Как жаль, что мы живем не достаточно долго, чтобы пользоваться уроками своих ошибок. - Ж. Лабрюйер
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 163, Part II, 22 August 1995

This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

KUCHMA RESCINDS DECREE. President Leonid Kuchma has rescinded a March
decree, issued in his campaign to clamp down on Crimean separatism, that
placed the government of Crimea directly under the Ukrainian
government's control, Ukrainian TV reported on 21 August. Kuchma issued
a new decree returning the power to appoint a prime minister to the
Crimean legislature, whose new leadership is now dominated by forces
more loyal to Kiev. The decree stipulates, however, that candidates for
the post must first be approved by the Ukrainian president. The Crimean
prime minister has the authority to appoint other government members
with the consent of the Crimean assembly. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI,
Inc.

UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC NEWS. The National Bank of Ukraine has raised its
critical refinancing rate from 60% to 70% amid signs of growing
inflation, Ukrainian TV and Interfax-Ukraine reported on 21 August.
Inflation rose from 4.8% in June to 5.2% in July and is expected to
increase further in August after a recent devaluation of the provisional
currency, the karbovanets. The tender edged up slightly against the
dollar in trading on the Interbank Currency Exchange from 167,000 to
165,000 to $1 since last week. Commercial interest rates have remained
around 60-70%, but most lending has remained short-term, signaling
lingering low confidence in the economy. Ukrainian TV also reported that
the State Property Fund of Ukraine, the body charged with privatizing
state-owned enterprises, has revoked the operating licenses of 14
investment trusts after uncovering numerous criminal violations,
including fraud. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BALTIC STATES. Volker Ruehe held talks on 21
August with his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius, Prime Minister
Adolfas Slezevicius, Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys, and armed forces
commander Maj. Gen. Jonas Andriskevicius, BNS reported. Ruehe noted that
while the visit could be termed "historic" because it is the first to
the Baltic States by a German defense minister, subsequent visits will
become "normal" events for the European partners. After meeting
President Algirdas Brazauskas in the morning of 22 August, Ruehe travels
to Latvia for talks with Latvian officials and a visit to the Baltic
Peacekeeping Battalion training center at Adazi. He will then complete
his Baltic tour in Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIAN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION DECLINES. The Lithuanian Department of
Statistics announced that industrial production in July was 8.5% lower
than in June while the use of electrical energy declined by 10%, BNS
reported on 21 August. The production of tobacco products decreased by
71%, furniture by 54%, lumber by 43%, electrical equipment by 34%, and
basic metals by 33%. The declines were offset, however, by increases in
the production of peat by 243%, in oil refining by 39%, and of
automobile parts by 23%. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

STRIKE ENDS IN MINSK. A strike by metro workers in Minsk was ended on 21
August when police arrested several union leaders and brought in train
drivers, protected by a police escort, to replace the strikers,
international agencies reported. A union official said masked police
arrested two union leaders and brought them to the prosecutor general
and then to the municipal court. Under Belarusian law the strike was
illegal. The head of the Independent Trade Unions, Syarhei Antonchyk,
said that police had detained 15 strikers and 60 were fired. President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka told Belarusian radio he had information that the
strikers, who said they had not been paid since June, were abetted by
Polish and American unions. He also accused the nationalist opposition
of having a hand in organizing the strikes. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELARUS. Klaus Kinkel was in Minsk on 21
August where he met with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Prime Minister
Mikhail Chyhir, and his Belarusian counterpart Uladzimir Syanko,
Belarusian Radio and Russian Public Television reported. Afterwards,
Kinkel gave a negative report on the outcome of the meetings. He said
that he did not receive any guarantees from Lukashenka that Belarus
would continue dismantling weapons as obliged under the CFE treaty, and
therefore Germany did not extend any guarantees of disarmament aid to
Belarus. Lukashenka halted CFE reductions in February because of
financial difficulties and said the disarmament will not resume until
Belarus receives financial aid for the reductions. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PARLIAMENT'S WORK ON CONSTITUTION. The constitutional commission
of the Polish parliament approved on 21 August 11 articles of the
constitution's draft. Ratification and repealing the most important
international treaties concerning political and military alliances or
citizens' freedoms and rights would demand prior parliamentary approval.
Transfer of state legal prerogatives to an international organization
would require a two-thirds parliamentary majority, and may be submitted
to a referendum. The commission is finishing its work on the long
overdue draft of the constitution and the commission's head,
presidential candidate Aleksander Kwasniewski, hopes the draft will be
ready before the date of presidential elections is announced. Opposition
deputies are pressing Kwasniewski to resign to exclude a possible
conflict of interest between his work on the constitution and his
campaign, Polish media reported on 22 August. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI,
Inc.

DATA ON POLISH FOREIGN TRADE. Poland's Main Statistical Office (GUS) has
published data on foreign trade for the first half of 1995. Exports in
that period amounted to $10.8 billion while imports totaled $13.2
billion. Both exports and imports grew by nearly 40% compared with the
first half of 1994. Countries of the European Union, Germany in
particular, remain Poland's most important trading partners, Gazeta
Wyborcza reported on 22 August. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CHURCH-GOVERNMENT TENSION IN SLOVAKIA. Some 3,000 Catholics demonstrated
in Banska Bystrica on 21 August against what they see as government
intimidation of Catholic Church officials, Slovak media report. On 18
August, Church officials accused the government of communist-era
practices after police stormed the office of Rudolf Balaz, head of the
Slovak Bishops Conference, allegedly investigating a report that Balaz
might be involved in the illegal trading of religious antiquities.
Church officials have claimed that the house search was was an act of
retaliation against the Bishops Conference for expressing support for
President Michal Kovac in his conflict with Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar. The government has distanced itself from the house search but
the investigation continues. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT REACTS TO ACCUSATIONS. Michal Kovac on 21 August
responded to a statement made on 19 August by Tibor Cabaj, chairman of
the parliamentary caucus of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). Cabaj said on Slovak Television that
in the light of Kovac's recent statements, citizens are beginning to be
afraid that the president wants to engineer a crisis similar to that
which led to the ouster of Meciar in March 1994. In his response, Kovac
said Cabaj's accusations were "regrettable." The president argued that
he wants the HZDS to remain in power until the next regular parliament
elections. Moreover, said the president, "I never engineered any March
crisis; nor am I preparing one now." He noted that what makes citizens
afraid and nervous are not his own statements but others such as those
made by Cabaj. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARY'S SOCIALISTS SURPASSED IN OPINION POLL. An opinion poll released
on 21 August by Marketing Centrum shows Hungary's ruling Socialists
trailing an opposition party for the first time since the Socialists'
landslide election victory in May 1994. The results of the poll,
published in Nepszava, show the Socialists running in second place with
16%; the right-of-center populist Smallholders placed first with 22%.
The Socialists' junior coalition partner, the liberal Alliance of Free
Democrats, finished third with 14%. The popularity of Prime Minister
Gyula Horn's Socialist Party has been dwindling for nearly a year, but
the slide accelerated following the passing of an austerity package in
March aimed at cutting the country's huge budget and current account
deficits. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIA ACCUSES UN OF ABANDONING GORAZDE. International media on 22
August quoted Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey as condemning
the UN decision to withdraw the remaining peacekeepers from the "safe
area" of Gorazde and replace them with unarmed monitors. Given the UN's
track record in Srebrenica, Zepa, and elsewhere, the presence or absence
of UN troops is unlikely to deter the Serbs from overrunning Gorazde.
Sacirbey, however, seems concerned with the political and symbolic
implications of the world body's move. Nasa Borba, meanwhile, quoted UN
spokesman Alexander Ivanko as saying that one shell is no reason for
NATO intervention. He was replying to Sacirbey's earlier criticism of
the UN for not calling in air strikes when three children were killed in
Gorazde on 20 August. Sacirbey asked: "When will enough be enough, and
what will it take for the United Nations and NATO to react to this
terrorism?" -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIAN UPDATE. The mayor of Dubrovnik on 21 August told a press
conference that demilitarization could be one answer to the city's
problems posed by Serbian artillery in the heights above. News agencies
reported from Montenegro, however, that Bosnian Serb forces are building
up strength in the area. Elsewhere, the UN continued to criticize
Croatia. It appealed to Zagreb not to return some 25,000 Muslim refugees
loyal to Bihac-pocket warlord Fikret Abdic to Bosnian government-
controlled territory. It also accused Croatia of not admitting Muslim
refugees from Banja Luka. Croatia has denied the charges, saying that it
has already taken in 2,500 Muslims from the latest round of Serbian
"ethnic cleansing" of the Banja Luka region's once large Muslim and
Croatian populations. Croatia hosts another 50,000 Muslim refugees whom
it has admitted since 1992. Opinion polls have shown, however, that many
Croats resent the idea of able-bodied Muslim men sitting out the war in
Croatia and feel such people should go back to Bosnian government-
controlled territory. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

TUDJMAN CALLS ON RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE SERBIA. Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman on 21 August urged Russian presidential envoy Aleksandr Zotov to
persuade Serbia to recognize Croatia. Hina said that Tudjman "underlined
the willingness of Croatia to settle the problem on the basis of mutual
recognition [between Belgrade and Zagreb] and urged Russia to use its
influence on Serbian authorities to this end. Failing that, Croatia will
feel obliged to resort to all means at its disposal to liberate the
remainder of its occupied territories" and to enable refugees to go
home. Vecernji list on 22 August asked whether some joint U.S.-Russian
peace proposal is in the offing, but Mlada fronta dnes on 18 August
warned Western powers against trying to rid themselves of the current
crisis by giving Moscow undue diplomatic influence in the Balkans. --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

A NEW BOSNIAN PEACE PLAN. Slobodna Dalmacija on 21 August reported on
suggestions in international media over the weekend that Karadzic had
been ousted by the military commander, General Ratko Mladic. The paper
also discussed a new 12-point peace plan by Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic that stresses the "sovereignty and territorial unity" of the
state. The project apparently makes no mention of any confederal ties to
either Serbia or Croatia. It does, however, guarantee the Serbs full
rights. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN REFUGEE UPDATE. BETA on 21 August reported that the total number
of Krajina Serbs now in rump Yugoslavia is 154,079. Of that number,
approximately 83,000 are in Serbia's ethnically mixed Vojvodina
province, and about 3,000 in the predominantly ethnic Albanian province
of Kosovo. Montena-fax observes that some 1,115 have found refuge in
Montenegro. Belgrade officials continue to articulate concern for the
humanitarian needs of the refugees, and on 22 August AFP quotes national
bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic as saying the best way to meet them is
"to reduce budgetary spending in general while promoting production and
boosting revenues." Meanwhile, on 21 August the BBC reported that the UN
has protested to Serbia over its having press-ganged about 1,000
"military-aged" Krajina male refugees last week. The men have been
forcibly deported to Bosnia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY'S NEW RELIGIOUS LEADER TAKES OFFICE. Rabbi
Mark Yehezkel, the new leader of Romania's Jewish community, arrived in
Bucharest on 20 August and on the following day met members of the
Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, Radio Bucharest announced
on 21 August. Rabbi Yehezkel, who was elected to the position by the
federation on 28 May, succeeds the deceased Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen.
Although he will not, for the time being, have the title of Chief Rabbi,
his jurisdiction extends over all of the country's Jewish congregations.
Unlike Rabbi Rosen, Rabbi Yehezkel will not be president of the
federation, a function now fulfilled by a layman, Professor Nicolae
Cajal. Rabbi Yehezkel was born in 1928 in Romania. He left the country
for Israel in 1946, lectured at Israel's Bar Ilan religious university
in Tel Aviv and was head of a South African Jewish congregation between
1970 and 1972. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN MILITARY INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION. Citing Rompres, Radio
Bucharest said on 21 August that the Romanian troops who participated in
the joint Hungarian-Romanian exercise in Hodmezovasarhely had returned
to the country. The exercise was held within the Partnership for Peace
Program and lasted 11 days. Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti
told the guests they should "bring home the message that Hungary is
capable and prepared to defend itself" and has the means to do so. In
other news, Romanian television reported on 21 August that the first
contingent of 105 peacekeeping troops has left for Angola. The Romanian
battalion will eventually be manned by a total of 750 soldiers. --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

PULL-OUT OF RUSSIAN WEAPONS FROM MOLDOVA TO BEGIN. The press center of
the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Moldova -- the former 14th
Army -- announced on 21 August that the repatriation of its weapons and
equipment from the Transdniestr region would begin shortly. ITAR-TASS
quoted the group's commander, Lt. Gen. Valery Yevnevich, as announcing
that the first shipment would take place on 25 August. The report said
that Russian troops were currently loading four trains with military
cargo, and that these would all leave for Russia before mid-September.
-- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN MOLDOVA. Turkish Defense Minister Mehmet
Golhan began on 20 August a two day-visit to Moldova. BASA-press
reported on 21 August that Golhan said upon his arrival that Ankara
hoped the issue of the presence of Russian troops in Moldova will be
solved "in a manner that will not harm Moldovan independence." He added
that Turkey and Russia were "neighboring countries that . . . do not
interfere in each other's domestic affairs." Moldovan Defense Minister
Pavel Creanga said no documents will be signed during the visit, but the
two sides will continue work on drafting a cooperation program between
the two ministries. Golhan is also scheduled to meet President Mircea
Snegur, Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli, and Foreign Minister Mihai
Popov. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

PRIVATE TV IN MOLDOVA. The first Moldovan private independent television
station, Catalan TV, began broadcasting on 21 August, BASA-press
reported on the same day. The station will mainly air original programs
dealing with local events. Catalan TV reaches an area of 35 kilometers
around Chisinau. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN BANK MERGER. BTA on 21 August reported that three large
banking institutions -- Sofiabank, Serdika Bank and Biochim Bank -- have
announced a merger plan. Total capital assets of the new company are
expected to be about 1.3 billion leva ($19 million), and among the chief
shareholders are at least two Russian banks. The merger plan has already
been approved in principle by the government. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
Inc.

ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS MACEDONIA. Albanian Foreign Minister
Alfred Serreqi and his Macedonian counterpart Stevo Crvenkovski on 21
August accused Belgrade of attempting to modify borders in the Balkans
by flooding Kosovo with Serb refugees, AFP reports the following day.
Concerning the situation in Bosnia, both politicians agreed that
"Macedonia and Albania consider unacceptable any change to borders by
force and ethnic cleansing." The two sides will formulate a "common
strategy" to cope with a possible widening of the war to Kosovo that
might follow the relocation of Krajina refugees there. Serreqi, on a
three-day visit to Macedonia, also met with Parliament Speaker Stojan
Andov and representatives of parliamentary parties, including the main
ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic Prosperity. Serreqi will meet
President Kiro Gligorov and Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski in Ohrid
the same day. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

NEW ALBANIAN MILITARY DOCTRINE. Albanian President Sali Berisha
presented a new military doctrine on 21 August, Zeri I Popullit reports
the next day. He said the army went through a period of restructuring
and has been modernized in cooperation with NATO and other countries.
The new doctrine therefore focuses on strengthening the army but mainly
on regional cooperation. Reuters, however, quotes Berisha as saying that
"although Albania's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity
is . . . guaranteed with political means, we cannot renounce having
armed forces able to secure a convincing defense of the country [but]
Albania does not threaten militarily any other state and . . . it is
resolved to solve disagreements through dialogue." -- Fabian Schmidt,
OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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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