The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 223, Part II, 15 November 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

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
CROATIAN PRESIDENT PROMOTES INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL. One day after the
International War Crimes Tribunal indicted General Tihomir Blaskic for
atrocities against the Muslims of the Lasva valley, Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman's office announced his appointment as a staff member of
the Croatian army's main inspectorate. Western news agencies on 14
November reported reactions from Croatia, Bosnia, and elsewhere that
ranged from shock and incredulity to confirmation of old beliefs that
Tudjman is arrogant and lacking in common political sense. Reuters
quoted an unnamed Bosnian official as saying that the court will have to
turn to "Croatia now and it will be up to them to hand [Blaskic] over to
the tribunal or face international sanctions." It remains to be seen
what effect Blaskic's promotion will have on Zagreb's relations with
Sarajevo, Washington, and Bonn. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

LABOR UNREST IN EASTERN UKRAINE. RFE/RL reported that 100,000 coal
miners in eastern Ukraine went on strike on 14 November to demand the
back payment of wages. Mykhailo Volynets, leader of the coal miners'
union, said that 21 mines have already ceased operations and that all 62
mines represented by the union would eventually take part in the strike.
He noted that the government owes coal miners some $150 million in back
pay. UNIAN claims that many have not been paid since July. Deputy
Premier for Fuel and Energy Vasyl Yevtukhov met with several deputy
ministers on 11 November in an attempt to resolve the issue. -- Bruce
Pannier

UKRAINE TO EXPAND OIL, GAS INDUSTRIES. The board of the State Committee
for Oil, Gas, and Oil Refining on 11 November approved a proposal to
substantially increase oil drilling off its southern coast. According to
an InfoBank report on 13 November, the proposal permits the drilling of
almost 800,000 wells over the next 15 years in both the Sea of Azov and
the Black Sea. Costs over this period are estimated at $3 billion, while
profits are expected to exceed $5.9 billion. The application deadline
for companies interested in participating has been extended to 31
January 1996. -- Roger Kangas

UKRAINE MAY JOIN NATO'S BOSNIA FORCE. General Vadym Hrechaninov,
military aide to President Leonid Kuchma, told RFE/RL on 14 November
that Ukraine is willing to have its peacekeepers join the proposed NATO-
led Bosnian peace implementation force. Hrechaninov rejected Russian
complaints about serving under NATO command, saying Ukraine would be
guided by its own national interests. He added that Ukraine's
international image would be undermined if it did not participate in the
NATO force. -- Scott Parrish

ESTONIAN DEFENSE FORCES' CHIEF OF STAFF DISMISSED. Defense forces
commander in chief Lt. Gen. Aleksander Einseln on 13 November dismissed
Col. Arvo Sirel as chief of staff and named air force chief Col. Vello
Loemaa as his acting replacement, BNS reported the next day. Einseln
also appointed Aivar Voronov to replace Lt. Col. Manivald Kasepold as
Tallinn garrison commandant. The two dismissed officers were implicated
in the sale of weapons illegally imported from Finland. -- Saulius
Girnius

NO CONFIDENCE VOTE AGAINST LITHUANIAN PREMIER FAILS. Following a five-
hour debate, the Lithuanian parliament on 14 November voted in a secret
ballot on a resolution of no confidence in Adolfas Slezevicius signed by
52 deputies, Radio Lithuania reported. The ruling Democratic Labor Party
decided that its members would not participate in the vote and thus
assured its failure. The vote for the resolution was 57 to five, with
three spoiled ballots. A minimum of 70 votes is required for a no
confidence vote to pass. -- Saulius Girnius

BELARUSIAN EX-PREMIER ACCUSES MEDIA OF DISCREDITING CANDIDATES.
Vyacheslau Kebich told a news conference in Minsk on 13 November that
the media are being used to "politically eliminate" possible candidates
for the post of parliament chairman, including the incumbent, Mechyslau
Hryb, Control Chamber Chairman Vasili Sakovich, and Kebich himself,
Interfax reported. Kebich said he is planning to sue Narodnaya hazeta
for libel. The newspaper published an interview with an investigator
from the Prosecutor's Office who alleged that in May 1994, Kebich signed
32 bonds totaling $1.1 billion that the Finance Ministry would have to
pay out between 1999 and 2004. Kebich said this showed the "complete
economic ignorance" of the journalists who ran the interview since only
the Finance Ministry and National Bank have the right to issue such
securities. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH GOVERNMENT ACCEPTS AMENDMENTS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW. The Polish
government has accepted amendments to the 1992 law on anti-corruption
measures that, among other things, ban high-ranking state officials from
economic activity outside agriculture, from employment in commercial
companies, and from owning more than 10% of shares in those companies.
Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Justice Bogdan Zdziennicki
said there were gaps in the new draft. The obligation to declare
economic activities will not apply to the posts of president, speakers
of the Sejm and Senate, and prime minister, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on
15 November. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

KWASNIEWSKI LEADS IN OPINION POLL. The first opinion poll conducted by
the Public Opinion Research Center (OBOP) between the two rounds of the
Polish presidential elections gave Democratic Left Alliance leader
Aleksander Kwasniewski a 3 percentage point advantage over incumbent
President Lech Walesa. 51.5% of the respondents intending to vote said
they would cast their ballot for Kwasniewski on 19 November, while 48.5%
declared their support for Walesa. A dozen Roman Catholic bishops have
expressed their support for Walesa, having refrained from doing so
before the first round. Walesa said that if the bishop's support had
come earlier, "the race would already be over," Polish dailies reported
on 15 November. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PREMIER IN FRANCE. French President Jacques Chirac reassured Czech
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 14 November that he supports the
enlargement of the EU and NATO and that he regards the Czech Republic as
a front-rank candidate for membership in both organizations, Czech media
reported. "Chirac assured me that France is unambiguously for the
expansion of the EU and NATO--even though sometimes . . . it appears
that it is not," Klaus told reporters during a one-day visit to Paris.
Klaus also had talks with his French counterpart, Alain Juppe, and OECD
Secretary-General Jean-Claude Paye. The Czech Republic hopes to become
the first postcommunist country to join the OECD, possibly by the end of
this year. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES 1996 DRAFT BUDGET . The government on 14
November approved its 1996 draft budget, which foresees a deficit of 27
billion koruny ($914 million), a minimum 5% growth in GDP, a 6-8%
inflation rate, and a 13% unemployment rate. Maria Suranova, director of
the budget department of the Finance Ministry, said real social
expenditures will be higher in 1996 than in the previous year.
Meanwhile, the budget of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) will be
increased by 47% to 759.6 million koruny, and that of the President's
Office cut by 20% to 97 million koruny, Praca reported. The budget for
the President's Office has already been substantially reduced this year,
forcing the president to sack a number of employees. In other news, the
parliament on 14 November adopted a controversial amendment to the law
on prices allowing both the Finance Ministry and local officials to
regulate prices of goods and services. -- Sharon Fisher

POLICE INVESTIGATING ABDUCTION OF SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON CLEARED OF
CHARGES. Pavol Zajac, director of the police force's Office of
Inspection Services, told Slovak Radio on 14 November that Jaroslav
Simunic and Peter Vacok did not commit any criminal offenses while
investigating the kidnapping of Michal Kovac Jr. Simunic and Vacok were
dismissed after linking the Slovak Information Service (SIS) to the
kidnapping. In late September, SIS director Ivan Lexa, who is a close
ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, brought charges against Simunic
and Vacok as well as other policemen, accusing them of using
"psychological pressure" against SIS agents. Zajac said Simunic
committed a disciplinary offense but noted that he cannot be punished
because he quit the police force at the end of September. -- Sharon
Fisher

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES CONTROVERSIAL CUSTOMS BILL. A customs bill
strongly criticized by foreign investors was unanimously passed by the
Hungarian parliament on 14 November, Hungarian media reported. The new
law--which aims to bring the country's customs procedures in line with
EU standards--imposes higher duties on imported goods. American
investors had opposed the bill, saying it could slow down technological
progress and disrupt long-term investment plans. They added that if it
passed, the level of active capital flowing into Hungary would likely
drop. And they also found it alarming that the Hungarian authorities had
failed to consult or inform them beforehand. Until now, Hungarian
customs procedures and tariffs were regulated by decrees passed in 1966
and 1976, respectively. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN PRESIDENT PROMOTES INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL. One day after the
International War Crimes Tribunal indicted General Tihomir Blaskic for
atrocities against the Muslims of the Lasva valley, Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman's office announced his appointment as a staff member of
the Croatian army's main inspectorate. Western news agencies on 14
November reported reactions from Croatia, Bosnia, and elsewhere that
ranged from shock and incredulity to confirmation of old beliefs that
Tudjman is arrogant and lacking in common political sense. Reuters
quoted an unnamed Bosnian official as saying that the court will have to
turn to "Croatia now and it will be up to them to hand [Blaskic] over to
the tribunal or face international sanctions." It remains to be seen
what effect Blaskic's promotion will have on Zagreb's relations with
Sarajevo, Washington, and Bonn. -- Patrick Moore

ARE THE SERBS BACK-PEDALING ON EASTERN SLAVONIA? Many Croats suspect
that latest agreement on eastern Slavonia is flawed and that the Serbs
will put their own interpretation on it, as they did with Cyrus Vance's
plan for occupied Croatia in early 1992. AFP on 14 November reported
that the Slavonian Serbs indeed appear to feel that the agreement gives
them the right to decide whether to return to Croatian sovereignty at
the end of two years. Zagreb's interpretation closely reflects the text
itself, which views the sovereignty question as closed and provides for
a one-year transition with a possible one-year extension and for local
elections but not a referendum. Meanwhile in Dayton, U.S., Secretary of
State Warren Christopher has returned for what is seen as a last-ditch
attempt to save the peace talks, which are deadlocked primarily on
territorial questions and the status of Sarajevo. -- Patrick Moore

IMF MISSION IN SARAJEVO, CENTRAL BANK TO INTRODUCE CURRENCY. An IMF
mission arrived in Sarajevo on 13 November for a 10-day visit to assess
the economic situation there and to provide assistance in drafting the
1996 budget, Hina reported the same day. IMF and World Bank officials
have said that the Muslim-Croat federation will receive credits from
them only if it adopts a common budget, establishes a joint central bank
and currency, and agrees to service its share of the former federal
Yugoslav debt. Meanwhile, Bosnian Central Bank governor Rasim Omicevic
announced plans to establish a national currency in the coming months,
Reuters reported on 10 November. He favors broadening the use of the
existing Bosnian dinar rather than introducing a new currency. The
Bosnian dinar has been stable for several months against the German mark
owing to tight monetary policy. -- Michael Wyzan

CROATIAN ELECTION FINAL RESULTS. Croatian media on 14 November reported
that the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) will have 75 of
the 127 seats in the new lower house or Sabor. The HDZ was greatly aided
by Tudjman's capitalizing on the army's successes and by the addition of
12 seats that were elected by Croats in Bosnia and elsewhere abroad, as
well as by the government's control of the electronic and much of the
print media. The HDZ nonetheless failed to get a two-thirds majority to
be able to change the constitution. An opposition coalition took 16
seats, the Liberals 12, the former Communists 10, the Croatian Party of
[Historic] Rights four, the regional Istrian party two, and the
Independent Democrats one. The remaining seven seats went to the ethnic
minorities, including three for the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES AGREE ON ZAGREB MAYOR'S RACE. Leaders of the
seven opposition parties that in recent elections won 64% of seats in
Zagreb's City Assembly and a majority of seats in the District Assembly
have signed a cooperation agreement. Vecernji List reported on 15
November that they have agreed to nominate joint candidates for top
posts. Goran Granic from the Liberals will run for mayor and district
head, and Zdravko Tomac from the Party of Democratic Changes is the
candidate for the president of both the city and district assemblies. --
Daria Sito Sucic

CONFIDANT OF ACCUSED SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL JAILED. Zoran Macai, friend
and confidante of accused war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan," has
been found guilty of inciting murder in Hungary and has received a 10-
year sentence, international media reported on 14 November. Macai, who
was tried in the Serbian town of Subotica, served as a camp commander in
rebel-Serb occupied Croatia. The same day, Marinko Magda, a professional
killer, was sentenced to death for six murders committed in the province
of Vojvodina. Magda is currently serving a life sentence in Hungary and
was tried in absentia. Four other defendants, also believed to members
of Arkan's notorious paramilitary Tigers, received lengthy jail terms
but are expected to appeal them. -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIA BECOMES MEMBER OF PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. Macedonia on 15
November became the 27th member of the Partnership for Peace program,
MIC reports. Macedonia has engaged in military cooperation with the US
since 1994 and U.S. soldiers participated in a joint military exercise
for the first time on 9 November. More Maneuvers are scheduled for March
1996. U.S. troops are present in Macedonia as a contingent of UN
peacekeeping troops since December 1992. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER'S FUNERAL DRAWS HUGE CROWDS. Some 100,000
people on 14 November attended the funeral of Corneliu Coposu, chairman
of the National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic, who died on 11
November, Romanian and Western media reported. The crowd filed past
Coposu's coffin on Revolution Square. Some mourners booed Senate speaker
and chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania Oliviu
Gherman when he spoke at the ceremonies instead of Romanian President
Ion Iliescu, who was on an official visit in Egypt. Ana of Bourbon-
Parma, the wife of Romania's exiled King Michael, also attended the
funeral and was greeted by well-wishers who shouted pro-monarchist
slogans. Coposu spent 17 years in communist jails and was seen as a
symbol of anti-communist resistance. -- Dan Ionescu

SENIOR BRITISH OFFICIAL IN ROMANIA. Sir Nicholas Bonsor, minister of
state at the British Foreign Ministry, on 13 November arrived in Romania
to discuss boosting bilateral trade, Radio Bucharest reported. Bonsor
met with Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu to discuss the extension of
the EU, NATO expansion, and British-Romanian cooperation within the new
world context. The next day, he participated in a seminar entitled "The
Day of British Trade." He also signed a bilateral agreement on
confiscating revenues accrued from illegal transactions, such as drug
trafficking. -- Matyas Szabo

OSCE EXTENDS MANDATE IN MOLDOVA. The OSCE has decided to extend its
mandate in Moldova by six months, BASA-press reported on 14 November.
The decision was taken on 9 November at an OSCE Permanent Council
meeting in Vienna. Michael Wygant, head of the OSCE mission in Moldova,
told Deputy Foreign Minister Ion Capatana that the participants in the
Vienna meeting discussed the implementation of the Moldovan-Russian
agreement on the withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Moldova. He
was quoted as saying that the vast majority of the OSCE member countries
support Moldova's stance on the issue. -- Dan Ionescu

HUGE NEW LOSSES AT BULGARIAN BANKS. Losses of Bulgarian banks in the
first six months of 1995 were up 402% on the same period last year,
Demokratsiya reported on 15 November. The government is resisting
pressure from the IMF and World Bank to close the two most troubled
state banks, Mineralbank and Stopanska Banka, although it is considering
creating a "hospital bank" in which bad debt would be consolidated.
However, such a step would cause problems for the upcoming mass
privatization campaign and may lead to a chain reaction of enterprise
bankruptcies, according to Deputy Prime Minister Rumen Gechev. --
Michael Wyzan

ALBANIAN FORMER SUPREME COURT JUDGE'S ARREST "APPEARED IMMINENT."
According to international news agencies, Zef Brozi left Albania for the
U.S. (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 November 1995) to avoid imprisonment.
Justice Ministry officials reportedly charged Brozi with spending
$100,000 in public funds on a new car, office furniture, and foreign
visits. Koha Jone on 15 November reported that Brozi had received a
Fulbright stipend but that the real reason for his leaving the country
was to prevent his arrest. Observers, doubt the validity of the charges
against Brozi and presume that the accusations are aimed at legitimizing
his dismissal under dubious circumstances in September. Brozi is quoted
as saying: "I am very grateful to the U.S. State Department and U.S.
embassy in Tirana for standing by me in these very difficult
conditions." -- 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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