...ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. - John F. Kennedy
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 24, Part II, 02 February 1996


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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
UKRAINIAN MINERS BEGIN WALKOUT OVER UNPAID WAGES. Hundreds of thousands
of miners at the country's state-owned coal pits walked off the job 1
February to protest their employers' failure to pay up to a half year in
back wages, Ukrainian and international agencies reported the same day.
Union leaders said employees at 106 of Ukraine's 254 coal mines
participated in the indefinite walkout, while miners at another 107 pits
suspended deliveries to customers, including the steel industry. State
metallurgy officials complained the strike could paralyze the industry,
which they claim is the country's top exporter and major source of hard
currency revenue. The government has blamed metallurgy enterprises for
the strike, claiming their failure to pay for coal supplies has caused
the financial crunch in the coal sector. Ukrainian TV reported that the
Ukrainian government had allocated another nine trillion karbovantsi
(around $5 million) to settle the wage arrears in addition to the two
trillion karbovantsi it has already allotted. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

POLISH SEJM ACCEPTS INITIAL CONCLUSIONS ON OLEKSY AFFAIR. On 1 February
the Sejm accepted the conclusions of its special commission evaluating
the role of the secret services in the spy allegations against the
former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy. The commission did not pass judgment
on Oleksy's guilt or innocence, but concluded that the secret services
did not transgress the law in collecting information on Oleksy, or in
transmitting it to former President Lech Walesa. The commission also
concluded that former Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski did
not transgress the law in passing documents on the affair to the
military prosecutor's office, Polish dailies reported on 2 February. --
Jakub Karpinski

SCREENING LAW IN POLAND. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski sent
the Sejm the draft screening law which allows citizens to know if they
are listed as secret police collaborators, and requires the screening of
candidates for high office. Kwasniewski wants to create a Commission of
Public Confidence that would have access to files the secret police
gathered until 1990. The bill does not provide for any sanctions for
collaborators, Polish dailies reported on 2 February. An attempt to
expose high officials who had collaborated with the secret police was
made in June 1992, but when the internal affairs minister Antoni
Macierewicz delivered a list of some 60 officials, the Sejm recalled Jan
Olszewski's government responsible for those attempts. -- Jakub
Karpinski

GREENPEACE PROTESTS NUCLEAR SHIPMENTS TO HUNGARY. Following protests in
Germany over the shipment of 235 used nuclear fuel elements to Hungary's
Paks nuclear plant, Greenpeace activists are now voicing concerns in
Hungary, international and Hungarian media reported on 1 February. The
nuclear elements are being shipped from the Greifswald/Lubmin power
station in former East Germany, which was shut down after reunification
as it did not meet West German safety standards. Greenpeace and
Hungarian environmentalists condemn the shipping of "nuclear trash" to
Eastern Europe and warn that Hungary's Paks station does not meet
Western safety standards either. The management of Paks , however,
rejected the protest saying it does not regard Greenpeace as qualified
to make a judgment in this matter and that "all four Paks reactors rank
among the best 25 of the more than 400 nuclear units in the world". --
Zsofia Szilagy

ROMA ALLEGE POLICE RACISM IN CZECH REPUBLIC. On 1 February the South
Bohemia Police police inspectorate declared that a formal complaint made
on 5 January by Romani organizations to them and Czech Interior Minister
Jan Ruml accusing South Bohemian police chief Zdenek Pfleger of racism
was groundless, CTK reported. Romani representatives accused Pfleger of
racism because he sent the only Romani officer on the force to patrol a
Romani boxing match saying, "If the blacks are organizing it, let the
blacks police it." The complaint demanded Pfleger's removal, stating he
had been a hard-line communist and continued to enforce communist
practices. The director of the inspectorate told CTK that the decision
could be appealed to the head inspectorate of Czech police in Prague. --
Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPOINTS NEW SUPREME COURT CHAIRMAN. The parliament on
1 February approved the appointment of Milan Karabin to replace Karol
Plank, whose resignation was accepted by the government on 24 January
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 January). Laws on wages and on relations
between trade union organizations and employers were approved, 33 new
regional and district court judges were appointed, and the government's
industrial policy and goals for transforming the social sphere was
discussed. The previous day, parliament passed a banking law introducing
mortgage banking and defining the National Bank of Slovakia's powers in
relation to commercial banks. * Sharon Fisher

CONTINUED CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW. Slovakia's Hungarian
coalition on 1 February criticized statements made the previous day by
Milan Ferko, who heads the Culture Ministry's language department,
Narodna obroda reported. Ferko had claimed the mayors of certain
southern Slovak communities acted illegally by passing directives
allowing for the use of both Slovak and Hungarian in official contacts.
The Hungarian coalition pointed out that although the new language law
cancels the previous one, it fails to regulate the use of minority
languages. Because the use of one's mother tongue is a constitutional
right, the Hungarian coalition believes the directives are legal.
Meanwhile, although fines cannot be issued until 1997, four "language
consultants" began work on 1 February in three Slovak districts and in
Bratislava to supervise the observance of the language law. -- Sharon
Fisher

IMF DOUBTS LATVIA'S 1996 BUDGET PLANS. Jukka Paljarvi, the International
Monetary Fund representative in Latvia, said the republic would probably
be unable to limit its planned budget deficit to 59 million lati ($107
million), BNS reported on 1 February. The assumption that the GDP would
grow 2.5-3% in 1996 while inflation would be reduced to below 20% is not
likely to be fulfilled. A recent IMF mission recommended that the budget
deficit be reduced by increasing the excise tax of motor fuel, keeping
pensions and government employee salaries at present level, and
improving tax collection. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA-RUSSIA BORDER NEGOTIATIONS. Lithuanian deputy foreign minister
Rimantas Sidlauskas and Russian ambassador Yurii Sholmov said that
enough progress was made during three days of negotiations in Vilnius on
29-31 January to probably allow for the text of a draft agreement on
land borders to be initialled at the next round of talks in March or
April in Kaliningrad, Radio Lithuania reported on 1 February. Little
progress, however, was made in delimiting the sea border and determining
economic zones in the Baltic Sea. The latter will be particularly
difficult due to possible oil deposits in the D-6 Baltic shelf which
Russian companies have plans to exploit, although it is closer to
Lithuania. -- Saulius Girnius

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IFOR KILLS SERBIAN SNIPER. French peacekeepers on 1 February killed one
Serbian gunman and arrested another in the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza.
The sniping had been going on for about a week, international media
reported. It was the first time since deployment began that IFOR
admitted to killing someone for shooting at its men. In another
development, Onasa news agency reported that IFOR agreed to help
refugees from Srebrenica return there because the Dayton agreement
provides for freedom of movement. But IFOR also exhibited some of its
now familiar waffling, with a spokesman claiming that "we can't compel
the Serbs to let these people in." IFOR's mandate was designed by
experts to prevent the hamstringing that plagued UNPROFOR, but IFOR's
command often appears timid in interpreting that mandate. -- Patrick
Moore

SHOW OF FORCE AGAINST BOSNIAN TROOPS. NATO used military aircraft in a
show of force against Bosnian government troops violating the zones of
separation on 30 January, international media reported the next day.
This was the first time that the IFOR ground commander had requested air
support since the Dayton peace accords came into effect on 20 December.
Some 30 Bosnian troops entered a zone controlled by Spanish soldiers 10
kilometers south of the city of Mostar and refused to leave. After an
hour, two US A-10 close support aircraft were called in. The Bosnian
troops then surrendered their arms, including 300 rifles, six mortars,
eight anti-tank rocket launcher and a large number of grenades. No
explanation was given as to why the Bosnian forces were in possession of
such a large number of weapons. -- Michael Mihalka

ROW OVER POLITICIZATION OF BOSNIAN ARMY. Sarajevo dailies over the past
week have reported on a polemic between the governing Muslim Party of
Democratic Action (SDA) and the opposition. The issue is the alleged
politicization of the military and militarization of the SDA because of
the membership of three top generals on the party's steering committee.
SDA Vice President Ejup Ganic defended the political role of Generals
Atif Dudakovic, Mehmed Alagic, and Sakib Mahmuljin, Onasa reported on 1
February. He said that "generals should participate in [the] further
development of the country. They are not here only to fight and get
killed." The International Herald Tribune on 2 February, however, notes
that the generals' activities is only one issue that has Bosnia's
Western allies angry with the Sarajevo government. Other sore points
include the government's failure to grant a license to the first
independent television station; to approve an amnesty for ordinary
Bosnian Serb soldiers; and to send foreign muhajidin home. -- Patrick
Moore

BOSNIAN BRIEFS. The war may be over, but Onasa reported on 1 February
that at least two problems will continue to plague Sarajevo for some
time to come: water shortages and land mines. There have been reports
that Serbs are installing new mines or other booby-traps in flats owned
and reclaimed by Muslims in Serb-held territories. The water problems
are so serious that Sarajevans may face the next two years with water
only every other day and only for a few hours. Meanwhile in Zagreb,
Croatia appears to be moving to change its laws to permit speedy
extradition of suspected war criminals. Croatia's allies have repeatedly
warned it that it must be seen as cooperating fully with the war crimes
tribunal as specified in the Dayton agreement. At issue primarily are
some Herzegovinian Croats wanted for atrocities against the Muslims in
1993. -- Patrick Moore

NEW DIRECTOR FOR CROATIAN RADIO AND TELEVISION. Amid reports of
corruption by past directors, an acrimonious debate in parliament, and
an opposition walkout, Ivan Mudranic of the governing Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ) became the new director of HRTV. He replaces
Ivan Parac, who had charged his predecessor Antun Vrdoljak with
corruption. Vrdloljak headed HRTV until about a year ago and was best
known for saying that television "must become a cathedral of the
Croatian spirit." To the opposition, Vrdoljak had been the embodiment of
HDZ domination of the electronic media, from which most of the
population gets its news. The opposition walked out of the Sabor when
the HDZ deputies blocked a discussion of Parac's revelations and charged
Parac himself with corruption, news agencies reported on 1 February. --
Patrick Moore

SERBIAN POLICE BLOCK "ALTERNATIVE ASSEMBLY." Nasa Borba on 2 February
reported that some 114 legislators from five leading opposition parties-
-the Serbian Renewal Movement, the Serbian Radical Party, the Democratic
Party, the Democratic Party of Serbia, and the Democratic Community of
Hungarians in Vojvodina-- were prevented from meeting as a "shadow"
government the day before because police would not allow them to gather
in the parliament building. The opposition parties met for the first
time as a "parallel legislature" on 26 December, following a boycott
protest of the governing Socialist Party of Serbia's heavy-handed
control tactics. Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic said the
latest police action demonstrated Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
intolerance. "Milosevic thinks he can do whatever he wants after Dayton,
including halting democratization and privatization...violating human
rights...and tossing the opposition out of parliament," he said. * Stan
Markotich

JUSTICE SAYS SERBIA IS UNCOOPERATIVE. Onasa on 1 February reported that
Chief Prosecutor of the UN War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Richard Goldstone said that Belgrade is failing to cooperate with The
Hague tribunal. Belgrade's "attitude has always been to refuse to
recognize the existence and legality of the court," he said. Goldstone
added that while Serbia has agreed to permit an investigator to work in
Belgrade, that person was not allowed to refer to themselves officially
as a representative of the tribunal, and had to seek and obtain
permission from the government to interview witnesses. Goldstone
acknowledged that he had accepted such conditions, but stressed that the
stonewalling from rump Yugoslav authorities shows no signs of abating:
"the person I appointed has waited for months for a visa that has never
been granted," he added. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY ATTACKS GOVERNMENT DECISION. Gheorghe Funar,
the leader of the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR),
rejected the grounds on which Telecommunications Minister Adrian Turicu
of PUNR was dismissed by Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, Romanian media
reported on 1February . Funar said Turicu had been appointed director of
the Romtelecom company in accordance with current legislation (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 31 January), and accused the ruling party of fostering
nepotism and corruption in the issue. Following negotiations with
President Ion Iliescu and Vacaroiu, the PUNR was asked to present its
proposals for a new minister. -- Matyas Szabo

CONTRADICTORY REPORTS ON DNIESTER STATE OF EMERGENCY. Contrary to Radio
Moldova and BASA-press reports of 31 January (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1
February), Infotag on 1 February wrote that the Dniester Supreme Soviet
approved by a majority of votes a presidential decree on imposing a
state of economic emergency in the region. Votes against were cast by
the deputies of the radical left-wing Bloc of Patriotic Forces, and by
delegates of the town of Rybnitsa. The state of emergency is mainly
administrative, and includes severe restrictions on civic freedoms and
political activities. Igor Smirnov, the president of the self-proclaimed
Dniester Republic, told parliament that the steps were designed "to
withstand a growing [hostile] propaganda campaign," including attempts
to upset the region's relations with the Russian Federation.
Restrictions on press reporting appear to be the root of the confusion
surrounding the Supreme Soviet's debates. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN INTEREST RATE GOES UP. The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) on 1
February raised the prime interest rate from 34% to 42%, Pari reported
the following day. BNB Governor Lyubomir Filipov said the decision was
taken "because of pressure on the currency market and in order to
maintain our foreign currency reserves." A commentary in Trud points to
the fact that the move came just a week after the Socialist government
"gave itself A marks" in all fields of economy, revealing that the
government's evaluation are "lies." Over the past months, the lev has
steadily declined against the U.S. dollar. The exchange rate for 2
February was a record low of 74.079 leva/$. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN TOP POLICE OFFICIAL FIRED. The government on 1 February
dismissed Gen. Milcho Bengarski as secretary of the interior ministry in
charge of monitoring police operations, Reuters reported. Bengarski was
officially sacked for failing to help curb the high crime rate, but it
seems that the government needed a scapegoat for its failure to deal
with the problem of organized crime. Bengarski's dismissal came only
days after Doni, one of Bulgaria's most popular pop stars, launched a
campaign against crime. His campaign is supported by President Zhelyu
Zhelev and many opposition deputies and has so far received much public
support and media coverage. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES NEW ELECTORAL LAW. The Democratic Party
parliamentary majority adopted a new election law on 2 January, AFP
reported the same day. The law was criticized by the opposition, which
argued that it deprived smaller parties of any chance of winning in the
upcoming elections. The legislation increased the number of directly
elected legislators from 100 to 115, and decreased the number of those
to be chosen by proportional representation from 40 to 25. Thus, the
formal four percent barrier will de facto be increased to an estimated
seven to eight percent barrier. Socialist Party deputy leader Namik
Dokle also criticized the ballot counting procedures and the share of
air-time allocated to the various parties in the election campaign.
According to Aleanca Demokratike Deputy Perikli Teta, "The passing of
this law shows the Democrats are not prepared to give up power
peacefully." -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT VISITS MALTA. Albanian President Sali Berisha arrived
in Malta for a two-day visit on 1 February, Reuters reported. Berisha
met with Maltese President Ugo Mifsud Bonnici and Prime Minister Eddie
Fenech Adami, as well as opposition leader Alfred Sant. Both sides
agreed to speed up cooperation in economics, tourism, education,
agriculture, and other sectors. Berisha concluded, "I am very pleased
with the talks. We have agreed to intensify our relations in specialized
fields like tourism, fish farming and the concept of the freeport."
Adami said the Maltese government would encourage Maltese investors to
take up opportunities in Albania especially in construction projects,
tourism and oil drilling. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Ustina Markus

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
quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to
LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
No subject line or other text should be included.
To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries
to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or
electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396

Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to
reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or
redistributing this publication, please write omripub@omri.cz for a copy
of the new policy or look at this URL:
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ

            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


   Greg Cole, Director
   Center for International Networking Initiatives
   The University of Tennessee System                Phone:  (423) 974-7277
   2000 Lake Avenue                                    FAX:  (423) 974-8022
   Knoxville, TN  37996                     Email:  gcole@solar.rtd.utk.edu
   

 
         

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole