|Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith. - Christopher Fry|
No. 157, Part II, 14 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 UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT REINSTATES GENERAL PROSECUTOR. Leonid Kuchma issued a decree on 10 August reinstating Vladislav Datsiuk as general prosecutor, Ukrainian TV reported the same day. Datsiuk was dismissed by the parliament after he was accused of failing to address growing crime and corruption. Datsiuk denied the charge and claimed the move was motivated by his ongoing investigation into charges of corruption among parliamentary leaders, especially into alleged money-laundering by deputy speaker Oleksander Tkachenko. Prior to his dismissal, Datsiuk formally requested the legislature to strip Tkachenko of his immunity from criminal prosecution so that the prosecutor's office could file official charges. Kuchma overturned the removal of Datsiuk on the grounds that it was contrary to a recent so-called constitutional accord between himself and lawmakers, which gave him authority to appoint government ministers and officials. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. UKRAINIAN MEDIA NEWS. Crimean Parliament Speaker Yevhen Supruniuk told UNIAN on 11 August that the Ukrainian government allotted 14 billion karbovantsi (over $100,000) to the region's TV transmission center and Crimean TV, which will enable Ukraine's recent decision to switch Russian Public TV from the country's Channel One to a channel with a less powerful signal to be reversed. Supruniuk said he discussed the issue with President Leonid Kuchma after the mostly Russian-speaking Crimeans complained that the transmission quality was poor for the popular programming. He said Kuchma promised another 100 billion karbovantsi for the repair and purchase of new equipment for the local transmission center. Ukrainian State TV and Radio said it was forced to change the channels on 1 August after the Russian broadcasters failed to pay some $8 million in fees. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC NEWS. Belarusian Television reported on 10 August that Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir discussed economic problems with the Belarusian economic court. Over the past six months, the court has examined over 5,000 cases, a five-fold growth over the previous year. The head of the court, Uladzimir Boika, said there is a serious problem with the court's judgments not being carried out. Chyhir affirmed that there was a problem with economic laws in the country, and said the cabinet was taking measures to rectify the situation. Chyhir informed Belarusian Radio that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has reconsidered his decrees forbidding pensioners to claim both a working income and their pensions. Now the president has decided working pensioners should be entitled to both, but those earning over 360,000 Belarusian rubles ($31) per month should get only half of their pension. On 11 August, Belarusian radio reported that the Ministry of State Assets and Privatization has confirmed a list of 624 state enterprises to be privatized this year. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc. ESTONIAN, LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTERS DISCUSS BILATERAL RELATIONS. Tiit Vahi and Adolfas Slezevicius discussed issues concerning their countries and the whole Baltic region during their meeting in Tallinn on 11 August, BNS reported. The premiers talked about preparing bilateral agreements for investment protection and on social guarantees as well as establishing a Baltic customs union for which a common transit agreement is being prepared. They also discussed the situation of their UN peacekeeping units in Croatia and the Danish initiative to set up a security council for the Baltic area. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN ORGANIZATIONS IN LITHUANIA. The editorial board of the largest Russian-language newspaper in Lithuania, Ekho Litvy, published an appeal on 10 August asking for support for founding an independent, apolitical organization that would unite all Russian speakers in Lithuania, BNS reported the following day. Noting that the organizations of ethnic minorities and the Union of Russians in Lithuania currently being formed are political, the appeal asserts the need for "a general, social and civic organization of fellow countrymen" regardless of political views and professions. It underlines the fact that the Russian Federation has drafted a law that would offer "financial aid and other benefits to organizations of ethnic Russians and to businesses, operating within these organizations' frameworks." -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. UPDATE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN POLAND. Press reports concerning plans to postpone the presidential elections, which would require changing the constitution, are still dividing Polish politicians. According to presidential candidate and Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski, the idea originated in June and came from a Democratic Union leader, Bronislaw Geremek. Geremek confirms talking in June with Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and saying that Kwasniewski's candidacy "is now not good for the Polish state," but denies conducting negotiations on extending current president Lech Walesa's term for another two years, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 12-13 August. Rzeczpospolita on the same day commented that "establishing a formula of government by a political arrangement and not by elections is an indecent act directed towards the electorate." In other developments, presidential candidate and former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron proposed on 13 August that every presidential candidate should answer five questions concerning Poland's future, such as what to do in order to assure that "the state functioned well and was friendly to citizens." Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 14 August. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE SERBIA WANTS REFUGEES TO FIGHT IN BOSNIA. International media report on 14 August that Serbian authorities have closed the border to Krajina Serb refugee males of military age. Huge jams at frontier crossings have resulted, since the women refuse to proceed without their menfolk. The Serbian authorities want the men to join Bosnian Serb forces, despite the fact that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has publicly distanced himself from the Bosnian Serb leadership. Reuters on 13 August quoted one of the women as saying that "there is nothing left for our men to defend," and the BBC cited others as saying that they would go to Serbia, Krajina, or abroad, but did not want to fight in Bosnia. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. SERBS PRESS ETHNIC CLEANSING OF BOSNIA, VOJVODINA. Croats and Muslims continued over the weekend to be driven out of the Banja Luka area by Bosnian Serbs and Krajina refugees. According to Reuters on 14 August, "this is the final touch to a three-year-old barbarity that will make the name of Banja Luka go down in history as the heart of darkness," UN refugee agency spokesman Kris Janowski remarked. He said that 1,600 expellees are expected by 16 August. The Roman Catholic Church in the area has issued a special protest. Croatian and international media since 11 August have also reported that Croats and other non-Serbs are being "ethnically cleansed" from Vojvodina, ostensibly to make room for Krajina refugees. Meanwhile, in Petrinja in the formerly Serb-held Krajina, Croats are returning to the homes the Serbs chased them from four years ago. AFP on 14 August quoted one as saying that the Serbs the whole time "lived among utter rubble" without water, electricity, or reconstruction. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. CROATIAN, BOSNIAN FORCES PRESS FORWARD. Over the weekend Bosnian Serb forces shelled the Dubrovnik area. The Croats attacked in return, and Vjesnik and the BBC reported on 12 August that Serbs in Trebinje in eastern Herzegovina are fleeing into Montenegro. Eastern Herzegovina has long been a Serbian stronghold and for Serbs to flee Trebinje would certainly be a new development. Meanwhile in central Bosnia, government forces have been pressing the Serbs back. The Fifth Corps is advancing eastward toward Bosanska Krupa and Prijedor, while other units are moving with Croatian artillery support northward to Donji Vakuf. Their goals appear to be to improve road transportation links and move on to Jajce. Government forces in both Prijedor and Jajce would then be in a position to advance on Banja Luka in a pincer movement. The morale of the Serbs is particularly low after a series of crushing defeats, while the mainly Muslim forces include men fighting to retake their homes. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. IZETBEGOVIC SAYS THAT GORAZDE WILL NOT BE TRADED. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said in a television interview on 13 August that "we will not give up Gorazde even if we have to wage war for 15 years." There has been speculation that the latest U.S. peace plan would require him to give up the last remaining Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia. The entire area had a large Muslim population in places like Visegrad before the Serbs launched their "ethnic cleansing" campaigns. Izetbegovic added that the siege of Sarajevo would be lifted by November, and that there would be some personnel changes in the Bosnian military. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. KARADZIC WARNS AGAINST DEAL OVER HIS HEAD. Nasa Borba on 14 August quoted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that any agreement reached in Moscow without his consent would be invalid. The New York Times reported that Karadzic and his estranged military commander, General Ratko Mladic, have had another exchange of words, this time reflecting on Karadzic's prewar profession as a psychiatrist. Karadzic said that the general was certifiably crazy. Mladic returned the compliment, telling Karadzic that he had "spent too long with his patients." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. RUSSIAN AID ARRIVES IN BELGRADE. Three Russian Ilyushin-76 aircraft arrived on 12 August at Belgrade airport carrying some 90 tons of humanitarian aid for Serb refugees, AFP reported the same day. Moscow has said that the aid package, consisting almost entirely of foodstuffs and medical supplies, ought not be regarded as a violation of international sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. On 12 August, however, the Russian Duma passed a resolution calling for a unilateral lifting of the sanctions (see related items in Russian section). Meanwhile, additional Russian aid is slated for shipment to the rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. SERB REFUGEES SETTLE IN KOSOVO . . . International agencies reported on 14 August that 670 Krajina Serb refugees arrived in Prizren and Pec the previous day. Some additional families have also reached the region to join relatives there, a Red Cross official said. Rump Yugoslav authorities have reportedly said they want to settle 16,000 refugees in Kosovo, but other estimates mention 20,000. Many refugees have reportedly refused to be settled in the poor region. Previous efforts to settle Serbs in Kosovo have failed. Out of a total of 500,000 refugees to rump Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav war, only about 4,000 have so far been settled in Kosovo and have been accommodated mainly in school buildings. Rump Yugoslavia decided two years ago to build nearly 2,000 apartments, 400 houses and 11 camps to accommodate the influx of refugees, but only two camps have so far been constructed, at Junik and Velika Reka. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. . . . BUT SHARP REACTIONS FROM KOSOVO AND ALBANIA. Edita Tahiri, a member of the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosovo, said that the settlement of Krajina refugees in Kosovo was a "project of colonization" and accused Belgrade of trying to alter the ethnic balance in Kosovo, international agencies reported. That view was supported by the Albanian Foreign Ministry: in a declaration published in Rilindja Demokratike on 12 August, it called the settling of refugees in Kosovo a "part of [rump Yugoslavia's] ethnic cleansing policy." Macedonian Defense Minister Blagoj Handziski warned against "a heightening of tension" in the province. The United States also expressed fears that the resettlement plan could extend the conflict. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIA HOLDS NAVAL EXERCISE ON THE DANUBE. Romania on 12 August began a Partnership For Peace naval exercise on the Danube, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported. The exercise, known as "Danube '95," is scheduled to end on 16 August. It is designed to show Romania is able to protect humanitarian aid convoys in "hostile waters." On 13 August a mock aid convoy, protected by Romanian military river boats and by a Ukrainian ship, sailed up a 20-km stretch of the Danube between the ports of Galati and Braila. The flotilla fired its weapons to repel simulated air and land attacks. NATO and PFP observers from France, Germany, the US and other countries watched the exercise. A NATO official described the exercise as "a good demonstration of what can be done in an area where NATO has not yet really operated." -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. CHOLERA EPIDEMIC REACHES ROMANIA. In a statement released on 12 August, Romania's Health Ministry confirmed that three cases of cholera were registered in the Danube ports of Galati and Tulcea, Radio Bucharest reported. The statement added that medical authorities were taking steps to prevent the spread of the infection. Meanwhile, the number of cholera cases in the neighboring Republic of Moldova rose to 116, a health official told BASA-press on 12 August. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. MOLDOVA'S RULING PARTY ISSUES NEW PLATFORM. The Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova (PDAM) published their "ideological platform" in the last issue of the party's mouthpiece, Pamint & Oameni, BASA-press reported on 12 August. The platform stresses that Moldova should consolidate its independence while continuing to be a haven for people with various ethnic and religious backgrounds. It also says that the PDAM opposes economic reforms which might endanger the country's production capacity and impoverish the population. The PDAM, which has recently shaken by serious infighting, plans to hold an extraordinary congress aimed at clarifying the organization's future orientation. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN SOLDIERS DIE IN ROAD CRASH. On the evening of 11 August, 11 soldiers and four officers were burnt alive when the truck they were traveling in crashed into a trailer near Sofia and exploded, AFP reported the following day. Only one soldier survived the accident, but he is in a critical condition. Police said the truck was traveling "at a speed not appropriate to the situation." The soldiers belonged to an engineering unit and were returning from work on a site near Sofia. A defense ministry commission has started an inquiry. Demokratsiya on 14 August said that soldiers in the unit are regularly sent to work on private building sites after their normal duty hours and on weekends. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. CONTROVERSIAL PERSONNEL CHANGES IN BULGARIAN ARMY. Demokratsiya on 14 August reports that President Zhelyu Zhelev will not accept all the personnel changes in the top ranks of the army announced by the government on 11 August. The cabinet wants to replace or shift some 30 high ranking officers. Presidential aides said that while some of the General Staff changes are justified by appointments to the newly formed inspectorate of the army, others have clearly political reasons. According to Demokratsiya, the Socialist government also wants to replace Chief of the General Staff Gen. Tsvetan Totomirov. Meanwhile, Duma says Zhelev "dramatizes" the situation in order to attack the government. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. BULGARIAN PUPILS HAVE TO LEARN RUSSIAN AGAIN. Education Minister Ilcho Dimitrov on 11 August announced that tuition in Russian will be intensified from the next school year. Trud on 12 August cited Dimitrov as saying that "Russian is the only language of a great power [Bulgarians] can master easily." He said compulsory tuition will also create new jobs for unemployed teachers. Russian was compulsory until the 1990/1991 school year, and optional since then. Also on 11 August, Dimitrov signed an agreement with the British Council, which will train English teachers in the next year. Dimitrov complained that more than half the English teachers do not hold a university degree. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc. TURKEY, BOSNIA SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION DEAL. Turkey and Bosnia- Herzegovina signed a military cooperation agreement providing for collaboration in training, technology and in the medical field on 10 August, AFP reported the same day. The agreement, signed in Ankara by Muhammed Lemes, Bosnia's Assistant Defense Minister, and Ahmet Corekci, Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff, is similar to other cooperation deals Turkey has signed with Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. Late last month Ankara stressed that the agreement with Bosnia would not break Turkey's commitment to the arms embargo against former Yugoslavia. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. OZGEN'S PARTING SHOT. The departing commander of the 30,000-strong Turkish forces stationed in northern Cyprus, Gen. Necati Ozgen, warned Greek Cypriots against any "folly" leading to war, AFP reported on 11 August. Denying any desire to "target" the territories of others and pointing out that "we want peace," he warned Greek Cypriots that "this time" the objective will be Paphos if Greek Cypriots "commit any sort of folly." As Paphos is on the extreme southwest corner of the island, his words may be interpreted as an implicit threat to occupy all of Cyprus if the Greek Cypriots initiate hostilities. Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials have been expressing growing concern over what they see as the excessive Greek Cypriot military buildup, which they fear may be a precursor to a sudden attack against northern Cyprus. Ozgen's replacement, General Hasan Kundakci, is battle-tested: he is being transferred from Diyarbakir where he led the massive operation against the PKK in northern Iraq from late March to early May. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc. [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Steve Kettle 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 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html 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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