its course." The Security Council passed a resolution warning that
"there can be no military solution." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BELGRADE MEDIA SHARPLY CRITICIZES KRAJINA, BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS. Reuters
on 3 August reported that the rump Yugoslav state-run media have
attacked Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and particularly rebel
Krajina Serb leader Milan Martic for their militarism. A Politika
editorial, reported by Belgrade TV, blamed Karadzic and Martic for
provoking war with Croatia. The editorial, written by Dragan Hadzi
Antic, the daily's political editor and a close ally of Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic, appeared in print on 4 August. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

LYNCH JUSTICE IN MOLDOVA'S BREAKAWAY DNIESTER REGION. A 15-year-old boy
was killed and a woman badly beaten after stealing potatoes in Caragas,
a village in the self-proclaimed Dniester region, BASA-press reported on
3 August. The teenager was thrown into a canal by furious villagers who
tied a bag of potatoes around his neck. The beaten woman was paraded
through the village and tied to a pole. The incidents occurred amid
serious food shortages in the Dniester region. Bread is currently
available only through a ration-card system. The average salary in the
region is $5-10 a month, making staples a luxury for most inhabitants.
-- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

HEAD OF BULGARIAN PRIVATIZATION CENTER REPLACED. Yosif Iliev, director
of the Center for Mass Privatization, was replaced by Kalin Mitrev on 3
August, Demokratsiya reported the following day. A government statement
said Iliev asked to be removed from office and will be assigned to a new
post. The newspaper reported that Iliev and Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for Economic Development Rumen Gechev disagreed over how mass
privatization should be carried out. According to Pari, the appointment
of Mitrev in effect puts Prime Minister Zhan Videnov in control of
privatization. Standart reported that Mitrev has asked for guarantees
that Gechev will not interfere in his work. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT EVICTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. The cabinet on 3
August decided to move the Constitutional Court from its present offices
in the government building, 24 chasa reported the following day. The
measure was described as "temporary" and was explained by the need to
house the Central Electoral Commission in the building. The
Constitutional Court was advised to ask the parliament for new offices
in the former Communist Party headquarters. Members of the commission
said the decision was a "purely political act," since they do not need
that much office space. Constitutional Court Judge Georgi Markov
commented that if there is not enough space in the building, the
government should move out, because "it is lower in the state
hierarchy." Markov also remarked that the government has "declared war
on the Constitutional Court, which will have serious consequences." --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS HOLD PROTEST RALLY. The opposition Socialist Party
on 2 August held a protest meeting to demand the release of their party
leader, Fatos Nano, Gazeta Shqiptare reported the following day. Nano
has been in prison since 1993 for misappropriating Italian humanitarian
aid. He is expected to be released by the Supreme Court in September.
Some 3,000-4,000 people participated in the rally. The demonstrators
also demanded the reinstatement of professors from Tirana University's
economics faculty who were sacked for what the Socialists claimed are
political reasons. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

TWO NEW FUNDS FOR ALBANIAN ENTERPRISES. The German Bank for
Reconstruction has opened a development fund in Tirana and the Albanian-
American Investment Fund opened an office in Tirana, BETA reported. Both
funds are designed to offer help to small and medium-size enterprises
and to support the privatization process. They will give credits and
technical assistance to firms in construction and tourism. President
Sali Berisha said the funds will "improve economic cooperation among
private businesses and the general level of investment in the Albanian
economy." He added that the rapid privatization of Albanian banks is one
of his priorities. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

28 ALBANIANS ARRESTED IN FIGHT OVER DAM. The Albanian police arrested 28
peasants who threatened to place explosives under the dam of a water
reservoir in construction in the village of Bovila near Tirana, BETA
reported on 3 August. The reservoir is to provide Tirana with water but
will flood the peasants' land (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 August 1995).
The peasants have been offered land in compensation but they say that
the earth quality is lower than what they have now. -- Fabian Schmidt,
OMRI, Inc.

GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER CRITICIZED FOR PLANNED INTERVIEW. Gerasimos
Arsenis has been strongly criticized by the opposition for his decision
to give an interview on the Greek army to the Macedonian daily Nova
Makedonija, the newspaper reported on 4 August. Announcing his decision,
Arsenis indicated that Greece may lift its embargo on Macedonia if the
country changes its flag and constitution. He also said that Greece
wants good relations with Macedonia. Vasilis Manginas, spokesman of the
conservative main opposition party New Democracy, called the decision "a
grave mistake and incomprehensible move." The nationalistic Political
Spring party said such an interview would be an "unprecedented action"
and constitute "de facto recognition" of Macedonia. -- Stefan Krause,
OMRI, Inc.

TURKISH PREMIER APPEALS TO GREECE FOR "OPEN TALKS." Tansu Ciller, in an
interview with the Turkish daily Hurriyet on 3 August, has appealed to
Greece to "overcome its fears" and open talks with Ankara, AFP reported
the same day. With regard to Greece's recent decision not to veto an
European Union-Turkey customs deal, she expressed her hope that Greece
will "continue its new stand." Greek government spokesman Evangelos
Venizelos the same day hailed the conciliatory tone of the interview but
objected to Ciller's allusion to Athens's alleged support for the
Kurdish rebels in Turkey, complaining that Ciller was repeating a well-
known Turkish position. He noted that Turkish-EU relations depended on
Turkey's compliance with international law, respect for human rights,
and "more generally what you call European culture." -- 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
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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
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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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