Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 92, Part II, 13 May 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

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES DECREE ON TIMELY WAGE PAYMENT. Leonid Kuchma
issued a decree on 12 May aimed at ensuring timely payment of wages,
pensions, and stipends by the government and state-owned enterprises,
Ukrainian TV reported. The decree stipulates that ministers as well as
enterprise managers will be fired if they fail to pay salaries on time.
In another decree, Kuchma ordered the State Committee on TV and Radio to
launch within 10 days regular broadcasts featuring discussion on the
draft basic law by Constitutional Committee members, national and local
lawmakers, government officials, legal experts and representatives of
civic organizations, Ukrainian radio reported. Kuchma also issued a
decree establishing a national athletic training institution to support
athletes training for the Olympics and other international sports
competitions. Financial support will come from the Kyiv-based
"Republican Stadium" company. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST MURDERED. Police in Cherkasy, in central Ukraine,
found the body of a well-known Ukrainian journalist, Ihor Hrushetsky,
lying in the street near his home, Ukrainian TV reported on 10 May.
Police said Hrushetsky died from a blow to the head and have launched an
investigation. Colleagues believe Hrushetsky may have been murdered for
his articles on political corruption published in such newspapers as
Nezavisimost and the now-defunct Respublika. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY WANTS BLACK SEA BORDER FINALIZED. Ukraine's
Foreign Ministry has asked Russia to speed up the clarification of the
Black Sea border between Russia and Ukraine, NTV reported on 10 May. The
request was spurred by the discovery of new gas and oil reserves in the
Black Sea shelf. Ukraine wants the border delineated to legalize the
ownership of planned drilling sites. Foreign companies have already
expressed interest in the reserves. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION APPOINTS NEW ACTING LEADER . . . The Belarusian
Popular Front (BPF) appointed Yuriy Belenky acting Chairman during the
absence of its leader Zyanon Paznyak, Belapan reported on 10 May.
Belenky was a former parliamentary deputy and a BPF deputy leader.
Paznyak fled the country in March after a warrant was issued for his
arrest. He returned to Minsk for the 26 April demonstrations but then
went into hiding. -- Ustina Markus

. . . AND CALLS ON POLICE TO DISOBEY ILLEGAL ORDERS. The BPF issued an
appeal to the police, courts, and Prosecutor's Office not to obey any
illegal orders from Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belapan
reported on 9 May. The appeal accused those who carried out such orders
of "currying favor with Lukashenka," and states that Lukashenka is not
governing the country democratically. It alleges that the courts are
passing illegal sentences, police are provoking peaceful demonstrators,
and false grounds are being concocted to ban opposition parties. --
Ustina Markus

UKRAINE, ESTONIA SIGN TAX AGREEMENTS. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen
Marchuk and his Estonian counterpart, Tiit Vahi, in Tallinn on 10 May
signed agreements on avoiding double taxation and tax evasion, BNS
reported. Both countries' justice and communication ministers also
signed cooperation agreements. Vahi said he regretted that the free-
trade agreement between Estonia and Ukraine, which has been in effect
since 14 March, has not been implemented since many Ukrainian border
officers are allegedly unaware of the document. Marchuk told Estonian
President Lennart Meri that he was impressed with Estonia's economic
reforms and might use them as a model in Ukraine. He also thanked
Estonia for supporting Ukraine's entry into the Council of Europe and
confirmed mutual interests in joining other European organizations. --
Saulius Girnius

HEAD OF ESTONIA'S RUSSIAN CITIZENS' UNION CHARGED WITH TREASON. Estonian
Security Police (ESP) on 10 May started criminal proceedings for treason
against Yuri Mishin, the head of Narva's Union of Russian Citizens, ETA
and BNS reported. The charge is liable to a penalty of 10 years
imprisonment, but Mishin, who is a Russian citizen, is more likely to be
expelled as was Petr Rozhok, the head of the Estonian chapter of Russian
Liberal Democratic Party, for similar charges. The Estonian press
reported that Mishin is accused of urging people at an anti-Estonia
rally on 1 May to attack the Narva border check-point. However, Mishin
claims he only wanted to draw attention to the difficulties that Russian
citizens will encounter after 12 July when their former Soviet passports
will no longer be recognized in Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, ESTONIA REACH COMPROMISE ON SEA BORDER. Latvian Prime Minister
Andris Skele and his Estonian counterpart, Tiit Vahi, on 12 May in the
Latvian town of Rujiena reached a compromise on the maritime border in
the Gulf of Rigaduring, Western agencies reported. Vahi said in an
Estonian Radio interview: "The agreement is that everything above the
border is Estonian territory where Estonian fishing rules apply.
Everything which is below the line is Latvian territory and Latvian
fishing rules apply there." The respective parliaments still have to
approve the agreement. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN THE SEJM. Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz
Rosati spoke in the Sejm on 9 May and stressed Poland's determination to
join NATO and the EU, Polish media reported the next day. Rosati said
Poland would not ask for Russian permission to join NATO but would keep
Moscow informed. He commented that the OSCE should be strengthened, but
"the idea of building on the basis of the OSCE a new crowning
institution of European security is neither fortunate nor realistic." He
said, "Today we can note with satisfaction a pro-European direction in
the policy of Ukraine." He added that Poland is interested in political
cooperation with Belarus to strengthen an "independent and sovereign
existence for this country." Polish dailies commented that both the
Polish government and the opposition agree on foreign policy. -- Jakub
Karpinski

SHIPYARD WORKERS DEMONSTRATE IN GDANSK. Some 4,000 Gdansk shipyard
workers demonstrated on 10 May to protest non-payment of their April
salaries. The workers sent a written complaint to the Gdansk chief
prosecutor who has 30 days to respond to it, Rzeczpospolita reported on
11 May. The shipyard is on the verge of bankruptcy, but Privatization
Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek said the government does not intend to
earmark any money to save it. The shipyard is the site where the
Solidarity Union was born in August 1980. -- Jakub Karpinski

NEW ATLANTIC INITIATIVE CONGRESS IN PRAGUE. Some 300 politicians and
other officials from Eastern Europe and the West gathered in Prague on
10 May for a three-day congress of the New Atlantic Initiative, Czech
media reported. A declaration adopted at the congress calls for
strengthening ties between North America and Europe through democracy,
liberalism, and market economy. It further proposes the creation of a
Transatlantic free-trade zone. Czech President Vaclav Havel advocated
NATO enlargement and warned against isolationism. Former British Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher also urged for a speedy NATO enlargement and
cautioned against military and political separation between Europe and
the U.S. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH SKINHEADS ATTACK ROMA. About 30 skinheads in Brno on 10 May
attacked Roma standing near a tram station in a neighborhood called "The
Bronx," TV Premiera reported the same day. Other Roma living in nearby
buildings came to the victims' defense. Police broke up the ensuing
fight and arrested several Romani youths but none of the skinheads. The
police actions evoked sharp protest from local Roma, CTK reported on 11
May. -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK POLITICIAN ALLEGES POLITICAL MURDER. Christian Democratic
Movement leader Jan Carnogursky on 10 May claimed that a bullet was
found in Robert Remias's belly, Slovak media reported. Reimas was found
dead after his car exploded on 29 April. Carnogursky said that a piece
of Remias's car found at the scene of the explosion and handed over to
Carnogursky's party had in it several holes. Remias was a , former
policeman and friend of Oscar F.--a key witness in the kidnapping case
of Slovak President Michal Kovac's son. The president and the opposition
claim that Kovac Jr. was kidnapped by the Slovak Intelligence Service. A
Slovak police spokesman on 10 May said there was no evidence that Remias
was murdered and no bullet was found in Remias's stomach. He suggested,
however, that six bullets in the gun owned by Remias probably exploded
in the extreme heat of the explosion. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT CRITICIZES TV. Michal Kovac on 12 May sent an open
letter to the Slovak TV (STV) Board, in which he questioned STV's role
as a public institution, TASR reported. "STV is an institution which is
not supposed to serve only a selected group of political entities and
irresponsibly manipulate citizens' views," Kovac wrote. He warned that
under Slovak law, STV is a public institution "not the coalition
parties' or the cabinet's institution." Kovac met with the STV's board
chairman on 6 May to request more objectivity in STV programming.
However, Kovac said that "STV management's stance has not changed" since
the meeting. Kovac wrote that STV's efforts "to censure the president or
place some conditions on him [before he appears on TV] are regrettable."
On 8 May, STV refused to broadcast the president's address marking the
51st anniversary of the end of World War II. -- Jiri Pehe

HUNGARY TO POSTPONE PURCHASE OF FIGHTER JETS? The Hungarian government
is about to launch an international tender with a $1 billion order for
30 NATO-compatible fighter planes for the Hungarian Armed Forces to
replace its aging MiG-21s, international and domestic media reported.
The companies Saab, Dassault Aviation, and Lockheed, which respectively
produce JAS-39 Gripen, Mirage 2000-5, and F-16 and F-18 fighter jets,
have already shown interest in the tender. The Finance and Defense
Ministries, however, seem to be at odds over the issue. Finance Ministry
officials on 10 May called for shelving the international tender due to
financial difficulties. Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry is pushing for
the deal to go through and expects to reach a purchase agreement by the
end of this year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OVERRULES TUDJMAN. The highest Croatian
judicial body on 10 May ruled six-to-four in favor of an opposition suit
against President Franjo Tudjman's recent dissolution of the Zagreb city
council, international and Croatian media reported. The opposition
coalition won a majority on the council last October, but Tudjman has
since vetoed all four of its proposed candidates for mayor and otherwise
tried to hamstring the council's work. He charged that he would not
allow the capital to be run by "enemies of state policy." After formally
dissolving the city council on 30 April, Tudjman called for a referendum
in what was widely seen as an attempt to postpone new council elections
that his Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) seemed likely to lose. The
latest court decision appears to be a milestone display of independence
by the judiciary, which has generally been regarded as an instrument of
the HDZ. That party may now find itself forced to take up the
opposition's previous offer of power-sharing in return for the HDZ's
recognition of an opposition candidate for mayor. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN, BOSNIAN LEADERS MEET. President Franjo Tudjman on 11 May
hosted a meeting in Zagreb with his Bosnian counterpart, Alija
Izetbegovic, Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic, Bosnian Federation
President Kresimir Zubak, and federal Vice President Ejup Ganic. They
reached an agreement on a pilot program for the return of refugees to
four central Bosnian towns: Muslim-held Bugojno and Travnik, and Croat-
held Stolac and Jajce. Another measure called for Bosnia to have a
temporary duty-free outlet to the sea through Ploce in Croatia and for
Croatian vehicles to be able to transit Bosnia's coastal strip at Neum,
which cuts Croatia into two. Izetbegovic told Onasa, moreover, that
Bosnians do not need visas for Croatia. All sides sounded optimistic
after the meeting, international and regional media reported. But these
latest accords sound very similar to previous measures that were agreed
upon but remained dead letters due to mistrust and the opposition of
local warlords. -- Patrick Moore

HOLBROOKE WARNS ABOUT PARTITION OF BOSNIA. The man most responsible for
the Dayton accords, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard
Holbrooke, said that the Dayton structure could collapse resulting in
the partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He blamed the Serbian, Muslim, and
Croatian sides, but singled out the Serbs for not removing from power
indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic. He doubts
that fighting will resume but feels that "the Europeans" have
incapacitated the civilian side of Dayton by insisting on multiple
chains of command, AFP reported on 12 May.  -- Patrick Moore

BELGRADE CALLS FOR IMF, WORLD BANK TALKS . . . Rump Yugoslav authorities
have requested the "urgent resumption" of talks with the IMF and World
Bank, Reuters reported on 12 May. At a meeting of federal authorities
the previous day, federal Premier Radoje Kontic asked that IMF and World
Bank officials be invited to Belgrade as soon as possible to reopen
lines of communication. Dialogue with international financial
institutions collapsed in April 1996 when Belgrade demanded that rump
Yugoslavia be recognized as the sole successor state of Tito's
Yugoslavia as a precondition for continued dialogue. -- Stan Markotich

. . . WHILE BANK GOVERNOR CALLS FOR PREMIER'S RESIGNATION. Meanwhile,
National Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic has called for Kontic's
resignation, Nasa Borba reported on 11 May. Avramovic has since early
April been in open conflict with members of the government over rump
Yugoslav relations with international financial institutions. Avramovic
alleges in a letter that Kontic flagrantly lied when he remarked that
Avramovic had abandoned government policy in talks with IMF officials at
the beginning of April. Avramovic advocates obtaining international
loans as soon as possible to keep the rump Yugoslav economy from ruin,
while federal authorities contend that international financial
institutions must first recognize rump Yugoslavia as the successor to
Tito's Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY TO LAUNCH OWN RADIO, TV. The leader of the
extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM), Senator Corneliu Vadim Tudor, in
Bucharest on 10 May said his party will launch its own radio and TV
station "at whatever cost," claiming that the state-run media do not
properly reflect the PRM's activities, Radio Bucharest reported on the
same day. In a related matter, President Ion Iliescu commented on
accusations that the BBC's Romanian-language program is broadcasting
propaganda for the opposition in the forthcoming elections (see the OMRI
Daily Digest, 7 May). He said the BBC was the only foreign station with
numerous programs broadcast locally and therefore it should attach "more
importance to objectivity." He added that Romania should possibly use
the BBC's stations to make Romanian positions known, saying that the
matter was one of "reciprocity."  -- Michael Shafir

TIRASPOL HAMPERS IMPLEMENTATION OF RUSSIAN-MOLDOVAN AGREEMENT. The
Transdniestrian authorities have insisted on talks with Russia to
discuss the transfer of Russian military equipment stationed in the
breakaway region, and they have refused to recognize the Moldovan-
Russian accord on the issue, BASSA-Press reported on 9 May. The Tiraspol
leader, Igor Smirnov, on 8 May demanded the talks at a meeting with
Vladimir Kitayev, the Russian special ambassador and head of the Russian
delegation for talks with Moldova. Stefan Chitac, a military advisor to
Smirnov, said none of the Moldovan-Russian military accords on the
transfer of the Russian equipment will be carried out. -- Michael Shafir

NEW BULGARIAN INTERIOR MINISTER APPOINTED. Bulgaria's parliament on 10
May voted to replace Lyubomir Nachev with Nikolai Dobrev, Bulgarian
state radio reported the same day. Opposition deputies abstained from
the proceedings, saying the government had acted with impropriety by
holding the vote without prior debate. Opposition members, some of whom
also called for Premier Videnov's resignation, alleged that Dobrev, a
high-ranking member of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, was
predisposed to working toward a "totalitarian unification of party and
state." Nachev resigned following the 3 May slaying of three police
officers in Sofia (see the OMRI Daily Digest, 6 May 1996). -- Stan
Markotich

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS COMPLAIN ABOUT "CLIMATE OF TERROR." The Socialists
accused the ruling Democratic Party of political manipulation prior to
the 26 May elections, Reuters reported on 10 May. They said police
illegally detained more than 30 Socialist supporters and destroyed their
banners and flags. The Socialists' General Secretary Gramoz Ruci claimed
that his party's candidates have been obstructed from meeting with
voters. Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi reacted to the charges by saying
that "those who complain create the incidents themselves," Albania
reported on 12 May. Meanwhile, an unknown culprit smashed the windows of
the office of the Socialists' Vice President Luan Hajdaraga, Koha Jone
reported the same day. The Socialists claimed that police cars and
Democratic Party supporters on 11 May blocked a road, preventing Tirana
Socialist leaders from attending an election campaign rally in Durres.
-- 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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