To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 164, Part II, 23 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

UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER ON CHORNOBYL CLOSURE. Yevhen Marchuk told the
directors of major industrial enterprises in Kharkiv on 22 August that
the Chornobyl nuclear power plant will remain in operation until new
jobs are secured for its employees and the problem of nuclear waste
disposal is resolved, AFP and Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day.
Marchuk said it would cost $4 billion to shut down Chornobyl and replace
it with a non-nuclear plant, which could provide new jobs for laid-off
workers. Ukraine has insisted that the international community,
including the G-7 nations, which have pressured it to close down
Chornobyl, provide the necessary funds to do so. Marchuk added that
Ukraine now faces a severe energy shortage because industry has failed
to pay for past deliveries of coal and fuel. As a result, he said, the
government is short of cash to replenish its dwindling fuel reserves. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

POSTAL RATE HIKE THREATENS UKRAINIAN PRESS. The Ministry of
Communications is planning to raise postal rates for the delivery of
periodicals after the country's postal service lost some 5 trillion
karbovantsi (around $30 million) last year, Ukrainian Television
reported on 22 August. Mykhailo Onufriichuk, Ukraine's information
minister, said the 600% to 800% hikes would bankrupt most of the
country's publications. He said his ministry is urgently seeking ways to
prevent the rises and find funds to cover the postal losses. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN FINLAND. Hennadii Udovenko ended a two-day
visit to Finland on 22 August, Interfax and AFP reported the following
day. During the visit, Udovenko met with President Martti Ahtisaari,
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen and his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen.
The problem of pollution figured prominently in talks. Udovenko stated
that Finland's ratification of an agreement on partnership and
cooperation with the EU opened new opportunities for increasing trade
between Ukraine and Finland. In 1994 Ukraine exported $65 million worth
of goods to Finland and imported $19 million. Udovenko noted that
Ukraine's total foreign trade grew by 14.9% in 1994 and said Ukraine was
interested in cooperating with Finland in banking and finance. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.

IMF LARGEST CREDITOR TO LITHUANIA. The Lithuanian government as of 1
July signed foreign loan agreements amounting to $915 million, of which
$488 million have been used, BNS reported on 22 August. Loans from the
International Monetary Fund comprise 46% of the total, from the European
Union 15%, the World Bank 10%, and the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development 7%. The loans have been used for fuel and other energy
resources (41%), stabilizing the litas (22%), financing investment
projects (19%), agricultural needs (13%), and for small and middle-size
businesses (5%). -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ARRESTS FOLLOW BELARUSIAN STRIKE. The Supreme Soviet of Belarus
announced on 22 August that the head of the Independent Trade Unions,
Syarhei Antonchyk, had been arrested by the police, Ekho Moskvy
reported. This is the first time an opposition leader has been arrested
under President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's regime, and it is uncertain
whether the detention is legal since Antonchyk enjoys parliamentary
immunity as a deputy. Three other union leaders were arrested after
police moved to end a metro workers' strike in Minsk on 21 August. Their
lawyers have complained that there is no court or prosecution order to
hold them and they have said they are being held as "political
hostages." Some reports say that dozens of others have been rounded up
by the authorities for participating in the strike. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI, Inc.

POLISH ADMIRAL RESIGNS OVER CAMPAIGNING IN THE ARMY. Vice Admiral Marek
Toczek resigned as commander-in-chief of the Ministry of Internal
Affairs military detachments on 22 August after a ministry commission
established that signatures supporting current President Lech Walesa's
candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections were collected among
soldiers under pressure from officers. In some cases, soldiers were
threatened that they would not receive their monthly pay if they did not
sign. Gazeta Wyborcza on 23 August writes that Mieczyslaw Wachowski,
chief of the presidential chancellery, organized the collection of
signatures in the army and arms industry enterprises. Polish electoral
law forbids campaigning in military detachments. -- Jakub Karpinski,
OMRI, Inc.

FORMER COMMUNIST PARTY LEADERS DISCUSS RESPONSIBILITY FOR MARTIAL LAW.
The Sejm's commission on constitutional responsibility, which is
conducting hearings among politicians responsible for the introduction
of martial law in 1981, summoned on 22 August two former first
secretaries of the Polish United Workers Party: General Wojciech
Jaruzelski as a defendant and Stanislaw Kania, Jaruzelski's predecessor,
as a witness. Kania was answering Jaruzelski's questions and said there
had been other possibilities of solving Poland's problems than
introducing martial law, Polish media reported on 23 August. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH SOCIAL DEMOCRATS CLOSE GAP ON RULING PARTY FURTHER. According to
the latest opinion poll published by Czech media on 23 August, 25% of
respondents would vote for Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic
Democratic Party if parliament elections were held now. The figure
represents a drop of 1% since July, and the opposition Social Democrats
(CSSD) rose by the same amount to 23% in the Institute for Public
Opinion Research poll. The gap between the two parties has narrowed from
12% in March to only 2%. Elections are due to be held in June 1996 and,
according to the poll, only five parties stand a chance of being
represented in the next parliament. The Christian Democratic Union-Czech
People's Party was given 6% and another member of the governing
coalition, the Civic Democratic Alliance, 5%; the Communists would gain
7%. Meanwhile, the CSSD leadership on 22 August urged one of its
deputies, Jozef Wagner, to resign his parliament seat and party
membership after he punched the leader of the CSSD parliament caucus in
the face at a party meeting last weekend. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

ROMA SAID TO FORM SELF-DEFENSE UNITS. Ladislav Body, the only Romani
deputy in the Czech parliament, told Slovenska Republika on 15 August
that Roma in northern Bohemia, frightened after the death of a Romani
youth attacked in Slovakia on 21 July, have begun to form their own
self-defense units. CTK reported the following day that the north
Bohemian chief of police claimed that he has no information about these
self-defense groups, and there have been no deaths in the region from
racially motivated attacks this year. Meanwhile, on 16 August Mlada
fronta dnes reported that because Romani tenants of mostly Romani
housing projects in the town of Most in northern Bohemia do not pay
their rent regularly, the town council wants to relocate them all to
flats with minimal facilities for "rent defaulters and unadaptable
people." Romani unemployment in the Czech Republic is calculated to be
as high as 60% to 70%, and in eastern Slovakia nearly 100% of all
unemployed are thought to be Roma. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

INFLATION IN SLOVAKIA. The Slovak Statistics Office said that consumer
prices in Slovakia rose 1% in July and were 10.8% higher than in July
1994, international media reported on 22 August. The inflation rate in
June was 10.6% compared with a year earlier. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANI FESTIVAL FORUM ALSO FOR POLITICS. The Gypsy World Festival opened
in Hungary on 16 August, with performances continuing until 3 September.
As part of the events, a Romani radio program was broadcast from Sziget
on 17 August, and a television program from Budapest the morning of 19
August. On the opening day, Imre Furmann, head of the Otherness
Foundation's National and Ethnic Minorities Legal Aid Office, told the
press that while there have been no extreme attacks on Roma this year,
his office has acted on at least 50 cases of everyday discrimination and
abuse so far. Furmann explained that forms of discrimination vary. For
instance, some employment agencies place asterisks next to the names of
firms on their computer lists who will not accept Romani employees,
while real estate contracts are withdrawn when the buyer turns out to be
Romani. Furmann urged more explicit anti-discrimination laws, and said
that it was promising that recently more and more non-Roma file
complaints with his office on behalf of Roma. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI,
Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC ACCUSES ENEMIES . . . Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
blamed his opponents, including those in Serbia, for trying to
destabilize the Bosnian Serb leadership by circulating rumors that
General Ratko Mladic had overthrown him in a coup or was chasing him
around Bosnia. Reuters said on 22 August that Karadzic announced he had
"withdrawn" his legal measures against Mladic because of the current
dangers to the Bosnian Serb "state." He added that "everybody is doing
their job. . . . We have a very strong and firm structure of power." He
accused enemies of wanting "to create fear and uncertainty among the
people and possibly force them to flee from certain offensives." --
Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

. . . AND OFFERS CROATIA A DEAL. The Bosnian Serb leader floated a two-
part "peace offer" to Croatia, AFP reported on 22 August. He said that
the Croats should evacuate the area around Trebinje in return for a
"peace accord." He also suggested that a 1993 text could be implemented,
which gave Croatia a tiny bit of the heights overlooking Dubrovnik and
from which the Serbs have shelled the medieval town, in exchange for
granting the Serbs 30 kilometers of the Prevlaka peninsula down to
Popovici. Prevlaka is Croatian territory with a UN presence, but it
controls access to the strategic Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman has hinted in previous years that he might
agree to such a deal, but there was firm domestic opposition to any
yielding of Croatian territory. Karadzic has now warned the Croats,
however, that "if Croatia does not accept either proposal, fighting will
continue until we have liberated all Serb territory," i.e. Croatian
territory recently retaken by the Croatian army. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
Inc.

KRAJINA UPDATE. Reuters reported from Lasinja on 23 August that the
Croatian inhabitants driven out by the Serbs in 1991 have begun
returning. They said that the Serbs burned or dynamited their homes and
the Roman Catholic church. Slobodna Dalmacija stated that the UN
continues to accuse Croatia of systematically torching Serbian houses
and looting. Zagreb has argued that any destruction was the result of
military necessity or of isolated incidents. The BBC noted that EU
Commissioner for Refugees Emma Bonino claims that some 10,000 Krajina
refugees remain unaccounted for and that even the UN has no idea where
they are. She also complained that rump Yugoslav authorities refused to
see her when she visited Belgrade. Elsewhere, Croatian officials told
AFP that some 11,782 victims of Serb "ethnic cleansing" arrived from the
Banja Luka region between 14 and 24 August. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

THE RAPID REACTION FORCE STRIKES BACK. International media on 23 August
said that the new UN force in Sarajevo fired at a Bosnian Serb gun
position the previous day after the Serbs deliberately targeted a UN
observation post and wounded six Egyptian soldiers and numerous
civilians. It was not clear what effect the Force's shells had. The
world body also blamed both the Bosnian government and the Serbs for the
latest exchanges of artillery fire in the Bosnian capital. Vjesnik
reported that a new Croatian cultural center has opened in Sarajevo at a
ceremony attended by political, diplomatic, cultural, and religious
officials. Meanwhile in Tuzla, AFP said that the Serbs shelled the
airbase, which is currently housing 3,200 refugees from Zepa and
Srebrenica. The VOA stated that the U.S. has appealed "to the warring
parties [in Bosnia] to give diplomacy a chance," while AFP on 22 August
noted that Germany has told Croatia that negotiations are the only path
to peace. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KOSOVO REFUGEE UPDATE. Yugoslav Refugee Minister Morina Bratislava has
rejected fears that Serb refugees would upset the demographic balance in
Kosovo, AFP reported on 22 August. She argued that only a "relatively
small number" of refugees would be moved to Kosovo. Out of a total of
160,000 refugees some 3,000 have so far been sent to Kosovo, where
Belgrade wants to settle about 16,000. Slavica Rakovic, an adviser to
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, in an interview with the right-
wing Greek daily Adesmevtos Typos proposed changing the demographic
balance in favor of the Serbs. Rakovic was visiting Greece on an
invitation of the Greco-Serb Association, to coordinate Greek
humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, Macedonian government speaker Ismail Gjuner
denied that Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi and his Macedonian
counterpart Stevo Crvenkovski discussed strategies in case of an
outbreak of armed conflict in Kosovo, BETA reported. -- Fabian Schmidt,
OMRI, Inc.

YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTER IN GREECE. Yugoslav Foreign Minister and
former ambassador to Greece Milan Milutinovic paid a visit to Athens on
21 August, the BBC reported the following day. Milutinovic met the
honorary chairman of the Greek New Democracy Party, Konstantinos
Mitsotakis, to discuss developments in the former Yugoslavia and the
Balkan region. Mitsotakis said that the Yugoslav crisis was at a
critical point and added that "there are chances for a political
solution but a clear risk is involved as well." He also expressed the
hope that a peaceful, political solution would be found. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE. Tanjug on 22 August reported that
on the same day Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and rump Yugoslav
Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic met in Belgrade with Romanian Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu. At the top of the agenda were the Bosnian
crisis and bilateral relations between Bucharest and Belgrade. For his
part, Melescanu praised the Serbian leadership for what he dubbed its
sincere commitment to the regional peace process. In turn, the rump
Yugoslav hosts described bilateral relations as sound, and grounded in
"good-neighborly relations, mutual understanding and trust." -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

VACAROIU ON ROMANIAN ECONOMY. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu told a
press conference carried by Radio Bucharest on 22 August that the
country was making good economic progress, despite lingering
difficulties. Industrial production was up more than 9% and unemployment
and inflation were lower than forecast. Unemployment was at about 10%
and inflation is likely to be below the 30% previously estimated.
Purchasing power was at 66.7% of its 1989 level, compared to 57.8% at
the beginning of the year. Economic growth will be above 4% in 1995,
compared with the previous forecast of 3%. Vacaroiu defended the
country's privatization program as a way to attract badly needed foreign
investment. He said only 911 out of the 3,907 companies put up for
privatization registered losses in 1994 and only about 2% of them were
really in deficit, the rest having faced difficulties of a temporary
nature. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN NATIONAL BLOC ENLARGED. The daily Cronica romana reported on 22
August that three more parties have joined the National Bloc, which is
centered around the chauvinist Greater Romania Party (PRM). Except for
the PRM, all the members of the coalition are non-parliamentary
formations and observers consider them to have little following. The
three new members are the Democratic Progressive Party, the Anti-
Monarchist and Pro-Republican Party and the Party of the Revival of the
Romanian Nation. Altogether, the National Bloc is now formed by 10
political parties. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

CHOLERA IN ROMANIA, MOLDOVA. Romanian Ministry of Health officials said
in a statement carried by Radio Bucharest on 22 August that the number
of cases of cholera in the country is now 12. Those affected live in
various localities on the river Danube, near the border with Ukraine. In
neighboring Moldova, according to a dispatch carried by Infotag on 22
August, 151 cases of cholera were registered so far, mostly in Tiraspol
and in the Slobozia area, both of which are close to Ukrainian
territory. Unlike in Romania, where no vibrio has been detected in the
water, it has been found in several Moldovan water sources, including
the Dniester. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

TRANSDNIESTER RADICALS INTENSIFY ANTI-MARKUTSA DRIVE. The Bloc of
Radical Patriotic Forces in Tiraspol, headed by Professor Vasily
Yakovlev, has intensified its drive to oust Grigory Markutsa, chairman
of the self-proclaimed republic's Supreme Soviet, Infotag reported on 21
August. The agency said Yakovlev's supporters were spreading leaflets in
the city, demanding that Markutsa resign and ruling out his nomination
for the forthcoming parliament elections. They accuse him of signing an
agreement with Chisinau making the circulation of the Moldovan currency
legal, which is viewed as "the first step toward the annihilation" of
the breakaway region's independence. On 22 August Infotag reported that
the forces headed by Yakovlev launched an initiative for holding an
extraordinary congress of deputies at local and central government
level. The congress, scheduled for 10 September, is to take place in
advance of the next Chisinau-Tiraspol summit, which is due on 13
September and, according to the organizers, it should prevent further
concessions to Chisinau to prevent "a final loss of Transdniestrian
statehood." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

FIRE IN BULGARIAN NUCLEAR PLANT. BTA reports on 23 August that a fire
broke out at the Kozlodui nuclear power plant the previous day.
According to the facility's deputy chief, the blaze was sparked when a
breaker in the control room short circuited. The fire was quickly
detected and contained before any major damage or injuries could result.
-- Stan Markotich, 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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