|Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead|
No. 165, Part II, 24 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 ORTHODOX LEADERS AND NATIONALISTS BLAST GOVERNMENT. Leaders of the Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate and nationalist politicians accused the administration of President Leonid Kuchma of undermining Ukrainian statehood during memorial gatherings honoring Patriarch Volodymyr, Reuters and Interfax-Ukraine reported on 23 August. The service and procession, held by Orthodox tradition 40 days after death, took place peacefully in contrast to the violent clashes between riot police and mourners during the patriarch's funeral on 18 July. During a rally afterward, Volodymyr's deputy and likely successor Metropolitan Filaret condemned government policy toward the church, which broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate in 1992. He said Kuchma's refusal to allow the patriarch's burial in the grounds of St. Sophia's Cathedral, now a museum, amounted to persecution of the independent church. On the eve of the fourth anniversary of Ukraine's independence, nationalist politicians said the "godless" Kuchma was bowing to religious authorities in Moscow. Kuchma has barred the reburial of Volodymyr, now buried in a makeshift grave outside the cathedral walls, in an effort to prevent further tensions between the rival Orthodox churches. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc. GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON BALTIC STATES. Volker Ruehe, after meeting in Tallinn on 23 August with Estonian President Lennart Meri, said that fears in the Baltic States of possible aggression from the East were not justified, BNS reported. Ruehe affirmed: "The independence of the Baltic States is one of the central factors for European countries" and good relations with Russia would guarantee stable development and security for Europe. Earlier that day in Riga, Ruehe advised Latvia not "to seek security only along the central axis of Poland-Germany" but "to look for a way back to Europe by cooperating with the Nordic countries." Indirectly refuting a recent story in the German weeky Der Spiegel that the Baltic States would be the last group to be admitted into NATO, he said that the organization had not yet fixed an order for future members. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. LATVIAN PARLIAMENT EXPELS SIEGERIST. The Saeima on 23 August voted 39 to 4 with 11 abstentions to expel Joachim Siegerist, leader of the For Latvia movement, for non-attendance of parliament sessions, BNS reported. The Mandate and Application Committee proposed the vote since Siegerist was not present at eight of the 13 meetings of the spring session. Siegerist did not attend the vote, but three For Latvia deputies said they would boycott future sessions to protest the expulsion of their leader. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc. POLISH PRESIDENT DEFENDS ARMY INTERESTS. Lech Walesa, in a letter sent to Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy on 22 August, attacked the government for allegedly not fulfilling its constitutional duties and weakening the army's potential. Walesa criticized the government draft of the 1996 budget as not providing enough for defense. The president supplemented his letter with a draft law providing for bigger expenditures for the army. A second draft law attached to the letter, which would subordinate the chief of the General Staff to the president, was rejected by the Sejm in June. Chief of the General Staff Gen. Tadeusz Wilecki attacked the government in a similar way to Walesa on 15 August, Polish media noted. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON MAIN ISSUES. Supreme Court President Adam Strzembosz, speaking on 23 August in Elblag near the Russian-Polish border (Kaliningrad district), noted the anniversary of the 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov pact that divided prewar Poland between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Strzembosz said that the Russian heavy military presence in Kaliningrad created problems for Polish-Russian relations. Earlier, Freedom Union candidate Jacek Kuron encouraged other candidates to discuss the main political issues, which he listed as security and welfare, legal equality, general availability of employment, the suitable organization of state institutions, and Poland's security and place in the world. Danuta Waniek, the chief of the Alliance of Democratic Left leader Aleksander Kwasniewski's campaign, answered Kuron by adding three other issues: Church-state relations, the role of the trade unions, and the scope and speed of privatization. Kuron, in a press conference on 23 August, defended his choice of issues and said that his relatively low ranking in voting intentions derives from him being perceived as "too good and too honest to be a president," Polish media reported on 24 August. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc. NEW CLASSES FOR ROMANI CHILDREN. Two schools in Prague will begin programs for Romani children in the fall, the Czech daily Mlada fronta dnes reported on 24 August. Although a photo of a young boy begging from a tourist accompanied the article, it is more likely that the students of such programs will come from more middle-class Romani families. The Czech director of one of the schools said that the program would include music and dance, to be taught by Romani instructors. The director of the other school spoke of the problem of introducing Romani language instruction, saying that there were no people who could teach in it, and that moreover Romani had not been codified. While it is true that Romani is still being standardized, last week in Beroun in a seminar sponsored by Man, Education and New Technologies (MENT), Czech teachers of Romani children were taught the Carpathian Romani dialect, using Czech-Romani grammars. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAKIA WILL ASK BONN FOR COMPENSATION. Jozef Sestak, state secretary at Slovakia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Bonn on 23 August for a three-day working visit. According to Slovak media, Sestak is to submit to German officials a proposal for initiating bilateral talks on compensating Slovak victims of the Nazi regime during World War II. He will also discuss bilateral relations and the integration of Slovakia into European structures with his German counterpart, Peter Hartmann. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S VETOS EXPLAINED. Ivan Trimaj, head of the presidential Legislative Department, told journalists in Bratislava on 23 August that President Michal Kovac has recently vetoed three privatization laws approved by the parliament because "they violated the constitution," in particular the principle of equality of different forms of ownership. "The president does not send back laws to the parliament if they contain common mistakes; he does so only if they violate the constitution," argued Trimaj. The ruling coalition headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar has enough votes to override the president's vetos of the three laws, which the opposition parties have criticized as potentially halting the privatization process in Slovakia. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE SUSAK SAYS CROATIA CAN RETAKE EASTERN SLAVONIA . . . Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak warned that his forces could push Serbian troops out of eastern Slavonia, AFP reported on 23 August. He said they would do this in less time than Operation Blitz took in western Slavonia in May if the international community does not secure the peaceful reintegration of the area into Croatia. Rump Yugoslavia, however, seems bent on holding onto the prosperous region. Nasa Borba reported on 24 August that an EU representative is nonetheless in Serb-held Vukovar in an effort to restart talks between Croatia and its rebel Serbs. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. . . . WHILE HERZEGOVINIAN SERBS SEAL THE MONTENEGRIN BORDER. AFP on 23 August also quoted Susak as saying that his government can no longer tolerate Serbian shelling of the Dubrovnik area. For some days observers have been expecting a push by some 10,000 Croatian troops into the Trebinje region of eastern Herzegovina behind Dubrovnik. Montena-fax said that the local Serbian authorities have banned all people from Trebinje from leaving the district without special permission. Many had been fleeing into Montenegro, including military-aged men. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. KARADZIC WANTS 64% OF BOSNIA. AFP on 23 August quoted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that the Serbs must have 64% of the land in any settlement because that is the amount they legally own. He did not mention the land taken violently, and one of his statements in particular suggested a hearty appetite: "Our territory must be integral, it must have territorial continuity. It is of vital importance that our borders be on the Sava and Una Rivers, that the Drina River is ours, that we have a part of Sarajevo." His "foreign minister," Aleksa Buha, praised the "U.S.-Russian" peace project, while Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey said that there is "no American plan, but an initiative." Elsewhere, U.S. President Bill Clinton named a new team of envoys to the former Yugoslavia. Meanwhile in Jakarta, Indonesian officials on 24 August announced that the Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian presidents had agreed "in principle" to meet in Indonesia, which currently chairs the Non-Aligned Movement. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MAZOWIECKI DESCRIBES SERB ATROCITIES IN SREBRENICA. The UN special rapporteur for human rights in the former Yugoslavia has presented his final report, international media said on 23 August. The former Polish prime minister resigned in disgust last month over the international community's inaction in the face of Serbian atrocities in the UN-declared "safe havens" in eastern Bosnia. He said that "there is significant direct and circumstantial evidence indicating that summary executions took place, both of individuals and small groups of people. On the question of mass executions of large numbers of people at one time, the evidence so far obtained leads to the chilling conclusion that these may have occurred." He also noted that Serbian civilians came in to loot and burn homes and shops, and to destroy mosques. Meanwhile the new Serbian "mayor" of Srebrenica has invited anyone interested to visit. "The whole world can come and investigate, film in Srebrenica," Miroslav Deronjic told AFP, regretting that until now "nobody has made such a request." In another "safe area," Gorazde, the Serbian authorities have given the peacekeepers permission to leave. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. CROATIAN UPDATE. Vjesnik on 24 August reported on the government's plans to return the Croatian population to areas of the former Krajina from which the Serbs had "ethnically cleansed" them since 1991. The resettlement will take place in approximately three waves, depending on the availability of accommodation in the various parts of the region. The government also said it plans to have the vital Zagreb-Knin-Split railway running by 28 August, which would be the first time in over four years. Roman Catholic church sources in Zagreb quoted the bishop's office in Banja Luka as saying that on 19 August the Serbs dynamited a church in Sanski Most, making this the 43rd church in the bishopric to be deliberately destroyed. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc. MONTENEGRO UPDATE. BETA reported on 23 August that on the same day the Montenegrin republic's legislature met in special session to discuss the prospects for peacefully resolving the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The session was called after opposition parties' lobbying efforts, which have also recently revolved around calls for a peaceful resolution of outstanding regional differences. On the previous day, President Momir Bulatovic appeared on Montenegro Television and lashed out against the Krajina Serb leadership and Orthodox Church officials. According to Bulatovic, Croatia's reclaiming of Krajina amounted to "a tragedy" but Krajina leaders were to blame since "they did not defend Krajina." He also remarked that the Orthodox Church had recently become overtly politicized by de facto defending the Krajina Serb leadership and thereby "demonstrating its [political] amateurishness." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc. SITUATION IN KOSOVO IS A "SERIOUS PROBLEM." That is how EU negotiator Carl Bildt described the situation in the mainly ethnic Albanian province and added that he would soon visit rump Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Albania, BETA reported on 23 August. According to the Albanian-language service of Deutsche Welle, 3,600 Serbian refugees have so far arrived in Kosovo. BETA, however, says that another 4,500 are expected to arrive soon in Pristina alone. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. ROMANIA WANTS END TO SANCTIONS ON RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Following the visit to Belgrade of Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu (see OMRI Daily Digest, 23 August 1995), Romania reiterated its call for UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia to be lifted. At a press conference carried by Radio Bucharest on 23 August, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geoana said the "lifting of the embargo in the context of negotiations could work as a stimulating element for all the sides" involved in the conflict. He said Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had raised the issue in the talks with Melescanu. The conflict in former Yugoslavia will also figure prominently at the meeting due to be held between the Greek, Bulgarian and Romanian foreign ministers over the weekend in Greece, Geoana said. In other news, the Croat ambassador to Bucharest, Nikola Debelic, said in an interview with the RFE/RL Romanian service that the recent Croat offensive in Krajina has established a "military balance" allowing for "negotiations on an equal basis." He expressed the hope that Romania will use its influence on Belgrade to persuade Serbia to give up its "aggressive politics and its territorial claims on neighboring countries." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. RATIU TO RUN FOR ROMANIAN PRESIDENT? A letter from Ion Ratiu, the vice-chairman of the opposition National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD), published in the daily Ziua on 23 August, throws confusion over the race for the presidential elections due to be held in fall 1996. Although Ratiu stops short of confirming he will run, the tone of the letter seems to attest to this intent. The PNTCD is the leading force in the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), which has elected Emil Constantinescu as its chairman. According to the existing procedure, he is also automatically the CDR's candidate in the presidential elections. Ratiu says the PNTCD itself has not opted for a candidate and calls on his party to back him, stating that his chances of defeating President Ion Iliescu are higher than Constantinescu's. Ratiu was third in the presidential contest held in 1990. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. SNEGUR MEETS GAGAUZ LEADER AMID CALLS FOR ECONOMIC EMERGENCY. President Mircea Snegur on 22 August met with the leader of the autonomous Gagauz region, George Tabunshik, Infotag reported on the same day. They discussed the dramatic economic situation in southern Moldova, which induced the Gagauz Popular Assembly to call on Chisinau to declare a state of economic emergency in the area. Snegur said after the meeting that he had asked the government to consider the Gagauz appeal. He also told Tabunshik that cooperation between the Gagauz authorities and Moscow in establishing joint ventures should be "more concrete" and recommended closer contacts with Turkey, which has showed readiness to help the Gagauz. During a recent meeting with Snegur in Bucharest, Turkish President Suleiman Demirel said his country was ready to allocate $35 million to Moldova. A Gagauz delegation is expected to visit Turkey to establish economic contacts. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc. YEVNEVICH ON ARMS SHIPMENTS. Lt.-Gen. Valeriy Yevnevich, who commands the former 14th Army in Moldova, denied that four trains loaded with Russian arms would be withdrawn from the Transdniestr region to Russia by the end of the month as had been previously reported. In a 23 August Interfax interview, he said his staff had "started to estimate the condition of the armaments and will prepare a proposal . . . by the end of the month." He said that some old military trucks might be handed over to the local authorities as well as some communications equipment that had become outdated. He reiterated that withdrawal decisions would be made in Moscow and not by his command. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc. MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT DRAFTS LAW ON RESTITUTION. The Macedonian government approved a draft law on the restitution of real estate that was nationalized between August 1944 and February 1968, MIC reported on 23 August. The Ministry of Finance has registered 37,000 hectares of agricultural land, 16,000 hectares of forest, 21,000 hectares of pasture, 285 apartment buildings and 169 business objects and various herds of cattle and sheep that will be affected by the law. Finance Minister Jane Miljovski said that it is the government's aim to give back all property that physically exists, or to provide compensation. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc. U.S. MILITARY DELEGATION IN ALBANIA. Secretary of the Army Togo West is leading a U.S. military delegation to Albania on 24 August, Rilindja Demokratike reports the same day. West will meet with President Sali Berisha and Defense Minister Safet Zhulali and visit U.S. army units deployed to reconstruct a hospital in Tirana in the framework of a military-medical exercise called "Crystal Water 95." West brings with him a donation of medical supplies worth $500,000. Elsewhere, deputy Chief of the General Staff Armand Vincani received the commander of an Italian frigate that will participate in joint exercises with the Albanian navy beginning on 26 August. -- 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 through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The OMRI Daily Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write email@example.com for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.