This is the true nature of home-- it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all terror, doubt and division. - John Ruskin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 87, Part II, 03 May 1996

Newly published OMRI Analytical Briefs:
No. 92: "Man Tied to Kidnapping Case of Slovak President's Son Killed in
         Explosion," by Sharon Fisher
No. 93: "Censorship in Belarus," by Ustina Markus
No. 94: "Is Rump Yugoslavia Aiming at Its Own Foreign Policy," by
         Stan Markotich
No. 95: "How Free Is the Media in the CIS?," by Laura Belin

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

UKRAINIAN JUSTICE MINISTER ON CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM. Serhii
Holovaty, who also heads the Constitutional Commission, said that
according to the current constitutional accord, a national referendum on
adopting the constitution can only take place if both the president and
the parliament agree to it, Ukrainian radio reported on 30 April. The
mechanism for adopting the new constitution has not yet been decided. It
will be difficult for any draft constitution to win the necessary two-
thirds majority in parliament and it has been proposed that the
constitution be passed by a simple majority in parliament and then put
to a national referendum. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE ROTATES IN BOSNIAN PEACEKEEPING FORCES. The rotation of
Ukraine's 240th peacekeeping battalion, which is part of the
multinational forces in Bosnia, began on 3 May, ITAR-TASS reported. The
battalion is under French command because Ukraine could not afford to
pay for the unit's upkeep. As a neutral state, Ukraine also decided it
was inappropriate to subordinate its forces directly to NATO command.
The first 500 Ukrainian servicemen have been flown to Bosnia. -- Ustina
Markus

JOURNALISTS CRITICIZE CENSORSHIP IN BELARUS. The Belarusian Association
of Journalists issued a statement criticizing the intimidation of
journalists during the 26 April demonstrations, Ekho Moskvy reported on
2 May. The association said several journalists were beaten and two
arrested. A journalist working for Belarusian radio, Uladzimir Dzyuba,
is still being held by the police. The statement claims that during the
1 May demonstrations, unidentified security personnel confiscated camera
equipment from NTV journalists and workers from the president's security
service detained Respublika's photographer, Leanid Kushnera. The
association called upon journalists from democratic countries to unite
with their Belarusian collegues against dictatorship and violation of
human rights. Journalists from Gazeta wyborcza and RFE/RL echoed the
association's complaints. -- Ustina Markus

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT VISITS ESTONIA. Arpad Goncz, accompanied by a
delegation of businessmen, began a three-day visit to Estonia on 2 May
by meeting with President Lennart Meri, ETA reported. He pledged
Hungary's full support for Estonia's aspirations to become an EU and
NATO member. In talks with Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, Goncz called for
increased contact between the two countries' parliaments and between
their Interior and Environment Ministries. Vahi and Goncz said it is
necessary to adopt agreements on mutual investment protection and free-
trade, which may be signed before the end of the year. -- Saulius
Girnius

PRIVATIZATION OF LATVIA'S VENTSPILS NAFTA. During a recent visit to
Moscow, Eriks Kaza, state minister of Industry, Property, and
Privatization, held talks with Russian Energy and Fuel Minister Yurii
Shafrannikh, BNS reported on 2 May. They signed an intention protocol
stating that Russia wants at least 30% of the capital when the Ventspils
Nafta (VN) terminal is privatized. Shafrannikh noted that Russia has
started building a new oil terminal at Primorsk which would be a
competitor of VN. He said that if Russia were to get the 30% share of
VN, it would guarantee that oil shipments through Ventspils would not be
decreased. Kaza said that more decisive talks with Russia on VN can be
held after the Russian presidential elections. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH ANTI-SMOKING LAW TAKES EFFECT. A law limiting smoking to
designated areas in the workplace, public buildings, hospitals, schools,
and sports centers took effect on 1 May in Poland, international media
reported the same day. The law also bans tobacco advertising in the
broadcast media, cinemas, and youth and children's publications. It
stipulates that 20% of the space in tobacco ads must consist of health
warnings. Cigarette packets will have to carry at least two health
warnings covering 30% of their surface. Parliament rejected a proposal
to ban all cigarette ads, fearing it would harm independent publications
and plans to privatize Poland's large state-owned tobacco industry. --
Dagmar Mroziewicz

TRUST IN CZECH GOVERNMENT, PARLIAMENT DROPS. An opinion poll conducted
by the Institute for Public Opinion Research and published in Mlada
fronta Dnes on 3 May indicates that only 48% of Czechs trusted their
government in April, a drop from 55% in March. The same poll shows that
only 24% of the respondents trusted the parliament, while in March the
figure stood at 31%. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK OPPOSITION LEADER CALLS CAR EXPLOSION "POLITICAL MURDER."
Frantisek Miklosko, deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic
Movement, on 2 May alleged that the death of Robert Remias in a car
explosion three days earlier (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 May 1996) was
"the first political murder since November 1989." Miklosko pointed out
that Remias was "thoroughly acquainted with all the circumstances
surrounding the participation of [former Slovak Information Service
agent] Oskar F. in the kidnapping of Michal Kovac Jr." Interior Ministry
spokesman Peter Ondera called Miklosko's statement "ill-considered and
shocking," noting that the investigation into the explosion has not
revealed any evidence of murder. In other news, the Constitutional Court
on 2 May rejected an amendment to the referendum law that would have
curtailed presidential powers. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER LISTED AS ONE OF 10 "WORST ENEMIES OF THE PRESS."
The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) on 2 May presented
its list of the 10 "worst enemies of the press," which includes Vladimir
Meciar, along with top officials from Tajikistan, Turkey, China, Cuba,
and other countries, RFE/RL reported. The CPJ stressed that there were
"renewed attempts by the ruling coalition to limit freedom of expression
in Slovakia in 1995," noting in particular the situation at state radio
and TV. The Slovak government office has protested Meciar's inclusion on
the list, saying that "since 1989 no case of persecution, imprisonment,
or violent death of a journalist because of his journalistic activities
has been recorded in Slovakia." Meciar's party--the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (HZDS)--responded to the criticism by blaming "the
current opposition, headed by President Michal Kovac," Narodna obroda
reported. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH EXPECTED TO SLOW. Analysts at the Postabank
and the economics research firm GKI Gazdasagkutato Rt. have published
their forecasts projecting that economic growth will fall to just 1%
this year, down from 1.5% in 1995, Hungarian media reported on 2 May.
Meanwhile, unemployment is expected to rise from 496,000 individuals in
1995 to 520,000 in 1996. Inflation will fall to 24-25%, slightly lower
than last year's 28.2% rate. The inflow of foreign capital in 1996 is
projected to total $2-2.5 billion, down from $4.5 billion last year. The
current account deficit is to decrease to $2 billion, compared with $2.5
billion in 1995. The foreign trade deficit should also fall, from $2.6
billion in 1995 to $2-2.3 billion this year. Exports are expected to
increase by 9-10%. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT-IFOR RELATIONS WORSEN. The local branch of the
Bosnian federal police in Trnovo near Sarajevo said the presence of IFOR
and the International Police Task Force (IPTF) in the area is "not
desired" and that their security cannot be guaranteed, Onasa reported on
2 May. The statement followed recent incidents in which Serbs prevented
Muslims from visiting their homes and gravesites during the holiday
Kurban Bajram. Two people died in the clashes. A federal police
commander said "Serbs will not be allowed freedom of movement," adding
that his officers will block the roads linking Trnovo with Lukavica and
Dobrinja and cut off all telephone wires in the area. His forces have
already set up a checkpoint in Trnovo. IPTF commissioner Peter
Fitzgerald will meet with federal Interior Minister Avdo Hebib to
discuss these developments. -- Fabian Schmidt

BOSNIAN SERBS RELEASE FOUR BOSNIAN CROATS. Bosnian Serbs on 2 May
released four Bosnian Croats who had been held as suspected war
criminals. The release followed a statement by the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia that it will not try the
men. The men said they were not harassed during their detention. The
Dayton agreement demanded that all prisoners of war be released by 19
January. According to the UN, however, the Bosnian Serbs are still
holding seven war crimes suspects and the Bosnian government five. --
Fabian Schmidt

TWO MUSLIM WAR CRIME SUSPECTS ARRESTED. The Bosnian authorities have
arrested two Muslims wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for
the former Yugoslavia, AFP reported on 2 May. It is the first
international arrest warrant that has been honored by any of the Bosnian
parties. The 31-year-old Hazim Delic is suspected of killing at least 14
people, torture, rape, and beatings. The 23-year-old Esad Landzo is
wanted for murder and torture. Both allegedly committed the crimes at
the Celebici detention center near Konjic in central Bosnia in 1992.
Another Muslim, the 48-year-old Zejnil Delalic, who was arrested by the
German authorities on 18 March, is to be handed over to the Tribunal
soon. -- Fabian Schmidt

CROATIAN INDEPENDENT PAPER SHUT DOWN. Croatian state financial police on
1 May closed down the independent Croatian newspaper Panorama for
allegedly violating national environmental and property legislation. The
paper's deputy editor, Andrej Rora, has publicly speculated that the
government's move was in response to statements the paper published
criticizing Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. Rora said Panaroma hopes
to resume publishing. Reuters meanwhile reported on 2 May that in recent
weeks Zagreb authorities have clamped down on independent media.
Authorities fined the daily Novi list in April some $2.5 million for
alleged unlawful use of equipment imported from Italy. -- Stan Markotich

ZAGREB MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT DISSOLVED . . . Croatia's government
dissolved Zagreb's democratically elected municipal council on 30 April,
following Croatia's Constitutional Court's decision that a budget
submitted by the opposition-dominated local authority was illegal. A
coalition of opposition parties held a majority of 30-20 seats in the
capital following October 1995 elections. Hina reported that the
Croatian government has appointed a commissioner to run city affairs for
the 60 days prior to new local elections. Representatives from the
opposition parties said that the dissolution was not entirely unexpected
and that "this [dissolution] is in fact the culmination of Zagreb's
undemocratic policies." -- Stan Markotich

. . . AND CROATIAN PRESIDENT CRITICAL OF OPPOSITION. Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman criticized Zagreb's dismissed opposition municipal
authorities, saying they were unrepresentative, harmful politically for
Croatia, and disrespectful of Croatia's constitution. On 2 May, AFP
quoted Tudjman as saying "the rise of Nazism in Germany was made
possible by lack of firmness in the democracy. We must therefore stop
people who don't represent the majority from coming to power." Tudjman
made his remarks in the town of Okucani, some 120 kilometers east of
Zagreb, on the first anniversary of Croatia's retaking of Western
Slavonia from rebel Serbs. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN SERB PREMIER SIDES WITH SERBIAN PRESIDENT. Rajko Kasagic openly
sided with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in a move signaling an
ever growing rift between the premier and the Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic. In a 2 May interview with Le Monde, Kasagic said "I
feel close to Milosevic; he is a realist." Kasagic, who has in the past
sided with Milosevic, is regarded by some observers as a possible
successor to Karadzic. -- Stan Markotich

UN HUMAN RIGHTS ENVOY VISITS KOSOVO. Elisabeth Rehn, after a meeting
with shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova, said she was "very
concerned" about the situation in Kosovo and called for negotiations
with Belgrade under international mediation, AFP reported on 2 May.
Rugova declined comment after the meeting. Rehn also visited Velika
Reka, where a child was killed in a bomb explosion last week, and met
with the head of the Human Rights Council, Adem Demaci. Rehn will later
visit the Muslim majority region of Sandzak between Serbia and
Montenegro. Elsewhere, Reuters reported that the international
community's High Representative Carl Bildt warned that "peace in Bosnia
depends on the stability of the whole region and the political
leadership in Belgrade; Kosovo and Tirana must seek a political solution
and prevent a major crisis." -- Fabian Schmidt

GROUP CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR KOSOVO VIOLENCE. An organization calling
itself the Kosovo Liberation Army claimed responsibility for recent
shootings in which five Serbs were killed last week, AFP reported. The
group had sent a letter to the Albanian-language service of the BBC
warning that as long as there is "support for the Serb aggressor and
disrespect for the requests of the oppressed Albanian people" the armed
conflict in Kosovo and the Balkans will continue. The message added that
"the armed conflict in Kosovo is a war of liberation...[not] terrorism,
interethnic, or religious confrontation." The group made itself known
for the first time in February when it claimed responsibility for
attacks on Serbian refugees' homes. The Kosovar shadow state government
has condemned the attacks. -- Fabian Schmidt

CRIME MARS ROMANIAN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN. Opposition leaders on 2 May
accused the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) of
encouraging crime before the local elections scheduled for 2 June, Radio
Bucharest reported. Emil Constantinescu, chairman of the Democratic
Convention of Romania, and Mircea Ionescu-Quintus, leader of the
National Liberal Party, told journalists that burglars broke into their
parties' offices in the town of Botosani and stole documents.
Constantinescu said that the incidents were aimed at creating confusion
to facilitate election-rigging. Last week, local rowdies in the town of
Sascut stoned the car of Petre Roman, former premier and current head of
the Democratic Party. Roman's party accused a local PDSR leader of
leading the mob. Ionescu-Quintus said the incidents have overshadowed
NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana's visit to Bucharest that started
on 3 May. -- Dan Ionescu

POLL ON SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES IN MOLDOVA. Some 70% of respondents
in a recent poll described the political and social situation in their
country as "bad" and "very bad," Moldovan news agencies reported on 30
April. The results also showed that 82% of those questioned were
dissatisfied with the level of democracy in Moldova, 67% with the
activity of the parliament, 61% with the cabinet's performance, and 49%
with the presidential office. According to 25% of those polled, the old,
communist system lives on in Moldova under new names. The poll was
conducted by the independent Opinia agency jointly with the Chisinau
branch of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. -- Dan
Ionescu

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SOFIA. Javier Solana on 2 May arrived in
Bulgaria on a two-day visit, Reuters and Pari reported. Solana met with
President Zhelyu Zhelev, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, Foreign Minister
Georgi Pirinski, and Defense Minister Dimitar Pavlov. Solana said
Bulgaria contributed positively to NATO's Partnership for Peace program,
but he agreed with Zhelev that "it is clear there is no consensus [in
Bulgaria] about [NATO] membership." Zhelev said membership would make
Bulgaria's transition to democracy irreversible and that Bulgaria's
"special contribution" to NATO would be its strategic location in the
Balkans. Videnov said that the government will state on 6 May its
position on membership. The Union of Democratic Forces handed a
memorandum to Solana, reaffirming its pro-NATO position and asking for
consultations between NATO and the Bulgarian opposition. -- Stefan
Krause

RFE/RL JOURNALIST BEATEN UP AT BULGARIAN MAY DAY RALLY. Kurdish
demonstrators at the central May Day rally of the ruling Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP) beat up Georgi Koritarov of RFE/RL's Sofia office.
He is suffering a concussion, after being attacked while trying to
interview the Kurds, who shouted at him "you have to die" and "the
police sent you," 24 chasa reported on 2 May. One Kurd claimed Koritarov
had provoked them. Another Kurd said the BSP had invited them to the
rally, which BSP spokeswoman Klara Marinova denied, Standart reported. A
police statement blamed the incident on an "independently organized
group of foreign students." RFE/RL has come under fire from the BSP
because of the station's critical position on the Socialist government
and its license may be endangered after a recent government decision to
review all private licenses (see OMRI Daily Digest, 30 April 1996). --
Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. National Police Director Ivan Dimov on 2 May
announced that the crime rate in the first quarter of 1996 was 21% lower
than during the same period last year, Bulgarian media and Reuters
reported. This marked the first drop in the crime rate since 1990. Dimov
said that economic crime rose by 16% compared to last year, but 40% of
all crimes were solved as opposed to 8% last year. Meanwhile, Trud on 3
May reported that the British Foreign Office issued a travel advisory
warning tourists of incidents involving theft and violence against
foreigners. In other news, the Bulgarian lev continues its free fall
against the U.S. dollar. On 3 May, the Bulgarian National Bank fixing
was 95.323 leva to the U.S. dollar, compared to 87.978 lev one week
earlier. But Duma reported that the U.S. currency was selling the
previous day for 115-120 leva in exchange offices. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Deborah Michaels

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS
TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ


ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region.  There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


RUSSIAN DAILY DIGEST
The OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and distributed the
following day.
1) Compose a message to MAJORDOMO@DEMOS.SU
2) In the body of the message, write SUBSCRIBE OMRI 
   (be sure to replace  with your own name).
3) Send the message
 
         

[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