Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith. - Christopher Fry
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 47, Part II, 06 March 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BOSNIAN FEDERAL POLICE ENTER HADZICI. A 90-man contingent of government
police took up duty on 6 March in the third formerly Serb-held Sarajevo
suburb to pass to federal control under the Dayton agreement. The force
consisted of 70 Muslims, 15 Serbs, and 5 Croats, which reflects the
prewar ethnic composition of the area, AFP reported. CNN said that a
group of Croat police had entered the area the previous night and
occupied a building, but left peacefully after IFOR threatened to use
force to oust them. The Croats felt that they were underrepresented in
the federal contingent. The Serbian population had largely fled on
Pale's orders, and torched and looted buildings in the process. The
UNHCR will launch a $2.5 million project to repair the damage to homes
the Serbs gutted, Onasa reported on 5 March. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE PROHIBITS ALCOHOL, TOBACCO ADVERTISING. Ukrainian lawmakers
voted on 5 March to ban alcohol and tobacco advertising in an effort to
head off growing substance abuse in the country, Reuters reported. The
ban was included in a bill regulating advertising, a budding $900
million a year industry. Deputies claimed that cigarette and liquor ads
comprise 40% of all advertising revenues. They also said alcohol
production was the only industry in Ukraine that had not experienced a
decline, though at the expense of the nation's health. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

ESTONIAN PREMIER ON ORTHODOX CHURCH DISPUTE. Tiit Vahi said on 5 March
that the Estonian government has tried not to get involved in religious
problems and thus only dealt with the secular side of the dispute within
the Orthodox Church, ETA reported. The state was obliged to return to
the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church the property it had prior to
World War II. He said he was glad that the EAOC had agreed to allow
Moscow-led congregations to use their church buildings. Interior
Minister Mart Rask called recent Russian charges that his ministry was
creating a schism in the Orthodox Church unfounded. He could not comply
with the demands to abolish the registration of the EAOC since courts
had ruled that its registration was in accordance with Estonian laws. --
Saulius Girnius
POLISH PRESIDENT VISITS LITHUANIA. Aleksander Kwasniewski began a two-
day visit to Vilnius on 5 March by signing a declaration on
strengthening cooperation with his Lithuanian counterpart, Algirdas
Brazauskas, Radio Lithuania reported. Foreign ministers Dariusz Rosati
and Povilas Gylys signed a border treaty, and defense ministers
Stanislaw Dobrzanski and Linas Linkevicius an agreement on the joint use
of airspace for military aircraft. The presidents discussed trade issues
and the prospects for their countries' integration into the European
Union and NATO. Kwasniewski also met with leaders of the Polish
community and was scheduled to address the Seimas the next day. --
Saulius Girnius

TRUCKERS BLOCKADE POLISH-BELARUSIAN BORDER. Truckers have blockaded a
border crossing point between Poland and Belarus by Terespol, ITAR-TASS
reported on 4 March. The crossing point is one of the busiest between
Eastern Europe and the CIS and the line of cars and trucks waiting to
enter Belarus stretches tens of kilometers into Poland, forcing drivers
to wait an average of 55 hours to get into Belarus. The  blockade is
meant to draw attention to the problem. There is no shortage of border
crossing points and they are working to capacity. Since the beginning of
the year the Terespol crossing point has cleared 53,000 trucks. --
Ustina Markus

IMBROGLIO IN POLISH NEWSPAPER. Shareholders in Zycie Warszawy on 5 March
authorized the board of directors to sell at least  part of the Italian-
owned daily, despite opposition from Polish shareholders who hold around
2% of the paper. Journalists claim that no-one has informed them to whom
and on what conditions the newspaper will be sold. According to Gazeta
Wyborcza on 6 March, the final transaction has not been completed.
Italian owner Nicola Grauso is holding talks with Zbigniew Jakubas, who
has promised  to retain the newspaper's staff and not worsen working
conditions. In an interview with Rzeczpospolita, Jakubas said he would
like Zycie Warszawy no longer to be one-sided and become the newspaper
of the political center, directed by a council of individuals from
various political groupings. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

POLISH COMMISSION VISITS POST-SOVIET MILITARY BASES. A government
commission dealing with restoring villages and buildings abandoned by
the Soviet Army visited the Koszalin province in northwestern Poland on
5 March. The commission should visit eight Polish provinces where the
Soviet forces were based and is to help draft a project allocating 30
million zlotys ($11.67 million) for putting in working order the post-
Soviet structures. In Bagicz, which hosted a former Soviet military
airport, the main threat is liquid fuels which have penetrated the soil.
The delegation also visited Klomin and Bialogard, where houses and a
hospital need attention, Rzeczpospolita reported on 6 March. -- Dagmar
Mroziewicz

CZECH IFOR SOLDIERS ACCUSED OF RAPE. Czech media reported on 5 and 6
March that two members of the Czech battalion serving in Bosnia have
been cleared of accusations that they raped a U.S. servicewoman last
weekend. A Czech police investigator who traveled to Bosnia to examine
the case was quoted as saying that no rape - as defined by Czech law -
occurred. "The result of the investigation is that she agreed with their
proposal," the spokesman of the Czech contingent said, and a Czech
doctor who examined the woman involved agreed with this conclusion.
Mlada fronta Dnes, however, reported that American military authorities
disagreed, insisting that rape did take place. The daily quoted a U.S.
military spokeswoman as saying that such incidents will be thoroughly
investigated. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES TERRITORIAL ADMINISTRATION PLAN. Interior
Ministry State Secretary Pavol Kacic on 5 March announced the
government's approval of Slovakia's new territorial division, Slovak
media reported. The draft, which awaits parliamentary approval, divides
Slovakia into eight regions (Bratislava, Trnava, Nitra, Trencin, Zilina,
Banska Bystrica, Presov, and Kosice) and 74 districts. The cabinet's
bill cancels the independent statute of Bratislava as Slovakia's
capital, which Coexistence chairman Miklos Duray called "political
revenge" for the results of the last elections. Kacic said the election
law, which is currently based on four electoral regions, will have to be
amended, a move which ethnic Hungarian leaders fear could lead to a
decline in their parliamentary representation. The cabinet did not
discuss a territorial administration proposal put forward by the
Hungarian coalition. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK AUTHORITIES QUESTION PRESIDENT'S SON. Police investigator Jozef
Ciz on 5 March questioned Michal Kovac Jr. for eight hours in connection
with his abduction to Austria last August, RFE/RL's Slovak Service
reported. Kovac  said the questioning included looking at photographs of
possible suspects; however, he declined to say whether he had identified
his kidnappers, noting his agreement not to grant information which
could "frustrate" the investigation. "Everything took place in a correct
working atmosphere," Kovac said, stressing that the "self-abduction"
variant put forward by certain coalition representatives was not
discussed. On 6 March, Kovac will undergo interrogation concerning his
alleged involvement in the Technopol fraud. Ciz told Slovak Radio that
the abduction case should be completed within one to two months, but he
emphasized the need to question former Slovak Information Service agent
Oskar F., who accused the SIS of involvement. -- Sharon Fisher

GERMANS GIVE FUNDS FOR ROMANI CHURCH IN SLOVAKIA. The German religious
organization "Kirche in Not" [Church in Need] on 5 March issued DM 9,000
to the Roman Catholic Church in Pecovska Nova Ves in the Presov
district, TASR reported. Local Roma will use the funds for the
construction of a chapel dedicated to Zeferyn Jimenez Mall,  a Spanish
Rom shot in 1936 during the Civil War and the first Rom in history to be
beatified by the Church. Of the village's 2,100 inhabitants, 360 are
Roma. The cornerstone was laid last September, and the chapel is
expected to be open for its first service this summer. -- Alaina Lemon

HUNGARIAN JEWS PROTEST AGAINST NEO-NAZIS' ACQUITTAL. The Federation of
the Jewish Communities in Hungary continued to protest the acquittal of
two neo-Nazi leaders charged with using fascist symbols and inciting
hatred, Hungarian media reported on 6 March. The protest came in the
wake of a Budapest municipal court ruling, which said the submitted
evidence was insufficient to support the charges filed by the
prosecution (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 March 1996). The president of the
federation, Peter Feldmajer, said that "in the 1947 Paris Treaty, the
Hungarian government undertook the obligation to prosecute any anti-
Semitic propaganda," and that "the acquittal of those who regard
themselves as followers of (Hungarian fascist leader) Ferenc Szalasi
allows the propagation of fascist ideology to continue." The Jewish
Communities expressed the hope that  the Supreme Court will decide on
appeal  in line with the European legal system and will prevent the
propaganda of racist, fascist ideology. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IFOR TO REDEFINE MANDATE? The NATO peacekeepers were ready to to take
stiff measures against a group of Croatian policemen (see Top Story),
and many think they should show the same resolution toward indicted war
criminals and persons tampering with evidence of war crimes. To date,
however, IFOR's commanders say that such activities are not in their
mandate. Discussions are nonetheless underway in Brussels to broaden the
interpretation of IFOR's mission to include dealing with war criminals
and protecting evidence, as well as possibly helping with some civilian
reconstruction projects. AFP reported on 6 March that moves in this
direction are in progress and that diplomatic sources are confident of
Washington's approval. U.S. Secretary of the Army Togo West said in
Tuzla, however, that this is not the case and "we have a well-defined
mission and we are sticking to it." -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN FEDERAL PRESIDENT WARNS OF NEW CROAT-MUSLIM WAR. Kresimir Zubak
said that the federation could break down and a new conflict emerge if
current differences are not resolved. Elsewhere, Onasa also reported on
5 March that the UNHCR has retracted a report that Serbs have launched a
new wave of ethnic cleansing in the Banja Luka area, saying now that the
evictions took place some time ago. Meanwhile in Tuzla, the Red Cross
announced it is setting up a group to look into the fate of missing
persons in Bosnia. And in Sarajevo, the Academy of Sciences expelled the
prominent Bosnian Serb historian and professor Milorad Ekmecic for his
role in developing Pale's nationalist ideology, "which has caused an
unseen plight of even the Serbian people in Bosnia." Ekmecic's theories
include the historically dubious idea that the area is "historic Serbian
space," which provided the ideological underpinnings for the wholesale
destruction of mosques and Ottoman-era buildings. The Bosnian government
has said it wants Ekmecic indicted for war crimes for his role in
promoting ethnic hatred. -- Patrick Moore

LEADER OF SERBIA'S NEW DEMOCRACY INTERVIEWED. Nasa Borbaon 6 March
features an interview with Dusan Mihajlovic, leader of the small but
important New Democracy (ND) party, which functions as a coalition
partner and de facto member of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia in
Serbia's legislature. Mihajlovic, signaling that relations between ND
and the SPS are likely to remain good, said "we are not going to engage
in putsches or conspiracies." He added, "I see no crisis in relations."
He touched on the sensitive question of the status of Serbia's Kosovar
Albanians, suggesting that he, and presumably his patron, Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic, continue to rule out genuine autonomy for
Kosovo and international mediation on the status of the once-autonomous
province. "The [Kosovo] question must be solved by Serbs and Albanians.
That's much better than someone else solving it," he observed. -- Stan
Markotich

UPDATE ON SERBIA'S STUDIO B. Nasa Borba on 4 March ran a piece, "A Fake
Studio B," describing what has happened to the once-independent Studio B
TV following the recent government take-over. During the past few weeks,
the report suggests, the station has seemingly fallen completely into
the regime's hands, and now practices distorting and misrepresenting
opposition party platforms and public statements. Not surprisingly, the
station also now endorses uncritically the policies of Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and his Socialist Party of Serbia. "Studio B is now
tripping over itself, fawning about its new masters...giving over some
50 minutes of coverage to the [SPS 2 March] party congress during
yesterday's programming. This was more coverage than any other
television station, except for [the state-run] Radio and Television
Serbia," the report observed. -- Stan Markotich

YUGOSLAV PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION IN ROMANIA. A parliamentary delegation
of the rump Yugoslav Federation on 5 March ended an official visit to
Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. The delegation, headed by National
Assembly Speaker Radovan Bozovic, met with the chairman of Romania's
Chamber of Deputies Adrian Nastase and the Senate's Deputy Chairman Ion
Solcanu. Bozovic was also received by Romanian President Ion Iliescu and
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. The two sides discussed ways to boost
bilateral relations under the new conditions created by the Dayton
agreement. They described the signing in the near future of a basic
treaty between the two countries as a top diplomatic priority for both
Bucharest and Belgrade. The drafting of  the document by teams of
experts was completed last week in Belgrade. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR COMBATING CORRUPTION. As a result of
parliamentary debates on anti-corruption legislation, several top
officials should have already resigned, Infotag quoted Mircea Snegur as
saying on 5 March in the Moldovan parliament. According to Snegur,
corruption is related primarily to the state apparatus. He accused the
Foreign Economic Commission for violating its own ban on exports, as
well as Defense Minister Pavel Creanga for "dubious transactions" in his
ministry. Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi said one of the reasons
for corruption in Moldova was the fact that criminal groups are better
equipped and trained than law-enforcement bodies. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN CABINET RESHUFFLE AHEAD? Before a plenary meeting of the
Supreme Council of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP),
representatives of its coalition partners, and the joint parliamentary
faction scheduled for 10 March, Bulgarian newspapers on 6 March
speculate about a likely government reshuffle. Kontinent reported that
Minister of Economic Development Rumen Gechev, Agriculture Minister
Svetoslav Shivarov (both also Deputy Prime Ministers), Interior Minister
Lyubomir Nachev, and Industry Minister Kliment Vuchev will be replaced
for failing to cope with the problems in their respective fields of
responsibility. Other papers also name Justice Minister Mladen
Chervenyakov as likely to lose his post. Health Minister Mimi Vitkova
has prepared her resignation but the BSP has decided that she will
resign only if the recent AIDS scandal is brought up during the plenum.
24 chasa reported that the cabinet reshuffle will be completed by the
end of May. -- Stefan Krause

U.S. HOUSE GRANTS BULGARIA MFN STATUS. The U.S. House of
Representatives on 5 March granted Bulgaria permanent most-favored-
nation status, Reuters reported. The U.S. had granted Bulgaria the
status, which gives it the lowest U.S. tariffs on its export goods, on
an annual basis since 1993. Supporters of the bill said Bulgaria has
made good progress toward democracy and a free market economy since the
fall of communism. The bill has to be approved by the U.S. Senate. --
Stefan Krause

KOSOVAR LEADER MEETS MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT. Macedonian President Kiro
Gligorov met Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova on 5 March in
Skopje, Reuters reported. They reviewed the situation in Macedonia,
Kosovo and the Balkan region and apparently discussed the new conditions
set by the international community for the full diplomatic recognition
of rump Yugoslavia. The European Parliament on 1 March had asked the EU
Council of Ministers to grant full recognition only if Belgrade reaches
a "total and satisfactory settlement" with the Kosovar leadership, Beta
reported. The parliament further demanded negotiations without
preconditions by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic "with [Kosovar
shadow state leader Ibrahim] Rugova and other elected representatives of
the people of Kosovo." The parliament also expressed willingness to open
a Commission office in Kosovo, noting that the U.S. had similar plans.
Rugova had earlier visited Tirana where he met Albanian President Sali
Berisha. -- Fabian Schmidt

ITALIAN JOURNALIST CLAIMS HE GOT INFORMATION ON TIRANA BOMBING. An
Italian journalist, Pietro Zannoni, said he had received information on
the origin of the bomb that exploded in central Tirana on 26 February.
Zannoni claims he talked to a former communist secret service [Sigurimi]
agent who told him that the bomb was given by Serbian secret agents to
former Sigurimi agents, who later prepared it in Fier. Zannoni also
included internationally wanted Serbian war criminal Zeljko Raznjatovic
"Arkan" in his theory. The Interior Ministry could not confirm the
allegations, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 5 March. Zannoni had earlier
claimed that he had received information proving that the dailies Koha
Jone and Zeri I Popullit were being financed by the Serbian secret
service. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

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
 
         

[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