Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 123, Part II, 25 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

UKRAINE TO SHUT DOWN AGING CHORNOBYL REACTOR. The management of the
Chornobyl nuclear power plant announced plans on 24 June to shut down
the station's oldest reactor, No. 1, on 30 November, Western agencies
reported. Plant officials said they will dismantle the reactor over the
next five or six years. That will leave only one reactor, No. 3, in
operation, as the No. 4 reactor was destroyed in the April 1986
explosion and No. 2 was closed down after a 1991 fire. A plant spokesman
said the shutdown was part of Kyiv's promise to phase out the entire
station by 2000 in exchange for $2.3 billion in Western aid. Ukrainian
officials complained the previous week that the U.S. and other G-7
governments have yet to provide any of the promised funds to close
Chornobyl and build new reactors elsewhere to replace the lost energy.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES IN CRISIS. Only 4% of officers feel the Ukrainian
army can perform its main duties, while 57% are convinced it is unable
to defend the state, Zerkadlo nedeli reported in its 15-21 June issue.
An opinion poll of 1,003 officers found that 74% felt there had been no
real reform of the army, only an "uncontrolled" reduction, and 70% said
the uncontrolled sale of military equipment was one of the army's most
serious problems. The most common preference in security policy among
the officers was maintaining Ukraine's non-aligned status (41%). About
12% favored a NATO orientation, while 8% leaned toward the Tashkent
Collective Security Pact, and 37% said they were not opposed to setting
up a Russian-Ukrainian-Belarusian security bloc. Only a quarter were
satisfied with their service, and a third said they would not choose to
be officers again. -- Ustina Markus

PSYCHIATRIC EXAMINATION OF FORMER BELARUSIAN SPEAKER REQUESTED.
Uladzimir Zamyatalin, deputy head of the Presidential Administration in
charge of ideology and information, asked parliamentary speaker Syamyon
Sharetsky to launch a psychiatric examination into the mental health of
deputy Stanislau Shushkevich, Ekho Moskvy reported on 24 June.
Zamyatalin called Shushkevich a "putschist" who during his tenure as
parliamentary speaker signed the Belavezha agreement causing the breakup
of the Soviet Union, and accused him of publicly criticizing the
president. According to Zamyatalin, it is well known to all normal
people in the former USSR that only abnormal people would publicly
criticize the regime. In other news, Radio Rossii reported that Russia
will allocate 8 billion rubles ($1.6 million) for cleaning up the
aftermath of the Chornobyl accident. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC PRESIDENTS MEET DOLE. Presidents Lennart Meri (Estonia), Guntis
Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas (Lithuania) met in New York on
24 June with probable Republican Party presidential candidate Bob Dole,
Reuters reported. Dole assured them that "Baltic security is on the
agenda of Washington as we discuss the enlargement of NATO and build our
relationship with Russia." The presidents were to have a meeting in
Washington with President Bill Clinton the next day, before returning to
New York to receive awards for "New European Statesmanship" from the
Institute of East-West Studies. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH INVESTOR GIVES UP AUSCHWITZ SUPERMARKET PLAN. A Polish investor
whose plan to open a supermarket near the former Auschwitz death camp
aroused fierce criticism in Poland and abroad agreed on 21 June to
abandon the idea, but said he would seek compensation for lost profits,
Reuters reported. The governor of the southern Polish province of
Bielsko-Biala instead gave the investor the green light to build a
tourist and pilgrimage center for visitors to the Auschwitz museum. The
center would include a parking lot, a bookstore, a post office, and a
bank. Earlier plans called for a supermarket and a fast-food outlet in
existing buildings opposite the museum gates. After critics--including
the World Jewish Congress--were backed by President Aleksander
Kwasniewski, local authorities ordered a halt to construction. According
to Reuters, the revised plan is unlikely to satisfy opponents of the
original one. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

CZECH COALITION CLOSE TO AGREEMENT. In their ninth round of talks, the
three parties in the former ruling coalition were trying to reach
agreement on the composition of the new minority government before the
new parliament convened at 2 p.m. CET on 25 June, CTK and Western media
reported. Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party reportedly offered on 24
June to take only half the 16 cabinet positions--and not a majority, as
it had earlier insisted--but the coalition partners were still
discussing the allocation of ministries among their parties. The
opposition Social Democratic Party will probably accept a continuation
of the ruling coalition in return for certain parliamentary positions,
under an earlier deal brokered by President Vaclav Havel. Deputies
agreed on 24 June that the Social Democrats could take the position of
parliamentary chairman. -- Peter Rutland

SLOVAK PARTIES DISCUSS CONDITIONS FOR SUPPORTING MINORITY GOVERN-MENT...
The coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) and opposition Party of the
Democratic Left (SDL) met on 24 June to discuss conditions for
supporting a minority cabinet in case of a coalition breakup, TASR
reported. SDL vice-chair Peter Magvasi said both parties would stress
proportional representation in parliament, air time on state radio and
television for the opposition, and restructuring the National Property
Fund, the state privatization agency currently controlled by premier
Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). The same
day, a spokeswoman for Meciar denied that he tried to bribe SNS honorary
chairman Vitazoslav Moric with a position at the Transportation
Ministry, TASR reported. SNS leader Jan Slota alleged in a recent
interview with APA that Meciar is trying to buy off deputies in case the
SNS leaves the coalition. -- Alaina Lemon

...WHILE RULING PARTY MEETS WITH KEY OPPONENT. Representatives of the
HZDS and the opposition Democratic Union (DU) also met on 24 June, TASR
reported. The parties agreed on procedures for entering the EU and NATO
and that early elections should not take place. The DU laid down its
conditions for further talks, emphasizing long-term goals including the
development of democratic and legal institutions, minimal state
interference in the market, pro-European policies, and "an end to social
plundering in Slovakia." The DU, formed by HZDS members who broke from
Meciar after 1992, played a key role in bringing down Meciar's second
government and since then has been among the HZDS's most bitter enemies.
-- Alaina Lemon

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BIGGEST MASS GRAVE TO DATE UNCOVERED NEAR SARAJEVO ... Bosnian forensic
and judicial experts and a U.S. forensic anthropologist from the Hague-
based war crimes tribunal have uncovered the bodies of 47 Muslim men in
the hamlet of Ravne. The men came from the village of Ahatovici and were
killed by Serbs on 14 June 1992, AFP reported on 24 June. The story came
to light because eight Muslims escaped from the bus in which they and
the victims were held as the Serbs raked it with rocket-propelled
grenades and small-arms fire, Reuters added. The Serbs left the bodies
in the bus, but Muslims from Ravne buried the victims a few days later.
-- Patrick Moore

... WHILE EXHUMATION SET TO BEGIN IN SREBRENICA AREA. The UN Office for
Human Rights in Sarajevo agreed that a Finnish expert team will begin on
25 June to exhume the remains of bodies in the area of Srebrenica,
Oslobodjenje reported on 24 June. The Finns will work in the region of
Kravice, where several thousand men are believed to have been killed
when the former enclave was overrun by Serbs in July 1995. The team will
also examine and attempt to identify the remains so that they may be
given proper burials by their kin or by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian
government, UN spokesman Alexander Ivanko said. The team will act within
the mandate of UN Special Reporter on Human Rights, Elizabeth Rehn and
UN expert on missing persons Manfred Novak, AFP reported. The project,
sponsored by the Finnish and Dutch governments, is to be completed in
four weeks. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BIGGEST WAVE OF EVICTIONS IN BANJA LUKA SINCE DAYTON. Kris Janowski,
UNHCR spokesman in Sarajevo, said at least 30 Muslims were evicted from
their homes in Serb-controlled Banja Luka over the weekend of 22-23 June
in the biggest wave of "ethnic cleansing" since the Dayton peace accord
was signed, Oslobodjenje reported on 25 June. Janowski said the UNHCR
has no evidence that the Serb police are behind the evictions "but they
obviously cannot control it." Meanwhile, the head of the NATO-led
Implementation Force in Bosnia, U.S. Admiral Leighton Smith, warned Serb
Parliament Speaker Momcilo Krajisnik at a meeting in Pale that he was
not satisfied with the Serbs' treatment of Bosnian Muslims, AFP reported
on 24 June. -- Daria Sito Sucic

KARADZIC 'AHEAD OF THEM ALL?' According to recent polling data garnered
from ten towns in the Republika Srpska by Ekstra Magazin, Radovan
Karadzic's Serbian Democratic Party remains "ahead of them all" in voter
preference, Nasa Borba reported on 25 June. A plurality of 40.5% of
decided voters would reportedly cast their ballots for the SDS in
upcoming elections, while only 17.5% would back the Milosevic-sponsored
Socialists. In third place, gaining the support of 11% of those polled,
is the Serbian Radical Party of accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj.
Some 30.5% of those polled, presumably the plurality, dubbed Karadzic
"the personage of confidence," while only 14% said they had confidence
in Milosevic. -- Stan Markotich

BILDT MEETS SERBIAN PRESIDENT. The international community's High
Representative Carl Bildt met on 24 June with Slobodan Milosevic in what
local Belgrade media described as "unscheduled talks." Reuters, citing
Beta, noted that the discussions dovetailed with other talks between
Milosevic, senior rump Yugoslav, and Bosnian Serb officials, including
Bosnian Serb vice-presidents Biljana Plavsic and Nikola Koljevic.
According to Reuters, the talks took place amid "weekend reports that
the forced removal of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was
imminent." Bildt emerged from the meetings observing that Karadzic's
unwillingness to declare his refusal to run in upcoming Bosnian
elections is "dangerous for the future of Republika Srpska." -- Stan
Markotich

SLOVENIA, CROATIA MARK FIVE YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE. On 25 June 1991
legislatures in Ljubljana and Zagreb voted for independence from
Yugoslavia, regional and international media recall. The dissolution of
Josip Broz Tito's state began in 1987 with the rise to power in Serbia
of Slobodan Milosevic on a platform of militant nationalism. After he
subsequently failed to take control of the Yugoslav federation, he
hamstrung its normal operations and blocked all attempts at
constitutional reform. First Slovenia and Croatia, and then Macedonia
and Bosnia-Herzegovina, were left with no choice but to declare
independence or find themselves part of a greater Serbia. Belgrade's
armed forces first fought a short and unsuccessful war against Slovenia.
Subsequent conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia lasted much longer because
Belgrade had armed and organized the Serbian minorities in those two
republics. -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT IN STRASBOURG. Kiro Gligorov, addressing the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 24 June, said
Macedonia will not give up its name because this would amount to the
"capitulation of our nation," Nova Makedonija and RFE/RL reported. But
he repeated that Macedonia is willing to make a compromise with Greece
that does "not mean the loss of our national identity." Gligorov said
his government remains committed to democracy, adding that peace and
security in the Balkans can be promoted only if all sides accept that
the former Yugoslavia disintegrated and that the forceful creation of a
new state entity in the region is impossible. Gligorov said Bosnian Serb
civilian leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic must stand
trial if the people of the former Yugoslavia are to be reconciled. He
also urged the council not to delay admitting Croatia as a member. --
Stefan Krause

MACEDONIAN RULING PARTY WANTS STATE MEDIA HEAD DISMISSED. The Social
Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) wants the dismissal of Macedonian
Radio and Television (MRT) Director Melpomeni Korneti, Nova Makedonija
reported on 25 June. The party blamed Korneti for failing to present a
report on MRT's activities in 1995. The matter was discussed in the
parliamentary electoral committee and within the parliamentary factions,
but no decision was taken. Observers see Korneti as the victim of a
struggle between the SDSM and the Liberal Party (LP), of which she is a
member. The LP was part of the ruling coalition until February. LP
Chairman Stojan Andov, in a 21 May interview with Flaka, accused the
government of trying to remove all people associated with the opposition
from positions in the state apparatus. -- Stefan Krause

TENSION OVER MOLDOVAN DEFENSE MINISTER POST ESCALATES. Defense Minister
Gen. Pavel Creanga told a staff meeting that he would call a company to
arms to protect his department if President Mircea Snegur tried to oust
him, BASA-press reported on 24 June. Creanga claimed that Snegur was
contemplating "anti-constitutional steps" to force him out of his job,
and quoted a presidential decree issued last week that further curtails
his powers. The president warned the parliament on 20 June that, if
Creanga is not replaced, he could be forced to "assume direct control"
over the armed forces (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 June 1996)--a prospect
Creanga described as "alarming." Creanga was dismissed by Snegur on 15
March for allegedly encouraging corruption, but was later reinstated
following a Constitutional Court ruling. -- Dan Ionescu

UPDATE ON BULGARIAN GRAIN SHORTAGE. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of Economic Development Rumen Gechev on 24 June admitted that 1.5
million tons of wheat might have to be imported this year to compensate
for an expected record low yield, Western media reported. Deputy
Agriculture Minister Rumen Popov said that this year's wheat crop is
expected to be only about 2.5 million tons, compared to 3.2 million tons
in 1995 and around 5 million tons annually in the 1980s. Meanwhile,
President Zhelyu Zhelev's agricultural advisor, Rumen Hristov, said the
price of bread and other foodstuffs might more than triple by the end of
the year, Trud reported. He said $100 million will be needed for wheat
imports, and another $170 million for the import of corn. Rationing of
bread is continuing in a number of villages and towns. -- Stefan Krause

SCANDAL OVER BULGARIAN AMBASSADOR TO TIRANA. Stefan Naumov reportedly
terrorized employees at Bulgaria's Tirana embassy and threatened them
with death, 24 chasa reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Panteley
Karasimeonov on 24 June said the ministry received a letter from Tirana
embassy staff charging that Naumov threatened his subordinates at an 18
June official dinner that "their bones will be scattered all over the
place and that no one will cross the borders of Mother Albania alive."
Karasimeonov said proceedings against Naumov are under way. Foreign
Ministry, intelligence, and presidential officials will go to Tirana to
investigate the charges. The Foreign Ministry asked Zhelev to recall
Naumov, who has been in Tirana since 1990. Meanwhile, Naumov told
Kontinent that the accusations are unfounded and that some people want
him removed for political reasons. Naumov claimed that he himself was
threatened by his driver in 1994. -- Stefan Krause

OSCE SUPPORTS NEW ELECTIONS IN ALBANIA. In a 24 June meeting with
representatives of eight Albanian political parties, the Albanian
Central Electoral Commission, and the Council of Europe, the OSCE
delegation suggested the government hold new elections. It advised the
Albanian parties to "consider whether new elections, after a reasonable
but limited period of time, under improved conditions and in the
presence of international observers, would serve the interests of
Albania," AFP reported. The OSCE delegation added that "although the
lawfulness of the newly elected Albanian Parliament cannot be
questioned, the electoral process included several aspects and incidents
which severely question the credibility of the democratic process."
Opposition representatives demanded new elections and argued that the
election results posed an institutional threat to Albania. After the
meeting, OSCE Deputy Secretary-General Penti Vaananen said new elections
were unlikely because the ruling Democrats object, Reuters reported. --
Fabian Schmidt

SENIOR LEADER OF BALLI KOMBETAR RESIGNS OVER ELECTION FRAUD. Abaz
Ermenji, World War II-era leader of the Albanian National Front and
post-communist leader of its political successor party, has resigned in
protest over Balli Kombetar's participation in the new parliament
despite allegations of widespread election fraud. Dita Informacion on 23
June published a declaration by Ermenji to the party's national council
in which he charged the rest of the party leadership with ignoring his
objections and justifying what he called a "coup d'etat against free
elections." Ermenji noted that he and party deputy leader Hysen Selfo
issued a declaration to the Central Electoral Commission on the day of
the 26 May elections calling them fraudulent and demanding a new ballot.
However, the party daily Balli i Kombit later called the elections a
victory over communism. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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