You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 206, Part II, 23 October 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, 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 HIERARCHY ELECTS CONTROVERSIAL PATRIARCH. The
hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate
elected Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev as its new patriarch at a 20
October sobor, Western and Ukrainian agencies reported the same day. His
election causes further rifts within the church and threatens to widen
the gap between the three rival Orthodox churches in the country. Four
candidates dropped out of the race for the position at the last moment,
leaving the controversial Filaret -- accused by many of complicity with
the KGB as a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in Soviet Ukraine
-- as the sole candidate to replace the recently deceased Patriarch
Volodymyr. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

RUSSIA RATIFIES CUSTOMS UNION WITH BELARUS. The Russian State Duma
ratified a customs union and free trade zone agreement with Belarus on
20 October, ITAR-TASS reported. The agreement specifies that on 1
January 1996 tariffs and quotas on trade between the two countries will
be abolished; common tariff and trade policies will be devised in
relation to other countries; and tax legislation in Russia and Belarus
will be aligned. In the second stage of the customs union, Russia and
Belarus will join into a single customs territory. The Duma also adopted
a resolution on integrating the Russian Federation and Belarus. The
resolution demands that Russian President Boris Yeltsin present a plan
for the integration of the two countries to the Federation Council. The
Belarusian parliament has still not ratified the customs agreement. --
Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT COALITION AGREEMENT SIGNED. The Coalition Party and
Rural Union (KMU) coalition and the Reform Party signed an agreement
forming a coalition government on 22 October, BNS reported the next day.
The Reform Party succeeded in obtaining the exclusion of protective
import tariffs and farm subsidies, but agreed not to seek major changes
in the proposed 1996 budget. Reform Party Chairman Siim Kallas said that
the agreement only defined the policy principles of the new government
and did not say anything about the distribution of minister portfolios.
KMU faction chairman Mart Siimann said the portfolios would be divided
under an appendix to the coalition agreement and if all other matters
were settled prime minister designate Tiit Vahi would address the
parliament on 26 October. -- Saulius Girnius

CANDIDATES FOR LATVIAN GOVERNMENT PROPOSED. The National Conciliation
Bloc (NCB) announced its projected cabinet list on 20 October, BNS
reported. The leaders of the four parties forming the bloc will have
important posts: Ziedonis Cevers of the Democratic Party Saimnieks --
prime minister, Alberts Kauls of the Unity Party -- deputy prime
minister; Joachim Siegerist of the Popular Movement for Latvia --
economics minister; and Janis Jurkans of the National Harmony Party --
foreign minister. President Guntis Ulmanis said that he considered the
NCB to be more constructive and energetic than its competitor, the
rightist National Bloc, but repeated his pledge not to name a nominee
for prime minister before 7 November. -- Saulius Girnius

WALESA LEADS IN ELECTORAL SIMULATION. According to the 13-17 October
CBOS opinion poll, the Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander
Kwasniewski would win the first round of the presidential elections,
scheduled for 5 November, with 27% of votes; current president Lech
Walesa would be second with 22%. Both would, therefore, qualify to the
second round. Central Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz got 8% in
the survey. Any two of the five leading candidates would be very close
in the second round, but Walesa would narrowly win against Kwasniewski
as well as Gronkiewicz-Waltz, while Kwasniewski would win with
Gronkiewicz-Waltz and with former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron (6%), who
is fourth in the voting intentions ranking, Polish dailies reported on
21 and 23 October. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH REPORT ON NATO. A report called "Poland-NATO," signed, among
others, by two of Poland's former foreign affairs ministers and one
former defense minister, was presented on 20 October by one of its
signatories, former Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Polish media
reported the next day. The authors say that Poland's independence can be
safeguarded only in an alliance with other countries. "Poland wants and
may talk with any Russian political team respecting international law
and sovereignty of our country," stress the authors, but Russia,
according to them, "aspires to preserve the belt of militarily,
politically, and economically weak countries in Central Europe and to
strengthen Russia's presence there until its might lets it construct new
spheres of influence." -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK, CZECH PRESIDENTS MEET CLINTON. Slovak and Czech Presidents
Michal Kovac and Vaclav Havel, respectively, met with U.S. President
Bill Clinton on 21 October for the opening of a Czech and Slovak museum
and library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Clinton said the U.S. should stand by
the Czech and Slovak republics by expanding NATO, by supporting their
integration into other European institutions, and by improving access to
U.S. markets, international media reported. -- Sharon Fisher and Jiri
Pehe

SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. Slovak Information Service Director Ivan
Lexa on 20 October issued an open letter to President Michal Kovac,
protesting efforts by the president and others "to criminalize the SIS
and its representatives." Lexa told Kovac that "neither the SIS as a
state organ of the Slovak Republic, nor I myself personally, had
anything to do with the alleged kidnapping of your son." Lexa was
responding to Kovac's statements in the Czech daily Pravo on 19 October.
When asked if he thought the abduction of his son was directed by Lexa,
Kovac said "From what I know from various sources, there is no need to
doubt it." Meanwhile, Slovak National Party (SNS) Chairman Jan Slota on
20 October accused Kovac of treason and announced that his party is
considering initiating a parliamentary discussion of Kovac's activities
during a recent visit to Germany. Slota gave as an example Kovac's
alleged statement that the SNS is a "chauvinist and nationalistic
party," Narodna obroda reported. -- Sharon Fisher

'56 MEMORIALS IN HUNGARY. While Hungary is holding a series of
commemorations of the 1956 Hungarian revolution on 23 October, a day
earlier some 7,000 supporters of a Hungarian right-wing political group
demonstrated in Budapest, threatening a general strike if the government
continued its austerity policy, Hungarian and Western media reported.
The extreme right-wing Hungarian Justice and Life Party, lead by Istvan
Csurka, used extremist slogans in calling for the demonstration and
expected 300,000 people to attend. Protesters called for the resignation
of Prime Minister Gyula Horn's socialist-led government, for early
elections, and spoke against the selling of state property to
foreigners. While all parliamentary parties had distanced themselves
from the demonstration, many are also trying to use the anniversary --
which is seen as one of Hungary's greatest symbols of national unity --
to win popular support for their political programs. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

AGREEMENT ON DRAFT MEDIA LAW IN HUNGARY. Following four weeks of
negotiations, the six parliamentary parties reached agreement over the
draft media law, Hungarian newspapers reported on 21 October. The draft
suggests that Hungarian Television and Radio goes from state-owned to
public-fund owned and provides for foreign and private investment in
television and radio stations. It also envisages the placing of TV2
under concession for ten years and the providing of another satellite
channel for Hungarian Television. It is hoped that the accord, which
follows five years of heavy-handed government control over the media,
will be passed by the Parliament this year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

DID MILOSEVIC SECRET SERVICE CAPTURE THE FRENCH PILOTS? French Defense
Minister Charles Millon on 22 October said that Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic had given Paris "a certain number of assurances,"
that the two French Pilots, shot down over Bosnia on 30 August, are
alive, AFP reported on 21 an 22 October. Millon, however, did not
confirm or deny a report in the London Sunday Times that the pilots were
in the hands of Milosevic's secret police. Millon said: "we don't know
who is holding them," but pointed out that no negotiations were taking
place with Milosevic. The Sunday Times on 22 October had cited security
service staff in Belgrade, the paper reported the two pilots were in or
somewhere near Belgrade. -- Fabian Schmidt

NORTHWESTERN BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS. The UN said fighting in northwest
Bosnia has died to "negligible" levels and that UN staff have been given
freedom of movement through all areas except Bosanska Otoka, AFP
reported on 21 and 22 October. Commanders of the government army and the
Bosnian Serbs had met on the front-line near Sanski Most on 20 October
and agreed to make their nominal truce real. On 22 October, however, a
Serb military communique claimed that the Bosnian army fired on Serb
positions in Doboj and the Mount Ozren region the same day. UN military
observers reported hearing just one detonation near the town of Sanski
Most on 21 October and some gunfire. -- Fabian Schmidt

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT DEMANDS OPENING OF GORAZDE ROUTE. The Bosnian
government is considering delaying peace talks, scheduled for the U.S.
on 31 October, because Bosnian Serbs continue to block traffic on the
road to the eastern enclave Gorazde, AFP reported on 22 October. The
road so far is only open to UN convoys, but even those are reported to
have been stopped at four checkpoints. The Bosnian government demands
the opening of the route for civil traffic as a precondition for peace
talks. Elsewhere, the ultra-nationalist leader of the "Tigers," and
accused war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan," said on 21 October that
he planned to leave northwestern Bosnia and re-deploy his men in eastern
Slavonia. The withdrawal of the "Tigers" was demanded by the U.S. State
Department. -- Fabian Schmidt

IZETBEGOVIC DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL OF CROATIAN TROOPS. AFP reported on 21
October that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic has said that Croatian
forces fighting Serbs in Western Bosnia shall have to withdraw thirty
days following the signing of a peace treaty. "Serbia and Croatia must
be asked to formally state that they have no territorial aspirations in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and that they will not stimulate separatist aims,"
Izetbegovic added. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN SERBS THREATEN, TORTURE PRISONERS. On 21 October Bosnian Serb
forces and the Bosnian government exchanged about 20 prisoners, the
first such exchange since the 12 October ceasefire went into effect.
Among those released by the Serb side were two Turkish journalists,
taken prisoner about two weeks ago. Commenting on conditions of
incarceration, one of the freed observed "They told me I would be hanged
with a silk rope," Reuters reported on 22 October. Sarajevo Serb poet
and novelist Vladimir Srebrov, who spent three years in detention, was
also among the released. An advocate of peace and a multicultural
Bosnia, Srebrov reported on being tortured during his incarceration, and
having suffered three broken ribs and a broken jaw. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN SERBS DISCUSS PEACEKEEPING. SRNA reported on 22 October that on
that same day Bosnian Serb deputies met in Bijeljina, where the main
topic of discussion seemed to be ironing out a common position on
upcoming peace talks, slated to start in the U.S. on 31 October.
According to the Bosnian Serb agency, delegates agreed that a
multinational peace force would be acceptable, provided only that it
came from "friendly" countries, which includes Ukraine and Russia. --
Stan Markotich

PROTEST AGAINST BOSNIAN CROATS' VOTING IN CROATIAN ELECTIONS.
International agencies reported on 23 October that the Bosnian
government protests Bosnian Croats participation in the upcoming
Croatian elections, with the exception of Croatian nationals living or
working in Bosnia. Since 12 of 127 seats in the Croatian parliament will
be reserved for members of the Croatian diaspora, and five Bosnian
Croats are running as candidates of the leading Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ), there is a possibility that Bosnian Croats will be
elected to the parliament in Croatia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

ISLAMIC GROUP RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RIJEKA BOMB ATTACK. The car bomb
explosion in front of the county police station in Rijeka on 20 October,
resulting in one dead, two seriously wounded and 27 slightly injured,
was set by Al-Jama' ah al-Islamiyah (The Islamic Group), Egypt's largest
militant Muslim group, RAI Television reported on 21 October. The
Islamic Group released a statement saying that this terrorist act was
intended to force the Croatian authorities to release the group's
spokesman, who was detained by Croatian police in September. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

POLICE ATTACK STUDENTS IN BUCHAREST. Special riot police units used
batons and tear gas on 20 October to disperse a crowd of several
thousand students marching towards President Ion Iliescu's residence,
Western agencies reported. One student was wounded in the action.
Several political formations, including the opposition Party of Civic
Alliance, condemned the show of force against peaceful demonstrators.
After a meeting on 21 October, student leaders and representatives of
seven parliamentary parties issued a joint statement supporting the
students' demands. Cristian Urse, chairman of the Bucharest University
Students' League, summed up those demands with the words "decent living
conditions for students." Radio Bucharest quoted him as requesting that
the head of the Bucharest Police Inspectorate be dismissed because of
the police action. -- Dan Ionescu

GREATER ROMANIA PARTY RENOUNCES OFFICIAL POSITIONS. The chairman of the
extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM), Corneliu Vadim Tudor, resigned
from the Senate's defense commission on 20 October, Romanian media
reported. His decision came one day after the ruling Party of Social
Democracy in Romania (PDSR) severed all political ties with the PRM.
Three PRM state secretaries and one prefect also resigned. Tudor said
the main reasons for the parties' disagreement was the PRM demand to
outlaw the Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Romania, and his party's
dissatisfaction with certain provisions of the future basic treaties
with Hungary and Ukraine. Tudor added that his resignation was also
meant as a protest against alleged attempts by the authorities "to bury
Dumitru Iliescu's case." Iliescu, who heads the Protection and Guard
Service, had been accused by Tudor of corruption and nepotism. -- Matyas
Szabo

RUSSIAN ARMY IN MOLDOVA FIRES CONTROVERSIAL COLONEL. Col. Mikhail
Bergman, commander of the Tiraspol garrison of the Operational Group of
Russian Forces in Moldova's Dniester region (former 14th Russian Army),
was dismissed on short notice on 20 October, the agency BASA-press and
radio station Ekho Moskvy reported. Bergman received a verbal order to
leave his post within three days. He was later told that the order had
been issued by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. According to
Bergman, the way his dismissal was conducted showed that "we live in a
lawless society." Colonel Bergman was a close associate of Lt. Gen.
Aleksandr Lebed, the former commander of the 14th Army. Both used to be
very critical of the leadership of the self-styled Dniester republic. --
Dan Ionescu

PRESIDENTS OF FOUR BALKAN COUNTRIES PLEDGE COOPERATION. The presidents
of Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey, Sali Berisha, Zhelyu Zhelev, and
Suleyman Demirel, respectively, and the acting Macedonian President and
Speaker of the Macedonian parliament, Stojan Andov, met on 22 October in
New York on the sidelines of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary
of the UN, international agencies reported the following day. They
pledged to work for peace in the Balkans and press ahead with new
infrastructure programs, including roads, power and telecommunication
links. A document they signed stresses the importance of such projects
linking the Balkans and Western Europe. -- Stefan Krause

GREECE, MACEDONIA TO SET UP LIAISON OFFICES. Greece and Macedonia on 20
October signed an agreement opening liaison offices in each other's
capitals, Reuters reported the same day. The opening of such offices is
one of the provisions of the interim accord signed in New York on 13
September. Athens and Skopje have yet to resolve their conflict over
Macedonia's name, which will be the subject of talks scheduled to start
in New York at the end of October. Until an agreement is reached, the
Macedonian liaison office in Athens will have a sign outside giving the
republic's name as "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," and as
"Macedonia" on the sign inside the door. -- Stefan Krause

MUSLIM CLERGYMEN CONFER IN ANKARA. A three-day gathering of official
Muslim clergymen from Central Asia, the Transcaucasus, the Russian
Federation, and the Balkans opened in Ankara on 23 October, the Turkish
Daily News reported the same day. The meeting was organized by Turkey's
Religious Affairs Directorate and was opened by its chairman, Mehmet
Nuri Yilmaz. Yilmaz noted at a press conference that 1,443 foreign
students received religious training in Turkey from 1991 to 1995. It is
expected that numerous Turkish aid and construction projects from the
Balkans to Central Asia will be evaluated during the conference. --
Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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