The business of art lies just in this--to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible. - Leo Tolstoy
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 210, Part II, 27 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 LEFTISTS RALLY AGAINST KUCHMA. Thousands of leftists held
rallies in several major Ukrainian cities on 25 October demanding
President Leonid Kuchma's resignation and an end to economic reforms
that they claim have impoverished the population, UNIAN and ITAR-TASS
reported. Some 2,500 members of the leftist All-Ukrainian Union of
Workers and the Communist Party of Ukraine demonstrated in Kiev. Leaders
of both groups blasted Kuchma for what they called his anti-labor
policies, for selling out Ukraine to the West, and alienating Russia.
Oleksander Bondarchuk, chairman of the workers' union, announced that
his organization would start collecting signatures next month for a
referendum on confidence in the president. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN DEFENSE INDUSTRY IN CRISIS. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii
Shmarov has said production in the country's defense industry is 10%
percent of the 1991 level, Radio Rossii reported on 26 October. Shmarov
said only 100 or so defense enterprises are still producing, compared
with over 700 in 1991. The U.S. signed an agreement this year providing
Ukraine with $20 million for conversion projects, but U.S. Ambassador to
Ukraine William Green Miller said the investment climate in the country
is not conducive to attracting the amount of investment needed to reform
the economy. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN BRAZIL. Interfax on 26 October reported that
Leonid Kuchma signed a friendship and cooperation treaty with his
Brazilian counterpart, Enrique Cardosa, in Brazilia. Accords on trade
and economic cooperation, on consultations between the countries'
foreign ministries, and on visa-free travel for holders of diplomatic
passports were also signed. Cardoso expressed interest in cooperating in
the fields of gas pipeline construction and aerospace technology. --
Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES NEW PENSION DECREE. Belarusian Radio on 26
October reported that under a new decree signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka
on 20 October, all pensioners will receive full pensions as of 1
November. Lukashenka signed the decree after meeting with veterans and
pensioners who were unhappy with an earlier presidential decree reducing
the pensions of those who continued to work. The new decree allows
pensioners to work on a contract basis but does not reduce their
pensions. The earlier decree had elicited protest from retirees since
most argued they needed additional income to make ends meet. -- Ustina
Markus

BELARUSIAN EXPORTS. Belarusian Radio on 26 October carried a report
stating that in the first eight months of this year, the country's
exports were up 3.1% over the same period last year. Trade totaled 61.3
trillion Belarusian rubles ($52.84 million) in August. Most of the trade
was with CIS states, although Belarusian imports from CIS countries were
down 8.3% on last year. The deficit with the CIS was made up by
increased trade with non-CIS countries. -- Ustina Markus

SEMINAR ON BALTIC REGIONAL SECURITY IN VILNIUS. A three-day
international seminar on Baltic regional security, organized by the
Lithuanian parliament and the North Atlantic Assembly, opened in Vilnius
on 26 October, Radio Lithuania reported. Danish Defense Minister Hans
Harkkerup said that it was impossible to talk about NATO expansion
without taking the Baltic States into consideration. Lithuanian Defense
Ministry Secretary Albinas Januska stressed that membership in the
European Union and NATO were the highest priorities of Lithuanian
foreign policy and warned that if Western countries decided to make
distinctions between NATO applicants, new hot beds of insecurity would
be created. He said that Russia was an important but not indispensable
factor in Baltic security. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW TAX SCALE. The Polish Senate on 27
October approved the tax scale passed by Sejm earlier this month (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 16 October 1995). President Lech Walesa has
repeatedly said he might veto the tax bill and send it to the
Constitutional Tribunal, as he did last year. Meanwhile, the Sejm
debated a draft of the new labor code. A government version provides for
a 42-hour work week and 39 work-free Saturdays each year. The Sejm
commission, which is dominated by the OPZZ trade union, opts for a 40-
hour work week and all Saturdays free, Polish dailies reported on 27
October. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH DEPUTIES DEMAND DISMISSAL OF PRIVATIZATION MINISTER. Fifty-seven
deputies from the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the Labor Union, the
Confederation for an Independent Poland, and the Polish Socialist Party
on 26 October demanded the dismissal of Privatization Minister Wieslaw
Kaczmarek, a member of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). Labor
Minister Leszek Miller said he considered the move to be part of former
Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak's presidential campaign, Polish dailies
reported on 27 October. Pawlak is head of the PSL. The PSL and SLD were
coalition partners in Pawlak's government and have continued this
alliance under Premier Jozef Oleksy. -- Jakub Karpinski

WEIMAR TRIANGLE MEETING. At a meeting of the foreign ministers of the
Weimar Triangle (France, Germany, and Poland) in Paris on 26 October,
Herve de Charette and Klaus Kinkel suggested that negotiations on
Poland's possible accession to the EU should start in the first half of
1997. Both ministers were in favor of Poland's entering the EU by 2000.
Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski considered the meeting
one of the group's most important as it may result in creation of bodies
facilitating Poland's admission, Rzeczpospolita reported on 27 October.
-- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH TRADE DEFICIT SLOWS DOWN. The Czech Republic recorded a foreign
trade deficit of 4.5 billion koruny ($173 million) in September, the
lowest monthly shortfall this year, the Czech Statistics Office
announced on 26 October. For the first nine months of 1995, the current
account deficit totaled 68.2 billion koruny ($2.62 billion), compared
with 7.3 billion koruny ($280 million) for the same period last year.
From January to September, imports increased by 29% and exports by 9.3%
over the first nine months of 1994. The rapidly growing trade deficit
had caused widespread concern within the government and among
businessmen. But after releasing September's figures, officials
estimated that the total deficit for 1995 will not exceed 95 billion
koruny ($3.65 billion). -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRESIDENT TELLS CABINET TO HEED WEST'S CRITICISM . . . Michal
Kovac, speaking at a press conference on 26 October shortly after
returning from the U.S., said the Slovak government risks international
isolation unless it heeds Western concerns. He also noted that signs of
isolation are already apparent. Some members of the government coalition
"do not want to realize that if 15 EU member states and the U.S. express
concern, it is not because of the president's wrongdoings but rather
because of steps taken by the government coalition," he commented. The
EU handed Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar a demarche the previous day
voicing anxiety about recent developments in Slovakia and U.S. President
Bill Clinton also expressed concern (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 October).
Kovac also criticized the Slovak National Party's (SNS) accusations of
treason against him. The SNS would not take such a step if it were
really thinking of Slovakia's interests, Kovac stressed. -- Sharon
Fisher

. . . WHILE CABINET REAFFIRMS DESIRE TO JOIN EU. Government spokeswoman
Ludmila Bulakova on 26 October announced that "the cabinet will deal
with [the EU note] with full seriousness and resolution to continue in
its efforts to reach full membership in the EU," Pravda reported.
Meanwhile, controversy has raged over whether the EU warning was a
"demarche" or an informal "communique" or an "aide-memoire." Both the
Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar claimed it was an
informal note; however, European Commission spokesman Nico Wegter
referred to it as a demarche. Wegter further said that the commission
"fully identifies with the contents of the demarche" and stressed that
it is "dissatisfied" with Slovakia's response to the first demarche,
issued in November 1994, Sme reported. During a Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia rally in Kosice on 26 October, Meciar stressed that
the EU "needs" Slovakia because of its geopolitical position. -- Sharon
Fisher

HUNGARIAN PREMIER READY TO CONFER WITH MECIAR ON LANGUAGE LAW. Hungarian
Prime Minister Gyula Horn on 25 October told visiting ethnic Hungarian
party leaders from Slovakia that he would appeal to Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar if Slovakia's language bill conflicted with the
Hungarian-Slovak basic treaty, Hungarian newspapers reported on 26
October. Horn added that the Hungarian government would also consult the
Council of Europe. Slovakia's language bill, which was approved by the
Slovak government on 24 October, restricts the use of the Hungarian
language. Ethnic Hungarian leaders in Slovakia fear that the bill
contravenes the Hungarian-Slovak treaty; but a final version has not yet
been published. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY WILL NOT SEND TROOPS TO BOSNIA. Hungarian armed forces chief of
staff Lt.-Gen. Sandor Nemeth on 26 October said that the Hungarian
government has informed NATO officials in Brussels that Hungary does not
intend to send armed troops to a NATO contingent that might be deployed
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Magyar Hirlap reported the next day. Nemeth, who
is on an official visit to Rome, was quoted by MTI as saying that more
important for NATO was the Hungarian government's agreement in principle
to allow NATO troops to transit Hungarian territory. He added that NATO
understands Hungary's position. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT ON PEACE PROSPECTS. The New York Times on 27 October
reported Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as saying a stable peace
cannot be forged for Bosnia-Herzegovia as long as the current Bosnian
Serb leadership remains in place. "The criminals have to be removed. . .
. That is the most important question," Izetbegovic said, referring to
Bosnian Serb civilian chief Radovan Karadzic and his military
counterpart, General Ratko Mladic. Both Karadzic and Maldic have been
accused of war crimes. Izetbegovic also remarked that any proposed NATO-
led peacekeeping operations for Bosnia ought not exclude Russia's
participation. (See related item in Russian section) -- Stan Markotich

WILL BOSNIAN SERBS LIFT SIEGE OF SARAJEVO? The UN on 27 October is to
escort five civilian trucks and their cargo of humanitarian aid some 25
kilometers, from Kiseljak to Sarajevo and back, international media
reported. If this objective is reached, the UN plans to escort busloads
of civilians through Serb-held territory to Sarajevo on 29 October. In
this way, the Bosnian Serb resolve to lift the siege of the Bosnian
capital and observe the ceasefire is likely to be put to the test. The
free movement of civilians to and from Sarajevo was a key condition of
the ceasefire, which went into effect on 12 October. -- Stan Markotich

UPDATE ON MASSACRES OF MUSLIM REFUGEES. UNHCR spokesman Kris Jankowski
on 26 October said he had more evidence suggesting that earlier this
month, between 2,000 and 3,000 Muslim men from northwestern Bosnia were
"separated from their families . . . , perhaps beaten to death, perhaps
killed," Reuters reported (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 October 1995). The
UNHCR has questioned refugees from the region who reported the beatings
and killings. Meanwhile, the Washington Post gave a detailed report of
the Bosnian Serbs capture of Srebrenica in July. The report says
"significantly less than half" of the 12,000 Muslim men who tried to
flee to Tuzla made it to safety. It also states that "the massacres
during the week starting July 11 were the worst atrocities committed in
Europe since World War II." -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER RESIGNS. Ljubomir Frckovski on 26 October
handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, Vecher
reported. He said he felt "morally and politically responsible" because
he had been unable to prevent the assassination attempt on President
Kiro Gligorov on 3 October and because no arrests have been made in
connection with the incident. Frckovski blamed a "financial-economic
group of a neighboring country" for the attempt but refused to specify
the country. He said a member of the organization built the car bomb,
"together with fanatics and criminals from Macedonia's political
underground," in an attempt to eliminate the president and destabilize
Macedonia. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN OFFICIALS, STUDENTS DISCUSS EDUCATION LAW. Representatives of
Romania's striking students have met with members of the parliamentary
education committee to discuss possible changes in the education law,
Radio Bucharest reported on 26 October. Romulus Dabu, president of the
education committee, said "all rational demands of the students were
accepted," while the spokesman of the Students' League said the results
of the negotiations were "below expectations." The two sides were able
to agree only on changes affecting the students' financial situation. A
new draft will be submitted to the parliament within one week. The
students plan to resume their protest on 30 October by blocking railway
lines throughout the country. -- Matyas Szabo

ROMANIAN-UKRAINIAN TREATY HIT SNAG OVER BORDERS. Volodymyr Vasylenko, a
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry official, has said Romania refuses to
guarantee post-World War II borders, Reuters reported on 26 October.
"Some [Romanian] political forces are trying to justify territorial
claims on Ukraine," Vasylenko commented following two days of talks with
Romanian officials in Bucharest. The Romanian Foreign Ministry denied
the accusation, saying Romania only wants recognition of the unfairness
of the post-war carve-up. Vasylenko said the treaty talks are now frozen
owing to "unilateral" changes sought by Bucharest. -- Matyas Szabo

ORTHODOX CHURCH CELEBRATIONS IN BUCHAREST. Orthodox Church leaders
gathered in Bucharest on 26 October to celebrate the 110th anniversary
of the Romanian Orthodox Church's autonomy and the Romanian
Patriarchate's 70th anniversary, Romanian media reported on 26 October.
AFP reported the same day that Russian Patriarch Aleksii II boycotted
the celebrations because Petru Paduraru--the Metropolitan Bishop of
Bessarabia, whose position was approved by the Romanian Orthodox Church-
-was attending. The Russian Orthodox Church believes that the Moldovan
Church should be under Moscow's jurisdiction. Gheorghe Armasu, head of
the Moldovan State Service on Religions, noted that granting a high
church office to Paduraru constitutes "flagrant interference by the
Romanian patriarchate in Moldova's internal affairs," BASA-press
reported on 26 October. -- Matyas Szabo

TOKES ACCUSES ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OF ETHNIC CLEANSING. Reformed Church
bishop Laszlo Tokes, at a meeting with UN human rights representatives
in Geneva on 26 October, accused Romania's government of promoting
ethnic cleansing, Romanian media reported. Tokes, who is also the
honorary president of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania,
said discriminatory treatment of the Hungarian minority is the reason
why ethnic Hungarians are emigrating from Romania. With the government's
passive complicity, extreme nationalist parties are promoting anti-
Semitic propaganda reminiscent of the years before the Holocaust, Tokes
commented. -- Matyas Szabo

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT WANTS ROMANIA, BULGARIA REMOVED FROM BLACKLIST. The
European Parliament on 26 October passed a resolution urging the
European Commission to remove Romania and Bulgaria from the so-called
blacklist of 101 countries for which strict visa requirements are to be
enforced (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 September 1995), Pari reported the
following day. The vote is non-binding for the commission. Of the former
communist countries that have associate agreements with the EU, only
Romania and Bulgaria are included in the list. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA, MACEDONIA TO STEP UP TRANSPORT PROJECTS. Bulgaria and
Macedonia on 26 October agreed to step up joint road, rail, and air
transport projects, Reuters reported the same day. Visiting Macedonian
Transport Minister Dimitar Buzlevski said in Sofia that he and his
Bulgarian counterpart, Stamen Stamenov, discussed the completion of a
railway link between Sofia and Skopje. Only 10-20 km have to be
completed on the Bulgarian side, but long stretches still have to be
built in Macedonia, which has invested $40 million in the project this
year. Both sides agreed to go ahead with the construction of a highway
between the two capitals, which is a part of a planned trans-Balkan
highway (see OMRI Daily Digest, 24 October 1995). Skopje will also allow
the state-run Bulgarian airlines Balkan and Hemus Air to expand their
operations in Macedonia. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIA RECEIVES PHARE GRANT. The EU on 26 October granted Albania 212
million ECU ($275.6 million) as part of its PHARE program. Reuters
pointed out that the grant will cover 25% of Albania's public investment
scheme. According to PHARE Program Coordinator Chris Hughes, 62 million
ECU were granted to develop production and 72 million ECU to improve
traffic links with Greece and Italy. Reuters said another 61 million ECU
will "promote human and natural resources" and 14 million ECU will help
upgrade legislative and other structures. Meanwhile, the Albanian
government announced it will invest $52 million of a World Bank credit
in the reconstruction of 1,000 km of roads in rural regions, Koha Jone
reported on 26 October. -- Fabian Schmidt

MUSLIM CLERGYMEN MEET IN ANKARA. A four-day meeting of Muslim clergymen
from Central Asia, the Transcaucasus, the Russian Federation, and the
Balkans ended in Ankara on 26 October, Yeni Yuzyil reported the next
day. The meeting was organized by Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate
to discuss the status of religion in the participating countries. The
participants signed a declaration calling for the establishment of a
Eurasian Islamic Council and decided that the gathering would become an
annual event. -- Lowell Bezanis

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


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