When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. - Katherine Mansfield
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 67, Part II, 3 April 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
- "Bulgarian Political Class Divided over Yeltsin's Remark," by Stefan Krause
- "Balkan Defense Minitsers Meet in Tirana," by Fabian Schmidt

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE IN MINSK AGAINST TREATY WITH RUSSIA. Some 20,000
Belarusians demonstrated in Minsk on 2 April against the union treaty
signed earlier that day in Moscow by Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka and his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, international
media reported. A similar number of Communists had demonstrated in Minsk
at the weekend in support of the treaty, which paves the way for
integration with Russia in a number of areas. The 2 April demonstration
took place despite an initial ban on public gatherings. Police later
announced that the demonstration had been authorized but not in the city
center. Unable to reach the parliament building or the main square, the
demonstrators headed for the Russian Embassy but were prevented from
reaching there by more than 1,000 policemen. The protest, organized the
Belarus Popular Front, dispersed after some three hours. -- Jiri Pehe
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ON STATE OF THE NATION. Leonid Kuchma, in his annual
state of the nation address, said that Ukraine made considerable
progress in 1995 in its transformation to democracy and a market
economy, Ukrainian agencies reported on 2 April. He called on lawmakers
to help build a consensus on the nation's "fundamental values" and adopt
a new constitution as soon as possible. He added that the government
managed to bring down inflation, stabilize the national currency, and
privatize more state enterprises in one year than in the previous three
combined. Kuchma said his goals for 1996 include further lowering
inflation, resolving the industrial payments crisis, accelerating
privatization and restructuring, and tax reform. He called on deputies
to lift a moratorium on the privatization of some 6,000 state-owned
enterprises. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN ESTONIA. Mircea Snegur on 2 April began a two-day
official visit to Estonia, Moldovan agencies and BNS report. Snegur is
scheduled to meet with his Estonian counterpart, Lennart Meri, Premier
Tiit Vahi, Foreign Minister Siim Kallas, and other senior Estonian
officials. The Moldovan delegation includes Foreign Minister Mihai Popov
and Economics Minister Valeriu Bobutac. The two presidents are expected
to sign a joint declaration of friendship and cooperation. Snegur's
visit is the first by a Moldovan president to the Baltic states. He will
travel to Lithuania from Estonia. -- Dan Ionescu

EIGHT FORMER COMMUNISTS INDICTED IN LATVIA. Eight former members of the
Latvian Communist Party were indicted for lying about their political
activities after the party was outlawed in January 1991, Western
agencies reported on 2 April. The eight, now members of the Socialist
Party, have been charged with concealing communist party activities in
order to participate in parliamentary elections. All of them were
crossed off the election list before last fall's elections. If
convicted, they face up to a year in prison or fines of up to $2,000. --
Dan Ionescu

U.S., LITHUANIAN PARATROOPERS CONDUCT JOINT EXERCISE. Lithuanian and
U.S. paratroopers on 2 April started a month-long joint military
exercises at a former Soviet training ground in Lithuania, Western
agencies reported. Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius said
the exercise, code-named Bersteintal and staged in Rukla, will help
"strengthen military cooperation" between the two countries. Lithuania
signed a military agreement with the U.S. in 1994 and has since been
participating in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. A small
Lithuanian military unit is part of NATO's IFOR troops in Bosnia-
Herzegovina. -- Dan Ionescu

POLISH ADMINISTRATION TO BE REFORMED. The Polish government on 2 April
amended its draft law on administration, Polish dailies reported. The
amendment provides for the Internal Affairs Ministry to be transformed
into the Internal Affairs and Administration Ministry. It also transfers
control over the State Protection Office (UOP) from the internal affairs
minister to the prime minister. The same day, Premier Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz met with heads of the 49 provincial authorities. He said the
reform of territorial administration is unlikely to take place before
the 1997 parliamentary elections. -- Jakub Karpinski

TWENTY GROUPS TO CONTEST CZECH ELECTIONS. A total of 17 parties and
three political movements have met the 1 April deadline to register
candidates for the upcoming Czech parliamentary elections, Czech media
reported. Apart from two Moravian groups, each will put up candidates in
all eight electoral districts. According to recent opinion polls, only
six or seven parties are likely to win the 5% of the total vote needed
for parliamentary representation: the three center-right parties in the
current governing coalition, the Social Democrats, the Communists, the
extreme-right Republicans, and, possibly, the reformed communist Left
Bloc. In the June 1992 elections, eight out of the 23 groups that ran
won seats in the then Czech National Council, now the parliament. The
elections will be held on 31 May and 1 June. -- Steve Kettle

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CRITICIZES TREATMENT OF ROMA IN CZECH REPUBLIC. A
recent Council of Europe report says that the Czech citizenship law does
not violate international legislation, but it criticizes administrative
procedures used against Roma, CTK reported on 2 April. The report
singles out courts and police in northern Moravia, where Roma have been
stripped of citizenship without being properly informed or given time to
make contingency plans. The council expresses surprise that 78% of Roma
denied citizenship so far have lived in Bohemia and Moravia for more
than 20 years. According to official figures, a few hundred Roma have
been denied citizenship. But civil rights organizations say that
thousands more have been turned away by bureaucrats or cannot afford the
fees. -- Alaina Lemon

RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS IN SLOVAKIA. Russian Interior Minister
Anatolii Kulikov, at the start of a three-day visit to Slovakia on 2
April, signed a police cooperation agreement with his Slovak
counterpart, Ludovit Hudek, TASR reported. Hudek stressed that criminal
activities among Russian citizens in Slovakia have not increased since
visa-free relations began last August. Kulikov noted that Russian
citizens account for less than 1% of crime in Slovakia, while Ukrainians
account for 7%. In other news, Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeri
Shmarov, who also arrived for an official visit on 2 April, stressed
that the decision of whether to join NATO is up to Slovakia. Christian
Democratic Movement chairman Jan Carnogursky on 2 April criticized
Slovak foreign policy, saying it "verbally claims orientation toward
Western structures but, in fact, is pursuing policy aimed towards the
East." -- Sharon Fisher

NEW PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION ON ROMA FORMED IN HUNGARY. The Roma Program
Commission was set up by the parliament on 2 April, MTI reported. Csaba
Tabajdi, political state secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, told
the press after the inaugural session that the commission will consider
ways to improve the situation of Gypsies and will collaborate with
relevant ministries and with the National Gypsy Minority Autonomous
Government. The commission will submit an action program to the
government by late May. Prime Minister Gyula Horn is chairman of the
commission, while Tabajdi has been appointed secretary. -- Alaina Lemon

HUNGARY TO INVITE TENDERS FOR POWER PLANTS. The Hungarian State
Privatization and Holding Co. (APV Rt.) has opened a tender for two
power plants that were not sold last year, Hungarian dailies reported on
3 April. A 90% stake in Budapesti Eromu, which serves the capital, and
95% of Tiszai Eromu, in eastern Hungary, are up for sale. APV Rt. said
that between 60% and 70% of the country's other three power plants will
be sold off by the end of the year as well as stakes in MVM, the main
electricity company. Last year, stakes in two generators and 12
electricity and gas supply companies were sold for a total of some $2
billion, mainly to German, French, and Italian investors. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SHALIKASHVILI SAYS U.S. TROOPS WILL NOT PURSUE WAR CRIMINALS. U.S.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili said he is
"comfortable" with NATO's planned withdrawal from Bosnia at the end of
the year. He added that one year will be enough to tell whether the
people in the area are serious about peace, AFP quoted the Washington
Post as saying on 3 April. A debate is taking place in the U.S. and
elsewhere as to whether the one-year mandate for IFOR will be
sufficient. The daily noted that the U.S. commander on the ground, Adm.
Leighton Smith, has not ruled out an extension. Shalikashvili also
opposed any American hunt for Bosnian war criminals. He said it is the
duty of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to bring the indicted
Bosnian Serbs to justice and that people like Radovan Karadzic will be
out of office after the upcoming elections. -- Patrick Moore

KARADZIC PICKED TO NEGOTIATE WITH INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. The Bosnian
Serb parliament wrapped up its latest session in the early hours of 3
April, AFP reported. It selected civilian leader Radovan Karadzic to
head a committee representing the Bosnian Serbs in talks with the
international community. He said the committee was "indispensable" due
to "the numerous attempts being made to interpret the Dayton accords to
the Serbs' detriment." He added that his heading the committee was "in
line with the constitution of the [Republika Srpska] under which the
president of the republic represents the state." The international
community does not, however, have anything to do with Karadzic, an
indicted war criminal. Under the terms of an agreement between Pale and
Belgrade last August, Milosevic alone represents the Bosnian Serbs in
such talks. -- Patrick Moore

BILDT WARNS ABOUT SOCIAL UNREST. The international community's High
Representative in Bosnia, Carl Bildt, said economic assistance will be
vital to curb unemployment, especially for tens of thousands of
demobilized men, AFP reported on 2 April. He also said that war
criminals must be brought to justice and the multi-ethnic nature of
Bosnia preserved, the International Herald Tribune and Nasa Borba added
on 3 April. In Strbac, Serbs and Croats exchanged a total of 31
prisoners, Croatian and Serbian radios noted. In Sarajevo, in a rare
display of unity, President Alija Izetbegovic and former Prime Minister
Haris Silajdzic issued a joint declaration saying that Bosnia must be "a
multiethnic community based on human rights and freedoms," Onasa news
agency said on 2 April. They were seconded by five political parties,
Vecernje novine reported. -- Patrick Moore

U.S. OFFICIAL URGES SERBIAN PRESIDENT TO SEND WAR CRIMINALS TO THE
HAGUE. John Kornblum, U.S. envoy to the former Yugoslavia, met with
Slobodan Milosevic on 2 April and urged him to extradite war crimes
suspects to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia, Reuters reported. Kornblum observed that while Serbia has
recently sent to the Hague two suspects implicated in the 1995 massacre
of Muslim civilians near Srebrenica, others remain at large in Serbia,
including three officers involved in the 1991 massacre of civilians in
the Croatian city of Vukovar. In a separate development, the U.S
Congress has passed a motion criticizing Belgrade for its recent
clampdown on independent media and humanitarian groups, notably the
Soros Foundation, Nasa Borba reported on 3 April. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES LAUNCH ELECTORAL PACT. Seven key parties
opposed to the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) have signed
a declaration on joint action for the expected upcoming elections in
Zagreb, Novi list reported on 3 April. The signatories include the
Croatian Social-Liberal Party, which is the largest opposition grouping
and which has been criticized for its earlier reluctance to present a
united electoral front against the HDZ. The opposition currently has a
majority in the city council but its choice of mayor has been repeatedly
rejected by President Franjo Tudjman. Polls suggest that voters are fed
up with Tudjman's behavior and that the opposition will do even better
in the early vote. * Patrick Moore

VOJVODINA UPDATE. Nenad Canak, leader of the Social Democratic Party in
Vojvodina, has met with Hungarian President Gyula Horn to discuss
autonomy for the Serbian province, Nasa Borba reported on 2 April. Canak
is slated to present his views to the Hungarian government "in detail."
Before the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia Vojvodina had a population
of some 2 million, roughly 22% of whom were ethnic Hungarians. In a
separate development, Dragoljub Micunovic, former president of the
Serbian Democratic Party, has offered his support for Vojvodina's
autonomy. Micunovic, however, has stressed that he promotes cultural and
economic autonomy, Nasa Borba reported. -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIAN LIBERALS WANT DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT. The Macedonian
Liberal Party on 2 April announced it will submit a motion asking for
the parliament to be dissolved by 15 September, Nova Makedonija
reported. The Liberals claim that the parliament is no longer
representative since the coalition Union for Macedonia fell apart after
the formation a new government in February. That government does not
include the Liberals. The Union for Macedonia was composed of the Social
Democratic Union of Macedonia, the Liberals, and the Socialist Party.
Representatives of the Social Democrats and Socialists dismissed the
Liberals' claim that the parliament is not legitimate. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIA APPLIES FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP. Romania on 2 April submitted
documents to NATO officials in Brussels designed to open discussions on
the country's membership in the alliance, an RFE/RL correspondent in
Bucharest and local media reported. The documents were approved last
month by the Supreme Council for the Country's Defense, chaired by
President Ion Iliescu. Romania is the fourth country--after Latvia, the
Czech Republic, and Slovakia--to submit such documents. It was also the
first to sign up for NATO's Partnership for Peace Program. -- Matyas
Szabo

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT APPOINTS NEW POLICE CHIEF. Gen. Costica Voicu on 2
April was named the country's new police chief, Romanian media and
Reuters reported. Voicu, who was formerly deputy chief of police,
replaces Gen. Ion Pitulescu, who resigned in mid-February in protest
over alleged tolerance among judicial officials of crime and corruption.
Voicu is the seventh chief of Romania's General Police Inspectorate
since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in December 1989. -- Matyas Szabo

THOUSANDS PROTEST BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO YELTSIN REMARK.
Thousands of people gathered outside the Bulgarian government building
on 2 April to protest the government's failure to clearly distance
itself from a recent remark by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, RFE/RL
reported. Yeltsin had said at the signing last week of the regional
integration agreement with Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan that
Bulgaria might also sign an integration agreement with Russia and other
former Soviet republics. Union of Democratic Forces Chairman Ivan Kostov
called on Prime Minister Zhan Videnov to "clearly and categorically"
reject Yeltsin's statement. Bulgarian Socialist Party caucus leader
Krasimir Premyanov accused President Zhelyu Zhelev of exploiting the
situation for his re-election goals. He added that the opposition's
protests might harm relations with Russia. Meanwhile, the government has
said it is trying to balance its foreign policy priorities between the
EU and the CIS. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES CHANGES TO LAW ON NATIONAL BANK. The
Bulgarian parliament on 2 April amended the law on the national bank
giving the power to appoint and remove the governor and three deputy
governors to the legislature, Bulgarian media reported. The president
retains that power vis-a-vis the other five members of the executive
board. Deputies rejected a clause removing the president's right to veto
changes to the board proposed by the governor. A board member's mandate
may be terminated owing to his resignation, death, criminal conviction,
or inability to perform his duties for more than one year. -- Michael
Wyzan

U.S. TO GIVE MILITARY AID TO ALBANIA. U.S. Defense Secretary William
Perry said Washington will give military equipment worth more than $100
million to Albania, Reuters reported on 2 April. The package will
include anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, and other military
supplies. Perry said the U.S. has no plans to set up a base in Albania
but pointed out it would support the building of a new training center
in Bize. Albanian President Sali Berisha awarded Perry the Order of
Skanderbeg, the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners, at the end of
his three-day visit. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN CENTRIST PARTIES REGISTER ON JOINT LIST. The Albanian
Democratic Alliance and the Social Democratic Party have registered as a
joint party for the upcoming elections in late May or early June, Gazeta
Shqiptare reported on 3 April. The two parties' leaders--Neritan Ceka
and Skender Gjinushihe--head the new group, which is called the Pole of
the Center. Neither has ruled out the possibility of a coalition with
the Socialist Party or the Party for Human Rights, which represents the
country's ethnic Greeks. -- Fabian Schmidt

[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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