Блажен тот, кому повезет с верным другом. - Менандр

No. 160, Part II, 17 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


Black Sea peninsula, Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Durdynets told Crimean
officials that Ukraine will allocate 2 trillion karbovantsi (over $10
million) toward the repatriation of Crimean Tatars, Interfax-Ukraine
reported on 15 August. Over 250,000 Tatars have returned to the region
from other parts of the former Soviet Union 50 years after they were
deported by Stalin for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. Durdynets
said Kiev would also help local authorities combat growing crime,
especially organized crime, which has been a central complaint of the
returning Tatars. Recent violent clashes between Crimean Tatar merchants
and alleged Russian-speaking criminal gangs, which caused the deaths of
two Tatars, apparently prompted Kiev's decision. -- Chrystyna Lapychak,
OMRI, Inc.

hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate has
appealed to Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev not to submit his candidacy for
the vacant Patriarch's see "for the sake of harmony and unification of
Orthodoxy in Ukraine", Interfax Ukraine and Ukrainian TV reported on 16
August. A sobor (assembly of senior clergy), held in Rohatyn in western
Ukraine, proposed continuing talks with the Ukrainian Autocephalous
Orthodox Church, which broke away in 1992 over Filaret's leading
position in the church. Widely viewed as the likely successor to the
recently deceased Patriarch Volodymyr, Filaret has attracted opposition
for alleged collaboration with the KGB during the Soviet era. The sobor
also offered to begin a dialogue with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of
the Moscow Patriarchate, which has the largest number of followers in
the country, as a step toward unification of the three orthodox
churches. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CANDIDATES TO LATVIAN PARLIAMENT. By crossing out Igor Satikov for
having presented an invalid language test certificate, the Latvian
Central Electoral Committee raised to 10 the number of persons it
removed from the list of candidates to the fall Saeima elections, BNS
reported on 16 August. The same day, the committee's decision to remove
Larisa Lavina from the candidates' list was upheld by the Riga District
Court. The Latvian Center for the Consequences of Totalitarianism
informed the committee that it had found the names of 12 candidates from
eight parties in lists of KGB informers. The election law allows KGB
collaborators to be candidates, but not if they were staff members. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

on 15 August that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has ordered the
Education Ministry to stop using text books printed between 1992-95 in
the coming school year, and begin using Soviet-era text books instead.
Lukashenka made the decision based on the findings of a special
commission which spent two months studying text books published from
1992. The commission declared that the books tended to be written with
political overtones which were inappropriate to educating youth. The
ministry has one year to write new text books which would be considered
acceptable. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN TRANSIT TAX FAILS. Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on 16
August that the transit tax introduced in Belarus a few months ago has
failed to raise any revenues and will probably be repealed. The tax was
imposed on foreign vehicles passing through Belarus and was expected to
bring in revenues of $500 million. Instead, drivers changed their routes
to bypass the republic; the number of drivers crossing Belarus this
summer was two times less than last summer. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader Aleksander Kwasniewski
consistently heads opinion polls for the first round of this fall's
Polish presidential elections, the second round will be decisive if no
candidate gets a majority in the first round. According to a Public
Opinion Research Center (CBOS) poll conducted 3-8 August and published
by Gazeta Wyborcza on 17 August, Polish National Bank President Hanna
Gronkiewicz-Waltz would win in the second round, irrespective of who
would be her opponent. She would win 38% to 36% over Kwasniewski and 37%
to 34% over former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron. Gronkiewicz-Waltz,
Kwasniewski and Kuron would each defeat Ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski by
5-7%, and all four would win over the current president, Lech Walesa. In
other developments, Kwasniewski's campaign chief Danuta Waniek said on
16 August that 200,000 signatures supporting Kwasniewski's candidacy--
twice the necessary number--have been collected, Polish media reported
on 17 August. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

WALESA VETOES DEFENSE BILL. Polish President Lech Walesa on 16 August
vetoed the defense bill of 12 July, which was adopted initially by the
Sejm on 29 June (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 June 1995). The bill makes
the chief of staff responsible to the civilian defense minister and not
to the president. Walesa wrote that the bill limits the president's
constitutional prerogatives in defense matters, Polish media reported on
17 August. A two-thirds Sejm majority is needed to overrule the
president's veto. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

government on 17 August allocated more than one 900 million koruny from
the state budget to increase wages for school, rail and health workers,
Czech media report. All three categories of workers had threatened to
strike or take other industrial action if their demands for higher wages
were not met. The government originally awarded public sector employees
a 10% rise but in June averted a rail strike at the last minute by
agreeing to raise railworkers' pay further. They will receive 108
million koruny, while teachers and other schoolworkers were awarded 735
million koruny and health workers 50 million koruny. A spokesman for the
schoolworkers' union said it would recommend calling off a one-day
strike planned for the first day of the coming school year. The extra
wages will be financed from the state budget surplus, which stood at
10.1 billion koruny at the end of July, Hospodarske noviny reports. --
Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

on 16 August walked out of a meeting called by Michal Kovac to brief the
premier on a recent trip to the U.S., Reuters and TASR reported. Kovac
returned from his 12-day visit on 14 August and canceled a press
conference initially scheduled for the next day, saying he first wanted
to consult with Meciar and parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic. Kovac
caused a commotion while he was away by telling Slovak Radio that U.S.
officials believe Slovakia is falling behind its neighbors in reforms
and the development of democracy. After reading a seven-page written
report on Kovac's trip, Meciar and Gasparovic left the meeting without
comment. According to presidential spokesman Vladimir Stefko, the
meeting lasted only 14 minutes. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

. . . WHILE U.S. RESPONDS TO SLOVAK NOTE. The U.S. has replied to a note
sent by the Slovak Foreign Ministry asking whether the U.S. has changed
its attitude towards the Slovak government, Sme reported on 17 August.
The ministry sent the note on 9 August, following Kovac's statements on
Slovak Radio (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 August 1995). The content of the
U.S. response, which was delivered by the U.S. embassy in Bratislava on
15 August, is unknown. Details of "a friendly working meeting" between
U.S. Ambassador Theodore Russell and Gasparovic on 16 August were also
concealed. According to Stefko, even Kovac has not been informed about
the U.S. response to the note. In an interview published in Pravda on 17
August, the president called the Foreign Ministry's note a "faux pas."
-- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

spokesman told journalists on 16 August that Hungary has reinforced its
frontier with East Slavonia, the region of Croatia still held by rebel
Serbs, Reuters reports. The spokesman revealed that two companies of
border guards, equipped with some 30 armed personnel carriers, have been
moved to a 66-km border section between the Danube and Drava rivers. The
government stressed that the move was of technical character and that
the Hungarian armed forces were not being mobilized. Also on the 16th, a
Hungarian foreign ministry official expressed concern that Serb refugees
from Croatia are being settled in Serbia's largely Hungarian Vojvodina
province. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.


CROATS PRESS TOWARD DRVAR. Bosnian Croat forces (HVO) "stand before
Drvar," Vecernji list wrote on 17 August. The apparent aim of the drive
is to link up with the Bosnian government's Fifth Corps in Bihac and
join up with HVO and government pincer movements from the north and
south, all of which are moving in the general direction of Banja Luka.
The International Herald Tribune said that military-aged men in Banja
Luka are wearing uniforms in hopes of not being pressganged into the
army, and that "fear and mistrust grip every quarter of the city." As to
Dvar, some Croatian reports that the town has fallen have not been
confirmed. AFP quoted Bosnian Serb sources to the effect that "the Serb
defense lines are holding," but also that the 4,000 civilians there are
being evacuated. News agencies cited Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic as saying that "the town must be defended at any cost." --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

troops (HV) are massing around Dubrovnik for what appears to be a thrust
into eastern Herzegovina and the Serb stronghold of Trebinje. The
immediate purpose is to remove the threat to the medieval city and its
environs posed by Serbian artillery in the surrounding heights. Over the
weekend the Serbs gave the area its worst bombardment since 1991,
although Dubrovnik itself apparently was not hit, the Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on 17 August. Forest and brush fires are
burning as a result of the shelling. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi
said that "there seem to be movements of Croatian troops in that
direction so we may expect some intensification of fighting in the
Dubrovnik area." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Milano, the head of the Dutch branch of Medecins sans Frontieres,
blasted the Serb treatment of Croats and Muslims being deported from
Banja Luka to Croatia. "The transport of cattle is done better than
this," Reuters quoted him as saying on 16 August. "We urgently appeal to
the local authorities that if they are to indulge in 'ethnic cleansing',
which we strongly disagree with, at least they do it with a little
dignity." Elsewhere, the International Herald Tribune said on 17 August
that the UN is concerned about the fate of around 20,000 Muslim refugees
loyal to Bihac-area kingpin Fikret Abdic. They have been trapped in
Croatia for about a week and the UN does not have access to them. The UN
fears that they will be sent back to Bihac, which is under Bosnian
government control, against their will. Nasa Borba wrote that similar
concern surrounds the fate of a column of 10,000 Krajina Serb refugees
whose situation remains unknown. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. International media on 17 August reported much confusion
over the secret peace plan being promoted by U.S. Assistant Secretary of
State Richard Holbrooke in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnian Foreign
Minister Muhamed Sacirbey denied earlier accounts that the Muslims would
have to give up Gorazde under the plan, but Bosnia's ambassador to
Britain nonetheless called the project "legalizing Serbian crimes." The
VOA said that President Bill Clinton wants a major diplomatic
breakthrough lest the conflict spread elsewhere in the Balkans, although
it is not clear just where he thinks that would be and how such a
conflict would arise. Many remain suspicious of the diplomatic
initiatives, and Vecernji list ran the headline: "the spirit of Yalta
[hangs] over Bosnia." Meanwhile on the ground, the Rapid Reaction Force
on Mt. Igman does not inspire much confidence in the UN's own Belgian
and Dutch military drivers, who refuse to use the road under the present
circumstances, AFP reported. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

reported on an open letter by Mayor Jozsef Kassa to Serbian Prime
Minister Mirko Marjanovic to protest forced changes in the local
demographic structure since 1990. He noted that 2,000 new settlers had
arrived before 1995 and a further 10,000 have come this year. Some
10,000 Hungarians and Croats have left in the meantime and the entire
ethnic map of northern Backa is being changed. Another article in the
same paper said that the new refugees are "occupying the empty homes of
Hungarians." Meanwhile in Montenegro, the head of the People's Party,
Novak Kilibarda, said that the Krajina refugees should be sent to Kosovo
or to Vojvodina. The latter area has a Serbian majority but before the
Serbian authorities launched ethnic cleansing it had strong minorities
of Hungarians, Croats, Slovaks, and other Central Europeans as a result
of Habsburg colonizing policies when the area was part of the Kingdom of
Hungary. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

16 August on Belgrade-watchers' interpretations of Vladislav Jovanovic's
sudden removal as foreign minister the previous day. According to one
line of thought, Jovanovic had to be removed because of his "hardline"
position on Krajina. While Jovanovic is a staunch ally of Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic, the argument goes, his political leanings
may entice other malcontents within Milosevic's Socialist Party of
Serbia to manipulate Jovanovic into becoming the foil for their
opposition to Milosevic's handling of developments in Krajina. According
to another interpretation, Jovanovic's removal is mere coincidence, and
facilitated by circumstances. Jovanovic's replacement, Milan
Milutinovic, was allegedly considered for the job at least two years
ago, but could not be moved into the post, largely because of opposition
by then federal President Dobrica Cosic. BETA also comments that
Milosevic and Milutinovic are long-time friends. -- Stan Markotich,
OMRI, Inc.

MONTENEGRIN UPDATE. Montena-fax reported on 16 August that the number of
Krajina refugees in the republic has climbed to at least 700. The agency
also reports that ultranationalist, pro-Serbia politicians and groups in
the republic continue their public condemnations of rump Yugoslavia's
federal and republican governments for their refusal to defend alleged
Serbian national interests in Krajina. On 16 August the Serbian Radical
Party (SRS) in Montenegro reiterated its now familiar charge that
Krajina would still be under Serbian control were it not for "the
cowardly behavior of the regimes in Belgrade and Podgorica." -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

REFUGEES CONTINUE TO ARRIVE IN KOSOVO. About 2,000 refugees from Krajina
have so far arrived in Kosovo and another 1,300 are expected on 17
August, including the majority of the 800 who refused for two days to go
to the region (see OMRI Daily Digest 16 August 1995). Serbian officials
estimate that about 5,000 hectares are needed to accommodate altogether
10,000 refugees in Kosovo. In one case, a Serbian refugee family
reportedly occupied an Albanian house, but no other incidents have been
reported. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova
repeated charges that Serbia plans to colonize Kosovo with refugees
against their will. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA CURBS YUGOSLAV FLIGHTS. Romania has limited Yugoslav state
airlines (JAT) flights following accusations Belgrade was using the
trips to break UN sanctions against it, Reuters reported on 16 August.
According to a Timisoara airport official, Romania's Transport Ministry
has decided that JAT will operate only one flight a day from Belgrade to
Bucharest, instead of two. The move followed an official inquiry into
media reports that Romania was allowing Yugoslav passenger jets to
overtank copiously during stopovers at Timisoara airport. The rump
Yugoslav federation is under a fuel embargo as part of a UN economic
sanctions package. Also on 16 August, a spokesman for the Romanian
Foreign Ministry said that his country would "actively support any
realistic proposal or action aimed at reactivating the peace process" in
the region. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

UNEMPLOYMENT RISES IN BULGARIA. Ilcho Dimitrov, director of the National
Employment Service and deputy social minister, on 16 August said that
unemployment increased in July for the first time in 1995, Bulgarian
media reported the same day. Some 415,438 people were registered with
the service, markedly less than the 499,176 registered at the beginning
of the year. The reports do not give figures for June. Dimitrov
attributed the rise to the fact that many young people finished their
education recently, and have not yet found a job. The number of people
under 30 who are entitled to social benefits was given as 22,112. In
other news, the National Statistical Institute announced that industrial
production in July was 9% higher than the same month last year. For the
first seven months of 1995, the growth rate was 2% compared to 1994. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

appointed Suzana Panariti as the new minister for industry, transport
and trade. Panariti replaces Albert Brojka, who was elected as the head
of the Tirana branch of the Democratic Party on 9 August. Panariti
previously worked as Brojka's deputy and is not a member of any
political party. -- 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
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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570

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