The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. - Ezra Pound
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 82, Part II, 25 April 1996


New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
No. 81: "Chechnya after Dudaev," by Liz Fuller

Available on 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CONFLICTING REPORTS ON RADIATION LEVELS AROUND CHORNOBYL AFTER FIRES.
Reports vary over whether radiation levels have risen around Chornobyl
after fires earlier this week that lifted radioactive particles into the
atmosphere, international agencies reported on 24 April. Ukrainian
Minister for Chornobyl Affairs Volodymyr Kholosha played down the
radiation scare, saying that "increases were noted in the areas
immediately around the fires, but only within several hundred meters."
Other reports say that higher radiation readings were registered along a
10-20 km stretch of land adjacent to the 30 km Chornobyl exclusion zone.
Belarusian Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations Ihar Rolevich said
this did not affect inhabited areas. -- Ustina Markus

FIRES RAGE IN CHORNOBYL ZONE IN BELARUS, TOO. Forest fires broke out on
23 April in southern Belarus, close to the Chornobyl nuclear power plant
in Ukraine, ITAR-TASS and Western agencies reported on 25 April. The
fires, caused by unseasonably hot and dry weather, spread over 2,000
hectares of forest. Residents in Homel were warned against going into
the woods. It is feared that radioactive dust will be distributed across
a large area. -- Ustina Markus

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT SETS 6 MAY AS CONSTITUTION DAY. The Crimean
parliament has passed a resolution stating that 6 May is Constitution
Day in the Republic of Crimea, Ukrainian Radio reported on 24 April. On
that day in 1992, the peninsula's parliament passed a constitution
making relations between the peninsula and the rest of Ukraine
contingent on bilateral treaties. That constitution was viewed by Kyiv
as a virtual declaration of independence and as violating Ukraine's
constitution. It was annulled by the Ukrainian parliament last year.
However, a motion to make 6 May a holiday in Crimea failed to collect
enough votes. -- Ustina Markus

WAGES IN UKRAINE. Ukraine's Ministry of Statistics says the average
worker's wage in March was 12.932 million karbovantsy ($68), Ukrainian
Radio reported on 24 May. Collective farm workers and employees in small
enterprises were excluded from the tally. The highest paid workers were
employees at nuclear power stations, who earned more than 36 million
karbovantsy ($190). The lowest paid were those in state stores, with
less than 6 million karbovantsy ($31). -- Ustina Markus

FINNISH RESTRICTIONS ON ALCOHOL IMPORTS TO IMPACT ESTONIA. The Finnish
parliament's decision on 23 April to limit private alcohol imports is
likely to reduce the number of Finns making day trips to Estonia,
Western agencies reported. The law, which goes into effect on 1 May,
prohibits private individuals from importing alcohol after trips by
ferry, car, bus, or rail lasting less than 20 hours. Non-EU residents
will also be prevented from bringing alcoholic beverages into Finland if
they are staying less than three days in the country. Some ferry
companies are planning to organize trips that would leave Helsinki in
the evening, reach Tallinn before midnight, sail back to Helsinki
without passengers leaving the ship, and return to Tallinn for a second
time in the morning. After spending the day in Tallinn, passengers would
return to Helsinki after more than 20 hours. -- Saulius Girnius

ANOTHER CANDIDATE PROPOSED FOR LATVIAN PRESIDENT. The Council of the
Democratic Party Saimnieks (DPS) on 24 April nominated Saeima Chairwoman
Ilga Kreituse for president, BNS reported. But three other members of
the ruling coalition--Latvia's Way, Latvia's National Independence
Party, and the Farmers' Union--have expressed their support for
incumbent Guntis Ulmanis, whose term of office expires on 7 July. DPS
Chairman Ziedonis Cevers said talks on support for Kreituse's candidacy
will begin with the Popular Movement for Latvia, the National Harmony
Party, and Socialist Party. The DPS's decision not to support Ulmanis
could result in the breakup of the ruling coalition and bring down
independent Andris Skele's government. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, LITHUANIAN SEA BORDER TALKS. Juris Sinka, head of the Latvian
delegation negotiating the sea border with Lithuania, said that the
recent talks in Vilnius with Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Secretary
Rimantas Sidlauskas were "satisfactory," BNS reported. The two sides
agreed to recognize a 1927 border agreement providing for each country's
territorial waters to extend 3 nautical miles from their respective
coasts. They agreed to discuss the more controversial questions of the
demarcation of economic zones at the next round of talks, to be held in
Riga on 6-7 May, during Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas's
visit. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PREMIER IN BONN. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz on 24 April said Russia
has no right to veto Poland's possible membership in NATO but must be
consulted about European security, international agencies reported. On a
one-day visit to Bonn for talks with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Cimoszewicz
said he agreed with the German leader that Russia should have a say--but
not a decisive one--in the question of NATO enlargement. He also said
Poland hopes negotiations on admission to the EU will start in late
1997. Cimoszewicz said there is little doubt that his country will be
able to join the EU. He added that the question is when, which largely
depends on Poland's progress in implementing economic reforms. -- Steve
Kettle

CZECH PARLIAMENT FAILS TO RATIFY BORDER TREATY WITH SLOVAKIA. Czech
deputies on 24 April failed to pass a constitutional law making changes
to the country's border with Slovakia, Czech media reported. The border
treaty, already ratified by Slovakia, had been approved by a simple
majority one day earlier. But a second vote, requiring a three-fifths
majority of all deputies, was needed to implement it. Members of the
three government coalition parties and a handful of opposition and
independent deputies mustered a total of 109 votes in favor, 11 short of
the target. Twenty-nine deputies voted against and 21 abstained. The
issue will now be dropped until after the 31 May-1 June elections. A
draft constitutional law on reorganizing local administrative districts,
submitted by a junior coalition party, was also voted down, mostly by
deputies from the dominant Civic Democratic Party of Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY CONTINUE DISPUTE OVER OSCE POST. Slovak Foreign
Ministry spokesman Juraj Matejovsky on 24 April expressed regret over
Hungarian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gabor Szentivanyi's statement
that Slovakia proposed a candidate for OSCE secretary-general to prevent
the Hungarian nominee from being elected, Slovak Radio reported.
Matejovsky stressed that Slovakia used its "democratic right" when it
came up with its own candidate last October. He emphasized that Slovakia
has never questioned the "professional qualities" of Hungary's
candidate, Istvan Gyarmati. But he added that Gyarmati had not been
approved by all the Central European countries and therefore had failed
to fulfill "the basic precondition for his election." Other countries
also raised "serious reservations" against Gyarmati, Matejovsky said.
Budapest officially withdrew his candidacy on 22 April. -- Sharon Fisher

REACTIONS TO SLOVAK CABINET'S APPROVAL OF BILL ON FOUNDATIONS. The Third
Sector Association on 24 April vowed to continue its campaign against
the government's foundations bill, which was approved the previous day,
Slovak media reported. Asked by Pravda what she considered the most
dangerous provision of the draft law, association member Helena Wolekova
said "the law as a whole.... We do not want to live in hypocrisy, as has
happened out of necessity to people in state administration and in the
business sector. We want to build an open civil society." Wolekova added
that the association will turn directly to parliamentary deputies, non-
governmental organizations, and the public for support. -- Sharon Fisher

KOSOVO MIGRANTS BELIEVED TO HAVE DROWNED IN DANUBE. Hungarian police on
24 April said eight ethnic Albanians from Serbia's Kosovo province are
believed to have drowned while attempting to cross the Danube River from
Hungary to Slovakia, domestic and international media reported. The
migrants were crossing the river in a motorboat when it capsized. Police
said the boat was probably carrying twice as many passengers as it was
designed for. They have rounded up 11 of the passengers, but eight men
are still missing. The smuggling of migrants through Hungary to the West
has increased significantly in recent years. Border guards on the
Hungarian-Austrian border say they pick up around a dozen migrants every
night. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HAGUE COURT FREES SERBIAN GENERAL. The International Criminal Tribunal
for the Former Yugoslavia has released on humanitarian grounds Gen.
Djordje Djukic, who is dying of pancreatic cancer. The court rejected
demands by his lawyer that the charges against Djukic be dropped, Nasa
Borba reported on 25 April. The general must keep the court informed of
his address and medical condition and must return to The Hague if
necessary. He is expected to undergo treatment at the military hospital
in Belgrade. Meanwhile, in Bosnia, the international community's High
Representative Carl Bildt announced plans for an independent television
channel. The nationalist parties' domination of the media is considered
a major obstacle to free and fair elections. In Sarajevo, a UN police
spokesman charged that Bosnian Serbs in Pale are denying food and
medical care to Muslim and Croatian prisoners, Onasa reported on 24
April. -- Patrick Moore

RUMP YUGOSLAV FINANCE MINISTER TO COORDINATE TALKS WITH IMF. Jovan
Zebic, rump Yugoslav finance minister and deputy federal premier, has
been named coordinator for all future talks between rump Yugoslavia and
the IMF. Nasa Borba on 25 April quoted National Bank Governor Dragoslav
Avramovic, who until now has coordinated all such talks, as saying, "I
really don't know what this means. That's something one has to ask
[federal Premier Radoje] Kontic and Zebic." Meanwhile, Vuk Draskovic,
leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, has said that in practice, it
means that Avramovic has been removed from his post "but in a profoundly
underhand way." -- Stan Markotich

KOSOVARS ACCUSE SERBIAN POLICE OF STEPPING UP REPRESSION. The Democratic
League of Kosovo (LDK) has accused police of increasing repressive
measures in Kosovo. Following recent shoot-outs in which a total of six
people were killed, police have arrested at least 80 people. The LDK
also charged the police with beating up a large number of Albanian
civilians and called on the local population to be as cautious as
possible. Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova, during a visit
to Belgium, emphasized his support for peaceful resistance to Serbian
rule in the region, Reuters reported on 24 April. -- Fabian Schmidt

CROATIA JOINS COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Croatia has become the 40th member of
the Council of Europe, Vecernji list stated on 25 April. It will have
five permanent seats in the European parliament. International
journalists nonetheless called attention to the government's hounding of
the independent media and urged the Council to keep up pressure on
Zagreb over this issue, Novi list and news agencies reported. Croatia
was long denied council membership because of its treatment of the
opposition, the independent media, and the Serbian minority. Critics of
the government at home and abroad came to feel, however, that it was
unfair discrimination against Croatia to keep it out the council
following the admission of Russia. -- Patrick Moore

SLOVENIAN UPDATE. After lengthy heated debates, Slovenian legislators
voted to reject a bill that would have granted foreigners the right to
purchase and own real estate in Slovenia. Radio Slovenia reported on 23
April. Deputies also decided to ask the government to prepare a bill
protecting the country's environment. -- Stan Markotich

EXPERTS DISCUSS EUROPEAN SECURITY IN ROMANIA. At the fifth annual
meeting of the Atlantic Policy Advisory Group with NATO's cooperation
partners, which ended in Sinaia on 24 April, experts from 32 countries
discussed the new risks and challenges for European security, as well as
cooperation within the framework of the North Atlantic Cooperation
Council and NATO's Partnership for Peace Program, Radio Bucharest
reported. NATO Deputy Secretary-General for Political Issues Gebhard von
Moltke presided over the meeting. The participants agreed that the
Russian Federation cannot be left out of a pan-European security system.
-- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER PRESIDENTS MEET. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur on
24 April met in Chisinau with the president of the self-proclaimed
"Dniester republic," Igor Smirnov, BASA-press and Infotag reported. The
meeting was also attended by Moldovan Premier Andrei Sangheli,
Parliamentary Chairman Petru Lucinschi, Dniester Supreme Soviet Chairman
Grigorii Marakutsa, as well as OSCE, Russian, and Ukrainian mediators in
the Dniester conflict. The participants discussed the future status of
the Dniester region but failed to agree on issues such as closer
cooperation in the banking and financial sector. The next round of talks
between senior officials from Moldova and the breakaway Dniester region
has been scheduled for 11 May in Tiraspol. -- Dan Ionescu

TRIAL OF BULGARIAN EX-COMMUNIST LEADERS CANCELED. The Prosecutor-
General's Office on 24 April canceled the trial of 19 former communist
officials charged with diverting state funds, Reuters reported. The
functionaries, who include former dictator Todor Zhivkov, were charged
in 1993 with diverting hard currency to Yemen and Nicaragua, leftist
parties and groups in Bangladesh, Chile, and Honduras and to the
Palestinian Liberation Organization between 1981-1989. They also
allegedly provided those countries and groups with arms and technical
assistance. The trial was canceled because two of the defendants--former
Premier Andrey Lukanov and former party leader Aleksandar Lilov--have
parliamentary immunity. Since the remaining were charged as accomplices,
their cases cannot be treated separately. Lukanov alone was charged with
diverting 120 million leva (at the time $60 million). Prosecutor-General
Ivan Tatarchev claims that diversion of funds boosted Bulgaria's foreign
debt by $1.2 billion from 1986-1989. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN CURRENCY CONTINUES TO PLUNGE. The lev continues to lose
rapidly against the U.S. dollar, Western and Bulgarian media reported on
24 April. The Bulgarian National Bank fixed the exchange rate at 83.807
leva to $1, while some exchange offices in Sofia traded the U.S.
currency for as much as 90 leva. BNB Governor Lyubomir Filipov declined
to say whether the prime interest rate will be raised to defend the lev.
Since the end of 1995, it has been raised from 34% to 49%, while the lev
lost around 18 percentage points against the U.S. dollar during the same
period. Filipov accused the commercial banks of passiveness, saying they
should use their hard currency reserves to intervene. Commercial
bankers, for their part, accused the BNB of ineffective monetary
measures. Dealers said they fear the U.S. dollar may hit the 100 leva
mark in the next few days. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN COMMUNIST OFFICIALS ON TRIAL. Five Albanian communist-era
officials are on trial, Reuters reported on 24 April. They are charged
with political persecution of dissidents and crimes against humanity.
Haxhi Lleshi, who was Albanian president from 1953 to 1982 under late
dictator Enver Hoxha, was unable to appear in court because of poor
health. Also on trial are former Deputy Premier Manush Myftiu, former
Deputy Interior Minister Zylyftar Ramizi, former Supreme Court Chairman
Aranit Cela, and former Prosecutor-General Rrapi Mino. Two separate
trials against nine other communist officials started last week. --
Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS, CENTER PARTIES TO FORM COALITION? The Albanian
Socialist Party has said it will join forces with five other center and
leftist parties in the upcoming elections, Reuters reported on 24 April.
Secretary-General Gramoz Ruci is quoted as saying "We have agreed to
cooperate so that the center-left wins." He said that after the
elections, "the possibility is open for further cooperation in setting
up a government and other matters." The Socialists' aim is to have joint
candidates in electoral districts where neither of the parties has its
own candidate. Many Socialist and center coalition candidates have
recently been banned from running because of their alleged communist
past. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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