|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 113, Part II, 11 June 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 JUSTICE MINISTER RESIGNS. Justice Minister Serhii Holovaty, a prominent reformer, resigned on 10 June amid signs of a government reshuffling, Radio Liberty reported. One of the chief authors of the draft Ukrainian constitution that is now under debate in parliament, Holovaty was appointed by President Leonid Kuchma last September. The reason for his resignation has not been disclosed. Meanwhile, a closed government session held on 10 June was expected to produce a reshuffling of ministers in charge of economic policy, as suggested by the new prime minister, Pavlo Lazarenko. Last week, Lazarenko said the acceleration of land privatization would be his chief reform priority this year. -- Chrystyna Lapychak NEW PARTIES, CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS FORMED IN UKRAINE, CRIMEA. The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has registered the country's 40th political party, the Popular Democratic Party headed by Anatolii Matvienko, UNIAR reported on 4 June. Meanwhile, the Crimean Party was founded in Simferopol, Radio Ukraine reported on 9 June. Led by Lev Marynsky, a Ukrainian legislator and manager of the Imperia firm, the new regional party was formed to protect the interests of local entrepreneurs. In Kyiv, leading economists, financiers, and religious and political figures established the International Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs, Ukrainian TV reported on 8 June. Former President Leonid Kravchuk was elected chairman. In turn, leftist politicians and labor leaders met in Kyiv to found Labor Ukraine, a national union of civic organizations concerned with the social welfare of workers. -- Chrystyna Lapychak MORE OMON TROOPS ARRIVE IN BELARUSIAN CAPITAL. A detachment of 30 OMON police officers was brought into Minsk from Baranovichy, Ekho Moskvy reported on 8 June. Militia commanders justified reinforcing the OMON forces because of restiveness in the city. More troops from Brest, Pinsk, and other cities are being prepared for a move to Minsk. On 10 June, representatives of industrial trade unions began picketing the government building protesting low wages and wage arrears. Alyaksandr Bukhvostau, head of the agricultural machinery trade union, said workers' living standards have fallen so much in the first quarter of the year that it is practically impossible for them to make ends meet. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON RUSSIAN ELECTIONS. Alyaksandr Luka-shenka has taken a "peculiar" position on the Russian elections, Radio Rossii reported on 9 June. He refused to support President Boris Yeltsin at the last CIS summit meeting of presidents in Moscow, saying such support would hurt Yeltsin. After Yeltsin said he had been obliged to give his Belarusian colleague a few lessons in democracy at the summit because of arrests following demonstrations in Minsk, Lukashenka said Yeltsin's statement was merely an election tactic and that Yeltsin had never spoken to him on the subject. The Belarusian leadership appears ready to integrate with Russia, regardless of who is elected as president. -- Ustina Markus ESTONIA SIGNS FINANCIAL MEMORANDUM WITH EU. Finance Minister Mart Opmann and charge d'affaires of the European delegation Niall Leonard signed the financial memorandum of the EU's PHARE national program on 10 June, ETA reported. The memorandum provides a credit up to 26 million ECU ($20.8 million) to be used within two years. The funds are intended for projects on integration into the EU and fulfillment of Estonia's Europe Agreement (6 million ECU), promotion of exports (3 million ECU), regional development (5.5 million ECU), state administration (6.5 million ECU), and infrastructure development (5 million ECU). In 1991- 1995, Estonia received 69.7 million ECU in aid from PHARE. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIA REPORTS FURTHER GROWTH IN CRIME. Chief Commissar of the Criminal Police Visvaldas Rackauskas said on 10 June that 26,735 crimes were registered in Lithuania in the first five months of 1996, an increase of 4.5 percent over the same period last year, BNS reported. About two-thirds of the crimes were thefts, but their number had decreased by 4.6 percent compared with 1995. Thefts of articles from motor vehicles increased by 112 percent, but the number of stolen cars declined by 16.8 percent. The success rate of the police in solving crimes increased by 3.5 percent, to 42.9 percent. -- Saulius Girnius FORMER MINISTER ISSUES MEMORANDUM ON POLISH-UKRAINIAN RELATIONS. Former Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Andrzej Olechowski, a leader of the "One Hundred" movement, presented on 10 June a memorandum on Polish-Ukrainian relations created jointly with the Ukrainian Rukh. The memorandum proposes top-level meetings every six months, transformation of the consultative presidents' committee into an intergovernmental working group, creation of a Polish-Ukrainian Institute in both capitals, creation of a common inter-ministerial group for European integration, and conducting of joint military exercises. The memorandum was signed by, among others, two former presidents: Poland's Lech Walesa and Ukraine's Leonid Kravchuk, and by Poland's former prime ministers: Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, and Hanna Suchocka. The document is to be presented in Kyiv on 12 June by Liberal Party leader Oleh Soskin. -- Jakub Karpinski POLISH PUBLIC OPINION ON INSTITUTIONS. President Aleksander Kwasniewski, elected in November last year, has a 63% approval rate, according to a poll conducted by Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS) in May and published in Gazeta Wyborcza on 11 June. Approval of the president grew 5% since April. Disapproval of him also grew: from 14% to 19%. Kwasniewski's predecessor, Lech Walesa, had in 1993-1995 the approval of 20-30% of respondents and disapproval of 50-70%. The government is approved by 53% of respondents, the Sejm by 51%, and the Senate by 45%. Some non-political institutions have higher approval rates than the president: Polish Radio is approved by 83% of respondents, the army by 73%, the TVP by 71%, the ombudsman by 69%. -- Jakub Karpinski FRENCH AIRLINER MAKES EMERGENCY LANDING IN PRAGUE. An Air France plane flying from Warsaw to Paris made an unscheduled landing in Prague on 10 June after an anonymous bomb threat, international media reported. Czech authorities evacuated 73 passengers and seven crew members from the Airbus A-320 but found nothing suspicious aboard the jet. The pilot requested the emergency landing after receiving the warning, possibly by radio from Warsaw. -- Jiri Pehe SLOVAK COALITION TALKS CONTINUE. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar held private talks with his coalition partners in Trencianske Teplice on 10 June in an effort to resolve controversies, Narodna obroda reported. "We reached a 100% consensus," Slovak National Party (SNS) Chairman Jan Slota announced after the meeting. Both Slota and Association of Workers of Slovakia Chairman Jan Luptak refused to give details; however, they both reportedly looked angry when leaving the meeting, and talks are scheduled to continue on 12 June. According to CTK, Slota presented a recorded conversation that showed Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik's personal interest in the 31 May replacement of the pro- SNS management at the state insurance firm Slovenska poistovna. The new management is reportedly close to Meciar and Kozlik's party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. Slota also noted that Meciar's health is "better." -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK MINORITIES CRITICIZE CABINET'S POLICIES. Leaders of Slovakia's Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Czech, and Bulgarian organizations on 10 June expressed disagreement with the government's minority policies, Praca reported. In a joint declaration, the groups noted that although the cabinet presents Slovakia to international organizations as a country offering above-average minority rights, the situation of some minority cultural organizations is "undignified." Financing through the state cultural fund Pro Slovakia is "unsatisfactory," they said, adding that "an incredibly large amount of money [intended for minority cultural activities] is spent on private projects or political activities." The group demanded a constitutional law on the status of minorities as well as laws on the use of minority languages and on minority cultural organizations. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY'S GOVERNMENT PLANS TO SET UP ALTERNATIVE CRIME-FIGHTING BODY. Leading politicians, including Prime Minister Gyula Horn and Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze, during a 10 June session of the national security committee agreed to set up a central crime-fighting directorate in a bid to curb black-market activity and organized crime, Hungarian dailies reported. Kuncze said that the new body, which might be established by 1 September, will be directly subordinated to the national police commander and will employ an estimated 850 people. Magyar Hirlap reported that the Interior Ministry wants to obtain the 600 million forints ($4 million) originally earmarked for the aborted central investigative office to establish the new body. Last month, Horn withdrew his controversial proposal to set up a similar office, which would have been subordinated directly to the prime minister's office and would thus have interfered with Kuncze's sphere of influence. -- Zsofia Szilagyi DELAY LIKELY IN HUNGARY'S PUBLIC TV AND RADIO TRANSFORMATION. After long delay, the cabinet finally ordered the financial screening of public media organizations, Hungarian media reported on 8 June. The auditing of Hungarian TV and Radio and the satellite Duna TV was stipulated as a condition for the transformation of those organizations into corporations. All three institutions are on the verge of financial collapse. The media law requires that the auditing be finished by the end of June, and the corporations are to be set up in August. That pace is untenable; even media experts of the governing elites admit that the deadlines are impossible to meet. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE CROATIAN POWER-SHARING STALEMATE. The president of the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), Vlado Gotovac, said he assumes there will be no continuation in negotiations on power-sharing that started last week between the HSLS and the ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 11 June. Secret negotiations between the two parties have encountered shock and criticism, which Gotovac tried to defuse on 9 June by presenting to the public a set of conditions handed to HDZ by HSLS. HDZ on 10 June presented to the HSLS in return its own program of starting points for the negotiations. Gotovac commented that the HDZ program was vague and did not respond to the HSLS conditions. -- Daria Sito Sucic CONFERENCE ON SERBS IN CROATIA CANCELED. Representatives of the Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) informed the public that the conference "Serbs in Croatia--yesterday, today, tomorrow," which was scheduled for the end of June, will be canceled due to the campaign against it by the Croatian state-run media, Nasa Borba reported on 11 June. The conference was labeled by the media as anti-Croatian and boycotted by the state authorities, the opposition, and the church. HHO president Ivan Zvonimir Cicak said that most of the opposition and Catholic Church leaders share the government's negative attitude regarding the return of Serbs to Croatia, which is one of five conditions presented to Croatia for membership in the Council of Europe. -- Daria Sito Sucic SERBIAN ULTRANATIONALIST LEADER ADMITS "THE SERBS HAVE LOST." Deputy Vice President of the Serbian Party of Unity (SSJ), Borislav Pelevic, on 10 June called for normalization of relations between rump Yugoslavia and Croatia. The SSJ, led by accused war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic, alias "Arkan," ought to accept that "the war is over. The Serbs have lost," said Pelevic. Referring to the territory of eastern Slavonia once held by rebel Serbs but now returned to Croatia, Pelevic said the loss was cemented in November 1995, when Croatian authorities concluded an agreement with the rebel Serbs. "We are not happy to have Croats as neighbors Š but as things are we must cooperate with them," he added. -- Stan Markotich RUMP YUGOSLAV MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS. Deputy Commander of the rump Yugoslav Army General Staff, Major General Radoslav Martinovic, said on 9 June that Belgrade will not allow the Dayton accord to bring rump Yugoslavia into a militarily "unfavorable" position with respect to the other signatories. The general said rump Yugoslavia "will not reduce in any meaningful sense its military potential. In cases where it is expected to do so, [Belgrade] may opt to have the purpose of some hardware Š changed," Montena-fax reported. In another development, on 11 June Nasa Borba reported that there appears to be a shake-up in the rump Yugoslav defense and military establishment. -- Stan Markotich U.S. BANKERS VISIT RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. A delegation of major U.S. banks, headed by Fulvio Dobric, visited with their rump Yugoslav counterparts on 10 June, Tanjug reported. The U.S. delegation was the first of its kind to visit Belgrade since sanctions against rump Yugoslavia were lifted in 1995. The U.S. delegation refused to reopen banking links, at least until the rump Yugoslav banks rejoin international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. -- Stan Markotich SERBS STAGE "ANTI-MUSLIM ORGY." This is how UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski on 10 June described the actions of about 100 angry Serb civilians the previous day, AFP reported. The "welcoming committee" confronted the UN representatives and Muslims wanting to visit Koraj near Serb-held Doboj. The Serbs chanted anti-Muslim insults and chased the UN vehicles in cars. Janowski noted that only one attempt in 10 by Muslims to visit their former homes in the past 10 days has succeeded. He added that the UNHCR's "job is linked to unification [of the separate entities into one Bosnia] and here it hasn't worked, basically. Š We're still seeing a huge wall of hostility especially by Republika Srpska toward any moves that would bring the formerly warring ethnic groups together again." There has been no effort by IFOR to enforce the central Dayton principle of the right of refugees to go home. -- Patrick Moore SLOVENIA SIGNS EU AGREEMENT. Slovenia officially signed a partnership agreement with the EU on 10 June at a Luxembourg meeting of EU foreign ministers, making it the tenth country to do so, AFP reported. Following the signing, Slovenian Premier Janez Drnovsek officially submitted an application for Slovenia's EU membership. -- Stan Markotich ROMANIAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE INSISTS ON RAISING ELECTORAL HURDLE. The parliamentary faction of the main opposition alliance, the Democratic Convention of Romania, on 10 June demanded that the Chamber of Deputies revise the electoral law and raise the minimum percentage of votes necessary for a party to gain representation from 3% to 5%, Radio Bucharest reported. Before the local elections held on 2 June, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), the main governing formation, had also favored raising the "electoral hurdle." Following its relatively poor performance in the local elections, however, the PDSR changed its position, apparently fearing that a higher hurdle would leave out prospective coalition partners, in particular extremist formations such as the Greater Romania Party and the Party of Romanian National Unity. -- Michael Shafir ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Robert Mugabe on 11 June ends a three- day visit to Romania by signing a commercial accord between the two countries, Romanian media reported on 10-11 June. Mugabe was received by President Ion Iliescu, Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, and the chairmen of the two chambers of parliament. -- Michael Shafir KYRGYZ PRESIDENT VISITS MOLDOVA. Askar Akayev, on a one-day visit to Chisinau, and his Moldovan counterpart, Mircea Snegur, on 10 June signed 11 documents on cooperation between their two countries, local press agencies reported. Akayev said that his country has "always demonstrated a firm stance in condemning separatism anywhere" and that Kyrgyzstan was backing "the wise, flexible, and firm policy" of Snegur for the settling of the conflict in the Transdniester region. He also said that the "preservation and deepening of CIS integration" will be possible only if Boris Yeltsin wins the Russian presidential election. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN CABINET RESHUFFLE: TOO LITTLE TOO LATE? Not only the opposition, but also members of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) have criticized the government changes made on 10 June, Bulgarian and Western media reported. Former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov said he "won't support the reshuffle, because it is inadequate," while former BSP Chairman Aleksandar Lilov called it "partial and insufficient," adding, "now is our last chance to form a strong government with or without [Prime Minister] Zhan Videnov." Lukanov and Lilov are seen as the main backstage power brokers within the BSP. Former Sofia party leader Aleksandar Marinov said the government might fall by a no- confidence vote on 13 June. He said Videnov's "authoritarian positions" are one of the most serious problems. Meanwhile, Lilov and parliamentary Foreign Policy Commission Chairman Nikolay Kamov announced they will not seek the BSP presidential candidacy, Duma reported. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN POLICEMEN SENTENCED FOR KILLING SUSPECT. A Sofia military court on 10 June convicted six policemen of killing or helping to kill a suspect in custody, 24 chasa reported. Four of the officers received prison terms of between four and 20 years, while two received suspended sentences. The officers beat 22-year old Hristo Hristov to death in a police cell on 5 April 1995. Hristov, who had no criminal record, had been arrested on suspicion of theft earlier that day. When his parents came to see him in the evening, they found him dead and handcuffed to a radiator. An autopsy established that Hristov died of massive hemorrhage; his aorta was torn and several ribs were broken as a result of severe beating. Bulgarian National Police Chief Hristo Gatsov resigned over the case on 12 April 1995. -- Stefan Krause ALBANIAN POLICE CONTINUE TO HOLD MEMBER OF ELECTORAL COMMISSION. Dritan Belinjeri, a member of the electoral commission in the Tirana district Vurri e Bamit, has been in police custody since the parliamentary elections on 26 May, Poli i Qendres reported on 11 June. The 21-year-old Belinjeri, who was representing the Democratic Alliance on the commission, was reportedly arrested for protesting "open violations [of the electoral procedure] by the head of the commission." He has allegedly been beaten badly. Meanwhile, Gazeta Shqiptare reported that Democratic Party leader Tritan Shehu expressed his readiness for a round-table dialogue with the opposition. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Susan Caskie ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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. 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