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

No. 98, Part II, 21 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

DRAFT CONSTITUTION SUBMITTED TO UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT. A conciliatory 
commission of the Ukrainian legislature on 20 May handed over a draft 
constitution to Leonid Kuchma, international media reported. The draft 
provides, among other things, for coordinating the selection of the prime 
minister with the legislature and granting the president the power to pass 
decrees that have legal force. Less clear from the draft is whether 
Ukraine would have a unicameral or bicameral parliament. Ukrainian speaker 
Oleksander Moroz has voiced his concern over the document, suggesting that 
one proposed by the Communists is "more democratic," ITAR-TASS reported. 
Kuchma has noted that he has made compromises on several issues--including 
keeping the provisions for a unicameral legislature on a temporary 
basis--in the hope that others would do the same, UNIAN reported, as cited 
by the BBC on 18 May. -- Roger Kangas

UKRAINE PREPARES TO ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY. Ukrainian President Kuchma has 
created a commission for phasing out the death penalty, international 
media reported on 20 May. The commission, chaired by Justice Minister 
Serhii Holovaty, will draw up a draft document in compliance with Council 
of Europe guidelines. The Ukrainian legislature, which has expressed 
support for the death penalty, must still approve the ban. The issue has 
become controversial in Ukraine following public concern over the recent 
actions of a serial killer. There have been no executions in more than six 
months. -- Roger Kangas 

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON RUSSIAN ELECTIONS, ANTI-TREATY RALLY IN MINSK. 
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in an interview with Russian TV on 19 May, said 
that although he was "on the closest possible terms with the Russian 
president," he has never publicly announced that he favors Boris Yeltsin 
in the upcoming elections, He regretted that the Russian media have paid 
so much attention to the anti-treaty rally in Minsk in late April, thereby 
giving the false impression that the Belarusian people are against the 
recently signed union treaty with Russia. He referred to the Ukrainian and 
Polish participants in the rally as "rebels arriving from another state in 
Belarus to impose their own rules there." -- Saulius Girnius

BALTIC PRESIDENTS REJECT JOINING CIS. Presidents Algirdas Brazauskas 
(Lithuania), Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia), and Lennart Meri (Estonia) on 20 May 
issued separate statements rejecting Russian President Boris Yeltsin's 
recent suggestion that their countries join the CIS, BNS reported. 
Brazauskas expressed his willingness to meet with Yeltsin but noted that 
1992 legislation explicitly prohibited the country from joining any 
post-Soviet bloc. Ulmanis said that joining the CIS would be against the 
interests of the Latvian people since the republic wants integration into 
European and trans-Atlantic economic and security organizations. Meri 
stressed that Estonia's place is in Europe as an independent country. -- 
Saulius Girnius

U.S., GERMANY TOP FOREIGN INVESTMENT PARTNERS IN ESTONIA. Foreigners 
invested about 800 million kroons ($70 million) through the Estonian 
Foreign Investment Agency last year, ETA reported on 20 May. This figure 
represents one-quarter of the total foreign investments in 1995. The 
largest number of cooperation partners came from the U.S. (17% of all 
projects), Germany (16%), Great Britain (11%), and Denmark (9%). More than 
half of the investments (57%) were to projects in Tallinn and 19% in Harju 
County. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN SHOOTING OF RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT. The 
police on 20 May arrested Lesiek Rinkiewicz, 22, and charged him with the 
shooting five days earlier of Russian Embassy First Secretary Vladimir 
Pozdorovkin, BNS reported. The police had been informed that the embassy's 
Volvo-940, which was stolen during the shooting, was hidden in a garage in 
downtown Vilnius. They arrested Rinkiewicz when he entered the garage. He 
denied any involvement in the shooting, saying he had been asked only to 
keep an eye on the car. Pozdorovkin, who was shot in the left hip, is now 
able to walk with crutches and is expected to be discharged from the 
hospital next week. -- Saulius Girnius 

UPDATE ON OLEKSY AFFAIR. Two Warsaw dailies last week published extracts 
from the document naming the alleged Russian double agent in Russian 
intelligence who sold classified information to Poland. His activities 
prompted accusations that former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy had spied for 
Moscow. According to Trybuna and Zycie Warszawy, the agent was former 
Russian Embassy First Secretary Grigory Yakimishin, who left Poland in 
October last year apparently to work in the Russian Foreign Ministry. But 
the ministry has said that Yakimishin "does not work here any more." The 
Warsaw Provincial Prosecutor last week launched an investigation into how 
classified information was leaked. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH-BELARUSIAN RELATIONS. State Secretary Marek Siwiec on 20 May said 
that, acting on behalf of President Aleksander Kwasniewski, he had 
responded to Belarusian National Front leader Zyanon Paznyak's appeal to 
intervene in the case of the imprisoned Belarusian opposition politicians. 
Siwiec assured Paznyak that Kwasniewski will do so. Belarusian Deputy 
Foreign Minister Ivan Antonovych admitted the same day at a press 
conference in Warsaw that some difficulties have emerged in 
Polish-Belarusian relations following the detainment of Solidarity 
President Marian Krzaklewski in Minsk on 14 May and what Antonovych called 
his subsequent transport to the frontier. -- Jakub Karpinski 

DECLINING POPULARITY OF CZECH RULING PARTY. Two opinion polls released 10 
days before parliamentary elections are due to take place in the Czech 
Republic indicate that the popularity of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's 
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) has declined. Published in Mlada fronta Dnes 
on 21 May, the polls were conducted by the Institute for Public Opinion 
Research (IVVM) and the Center of Empirical Studies (STEM). Of the 
respondents in the IVVM poll, 22% said they would vote for the ODS and 
17.7% for the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD). One month ago, IVVM 
reported that the ODS had 25.5% popular support and the CSSD 15.5%. In the 
STEM poll, 24% of the respondents supported the ODS, while 19% backed the 
CSSD (last month, these figures were 27% and 21%, respectively). According 
to both polls, four other parties would pass the 5% barrier necessary to 
gain seats in the parliament: the Christian and Democratic Union, the 
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, the Civic Democratic Alliance, and 
the extreme-right Republicans. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK POLICE INVESTIGATOR ADJOURNS KIDNAPPING CASE. Jan Kostov, director 
of the police investigation department, on 20 May announced that owing to 
lack of evidence, chief investigator Jozef Ciz will postpone bringing 
charges in the kidnapping case of President Michal Kovac's son, Slovak 
media reported. Kostov noted that the case has been adjourned mainly 
because the principle witness, former Slovak Information Service agent 
Oskar F., is unreachable. He added that Oskar F.'s testimony last 
September was "insufficient." Kostov went on to say the results of the 
independent commission headed by opposition deputy Ladislav Pittner were 
"insignificant and unusable." The commission had accused the SIS of 
involvement in the kidnapping. According to TASR, Slovak law prevents 
Kovac Jr. from lodging a complaint against Ciz's decision. Also on 20 May, 
Kovac Jr. testified before the Constitutional Court requesting that it 
declare that "a Slovak citizen who was abducted abroad against his will 
has the right that the appropriate Slovak organs...ask for his return." -- 
Sharon Fisher 

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTRY CRITICIZES CZECH PRESIDENT. Foreign Ministry 
spokesman Juraj Matejovksy on 20 May criticized Vaclav Havel for making 
"inappropriate and tactless" comments on Czech radio, Praca reported. 
Havel, in his weekly radio address, said that European officials, in 
particular Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, have told him they are 
following political developments in Slovakia "very closely" and are 
becoming "increasingly concerned with some developments on the Slovak 
political scene." Matejovsky said Havel's comments showed his patronizing 
attitude toward Slovakia. He asked the Czech president to respect 
Slovakia's sovereignty. The Foreign Ministry "regrets that the head of a 
neighboring state, with his forceful comments, is not helping to develop 
good neighborly relations," Matejovsky stressed. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PREMIER SUFFERS MAJOR DEFEAT OVER PROPOSAL FOR INVESTIGATIVE 
OFFICE. Gyula Horn has abandoned his controversial plan to establish a 
central investigative office to curb white-collar crime, Hungarian dailies 
reported on 21 May. Following a meeting the previous day of the Coalition 
Consultative Council, whose task is to settle disputes between the 
coalition parties, Horn said that, given the Alliance of Free Democrats' 
(SZDSZ) rejection of the plan, he saw no possibility to receive a 
two-thirds majority in parliament, as the opposition was also against his 
proposal. The new office would have impinged on the competence of Interior 
Minister Gabor Kuncze (SZDSZ). Observers believe there was no danger of a 
coalition break-up over the dispute. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

RUSSIAN MANUFACTURERS TO BID IN HUNGARY'S JET FIGHTER TENDER? Citing 
unidentified sources, Magyar Hirlap on 21 May reported that Russian 
airplane manufacturers will submit bids in Hungary's imminent tender for 
new fighters for the Hungarian Air Force (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 May 
1996). The daily says the Russian firms will offer to sell MiG-29 fighter 
jets and possibly SU-27 superbombers. Although Hungarian air force experts 
have held preliminary negotiations with several foreign companies, no bids 
have yet been made to the Defense Ministry. While the ministry is expected 
to issue a call for tenders in September, it can conduct negotiations over 
prices only with the authorization of the cabinet or the parliament. -- 
Zsofia Szilagyi 

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC REMAINS BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENT? Biljana Plavsic--vice president 
of the Republika Srpska, whom Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has 
named to take over all dealings with the international community--has 
stressed that Karadzic has not resigned, international and local media 
reported on 20 May. Plavsic says that Karadzic is still president of the 
Republika Srpska and that, according to the constitution, he has the right 
to delegate certain duties to his deputy. Meanwhile, the international 
community's Carl Bildt has announced that he will work together with both 
new Bosnian Serb Premier Gojko Klickovic and his predecessor, ousted Rajko 
Kasagic, Onasa reported on 20 May. Bildt explained his decision by saying 
Klickovic was appointed by the Bosnian Serb assembly. -- Daria Sito Sucic

REQUESTS FOR MOSTAR ELECTIONS TO BE POSTPONED. Mostar Muslims on 20 May 
sent a letter to the city EU administrator Ricardo Peres Casado requesting 
that municipal elections be postponed, AFP reported. Former Bosnian 
Premier Haris Silajdzic the same day called for the ballot to be held in 
September, when general elections are scheduled. Meanwhile, Muhamed 
Sacirbey, Bosnia's ambassador to the UN and one of the signatories to that 
part of the Dayton peace accord on Mostar and the election regulations, 
said the signing was the result of a mutual misunderstanding between the 
Bosnians and the international community, Oslobodjenje reported on 21 May. 
-- Daria Sito Sucic 

BOSNIAN SERB AUTHORITIES HARASS INDEPENDENT RADIO. The Banja Luka station 
Radio Big was taken off the air briefly on 20 May but was later allowed to 
resume broadcasting. The authorities said that the programming was cut 
because the station "had not paid its electricity bill." Editor Igor 
Crnadak called it "organized harassment." It is unclear how or why the 
station was allowed to resume broadcasting, AFP said. The privately owned 
station is easily the most popular one in the northern part of the 
Republika Srpska and the only one to give anything resembling impartial 
coverage of the ongoing power struggle between Bosnian Serb leaders. -- 
Patrick Moore

BOSNIANS BEGIN TRAINING IN TURKEY. Some 200 soldiers from the Bosnian- 
Croatian Federation armed forces officially began to train in Turkey on 20 
May, Western and Turkish media reported. They are to receive tank warfare 
and artillery practice at two bases near Ankara. The Turkish Daily News 
cited Maj. Mirsad Gutic as saying the training would be largely technical 
and would focus on operating the M60 A3 tank. The U.S. has pledged to 
donate 45 such vehicles to Bosnia. Turkey is fulfilling a pledge made in 
January to provide training worth $2 million under a U.S.-sponsored 
program for the federation. Washington's European allies have expressed 
anger over the project to boost the Bosnian government forces. -- Lowell 
Bezanis

SERBIAN HEALTH-CARE WORKERS STRIKE. An estimated two-thirds of Serbia's 
140,000 or so health-care workers have gone on strike to demand a 50% wage 
increase and improved working conditions, Beta reported on 20 May. 
Minister of Health Leposava Milicevic has offered a 30% hike. According to 
official government statistics, health-care workers earn on average the 
equivalent of $130 a month. -- Stan Markotich 

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER RESIGNS OVER DISMISSAL OF RUMP YUGOSLAV BANK 
GOVERNOR. Radoljub Draskovic, vice president of New Democracy, has 
resigned from both his post and the party over the firing last week of 
National Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic, Beta reported on 18 May. 
Draskovic said he was concerned that the party had compromised its 
integrity by supporting Avramovic's ouster. New Democracy is a wing of the 
ruling Socialist Party of Serbia and gives the SPS its de facto majority 
in the republican legislature. The alliance seems to have remained intact 
despite Draskovic's resignation. -- Stan Markotich 

MACEDONIA RECEIVES LOAN FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT. The World Bank's 
International Development Association (IDA) has approved a virtually 
interest-free loan of around $7.9 million to Macedonia, RFE/RL reported on 
20 May. The loan is intended to help fund pilot projects in agriculture, 
support privatization of veterinary and epidemiological services, and 
improve small farmers' access to commercial credits. According to the IDA, 
agriculture accounts for some 20% of Macedonia's economy, while some 70% 
of farmland remains divided into small private plots. The loan is 
repayable over 35 years, with a 10-year grace period. -- Stefan Krause

SOUTH KOREAN PRIME MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Lee Soo-sung on 20 May began a 
three-day official visit to Romania, local media reported. Invited by 
Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, the South Korean premier is 
accompanied by a large delegation of businessmen from companies such as 
Hyundai, Samsung, and Kia Motors. Meanwhile, Council of Europe 
Secretary-General Daniel Tarschys was received in Bucharest on 20 May by 
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. Among the topics discussed was 
Romania's possible participation in the implementation of the Dayton 
agreements. The same day, Anne-Marie Drague, Secretary of State at the 
French Ministry for Transportation and Tourism, and Romanian Minister of 
Transportation Aurel Novac met in the Romanian capital to sign a 
cooperation accord. The agreement provides for French participation in 
overhauling Romania's transportation infrastructure as well as the 
purchase of French-built Airbus planes, trains, and buses. -- Michael 
Shafir and Matyas Szabo

NEW SOCIALIST PARTY IN MOLDOVA. The Socialist Action Party has been 
founded in Chisinau by some 100 delegates, BASA-Press reported on 18 May. 
Aurel Cepoi, a deputy of the Socialist Unity caucus and chairman of the 
new party, said that Moldova lacked a truly leftist formation. He 
commented that the two existing left-wing parties--the Socialist Party and 
the Communist Party--are trying to revive the Soviet regime and are 
"discrediting the young democracy" by attacking President Mircea Snegur. 
According to its charter and manifesto, the new party aims to apply market 
principles in order to restructure the country's economy. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. Zhan Videnov on 20 May arrived in Beijing for a four- 
day official visit, Duma reported. Videnov's visit is mainly aimed at 
intensifying economic and trade relations. Meanwhile, Ahmed Dogan, 
chairman of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS), has 
received a death threat, Standart reported. At a rally on 20 May, DPS 
parliamentary deputy Remzi Osman called on his party's followers to be 
prepared to take to the streets when the party tells them to. He said 
100,000 people blocking roads would be enough to topple the government. In 
other news, Plovdiv Mayor Spas Garnevski of the Union of Democratic Forces 
refused to meet President Zhelyu Zhelev during the latter's visit there. 
Garnevski was quoted by Trud as saying he neither wishes to meet with the 
president nor has time to do so because he is busy preparing for "the 
[upcoming] visit of His Majesty the Tsar." -- Stefan Krause 

ALBANIA, GREECE AGREE TO BOOST MILITARY COOPERATION. Albanian Defense 
Minister Safet Zhulali and his Greek counterpart, Gerasimos Arsenis, have 
pledged to boost cooperation in the spheres of arms production and 
training of troops. They also agreed to increase the number of joint 
maneuvers within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program. 
Arsenis said Greece will support Albania's application for full membership 
in NATO. Zhulali, who is on a three day visit to Athens, called on Greece 
to use its influence over Serbia to persuade that country to start 
negotiations on the Kosovo crisis, the Albanian- language service of 
Deutsche Welle reported on 20 May. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General 
Javier Solana, at a meeting of the North Atlantic Assembly in Athens, 
called for Macedonia's rapid integration into the alliance, Nova 
Makedonija reported on 21 May. -- Fabian Schmidt 

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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