When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. - Mark Twain
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 30, Part II, 12 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
HOLBROOKE BACK IN THE BALKANS. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard
Holbrooke returned to the former Yugoslavia on 10-11 February, visiting
Sarajevo, Belgrade, and then Sarajevo again. The BBC said on 11 February
that he was seeking to remove the most serious obstacle to confront the
Dayton peace process, namely a Serb boycott of contacts with the
government and IFOR. On 30 January Bosnian government forces arrested
some Serbian officers and said two are guilty of war crimes, while the
Serbs demanded they be freed in the name of ensuring freedom of
movement, and launched the boycott in response. The two are now being
held under the authority of the Hague-based tribunal, which makes it
difficult for Holbrooke to free them in a deal. Holbrooke nonetheless
was upbeat, calling the developments a "bump in the road" and saying
that the Bosnian and Serbian presidents are committed to Dayton "in
full." He also said that ensuring freedom of movement was "equally
important" to catching war criminals, the BBC reported on 12 February.
-- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN CHIEF OF STAFF FIRED. General Anatolii Lopata, the chief of
the Ukrainian General Staff, was dismissed as chief of staff and first
deputy defense minister "in connection with his transfer to another
job," Ukrainian television reported on 10 February. Lopata has held
those posts since February 1993. Neither his new post nor his
replacement were mentioned. -- Doug Clarke

DOOMSDAY CULT LEADERS SENTENCED IN UKRAINE. Three leaders of a doomsday
cult that led hundreds of people to believe that the world would end in
November 1993 were sentenced by a Kiev court to varying terms for
disrupting public order, Ukrainian TV and Reuters reported 9 February.
Maryna Tsvyhun-Kryvonohov, who declared herself a "living god," her
husband Yurii Kryvonohov, the cult "prophet," and Vitalii Kovalchuk, the
"archibishop" of the White Brotherhood Sect, were sentenced to four-,
seven- and six-year terms in labor camp. Each was also fined the
equivalent of $300 for damage to priceless icons in Kiev's St. Sophia
Cathedral, where they had barricaded themselves to await doomsday. They
and several dozen followers clashed with militia before they were
arrested. The cult leaders called on hundreds of believers to hold a
hunger strike and Ukrainian authorities feared they would attempt mass
suicide. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT MEETS. Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir's report on
the state of the Belarusian economy was the focus of attention during
the 8 February parliamentary session, Belarusian radio reported.
According to Chyhir, one of the problems the country faces is the rising
cost of energy. In 1993 Belarus paid $21.70 for a ton of Russian oil and
$35.70 for 1,000 cubic meters of gas. In 1994 this rose to $57 and $50
respectively, and in 1995 to $80 and $53. The price increases mean
Belarus had to pay $825 million more for those commodities between 1993-
95 than it had before. Raw materials have also risen 30-50 percent,
creating a critical situation for the country's industries which rely on
imported raw materials. -- Ustina Markus

POLISH RIGHT-WING PARTIES PROPOSE UNITY. The Confederation of
Independent Poland (KPN), a political party formed in 1979 and which is
currently in opposition, reelected Leszek Moczulski as its chairman
during its 5th Congress on 10 February. The KPN has 16 deputies in the
Democratic Left Alliance dominated Sejm. The KPN Congess called for "the
total integration of the right." The Center Alliance (PC) and the
Christian-National Association (ZChN) have made similar calls. Neither
the PC, nor the ZChN have been represented in the Sejm since the 1993
elections. -- Jakub Karpinski

FOREIGN EXPERTS CRITICIZE HUNGARY'S MEDIA LAW. During a conference
organized by the Prime Minister's Office, representatives of the
European Media Institute and the International Press Institute made
critical remarks about Hungary's media law, Hungarian media reported on
10 February. Many foreign experts agreed that the law was overly
complicated, and could allow for further political infighting and
exertion of political pressure. In response, Hungarian experts said
Parliament tried passing a law that is consistent with general European
principles, and the complicated nature of the law resulted from the
domestic state of affairs. They accepted the criticisms, and said the
success of the law will depend on its implementation in practice, the
future election of boards of trustees, and the intentions of political
parties.-- Zsofia Szilagyi

CZECH PREMIER DENIES RELATIONS WITH GERMANY ARE A FIASCO. Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus on 11 February said Czech-German relations are good and
have not turned into a fiasco, Pravo reported the following day.
Negotiations over the preparation of a proposed parliamentary
declaration designed to ease tensions between the two countries are
stalled (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15 and 17 January 1995). But, speaking
in a television debate, Klaus said any problems could be sorted out if
they were left to himself and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He accused
leftist Czech media and the leader of the opposition Social Democrats of
stirring up anti-German feelings, and the Munich-based Sudetendeutsche
Landsmannschaft of complicating Czech-German relations. -- Steve Kettle

CZECHS SEIZE POWERFUL EXPLOSIVE. A cache of potent explosives was seized
by Czech police, Reuters reported on 9 February. An Interior Ministry
spokesman said that the organized crime squad seized 15 tons of
explosives, and their haul included 450 kilograms of Tritolhexogen found
in the garage of a cottage in Mlazivice, 90 kilometers northeast of
Prague. The spokesman, Jan Subrt, confirmed that the material had
originally belonged to the Czech military, and said that tritolhexogen
"exceeds Semtex in its potency." The police have reportedly detained a
45-year-old man identified only as P.V, who was the co-owner of a
company that had been awarded contracts to dispose of Czech army
ammunition. He is to be charged with the illegal possession of arms. --
Doug Clarke

EU FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER IN SLOVAKIA. Hans van den Broek visited
Bratislava on 9 February to discuss Slovakia's EU integration and to
assess the country's progress since the EU's issuance of a demarche in
October, particularly regarding the observance of democratic principles,
minority rights, and press freedom. Van den Broek expressed satisfaction
with Slovakia's macroeconomic results, but he pointed to the need for
transparent privatization and more openness to foreign investment.
Political criteria will be as important as economic when judging
candidates for EU membership, and Slovakia will need to take a number of
legislative measures if it wants to be considered in the first group of
countries to join the organization, he stressed. The commissioner met
with a number of top Slovak officials, but his scheduled meeting with
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar was canceled because of the latter's
illness, Slovak media reported. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRIVATIZATION AMENDMENT TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. Having collected
the signatures of 56 deputies, Ivan Simko of the Christian Democratic
Movement on 9 February took an amendment to the large-scale
privatization law passed in November 1994 to court, TASR reported. Simko
said the amendment, which transferred the authority to approve direct
sale projects from the cabinet to the National Property Fund, is
unconstitutional because, according to a 1995 Constitutional Court case,
"decisions about the privatization of state property through direct
sales...are a basic responsibility of the cabinet," Praca reported on 9
February. -- Sharon Fisher

NEW LITHUANIAN PREMIER NOMINATED. President Algirdas Brazauskas on 9
February announced that he would nominate Minister of Government Reforms
and Local Rule Mindaugas Stankevicius to replace Adolfas Slezevicius as
prime minister, and Finance Minister Reinoldijus Sarkinas as chairman of
the Bank of Lithuania. The Seimas still has to confirm the nominations.
The next day the Democratic Labor Party council decided not to call a
special congress to replace Slezevicius as party chairman, Radio
Lithuania reported. The elections of the party's leaders will take place
at the scheduled congress in second half of May. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, AUSTRIA SIGN PROTOCOL ON HEALTH INSURANCE. Latvian and Austrian
officials on 9 February signed a protocol on the intention to cooperate
in establishing a state health insurance system, BNS reported. Under the
agreement that will be in force for three years, Austrian specialists
will give advice on legislative issues, accreditation of medical
establishments, and drafting health care standards. Latvian State Health
Board Head Andris Glazitis said that obligatory health insurance will be
introduced in Latvia from 1 January 1997 with the Saeima passing the
necessary law probably by 1 July 1996. -- Saulius Girnius

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KINKEL WANTS ARREST WARRANTS FOR KARADZIC AND MLADIC. Onasa reported on
10 February that German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel has called on the
Hague-based international war crimes tribunal to issue arrest warrants
for the top Bosnian Serb civilian and military leaders for genocide.
Karadzic told the Sunday Times the next day that he had given strict
orders at the beginning of the conflict to protect human rights, that
there were no mass killings, and that "had there been I would have known
about it." The Bosnian news agency added that the Serbs still hold 700
slave laborers, according to the Red Cross. AFP noted that the
government is still keeping 88 Serbian POW's in Tuzla and it is not
clear when they will be freed. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERBS TO MAINTAIN CONTACTS WITH IFOR. The Bosnian Serb political
leadership has disavowed an order by the army commander, Ratko Mladic,
to sever ties with IFOR until two senior officers are released by the
Bosnian government. According to international media, the self-styled
Bosnian Serb prime minister, Rajko Kasagic,called the order "invalid"
and added that "President [Radovan] Karadzic has warned the army chief
of staff that he was not in a position to take such a decision" after a
meeting of the Bosnian Serb government in Pale on 11 February.
Meanwhile, the Bosnian government released four of the eight Bosnian
Serb soldiers detained on 30 January. On 9 February, chairman of the
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili, reacting to the
Bosnian Serb cutoff of contacts, warned that any threats against IFOR
would be dealt with harshly. -- Michael Mihalka

CROATIA AGREES TO HELP SOLVE MOSTAR DISPUTE. Ivo Sanader, a senior aide
to Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, said on 11 February after talks
with Boris Biancheri, an Italian foreign ministry envoy, that Croatia
had agreed to help solve a dispute between EU mediators and Bosnian
Croats over the future administration of the divided Bosnian town of
Mostar, Hina reported. As an immediate result, the mayor of the Croat-
held part of the city said he was prepared to negotiate a new solution
after rejecting the EU administrator's plan to redraw boundaries in
Mostar. He told the German weekly Der Spiegel that Bosnian Croatians are
ready to talk, "but not on the basis of the Koschnik's decree," and on
that they won't budge a single millimetre, Reuters reported. The Bosnian
Croatians want the borders between Croatian and Muslim parts of the city
to be identical to the military lines of separation. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MOSTAR EU ADMINISTRATOR WILL NOT RESIGN. Hans Koschnik said he will not
resign and will keep his post as long as EU wants him to, Nasa Borba
reported on 12 February. During his visit to Sarajevo on 11 February,
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke underscored
America's support for Koschnik's proposal for Mostar, Hina reported.
That same day Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic held talks with his
Bosnian counterpart Jadranko Prlic, and agreed on the necessity of
settling the Mostar crisis. Meanwhile, Bosnian Federation President
Kresimir Zubak sent a letter to the political mediator in Federation
disputes, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, to inform the German parliament
and public of all the facts regarding Mostar, since he claimed it was
owing to their being "insufficiently informed" that they started the
"real anti-Croat campaign," Hina reported on 11 February. In another
development, the arrival of Croatian police to Mostar as agreed by
Dayton accord has been postponed, Nasa Borba reported. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

BOSNIAN SERB LEADER A WELCOME GUEST IN MONTENEGRO? Montenegrin Premier
Milo Djukanovic said at a 9 February press conference that Bosnian Serb
civilian leader and accused war criminal Radovan Karadzic is welcome to
visit Montenegro anytime, SRNA reported that same day. Djukanovic said
that since Karadzic has visited the rump Yugoslavia a number of times in
the past, "there is no reason for anyone to try to now keep him out of
Montenegro." Djukanovic also spoke on a number of other key issues
relating to the Dayton accord, including prospects for mutual
recognition between rump Yugoslavia and Croatia. He observed that such
an eventuality could follow only after Zagreb was prepared to fully
honor the Dayton accord, hinting that rump Yugoslavia still harbored
claims to Croatia's strategic Prevlaka peninsula. He also remarked that
Montenegro's ongoing aid program for Herzevinian Serbs "was not
motivated by political interests." -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION BRACES FOR LOCAL, GENERAL AND PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS. Meeting in Bucharest on 9 February, the National Council of
the main opposition alliance, the Democratic Convention of Romania
(CDR), chose Victor Ciorbea as its candidate for mayor of Bucharest in
the local elections due to be held in the spring. Ciorbea is the
chairman of the Confederation of Democratic Trade Unions. The incumbent
mayor, Crin Halaicu, was elected in 1992 on the CDR lists, but is no
longer backed by it, after accusations of incompetence and corruption.
Domestic media reported on 9-10 February that at the urging of the
National Liberal Party, the CDR decided it will not enter into any
"understanding agreements" with the ruling Party of Social Democracy of
Romania before or after the general elections scheduled for autumn. It
also ruled out an understanding with the Democratic Party-National
Salvation Front for backing that party's candidate in the presidential
elections in a second round of elections. Earlier, the chairman of the
National Peasant Party Christian Democratic, Ion Diaconescu, said that
the CDR might back Petre Roman in a second round of elections, if the
CDR candidate, Emil Constantinescu, does not make it to that round
against incumbent president Ion Iliescu. In another development, Horia
Rusu was elected executive chairman of the opposition Liberal Party '93.
-- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS LANGUAGE RENAMING INITIATIVE. Moldova's
parliament on 9 February rejected by a 58 to 25 vote President Mircea
Snegur's legislative initiative on renaming the official language from
Moldovan to Romanian, Moldovan and international media reported. Victor
Cecan, head of the parliament's Legal Committee, said the proposal "does
not correspond to the political will of the population," and the name
could be changed only if people decide to do so in a referendum.
According to parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi, who submitted a
rejected compromise draft resolution of his own that would have allowed
the use of both language names, some think that legalizing the term
"Romanian language" improves the chances of possible unification with
Romania, while others believe using only "Moldovan language" offers
extra guarantees for the country's independence. Snegur submitted the
initiative in April last year after a series of student protests against
the constitution which designates the official language as Moldovan. --
Matyas Szabo

FORMER BULGARIAN LEADER CLEARED OF EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES. On 9 February
Todor Zhivkov, hardliner and last communist ruler of Bulgaria, was
acquitted of charges of embezzling the equivalent of some $21 million in
state funds, AFP reported that same day. Some four years earlier Zhivkov
had been sentenced to seven years in prison on the same charges. Zhivkov
said after this latest reversal by the country's Supreme Court, "I am
happy...This disgraceful seven-year trail has discredited the Bulgarian
people." Bulgarian dailies on 10 February reported that Milko Balev,
former Zhivkov aide and Politburo member, was also acquitted. -- Stan
Markotich

MACEDONIAN PRIME MINISTER PROPOSES NEW GOVERNMENT . . . Premier Branko
Crvenkovski fired four Liberal Party cabinet ministers on 10 February,
international agencies reported the same day. Former deputy Premier and
Foreign Minister Stevo Crvenkovski will be replaced by former Interior
Minister Ljubomir Frckovski. Former Economics Minister Risto Ivanov's
position will be taken by former Development Minister Beqir Zhuta, who
will also keep his position as vice premier. The new Interior Minister
will be Tomislav Cokrevski, and Taki Fiti will replace Jane Miljovski as
Finance Minister. The latter will also become deputy premier. The
reshuffle also affects six other ministries. Branko Crvenkovski asked
parliament to approve the new cabinet on 13 February. -- Fabian Schmidt

. . . PRESIDENT EXPRESSES SKEPTICISM. President Kiro Gligorov criticized
the government reshuffle, saying it "no longer represents the political
formation which brought me to the head of the country and for which the
electorate voted." Out of 20 new ministers, 13 will belong to the Social
Democratic Union of Macedonia, five to the ethnic Albanian Party of
Democratic Prosperity (PPD) and two to the Socialists. The conflict
between the former communist Social Democrats and the Liberals sharpened
over the privatization of industry since mid 1995. Analysts, suggest
that Liberal Party Leader Stojan Andov became rich over privatization.
Meanwhile, rump Yugoslav Deputy Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic said
that "the normalization of relations [with Macedonia] will soon be
formalized," MIC reported on 9 February. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Ustina Markus

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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