The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 85, Part II, 30 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

UPDATE ON UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTIONAL DEBATE. Parliamentary speaker
Oleksandr Moroz said a national referendum was unnecessary to adopt the
constitution and it would cost 10 trillion karbovantsy ($52 million),
Ukrainian radio reported on 29 April. Meanwhile, Halyna Freeland, the
director of a Ukrainian legal foundation, dismissed criticism that the
draft constitution was solely the president's creation, pointing out
that a constitutional commission made up of 10 people--four appointed by
the president, four by parliament, and two by the judiciary--were
responsible for the draft. She added that the draft guarantees both
legal and political rights, such as the right to vote and freedom of
speech. -- Ustina Markus

DEMONSTRATORS' TRIALS BEGIN IN BELARUS. Two leaders of the Belarusian
Popular Front (BPF), Yuriy Khodyka and Vintsuk Vyechorka, were charged
on 29 April with "instigating mass disorder" by starting a hunger strike
to protest their arrest, RFE/RL reported. BPF spokesman Anatoliy Shahun
said the arrests were the beginning of a crackdown against the party,
which authorities have blamed for organizing the mass march on the 10th
anniversary of Chornobyl. The march was also a protest against President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka. A number of other democratic parties and
organizations were, in fact, also active in organizing the
demonstration. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUS MISSES SECOND CFE DEADLINE. Belarus failed to destroy all its
excess conventional weapons by the extended deadline of 26 April,
Belapan reported the same day. The original deadline to meet the
requirements of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty had been
16 November 1995. Belarus was granted an extension, but when this second
deadline passed, Belarus still had 104 armored combat vehicles to
destroy. An official of the Defense Ministry, Maj.-Gen. Yuryy Partnow,
said that Belarus will be in full compliance with the treaty by the mid-
May review conference in Vienna. He also said that Belarus was
considering transferring this excess equipment to other countries, as it
had done when it supplied 100 T-72 tanks to Hungary. -- Doug Clarke

DIPHTHERIA CASES ON THE RISE IN BELARUS. Over the past five years, the
number of diphtheria cases in Belarus has risen twelve fold, ITAR-TASS
reported on 29 April. In 1994, 230 diphtheria cases were reported. This
jumped to 322 cases in 1995. A mass vaccination campaign is scheduled
from 13-23 May. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT STRIPS MEMBER OF IMMUNITY. The parliament on 29
April voted unanimously to strip deputy Heiki Kranich of his
parliamentary immunity, ETA reported, He is accused of misuse of power
in 1992 when, as head of the now defunct West Estonian Bank's Haapsalu
branch, he allegedly interfered in several bank customers' financial
deals. Kranich, the deputy chairman of the Reform Party caucus, called
the charges "groundless," however he said the loss of immunity was
necessary so that the case can be taken to court. -- Saulius Girnius

RUSSIAN DUMA DEPUTIES VISIT LATVIA. Vladimir Lukin, the Chairman of the
Russian Duma's International Affairs Committee, headed the first
official Duma delegation to Latvia since Latvian independence. During
the two-day visit that ended on 29 April, the delegation met with
representatives of the Saeima, as well as Foreign Affairs and
Environmental Protection Ministers Valdis Birkavs and Maris Gailis.
Lukin charged that the human rights of Russian-speaking residents in
Latvia were not properly observed and criticized the imprisonment of
Alfred Rubiks, the Latvian Communist Party's former First Secretary.
Lukin said it was clear that Latvia would not become a NATO member soon
and its efforts to join the organization only deteriorate relations with
Russia. He added that the Russian presidential elections would not
seriously influence relations between the two countries. -- Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN PRAISES VISIT TO BELARUS. Ceslovas
Jursenas said on 29 April that he hoped his visit to Belarus on 26-27
April will serve to expand the countries' bilateral relations, BNS
reported. He exchanged copies of the ratified border agreements with his
Belarusian counterpart, Syamyon Sharetsky, which should spur the signing
of an agreement on the return of illegal immigrants. He assured
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Foreign Minister
Uladzimir Syanko that Lithuania would support Belarus's efforts to join
the Council of Europe. Jursenas said that the police violence against
demonstrators and the arrests of opposition leaders in Minsk that
occurred after their meeting will not change his pledge. -- Saulius
Girnius

JOURNALISTS LEAVE WARSAW PAPER. The Warsaw daily Zycie Warszawy that has
been in opposition to the post-communist coalition in power in Poland
since 1993 was sold to a businessman, Zbigniew Jakubas. Jakubas declared
that the political line of the paper needs to be changed. On 29 April,
29 journalists left the paper claiming that changes in Zycie Warszawy
are part of the ruling coalition's offensive against the independence of
the Polish media. All the members of the paper's editorial board and all
journalists from the domestic political department quit. In other media
news, Rzeczpospolita on 30 April announced that Polish TV's new board
intends to change directors in the TV Information Agency. -- Jakub
Karpinski

EX-COMMUNIST SPY ON EX-PREMIER OLEKSY . . . Gen. Marian Zacharski, who
accused former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy of espionage, said on 29
April that he stood by his accusation even though military prosecutors
decided to drop the case. Himself a communist-era super-spy, Zacharski
was sentenced in the U.S. to life imprisonment and then released in
1985. He said in a TV interview that he was "hurt" by the prosecutor's
allegations that he had been guided by personal animosity because Oleksy
had refused him a government post. He added that the State Protection
Office (UOP) had carefully scrutinized and had not questioned the
evidence that he and his fellow officers gathered. -- Jakub Karpinski

. . . AND OTHER COMMENTS ON THE CASE. Gen. Gromoslaw Czempinski, former
UOP chief, said that the decision to turn Oleksy's case over to the
Prosecutor's Office was premature. The chief of the Presidential
Chancellery, Danuta Waniek, said she found the document in which former
President Lech Walesa ordered former Minister of Internal Affairs
Andrzej Milczanowski to turn the case over to the Prosecutor's Office,
Rzeczpospolita reported on 30 April. -- Jakub Karpinski

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN PRAGUE SAYS NO NEW MEMBERS THIS YEAR. Javier
Solana arrived in Prague on 29 April and told Czech leaders that NATO
will not admit new members at its December 1996 Council of Ministers
meeting, Mlada Fronta Dnes reported. He said, however that NATO will
devote 1996 to "individualized dialogues with potential members" and
these dialogues will lead to a decision in December on whom to later
admit. The Czech Republic is to start such "an individualized dialogue"
with NATO in May. -- Jiri Pehe

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL BEGINS VISIT TO SLOVAKIA. Javier Solana on 29
April arrived in Bratislava for a 24-hour visit to discuss NATO
expansion, Slovak media reported. A bill on NATO enlargement drafted by
the U.S. Congress mentions only the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary
as member candidates, however, Solana told Slovak TV that "a consensus
of all 16 members" will ultimately determine new NATO membership. He
stressed that no country has been deleted from the list of candidates,
but he called on Slovakia to prove that it is "a democratic country"
that respects the same values as NATO member states. -- Sharon Fisher

FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE IN HUNGARY. Richard Holbrooke,
during a private visit to Hungary, met on 29 April with Hungarian Prime
Minister Gyula Horn, international media reported. Discussions focused
on regional security issues and Hungary's role in Bosnian peace efforts.
Holbrooke, who continues to serve as an advisor to U.S. President Bill
Clinton, gave Horn a report on discussions between the U.S. and Russia
on NATO expansion in Central and Eastern Europe, RFE/RL reported. They
discussed the option to restrict new NATO members to an undefined
"political" wing of the organization with no military connections. The
talks were part of on-going consultations with all countries that have
applied for membership. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN NATIONAL BANK TO CUT PRIME RATE. The Hungarian National Bank
on 29 April announced a 1% cut in the prime interest rate effective on 1
May, Hungarian media reported. The bank said economic and financial
developments have allowed the reduction, from 27% to 26%. In other news,
a Central Statistical Office report showed that consumer prices rose at
an annual rate of 27.6% in the first quarter of this year. -- Sharon
Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

TWO DEAD AND FIVE WOUNDED AS SERBS AMBUSH MUSLIMS. At Lukavica near
Doboj, a group of mainly young Muslim adults on 29 April sought to avoid
an IFOR roadblock designed to keep the Serbs and Muslims apart and ran
through a mine field. Serbs ambushed the Muslims at the other end, and
the combination of weapons and mines left two Muslims dead and five
wounded, CNN and the International Herald Tribune reported on 30 April.
Elsewhere, angry elderly Serbs smashed the windows on buses taking
Muslims to visit graves near their former homes in Trnovo, south of
Sarajevo in Bosnian Serb territory, the BBC reported on 29 April.
Similar incidents took place the previous day when Muslims tried to
travel to gravesites around Bosnia for the Bairam holiday. In these
cases, the Serbs successfully blocked the Muslims' entry while IFOR
troops looked on. The Dayton agreement specifies that there is to be
freedom of movement and that refugees have the right to go home. --
Patrick Moore

IFOR TOLD NOT TO ARREST WAR CRIMINALS. Dutch IFOR troops have been
specifically ordered by their British commanders not to arrest war
criminals, the Rotterdam paper NRC Handelsblad stated on 29 April. The
story emerged during a visit to Bosnia by Dutch Foreign Minister Hans
van Mierlo, who reportedly said that justice will never be done in
Bosnia and that he agreed with the order. A debate has been going on
since last summer in the Netherlands over the allegedly cowardly
behavior of Dutch UNPROFOR troops at Srebrenica. Last August, the
largest single atrocity in Europe since World War II took place there
when Serbs massacred at least 5,000 Muslims. IFOR commander, U.S. Adm.
Leighton Smith, said that it is not his men's business to catch war
criminals: "Hold those who signed [the] Dayton [agreement] responsible
[for arresting Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic, Gen. Ratko Mladic
and others] and get off IFOR's back," the International Herald Tribune
reported on 30 April. The peacekeepers' mandate is not to hunt down war
criminals but to detain them if they come into contact with them. --
Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER SAYS SOME IFOR MUST GO AFTER DUMPING WASTES.
Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic visited an IFOR waste dump near
Olovo in the U.S. zone in central Bosnia and said that the commanders of
the unit responsible must leave the country at once. He charged the
units with vandalism by contaminating two hectares of fertile soil and
polluting the Stupcanica river, Onasa reported on 29 April. Muratovic
added that the damage must be corrected and implied that the U.S. firm
involved in waste control in the area was dumping dangerous wastes
brought in from elsewhere. There have been periodic reports in the local
media suggesting that the peacekeepers have seriously damaged the
environment. -- Patrick Moore

RUMP YUGOSLAVIA URGES THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO DROP SUIT.
At the latest round of hearings against rump Yugoslavia for its alleged
involvement in genocide, Belgrade's representative, Rodoljub Etinski,
urged the International Court of Justice to drop the case, saying his
country had nothing to do with the war in neighboring Bosnia. He
described the conflict as a civil war fought between rival Muslim,
Croat, and Serbian factions. He also said Bosnia seceded illegally from
the Yugoslav federation, violating the rights of ethnic Serbs there,
which should disqualify the case from the Court's hearings. Bosnian
Ambassador to the UN Muhamed Sacirbey countered Etinski, saying that
Belgrade played a significant role in the war and violated the 1948
Genocide Convention by arming and supporting rebel Serbs, Reuters
reported. He added that Belgrade's support for the Dayton peace accord
does not exempt rump Yugoslav officials from justice. -- Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAVIA CANCELS DEBT TALKS. Rump Yugoslavia's debt negotiating
team, led by federal Finance Minister Jovan Zebic, abruptly canceled a
29 April New York meeting with representatives of the London Club of
Bankers, Nasa Borba reported the following day. The meeting was to have
focused on the distribution of assets among the successor states of
socialist Yugoslavia. Representatives of international banks were
reportedly stunned by Belgrade's cancellation. Zebic forwarded a letter
to his team stating that "conditions are not yet opportune [for talks]."
-- Stan Markotich

SERBIA REFUSES ALBANIAN CITIZENS RIGHT TO RETURN. The Serbian Helsinki
Committee accused Serbian authorities of refusing rump-Yugoslav citizens
of Albanian origin entry into the country, Reuters reported on 29 April.
The committee pointed out that the Albanians had valid passports. The
protest was issued after a group of 11 Kosovar Albanians were refused
entry at the Pristina airport. They were re-directed to Belgrade's
airport and also refused entry there. Similar cases have been reported
since December 1995. In other news, Kosovar Shadow State Prime Minister
Bujar Bukoshi sent a letter to EU President Susanna Agnelli warning that
the increasing violence in the region may force ethnic Albanians to
"take additional measures" to defend themselves. He urged the EU to
apply pressure on Belgrade to "stop its provocations." -- Fabian Schmidt

BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER RULES OUT RUSSIAN VETO ON NATO EXPANSION. Zhan
Videnov on 29 April said Russia cannot be allowed to veto former
Socialist countries' aspirations to join NATO, AFP reported. On the
first day of a two-day visit to Vienna, Videnov said that Bulgaria does
not see Russia as a potential threat to its national security, but that
NATO enlargement and the building of a new European security system are
"processes in which no country should veto anything." Videnov warned
that NATO enlargement should be "very well thought-out beforehand" so as
not to create a "deficit in security or new tensions." Videnov added
that there is no prospect of Bulgaria joining Belarus, Kazakhstan, and
Kyrgyzstan in a process of closer association with Russia. -- Stefan
Krause

MEDIA LICENSES TO BE REVIEWED IN BULGARIA. The Committee for Posts and
Telecommunications (KPD) on 29 April announced that all private and
foreign TV and radio stations, cable networks, and providers of other
related services will have to apply for new licenses by 5 July,
Demokratsiya reported. The KPD will reconfirm or revoke existing
licenses within six months after the deadline. A government decree
empowers KPD to restrict licenses "for reasons connected to public
interest" and revoke them "in the case of actions violating public
interest." The decree also lets KPD Chairman Lyubomir Kolarov personally
decide which licenses are renewed. Informed sources say that some cable
TV network operators will lose their licenses. RFE/RL and Darik Radio
may also not receive renewals because of the stations' critical
positions on the Socialist government. -- Stefan Krause

NEW PRICE HIKES IMMINENT IN BULGARIA. The government on 29 April decided
to raise the prices of petroleum, oil, and natural gas by 1-13%,
Demokratsiya and Pari reported. The new prices become effective on 1
May. The same day, electricity prices will go up by 41%. Standart
reported that a 15-20% price increase for drinking water is also
expected to be announced this week. Chairman of the National Commission
for Prices Dimitar Grivekov told 24 chasa that the new fuel prices are
due to high crude oil prices on the international market and the strong
U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, Krastyo Petkov, chairman of the Confederation of
Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, in a letter to Prime Minister
Videnov published in Trud, blamed the cabinet, writing it has "led
Bulgaria into new financial bankruptcy." -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN FLEET ON STRIKE IN DURRES. Albanian trade fleet workers in
Durres have gone on strike, demanding 20% of the profit from a recent
sale of 25 ships. The sale was a step toward privatizing the fleet, but
the workers are claiming profit-sharing rights as shareholders in the
fleet. Head of the government privatization agency, Niko Glozheni said
the law is unclear on the workers' share-holding rights. The workers are
now demanding that the State Control Commission investigate the case,
Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 30 April. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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