A good eater must be a good man; for a good eater must have a good digestion, and a good digestion depends upon a good conscience. - Benjamin Disraeli
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 141, Part I, 23 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

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The latest edition includes these stories: Ukraine deals Russian banks
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CENTRAL EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION PARTY WILL COOPERATE WITH GOVERNMENT. The
nationalist Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA) announced that it was no
longer satisfied with its role as an opposition party, and will observe
the Ukrainian constitution and cooperate with the government, UNIAN
reported on 20 July. The same day, deputy Oleh Vitovych was elected
chairman of UNA. He said the party was no longer thinking of its own
survival, but of "victory in the political struggle." The national
democratic Rukh has reached final stage in its collection of signatures
to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine, according to NTV. Some 3 million
people have reportedly signed the petition. Under the new constitution,
only the Constitutional Court (which has not yet been formed) can decide
to dissolve the Communist Party. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT PROPOSES NEW CONSTITUTION. President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka said he would present a new economic program and a new
constitution to parliament in September, Reuters reported on 22 July.
Lukashenka said he did not expect parliament to accept the documents, in
which case he would call a referendum. His version of a new constitution
envisages a bi-cameral parliament and "real separation of powers."
Deputy speaker Henadz Karpenka called the move an "anti-constitutional
coup," and urged a five-year moratorium on constitutional changes.
Lukashenka also criticized Russia for its unwillingness to write off
Belarus's $600 million gas debt. He said Russia has "behaved indecently"
since signing the customs union with Belarus. -- Ustina Markus

DECREES AND SENTENCING IN BELARUS. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
signed a decree on supporting small businesses, ITAR-TASS reported on 23
July. The support would be offered primarily to manufacturers, but also
to businesses working as intermediaries in services and trade.
Businesses eligible for the support would have to have paid their taxes
in full. In other news, the leader of the Belarusian Beer-Lovers' Party,
Andrei Ramasheusky was sentenced to two year's imprisonment for burning
a new Belarusian Soviet-style flag, Belapan reported on 19 July. The
sentence was suspended, but Ramasheusky will remain on probation for one
year. He had been in custody since 29 April. -- Ustina Markus

CHAIRMAN OF ESTONIA FERRY INQUIRY COMMISSION RESIGNS. Former Estonian
Transportation and Communications Minister Andi Meister said on 22 July
that he was resigning for health reasons as the chairman of the three-
nation commission investigating the disaster involving the ferry
Estonia, Western and Baltic agencies reported. The ferry, which was
traveling from Tallinn to Stockholm, sank off the Finnish coast in
September 1994 with the loss of 852 lives. Meister charges that the
Swedish Maritime Authority did not hand over underwater videotapes of
the sunken ferry that might reveal whether the Estonian captain was on
the ship's bridge when it sank. Swede Olof Forssberg, however, denied
the accusations, saying that such tapes did not exist. The commission is
expected to meet twice more before presenting its final report in
December. -- Saulius Girnius

GDANSK GOVERNOR REPLACED BY POLISH RULING PARTY. Maciej Plazynski, chief
administrative officer of the Gdansk region, is to be replaced by a
member of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the senior party in
Poland's governing coalition, Rzeczpospolita reported on 23 July.
Plazynski's replacement by SLD official Henryk Wojciechowski comes in
the aftermath of the central government's June decision to close the
bankrupt Gdansk Shipyard, a historical symbol of Poland's opposition to
communism. Council of Ministers Secretary Leszek Miller of the SLD--a
descendant of Poland's Communist Party--recommended the change.
Plazynski had proposed an alternative plan in June to rescue the
Shipyards, but the Privatization Ministry in Warsaw rejected it.
Plazynski's removal is viewed by the political opposition as the most
recent in a series of steps by the SLD to "clean house" in the Gdansk
region. -- Ben Slay

CZECH GOVERNMENT'S FATE UNCERTAIN BEFORE CONFIDENCE VOTE. Vaclav Klaus's
Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the strongest group in the minority
coalition government, declared on 22 July that it will decline an offer
to form another government if the parliament does not approve the
government at the session starting today. Czech media reported that the
opposition Social Democrats have not decided whether they will support
the government. ODS Deputy Chairman Ivan Pilip said on 20 July that his
party may attempt to recall CSSD Chairman Milos Zeman from the post of
parliament chairman if the CSSD votes against the government. He said
Zeman was elected to the post with ODS support in exchange for his
promise to support the minority government led by Klaus. Another ODS
Deputy Chairman, Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec, told journalists on
22 July that he would not accept an offer to form a new government
because such a step is designed to split the ODS. Some CSSD leaders
indicated that Zieleniec would be more acceptable as prime minister than
Klaus. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK COALITION PARTY TO INITIATE CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES. Slovak
National Party (SNS) deputy chairwoman Anna Malikova on 22 July
announced that her party will initiate several measures dealing with the
Hungarian minority, Slovak media reported. Domestic measures include
speeding up the passage of the Penal Code amendment on the protection of
the republic, the submission and passage of a local election law "based
on the proportional principal according to nationality," and the
reevaluation of constitutional articles 15 and 34. Article 15 prohibits
the death penalty, while Article 34 deals with ethnic minority rights.
Malikova said the latter should be changed to ensure that minorities
have not only "the right" but also the "obligation" to master the state
language. The SNS also wants to pass a law setting conditions for
erecting monuments in Slovakia. Concerning foreign policy, the SNS will
soon inform the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly about the
"problematic position of Slovakia's Hungarian minority." -- Sharon
Fisher

CASE AGAINST TOP SLOVAK OFFICIALS DROPPED. Police have dropped a case
against Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek and Slovak Information Service
chief Ivan Lexa, Slovak media reported on 22-23 July. Charges were filed
against them in May by Ivan Duris, chairman of the extraparliamentary
Republican Party, after a taped conversation demonstrated their
interference in the police investigation into last August's kidnapping
of President Michal Kovac's son. The case against Hudek and Lexa was
dropped since there was "no suspicion of criminal activity." -- Sharon
Fisher

HUNGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. Opposition Christian Democratic
parliamentary caucus leader Tamas Isepy and Zoltan Trombitas of the
Young Democrats on 22 July rejected the possibility of forming a
coalition with the ruling Socialist Party, Hungarian media reported.
Both leaders said cooperation with the Socialist Party is currently
inconceivable since it is a communist successor party. However, if the
Socialists transform into a genuine social democratic party, such a
coalition could be possible, they said. They were reacting to an
interview with Socialist vice president Gyorgy Janosi the previous day,
when he said his party would welcome a coalition with the two opposition
parties after the 1998 parliamentary elections. Janosi criticized the
Socialists' current junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats, and
stressed that the two opposition parties' programs are closest to that
of the Socialists. The current government's austerity measures have hurt
the ruling parties' popularity as Hungary's short-term economic
prospects remain unfavorable. -- Sharon Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. TO KEEP UP PRESSURE ON KARADZIC. Assistant Secretary of State John
Kornblum will return to Belgrade this weekend, he told the BBC on 22
July. Kornblum's aim will be to convince Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic that Bosnian Serb civilian leader and indicted war criminal
Radovan Karadzic must be clearly "out of power, out of influence." The
diplomat added that Karadzic will have to leave Bosnia and eventually
wind up in The Hague, and that the new nominal Bosnian Serb leaders must
be more cooperative with the international community than Karadzic was.
While in keeping with the Dayton agreement, this goes well beyond the
deal U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke clinched the previous week. Washington
may well be lucky to get Serbian cooperation in carrying out Holbrooke's
package, let alone getting Karadzic to The Hague. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERB ARMY WOULD NOT REACT TO KARADZIC'S ARREST? Gen. Zdravko
Tolimir, deputy to Serb army chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, told NATO
Commander Michael Walker that the army has been indifferent to Radovan
Karadzic's replacement as the Republika Srpska (RS) president, and it
would not react by force if NATO attempts to arrest Karadzic, Nasa Borba
reported on 23 July citing the London-based Times. The RS army
delegation underscored the fear that the Serb military would seek
revenge for its former president's capture has not been justified. --
Daria Sito Sucic

INVESTIGATION BEGINS AT LARGEST MASS GRAVE. UN forensics and
archeological experts began exhuming a huge burial site at the Nova
Kasaba soccer field near Srebrenica on 22 July, Onasa stated. U.S. spy
satellite photos had shown large amounts of disturbed earth in the area
where survivors had reported mass executions a year ago. American
diplomats said that as many as 2,500 Muslim males might be buried there,
Nasa Borba noted, but the UN was reluctant to discuss figures at such an
early stage. The experts nonetheless discovered bodies at the site
almost immediately, the BBC reported. The soccer field could prove to be
the largest mass grave in eastern Bosnia. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERBS USE AID TO BLACKMAIL VOTERS. UNHCR spokesman in Republika
Srpska (RS) reported the Serb authorities are using humanitarian aid to
blackmail voters to register in certain areas, Onasa reported on 22
July. Mans Nyberg warned that refugees from the Bosnian federation in
the RS will be deprived of their right to relief aid if they register to
vote as residents of their former towns. An unnamed UN official said
documents seen by UN workers indicated instructions for the policy had
come from the ruling Serb nationalist Serbian Democratic Party (SDS).
The SDS policy is to create RS as a Serb-only state, and votes cast in
the places of refugees' former residency would be wasted votes for the
party. Nyberg said this abuse of aid for political reasons was
"scandalous and unacceptable," and if the practice was not halted,
"alternative means of distributing humanitarian assistance would be
adopted." -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN CROATS BOYCOTT FIRST SESSION OF MOSTAR CITY COUNCIL. Deputies
from the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) did not participate in the
constituent session of the Mostar city council on 23 July, Reuters
reported. West Mostar Mayor Mile Puljic earlier warned that the Croats
would "not accept the final election results because they were not
published by the local electoral commission." The EU declared the
elections valid after a continuing Croat blockade in the electoral
commission following minor voting irregularities. Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic criticized the HDZ's boycott and appealed to Dick
Spring, the chairman of the EU Council of Ministers, to intervene,
saying that it "blocks the entire process of the democratic settlement
of the crisis in Mostar." -- Fabian Schmidt

RUMP YUGOSLAV OFFICER SENTENCED FOR SPYING. Lt. Col. Nedeljko Varicak
has been sentenced to twelve years' imprisonment for allegedly spying
for an unspecified but "newly-formed neighboring state," Politika
Ekspres reported on 22 July. The daily described Varicek as a high-
ranking security officer operating near the border with Bosnia and
Herzegovina, in the town of Uzice. AFP reported, however, that officials
in Belgrade have yet to confirm the story. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN ELECTORAL UPDATE. The Socialist Labor Party (PSM) on 22 July
announced that it has gathered the 100,000 signatures in support of
Senator Adrian Paunescu, its candidate in the November presidential
elections, Radio Bucharest announced on the same day. Paunescu, a former
Ceausescu "court-poet," is the first candidate to have fulfilled this
legal requirement. In other developments, on 19 July the chairman of the
Agrarian Democratic Party (PDAR), Victor Surdu, told a press conference
that his party's alliance with the Party of Romanian National Unity
(PUNR) has "practically ceased to exist" because the PUNR has decided to
run alone in the parliamentary elections, also scheduled for November.
In turn, PUNR chairman Gheorghe Funar said in an interview published in
the daily Cronica romana on 23 July that the alliance known as the
National Unity Bloc ended because the PUNR had proposed the merging of
its members (PUNR, PDAR and the Ecological Movement), but the PDAR
"prefers a perpetual affiance to a marriage." -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIA SEEKS TO MODERNIZE ITS ARMY. Romania is seeking up to $ 400
million in loans to buy military technology needed to boost its NATO
admission chances, Reuters reported on 22 July, quoting a Defense
Ministry press release. The government has allowed the ministry to
"prospect international markets" for credits in order to finance
projects ranging from weapon acquisition to restructuring of its own
arms industry. The statement said the loans would be guaranteed by the
Romanian government. -- Michael Shafir

CHISINAU-TIRASPOL TALKS POSTPONED. The new round of talks between
Chisinau and Tiraspol, scheduled to take place on 23 July, has been
indefinitely postponed, according to a press release of the Moldovan
presidency cited by BASA-Press on 22 July. The statement said the
postponement was due to the vacation of "certain Moldovan and
Transdniestrian officials" and to the need to address unresolved social
and economic problems. The postponement, however, appears to fall in
line with President Mircea Snegur's new tactics of delaying the signing
of the memorandum between the two conflicting sides. Presidential
advisor Victor Josu was quoted by Infotag on the same day as saying that
the idea of signing the memorandum on normalizing relations "has lost
its immediacy." Josu said the memorandum, as drafted, has many faults,
among them failure to mention the preservation of Moldovan territorial
integrity and was of "too general a character." -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION FORMATIONS CONCLUDE ALLIANCE. The opposition
Christian Democratic Popular Front, the main pro-Romanian political
formation, and the Alliance of Democratic Forces, an umbrella
organization uniting six political organizations, on 22 July signed an
agreement on a political alliance, Moldovan press agencies reported on
the same day. The signatories said the alliance reflected the groups'
similar political platforms and their rejection of the "anti-national,
anti-social and anti-democratic policy" of the Agrarian-Democratic Party
of Moldova and its allies. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIA GETS ARMS FROM RUSSIA. The first shipment of a total of 100
tanks and 100 armored vehicles that Russia agreed to give to Bulgaria in
June 1995 arrived on 22 July, Reuters reported. Some 25 T-72 battle
tanks and 50 BMP-1 combat vehicles were delivered to Varna, and Bulgaria
in turn will decommission an equal amount of older hardware. Under the
CFE treaty, Russia must either destroy the arms or give them away.
Observers say the hardware is a reward for the Bulgarian government's
reluctance to apply for full NATO membership. Under another agreement,
Russia will also provide spare military parts to repay part of its $100
million debt to Bulgaria. In other news, two Interior Ministry officials
and two policemen were arrested for illegal arms trade. It is the first
case in which Interior Ministry officials have been charged with illegal
trade of machine guns. -- Stefan Krause

PIRINSKI OUT OF BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE? The Constitutional Court on
23 July will decide whether the presidential candidate of the Bulgarian
Socialist Party, Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, fulfills the
constitutional requirement that the president must be Bulgarian by
birth, Bulgarian newspapers reported. Many dailies reported that the
court will prevent Pirinski from running. According to Kontinent, nine
of the 12 judges maintain that Pirinski does not fulfill the requirement
because he was not a Bulgarian citizen when he was born in New York in
1948 to a Bulgarian emigre. Some 54 opposition deputies had asked the
court to clarify what the term "Bulgarian by birth" means. A simple
majority of the Constitutional Court judges in need to rule on the case.
-- Stefan Krause

MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS PROTEST AGAINST ARREST OF UNIVERSITY LEADERS.
Macedonian police on 22 July broke up a demonstration of some 2,000
ethnic Albanians protesting against the jailing of Tetovo University
Dean Fadil Sulejmani and four other university activists, Reuters
reported. According to local radio, one police car was wrecked during
clashes that broke out near Tetovo prison but no injuries were reported.
Sulejmani began serving his 18-month jail sentence the same day. Other,
unconfirmed reports, suggest the clashes erupted while police arrested
Sulejmani, however. AFP reports that the demonstrators dispersed after
an appeal by Sulejmani, but vowed to take their protest further to the
U.S. embassy in Skopje, the OSCE and the UN. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN COMMUNIST ERA OFFICIALS SENTENCED FOR 1991 SHOOTING. Communist-
era Defense Minister Kico Mustaqi was sentenced to five years in prison
on charges of inciting cadets at the military academy to open fire on
demonstrators in 1991. Five people were killed and 37 wounded. The
Tirana court, led by Shyqyri Dylgjeri, also sentenced Ksenofon Ceni and
Arseni Stroka, two directors of the academy, to three and four years,
respectively, on 19 July. All three fled Albania five years ago and were
sentenced in absence, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Carla Atkinson

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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