The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become, different- to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind and spirit he or she possesses. - John Fischer
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 31, Part II, 13 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
TWO SERBIAN OFFICERS SENT TO THE HAGUE. Bosnian Serb General Djordje
Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic were extradited to the
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on 12 February
"for questioning," the BBC reported. The move followed a compromise by
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, according to which
the two would be sent to the court but the Bosnian government in the
future would arrest for war crimes only persons against whom the
tribunal had already issued a warrant. Holbrooke said that his visit to
Sarajevo and Belgrade in recent days set down "new rules of the road."
Two key Dayton principles are at stake: the Bosnian government is
anxious to prosecute war criminals, while the Serbs argue that seemingly
random arrests of Serbs threaten freedom of movement. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN DEPUTIES ASK PRESIDENT TO RECONSIDER CHORNOBYL SHUTDOWN.
Fifty-eight Ukrainian lawmakers have appealed in an open letter to
President Leonid Kuchma to reconsider his decision to shutdown the
Chornobyl nuclear power plant by 2,000, Ukrainian TV and UNIAN reported
on 9 February. Calling the decision groundless, the deputies cited
government reports claiming Chornobyl has been the safest and most
efficient of all five Ukrainian atomic energy stations for the past two
years. They cited various experts' conclusions that the plant could
safely operate until 2007 and bring in revenues of more than $5 billion
in electricity exports. The legislators also demanded that Environment
Minister Yurii Kostenko be removed as head of the government delegation
in ongoing talks with the G-7 powers over the planned closure. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UPDATE ON UKRAINIAN CHIEF OF STAFF'S DISMISSAL. Further details about
Col.-Gen. Anatolii Lopata's dismissal as chief-of-staff of the armed
forces by President Leonid Kuchma have been released, according to ITAR-
TASS and Reuters. Lopata's dismissal reportedly stems from differences
with Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov over downsizing Ukraine's 470,000-
strong military. Shmarov was in favor of reducing troops to 350,000 by
the end of the decade, while Lopata prefers maintaining a larger force
and has objected to plans on reorganizing military districts. Rumors
were circulating for over a year that Lopata would be replaced, and
presidential adviser Volodymyr Horbulin said Lopata was making public
what amounted to state secrets over the dispute. Deputy Defense Minister
Ivan Bizhan was named acting chief-of-staff. In other news, the Black
Sea Fleet and Ukraine's navy have begun to exchange naval information.
The agreement on the exchange was initiated by the fleet after handing
over most observation stations to Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIA DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN BELARUSIAN MILITARY THEFTS. Russia's
Strategic Rocket Forces have categorically denied any involvement in the
theft of military hardware and precious metals from the 25th rocket
arsenal in Belarus, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 February. Belarusian Radio
reported last month that 7.8 kilograms of platinum worth $1.3 million
had gone missing from the base. According to Reuters on 8 February, the
commander of the 25th arsenal, Maj. Gen. Aleh Kruhlyakau, has been
arrested for negligence and for abusing his position, although concrete
charges have not been filed against him. The press center of the Russian
Strategic Rocket Forces said they had nothing to do with the
irregularities on the base since they had handed it over to Belarusian
authorities in October 1992. All work there since then has been carried
out by employees of the Belarusian Defense Ministry. -- Ustina Markus

LESS THAN 15% FAIL ESTONIAN CITIZENSHIP TESTS. Estonian Prime Minister
Tiit Vahi on 12 February told the parliament that only 13-15% of
applicants for citizenship have failed tests on knowledge of the
Estonian language and the republic's laws, BNS reported. He noted that
since the implementation of separate tests on 21 November 1995, 313
persons have passed the language test and 562 the law test. --  Saulius
Girnius

100 KILOS OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL SEIZED IN LITHUANIA. Security and
police officials on 10 February detained six Lithuanians and a Georgian
who were attempting to sell 100 kilograms of radioactive material for
$50,000 in Visaginas, where the Ignalina nuclear power plant is located,
Radio Lithuania and Western agencies reported on 12 February. The
material was stored in wooden boxes and was 10 times above normal
radioactive levels. Plant director Viktor Shevaldin said the plant had
nothing to with the incident. The material is suspected to be uranium
smuggled from another former Soviet republic. -- Saulius Girnius

STRIKES IN SILESIA. Miners from 19 coal mines on 12 February blocked
coal supplies from Silesia to the rest of the country after union
negotiations with employers broke down before the weekend, Polish
dailies reported. Coal miners have been striking since 5 February.
Solidarity, which represents Silesia's 270,000 miners, is demanding
additional bonus payments for 1995, wages increases to keep pace with
inflation, and government guarantees that the planned restructuring of
the mining industry will not lead to layoffs and curb social benefits
for the workers. Meanwhile, government spokesperson Aleksandra
Jakubowska claimed that "representatives of Ukrainian coal companies
have already become very active in Silesia." -- Jakub Karpinski

SECURITY OFFICER ARRESTED IN POLAND. An officer at the State Protection
Office, whose name has not been disclosed, was arrested on 9 February on
charges of revealing classified information to the press. The released
information reportedly sheds light on a loan that Polish Communists were
offered by the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Polish press
reported on 13 February. -- Jakub Karpinski

ZHIRINOVSKY WARNS POLAND NOT TO BEHAVE "LIKE A WHORE." During French
radical nationalist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen's visit to Russia,
Vladimir Zhirinovsky told journalists that "if Poland would like to be
free, let it be free both from the Soviet Union and NATO. . . . [But] if
Poland behaves like a whore, running from one client to another, that
will end very badly. The next client will strangle the whore."
Zhirinovsky said that if Poland lets NATO soldiers be stationed near
Russian borders, "there will be no Poland and no NATO," Polish media
reported on 12-13 February. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK OPPOSITION ASKS PRESIDENT TO VETO LAW. A group of opposition
deputies on 12 February sent an open letter to President Michal Kovac
asking him not to sign an amendment to the income tax law approved four
days earlier, Pravda reported. The opposition walked out before the
vote, and the legislation was passed with fewer deputies present than
the parliamentary quorum stipulated in the constitution. The amendment
frees new owners of privatized companies from paying taxes on income if
the National Property Fund lowers the purchase price of their property.
"The government not only enabled a small group of people to grow rich
quickly from privatization by allowing the cheap sale of state companies
but it also lowered their tax obligations to the detriment of other
taxpayers who were excluded from privatization," the opposition said. --
Sharon Fisher

GABCIKOVO DAM TRIAL SET FOR EARLY NEXT YEAR. The International Court of
Justice in the Hague has said the trial to resolve the legal dispute
between Hungary and Slovakia on the controversial Gabcikovo dam project
will take place in February 1997, Magyar Hirlap reported on 13 February.
Head of the international law division at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry
Gyorgy Szenasi will represent the Hungarian government in its bid to
prevent completion of the project. The two countries are expected to
seek an out-of-court settlement before the trial, although no headway
has been made in the three rounds of negotiations to date. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

PROMINENT HUNGARIAN EMIGRES GATHER IN BUDAPEST. At the invitation of the
Prime Minister's Office, more than 90 prominent emigres met with leading
Hungarian politicians at a two-day conference titled "Hungary 2000,"
Hungarian media reported on 12 February. Prime Minister Gyula Horn
requested the emigres' help to solve domestic problems and improve the
country's international image. The emigres criticized certain
bureaucratic procedures slowing down the process of opening new
businesses and some financial aspects of the stabilization program. The
conference issued an appeal asking the 2 million-strong Hungarian emigre
community to do their best for Hungary. The participants--including
financier and philanthropist George Soros--will be invited to attend
similar meetings in the future. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

"THE HAGUE'S SEAL OF APPROVAL AS A COMPROMISE." This is how Nasa Borba
on 13 February summed up the result of Richard Holbrooke's diplomacy.
Bosnian government envoy Muhamed Sacirbey said he is convinced that the
questioning of the two officers "will show that the source of the war is
in Belgrade," the BBC reported. Onasa quoted him as saying that the
government is preparing new rules for arresting war criminals in keeping
with the compromise. U.S. human rights envoy Richard Shattuck said he is
sure that most Bosnian Serbs will be pleased with the result since they
are anxious to separate themselves from war criminals and get on with
their lives. AFP on 12 February reported that the Bosnian Serb interior
minister charged arrested Bosnian photo journalist Hidajet Delic with
war crimes. -- Patrick Moore

U.S. REBUKES IFOR OVER KARADZIC. U.S. State Department spokesman
Nicholas Burns said reports that indicted war criminal and Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic passed unhindered through IFOR checkpoints are
"disturbing," international media reported on 13 February. Burns
stressed that if IFOR troops "come across suspected indicted war
criminals in the conduct of their normal operations, then they are bound
. . . to detain them" and turn them over to the International War Crimes
Tribunal in the Hague, even though this is not their principal mission.
IFOR said it had limited information on the 52 indicted war criminals
and photographs of only 15, many of which are of poor quality or
outdated. It added that there are no checkpoints--only patrols to ensure
freedom of movement--along the route Karadzic was likely to have taken
from Pale to Banja Luka over the weekend. -- Michael Mihalka

NATO TO PROTECT EU ADMINISTRATION IN MOSTAR. NATO Secretary-General
Javier Solana and Gen. George Joulwan, allied supreme commander in
Europe, visited Mostar on 12 February to meet with Mostar's EU
administrator Hans Koschnick, international and local media reported.
Solana also met with the president and vice president of the Bosnian
Federation, Kresimir Zubak and Ejup Ganic, as well as the mayors of the
eastern and western halves of Mostar. He said NATO will not tolerate
Koschnick being threatened, underscoring the need for cooperation
between IFOR and police forces in Mostar, Hina reported. He also called
for reconciliation between Muslims and Croats in Mostar. According to
Ganic, Koschnik's decision on the administrative reorganization of
Mostar was not discussed at all. Zubak told Slobodna Dalmacija on 13
February that Western Mostar Mayor Mijo Brajkovic has agreed to
reestablish contacts with Koschnick. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER IN CROATIA. Vladimir Meciar on 12 February
concluded a two-day visit to Croatia aimed at broadening bilateral trade
contacts, Slovak media reported. Meciar and his Croatian counterpart,
Zlatko Matesa, signed agreements on boosting and protecting investments,
preventing double taxation, and cooperating in tourism and air traffic.
"There have never been any problems between Slovakia and Croatia,"
Meciar stressed. He also discussed the several thousand Slovaks living
in Croatia and the Slovak army unit that forms part of the UN forces in
eastern Slavonia. "Slovaks in Croatia are first of all loyal to their
state--Croatia. Their rights are understood only as individual rights,"
Meciar said. -- Sharon Fisher

BULGARIAN PREMIER IN BELGRADE. Zhan Videnov arrived in the rump Yugoslav
capital on 12 February for a two-day official visit, BETA reported. He
met with high-ranking officials, including federal rump Yugoslav Premier
Radoje Kontic, who agreed that bilateral economic relations need to be
"intensified." Videnov also met with Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic to discuss the status of rump Yugoslavia's Bulgarian minority
community. According to the Bulgarian daily Duma, "both parties agreed
that the problems of the Bulgarian minority in Serbia are mainly of an
economic nature and can be solved . . . through existing legislation."
Stan Markotich

REFUGEE CAMPS IN KOSOVO ATTACKED WITH EXPLOSIVES. Explosions were
reported at refugee camps in Vucitrn, Kosovska Mitrovica, Pec, Pristina,
and Suva Reka on 11 February, AFP and Reuters quoted Tanjug as saying
the next day. Reports speak about the use of "homemade explosives,"
while the police say the blasts were caused by hand grenades thrown
within one hour at the different locations. The explosions caused
serious damage but no casualties or injuries. Between 10,000 and 12,000
Serbian refugees from Croatia are currently living in the camps. Tanjug
reported that the refugees were "seriously upset" by the explosions. --
Fabian Schmidt

HOLBROOKE IN BUCHAREST. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard
Holbrooke on 12-13 February paid a visit to Romania, local and
international media reported. Radio Bucharest said Holbrooke thanked
President Ion Iliescu for Romania's contribution to the peacekeeping
process in Bosnia. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu, Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca, Chamber of Deputies chairman
Adrian Nastase, and other officials. The Euro-Atlantic Center in
Bucharest awarded the U.S. diplomat a diploma as "a sign of gratitude
and appreciation for his special contribution to restoring peace in
former Yugoslavia" and his "personal role in the development of
Romanian-U.S. relations." RFE/RL's correspondent in Washington quoted
U.S. State department spokesman Aric Schwann as saying Holbrooke was to
discuss with his hosts democratic reforms in Romania and the situation
of the Hungarian ethnic minority. -- Michael Shafir

ZHIRINOVSKY PROPOSES ROMANIA AS BATTLEFIELD FOR CHECHENS, FRENCH BLACKS.
Speaking to journalists after marrying his lawful wife in a religious
ceremony in Moscow, the ultranationalist Russian politician Vladimir
Zhirinovsky said that if the countries of Eastern Europe join NATO and
thus "provoke a third world war," he will not "cross swords" with Jean
Marie Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, who attended the
wedding. Rather, Zhirinovsky said, he and Le Pen will send the Chechens
and France's black population to "confront each other on Romania's
territory," Radio Bucharest and international agencies reported on 10
February. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT'S PARTY REACTS TO PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION. Responding
to the Moldovan parliament's decision to reject President Mircea
Snegur's initiative to change the official name of the country's
language (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 February 1995), the Party of Revival
and Conciliation of Moldova (PRCM) said increased tension may split the
population over the issue. BASA-press on 12 February reported the PRCM
statement as saying the "parliamentary majority has proven once more"
that it is ignoring "scientific truth" and is guided only by "political
reasons." The statement also denounced "trends endangering the
democratization of society and economic reforms." -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. The ruling Bulgarian Socialist
Party (BSP) will try to unite the pro-republican forces if former Tsar
Simeon runs for president, Trud reported on 13 February. BSP Deputy
Chairman Georgi Parvanov said his party is counting on talks with the
Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union, which is anti-communist but also
anti-monarchist. Standart cited top judges as saying Simeon cannot run
in the next elections because he does not meet the constitutional
provision that the president must have lived in Bulgaria for the past
five years. Simeon says it does not apply in his case because he was
forced to live in exile. However, he has so far failed to prove that he
tried to return but was not allowed to. Standart also reported that
Union of Democratic Forces Chairman Ivan Kostov will brief other
opposition leaders on his recent talks with Simeon. -- Stefan Krause

VICE PRESIDENT OF BULGARIA'S MULTIGROUP SACKED. Dimitar Ivanov, vice
president of Multigroup, the controversial Bulgarian cartel, was fired
by its board of directors on 12 February, Standart reported the next
day. Ivanov made headlines in November 1995 following unsubstantiated
allegations of his involvement in the October assassination attempt
against Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. Ivanov is a former section
head at the infamous Sixth Administration of the State Security (DS)
agency, which was charged with investigating political offenses. He may
have been sacked for alleging that group president Iliya Pavlov was
investigated by DS from 1983-1989 for corruption. Another possibility is
that Multigroup is making room for technocrats in its management. --
Michael Wyzan

TURKEY'S LATEST MOVE ON KARDAK-IMIA. Following the European Commission's
declaration of "full solidarity" with Greece in its dispute with Ankara
over the Kardak-Imia islet, Turkey has announced it is sending Foreign
Minister Deniz Baykal to various European capitals, Turkish media
reported on 13 February. Baykal will attempt to persuade Turkey's
European allies to support the Turkish call for diplomatic negotiations
on the status of various islets in the Aegean. Greece has already
rejected this call, saying it is impossible to negotiate its sovereign
rights. -- Lowell Bezanis

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

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