Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce

No. 159, Part II, 16 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


Bank of Ukraine moved quickly to buy up karbovantsi in trading on its
Interbank Currency Exchange in an effort to stabilize the falling
provisional currency, Ukrainian TV and an RL correspondent in Kiev
reported on 15 August. The move caused the tender to rise slightly from
a record low of 167,700 to $1 on 14 August to 167,000 the following day.
Bank chairman Viktor Yushchenko said the central bank would continue its
intervention for three to four days to support the karbovanets, which
has been relatively stable over the past half year due to the
government's tight fiscal and monetary policies. Deputy Prime Minister
Anatolii Kinakh told Ukrainian TV that the government and National Bank
would not allow the karbovanets to decline below the level of 180,000 to
$1 agreed with the IMF. He said that while a devaluation was inevitable,
the sudden plunge of the karbovanets this week was unexpected. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

now constitute 59% of the Ukrainian armed forces as opposed to 45% in
1993, the acting head of the Ministry of Defense's personnel directorate
told reporters on 14 August. UNIAN quoted Ivan Khomyak as saying the
percentage of ethnic Russians had dropped from 48% in 1993 to 37%. He
added that five of the six new generals appointed in 1995 were also
Ukrainian. Khomyak stressed, however, that Ukrainian citizenship and not
ethnic origin was the main criterion in the formation of Ukraine's armed
forces. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIA'S TRADE SHIFTS MORE TO WEST. The State Statistics Committee
announced that in the first half of 1995 compared to same period in 1994
Latvia increased its exports of goods by 27.8% to 327.7 million lati
($620 million) and imports by 26.6% to 416.8 million lati, BNS reported
on 15 August. The direction of the trade also shifted as the share of
imports from the European Union grew from 35.5% to 50.9% and that of
exports from 36.3% to 47.2%. Exports to the Commonwealth of Independent
States declined from 42.9% to 37% and imports from 32% to 28%. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

August reported that the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus (LDPB) sent
a letter to the president, prosecutor general, and minister of education
proposing that a government commission be established to research the
facts on Belarus's enemies in World War II. According to the LDPB,
school text books should be replaced because of deficiencies. For
example, in a fourth grade text book, the Great Patriotic War was not
even mentioned; in a ninth grade book, it said that the USSR and fascist
Germany had cooperated together and started the war in 1939. The LDPB
warned that such text books were raising children "in the spirit of hate
for their Slavic brother nations." -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

General Staff, General Tadeusz Wilecki, said on 15 August, the Day of
the Polish Army, that the army looks in vain for understanding among
politicians and journalists. "Every pretext is good to attack the armed
forces, and destroy any moral and commanding authority," Polish media
quoted him as saying. Political elites, according to Wilecki, have other
preoccupations and postpone matters of defense. Gazeta Wyborcza on 16
August writes that Wilecki's claims of being subordinated to the control
of civilian authorities is ridiculous in the light of his public attack
against these authorities. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

Vaclav Klaus and Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber met on 15 August to
discuss the Sudeten question and Czech-German relations in general,
Czech and international media reported. After the meeting in Domazlice
near the Czech-Bavarian border, Klaus told journalists that finding a
formula to draw a line under past disagreements, which should take into
account sensitivities on both sides, may take longer than originally
hoped. Stoiber, who was expected to inform Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the
talks, has severely criticized the expulsion of Sudeten Germans from
Czechoslovakia after World War II and called for the so-called Benes
decrees to be repealed. A spokesman for Stoiber, however, said that
opinions expressed by both sides at the previously unannounced meeting
were "close together." Klaus repeated his view that Czech-German
relations in general were "very fruitful." -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

former General Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC), on
15 August was charged for the second time with treason over the 1968
Warsaw Pact invasion of the country. Jakes confirmed to Czech media that
he received the charges from the Office for the Documentation and
Investigation of Crimes of Communism. The original charges against Jakes
and nine other former leading Communist functionaries were dismissed by
a state attorney as being wrongly formulated. They were redrafted
following a meeting between the heads of the Office and the attorney.
Jakes called the new charges more concise and emphatic than the earlier
ones but said they contained no concrete details. Others originally
charged with Jakes for plotting to set up a shadow government to justify
the invasion said they had not yet been served with any new charges. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK TRADE UNIONS STAGE PROTEST. Nearly 3,000 workers gathered in the
central Slovak town of Martin on 15 August to protest government policy
on public transportation, Pravda and TASR reported. Eugen Skultaty,
deputy chairman of the KOVO Trade Union, which organized the rally,
challenged the government coalition parties to fulfill their preelection
promises concerning social issues and declared that trade unions will
participate in the decision making process. Confederation of Slovak
Trade Unions President Alojz Englis complained that the population has
not yet felt the effects of improvements in macroeconomic indicators and
stressed that workers "are no longer willing to carry the entire burden
of the economic transformation on their shoulders." Stating that real
wages in 1994 reached only 76.8% of the 1989 level, Englis also called
for an increase in the minimum wage. Two more rallies will be held on 16
and 17 August in Krompachy and Snina. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. During its session on 15 August, the Slovak cabinet
returned the controversial draft law on universities to the parliament
for further discussion. The bill had been rejected by university
officials, who claimed it limited academic freedom by allowing the
Education Ministry to interfere in university affairs. In other news,
speaking with Sme of 16 August, opposition Christian Democratic Movement
Chairman Jan Carnogursky called attention to the fact that the National
Property Fund (FNM) has recently increased direct sales of state-owned
firms. He criticized the FNM's methods, saying that many attractive
firms have been sold at a fraction of their value. Most recently, the
FNM decided to sell 39% of its shares in the giant Slovnaft oil refinery
to Slovintegra, a company owned by Slovnaft managers and employees.
Although the shares are worth over 6 billion koruny, the FNM required a
first installment of only 100 million koruny from Slovintegra, Sme
reported on 15 August. The sale was made despite the interest of a
number of foreign investors in the firm. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

ECONOMIC NEWS FROM HUNGARY. The country's Central Statistical Office
announced on 15 August that Hungarian consumer prices rose by 0.9% in
July from June and by 27.8% in comparison with July last year,
international media report. Also on the 15th, Privatization Minister
Tamas Suchman told journalists in Budapest that the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering an investment of
$300 million in Hungarian privatization, especially in the energy
sector. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

Slovenia and the four member countries of the Central European Free
Trade Agreement (CEFTA) held a two-day working meeting on 14-15 August.
In Bratislava they discussed decreasing customs tariffs on more than 630
agricultural and food commodities. The commodities were divided into
three categories: the first group including coffee, cocoa and tea will
be duty free from January 1996, the second group of 21 products
(including poultry, dried milk, hops, and sugar) will have low custom
tariffs, while the third group (including "strategic" commodities such
as milk, pork, and cattle) is more controversial. Negotiations are not
yet finished, but when completed, the proposal will be discussed by the
countries' prime ministers in the Czech town of Brno, TASR and
Hospodarske noviny report. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.


Tribune on 16 August said that 1,000 Bosnian Croat refugees arrived in
Davor from Banja Luka on 14 August as did 1,200 on the 15th, while
similar numbers are expected in coming days. A UN spokesman noted that
the Bosnian Serb "authorities are putting out the word to all village
heads to tell all minorities in their areas to assemble and prepare to
leave." AFP quoted a spokeswoman for Medecins sans Frontieres as calling
it "a perfect working system to get all those people out. It's scary."
In contrast to the Krajina Serb refugees, who left in well-loaded
columns of vehicles, the Croats can take only what they can carry and
must pay at least DM 100 as a fee. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
said that "the world is trying now to move Muslims and Croats [out of
Banja Luka]. I will not cause columns of refugees- But if somebody wants
to leave and rejoin one's family, that is one's right." Bosnian Prime
Minister Haris Silajdzic said he feared that the military-age men being
detained will wind up in "mass killings and mass graves." -- Patrick
Moore, OMRI, Inc.

of State Richard Holbrooke continues to travel around the former
Yugoslavia with what a State Department spokesman called "fresh ideas."
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 16 August wrote that Holbrooke's
package is a partition plan despite all assurances to the contrary, and
the Wall Street Journal added that details are deliberately being kept
vague and out of the public eye so that Washington can distance itself
from the project if it proves unworkable. The International Herald
Tribune said that "fog" is preventing Holbrooke from going to Sarajevo
for two or three days. Bosnia's ambassador to Switzerland said that the
plan "is only to buy time for the Serbs. We will never trade with our
country." The project reportedly would require the government to swap
Gorazde for land around Sarajevo. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

. . . BUT THE SERBS LIKE IT. The VOA on 16 August said that Bosnian Serb
leaders are pleased with the plan sponsored by Holbrooke, who was known
last January as "the architect" of the short-lived policy of directly
negotiating with Pale despite a UN ban on such contacts. Bosnian Serb
"Foreign Minister" Aleksa Buha told news agencies that if the details of
the plan that he has read in the press are true, "then we can look to
the future with greater confidence." Senior Bosnian Serb officials are
said to be in Geneva for the first time in about a year. Parliament
speaker Momcilo Krajisnik and Karadzic spokesman Jovan Zametica are
reportedly holding talks with mediators Thorvald Stoltenberg and Carl
Bildt. Karadzic himself wants a new international conference, saying
that "the time is ripe for a conference which would bring a solution."
SRNA also quoted him as saying that he expects "important political
initiatives" by the end of August. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIA GIVES WARNING ON DUBROVNIK. The UN's "rapid reaction force" is
having problems getting the Bosnian government and the Croats to agree
to its deployment. Both suspect that the British and the French favor
the Serbs and have come to prevent the Croat-Muslim federation from
consolidating itself politically and from winning on the battlefield. A
British spokesman with the 24th Air Mobile Brigade stuck on the coast
noted that things are "not moving very swiftly." Meanwhile, Croatia's
ambassador to the UN told Vjesnik on 16 August that Croatia will give a
firm response if the Serbs continue shelling the Dubrovnik area from the
nearby heights. Reuters added that army commander General Zvonimir
Cervenko warned that, if the Serbs do not desist, "we shall very soon
take measures to make them give up such actions." UN sources said that
Croatian troops have been moving in the area, and that the UN is
watching to see if a brigade on standby in Split starts moving south. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

carried a report explaining that police authorities in Belgrade have
formed a tight cordon around the capital in order to keep most of the
flood of Krajina refugees from entering the city. The report suggests
that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has identified the refugees as
a potential source of opposition to his regime, and is acting therefore
"to disperse them [under police escort and throughout towns and
villages] as quickly as possible." One Western diplomatic source is
quoted as saying the "refugees will move the political agenda back to
the right, back towards the nationalist rhetoric Milosevic has been
trying to dump . . . That's why they cannot be allowed to stay together
in large numbers." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

KRAJINA REFUGEES REFUSE TO GO TO KOSOVO. Some 800 refugees from Krajina
have refused to board trains that would take them to Kosovo for two
days, AFP and Reuters quote Radio B 92 as reporting on 15 August. Police
are preventing the people from leaving the train station in Kusadak near
Smederevska Palanka, south east of Belgrade, and are supplying the
refugees only with water. Authorities reportedly also hindered local
people from helping the refugees, or letting them use the telephone.
Despite the strong attachment Serbian nationalists claim for Kosovo,
only a few Serbs are willing to live in the impoverished region that has
an Albanian majority. According to the Red Cross, only 1,180 out of
130,000 refugees who have crossed the border into Serbia since last week
have reached Kosovo. Serbian authorities plan to settle 6,000 refugees
in Kosovo immediately and another 10,000 subsequently. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

sent to the UN Security Council and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Contact Group, Albanian Foreign
Minister Alfred Serreqi called on the organizations to take measures to
prevent the extension of the war into the south of the Balkans. Serreqi
said that Belgrade plans to colonize Kosovo with refugees and to indulge
in more "ethnic cleansing". Serreqi warned that Kosovo could become
"another Bosnia" and added that Albania will not stand passively on the
sidelines if the conflict in former Yugoslavia extends to the province,
Reuters reported on 15 August. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND ROMANIAN RULING PARTY ON SITUATION. In a communique broadcast
by Radio Bucharest on 15 August, the ruling Party of Social Democracy in
Romania (PDSR) deplored the loss of human lives and the "dramatic fate"
of the Krajina refugees. The PDSR expressed concern over a possible
spill over of the conflict in former Yugoslavia as a consequence of the
Croatian offensive and the resumption of armed actions in Bosnia. The
party called on all sides involved to show restraint and return to the
negotiating table in order to find a solution to the conflict. -- Dan
Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

Predator spy planes deployed to monitor troop movements in Bosnia have
not returned to their base in Gjader in northern Albania. According to a
statement from the Pentagon, one plane crashed due to a motor defect and
there is no confirmation whether the other was shot down or had a
technical failure. The US had sent four Predator planes to Albania to
take video pictures of Bosnia in support of NATO operations. The value
of one plane is about $2 million. BETA carried the story on 15 August.
-- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

that rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic has been
replaced by Milan Milutinovic. Belgrade's ambassador to Greece,
Milutinovic is reportedly a close personal friend of Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic. No official explanation has been offered for the
change. Meanwhile, Jovanovic, who has also been a close political
confidant of the Serbian president, is expected to be named as
ambassador to the UN by federal President Zoran Lilic. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

reported on 15 August that the Constitutional Court has given the green
light for parliamentary debates on a draft law for education in minority
languages. The draft was worked out by the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania, the main political organization of the country's
large Hungarian minority. The HDFR, which collected nearly 500,000
signatures in favor of its legislative initiative, has been among the
strongest opponents of a new education law that was recently adopted by
the Romanian parliament. The HDFR considers that law as discriminating
against ethnic minorities. The government repeatedly rejected the
accusations. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570

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