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