The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde

No. 128, Part II, 2 July 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:


JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER IN UKRAINE. Yukihiko Ikeda, who arrived in
Kyiv on 1 July for an official visit, met with his Ukrainian
counterpart, Hennadii Udovenko, President Leonid Kuchma, and Prime
Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, international agencies reported. Ikeda
welcomed Ukraine's commitment to shut down the Chornobyl nuclear power
plant and offered $55 million in new credits to Ukraine, some $5 million
of which is to be used to develop the country's electronic and
telecommunications industry. Excluding this latest offer, Japan has
provided Ukraine with around $150 million in credits since it gained
independence. -- Ustina Markus

Lukashenka has announced plans to introduce a "strict economic regime"
that will primarily affect high-ranking public servants, Belarusian TV
reported on 30 June. Lukashenka denied this was a "dictatorial move,"
saying it was normal in all "economically developed democratic states."
Deputies and officials who continue demanding "cars, apartments, and
currency for foreign travel" are the prime targets of his proposal.
Radio Mayak reported that as of 1 July all Belarusian officials,
deputies, and enterprise directors will be able to travel abroad only
with the president's consent. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. Lukashenka has signed a decree transforming
the parliamentary newspaper Narodnaya hazeta into a closed joint-stock
company, Belapan reported on 29 June. The Republic of Belarus will have
a 75% controlling share, while the remainder will belong to members of
the editorial office's working collective. Mikhail Shymansky has been
appointed director-general of the company and editor-in chief of the
newspaper. Meanwhile, the Belarusian parliament has passed a draft
resolution creating the post of commissioner for human rights,
Belarusian Radio reported on 28 June. The previous day, the KGB
Collegium met to discuss improving the agency's foreign intelligence
activities. -- Ustina Markus

foreign trade department of the Estonian Economics Ministry, said trade
with Ukraine increased significantly after a free trade agreement went
into effect in March, BNS reported on 1 July. Exports to Ukraine in the
first five months of 1996 were up 238% on the same period last year,
increasing from 232 million krooni ($19 million) to 552 million krooni.
Ukraine now accounts for nearly 6% of Estonia's total exports and is its
sixth largest export partner. During the same period, imports from
Ukraine rose by 229%. Also in the first five months of this year,
Estonia's total imports and exports increased by 127% and 116%,
respectively. -- Saulius Girnius

Council, headed by President Guntis Ulmanis, convened on 1 July to
discuss three recent murders in the Latvian armed forces, BNS reported.
In separate incidents on 23 June, two soldiers were shot by their
comrades after consuming alcohol. Three days later, a Latvian Home Guard
officer was found fatally injured by gun shot in his apartment. Ulmanis
said the passage of the new law on obligatory armed service must be sped
up and military education should be resumed in schools. He said that
neither armed forces commander Juris Dalbins nor Defense Minister
Andrejs Krastins should resign because problems in the armed forces were
linked to the attitude of society and the parliament toward the defense
forces. Ulmanis also said that draft proposals on improving discipline
in the army and raising the professional level of the officers would be
sent to the parliament. -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON POLISH-JEWISH RELATIONS. Vandals have overturned and destroyed
more than 60 graves at Warsaw's Jewish cemetery, Polish media reported
on 2 July. A police spokesman said the police have launched an
investigation into the incident, which probably took place on the night
of 28 June. The police informed the PAP news agency that the vandalism
was likely the result of teenagers practicing karate rather than an
anti-Semitic act. Menachem Joskovitz, chief rabbi of the 1,000 or so
Jews living in Poland, urged the authorities to take strict measures to
prevent such incidents in the future because, he said, they perpetuated
the "stereotype of Poles as anti-Semites." Meanwhile, President
Aleksander Kwasniewski, meeting with government officials and Jewish
community leaders on 1 July, pledged his support for a plan to better
preserve the former Auschwitz death camp, now a museum. Kwasniewski will
discuss ways to promote ties between Poland and U.S. Jewish groups
during his visit to Washington and New York next week. -- Jakub

CZECH GOVERNMENT RESIGNS. As a formal consequence of the recent
parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus submitted his
government's resignation to President Vaclav Havel on 2 July, CTK
reported. Later the same day, he is due to present Havel with a list of
16 ministers in a new minority government formed on the basis of the
coalition agreement signed last week by the three parties in the
outgoing center-right coalition. In the new cabinet, Klaus's Civic
Democratic Party will no longer have a majority of posts. Instead, it
will have eight ministers, while the Christian Democratic Union-
Czechoslovak People's Party, and the Civic Democratic Alliance, will
have four each. The new government is expected to be sworn in this week.
-- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK COALITION BACK TO NORMAL. At the parliamentary session on 1 July,
Slovakia's ruling coalition demonstrated that the internal crisis has
been resolved, Slovak media reported. The coalition parties united to
remove from the session's agenda motions giving the Supreme Supervisory
Office control over the National Property Fund (FNM) and implementing
changes in the FNM Presidium. Motions to reconstruct the Slovak TV Board
and to fill the second opposition slot on the board overseeing the
secret service were also rejected. None of those motions will be
discussed before September, the coalition said. Meanwhile, the
parliament expanded its agenda to include discussion of the
controversial territorial administration bill, which was vetoed by the
president in April. It also passed a resolution asking authorities in
the southern town of Velke Kapusany to abandon plans to build a monument
commemorating the 1,100 anniversary of Hungarian settlement of the
region. -- Sharon Fisher

EU CRITICIZES SLOVAKIA AGAIN. Two senior EU officials visiting
Bratislava on 1 July warned that Slovakia's political reputation does
not correspond to its economic realities, Narodna obroda and CTK
reported. German State Minister of Foreign Affairs Werner Hoyer and
French European Affairs Minister Michel Barnier said their visit--the
first French-German mission of its kind--represented coordinated
activity of the countries that are the "motors of European integration."
Barnier stressed that key EU values include democratic culture and
peaceful relations among member states. Hoyer said the draft penal code
amendment on the protection of the republic, the recently passed law on
foundations, legislation regulating minority rights, and the
parliamentary majority's treatment of the opposition "have provoked
certain emotions in the EU." -- Sharon Fisher

to Hungary told Finance Ministry officials on 1 July that Hungary's
macroeconomic progress is unlikely to be jeopardized by either the high
rate of inflation or the social insurance deficit, which is larger than
anticipated, Hungarian dailies reported on 2 July. The IMF has recently
reviewed the government's economic program following the approval in
March of a $387 million stand-by credit. But the government may be able
to make good on only one of its promises to the IMF: to ensure the
current account deficit stays below $2 billion in 1996. Finance Minister
Peter Medgyessy recently admitted that the government will not be able
to meet the IMF requirement to keep the budget deficit below 3.9% of GDP
and that it will be unable to prevent real wages from dropping by more
than 2% in 1996, as promised to trade unions earlier this year. Nor has
a solution been found to reduce the ballooning social insurance deficit.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi


convention of the governing Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) has endorsed
incumbent President Radovan Karadzic for another term. The first time he
was elected by the parliament, not by a direct vote. It is unclear
whether Karadzic has accepted, international media reported from Pale on
1 July. He is an indicted war criminal, and the Dayton agreement bans
such individuals from public life. Speaking of Karadzic's candidacy, the
international community's High Representative Carl Bildt said: "That
will be an interesting development, we'll see if that happens." The
latest move of the SDS seems to be another attempt by the Bosnian Serbs
to defy the international community and test the limits of its patience.
Pale is also under pressure from Serbia to regulate its controversial
leader to the sidelines. Washington and its allies insist that Karadzic
resign, leave public life, and face charges in The Hague. -- Patrick

...AND RALLIES THE SERBS. The Bosnian Serb leader, who was reelected SDS
president on 29 June, gave a major televised address to the party's
executive committee on 1 July, Reuters reported. He stressed a now-
familiar theme to his electorate, namely that his fight is theirs as
well: "The international community is pressuring me not only to resign
but not to engage in party business, not to support our candidates.
Their opponent therefore is not Radovan Karadzic, their opponent is the
Serbian Democratic Party. Their opponent is the Serb people.... They
know that the people are determined to have their own country and oppose
any forced mixing with others...That is why they will try everything so
that the SDS does not win." -- Patrick Moore

NATIONALISTS WIN MOSTAR ELECTIONS. The List for a United Mostar, led by
east Mostar mayor Safet Orucevic, gained 48% of the vote in the recent
municipal elections, while the Croatian Democratic Community of west
Mostar mayor Mijo Brajkovic received some 45%, Oslobodjenje reported on
2 July. AFP, however, quoted an EU official who did not want to be named
as suggesting that the ballot was fraudulent. "My impression is that
everything has already been agreed," he commented. The 37-member City
Council will be comprised of 16 Muslims and Croats each and five members
of other nationalities. The election outcome confirms the nationalist
polarization in the city and gives little hope for reconciliation. --
Fabian Schmidt

Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on 1 July said that Washington will
advocate reimposing sanctions if Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
remains in office, Reuters reported. Burns, however, stressed that
Washington will not press for an embargo to be reimplemented in the near
future. "I wouldn't want to lead you to believe that that's something
that we're going to exercise today," he commented. Meanwhile, a high-
ranking delegation of Bosnian Serbs, including Republika Srpska
parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik, met with Slobodan Milosevic in
Belgrade on 1 July, Nasa Borba reported. It is unclear whether the
meeting was linked to Karadzic's continued maneuvering to retain power
in the republic. -- Stan Markotich

organizations have called for a rally in Tetovo on 4 July following the
decision last week to reduce the sentences of Fadil Sulejmani, dean of
the illegal Tetovo University, and other Albanian activists, Macedonian
media reported. Sulejmani's supporters had been hoping that the
sentences would be dropped altogether. Instead, his sentence was
shortened to one year. Others sentenced include university professor
Milaim Fejziu and former leader of the Party of Democratic Prosperity
(PPD) Nevzat Halili. Sulejmani had earlier charged the PPD, which is
represented in the parliament, with failing to support the interests of
ethnic Albanians in Macedonia and of Tetovo University. Meanwhile,
Serbian police have arrested Kosovar writer Agim Vinca because he had a
three-year-old Albanian stamp in his passport. Before early 1996,
Kosovars were prohibited from traveling to Albania. -- Fabian Schmidt

government on 1 July ordered that some 1,000 cattle infected with hoof-
and-mouth disease be slaughtered, Nova Makedonija and Western media
reported. It appealed to the EU to supply vaccines for the remaining
cattle. The disease, which can affect humans, is believed to have come
from Albania. Six villages near Skopje and a village in the Titov Veles
region are mainly affected. Some 80 cows and 100 sheep have been killed
near Kumanovo, in northern Macedonia, for fear that they might be
infected. Skopje has tightened border controls with Albania and rump
Yugoslavia has imposed restrictions on goods from Macedonia. One of
three border crossings between Macedonia and rump Yugoslavia has been
closed for all traffic and another for freight transports. -- Stefan

U.S. FIRST LADY IN ROMANIA. Hillary Clinton arrived in Bucharest on 1
July on the first leg of a tour through seven Eastern and Central
European countries, Romanian and Western media reported. Addressing some
3,000 people at Revolution Square in downtown Bucharest, she said the
U.S. supports "the courageous efforts under way in Romania to build a
new and lasting democracy." Members of the crowd chanted slogans
directed against President Ion Iliescu and in support of exiled King
Michael. The First Lady visited a pediatric AIDS clinic, a primary
school, and a nursery school but called off a visit to the Kretzulescu
church in protest at the intolerant attitude of the Romanian Orthodox
Church toward Jehovah's Witnesses. She was also received by Iliescu at
the presidential residence. Before leaving Romania on 2 July, she is
expected to meet with representatives of non-governmental organizations.
-- Dan Ionescu

President Mircea Snegur on 1 July said the signing in Moscow of a
memorandum on normalizing Moldovan-Dniester relations has been postponed
until after the second round of the Russian presidential elections.
Infotag quoted the adviser as saying that Snegur, Igor Smirnov,
president of the self-proclaimed "Dniester republic," and Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma all canceled their trip to Moscow at the last
moment. The memorandum was initialed on 28 June following talks brokered
by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov and other Russian,
Ukrainian, and OSCE officials. -- Dan Ionescu

MORE PRICE HIKES IN BULGARIA. The government on 1 July raised
electricity prices by an average of 118% and telephone and postal rates
by some 40%, Pari reported. The new prices take effect immediately. The
government also pegged electricity, heating, and coal prices to
inflation and the U.S. dollar. It discussed raising the minimum monthly
salary from 3,040 leva ($19.4) to 4,000 leva on 1 July and 6,000 leva on
1 October. Other issues on the agenda were adjustments for employees to
compensate for inflation and additional benefits for the socially needy.
Meanwhile, the big trade unions called for protests against the latest
price hikes and announced a wave of strikes. Miners went on a one-day
nationwide strike on 2 July to protest the imminent closing of four
mines, Trud reported. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. The Foreign Ministry on 1 July announced it
will recall Ambassador to Albania Stefan Naumov and initiate legal
proceedings against him, Reuters reported. Naumov has been accused by
employees at the Tirana embassy of issuing them with death threats (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 25 June 1996). An investigation conducted by the
Foreign Ministry substantiated these charges and concluded that Naumov
harmed Bulgarian state interests and failed to fulfill his basic duties,
a ministry spokesman said. President Zhelyu Zhelev must approve Naumov's
dismissal. Naumov has denied all allegations and is expected to stay in
Tirana, where he has strong personal ties. In other news, a national
convention of dissident clergy under Metropolitan Pimen has opened in
Sofia, Standart reported. On the agenda is whether to break away from
the official Bulgarian Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Maksim. --
Stefan Krause

NEW ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT CONVENES. Addressing the new Albanian parliament
at its inaugural session on 1 July, President Sali Berisha called on the
Socialist opposition to take up their 10 seats in the 140-member
legislature, Reuters reported. The Socialists and several other parties
that were represented in the previous parliament have boycotted the new
legislature, claiming the recent elections were fraudulent. Only
Socialist Sali Rexhepi has said he will defy his party's policy and take
up his seat. Berisha charged the opposition with seeking to "destabilize
Albanian democracy and to tread upon Albania's sovereignty."
International monitors, however, have confirmed irregularities in the
ballot; and Western diplomats, including from the U.S., refused to
attend the parliamentary opening ceremony. The new legislature is
composed of 122 Democrats, three Republicans, two members of Balli
Kombetar, and three members of the Human Rights Party. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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