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

No. 137, Part I, 17 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: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN CAR BOMB EXPLOSION. Pavlo Lazarenko was unhurt
but shaken after a bomb explosion damaged his car on the way to
Kyiv's Boryspil airport, Ukrainian and Western agencies reported on
16 July. The apparent assassination attempt took place as the prime
minister's motorcade was overtaking a bus. Both the trunk of his car
and another vehicle in his entourage were damaged. Lazarenko was
examined at the scene and then transported in another car to the
airport, where he boarded his scheduled flight to Donetsk.
Authorities said the blast was triggered by a remote-controlled bomb
detonated from a nearby car. Later in Donetsk, Lazarenko met with
Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Durdynets, who suggested the attempt on
the premier's life was related to his efforts to clean up the
country's ailing coal industry. Lazarenko has exposed widespread
abuses of government funds by coal pit managers and Donetsk
officials. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

ESTONIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. The Blue Party, a small group of
intellectuals that failed to win parliamentary representation, has
joined a pre-election alliance formed on 15 July by the Country
People's Party, the Rural Union, and the Pensioners' and Families'
League, BNS reported. The alliance has adopted the name "National
Cooperation" and intends to support Arnold Ruutel's candidacy for
president in August. It will also run joint candidates in the October
local elections. Coalition Party Chairman Tiit Vahi responded by
saying his party will not support Ruutel's candidacy. Leaders of the
Progress Party, established in the spring by former members of the
Center Party, said they want to form an alliance with the Coalition
Party for the local elections. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN MUNICIPALITIES DEMAND INDEPENDENCE FOR CHECHNYA. Algirdas
Endriukaitis, chairman of the Executive Committee of the
International Parliamentary Group on the Problem of Chechnya, has
announced that 46 of the 56 municipalities in Lithuania have adopted
resolutions addressed to the Lithuanian parliament and government
calling on them to recognize Chechnya's independence both de facto
and de jure, BNS reported on 16 July. Some 3.2 million people or
86.4% of the republic's population live in these 46 municipalities.
The problem of Chechnya has still to be discussed in the other
municipalities. -- Saulius Girnius

EU DISSATISFIED WITH POLISH TRADE REFORM. EU Commissioner Hans van
den Broek, meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati in
Brussels on 16 July, complained about Polish protectionism,
international media reported. The EU is dissatisfied with the slow
pace at which Poland is dismantling trade barriers. The EU criticized
measures to protect the oil sector and restrict the import of
commercial vehicles. It also objected to import surcharges and long
lines at border crossings. Van den Broek said the EU is concerned
about a deal between Poland and Korean car manufacturer Daewoo
whereby the latter bring into Poland some 110,000 disassembled cars
duty-free for two years. Rosati blamed the EU for the difficulties,
saying its refusal to name a date for Polish admission into the union
had forced Poland to protect itself. -- Jakub Karpinski

TRANSPORT WORKERS STRIKE IN SILESIA. Transport workers in the
Katowice region began an indefinite strike on 16 July over demands
for pay and replacement of decrepit vehicles, Polish media reported.
Bus and streetcar services were seriously disrupted, although
replacement and private buses helped citizens get to work. Transport
Minister Boguslaw Liberadzki said some of the workers' demands were
justified, especially calls for new vehicles and a coordinated
transport policy for the area. But at the same time, he suggested
that they direct their demands elsewhere. -- Jakub Karpinski

SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL WRAPS UP MEETING IN BRATISLAVA. European
Socialists on 16 July called for the arrest, prosecution, and
punishment on war crimes charges of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic and military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, Slovak media and
Reuters reported. The resolution said neither should play any role in
the upcoming Bosnian elections. Meeting with Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar, Socialist International representatives expressed
support for Slovak membership in the EU and criticized those who call
for Slovakia's isolation. The opposition Slovak Social Democratic
Party is member of the Socialist International, and the Party of the
Democratic Left is expected to be admitted in September. -- Sharon
Fisher

NATIONAL BANK OF SLOVAKIA TAKES SPECIAL MEASURES. The National Bank
of Slovakia on 15 July approved new monetary policies aimed at
maintaining internal and external stability and supporting healthy
economic growth, Praca reported two days later. The first half of the
year witnessed continued favorable inflation and a high GDP growth
rate but also saw an increasing trade deficit, increased lending, and
fast growth of money supply. As of 17 July, the Slovak crown is
floated in a band widened from plus/minus 3% to plus/minus 5%, while
the NBS's Lombard rate has been raised from 13% to 15%. From 1
August, minimum required reserves at commercial banks must increase
to 9% of primary deposits, while those banks' minimum reserves at the
NBS must reach 1.5%. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER BRIEFS VAN DEN BROEK ON "AUTONOMY" DEBATE.
Laszlo Kovacs, meeting with EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek in
Brussels on 16 July, reiterated that the recent declaration
supporting autonomy for Magyar minorities abroad (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 9 July 1996) is in line with existing European norms,
Hungarian media reported. Van den Broek was quoted as saying that
while he is not familiar with the details of the document, he is
convinced that the Hungarian government is pursuing a policy in full
harmony with European legislation and practices. Kovacs told a
Brussels press conference that Hungary is working on a detailed
answer to sharp criticism from the Slovak and Romanian Foreign
Ministries. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN TRADE UNIONS WARN AGAINST PLANNED PERSONNEL CUTS IN
EDUCATION. Student and university employee unions on 16 July
threatened to stage demonstrations and delay the start of the next
academic year if the government does not withdraw its plans to
dismiss 4,500 teachers, researchers, and other employees at
institutes of higher education in 1997, Hungarian dailies reported.
Union leaders condemned the government's failure to allocate the
necessary funds for the education sector as well as its plans to
dismiss personnel as a money-saving measure. Officials also pointed
out that while only $40 was spent on one college student in Hungary,
the average in OECD countries is six times higher. In other news,
unions representing public service employees on 16 July raised the
possibility of a general strike in September unless the government
makes good on its pledge to retroactively raise wages by 10% as of 1
July. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UN GIVES UP ON BOSNIAN REFUGEES' GOING HOME. The UNHCR has accepted
that Bosnia-Herzegovina will remain "ethnically cleansed" and divided
into three distinct entities, AFP quoted The Independent as saying on
17 July. An unpublished report concluded that only refugees who want
to go to areas in which their ethnic group will form the majority
should be given assistance. This will mean scaling down considerably
projected budgets to help displaced persons go home. The UNHCR's own
target will also be reduced from assisting 870,000 people down to
135,000. The study noted that virtually no refugees have gone home to
areas outside their own group's control. The UN's conclusions reflect
the unraveling of the Dayton agreement stemming from the
international community's refusal to enforce the key principles of
freedom of movement, the right of refugees to go home, and the
endorsement of Bosnia as a single multi-ethnic state. -- Patrick
Moore

MUSLIMS FORTIFY VILLAGE IN SERB-HELD AREA. The UN's International
Police Task Force (IPTF) has discovered 250 military-age Muslim men
in the village of Dugi Dio in northeastern Bosnia, AFP and Onasa
reported on 16 July. The number is about twice that of such men
living in the village before the war. The Muslims abandoned the
front-line village during the conflict but have now returned and
engaged in what UN spokesman Alexander Ivanko called "preparations
for combat. Vegetation has been cut away to give a clear line of
sight, wrecked cars have been moved into strategic positions as
barricades or firing points, and buildings bricked except for small
holes." The Serbian police expressed concern but have stayed out of
Dugi Dio. In yet another case of the Dayton agreement's unravelling,
the IPTF has started night patrols in Stolac in Herzegovina to
prevent Croats from damaging the repaired homes of Muslim refugees.
Despite pleas from the UN, the Croats have neither let Muslims come
back nor prevented vandalism to their homes. -- Patrick Moore

HOLBROOKE, NATO WARN SERBS. The Bosnian Serbs have been told they
will face severe consequences if they carry out their threats to harm
international personnel (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 July 1996). U.S.
envoy Richard Holbrooke said that "if [the Serbs] take any action
against IFOR, they'll be met with swift military action," the
International Herald Tribune reported on 17 July. He also said in
Sarajevo that the Serbs are the main culprits in violations of the
Dayton accord, AFP added. IFOR spokesman Lt. Col. Max Marriner
stated: "We've listened to the threats. In return, the message going
back is: don't try messing. We have a very strong mandate." --
Patrick Moore

RUMP YUGOSLAV PARLIAMENT PASSES CONTROVERSIAL CITIZENSHIP LAW. The
rump Yugoslav legislature on 16 July passed a law stating that only
individuals registered in rump Yugoslavia from March 1992, when
Serbia and Montenegro declared the present federation, are entitled
to citizenship, Beta reported. The legislation seems intended to bar
the country's roughly 700,000 refugees from voting in upcoming
elections, since it is expected that they would vote against
President Slobodan Milosevic. Opposition politicians have roundly
condemned the law. Tanjug on 16 July quoted a Milosevic supporter as
saying "the refugees' problems should not be taken up by Yugoslavia;
rather, they should be the international community's [problem]." --
Stan Markotich

KOSOVO UPDATE. Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova and
Albanian President Sali Berisha, meeting in Tirana on 14-15 July,
stressed the need for a mediated dialogue between Pristina and
Belgrade, KIC reported. They also discussed Rugova's meeting with
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel but reportedly once again
declined to address the differences between Germany, Albania, and the
Kosovars over independence for Kosovo. Rugova called the Albanian
elections "a historical victory for the Albanian nation." Meanwhile,
the Kosovar Human Rights Council's monthly report for June lists 511
cases of police brutality, 81 arbitrary arrests and 74 cases police
interrogations. Seventy-three homes were raided under the pretext of
arms searches. -- Fabian Schmidt

SIX CROATS ACQUITTED OF MURDERING SERBS, TWO CONVICTED. A Croatian
court has found no evidence to incriminate six former Croatian army
soldiers who are accused of killing 18 Serbian civilians following
the military campaign last summer in the former Serb-held enclave of
Krajina, Novi List reported on 16 July. But one man accused of
murdering a Serbian civilian in August 1995 was sentenced to six
years in jail, and another, charged with armed robbery and attempted
murder, 18 months. In other news, 20 Serb refugees who escaped last
year to the rump Yugoslavia have returned to Croatia to a family
reunion organized by the UNHCR, Vecernji List reported on 17 July. --
Daria Sito Sucic

MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS PROTEST IMPRISONMENT OF DEAN OF TETOVO
UNIVERSITY. Some 3,000 ethnic Albanians demonstrated in Skopje on 16
July to protest the impending imprisonment of the dean of the banned
Tetovo University and four other ethnic Albanian activists, MILS
reported. All five are to start serving sentences soon for
instigating riots in the vicinity of the university in May 1995.
Arben Xhaferi, leader of the Party for Democratic Action of the
Albanians, has threatened that both his group and the Democratic
Peoples' Party will boycott the parliament if the sentences are not
lifted. Macedonian media described the rally as part of the
campaigning for the fall local elections. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN U.S. Teodor Melescanu met with U.S.
Defense Minister William Perry in Washington on 16 July to discuss
Romania's application for NATO membership, Radio Bucharest reported
on 16-17 July. Melescanu described the talks as "positive." Chief of
Staff Gen. Dumitru Cioflina is also in the U.S. to seek support for
Romania's admission to the alliance. Melescanu, who is on a five-day
official visit to the U.S., also met with U.S. Congress members to
discuss granting Romania permanent most-favored-nation status in
trade with the U.S. A vote in Congress on this issue was postponed
for 17 July after debates in which some congressmen expressed harsh
criticism of President Ion Iliescu and the Romanian government. --
Michael Shafir

UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR ON TREATY WITH ROMANIA. Ukrainian ambassador to
Bucharest Oleksander Cheli told a seminar on mass media at the Black
Sea resort of Eforie Nord that Ukraine will agree to denouncing the
Ribbentrop-Molotov pact in a Ukrainian-Romanian basic treaty if
Romania agrees to denounce the pact between its wartime leader,
Marshal Ion Antonescu, and Adolf Hitler, Romanian media reported on
16 July. Cheli noted that the latter pact had caused widespread
suffering to the Ukrainian population after Hitler and Antonescu
invaded their country in 1941. -- Michael Shafir

NEW POLITICAL ALLIANCE IN ROMANIA. The Democratic Agrarian Party of
Romania (PDAR) and the extra-parliamentary Romanian Humanist Party
have formed an electoral alliance, called the National Centrist
Union, Romanian agencies reported on 16 July. The two parties said
the Romanian Ecologist Movement (MER) may also join the alliance, but
a decision has been postponed owing to the MER's "internal problems."
It is unclear what will now happen to the National Unity Bloc, which
includes the PDAR, MER, and the Party of Romanian National Unity. --
Michael Shafir

DNIESTER SEPARATISTS WANT DEMILITARIZED MOLDOVA. Valerii Litskai,
foreign minister of the breakaway Dniester region, has said all
troops in the region must be withdrawn or disbanded after the
conclusion of the peace memorandum scheduled for signing next month
in Moscow, Reuters reported on 16 July. Litskai added that all
Moldova should be demilitarized and that neither Chisinau nor
Tiraspol should have armies. He said Tiraspol would agree only to
troops carrying light arms, and he demanded international guarantees
"similar to those Ukraine received in order to rid itself of
Ukrainian weapons." -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT, SOCIALISTS CLASH AGAIN. Another conflict between
Zhelyu Zhelev and the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) broke
out on 16 July, when two presidential decrees were pulled from the
parliamentary newspaper Darzhaven Vestnik, Bulgarian and Western
media reported. The decrees, appointing the heads of the Supreme
Administrative Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, appeared only
in a part of the print-run that was not circulated. The appointments
are controversial (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 June 1996), and Justice
Minister Mladen Chervenyakov refused to countersign Zhelev's decree
as required. Zhelev said he might ask the Constitutional Court to
rule on the "BSP's constitutionality." The editor of Darzhaven
Vestnik said the issue was changed for technical reasons. The
Prosecutor-General has launched an investigation to establish who
pulled the decrees. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. The U.S. is to grant Bulgaria $100,000 to improve
safety at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, AFP reported on 16 July.
It will also give the Bulgarian Transport Ministry $2.5 million in
aid to modernize its railways, including building a link from Radomir
to the Macedonian border. In other news, the BSP proposed that the
first round of presidential elections be held on 27 October, Duma
reported. The date has to be set by the parliament. Meanwhile,
Standart published a poll indicating that the BSP and opposition
presidential candidates, Georgi Pirinski and Petar Stoyanov, have an
equal chance of winning the Presidency. Finally, a bomb exploded in
an underpass at the Palace of Culture in Sofia shortly after midnight
on 17 July, causing considerable damage but no casualties or
injuries, Reuters reported. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL INTERROGATES SOCIALIST LEADERS. The
Prosecutor-General's Office on 15 July interrogated Socialist leaders
Servet Pellumbi, Pandeli Majko, and Ndre Legisi in connnetion with a
protest rally in central Tirana on 28 May. The government had banned
the demonstration, and police brutally dispersed the protesters. Ten
people were charged with taking part in the rally, but the
prosecutor-general now seems to be looking for the organizers, ATSH
reported. Meanwhile, the Tirana-based Society for Democratic Culture
has issued a report saying that the Albanian elections were marred by
irregularities and did not meet democratic standards, Reuters
reported on 16 July. The Central and Eastern Europe Committee of the
Socialist International also criticized the ballot at a meeting in
Bratislava on 16 July, Poli I Qendres reported. -- Fabian Schmidt


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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