Be willing to have it so; acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. - William James
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 18, Part II, 25 January 1996


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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/Index.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
POLISH PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. Jozef Oleksy, who is facing a military
investigation concerning his alleged spy activities, said on 24 January
that he will resign from his post and fight to clear his name. Oleksy,
who has held office since March 1995, claimed he had only social
contacts with Vladimir Alganov, who proved to be a top Soviet spy in
Poland. "I never betrayed Poland," said Oleksy, accusing former
President Lech Walesa's supporters of misusing the secret services in
order to regain power. After accepting Oleksy's resignation, Polish
President Aleksander Kwasniewski has 14 days to nominate a new prime
minister, who has to be approved by the Sejm. -- Jakub Karpinski
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

INQUIRY LAUNCHED INTO POLISH PRIME MINISTER SPY ALLEGATIONS. The Warsaw
military prosecutor's office on 24 January launched an investigation
into Jozef Oleksy's alleged spy activities. The inquiry, which is also
directed against former Soviet and Russian diplomats Vladimir Alganov
and Grigory Yakimishin, follows a motion put forward by former Interior
Minister Andrzej Milczanowski on 19 December 1995 which was leaked to
the media that same day (see OMRI Daily Digest 20 December 1995). The
prosecutor's office stated that materials provided by the Interior
Ministry have been "operational" (collected by the counterintelligence
officers) and have to be verified through formal penal law procedures,
Polish and international agencies reported. -- Jakub Karpinski

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOWS TO SPEED UP PRIVATIZATION. Leonid Kuchma told a
meeting of top ministers and regional governors that privatization will
accelerate in 1996 through the issuance of new decrees expanding the
number of enterprises available and improving conditions for foreign
investors, Ukrainian radio and Interfax-Ukraine reported 24 January.
Poor results of last year's scheme prompted the IMF last week to delay
issuance of the fourth tranche of a standby loan, worth $350 million. On
23 January a presidential aide told reporters that Kiev had managed to
privatize only 60% of small-scale enterprises and 40% of some 8,000
large-scale firms slated for privatization last year. State Property
Fund Chairman Yurii Yekhanurov said his agency plans to complete small-
scale privatization by June and its large-scale privatization program by
December. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE TO PROVIDE PEACEKEEPERS IN BOSNIA. Deputy Foreign Minister
Volodymyr Khandozy announced on 24 January that the 550 Ukrainian
soldiers currently in Bosnia will stay and take part in the IFOR peace
implementation mission, Reuters reported. He also disclosed that UN
Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali invited Ukraine to send an
additional force to eastern Slavonia. -- Doug Clarke

BELARUSIAN KGB OPENS CONFIDENTIAL PHONE LINE. In a move reminiscent of
the Stalin-era, the Belarusian KGB announced it has opened a
confidential phone line for people to call-in and report any information
they have on crimes, Reuters reported on 24 January. Colonel Yauhen
Babrau, who helps run the phone service, denied that it is meant to
recreate an informant network as had existed in the former Soviet Union.
News of the phone service comes just a week after the head of the
President's Control Service, Uladzimir Bandarenka, gave an interview in
which he said that 3,200 individuals had gone to the control service
with their grievances against people engaged in unfair economic
practices last year, and announced the control service's telephone
numbers in all of the country's main cities for people to call in. --
Ustina Markus

RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN OIL TALKS SUSPENDED. Failing to reach any agreement
over Ukraine's decision to raise its transit fee for Russian oil,
Russia's Mintopenergo and Ukraine's Ukrhazprom broke off talks until 2
February, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 January. Russia insists that the
tariff increase was a unilateral move on Ukraine's part, and such hikes
should only be done through agreement at the highest levels of
government. For its part, Ukraine is displeased with Russia's efforts to
tie the cost of transit to the cost of Russian oil supplies to Ukraine.
Yevhen Dovzhok, who heads Ukrhazprom, said Russia's approach was "more
than inappropriate." Meanwhile, Russia has stopped supplying Ukraine's
Drohobych oil refinery with oil, in a move which is interpreted in
Ukraine as a pressure tactic to force Ukraine to rescind the new tariff.
-- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER IN BELGIUM. Tiit Vahi began a four day visit to
Belgium on 23 January, holding meetings with European Commission
President Jacques Santer and other EU officials. Vahi noted that
Estonia's economy was making progress, which should help it be among the
first countries to begin negotiations on EU membership. In talks the
next day with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, Vahi said Russian
extremists pose a threat to his country's security and called on NATO to
admit the Baltic states as members. Later that day, he signed an
investment protection agreement with Belgian Deputy Premier Philippe
Maystadt and met with his Belgian counterpart, Jean Luc Dehaene, BNS
reported. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER ASKED TO RESIGN. President Algirdas Brazauskas
has asked Adolfas Slezevicius to resign, Radio Lithuania reported on 24
January. If Slezevicius does not do so, Brazauskas will allegedly ask
the Seimas to remove him from office. Slezevicius told Lithuanian radio
later that day that talk of his resignation was premature. Meanwhile,
the prosecutor general's office announced it had begun criminal
proceedings related to the exorbitant interest paid to the prime
minister's account at LAIB bank. Formal charges cannot be brought
against Slezevicius without approval from the Seimas. -- Saulius Girnius

SLOVAK SUPREME COURT CHAIRMAN RESIGNS. The Slovak government on 24
January approved the resignation of Karol Plank, replacing him with
Milan Karabin, who was recommended for the post by Justice Minister
Jozef Liscak. Karabin, who since 1989 has served as chairman of the
Supreme Court's Senate, has worked as a judge for 22 years. Plank told
TASR "the motivation for my decision is nothing else but a need to free
myself from the demanding work and to make way for younger people."
However, Democratic Union deputy chairman Jan Budaj expressed fear that
Plank resigned under pressure. In November, the Supreme Court reversed a
controversial decision by the Finance Ministry to cancel the license of
the investment firm PSIS. Also on 24 January, the cabinet approved a
bill allowing for the establishment of supplementary retirement
insurance, Narodna obroda reported. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON RELATIONS WITH SLOVAKIA. According to
Laszlo Kovacs, the status of the ethnic-Hungarian minority in Slovakia
could improve in the future, due to expanding bilateral Slovak-Hungarian
trade relations, Hungarian media reported. Speaking in the west
Hungarian town of Gyor, near the Slovak border, Kovacs said it is
regrettable that moves like the passing of Slovakia's language law offer
a chance to curb minority rights. He said the government believes the
problem can be solved by providing accurate information to the EU, the
OSCE, the European Parliament and other international organizations. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY AND NATO SIGN IFOR AGREEMENT. NATO Secretary General Javier
Solana and Hungarian delegate to NATO Andras Simonyi signed an agreement
in Brussels on 24 January regulating Hungary's participation in IFOR
operations and marking NATO's formal acceptance of the Hungarian
technical contingent, Magyar Hirlap reported. A separate financial
settlement was signed as well, stipulating that all costs of the
Hungarian contingent's operation, including board, accommodation,
various services, medical supplies and fuel will be borne by Hungary.
According to the document, Hungary agrees to participate in the
peacekeeping operation until 31 December 1996. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS, CROATS, AND MUSLIMS MEET IN SARAJEVO. The international
community's High Representative for civilian affairs, Carl Bildt, met on
24 January with leading representatives of the political "entities"
party to the Dayton agreement. The Bosnian government was represented by
outgoing Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic and his designated successor
Hasan Muratovic; the Muslim and Croat Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
by Prime Minister-designate Izudin Kapetanovic; and the Republika Srpska
by Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic. Reuters said the participants spoke
favorably about the session, with Silajdzic calling it "relatively
relaxed." Kasagic added that "the war is behind us, the war is over. We
must now build the bridges of peace." Bildt stressed the importance of
access to the media for the coming elections, and the participants set
up a working group to sort out radio and television frequencies. --
Patrick Moore

CROATS PREPARE FOR NEXT STAGE OF BOSNIAN PEACE . . . Oslobodjenje's
Onasa News Agency reported on 24 January that the Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ) met in Mostar and nominated its candidates for posts in
the new federal and republican governments. The leading Croatian party
selected Jandranko Prlic to head the republic's foreign ministry, and
Drago Bilandzija to be federal deputy prime minister and finance
minister. Vladimir Soljic will head the federal defense ministry, while
Mato Tadic will be at justice. The party also agreed to transfer its
executive functions to the federation in keeping with the Dayton
agreement, and called on the Muslims to do the same. -- Patrick Moore

. . . ON BOTH CIVILIAN AND MILITARY FRONTS. The existing Croatian
Community of Herzeg-Bosna would thus become a political organization and
give up its governmental role. Many Croats have been uneasy about what
they regard as subordinating their role to the Muslims in the
federation. The head of the Bosnian Croat army (HVO) general staff,
General Zivko Budimir, told Vecernji list of 25 January that the Croats
will have their own national units in the new federal army and thus be
able to maintain "their national identity . . . and the traditions of
the HVO." -- Patrick Moore

POLITICKING STARTING UP IN BOSNIA. The first weeks of the implementation
of the Dayton agreement have witnessed various parties and politicians
gearing up for the elections slated for later this year. Onasa said on
24 January that Silajdzic refuses to rule out forming a new political
party. If he does set up a new organization, it could be a big step in
breaking up a political landscape hitherto dominated by three large
ethnically-based parties. The small Social Democratic Party called for
free and democratic conditions for the elections. Its Vice President
Gradimir Gojer denied that his civic-based party is a-national or
godless, claiming he is at least as good a Croat as the HDZ's Kresimir
Zubak, and noting that SDP members observe Christmas or Ramadan.
Meanwhile in Serbia, Nasa Borba on 25 January quoted Democratic Party
leader Vojislav Kostunica as saying his group would not set up a Bosnian
branch to take part in the elections, unlike some other Serbian parties.
-- Patrick Moore

FOUR PEACEKEEPERS KILLED IN SARAJEVO BLAST. Four IFOR peacekeepers were
killed and six injured in a blast on 25 January at the Zetra Olympic
stadium in Sarajevo, international media reported. Improper handling of
ammunition was the suspected cause. Unconfirmed reports said two victims
were Portuguese and one Italian. Elsewhere, four French soldiers were
injured by an explosion during a training mission near Sarajevo. In
another incident on 25 January, a mine explosion injured four Danish
soldiers. -- Michael Mihalka

WORLD BANK TO PROVIDE BOSNIA WITH $150 MILLION. The World Bank confirmed
in Sarajevo on 24 January that it will provide $150 million in emergency
aid for Bosnian reconstruction, international agencies reported. The
funds, which come in addition to the some $500 million promised at a
Brussels conference on Bosnia reconstruction last month, are primarily
intended to help rebuild the country's devastated utilities. The World
Bank estimates that Bosnia needs $5.1 billion over the next three years
for reconstruction. -- Michael Mihalka

BELGRADE SIGNALS COOPERATION WITH THE HAGUE? Uros Klikovac, federal
deputy premier and justice minister, announced on 24 January that an
office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
shall open in rump Yugoslavia in the near future, Nasa Borba reported.
He suggested that this marked the start of cooperation between Belgrade
and the Hague, as outlined in the Dayton accord, but stressed it did not
signal that Belgrade would extradite suspected war criminals. Klikavac
maintained that Dayton obliged Belgrade to cooperate but said the
agreement did not specify "the means" of cooperation. "Insofar as [rump]
Yugoslavia learns of someone being involved in war crimes, then our
[legal] authorities are obliged to bring proceedings against such a
person. As far as I know, precisely these kinds of proceedings are
already being undertaken," he said. -- Stan Markotich

BELGRADE-ZAGREB HIGHWAY TO REOPEN. UN officials announced that the main
Belgrade-Zagreb highway will reopen on 25 January, but only to UN and
NATO military traffic, Politika reported the same day. Formerly the
highway of the "Brotherhood and Unity," connecting Slovenia in the north
and Macedonia in the south, the busiest road in former Yugoslavia was
closed ever since the war started in summer 1991, thus becoming a symbol
of separation of the former Yugoslav republics. -- Daria Sito Sucic

ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS SLOVENIA. Nicolae Vacaroiu on 24 January
began a three-day tour through former Yugoslavia, Romanian and Western
media reported. Accompanied by a group of economic experts, Vacaroiu
discussed with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek and President
Milan Kucan ways of expanding mutual economic cooperation. -- Matyas
Szabo

REBEL DNIESTER TO TAX MOLDOVAN TRANSIT CARGOES. The president of the
self-proclaimed Dniester republic on 23 January decreed drastic customs
control on Moldovan cargoes transiting the region, BASA-press reported
the following day. The decree provides for duties on all goods exported
or imported by Moldova through Dniester territory but gives no details
of the new tariffs. A spokesman for Moldovan President Mircea Snegur
said the move came as a shock, since it occurred the same day the
Dniester leaders were discussing in Chisinau ways to de-block
negotiations over the future legal status of the region. -- Dan Ionescu

WAS MAXWELL THE "KING OF BULGARIA" . . . Bulgarian newspapers on 24
January reported on an article in The Guardian the previous day entitled
"King of Bulgaria," which deals with the connections between late media
tycoon Robert Maxwell and former Bulgarian Communist leaders. The
article, based on the Maxwell biography "Foreign Body" by Russell
Davies, says Maxwell, former Bulgarian Communist Dictator Todor Zhivkov,
former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov, and former Communist Party
Politburo member Ognyan Doynov had developed "perfect channels" to
transfer some $2 billion in foreign currency out of Bulgaria. Maxwell
reportedly helped the Communist leaders to launder money, mainly through
joint ventures set up in the West with Bulgarian capital. -- Stefan
Krause

. . . OR NOT? Lukanov in an interview with RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service on
24 January said articles such as the one in The Guardian are simply
attempts by newspapers to boost their sales. He added that Maxwell's
investment policy in Bulgaria prior to 1989 was "good for the country."
Pari on 25 January cited Lukanov as saying "Bulgaria did not transfer $2
billion because it simply did not have it." Doynov, who worked for
Maxwell for one year after 1989, told the BBC on 23 January that he has
no knowledge about trade deals between Bulgaria and Maxwell and that no
money was transferred out of Bulgaria while he was a Politburo member.
Former Premier Dimitar Popov repeatedly asserted that $2 billion of
foreign reserves "vanished during Lukanov's tenure." -- Stefan Krause

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT VISITS ALBANIA. Hungarian President Arpad Goncz
visited Albania on 23-24 January, signing agreements on transport
cooperation and the protection of investments with his Albanian
counterpart Sali Berisha, Republika and international agencies reported.
Goncz and Berisha expressed hope that the Dayton agreement will increase
chances for a solution of the conflicts in Kosovo and Vojvodina and
committed themselves "to contributing to the peaceful solution of these
problems." -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN STATE MEDIA ACCUSE OPPOSITION OF ESPIONAGE . . . Albania,
Rilindja Demokratike, and public television on 24 January accused the
independent media and the Socialist party of espionage. The allegations
are based on an Italian news agency interview with a former Albanian
secret police officer. Albania said "tens of millions of Italian lira"
are being paid monthly by the "communist world," including "Moscow and
Serbia," to direct a network of spies which aims to "control the policy
of the Tirana government." Albania further claims that "Serbian
Communists are financing the [communist-era Albanian] secret police, the
Socialists, the [independent daily] Koha Jone and [the Socialist party
daily] Zeri I Popullit." -- Fabian Schmidt

. . . DEMOCRATS DEMAND INVESTIGATIONS. The Democratic Party reacted to
the allegations by calling for a parliamentary investigation, the
Albanian language service of Deutsche Welle reported on 24 January. The
party also called on the prosecutor's office and secret police to
investigate all funding and revenues of the Socialists and Koha Jone "to
bring the culprits to justice," international agencies reported on 25
January. The Socialists said the charges are part of the election
campaign. Koha Jone and Zeri i Popullit on 25 January denied receiving
any money from Serbia. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Sharon Fisher

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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