It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. - Samuel Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 158, Part II, 15 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 PROVISIONAL CURRENCY DECLINES SHARPLY. The value of the
karbovanets has fallen from 152,000 to 167,700 to $1 on the National
Bank's Interbank Currency Exchange in the past week, Ukrainian TV and
Interfax reported on14 August. On the black market, it has plunged to a
record low of 200,000 to $1. National Bank of Ukraine officials blame
the devaluation on panic-buying of dollars by enterprises and
individuals following the government's announcement that monetary reform
and the introduction of a new permanent tender, the hryvna, are
imminent. Beginning 1 August, Ukraine banned the use of foreign currency
for cash retail and service transactions. Deputy Interior Minister Yurii
Vandin told UNIAR on 14 August that some $4 billion was in circulation
on the black market. Volodymyr Radchenko, chief of Ukraine's security
service, said the black market serves as the primary source of income
for some 2.5 million people, including up to 40% of youths in big
cities. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

COAL MINERS' STRIKE AVERTED IN UKRAINE. A pledge from Ukraine's coal
industry minister to settle miners' wage arrears averted a scheduled
miner's rally in the Ukrainian capital, UNIAN and a Radio Liberty
correspondent in Kiev reported on14 August. Organizers called off the
strike after Viktor Poltavets, the minister, ordered the managers of
coal enterprises to pay wages owed for May, June and July by 21 August.
Poltavets also ordered the directors of the still mainly state-owned
coal mines to submit proposals to the ministry by 15 August on where to
find money to raise coal miners' wages. Miners rank second after
teachers in the amount of back pay owed them, according to the
statistics ministry. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

SEVASTOPOL PROTESTS RUSSIAN BROADCAST. The deputy chairman of
Sevastopol's city executive, Borys Kucher, sent a message to the head of
Russian Public Television protesting a newscast from 11 August which
claimed that municipal leaders had applied to the International Court in
The Hague to confirm Russian status for the city, Ukrainian Radio
reported on 14 August. Several lines from Kucher's telegram were left
out when it was broadcast by Russian Public Television. The telegram
stated: "The Sevastopol city administration would have regarded the
broadcast by Russian Public Television as just an April fool's joke if
it did not have such far-reaching consequences. This concerns some
hotheads who do not approve of the Russian and Ukrainian presidents'
position on the Black Sea Fleet." The telegram also said that aid to
Sevastopol in repairing railways after the recent accident came only
from the Ukrainian side. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

EBRD CREDIT TO UKRAINE. The EBRD will open a $13 million credit line to
the First Ukrainian International Bank (FUIB) to develop Ukrainian
agricultural enterprises, Interfax reported on 14 April. Under the
agreement signed in London last week, the FUIB will offer medium-term
credits for special projects to agricultural enterprises. This is the
first bank-to-bank credit line the EBRD has opened to Ukraine. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

MEETING OF LATVIAN, LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTERS. Lithuanian Prime
Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, returning from Tallinn, stopped in Riga on
13 August for talks with his Latvian counterpart Maris Gailis, RFE/RL
reported the following day. By obtaining Latvia's agreement that
Lithuania should control the air space over the Baltic Sea closest to
its borders, Lithuania gains revenues of some $1 million a year in fees
from airlines. The premiers agreed that Foreign Ministers Povilas Gylys
and Valdis Birkavs would meet in the near future to discuss the
demarcation of the sea border between the two countries. The next
meeting of the premiers will take place in September in Ventspils. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS TO INTRODUCE NEW FORM OF MILITARY SERVICE. The Defense Ministry
is proposing that a new type of "reserve service" be introduced,
Belarusian Radio reported on 14 August. Under the plan, a young man
would learn a specialty in a military unit without quitting his civilian
job. He would serve 35 weekends or their equivalent with the unit and
attend a three-month camp. Other changes in the ministry's draft of a
new law on universal military service include allowing 17-year-olds to
enlist voluntarily. It also provides for contract service, and
alternative service for citizens whose religious beliefs do not allow
them to bear arms. The report said that the draft law would be submitted
to the Security Council by 1 September. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS GETTING HELP IN MEETING ITS ARMS COMMITMENTS. A source in the
Belarusian Foreign Ministry told Interfax on 14 August that the
republic's search for ways to cut costs while meeting its arms control
commitments was having some success. The source listed an agreement with
the United States in which the U.S. would pay hard currency compensation
for some of the cost of hosting arms inspection teams, and a pledge by
Japan to provide $5.2 million to curb nuclear proliferation. The source
also said that Belarus had received the right to export 298 T-80 tanks
rather then be forced to destroy them to meet the Conventional Forces in
Europe (CFE) ceilings. It can also keep some 500 decommissioned military
vehicles for domestic use. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

OPINION POLL SHOWS WHAT POLES CONDEMN. According to a Public Opinion
Research Center (OBOP) survey carried out in July, almost all Polish
adults consider refusal to pay alimony as a social sin. Among
respondents over 16, 95% condemned this while 93% opposed possession of
drugs and the same number condemned desecration of religious symbols.
Persecuting persons because they are of a different nationality was
disapproved by 80%, sex for money by 79%, sexual relations with a person
of the same sex by 74%, hiding income in a statement for the treasury by
64%, and refusal of military service by 59%. Other subjects widely
disapproved in the poll included illegal demonstrations against the
authorities (58%), illegal strikes (57%), abortion (49%), euthanasia
(48%), not voting in elections (39%), divorce (39%), and premarital sex
(35%). Older people, those with less education, rural inhabitants, and
those who declare that they are believers practicing regularly, are less
tolerant than others, Polish dailies reported on 11 and 14 August. --
Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH CURRENCY RESERVES CONTINUE TO RISE. Hard currency reserves held by
the Czech National Bank amounted to $10.1 billion as of 1 August,
Hospodarske noviny reported on 15 August. It added that the total
reserves in the Czech banking system were $12.6 billion, representing a
modest rise in the past few weeks. Measures brought by the CNB to
restrict a huge inflow of short-term speculative capital into the Czech
Republic came into force on 3 August. Hospodarske noviny, however,
quoted CNB spokesman Martin Svehla as saying the measures were not
expected to reduce the amount of reserves overall but rather to change
structurally the proportions of long-term and short-term foreign capital
in the Czech economy. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EXERCISE TO BE HELD IN SLOVAKIA. The first
international military exercise held in Slovakia since it gained
independence in January 1993 will take place from 6 to 14 September
within the Partnership for Peace program. Soldiers from the Austrian,
Czech, Polish, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Romanian and Slovak armies will
take part in the "Rozhodnost 95" exercise, to be held in the military
training area of Lest, Slovak media report on 14 and 15 August. The main
aim of the exercise is to improve understanding among Slovakia's closest
neighbors. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK COMMUNIST REFUSES BLAME FOR 1968 INVASION. In a two-part
interview with Pravda on 12 and 14 August, former high-ranking Communist
Party official Vasil Bilak said he did not sign the "invitation letter"
asking the Warsaw Pact armies to invade Czechoslovakia in 1968. Russian
President Boris Yeltsin presented the letter to then Czechoslovak
President Vaclav Havel in summer 1992, and Bilak is the only alleged
signatory who is still alive. His name has been mentioned in connection
with treason charges recently brought up again in the Czech Republic,
but he remains free in Slovakia. Bilak confirmed that at a meeting of
six Warsaw Pact member states on 3 August 1968, "a long white envelope"
was handed over to the Soviet delegation which contained a resolution
stating that "not only the building but also the protection of socialism
is a joint task for all socialist countries." Bilak said he did not
consider the resolution an invitation and stressed that Czechoslovakia
would have been invaded in any case. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

"SINISTER" DEVELOPMENT IN BANJA LUKA EXODUS. This is how UN spokesman
Chris Jankowski described the Bosnian Serb announcement that Croat and
Muslim males of military age will not be allowed to leave, international
media reported on 15 August. Bosnian Serb officials had earlier ordered
the expulsion of all Croats and Muslims from the Banja Luka region.
Estimates vary as to what constitutes military age and how many Croats
and Muslims still live there, but there appear to be roughly 50,000
persons remaining out of a prewar population of 500,000 non-Serbs. The
Croats are being deported to Croatia and the Muslims to territory
controlled by the Bosnian government, ostensibly to make room for
refugees from Krajina. But there is plenty of other space available in
Bosnian Serb-held regions following more than three years of systematic
"ethnic cleansing." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIA REOPENS BORDERS TO KRAJINA SERBS. Another reason that the Bosnian
Serbs' excuse for the expulsions rings hollow is that most of the
Krajina Serbs want to get out of Bosnia and as far away from the
fighting as possible. Many plan new futures in North America or
Australia, Monitor reported on 11 August, but the first stop would be
Serbia. Belgrade, however, had closed the crossings at Sremska Raca,
Badovinci, and Trobrnica to military-aged males in order to force them
to return to Bosnian Serb territory and fight. Nasa Borba reported on 15
August that those crossings have been reopened, and AFP noted that
130,000 Krajina Serbs have entered Serbia to date. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

MILAN MARTIC CALLS FOR GUERRILLA WAR. Krajina's "president" has issued a
call for Croatian Serbs to return home to fight. AFP on 14 August quoted
him as speaking from "free territory" in Krajina. Martic said all
government members and other Serbs should "return and liberate" their
homeland. Politika reported on 15 August, however, that "Krajina" will
henceforth be limited to Sector East, or eastern Slavonia. The UN is
drastically scaling down its presence in Croatia following Operation
Storm 10 days ago, which effectively rendered much of the peacekeepers'
mission superfluous. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BATTLEFIELD UPDATE. International media reported on 15 August that
Bosnian government forces continued to advance toward Donji Vakuf in
central Bosnia. In the mountains above Dubrovnik, Bosnian Serb guns on
14 August pounded the region around the medieval city for the third
straight day, while Croatian forces sought to relieve the pressure by
shelling the Serb stronghold of Trebinje. Mlada fronta dnes on 15 August
quoted the Croatian minister for tourism as saying that vacationers
could now safely return to the Dalmatian coast and islands as far south
as the Dubrovnik region thanks to Operation Storm. Czech officials
stressed, however, that in their opinion only Istria, Kvarner, and the
coast down to Rijeka could truly be considered safe for now. -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

REFUGEE UPDATE IN MONTENEGRO. Montena-fax reported on 14 August that,
according to Red Cross estimates, at least 450 refugees from Krajina
have arrived in the rump Yugoslav republic. Montenegrin authorities had
appealed to the international community to allow refugees to reach
Montenegro via the port of Bar, which had been closed to international
traffic in accordance with the international sanctions imposed against
the rump Yugoslavia in May 1992 for its role in fomenting the wars
throughout the former Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN UPDATE. The leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), Vuk
Draskovic, met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on 14 August.
BETA the same day reported that the reason for the meeting was unclear,
but noted that assembled reporters were in part "awaiting the arrival"
of diplomatic representatives, who did not materialize. In other news,
Nasa Borba on 15 August reports that the telecommunications firm Bel
Paget appears to have plans to eventually turn Belgrade "into one of the
telecommunications centers of central and Eastern Europe." A company
representative and Serbia's Minister of Private Enterprise Radoje Djukic
reportedly discussed an initial investment of some $20 million to build
a mobile telephone infrastructure. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN RED CROSS TO HELP KRAJINA REFUGEES. In a statement released on
14 August, the Romanian Red Cross announced that it was planning to send
20 tons of flour to help Serb refugees from Krajina. The communique,
which was read on Radio Bucharest, said that the Red Cross was still
awaiting the approval of the special UN Security Council committee
watching over the compliance with the sanctions against Serbia and
Montenegro. The Romanian Red Cross launched an appeal for further
donations in favor of the refugees. In a separate development, Adrian
Nastase, Executive Chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in
Romania and a former Foreign Minister, said on 14 August that the
embargo against rump Yugoslavia has lost its justification. Nastase
recommended that a European summit should examine the conflicts in
former Yugoslavia. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BREAD RATIONING IN THE DNIESTER REGION. Moldova's breakaway Dniester
Region announced that bread rationing would be introduced in Tiraspol as
of 24 August, Reuters reported on 14 August. The ration of cheap,
subsidized bread is 500 grams per day per person. Bread can also be
bought freely in private shops, but it costs up to three times more than
the rationed bread. The region's economy is reportedly in bad shape but
local authorities, dominated by former Communists, continue to oppose
market reforms. Rampant impoverishment makes even staples a luxury for
ordinary Dniester inhabitants. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN OFFICIALS INVESTIGATED FOR VIOLATING UN SANCTIONS. Bulgarian
prosecutors are investigating several state railway officials for
violating UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, Reuters reported on 14
August. The same day, Angel Ganev, head of the Prosecutor's Office
Investigation Departments, said that the indictment against three
officials is ready, and that charges are also being prepared against
former State Railway Director-General Atanas Tonev, who was dismissed
last year (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 July 1995). Ganev said that
"several additional legal cases [are] being prepared," but declined to
give a figure. Bulgarian media said as many as 40 officials are under
investigation for illegally exporting petroleum products, furniture, and
cement to rump Yugoslavia. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT URGED TO STAY NEUTRAL IN YUGOSLAV CONFLICT.
President Zhelyu Zhelev's adviser for national security Rumen Danov on
14 August told RFE/RL that the country must stick to its position of
"categoric and demonstrative non-intervention" in the Yugoslav conflict,
Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day. He said that a possible
Russian unilateral withdrawal from UN sanctions (see OMRI Daily Digest,
14 August 1995) may be dangerous for Bulgaria as it could prompt similar
reactions from other countries. He said the president's office was sure
that the government "will not be so stupid" as to follow the Russian
Duma's example. Meanwhile, the cabinet will not hold an extraordinary
meeting to discuss the issue, Trud reports, since withdrawing from the
sanctions requires a parliamentary vote. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

MAVI MEMBERS NOT INVOLVED IN ATTACK ON ALBANIAN BARRACKS? The Greek
Supreme Court said it had no evidence that eight members of the Northern
Epirus Liberation Front (MAVI), arrested in late March, were involved in
an attack on an Albanian army barracks in Peshkepi in April 1994, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 15 August. One of the accused was released on bail
but the remaining seven still face charges of illegal possession and
trafficking of weapons. With the court's ruling, charges of "endangering
and troubling relations with a neighboring country [ . . . probably . .
. ] leading to war" were dropped. When arrested, the MAVI members had
Kalashnikov rifles that were allegedly taken from the Albanian barracks
in last year's terrorist attack. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN-MACEDONIAN VISA AGREEMENT. The Albanian cabinet approved an
agreement with Macedonia about the lifting of visa requirements for
diplomatic and business passports and the unification of border tolls
for other kinds of visa. The agreement also regulates special rights for
people living in both countries' border regions, especially on paying
lower border tolls. According to BETA on 14 August, there is, however,
no information yet available about whether the tolls will be dropped or
merely reduced. -- Fabian Schmidt, 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
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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