In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires. - Ben Franklin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 54, Part II, 15 March 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "Slovakia's Controversial Press Law", by Sharon Fisher
-  "Fifth Anniversary of the Referendum to Preserve the Soviet Union",
   by Peter Rutland

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 ARMS CONFERENCE OPENS IN ANKARA. The Bosnia "Train and Equip"
Donors Conference began in the Turkish capital on 15 March under U.S.
and Turkish sponsorship. It aims to strengthen the Bosnian federal armed
forces to offset Serbian military preponderance and achieve the 5:2:2
ratio between Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia as set down in the Dayton
agreement, the VOA reported. Some 25 countries were expected to attend,
AFP said on 13 March. The Turkish Daily News noted the next day that
Iran has not been invited and that Russia declined to attend. The
Financial Times reported on 15 March that a major rift has emerged
between the EU, led by Paris and London, and the U.S. Brussels' main
concern is to restore ties with Serbia, while Washington is interested
in strengthening the federal armed forces, in combating Iranian
influence in Bosnia, and in pressuring Serbia to end the Kosovo
imbroglio. -- Patrick Moore
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

NOTE TO OUR READERS. Andrii Ozadovsky, Ukrainian ambassador to the Czech
Republic, has appealed to OMRI as well as Czech officials and
publications to refer to the Ukrainian capital as "Kyiv" rather than
"Kiev." In an interview with OMRI, the ambassador explained that a
special government commission last fall ordered its representatives to
appeal to governments and periodicals to switch to the Ukrainian
transliteration. He said his government has formally appealed to the UN
to use Ukrainian transliterations of place names in official documents
and references. The UN has agreed to comply with this request. As of 15
March, OMRI is using "Kyiv" in its publications.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO REVIEW CRIMEAN CONSTITUTION. The parliamentary
commission on legal policy and judicial reforms on 13 March voted to
submit the draft Crimean constitution to the Ukrainian legislature,
Radio Ukraine and UNIAN reported. But Crimean Parliament speaker Yevhen
Supruniuk said he doubted it would be approved by Ukrainian lawmakers by
31 March. The Crimean legislature has threatened to hold a regional
referendum on Crimea's status if Ukrainian legislators fail to approve
the Crimean basic law by the end of the month. The speaker blamed the
recent standoff on hard-liners in both the Ukrainian and Crimean
legislatures. He added, however, that at a 13 March meeting in Kyiv,
President Leonid Kuchma had shown "understanding" for Crimean complaints
about provisions in the draft Ukrainian constitution limiting Crimean
autonomy. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN COMMUNISTS WANT BELAVEZHA ACCORDS DENOUNCED. Syarhei
Kalyakin, deputy speaker of the parliament and leader of the communist
caucus, asked the legislature on 14 March to denounce the Belavezha
agreements, which dissolved the USSR and created the CIS, ITAR-TASS
reported. He reminded deputies that in the 17 March 1991 referendum,
76.4% of Belarusians voted in favor of preserving the Soviet Union.
Kalyakin also said the Communists supported the president's policy to
integrate more closely with Russia. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUS SIGNS AGREEMENTS WITH KALININGRAD. A delegation from Kaliningrad
headed by Governor Yurii Matochkin met with Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Minsk on 14 March, ITAR-TASS and Russian Public
Television reported. The two sides signed agreements on trade and
transport, and the use of Kaliningrad as a port for Belarusian trade
activities was also discussed. Lukashenka said ties between Belarus and
Kaliningrad would not lead to confrontations with Lithuania or Poland.
-- Ustina Markus

UPDATE ON ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS. European Commissioner Anna
Gradin told Estonian European Affairs Minister Endel Lippmaa in Tallinn
on 14 March that it was important for Estonia to settle its border with
Russia since it could become the outer limits of the EU, BNS reported.
Dissatisfied with the lack of information on the progress of the border
talks, the Fatherland Party is to hold a round table discussion on the
question today; all political parties, except the Reform Party, are
expected to attend. The next round of border talks is scheduled for 28
March. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN DEPUTIES CONDEMN RUSSIAN IMPERIALISM IN CHECHNYA. Fifty-five of
the 100 Saeima deputies on 14 March signed a letter to the Russian
government and Duma condemning "Russian imperialism" and "scorched
earth" tactics in Chechnya, Reuters reported. The letter, initiated by
the rightist For the Fatherland and Freedom party, accuses the Russian
army of genocide during the 15-month war in Chechnya and expressed
condolences to the Chechen people and the relatives of Russian soldiers
killed in the war. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN ARGENTINA. Algirdas Brazauskas, during his two-
day visit to Argentina, met with Argentine President Carlos Menem,
Western agencies reported on 14 March. The two leaders signed an
agreement on protecting and encouraging investments. Brazauskas noted
that Argentina's experience in economic reforms could be useful for
Lithuania. He is scheduled to fly to Uruguay the next day for talks with
President Julio Maria Sanguinetti and will also visit Brazil and
Venezuela. -- Saulius Girnius

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN POLAND. Yevgenii Primakov, at the beginning
of his two-day official visit to Poland, held separate talks with Prime
Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati on
14 March, Polish and international media reported. After meeting with
Cimoszewicz, Primakov said the two countries will seek to eliminate
trade barriers. Rosati said they also discussed bilateral relations,
European security, and the Polish president's visit to Russia next
month. Primakov noted that Russia will abandon its plan to build a
highway from Kaliningrad to Belarus via Poland's northwestern tip (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 11 March 1996). In an interview with Polityka,
Primakov said Russia will be satisfied if Poland receives a security
guarantee from NATO rather than becoming a member. Poland argues that
its membership in NATO would not endanger Moscow's security and could
work in Russia's favor. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

GERMAN-LED CONSORTIUM WINS CZECH MOBILE PHONE CONTRACT. TMobil,
dominated by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, on 14 March beat out five
other international consortia for a license to set up a GSM digital
mobile phone network in the Czech Republic, Czech media reported.
Economy Minister Karel Dyba said TMobil will sign a joint venture
agreement with Czech Radiocommunications next week, paying 5.22 billion
crowns ($193 million) for a 49% stake. Since 1991, Eurotel has had a
monopoly in the sector, and its analog mobile phone system has an
estimated 49,000 customers. Dyba said the new network will offer lower
prices and will seek to cover 65% of the country by September this year
and have 500,000 customers within 10 years. Germany's DeTeMobil owns
84.55% of TMobil, STET of Italy 12%, and Czech firms the remainder. --
Steve Kettle

SLOVAKS COMMEMORATE ANNIVERSARY OF FOUNDING OF WAR-TIME STATE. Between
100 and 250 skinheads and pensioners on 14 March gathered in Bratislava
to mark the 57th anniversary of the founding of Slovakia's Nazi-allied
war-time state and to honor its president, Jozef Tiso, Slovak media
reported. The rally was organized by the Slovak National Union (SNJ) and
the Society of Dr. Jozef Tiso. SNJ chairman Stanislav Panis praised both
Tiso and the war-time state and complained that the majority of current
parliamentary deputies are former communists. Speakers attacked Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar for earlier statements that the Tiso regime was
"fascist," and they called for the Slovak-Hungarian treaty to be
rejected. The Slovak Anti-Fascist Union and the Human movement condemned
the attempts "to revive fascist ideas." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK OPPOSITION CRITICIZES PENAL CODE. Representatives of the
Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Democratic Union on 14 March
rejected the cabinet's amendment to the penal code (also known as the
law on the protection of the republic), Slovak media reported. KDH
deputy Ivan Simko called the amendment "the most fundamental turning
point in Slovakia since 1989" and stressed that his party will turn to
the Constitutional Court if the bill is passed. The Slovak National
Party has said its approval of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty is
conditional on the draft law's passage. The opposition also criticized
the bill on Slovakia's territorial arrangement. -- Sharon Fisher

ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN BUDAPEST. An estimated 30,000 people on
14 March attended a rally organized by the Independent Smallholders
Party (FKgP) outside Budapest's parliament, international media
reported. Populist FKgP Chairman Jozsef Torgyan, pointing to the
negative effects of the austerity measures implemented by Gyula Horn's
cabinet, demanded its resignation and called for new parliamentary
elections. The demonstration was held on the eve of Hungary's state
holiday marking the anniversary of the 1848 revolution. With 26 seats in
the parliament, the FKgP became the biggest opposition party after the
recent split of the Hungarian Democratic Forum. Opinion polls suggest
that the party is more popular than Horn's Socialist Party, which holds
209 seats. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ANOTHER BALKAN SUMMIT TO BEGIN. The top leaders of Bosnia, Serbia, and
Croatia are slated to meet in Geneva with U.S. Secretary of State Warren
Christopher on 18 March, AFP reported on 15 March, citing Christopher's
spokesman. There will also be top officials present from the other
Contact Group countries, Reuters noted the previous day. The fact that
such a gathering is being called illustrates the precarious state of the
Dayton peace process, given that the last summit was held in Rome only a
few weeks ago and that a regional foreign ministers' meeting is slated
for 23 March in Moscow. Meanwhile, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic
has left the hospital for a prolonged recuperation at home from heart
problems, Oslobodjenje noted the next day. Vice President Ejup Ganic,
who has been substituting for the president, will fill in for him at the
summit with Presidents Franjo Tudjman of Croatia and Slobodan Milosevic
of Serbia. -- Patrick Moore

SARAJEVO SERBS SEEK TO CURB EXODUS. The anti-nationalist Serbian Civic
Council (SGV) has appealed to the federal president and prime minister
to take measures to reassure Serbs that they have a place in the Bosnian
capital. The SGV again asked President Kresimir Zubak to make Sarajevo a
federal district, based on the model of Brussels, where all groups would
be equal. It also asked Prime Minister Izudin Kapetanovic to give Serbs
a six-month grace period to return to their homes. The Council also
called for setting up a registry of prewar Serbian property and a
commission on the rights of refugees and returnees, Oslobodjenje
reported on 14 March. There are some 10,000 Serbs still in the suburbs,
and Ilidza-based Mayor Maksim Stanisic is also urging them to stay
through his Democratic Initiative of Sarajevo Serbs. -- Patrick Moore

SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL SUSPECTS TO APPEAR IN THE HAGUE? Deputy Chief
Prosecutor on the International War Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia Graham Blewitt on 14 March believes that suspected Serbian
war criminals Radoslav Kremenovic and Drazen Erdemovic will be turned
over to the tribunal. "I do not anticipate any obstacles to both men
being transferred [from Serbia] to the Hague in accordance with the
prosecutor's request," Reuters quoted him as saying. Kremenovic and
Erdemovic have already admitted to taking part in the massacres of
Bosnian Muslims after the Bosnian Muslim "safe-haven" of Srebrenica fell
to the Serbs in July 1995. -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ON CONDITIONS IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Vuk
Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, has sent a letter to
the foreign ministries (or their equivalents) of the U.S., Russia,
Germany, France, Britain, and Italy arguing that since the Dayton peace
accord, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has implemented "a one-
party dictatorship." Nasa Borba on 15 March quotes Draskovic as saying
that there are systematic campaigns of repression against the
independent media, growing police repression, and continuing human
rights violations. Draskovic also contends that "the great powers have
given [Milosevic] a free hand" to intensify domestic repression since
the peace accord was signed. -- Stan Markotich

OSCE TIES BELGRADE'S ADMISSION TO SOLUTION IN KOSOVO. Swiss Foreign
Minister and OSCE chairman Flavio Cotti said Belgrade's readmission to
the OSCE would be tied to a resolution of the Kosovo conflict, Reuters
reported on 14 March. Cotti pointed out that "effective progress" is
"unfortunately still far away." He pointed out that the OSCE expects
guarantees from Belgrade that Kosovo will be granted "large autonomy" or
that "a federal solution" to the problem will be found. -- Fabian
Schmidt

SPY TRIAL IN CROATIA CRITICIZED. Defense lawyers representing 15 people
charged with spying for rump Yugoslavia and Croatian Serb rebels have
accused the military prosecutors of being partial, Nasa Borba and AFP
reported on 14 March. They say the prosecutors have denied them access
to necessary legal documents so that they have been unable to prepare
their defense on time. Prosecutors say 10 of the accused have pleaded
not guilty, three have pleaded guilty, and two have refused to plead
anything. Defense lawyers also complained about bringing the prisoners
to the court "in chains,", Vjesnik reported on 15 March. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON TREATY WITH RUSSIA. Teodor Melescanu has
told ITAR-TASS that Romania wants to sign the bilateral treaty with
Russia before the next Russian presidential elections. Radio Bucharest
cited Melescanu as saying that the treaty should be signed during the
Yeltsin-Iliescu summit and that he would discuss these matters with his
Russian counterpart, Yevgenii Primakov, next month. He added that
disagreement persisted over the inclusion in the treaty of a mention of
the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail
Demurin said Moscow was waiting for a sign of "realism" from Bucharest
that it was ready to forego its demand that the treaty condemn the pact.
-- Michael Shafir

BUCHAREST SUBWAY RUNS AGAIN. Radio Bucharest announced on 14 March that
the Bucharest subway has started running again. Nothing was said about
the some 2,000 employees who have refused to sign pledges to return to
work. According to a statement by Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu on 13
March, those workers have been dismissed. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT DEMANDS DEFENSE MINISTER'S RESIGNATION. Mircea Snegur
is demanding Defense Minister Pavel Creanga's resignation, BASA-press
and international agencies reported on 14 March. The presidential office
released a statement saying Creanga had failed to "take sufficient
measures to ensure the integrity of the National Army's assets and
efficient use of budget funds." Creanga said the accusations were
"groundless" and that the demand for his resignation was illegal and
prompted by his refusal to allow political interference in the army.
Under Moldovan law, a minister can be dismissed only by the prime
minister. Observers note that Premier Andrei Sangheli, a political rival
of Snegur, is unlikely to fire Creanga. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN UPDATE. The European Court of Human Rights on 14 March agreed
to hear charges made by Andrey Lukanov, who was Bulgarian premier for 10
months after the collapse of the communist regime headed by Todor
Zhivkov, international media reported. Lukanov, now a deputy of the
ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, alleges that his rights were violated
when the authorities illegally detained him in 1992 to determine his
possible role in misappropriating state funds while deputy premier in
the 1980s. In other news, Bulgarian media on 14 March reported that some
37 sports federations are defending Ivan Slavkov, chairman of both the
Bulgarian Olympic Committee and Soccer Association and Zhivkov's son-in-
law. In a letter to various politicians, the federations say Slavkov's
human rights are being violated. On 11 March, he went on trial for
misappropriating state funds and possessing firearms. -- Stan Markotich

ALBANIAN EDITOR FINED FOR "FALSE REPORT." Koha Jone Chief Editor
Aleksander Frangaj was fined the equivalent of $1,000 for allowing the
publication of a "false report" (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 March 1996)
international agencies reported. Frangaj was sentenced under a disputed
media law that makes chief editors and publishers accountable for
articles containing false information. The law provides for fines from
between $1,000 and $8,000. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEK PREMIER SAYS ECONOMIC TIES WITH SKOPJE IMPROVE. Kostas Simitis
said that talks on economic ties with Skopje are progressing but that
the dispute over the name of Macedonia remains unresolved. Simitis was
speaking at a meeting with Greek opposition leaders , AFP reported on 14
March. Neo-nationalist leader Antonis Samaras, who opposes any
concessions to Macedonia, called for a referendum, but other party
leaders supported finding a compromise. Simitis will meet with the head
of the Macedonian liaison office in Athens Ljupco Arsovski on 15 March.
In another diplomatic effort, Greek Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos
has invited his Macedonian counterpart, Ljubomir Frckovski, to Athens to
"discuss economic and commercial relations." -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEK-TURKISH UPDATE. Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said Turkey
may withdraw its Aegean army in a move to improve strained relations
with Greece, Western media reported on 14 March. His remarks came in the
wake of Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos's offer to withdraw
its troops from Aegean islands near Turkey if Ankara relocates its 4th
Aegean army. -- 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
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