To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 95, Part II, 16 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 ORDERS AUSTERITY MEASURES. A government cash crunch
and piling wage debts have prompted Leonid Kuchma to order tough
austerity measures, including a ban on foreign business travel and other
benefits for officials, international agencies reported on 15 May.
Kuchma issued a decree temporarily banning spending on office
renovations, new furniture, and other perks until all wages and pensions
owed to workers in state-owned industries, teachers, and physicians are
paid. Economics Minister Vasyl Hureyev said the government owes $951
million in up to four months of back wages. He blamed a continuing
decline in industrial output, unpaid taxes, and the temporary suspension
of IMF credits last month. Meanwhile, up to 1,000 coal miners blocked
railroad tracks in western Ukraine calling for an end to coal imports
from neighboring Poland and prompt payment of back wages, Western
agencies reported. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN OFFICIAL DEFENDS ECONOMIC RECORD. Borys Sobolev, Chairman of
the Ukrainian State Credit and Investment Company, defended his
country's economic record before a conference on privatization in Prague
on 15 May. He argued that the nationalization of Ukraine's property had
taken 15 years and many lives (in the 1930s), so one should not expect
de-nationalization to be a quick and easy process. He noted that 47% of
the Ukrainian GDP is now generated from the private sector, double the
share in 1994. Sobolev criticized international financial institutions
for "establishing plans like before...on how many enterprises are
privatized each quarter." He said that much of the $1.5 billion state
credits that Ukraine received from abroad "were used improperly for the
support of loss-making industries by the government of the time." Hence,
these credits "very often are not playing a positive role and even
playing a negative role . . . hampering privatization." -- Peter Rutland

SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ESTONIA. Lena Hjelm-Wallen on a one-day
visit to Estonia on 15 May stressed that Sweden fully supports the
membership of the Baltic states in the EU and NATO, Reuters reported.
She noted that although Sweden cannot be involved in NATO expansion
talks since it is not a member of the organization, it was concerned
that "NATO expansion should not create any new blocks, dividing lines or
gray security zones in Europe." She said that Sweden would give Estonia
practical assistance in strengthening security on its borders and also
support the Estonian police and other structures contributing to the
preservation of Estonian independence. -- Saulius Girnius

NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE PROPOSED AGAINST LITHUANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER.
Justinas Karosas, the head of the ruling Democratic Labor Party (LDDP)
caucus, announced on 15 May that he had handed in a motion signed by 29
deputies asking for a no-confidence vote against National Defense
Minister Linas Linkevicius, BNS reported. The primary reason for the
motion was Linkevicius's decision in April to leave the LDDP. It is not
clear when the no-confidence motion will be moved, but it will have to
gain the support of 71 deputies to pass. The LDDP faction now has 68
deputies. -- Saulius Girnius

POLES PROTEST AGAINST SOLIDARITY DELEGATION'S EXPULSION FROM BELARUS.
Belarus's expulsion of a delegation from the Polish union Solidarity
sparked an angry demonstration of some 1,000 people outside the
Belarusian consulate in the northeastern town of Bialystok on 15 May,
AFP reported. The protesters handed the Belarusian Consul a letter
opposing the detention of four Solidarity members who were later
escorted to the countries' common border. The delegation had been in
Belarus at the invitation of the Belarusian independent association of
trade unions, which opposes Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
policies. Belarusian authorities claimed the delegation had organized an
illegal demonstration in Minsk. Meanwhile, the Brussels-based
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions said it lodged a
complaint with the International Labor Organization against Belarus,
Rzeczpospolita on 16 May reported. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

MILITARY PROSECUTOR COMES UNDER FIRE IN POLISH SPYING CASE. Slawomir
Gorzkiewicz, who dropped the investigation into allegations that
Poland's former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy had spied for Moscow, was
criticized for revealing the name of the Russian informant in the case,
Polish media reported. Gorzkiewicz says he behaved in compliance with
the law, disclosing the informant's name only to Oleksy himself when
telling him of the decision to close the case, Gazeta Wyborcza reported
on 16 May. But many politicians claim revealing the informant's name--a
state secret--was a crime, if not treason, and that Gorzkiewicz should
be punished. The Confederation for Independent Poland, a small right-
wing party, called for the Warsaw Prosecutor's office to launch an
investigation into Gorzkiewicz's disclosure. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON ELECTIONS. The Constitutional Court
on 15 May rejected the motion submitted by 41 opposition deputies that
claimed the election law is unconstitutional in its demand that each
registered party pay a 200,000 crown (about $7,400) ballot-printing fee
in each electoral district in which the party competes, Czech media
reported. Eight judges ruled in favor of the motion and seven rejected
it. Under the Czech Constitution, the motion would have passed with one
additional vote in its favor. The decision disqualifies from the
upcoming parliamentary elections four minor parties that have failed to
pay the fees, bringing the total number of participating parties to 16.
-- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT TO DISCUSS OUSTING INTERIOR MINISTER. Slovak deputies
on 15 May approved an agenda for next week's parliamentary session,
which includes proposals to remove Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek and a
debate on the country's secret service, Slovak and international media
reported. Opposition deputies said Hudek should not remain in office
after calling police officers "idiots" in a telephone conversation with
Slovak Information Service (SIS) Director Ivan Lexa. A radio station in
Bratislava on 13 May broadcast a tape of the conversation, full of
vulgarities and concerning the kidnapping of President Michal Kovac's
son. Hudek has not directly denied the authenticity of the tape, but
Lexa issued a statement on 15 May saying he did not recall any such
conversation with Hudek. The statement also said SIS experts judged the
tape to be a compilation of snippets from public speeches and "illegally
tapped telephone conversations," put together using impersonators'
voices. -- Steve Kettle

HUNGARY, SLOVAKIA EXCHANGE TREATY RATIFICATION DOCUMENTS. Hungarian and
Slovak Foreign Ministry officials on 15 May exchanged ratification
documents of the bilateral treaty that is meant to smooth decades of
mistrust and tension, Hungarian and international media reported. The
documents did not include the controversial interpretation clauses
appended to the treaty by the Slovak parliament in April. Instead of a
customary prime ministerial meeting, the exchange of documents took
place in the form of a low-key event in Budapest between Gyorgy Szenasi,
the head of the Hungarian ministry's international law department, and
his Slovak counterpart, Igor Grexa. Hungarian political analysts say the
treaty, signed in March 1995 in Paris, should improve bilateral
relations but may not do much to help Slovakia's Hungarian minority. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

WILL IFOR EXTEND ITS MANDATE IN HUNGARY? A U.S. defense official on 15
May said it was too soon to say if American troops will need to stay in
Hungary longer than the agreed one-year term, Reuters reported. However,
Franklin Kramer, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International
Security Affairs, upheld that pulling IFOR peacekeeping forces out of
Bosnia to a base nearby is a possibility. There has been rising
speculation that the U.S. military is considering asking Hungary to
extend the lease of the Taszar and Kaposvar logistic bases that were
used to funnel most of the 20,000 U.S. peacekeeping troops into Bosnia.
Recently, there have been contradictory reports about whether the IFOR
mandate will be extended through December 1996. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC FIRES HIS MODERATE PRIME MINISTER. Bosnian Serb leader and
indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic has dismissed Prime Minister
Rajko Kasagic, international and local media reported on 15 May. Kasagic
was regarded and promoted by the West as a moderate alternative to
Bosnian Serb hard-liners. He recently called on Bosnian Serb leaders to
respect all aspects of the Dayton peace agreement, which includes the
handover of war criminals. Karadzic said Kasagic was discharged for
being "not up to his task," AFP reported. The international community
immediately slammed Karadzic for sacking his premier, and NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana said the decision was "null and void,"
adding that he will nevertheless meet with Kasagic in Banja Luka on 16
May as planned. -- Daria Sito Sucic

COAL MINERS STRIKE IN CENTRAL BOSNIA. Thousands of coal miners in the
central Bosnian town Kakanj on 14 May went on strike over pay and
working conditions, international and local media reported. Management
urged them to return to work the next day after their union leaders met
with the federal Energy Minister Enver Kreso and agreed to raise
salaries. The government promised a 60% salary raise for both April and
May, increasing the average salary from 80 German marks ($52) to about
300 marks per month, Oslobodjenje reported on 16 May. The mine is the
Kakanj thermal power plant's main coal supplier, but the miners claim
the plant has never paid for the coal. Some 6,000 demobilized soldiers
are miners in central Bosnia. More problems are expected in this sector.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

RUMP YUGOSLAV BANK GOVERNOR OUSTED. Rump Yugoslavia's federal
legislature on 15 May dismissed Dragoslav Avramovic as National Bank
Governor, Nasa Borba reported on 16 May. Avramovic, who had in recent
weeks publicly run afoul of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, left the legislature "teary-eyed"
following the decision. Avramovic, who in January 1994 was credited with
halting the country's hyperinflation by introducing the so-called
"super-dinar" valued at an exchange rate of 1:1 with the German mark,
came to openly resist Belgrade's calls for a return to polices that
likely would have resulted in renewed inflation. Already on 15 May, Nasa
Borba's coverage of the rift between Avramovic and the authorities
hinted that Avramovic had reconciled himself to the inevitable, quoting
him as saying "if the legislature relieves me of my duties, I'll just
take my hat and go." -- Stan Markotich

WAR CRIMES OFFICE TO OPEN IN BELGRADE. The rump Yugoslav government on
15 May announced officially that an office representing the
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia will be opened
in Belgrade, AFP reported that same day. While details on the office's
opening still must be approved by both Belgrade and the Tribunal,
Belgrade is on record as saying the office "will be able to receive
anyone who wishes to make a declaration relating to war crimes" and that
its chief officer will have diplomatic immunity. Rump Yugoslavia's
"slowness" in cooperating with the Tribunal compelled Tribunal President
Antonio Cassese as recently as last month to call for the re-
implementation of sanctions against the country, AFP added. -- Stan
Markotich

MAGUREANU WILL QUIT IF ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE INVOLVED IN
TELEPHONE BUGGING. Virgil Magureanu, director of the Romanian
Intelligence Service (SRI), told journalists on 15 May that he will
resign if the involvement of the SRI in the telephone-bugging scandal is
proved by the investigation now underway, Romanian media reported on 15-
16 May. He said he would be "the one to blame" in this case, since
telephone tapping requires his personal approval. One day earlier,
however, SRI spokesman Nicolae Ulieru said the tapping had been legal,
which seems to contradict Magureanu's assertion. Magureanu also said
that the SRI captain who had revealed the existence of the tapes had
been dismissed from the service. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVA SETS DATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The Moldovan parliament on
15 May decided that the presidential elections will be held on 17
November, Moldovan agencies reported. According to the draft election
law, the Constitutional Court will have to confirm the results of the
elections on the last Saturday of November, or third Saturday of
December if a second round of voting is needed on 1 December. The
parliament also decided that presidential candidates must be Moldovan
citizens not younger than 35, who speak the "Moldovan language" and have
lived in Moldova no less than 10 years. The president will be elected
for a four-year term and cannot hold office for more than two terms.
President Mircea Snegur's term expires on 15 January 1997. His most
likely challengers are Parliament Speaker Petru Lucinschi and Prime
Minister Andrei Sangheli. -- Matyas Szabo

ROMANIA-LINKED FASCIST ORGANIZATION IN MOLDOVA. The Moldovan National
Security Ministry has taken unspecified measures against "a fascist
group which intended to stage extremist actions," BASA-press reported on
15 May. Reference was made to a "nest" of the fascist Legionary
movement, better known as the Iron Guard. In interwar Romania, the
"nests" were the fascist organization's basic cells and the one active
in Chisinau is called "The Captain" after the Legion's leader, Corneliu
Zelea Codreanu. In his 1995 report to the Romanian parliament, SRI
Director Virgil Magureanu mentioned the "nest" in Chisinau and other
cells set up in Romania by Serban Suru, a high school teacher involved
in attempts to rehabilitate the Legion. The Moldovan report links the
"nest" in Chisinau to the Moldovan Student League, which was active in
organizing last year's student strike. The league is also known to have
ties with the Movement for Romania, another extremist Romanian
organization modeled after the Legion. -- Michael Shafir

PRIVATIZATION A SUCCESS IN MOLDOVA. Ceslau Ciobanu, the Moldovan
Minister of Privatization, said at a conference in Prague that "we lost
three years in political debate" over how to implement the privatization
law adopted in July 1991. However, a Czech-style scheme was eventually
selected, and "national patrimony" bonds issued, which 3.1 million
citizens have used to buy shares or their apartments. Beginning in July
1994, 1,200 companies were sold in 15 auctions, with assets worth 10
billion lei ($2.5 billion), about one-third of the state's former
property. The private sector now generates some 60% of the GDP, and
14,000 private farms have been established. -- Peter Rutland

BULGARIAN PREMIER GAINS SHOW OF SUPPORT . . . Bulgaria's severe
financial crisis has forced the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)
to show unity and demonstrate support for Zhan Videnov, premier and BSP
party leader, Reuters reported on 15 May. Kontinent had published a
report saying that factions within the BSP were working to remove
Videnov from his party and government posts for his low competence and
ineffectiveness as a manager, which Videnov later said was false. Even
some of Videnov's open critics are now demonstrating support for him.
Independent trade union leader Konstantin Trenchev, for instance, told
Trud on 15 May that Videnov is rightly seen as a "guarantee of reform."
-- Stan Markotich

. . . AS GOVERNMENT SELECTS 64 FIRMS FOR CLOSURE. In a bid to satisfy
conditions laid down by the IMF for receiving new credits, the Bulgarian
government on 15 May produced a list of 64 enterprises slated for
liquidation, Bulgarian and international media reported. The list
perplexed trade union officials and enterprise managers, who noted that
some of the firms were profitable and that others had already been
privatized, leading them to suspect that the closures would enrich
businessmen close to the ruling Socialists. Another 70 companies are to
be cut off from state-owned bank loans and given one year to devise
restructuring plans. An official of the Confederation of Independent
Trade Unions noted that the list was compiled without consulting the
unions, 25,383 jobs would be lost, and no provision was made for
settlement of wage arrears going back as far as 1993. -- Michael Wyzan

ALBANIAN ELECTION WRAP-UP. A car taking Democratic Alliance leader
Neritan Ceka to a public party meeting in Divjake was stopped on 15 May
by Democratic Party supporters near Rrogozhine. They forced the car
open, searched it while threatening violence, and stole a camera and
party posters, Koha Jone reported. Meanwhile, the electoral commission
announced that about 400 election observers--including 33 OSCE monitors,
35 EU monitors, and over 100 observers from various European leftist
parties--will oversee the ballot on 26 May as requested by the
Socialists, Reuters reported on 15 May. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIA, FRANCE SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Albanian Defense
Minister Safet Zhulali and his French counterpart, Charles Millon,
signed a military cooperation agreement on 14 May at the end of
Zhulali's three-day visit to Paris. The agreement calls for training
Albanian soldiers in France, exchange programs, joint maneuvers, and
French equipment supplies to Albania. France is one of the last major
European powers to sign military agreements with Albania, but Millon
attributed this to internal developments in France, ATSH reported.
Millon praised Albania's careful policy towards the Yugoslav war and the
Kosovo conflict. He added that France supports autonomy for Kosovo. --
Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Deborah Michaels

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