I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. - Aldous Huxley
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 83, Part II, 26 April 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIANS MARK 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHORNOBYL ACCIDENT. Thousands of
people have gathered in the town of Slavutich, just outside the 30 km
Chornobyl exclusion zone, to mark the tenth anniversary of the nuclear
disaster, international agencies reported on 26 April. At 1:24 a.m.
local time, people joined hands and maintained silence to commemorate
the exact time the no. 4 reactor exploded. So far, 4,229 people have
died as a result of the accident, of whom 2,929 took part in the clean-
up operation. As many as 3 million more have been affected by the
explosion, which released 200 times more radiation into the atmosphere
than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The previous day a
small radiation leak at the nuclear power plant raised the level of
radiation to seven times above normal. The leak was the latest in a
series of accidents. President Leonid Kuchma has promised to close the
oldest no. 1 reactor by the end of the year. The only other working
reactor should be shut down by the end of the decade. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON ALLOWING FORMER RESIDENTS TO RETURN TO CHORNOBYL
ZONE. Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said authorities have no moral right to
stop people from moving back to their former homes in areas evacuated
because of contamination from the Chornobyl accident, Reuters reported
on 25 April. Lukashenka, speaking on nationwide TV, said it was neither
Christian nor human to stop people returning to their homes in the
Chornobyl zone. He called the evacuation from the areas a "hastily
organized" operation, adding that the contaminated areas will eventually
produce "ecologically pure food." The 10th anniversary of the Chornobyl
disaster is to be marked by a ceremony and Church service in Minsk, but
the nationalist Belarusian Popular Front has been banned from staging a
demonstration to mark the event. Lukashenka warned against using the
tragedy as a "tool for political ambitions." -- Ustina Markus

LVIV NAMES STREET AFTER DUDAEV. The City Council of the west Ukrainian
city of Lviv approved a proposal by the nationalist Ukrainian National
Assembly to rename a street after Chechen leader Dzhokar Dudaev, Reuters
and AFP reported on 25 April. The street in question had been named
after the Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. The City Council also voted to
change Pushkin street to Taras Chuprynka street. Chuprynka commanded the
Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which waged a guerrilla war against Soviet
rule in western Ukraine after World War II. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN TOBACCO MANUFACTURER CEASES PRODUCTION. The board of Estonia's
largest tobacco manufacturer, Eesti Tubakas, announced on 25 April that
it will wind up production and lay off 140 people, BNS reported. The
company, which is owned by Sweden's Svenska Tobaks AB (67%) and the
Estonian government (33%), will transfer its production to the Swedish
company's main plant in Malmo. The company's sales have dropped by
almost two-thirds since last year largely owing to the Finance
Ministry's decision to end lower excise taxes for local cigarettes. The
move prompted an increase in the smuggling of cigarettes. -- Saulius
Girnius

RUSSIAN INTERIOR MINISTER IN LATVIA. Anatolii Kulikov on 25 April met
with Prime Minister Andris Skele to discuss crime in the region and
problems related to the war in Chechnya, BNS reported. Kulikov noted
that while serious crime was declining in Russia, the fight against
organized crime and economic crimes was unsuccessful owing to
insufficient legislation. He is scheduled today to meet with his Latvian
counterpart, Dainis Turlais, on curbing illegal migration and smuggling.
The ministers are expected to sign a cooperation agreement on curbing
organized crime. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH COURT RULES IT CANNOT TRY MARTIAL LAW LEADER. A district court in
Gdansk on 25 April ruled it is not competent to try former head of state
Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski and former Interior Minister Kazimierz Switala
for their roles in the killings of more than 40 people in 1970,
international agencies reported. The judge, accepting Jaruzelski's
submission that the court has no authority in the case because he is
charged with breaching the constitution, referred the case to the State
Tribunal. The trial began last month. Prosecutors said they may appeal
the ruling. Jaruzelski was defense minister in 1970 when troops and
police were ordered to use force to break up protests over food price
hikes. At least 44 people were shot dead and hundreds of others wounded.
-- Steve Kettle

POLISH PREMIER REJECTS EUROPARLIAMENT'S RACISM CHARGE. Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz on 25 April told the European Parliament that Poland will
preserve the site of the former Auschwitz death camp, Reuters reported.
But, in a letter to the parliament, he said that Poles need no lessons
about racism. The parliament last week adopted a resolution condemning
plans to build a supermarket near Auschwitz and criticizing local
authorities for allowing an extreme rightist group to hold a
demonstration at the camp. The resolution urged the European Commission
to back moves to strengthen Poles' awareness of racism. "Treating
incidental and deplorable demonstrations of xenophobia and anti-Semitism
as representing the feelings of the whole of Polish society is deeply
unjust," Cimoszewicz wrote. He said his government has halted the
supermarket project and condemned the demonstration. -- Steve Kettle

CZECH PREMIER'S PARTY EMBROILED IN FINANCIAL SCANDAL. Leaders of the
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) on 25 April admitted they do not know the
origin of two donations of 3.75 million crowns ($135,000) each made to
the ODS last year, Czech media reported. In the party's list of sponsors
submitted to the parliament, one amount was registered under the name of
a Hungarian who died 14 years ago and the other allegedly came from a
citizen of Mauritius. "We will obviously try to determine who this
sponsor is," Prime Minister and ODS Chairman Vaclav Klaus said. ODS
Executive Deputy Chairman Libor Novak said party officials could not
find documents about the donations, admitting that "it was possibly our
stupidity" not to have checked their origin. According to the law on
political parties, all donations of more than 100,000 crowns ($3,600)
must be declared with the real name and address of the donor. -- Steve
Kettle

AUSTRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON SLOVAK PROSPECTS FOR EU MEMBERSHIP. "A
country that wants to join the EU must respect the EU legal situation
and, by extension, the highest standard of human rights in the world,"
Wolfgang Schuessel told Austrian ORF radio on 25 April before leaving
for a one-day visit to Slovakia. He added that, "If Slovakia wants to
become an EU member, it must do much more than now." The "unclear
circumstances" of the kidnapping of President Michal Kovac's son last
August are "more than unpleasant," he commented. Nonetheless, Schuessel
stressed that Austria wants all its neighbors to enter the EU. He met
with Kovac and Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk, but Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar avoided meeting him by traveling to northern Slovakia to
inspect highway construction, possibly because of Schuessel's criticism
of the bill on the protection of the republic. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN UPDATE. The cabinet on 25 April approved a health care bill
that would eliminate 10,000 hospital beds this year, Hungarian media
reported. Some 15,000 health care employees would be affected. The
cabinet also opted to grant additional subsidies worth a total of 2.5
billion forints ($16.8 million) to Hungarian TV and Radio and Duna
Television to compensate for arrears in broadcasting fees and lost
revenues from unpaid subscription fees. Finally, the cabinet decided to
use loans from West European sources for highway construction in eastern
Hungary. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. TROOPS TO STAY IN BOSNIA UNTIL DECEMBER. Secretary of Defense
William Perry says that NATO commander Gen. George Joulwan has asked
that U.S. forces remain in Bosnia at "essentially a full capability"
through December, the International Herald Tribune reported on 25 April.
The American exit strategy has never been fully stated in public, but it
was expected that the GIs would be out by 20 December, about one year
after the Dayton treaty was signed. Joulwan seems especially concerned
that NATO be present in full force to provide security for September's
elections. Other European allies have been discussing contingency plans
for keeping NATO forces in Bosnia beyond one year. Perry said he sees
the success of the mission in restoring basic security to the embattled
republic. He would therefore consider extending the mandate beyond one
year to "deter a war [but not ] to unify the country." The secretary
stressed that the political future of Bosnia is a matter for the local
people themselves to decided. -- Patrick Moore

HAGUE COURT THREATENS BELGRADE, PALE WITH SANCTIONS. Antonio Cassese,
president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia, has said that Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs should be
punished with sanctions unless they begin to cooperate seriously with
the court. In particular, they must begin handing over indicted war
criminals, the BBC and Vecernji list stated on 26 April. In Bosnia,
Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic denied Croatian reports that the six
Bosnians arrested near Senj on terrorism charges were Bosnian agents
trained by Iran, news agencies noted on 25 April. Sarajevo argues that
it has nothing to do with the shadowy six and that the whole affair
might be a publicity stunt by their alleged victim, Bihac pocket kingpin
Fikret Abdic, to aid his attempt at a political comeback. Abdic, who is
wanted in Sarajevo for war crimes, met with Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic on 25 April, Onasa added. -- Patrick Moore

CROATS, MUSLIMS REACH AGREEMENT ON POLICE FORCE . . . Senior Muslim and
Bosnian Croat officials met with German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel,
the international community's Michael Steiner, and other negotiators at
Petersberg near Bonn on 25 April, Oslobodjenje reported. The Muslims and
Croats agreed to end their acrimonious dispute over the nature of the
federal police force by disbanding half of their respective forces,
merging the rest, and issuing them neutral gray uniforms. Kinkel
threatened the two sides with sanctions if they did not reach and stick
to agreements to bolster their shaky federation, Nasa Borba noted. --
Patrick Moore

. . . BUT SPAR OVER ARMY. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic has
meanwhile called for an integrated federal army, Onasa added on 25
April. His representative Muhamed Sacirbey said that officers on active
duty would be barred from "elected office...or being high functionaries
within political parties." Izetbegovic's Party for Democratic Action
(SDA) has, however, been consolidating its hold over the military. Its
governing bodies at all levels contain officers, and two generals serve
on the top SDA steering committee. Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak
on 24 April said the Bosnian Croat military must remain separate in
order to guarantee the Croats' security. -- Patrick Moore

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER FACES LIBEL INVESTIGATION. A Serbian district
court on 25 April cleared the way for authorities to launch an
investigation into Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic's alleged
libel activities. Serbian Premier Mirko Marjanovic recently took action
against the weekly Telegraf, which in January ran a Democratic Party
advertisement alleging corruption and fraud within his government.
Djindjic took responsibility for the advertisement, thereby setting
himself up to be the target of such an investigation, Reuters reported
on 25 April. -- Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAV BANK GOVERNOR FINDS SUPPORTERS. Ivan Kovacevic, spokesman
for the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), has said that his
party "will under all circumstances...defend [National Bank Governor
Dragoslav] Avramovic and his policies," Nasa Borba reported on 26 April.
Avramovic earlier this week was removed as rump Yugoslavia's chief
negotiator with the IMF. Federal Finance Minister Jovan Zebic will now
assume that role. SPO leader Vuk Draskovic said that this move
effectively meant that Avramovic was being removed as bank governor in
all but name. Montenegrin Premier Milo Djukanovic, currently in the
U.S., has also voiced support for Avramovic and for his role as
negotiator with international financial institutions. -- Stan Markotich

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR MASS DEMONSTRATIONS IN KOSOVO. Unidentified ethnic
Albanian activists have distributed leaflets calling for mass
demonstrations in Kosovo, the BBC reported on 26 April. The appeal does
not have the support of any of the shadow-state's political parties,
which have called on the population to remain calm. The head of the
Kosova Information Center in London warned that the situation in Kosovo
is tense and that the shadow-state government may lose control over more
radical activists. Meanwhile, Albanian President Sali Berisha also
called on Kosovars to stay calm and urged the international community to
take swift measures to solve ethnic problems in the region, Reuters
reported. Since five Serbs were shot dead in separate incidents
following the murder of an Albanian by a Serbian civilian last week,
police have arrested more than 100 Albanians, mainly in Decani and
Stimlje, ATSH reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

BLACK SEA SUMMIT OPENS IN BUCHAREST. A high-level conference on economic
cooperation in the Black Sea region opened in Bucharest on 25 April,
Radio Bucharest and Western media reported. Political leaders and
businessmen from 11 countries , including Macedonian President Kiro
Gligorov and the premier of rump Yugoslavia, Radoje Kontic, are
attending. Gligorov launched an impassioned appeal for the Black Sea
states to help rebuild former Yugoslavia after almost five years of war.
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov is expected to join the
conference at the weekend. He also plans to discuss the final details of
the long-delayed basic treaty between Romania and Russia. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT URGES PARLIAMENT TO DISMISS CABINET. Mircea Snegur
has called on the parliament to sack the government because of alleged
incompetence and involvement in corruption, Reuters reported on 25
April. The agency quoted Snegur as saying that people "want to know if
elected representatives can sack those unable to carry out their duties
and nominate others able to cope with difficulties and get the country
out of the abyss of poverty." Snegur said the government was responsible
for growing unemployment as well as wage and pension arrears, which
exceeded $70 million by mid-April. Snegur's appeal came after he
unsuccessfully attempted to sack Defense Minister Pavel Creanga on
corruption charges in mid-March, without consulting Andrei Sangheli's
government. The Constitutional Court later reinstated Creanga. -- Dan
Ionescu

BULGARIAN SUPREME COURT CONFIRMS ELECTION OF KARDZHALI MAYOR. The
Supreme Court, overruling a Kardzhali Regional Court decision, has
reinstated Rasim Musa as mayor of Kardzhali, RFE/RL reported on 25
April. Musa, a member of the mainly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights
and Freedom, was declared winner of November 1995 elections when he beat
out a candidate backed by the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party by a
margin of one percentage point. The BSP demanded that the election be
invalidated on grounds of irregularities, which the Regional Court did
in early February. The Supreme Court has now ruled that the
irregularities were "insignificant" and did not affect the outcome. In
other news, the parliament has overruled President Zhelyu Zhelev's veto
of an agreement with Greece on joint use of water from the River
Mesta/Nestos, Reuters reported. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA RAISES INTEREST RATE BY 18%. The Bulgarian National Bank on 25
April announced it will raise the prime interest rate from 49% to 67%
beginning today, Bulgarian and Western media reported. The move is aimed
at stopping the continuing devaluation of the lev, which has lost some
18 percentage points against the U.S. dollar since the beginning of the
year. BNB Governor Lyubomir Filipov said the central bank "prefers to
raise the prime interest rate rather than intervene on the foreign
exchange markets." -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN TV BOSS STAYS ON. The BSP caucus on 25 April voted not to
remove Bulgarian National TV (BNT) Director-General Ivan Granitski,
Kontinent reported. The deputies rejected the BSP Executive Bureau's
recommendation that Granitski be sacked. Officially, the BSP blamed
Granitski for financial irregularities at BNT and for poor management.
But the BSP daily Duma yesterday reported that Prime Minister and BSP
Chairman Zhan Videnov does not approve of BNT's newscasts, co-
productions, and sociological analyses. Standart on 26 April reported
that Videnov told the BSP deputies that "it's either me or Granitski."
-- Stefan Krause

ALBANIANS KILLED WHILE SMUGGLING REFUGEES. In a shoot-out off the Corfu
coast, Greek coast guards have killed an Albanian sailor who was trying
to smuggle illegal immigrants into Greece, AFP reported on 25 April. The
smuggler reportedly opened fire on a Greek patrol boat during a chase.
Shortly before that incident, Greek patrols arrested another Albanian
who also opened fire on a Greek vessel. Meanwhile, an Albanian smuggler
was killed when his motorboat hit an Italian Navy vessel during a boat
chase on 24 April, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREECE RECOGNIZES YUGOSLAV SUCCESSOR STATES. Greece on 25 April
officially recognized rump Yugoslavia as one of the successor states of
the former Yugoslavia, AFP and Reuters reported. It also recognized "all
the countries created by the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia," a
Foreign Ministry statement said. However, the Greeks recognize Macedonia
only under the name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." In related
news, Nova Makedonija reported that the Macedonian parliament ratified
the rump Yugoslav-Macedonian agreement on mutual recognition. -- Stefan
Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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