What the sick man likes to eat is his medicine. - Russian Proverb
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 96, Part II, 17 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 GOVERNMENT UPS SUBSIDIES TO COAL INDUSTRY. The Ukrainian 
government passed a resolution increasing state support for the ailing 
coal sector, UNIAN reported on 13 May. The resolution calls for a revision 
of the state budget, raising subsidies for loss-making mines to 35 
trillion karbovantsi ($189 million). The move was apparently made to head 
off a threatened miners' strike over unpaid wages. Meanwhile, the 
Ukrainian parliament has amended a law on the privatization of small- and 
medium-scale state enterprises aiming to encourage the privatization of 
food-processing plants, construction firms, some transportation 
industries, retail trade outlets, local utilities, and municipal services, 
UNIAN reported on 15 May. Lawmakers voted to continue allowing local 
authorities to sell off property that falls under their jurisdiction. -- 
Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN HUNGER STRIKER HOSPITALIZED. Belarusian Popular Front (BPL) 
leader Vyacheslau Svichyk, who was imprisoned for allegedly organizing a 
demonstration on 26 April in Minsk against the pro-Russian policies of 
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, was hospitalized on 15 May 
after losing consciousness and suffering from kidney failure, Reuters 
reported. Svichhyk, 34, and his BPL colleague Yuriy Khadyka, 57, had been 
on a hunger strike since two days after their arrests. About a fourth of 
the members of the Belarusian parliament have signed a petition for their 
release, as did 5,000 protesters in Minsk on 14 May. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS LOCAL ELECTIONS LAW. The Estonian parliament on 
16 May voted unanimously to approve amendments to the local elections law 
as requested by President Lennart Meri, ETA reported. Meri on 7 May 
refused to sign the law because it required graduates of non-Estonian 
language schools wishing to be political candidates to pass oral and 
written Estonian language examinations, which he said contradicted the 
Estonian Constitution. The amended law still requires candidates to sign a 
statement asserting their proficiency in Estonian but does not require 
proof beforehand. Members of the Russian caucus abstained in the vote, 
saying the language requirement should be abolished completely. -- Saulius 
Girnius

RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT WOUNDED IN LITHUANIAN SHOOTING. Vladimir Pozdorovkin, 
First Secretary of the Russian Embassy in Vilnius, was shot in the left 
hip on 15 May by a 24-year old man who spoke unaccented Russian and was 
attempting to steal the embassy's Volvo-940 car, BNS reported. The Russian 
Foreign Ministry sent a protest note to its Lithuanian counterpart asking 
for an investigation into the attack and assurance of the embassy 
personnel's safety. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin 
described the incident as an attempted car theft, refuting an ITAR-TASS 
report that described it as an assassination attempt. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH OPPOSITION SPURNS PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL. Polish opposition parties on 
16 May criticized Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski's project to 
form a cross-party National Security Council, Polish and international 
media reported. Kwasniewski wanted opposition leaders to join the body as 
a sign of broad national consensus on foreign policy matters, including 
rapid entry into NATO and the EU. The cross-party council would also help 
Kwasniewski's efforts to present himself as a president of all Poles, not 
tied just to the ruling Democratic-Left Alliance. A leader of the Freedom 
Union, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, said that the council would not work in the 
form the president proposed. Poland's 1992 interim constitution called for 
a security council that would advise the president on steering internal 
and external security policy. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

WALESA TO TOUR BRITAIN, U.S. Former Polish President Lech Walesa began a 
15-day speaking tour of Britain and the U.S. on 16 May during which he 
will press for rapid decisions on NATO and EU membership for Poland and 
other Eastern European countries, Polish and international media reported. 
Walesa has speaking engagements in Leeds and at the Cambridge Union. He is 
due to meet with members of the Polish community in London before leaving 
for the U.S. where on 3 June he will meet with U.S. President Bill Clinton 
at the White House. He is also scheduled to inaugurate the Lech Walesa 
Latin American University in Miami and visit former U.S. President George 
Bush at his home in Maine. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

HUNGARY'S SUPREME COURT PASSES FIRST SENTENCE FOR RACIAL CRIME. Marking 
Hungary's first racial crime verdict, the Supreme Court has convicted a 
self-described Nazi for stabbing another man while using anti-Semitic 
language, domestic and international media reported on 16 May. The 
Hungarian man was sentenced to two years in prison for the 1994 incident 
that took place on the 15 March commemoration of Hungary's 1848 
revolution. Radical right-wing groups have in recent years used national 
holidays for extremist demonstrations. Under the newly tightened 
legislation, racist crimes and inciting racial hatred can be punished with 
up to three-years imprisonment. Previously, the courts applied other 
provisions of the penal code, such as disturbing peace or grievous bodily 
harm, claiming racial crime verdicts implied restrictions on free speech. 
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN HUNGARY'S JET FIGHTER DEAL. The Israel Aircraft 
Industries on 16 May announced it could bring Hungary's MiG fighter jets 
up to NATO standards for $130-$150 million, less than a tenth the price of 
buying new aircraft, Reuters reported. Israel hopes this offer will win 
out over the Swedish and American competing proposals to sell Hungary 
Western-made planes (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 May 1996). The Israeli 
proposal to rebuild 28 of Hungary's aging MiG 21s would permit Hungary, 
which faces severe financial difficulties, to delay purchasing new 
fighters while still bringing the MiGs up to NATO standards. Israeli 
officials said the price for upgrading the MiGs was about 9% that of 
buying Swedish-made Gripens and just under 14% of the cost of upgrading 
American Lockheed F-16s, considered the main contenders for Hungary's jet 
fighter deal. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT COALITION BREAKS UP. Slovenian Premier Janez Drnovsek 
on 16 May broke up the coalition alliance between his Liberal Democratic 
Party (LDS), which holds 30 seats in the 90-seat parliament, and the 
Christian Democratic Party (SKD), which has 15 seats, Radio Slovenija 
reported. This move followed a no-confidence vote in Foreign Minster and 
LDS member Zoran Thaler. The vote, supported by the SKD, was split 48-26, 
with Thaler tendering his resignation in the wake of the result. Thaler 
had come under increasing criticism in recent months, with Christian 
Democrats questioning his general level of competence and claiming he 
failed to improve ties with Italy and to bring Slovenia closer to EU 
membership. However, Drnovsek said on 17 May he will try to maintain the 
working relationship with the SKD. -- Stan Markotich 

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SUPPORTS SACKED BOSNIAN SERB PREMIER. The 
international community has strongly criticized the 15 May dismissal of 
moderate Bosnian Serb Premier Rajko Kasagic by Bosnian Serb leader Radovan 
Karadzic. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana met on 16 May with Serbian 
President Slobodan Milosevic urging him to see to it that Kasagic remain 
Prime Minister, Nasa Borba reported on 17 May. Meanwhile, Milosevic told 
U.S. government officials he would ignore the dismissal, Reuters reported 
on 16 May. Both Serbian and rump Yugoslav governments condemned the 
dismissal, calling it "illegal, null and void." High Representative for 
Bosnia Carl Bildt and Kasagic himself issued on 16 May a joint statement 
saying they will continue to work together to break the forces of 
isolationism that threaten implementation of the peace agreement. Kasagic 
said that Karadzic was not a "legitimate leader" of Bosnian Serbs because 
"he had not been elected by people as called for in the constitution but 
by a self-proclaimed parliament." -- Daria Sito Sucic and Stan Markotich

PRESSURE TO CATCH KARADZIC GROWS. At the conclusion of meetings in 
Washington D.C. to shore up the shaky Croat-Muslim federation, federal 
Vice President Ejup Ganic again demanded that IFOR capture indicted 
Bosnian Serb war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic, while 
the U.S. maintained that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is 
responsible for arresting and handing them over to the war crimes tribunal 
in The Hague, AFP reported on 17 May. Diplomats in Sarajevo are 
nonetheless considering pursuing Karadzic given his role in the current 
Bosnian Serb power struggle and the growing feeling that there will be no 
free elections while he remains free. Meanwhile in The Hague, the indicted 
Bosnian Serb Goran Lajic told the court that he is not guilty and that the 
case against him is one of mistaken identity. -- Patrick Moore

FIRST CROATIAN JOURNALISTS TO APPEAR IN COURT FOR NEW PRESS LAW VIOLATION. 
Viktor Ivancic and Marinko Culic, two editors from the independent 
Croatian satirical weekly Feral Tribune, will be the first journalists 
tried under a new press law that forbids journalists to "offend" leading 
officials, Novi List reported on 17 May. The Prosecutor-General's Office 
on 16 May sent the journalists a court summons. They are accused of making 
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman "an object of libel and slander." Many 
international media organizations, political forums, and the Croatian 
opposition parties have condemned the law, which in the case of these 
journalists stipulates a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment for 
libel and up to six months for slander, Novi list reported. -- Daria Sito 
Sucic 

CROATIA'S FUTURE WITH THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE UNCLEAR. The Croatian Foreign 
Ministry issued a statement that "the Republic of Croatia confirms its 
commitment to the process of democratic development, thereby respecting 
the Council of Europe's criteria and norms," Reuters reported on 16 May. 
This is the first official comment on the Council's 14 May decision to 
block Croatia's admission, over which the Croatian statement also 
"expressed regret." The Council's move is widely viewed in Croatia as an 
attempt to hold the country to higher standards than those required of 
some member states like Russia, Romania, or Albania (see OMRI Daily 
Digest, 15 May 1996). Those who hold this opinion say Croatia is being 
"punished" by Britain, France, and their allies for regarding the U.S., 
and not the EU, as its main partner. An editorial in the pro-government 
daily Vjesnik on 17 May said that Croatia wants eventual "entrance into 
Europe" but that its chief interest now is in close ties with the U.S. In 
Washington D.C., Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic said that Croatia 
will "fulfill all its obligations [toward the council] in the required 
time." He went on, however, to deny charges made by that body that the 
Croatian government controls the media, has violated democratic principles 
regarding the Zagreb city government, and shelters indicted war criminals. 
-- Patrick Moore 

SERBIAN PRESIDENT MEETS GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER. Slobodan Milosevic met 
Klaus Kinkel on 16 May to discuss bilateral relations and Belgrade's 
commitment to the Dayton peace process, particularly Belgrade's 
willingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the 
Former Yugoslavia, Tanjug reported. Kinkel also met with his Belgrade 
counterpart, Milan Milutinovic, who raised the issue of the Serb refugees 
from Bosnia and Croatia in rump Yugoslavia. Milutinovic said he hoped 
Germany might use its influence to help Belgrade integrate into 
international organizations such as the UN and the IMF.-- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIA ASKS FOR EXTENSION OF UN MANDATE. Macedonian Foreign Minister 
Ljubomir Frckovski has asked UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to 
extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping troops for another year. The 
current mandate is due to expire at the end of May, AFP reported on 16 
May. Frckovski said the situation in the former Yugoslavia remains 
unstable despite the Dayton peace accord and added that Macedonia is 
unable to defend its borders. The UN force, which has been in Macedonia 
since 1992, includes 500 U.S. troops and 500 soldiers from Nordic 
countries. -- Fabian Schmidt

ILIESCU, LILIC SIGN BASIC TREATY. Romanian President Ion Iliescu and 
rump-Yugoslavia's President Zoran Lilic on 16 May signed in Belgrade a 
bilateral basic treaty, Romanian and international media reported. The 
document was initialed last month in Bucharest by the two countries' 
foreign ministers and emphasizes Belgrade and Bucharest's desire to 
integrate in European structures. The Romanian media played up the event, 
saying that the document is the first of its kind signed by rump 
Yugoslavia and that Iliescu is the first president to visit the federation 
since the cease-fire. Iliescu is scheduled to meet federal Prime Minister 
Radoje Kontic, as well as Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. -- Matyas 
Szabo

ROMANIAN COALITION TO BREAK UP. With local elections scheduled for next 
month and against the background of repeated clashes between the two, the 
Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PSDR) on 16 May decided to "start 
procedure" for breaking the alliance with its last coalition partner, the 
Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), domestic media reported. On 22 
March the PSDR had already announced this intention, but nothing was 
concretely done to implement it. The coalition accord between the PSDR and 
the PUNR stipulates several steps before the alliance can be dissolved. 
Also on 16 May, Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, hitherto officially a non-party 
affiliated technocrat, joined the PSDR and was immediately elected 
vice-chairman of the party, Romanian and international media reported. -- 
Michael Shafir 

MOLDOVAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS MEET. On the eve of the CIS summit in Moscow, 
Mircea Snegur met with Boris Yeltsin mainly to discuss the situation in 
Moldova's breakaway Dniester region, Romanian media reported on 16 May. 
The two presidents agreed the existing problems should be resolved in the 
spirit of the Moldovan-Russian-Ukrainian joint declaration on the Dniester 
issue. They also discussed better economic cooperation within the CIS. -- 
Matyas Szabo 

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CRITICAL OF GOVERNMENT REFORMS. Zhelyu Zhelev on 16 
May criticized the Bulgarian Socialist Party government, saying its 
strategy to reform the economy and steer the country away from impending 
financial and economic ruin lacked vision. He said that, "The 
controversial statements by representatives of the government...give the 
impression that they are launching structural reforms without a clear 
concept," Reuters reported. Presidential spokesman Valentin Stoyanov added 
on Zhelev's behalf, "It is disconcerting that decisions related to 
structural reform are taken in the dark, in closed party plenums without 
dialogue between state institutions and political forces." -- Stan 
Markotich

ALBANIA AND GREECE TO SIGN AGREEMENT ON SEASONAL LABOR. Albanian Foreign 
Minister Alfred Serreqi will visit Athens on 17 May to sign a number of 
bilateral agreements with his Greek counterpart, Theodoros Pangalos, 
including one regulating the status of illegal Albanian immigrants to 
Greece, Albania reported. Some 330,000 Albanians are currently estimated 
to do seasonal work in Greece, but large numbers of them are expected to 
return for the 26 May Albanian elections. The foreign ministers are also 
to sign an agreement opening consulates in Thessaloniki and Korca. -- 
Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY COMPLAINS ABOUT POLICE BEATINGS. Democratic 
Alliance (AD) parliamentary candidate Blendi Gonxhe accused a police chief 
of beating legislator Ridvan Peshkepia. Police allegedly detained 
Peshkepia while searching his car. Gonxhe also said that five AD members 
were arrested by police after a rally in the Tirana Student city, Reuters 
reported on 16 May. He alleged plain-clothed officers also beat up an AD 
candidate and an accompanying journalist in the south and charged police 
with obstructing the party's campaign rallies there. The Interior Ministry 
denied the allegations and accused the AD of using dirty campaign tactics, 
including provoking incidents with the police, to win votes in the May 26 
elections. A statement from the ministry said, "The leaders of the AD 
cannot help but demonstrate this kind of behavior which is more 
characteristic of villains than of politicians." -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Deborah Michaels

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