The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 39, Part II, 23 February 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "Yeltsin Sacks Officials over Delayed Wage and Pension Payments",
    by Penny Morvant
-  "The IMF:  Savior or Sinner?", by Peter Rutland
-  "Remembering the 1944 Chechen Deportation", by Roger Kangas

Available only via the World Wide Web:
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Analytical/Index.html

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BOSNIAN FEDERAL POLICE ENTER VOGOSCA. The first of 85 federal police--
including ethnic Serbs--deployed to the northern suburb of Sarajevo have
found a filthy police station and a population shrunk from 17,000 to
about 2,500, Reuters reported on 23 February. UNHCR spokesman Kris
Janowski said of those who left: "They didn't have to go. They were
incited to go by their own authorities. They were incited by a regime
previously responsible for expelling tens of thousands of people and
killing many others." Onasa on 19 February aid there will eventually be
645 federal police under international supervision in the Serb-held
suburbs. The federal officers will carry only short-barrel side arms and
be deployed to the remaining four suburbs at six-day intervals. --
Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

KUCHMA ENDS U.S. VISIT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma wrapped up his
three-day visit to the U.S. on 22 February, international agencies
reported. He was promised over $1 billion in financial assistance,
making Ukraine the third-largest recipient of American aid after Israel
and Egypt. Russia had occupied that position since 1991. The IMF said it
will offer Ukraine $900 million in credits this year, $200 million more
than it previously promised. Following talks with U.S. President Bill
Clinton on Russian-  Ukrainian relations, Kuchma said he wished Russian
President Boris Yeltsin success in this year's presidential elections,
noting the result of the ballot will greatly influence bilateral
relations, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 February. -- Ustina Markus

NEW SOCIALIST PARTY TO BE FORMED IN UKRAINE. Two Ukrainian lawmakers and
their supporters have announced they will hold a congress in April to
found a new political party, the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine,
UNIAN reported on 21 February. Natalia Vitrenko and Volodymyr Marchenko
were recently expelled from the Socialist Party of Ukraine after
criticizing the party and its leader, parliamentary speaker Oleksander
Moroz, for deviating from socialist ideas. A number of party members
from regional organizations in Sumy, Odessa, and Zaporizhia Oblasts quit
in protest and are expected to take part in the founding congress. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS COLLECT SIGNATURES FOR PLEBISCITE. The Communist
Party of Ukraine is claiming it has collected 2.5 million signatures in
support of holding a non-binding referendum on the main provisions of a
new constitution, UNIAN reported on 21 February. Organizers are aiming
to get the necessary 3 million signatures by 15 March. The Central
Election Commission says the initiative violates a year-long moratorium
on referendums imposed by the so-called constitutional agreement between
the president and a majority of lawmakers. The Communists, however, did
not sign that agreement and argue there are no laws against holding non-
binding opinion polls. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS TO IMPOSE NEW TARIFFS ON IMPORTS. The Belarusian Cabinet of
Ministers is preparing a new list of tariffs for imports, Belarusian
Radio reported on 22 February. Last year, it approved a list of tariffs
on various imported goods in line with those imposed by Russia. Now the
Russian government has drawn up a new list; and under the Russian-
Belarusian customs union, Belarus must comply with that list. Juices,
beer, shoes, jewelry, watches, TVs and radio will be exempt from
tariffs. Foreign Minister Uladzimir Syanko earlier this week said the
customs union between Russian and Belarus is not being implemented. Each
side has complained that the other is benefiting at its expense. --
Ustina Markus

PRESSURE ON BELARUSIAN INDEPENDENT MEDIA. The Belarusian independent
news agency Belapan and the independent newspaper Svaboda received
letters on 14 February from the president's administration breaking off
their lease agreements as of 15 February, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported on 23 February. Their offices are in buildings belonging to the
presidential administration. Although the reason given for breaking the
leases was "state needs," no other company occupying the building has
had its leased discontinued. This is the latest in a series of moves by
the presidential administration impeding the work of independent media.
-- Ustina Markus

AMNESTY FOR FORMER LATVIAN COMMUNIST LEADER. Nine deputies of the
Latvian parliament have sent a letter to President Guntis Ulmanis urging
him to amnesty former Latvian Communist Party First Secretary Alfreds
Rubiks, BNS reported on 22 February. Rubiks was sentenced to eight years
imprisonment for plotting the overthrow of the government in 1991. Of
the nine deputies, five belong to the National Harmony Party, three to
the Socialist Party, and one to the Unity Party. Fourteen deputies of
the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly from Ukraine, Cyprus,
Greece, Italy, Finland, and future member Russia signed a similar appeal
to Ulmanis in January. Among them were Russian Communist Party leader
Gennadii Zyuganov and ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. -- Saulius
Girnius

FORMER PRESIDENT WALESA TRIES TO UNITE POLISH RIGHT. Former Polish
President Lech Walesa is seeking again to unite leaders of right-of-
center political groupings. The first planned meeting of 15 right-wing
opposition leaders did not take place on 1 February because the invited
guests did not show up. On 22 February, former Prime Minister and
Freedom Union leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former Sejm speaker and
Christian National Alliance leader Wieslaw Chrzanowski and former Senate
speaker Andrzej Stelmachowski met with Walesa. Mazowiecki and
Chrzanowski stressed that they did not represent their parties. All four
declared that they would seek a rapprochement among Polish politicians
who were involved in the movement that followed August 1980 political
protests, the Polish press reported on 23 February. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PREMIER IN IRELAND. Vaclav Klaus on 22 February began a two-day
visit to Ireland, CTK reported. He held talks with Irish Prime Minister
John Bruton and Foreign Minister Dick Spring. Bruton said Ireland
welcomes and supports the Czech Republic's application to join the
European Union, Klaus noted that Ireland's chairmanship of the EU in the
second half of this year should bring "further signals and steps that
will bring us closer to membership of the European Union." Klaus was
also due to meet with Irish President Mary Robinson before leaving for a
private visit to Britain. -- Steve Kettle

VIENNA RESPONDS TO SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTRY'S NOTE OVER KOVAC JR. The
Austrian Foreign Ministry on 22 February sharply criticized Slovakia for
protesting a Vienna court decision to release Slovak President Michal
Kovac's son, Slovak and international media reported. The ministry
stressed that Austrian courts are independent and that neither the
government nor other organs can interfere in their work. It also
expressed disappointment that Slovakia made its note public before
giving it to Austria, which, it said, was "not in accordance with good
neighborly relations." Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk emphasized
that his ministry's note protested not the verdict itself but the
court's reasons for handing down such a judgment. He insisted that the
exchange of diplomatic notes will not damage bilateral relations.
Prosecutor-General Michal Valo said Kovac Jr. will not face arrest upon
return to Slovakia. But the Munich prosecutor's office said the
international warrant remains valid. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S EU INTEGRATION COMMITTEE HOLDS FIRST MEETING. The committee
set up to coordinate preparations for Hungary's admission into the EU
met for the first time on 22 February, Hungarian dailies reported. The
committee is composed of Prime Minister Gyula Horn, Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs, Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze, Industry and Trade
Minister Imre Dunai, Justice Minister Pal Vastagh, head of the cabinet's
integration working committee Andras Inotai, and state secretary Elemer
Kiss. The committee--the highest-level body coordinating EU integration-
-accepted a schedule and a timetable for accession and discussed key
tasks to meet that goal. Of the nine countries in the region with
associate membership, only Poland has set up a Ministry for EU Affairs.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

"PALE SPREADS PANIC." This is the headline in Oslobodjenje on 23
February describing the continuing exodus of Serbs from the Sarajevo
suburbs amid brutal winter conditions. The anti-nationalist Serbian
Civic Council (SGV) the previous day appealed to the German ambassador
to ask the Contact Group countries to send its five ambassadors to the
suburbs to try to stop the flight. Onasa also quoted SGV President Mirko
Pejanovic as saying that the council has sent representatives to talk to
people and dissuade them from leaving. Nasa Borba on 23 February
reported a declaration by the Bosnian state presidency urging the Serbs
to stay, but Foreign Minister Jadranko Prlic told Vecernje novine that
the Bosnian government should have passed an amnesty law earlier to
reassure the Serbs. Nasa Borba also quoted Pale's Radovan Karadzic as
blaming the international community for not giving the Serbs sufficient
guarantees, including their own government and police. -- Patrick Moore

IZETBEGOVIC'S LIFE NOT IN DANGER. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic
continues to be hospitalized for an unspecified heart problem, but a
spokesman for his political party said that the 70 year-old leader's
life is not threatened, Onasa reported on 22 February. The authorities
appealed for calm and urged people not to go to the hospital where the
president is staying. There has been speculation about Izetbegovic's
health since he disappeared from view for about a week last year at the
height of the allied military offensive against the Serbs. AFP added
that Izetbegovic will now take a medically supervised rest and not do
any hard work. -- Patrick Moore

IFOR ASKS DELAY IN LIFTING SANCTIONS. IFOR commander U.S. Admiral
Leighton Smith on 22 February asked the UN not to lift sanctions against
the Bosnian Serbs until they resume contacts with the international
community, international media reported. Under the Dayton peace accord,
sanctions should have been lifted one day after the IFOR commander
certified that the Bosnian factions have complied with the military
aspects of the accord. Smith certified this was the case on 21 February.
Meanwhile, the Russians have protested to the UN that sanctions should
have been lifted "days ago." -- Michael Mihalka

BELGRADE, PARIS RENEW DIPLOMATIC TIES. France has said it will appoint a
new ambassador to the rump Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 23
February. The French Foreign Affairs Ministry announced the previous day
that Gabriel Keller, currently charge d'affaires in Belgrade, will be
upgraded to ambassador. Bogdan Trisunovic has already been approved as
Belgrade's ambassador to Paris. France is expected to become the first
Western country to appoint an ambassador to the rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan
Markotich

SERBIAN RADICAL DENIED VISA TO VISIT THE HAGUE. Vojislav Seselj, leader
of the Serbian Radical Party and accused war criminal, has been denied a
visa to visit Holland to testify at The Hague, Nasa Borba reported on 21
February. Seselj has said several times in recent weeks that he wishes
to go The Hague to give testimony against Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic. He told the press that he had to be officially invited by The
Hague to receive a visitor's visa for Holland. The Hague war crimes
tribunal has said that it will listen to anyone who wants to testify but
that it does not issue invitations. -- Stan Markotich

EASTERN MOSTAR OFFICIALS RESIGN. Two Muslim municipal officials have
resigned in protest over the Rome agreement and changes in EU
administrator Hans Koschnick's proposal for the administrative
reorganization of the city, Tanjug reported on 22 February, citing the
eastern Mostar radio station. Their decision follows the recent
resignation of the eastern Mostar mayor Safet Orucevic. Koschnick
initially proposed that Mostar consist of three Muslim, three Croatian,
and one jointly administered central zone. Croats, however, protested
this proposal. The new plan foresees a small central zone. Meanwhile,
Mostar radio reported that full freedom of movement has not been
implemented because the Croats have not removed barricades and check-
points from the streets. -- Daria Sito Sucic

STRIKES IN CROATIA. Railway workers in Croatia on 22 February went on
strike to press for a 100% wage increase, Novi list reported. The
government has offered a 7.3% hike. The protest came one day after
unsuccessful attempts by the Association of Independent Workers' Union
to negotiate a new labor contract with government officials. The head of
the union has announced a general strike at the beginning of March, Hina
reported. Croatian post and telecommunications workers on 20 February
staged a one-day warning strike. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MACEDONIAN PREMIER DEFENDS GOVERNMENT'S RECORD. Branko Crvenskovski,
addressing the parliament on 22 February, defended the recently formed
coalition government, which excludes the Liberal Party, (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 12 February 1996), MILS reported the same day. The Liberals
belonged to the government formed after the October 1994 elections He
criticized the Liberals for not exhibiting "a spirit of team work and
mutual confidence" and responded to President Kiro Gligorov's criticism
of the Liberals' absence by saying that Gligorov was entitled to his own
views. Crvenskovski also revealed that foreign-currency reserves totaled
$274 million at the end of 1995. He praised Macedonia's relations with
the IMF and Paris Club, the low inflation rate, and progress on
privatization, stressing the need to arrest the decline in production.
-- Michael Wyzan

EIGHT DEAD IN ROMANIAN PLANE CRASH. A Romanian Antonov-24 aircraft on 22
February crashed near the northwestern town of Baia-Mare, killing all
six crew members on board and two workers on the ground, Romanian and
international media reported. The aircraft, owned by the Romanian Civil
Aviation Authority, was on a test flight. It took off from Bucharest's
Baneasa domestic airport and crashed two hours later into a stone quarry
15 km from the Baia-Mare airport control tower. The Romanian Transport
Ministry last December ordered checks on the country's aging AN-24s
after one crashed in Italy, killing all 49 on board. -- Matyas Szabo

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER LOSES COURT CASE IN TIRASPOL. Pavel Grachev has
lost a court case to Col. Mikhail Bergman, former commander of the
Tiraspol military garrison, Moldovan and Russian agencies reported on 21
February. The military tribunal of the Russian units stationed in
Tiraspol ruled that Grachev's October 1995 order to dismiss Bergman was
illegal. It decided that Bergman should be reinstated in his post and
that Grachev should pay some 19 million rubles ($4,100) to cover
Bergman's expenses and in compensation for "moral prejudice." Grachev's
lawyer said he would appeal the decision at the Moscow military
tribunal. Bergman, who was one of the closest associates of former 14th
Russian Army commander Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, claimed his dismissal was
an act of "political revenge." -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY RELEASES LIST OF ALLEGED CRIMINALS. The
Bulgarian Interior Ministry on 22 February released a list of 2,797
people against whom legal proceedings are pending, Kontinent reported
the following day. Of these, 482 have already been arrested. Interior
Minister Lyubomir Nachev said the list signals his ministry's will to
cooperate with the judiciary in the fight against crime. The ministry
was asked for such a list by Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev, the
National Investigation Service, and the police. Standart reported that
police last week started arresting people whose names appear on the
list. Meanwhile, former Tsar Simeon II on 22 February told Deutsche
Welle that he intends to visit Bulgaria in spring and that he does not
rule out running in the presidential elections later this year. --
Stefan Krause

ALBANIA GETS ITS GOLD BACK. French and Albanian officials on 22 February
signed an accord allowing the return of gold worth $30 million to
Albania, Reuters reported. The gold was first looted by the Nazis and
later seized by the allies to stop it falling into communist hands at
the end of World War II. It has since been held at the Bank of England
in London under the trusteeship of an Anglo-American-French commission.
Albanian Finance Minister Dylber Vrioni said he expected the 1.5 tons of
gold ingots and coins to be back in Albania in March. Albania had signed
accords with Britain and the U.S last year and had needed only Paris's
signature. -- Fabian Schmidt

FRANCE DONATES WHEAT TO ALBANIA. The French government will donate 3,000
tons of wheat to Albania to prevent a food crisis, Reuters reported on
22 February. Albania's wheat crop in 1995 fell by 35,000 tons to 420,000
tons, half its annual demand. In addition price increases on the world
marked have resulted in a shortage of cheap wheat on the Albanian
domestic market. The wheat will be shipped to Durres in March. Romania
has already donated 10,000 tons of wheat and is expected to send another
24,000 tons by early March. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE SEEKS TO BLOCK EU AID TO ANKARA. Greece on 22 February
effectively stalled a 375 million ECU ($485 million) aid package to
Turkey, Western media reported. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos said voting on the package has been taken off the agenda of the
EU foreign ministers' council meeting scheduled for 26 February. Greek
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, meeting with German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl in Bonn on 22 February, sought German support in Greece's dispute
with Turkey over an uninhabited islet. Meanwhile, Ankara responded by
recalling its ambassador to Greece, Western agencies reported. Turkish
caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller called on countries friendly with
Athens and Ankara to dissuade Greece from pursuing the "dangerous path"
it has embarked upon. -- Stefan Krause and Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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

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