This communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 208, Part II, 25 October 1995

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
On Friday, 27 October, OMRI will publish a Russian Election Survey --
the first in its series of special reports on important developments.
Distributed as a supplement to the OMRI Daily Digest, the Russian
Election Survey will appear twice a week and contain the latest news
about developments in the election campaign in Russia. Future
supplements will also focus on important events in Eastern European
countries.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

WORLD BANK SAYS POLLUTION KILLS 30,000 EAST EUROPEANS YEARLY. According
to a World Bank report, industrial pollution in the former communist
countries is killing some 30,000 people every year, AFP reported. Some
18,000 lives and over 65 million working days could be saved by
improving air quality in just 18 cities in the region and make it match
EU guidelines for air pollution, the World Bank argues. While the
situation has improved somewhat since 1990, pollution is still exacting
huge human and economic costs. The report was presented during the
three-day Environment for Europe conference, which opened in Sofia on 23
October and is attended by 700 delegates from 54 countries and some 40
international organizations. -- Stefan Krause

CONCILIATION COMMISSION TO RULE ON POVERTY LEVEL DISPUTE IN UKRAINE.
UNIAN on 24 October reported that Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen
Marchuk and parliamentary speaker Oleksander Moroz have agreed to form a
commission to hammer out differences between the government and
parliament over a recent decision by lawmakers to raise the country's
poverty threshold to 4.8 million karbovantsi. The government argued that
such a decision cannot be implemented without dire consequences for the
economy. The parliament has ordered the cabinet to find the necessary
funds, estimated at up to 500 trillion karbovantsi, by the end of the
year. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE TO CONTINUE TO STORE NUCLEAR WASTE AT CHORNOBYL. Mykhailo
Umanets, chairman of the State Committee for Nuclear Energy, said
Ukraine will build a storage site for nuclear waste on the grounds of
the incomplete fifth and sixth reactors at the Chornobyl atomic energy
station, Infobank reported on 24 October. Umanets said that 94-95% of
all of the country's nuclear waste is located at the plant and will
continue to be stored there. The construction of Reactors No. 5 and 6
was abandoned after the parliament placed a moratorium on new nuclear
reactors in August 1990 following the 1986 nuclear disaster at
Chornobyl. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH VOWS TO PURSUE CONTROL OVER CATHEDRAL. The
patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate has
resolved to step up his campaign to make St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, a
landmark symbol of Orthodoxy now used as a state-run museum, as the
church's see and patriarch's residence, Radio Ukraine reported on 24
October. Church leaders voted on 24 October in favor of reburying the
recently deceased Patriarch Volodymyr on the grounds of St. Sophia,
despite a presidential order barring the move. The Ukrainian Orthodox
Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has also laid claim to the cathedral,
while President Leonid Kuchma has said the government will not favor one
church over another and will keep control over the disputed cathedral
within its jurisdiction. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UPDATE ON POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT, PRESIDENT. NTV
on 24 October reported that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is ready to
confirm the new parliament's legitimacy ahead of the November by-
elections. Responding to Lukashenka's recent statement that he would
institute direct presidential rule if a new parliament is not elected,
parliamentary speaker Mechyslau Hryb said direct presidential rule means
dictatorship. Hryb appealed to the "intimidated public" to vote in
November so that a legal legislature is elected and the power crisis
resolved. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN, RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS. Deputy chancellor of the Estonian
Foreign Ministry Raul Malk on 24 October said that during the two-day
talks in Pskov between Russian and Estonian officials, progress was made
toward preparing a border accord with Russia, BNS reported. Agreements
on the draft of a sea border accord and on border liaison officers are
expected to be initialed at the next round of talks, due to take place
in two weeks. The two sides exchanged maps on where they envisioned the
future borderline, but Russia continued to refuse Estonia's request to
recognize the legitimacy of the 1920 Tartu peace treaty in exchange for
Estonia's giving up its claims to some 2,000 square kilometers. --
Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT FACTIONS ELECT CHAIRMEN. The 14 members of the For
the Fatherland and Freedom faction in the Saeima on 24 October elected
Janis Straume as chairman, Latvian Radio reported. The current chairman,
Maris Grinblats, did not run because he is the prime minister candidate
of the National Bloc. The previous day, the eight deputies of the
Farmers' Union and the Union of Christian Democrats continued their
electoral alliance by forming a joint faction with Pauls Putnins as
chairman. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN-POLISH RELATIONS. Adam Dombronski, chairman of a Polish
interparliamentary group on liaison with Lithuania, told a press
conference in Vilnius on 24 October that little progress has been made
in increasing cooperation between the border services, RFE/RL reported.
He also expressed the fear that extending the city limits of Vilnius
could result in local Poles losing their land. His Lithuanian
counterpart, Vytautas Pleckaitis, noted that reestablishing property
claims in the Vilnius area was very problematic since relevant documents
could be in Lithuanian, Polish, or even Belarusian archives. He also
noted that progress was being made toward preparing a free trade
agreement between the two countries. -- Saulius Girnius

RAILWAY STRIKE IN SILESIA OVER. Polish State Railways (PKP) and 10 of
the region's 11 trade unions have agreed on a wage increase of 74 zloty
($30.2) for Silesia's railworkers, who went on strike last week (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 24 October 1995). Some 600 freight trains resumed
services on 24 October. PKP deputy director-general said no one will be
made redundant for economic reasons, but the director-general noted that
as a result of the wage increase, investments would be cut back and
repairs slowed down. Meanwhile, representatives of the Engine Drivers
Trade Union, which did not sign the agreement, urged equal wage hikes
for railway workers throughout the country. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH PRESIDENT ON CHINA, RUSSIA, SLOVAKIA. Vaclav Havel, speaking with
reporters in New York on 24 October, said he firmly believed that
Tibetan autonomy would "sooner or later" be approved. He added that it
is "unfortunate" that Taiwan is not represented in the UN, CTK reported.
With regard to Russia, Havel said that irrespective of who wins the
upcoming elections, the Czech Republic will not be in immediate danger.
But he warned that political dialogue between Russia and other
countries, as well as the building of European security structures, will
become more complicated if the communists or nationalists win. Asked
about Slovakia, Havel said he could only express the hope that democracy
in Slovakia would gradually strengthen and that the kidnapping of
President Michal Kovac's son would be resolved in an "objective" manner.
-- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES DRAFT LANGUAGE LAW. The government on 24 October
passed a controversial bill on the country's official language. Approved
in June but since modified, the bill deals with the use of the Slovak
language in state offices, schools, courts, the army, the media, and at
cultural events. It also requires that all goods sold have instructions
in Slovak. (Another bill approved the same day on the audiovisual
industry requires that Czech and other foreign films be subtitled or
dubbed in Slovak.) Culture Ministry spokeswoman Marta Podhradska pointed
out that, if passed by the parliament, the new language law would
override a 1990 version allowing for the use of minority languages in
some official contexts. Ethnic Hungarian deputies on 24 October issued a
strong statements rejecting the bill. Meanwhile, Arpad Duka-Zolyomi of
Coexistence told CTK that although Hungarian deputies want to support
the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty, they will not do so if
the parliament passes the language bill and modifications to the treaty.
-- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKIA'S RULING PARTY RETAINS POPULAR SUPPORT. According to an opinion
poll carried out by the FOCUS agency in early October, the Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) remains by far the most popular party in
Slovakia, despite continued controversy over the kidnapping of President
Michal Kovac's son. A total of 29.9% of respondents said they would vote
for the HZDS, followed by the Christian Democratic Movement with 14.2%.
The HZDS's two coalition partners--the Slovak National Party and the
Association of Workers--would fail to surpass the 5% barrier. Many
suspect that Slovak Information Service director Ivan Lexa, a close ally
of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar who ran on the HZDS ticket in last
fall's elections, was personally involved in the kidnapping of Kovac Jr.
-- Sharon Fisher

UPDATE ON HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN RELATIONS. Prime Minister Gyula Horn,
meeting with Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Romania head Bela Marko on
24 October, said the Hungarian government will support the alliance in,
among other things, its efforts to secure autonomy for the Hungarian
minority in Romania, Magyar Hirlap reported the next day. The two men
said that Budapest-Bucharest relations are somewhat ambivalent because,
while intergovernmental relations are improving, anti-minority practices
in Romania appear to be on the rise. Referring to Romania's
controversial legislation on education and the law forbidding the
hoisting of foreign flags, Marko said Romanian President Ion Iliescu's
proposal for a historic reconciliation "contrasts with reality". The
proposal will be discussed by Hungarian and Romanian foreign affairs
officials in a few weeks. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS NO PEACE CONFERENCE WITHOUT SANCTIONS
SUSPENSION. Tanjug on 24 October reported rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister
Milan Milutinovic as saying that Belgrade's participation in a peace
conference on Bosnia, slated to be held in Dayton, Ohio, on 31 October,
is conditional on the lifting of international sanctions against his
state. Milutinovic said that no conference can take place "without a
suspension of the sanctions." Meanwhile, AFP reported the same day that
a senior U.S. official has asked Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
assistance in locating several hundred Bosnian Muslim and Croat
civilians in Bosnian Serb-occupied territory around Banja Luka. -- Stan
Markotich

BOSNIAN SERBS MEET WITH MILOSEVIC. Nasa Borba on 25 October reported
that a delegation of Bosnian Serbs arrived in Belgrade the previous day
for meetings with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Representing the
Bosnian Serbs was civilian leader Radovan Karadzic, who was accompanied
by Vic President Nikola Koljevic and speaker of the self-styled Bosnian
Serb parliament, Momcilo Krajisnik. Official rump Yugoslav media have
neither confirmed nor denied that such a meeting took place, while
independent sources stress that at the top of the agenda were proposals
and strategies for peace talks slated for 31 October in the U.S.
Meanwhile, AFP on 24 October reported that the Bosnian Serbs remain
adamant that Bosnia must be partitioned. The French news agency, citing
Pale television, quotes Krajisnik as saying that "victory for us is not
to defeat Moslems and Croats but to be divided from them." -- Stan
Markotich

CROATIAN PRESIDENT PROMISES RESTRAINT ON EASTERN SLAVONIA. Franjo
Tudjman has promised that Zagreb will not use force to retake Eastern
Slavonia from Serbs as long as the peace process is under way, AFP
reported on 24 October. He was speaking at a meeting in New York with
his Bosnian counterpart, Alija Izetbegovic, and U.S. President Bill
Clinton. Clinton urged both leaders "to be flexible, to seek formulas
that will work and to be very determined" at the negotiations scheduled
for Ohio on 31 October. He also called for unity between Croatia and
Bosnia. Earlier, Tudjman had been quoted as saying Croatia might use
force in eastern Slavonia before the end of the month. Izetbegovic,
speaking to before the UN General Assembly on 24 October, called for
"parity of Bosnian Serb and Bosnian government army forces," saying this
was the key to long-term stability. But he told CNN the same day that
the two sides remain "far apart from each other." -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN DEPUTIES AMEND CONTROVERSIAL LEGISLATION. The Romanian Chamber
of Deputies on 24 October deleted references to the media from penal
code articles allowing prison sentences for libel, Romanian media
reported. The amended legislation imposes prison sentences of up to two
years for libel and three years for calumny. In the original version,
journalists were put into a separate category and could have been
imprisoned for up to five years for libel. Romanian journalists and
opposition parties, together with international human rights and media
organizations, had sharply criticized the original legislation. --
Matyas Szabo

ROMANIA DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN HELICOPTER DEAL. The Romanian government
on 23 October denied any involvement in the purchase of 12 second-hand
helicopters from South Africa, Romanian media reported. The denial came
two days after ARMSCOR, the military equipment state agency in
Johannesburg, said the helicopters were ordered by the Romanian
government. The South African police launched an investigation into
reported financial irregularities in the transaction. The Romanian
government said the helicopters were ordered by the Brasov-based IAR
company, which intended to overhaul and re-export them. The Romanian
Defense Ministry also denied any involvement in the transaction. --
Matyas Szabo

ROMANIAN STUDENTS ARE OPTIMISTIC BUT CONTINUE PROTESTS. Cristian Urse,
leader of the Bucharest University Students League, on 24 October told
Radio Bucharest that he was "optimistic" about the outcome of
negotiations with the authorities on the students' demands. But he added
that the protests will continue in order to make sure that the
government honors its commitments. Government's secretary-general Viorel
Hrebenciuc told representatives of the striking students that the
authorities would meet their demands. The main bone of contention
remains students' proposals for amendments to the recently adopted
education law. In a veiled reference to the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania, Senate chairman Oliviu Gherman suggested that
changing the text of the education law might lead to a "Pandora's box of
revisions." He proposed that the students' claims be addressed in a
separate piece of legislation. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN STUDENTS TO SUSPEND PROTESTS? Students and university teaching
staff continued their protests in Chisinau on 24 October by staging a
march in which workers and pensioners also participated, Infotag
reported. BASA-press later announced that student leaders had decided to
suspend indefinitely the protests beginning 25 October, following
negotiations with an ad hoc presidential commission. According to
Professor Anatol Petrencu, the leader of the strike committee, a final
decision is to be taken at a meeting on 25 October. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIA REFUSES TO SHUT DOWN NUCLEAR REACTOR . . .  Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Trade Kiril Tsochev on 24 October said Bulgaria
will not temporarily shut down Reactor No. 1 at the Kozloduy nuclear
power plant, RFE/RL and Reuters reported the same day. The EU had handed
over a formal proposal urging Bulgaria to do so and had offered to
compensate the country with energy supplies. After meeting with the EU
environmental ministers during the Environment for Europe conference in
Sofia, Tsochev said it is "technically difficult" to ensure electricity
supplies from the EU to Bulgaria "for the whole winter." He added there
was no written offer from the EU. -- Stefan Krause

. . . BUT RECEIVES $103 MILLION ENVIRONMENT LOAN FROM WORLD BANK. World
Bank Vice President Rachel Lomax on 24 October said Bulgaria will
receive the Bank's first-ever loan for environmental purposes, AFP
reported the same day. Some $93 million are intended for upgrading the
country's electricity distribution system and $10 million for
reconstructing its polluting heavy industry. The World Bank will not
reward Bulgaria if it shuts down the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, Lomax
said. Meanwhile, Kontinent on 24 October reported that Switzerland
agreed to write off Bulgarian debts totaling 20 million Swiss francs
($17.7 million), which Bulgaria will invest in ecological projects
instead. -- Stefan Krause

FORMER ALBANIAN LAND OWNERS WANT 1945 LAND REFORM REVOKED. More than
260,000 former land owners have signed a petition demanding that the
1945 land reform be revoked. The petition was organized by the Right
League of Albania, an organization made up of right wing parties, and
the Organization of Former Land Owners of Albania, the Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 24 October. Since 1992, about 95% of the
country's farmland has been divided among the country's peasants. The
former owners received financial compensation. The Constitutional court
rejected their claims to their land last week. The organizers of the
petition said they will take the case to the European Court of Justice.
-- Fabian Schmidt

EU COMMISSION DROPS CASE AGAINST GREECE. The European Commission on 24
October withdrew its legal action against Greece over Athens' trade
embargo on Macedonia, Reuters reported the same day. A spokesman in
Brussels said legal action was taken in April 1994 to pressure Greece to
lift the embargo, which it imposed in February 1994. He added that there
are now "sufficient signs" that the embargo has been lifted. Greek
officials earlier had demanded that legal proceedings continue in the
hope that the European Court of Justice would rule in its favor. --
Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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
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to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or
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Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to
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OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
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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


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