The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 169, Part II, 30 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

POLISH GOVERNMENT POSTPONES PENSION HIKE . . . The government on 29
August decided to raise pensions in December rather than in September,
Radio Warsaw reported. State-sector wage growth (to which pensions are
indexed) has not run high enough to mandate a third-quarter increase,
but some members of the ruling coalition proposed an early raise in any
case (a plan some observers criticized as an attempt to win votes from
Poland's 9 million pensioners in the fall presidential elections).
Deputy Prime Minister Grzegorz Kolodko told reporters that the December
rise could be as high as 17%. The government said that insufficient
income from privatization and the National Bank left the budget with too
little cash to afford an increase now. -- Louisa Vinton

. . . BUT RAISES PUBLIC-SECTOR WAGES. The government also said that
bolstering incomes for employees paid from the state budget (teachers,
health-care workers, and the public administration) is a priority, as
their wages have suffered most over the past five years. The tripartite
commission representing unions, employers, and the state agreed on 28
August to increase public-sector wages this year by 6% in real terms.
The raises were first promised after a Solidarity hunger strike in
January. The commission also agreed to raise public-sector wages next
year by 5.5% over inflation, Rzeczpospolita reported. A deputy finance
minister had previously hinted that revenue shortfalls might prevent the
government from paying the raises. Her remarks prompted fierce criticism
from the unions. -- Louisa Vinton

POLAND TO BUILD RUSSIAN-DESIGNED FIGHTER? A Polish aviation company may
build an upgraded Russian MiG-29 jet fighter for the Polish Air Force,
Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 29 August. The paper said that WSK-PZL
Mielec may be given a license to build the "M-2000," which would have
the fuselage and wings of the latest version of the MiG-29, new engines,
and the latest Western avionics. In return for such a license, the paper
said that Polish shipyards would repair Russian warships and Poland
would supply Russia with spare parts for Polish planes that had been
exported to the former Soviet Union. -- Doug Clarke

HUNGARIAN PREMIER BACKS DOWN ON DEPUTY PREMIER POST. Gyula Horn on 29
August abandoned plans to appoint trade union leader Sandor Nagy as
deputy prime minister in charge of overseeing the economy. But he said
he wanted Nagy to take over the post of industry minister instead,
international agencies reported. Horn's move came amid strong protests
from the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), who believe that Nagy's
appointment would diminish the powers of Finance Minister and reform
architect Lajos Bokros. The liberals dismissed Horn's concession as
cosmetic only. "We believe that [Nagy's appointment] would still reduce
the chances for a healthy economic policy," an SZDSZ leader told
Reuters. Meanwhile, Horn said he hoped that an agreement could be found
with the SZDSZ but added that the Socialists were willing to rule
without the liberals if necessary. -- Jan Cleave

POLL REVEALS UKRAINIANS SEE LITTLE ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION. An opinion
poll conducted by the Kiev-based Democratic Initiatives has revealed
that most Ukrainians do not believe that discrimination against ethnic
groups is widespread, Interfax reported on 28 August. But 10% said they
had witnessed discrimination against Russians, 7% reported having seen
such incidents against Ukrainians, and 6% said they had observed
prejudice against Jews. Six percent of the 1,810 citizens polled said
they had seen incidents of discrimination against other ethnic
minorities in the country. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

DISCORD WITHIN BELARUSIAN LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Ekho Moskvy on 29
August reported that Vasil Krivenko, leader of the Belarusian Liberal
Democratic Party, has asked the Belarusian police to look into a recent
incident in which the party safe was broken into and papers and rubber
stamps stolen. Krivenko suggested that rebel members of the party had a
role in the theft. Apparently, seven leading members want to replace
Krivenko as party leader. But Krivenko said that although he is a
"liberal," he is not enough of a democrat to stand for his "illegal"
removal. The party "putschists" are reportedly now hiding for fear of
Krivenko and his supporters. -- Ustina Markus

TOWARD VISA-FREE TRAVEL BETWEEN ESTONIA AND FINLAND. The Estonian
government on 29 August took a major step toward establishing visa-free
travel with Finland by endorsing the draft of a bilateral agreement on
the readmission of illegal immigrants, BNS reported. Estonian Foreign
Minister Riivo Sinijaerv said talks on visa-free travel will begin
immediately after the Finnish and Estonian interior ministers sign the
agreement at the end of September. -- Saulius Girnius

IMF TO SEVER RELATIONS WITH LATVIA? Latvian government sources believe
that the International Monetary Fund will soon freeze relations with
Latvia because the government refuses to follow IMF recommendations to
double excise duties, BNS reported on 29 August. Latvia has raised the
budget deficit to 92 million lati ($180 million) and drafted laws to
regulate the banking system and bankruptcy procedures, as recommended by
the IMF. An IMF freeze might prompt the European Union not to extend
promised credits of 40 million ecus ($50 million) to stabilize the
country's balance of payments. -- Saulius Girnius

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO LAUNCHES AIR, ARTILLERY ASSAULT AGAINST BOSNIAN SERBS. Jets of
several members of the Atlantic alliance appeared over Sarajevo around
2:00 a.m. local time on 30 August, after taking off from bases in Italy
and from aircraft carriers in the Adriatic. They continued to fly
bombing missions throughout the morning with a brief interruption around
dawn. British, French, and Dutch heavy artillery of the Rapid Reaction
Force lobbed more than 600 shells into Bosnian Serb positions by mid-
morning, international media reported. Bosnian Radio said that the fire
was directed against targets in Lukavica, Bogosca, Ilidza, on Mt.
Jahorina, and elsewhere. The extent of the damage is not clear, but the
VOA reported that most targets appear to have been hit. The aim was to
secure Sarajevo as a "safe area" following the Serbian shelling of a
market on 28 August, which killed 37 and wounded 85. Serbian positions
near the "safe areas" of Tuzla and Gorazde were also attacked. --
Patrick Moore

SERBS RETURN FIRE. Bosnian Serb forces responded with antiaircraft fire
directed at the planes and with rockets aimed at Sarajevo, including a
Bosnian army base. Radio Pale said on 30 August that the damage from the
NATO intervention could be "massive" and that there was "no excuse" for
such a move. The UN had taken precautions in advance to get its
peacekeepers out of the area lest they be taken hostage. The only "blue
helmets" in exposed positions now are Russians, and it is doubtful that
the Serbs will want to anger Moscow, one of their few friends. The VOA
quoted President Bill Clinton as saying that he hoped the attacks will
help promote the peace process by bringing the Serbs around to negotiate
seriously. The BBC, however, cited The Independent as criticizing the
attacks and a British UN spokesman as warning the Bosnian army not to
take advantage of the new situation. There was no official reaction from
the Bosnian Serb leadership as of mid-morning. -- Patrick Moore (see
related story in the Russian section above)

SILAJDZIC SAYS RAIDS RESTORE CREDIBILITY. Bosnian Prime Minister Haris
Silajdzic told Reuters on 30 August that "this is a very important step
toward peace because it restores the credibility of the international
community. I hope the Serbs and the regime in Belgrade have got the
message." The BBC noted that the overnight developments mean that the UN
has switched from peace-making to peace-enforcing, while Reuters spoke
of the "most intensive military intervention in the Bosnian conflict."
Another dispatch called it the biggest single combat mission in NATO's
history. The VOA, however, asked why such moves had not come sooner,
such as during the Serbian attack on Srebrenica and Zepa or even at the
start of the war. Serbian shelling of Sarajevo has killed 10,500 and
wounded 50,000 since 1992. The 28 August attack apparently was the last
straw, however, the broadcast concluded. -- Patrick Moore

CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE IN SARAJEVO. The population of Sarajevo had come to
expect nothing from the international community, but were pleasantly
surprised by the developments in the early hours of 30 August, the VOA
noted. Reuters quoted one man who watched the spectacle from his balcony
as calling it "beautiful, just beautiful." Impromptu street parties
broke out in the capital, with the besieged Sarajevans jubilant that
their tormentors were now themselves being hunted. One crippled woman
told Reuters: "NATO and the United Nations are to be applauded, cheered
for finally acting after the suffering of our city's innocent people.
This is the only thing the Serbs understand--force. They're brutes,
beasts, and they're getting what they deserve." -- Patrick Moore

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE CONFLICT REGION. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic has written to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to tell him
of his support for the latest peace plan, the BBC reported on 30 August.
Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic continued his visit to Paris, but
what was billed as an important diplomatic event has become totally
overshadowed by developments in and around Sarajevo. Slobodna Dalmacija
wrote that the next two weeks will be decisive for Bosnia. With regard
to the Krajina conflict, Hina quoted top Croatian government officials
as saying that known casualties from Operation Storm have reached 402
Serbian soldiers, 116 Serbian civilians, 211 Croatian soldiers, and 42
Croatian civilians. Slobodna Dalmacija reported that Croatia has
identified 217 Serbian rebels it wants to try as war criminals.
Meanwhile in Rijeka, the independent Novi list criticized the governing
party for trying to claim all the credit for what the daily said was
really a national victory. -- Patrick Moore

RUGOVA PROPOSES INDEPENDENT KOSOVO FOR PEACE PLAN. Kosovar shadow-state
President Ibrahim Rugova has suggested putting Kosovo under
international control as part of a peace plan for former Yugoslavia, AFP
reported on 29 August. According to Rugova, Kosovo should be
independent, neutral, demilitarized, and "open to both Albania and
Serbia," thereby forming a "bridge of peace between Belgrade and
Tirana." As an intermediary measure, he proposed "a regime run by an
international administration" with "a limited mandate." -- Fabian
Schmidt

SERBIAN SOLDIER REPORTED KILLED BY KOSOVO ALBANIANS. One rump Yugoslav
soldier was killed and another wounded 300m inside Kosovo when an armed
group opened fire on a rump Yugoslav patrol near the Albanian border,
Reuters and AFP reported on 29 August. The rump Yugoslav army claims
that a group of ethnic Albanian "terrorists" ambushed the patrol with
automatic weapons before fleeing into Albania under the cover of a
storm. The killing may be related to an incident in which three drunken
soldiers killed an ethnic Albanian on 27 August (see OMRI Daily Digest,
28 August 1995). -- Fabian Schmidt

NASTASE: ROMANIAN EDUCATION LAW ISSUE "ARTIFICIALLY INFLATED." Romanian
Chamber of Deputies chairman Adrian Nastase told Max van der Stoel, the
visiting OSCE high commissioner for ethnic minorities, that the issue of
the controversial new education law has been "artificially inflated" by
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR). Radio Bucharest
on 29 August quoted Nastase as saying that the UDMR wants to use the
education law to introduce via the back door the concept of territorial
autonomy. Nastase denied the law will have a negative impact on the
pending treaty between Romania and Hungary. Van der Stoel also met with
Viorel Hrebenciuc, the government coordinator for the Council for
National Minorities, and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. The
government daily Vocea Romaniei reported on 30 August that after meeting
with Hrebenciuc, Van der Stoel said the education law adequately
reflects European standards. Meanwhile, nationalist Mayor of Cluj
Gheorge Funar has invited Van der Stoel to participate on 30 August at
ceremonies marking 55 years since northern Transylvania was ceded to
Hungary. Funar said the occasion would make it possible for the high
commissioner to learn about "the atrocities" committed against the
Romanian and Jewish population in Transylvania "by the parents and the
grandparents of today's UDMR members." -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIA'S MAGYARS LAUNCH NEW RADIO STATION. Reuters on 29 August
reported that a radio station broadcasting a 75% Hungarian-language
program went on the air over the weekend in the town of Targu Secuiesc,
in Covasna County. Radio Siculus is the first station in Romania that
broadcasts mainly in Hungarian, according to Lazar Madaras, a deputy
representing the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania. Under
broadcasting rules enforced by the Audio-Visual Council, the proportion
of minority languages used on the air must reflect the proportion of
nationalities in each area. Covasna County is has a large Hungarian
majority. -- Michael Shafir

GERMAN BUNDESTAG PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Rita Sussmuth on 29 August began
a two-day visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported the same day. She
conducted talks with her counterpart, Adrian Nastase, Senate Chairman
Oliviu Gherman, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, and President Ion
Iliescu. Among the topics discussed were increasing German investments
in Romania, the situation of the German national minority, and the
conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Sussmuth is scheduled to meet with
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and representatives of opposition
parties on 30 August. She will then travel to Timisoara to receive an
honorary doctorate from the local university. -- Michael Shafir

CHOLERA IN BUCHAREST. The first case of cholera in Bucharest was
reported on 29 August. Reuters quoted a spokesman for the Romanian
Health Ministry as saying the patient appeared to have contracted the
illness in his home district of Calarasi, along the Danube. The number
of confirmed cases in the Danube Delta area has risen to 19 and seven
suspected cases are under investigation, the spokesman said. -- Michael
Shafir

UKRAINE TO JOIN PEACE PROCESS IN TRANSDNIESTER. At the end of his two-
day visit to Moldova, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk said Kiev
will take part in the peace process in the breakaway Transdniester
region, international agencies reported on 29 August. Marchuk told
reporters that it has been agreed that Ukraine will participate in
settling the conflict "on equal terms" (presumably with the Russian and
the OSCE missions already taking part in the negotiations). But Marchuk
said it has not yet been decided whether Ukraine will mediate through
diplomats or send peacekeeping troops. He said a Ukrainian
representative will be present alongside Russian and OSCE mediators at
the next Moldovan-Transdniester summit on 13 September. Marchuk also
said Kiev will agree to the transit of Russian troops deployed in the
region through its territory. -- Michael Shafir

TIRASPOL DENIES RUSSIAN ARMAMENT DELIVERY. Stanislav Hajeyev, who has
the title of defense minister in the breakaway Transdniester region, has
denied that equipment and armament belonging to the former Russian 14th
army is being transferred to the Tiraspol authorities. He told Infotag
on 29 August that he has never heard about the deal. The headquarters of
the Russian military in the Transdniester also denied the delivery,
saying that "combat machinery and armaments are the property of the
Russian government and any transfers without Moscow's order are
absolutely out of the question." -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT REFUSES TO APPROVE CHANGES IN ARMED FORCES. Zhelyu
Zhelev has defied the Socialist government by refusing to approve the
replacement of several top officers from the Defense and Interior
Ministries, international agencies reported on 29 August. The Socialists
proposed the changes allegedly to improve the efficiency of the armed
forces. Zhelev said the chiefs of the Interior Forces, the Border
Troops, and the Fire Department should not be replaced by communist-era
officers, as proposed by the government. -- Fabian Schmidt

FIVE ALBANIAN SOLDIERS APPLY FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM IN U.S. Five Albanian
soldiers, who participated in the first joint U.S.-Albanian military
exercises on U.S. territory have applied for political asylum, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 30 August, citing the BBC's Albanian Service.
There has been no official confirmation by Albanian officials. Gazeta
Shqiptare adds that the chances of the five achieving their goal are
rather limited. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN ARMY FIGHTS ENVER HOXHA WITH NAPALM. An Albanian army unit has
dropped napalm on giant stone letters commemorating communist-era
dictator Enver Hoxha, Reuters reported on 29 August. The stone letters,
spelling out Hoxha's first name, were located near the peak of Mount
Shpiragu at Berat. The napalm blackened the letters, making them
indistinguishable from the surrounding mountainside and no longer
visible from the nearby town of Berat. An engineering squad had
previously failed to blow up the huge 140-meter long and 65-meter high
stones, which were erected 24 years ago. -- Fabian Schmidt

[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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