|There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene|
No. 151, Part II, 6 August 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 UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT MAKES MORE CABINET APPOINTMENTS. Leonid Kuchma issued decrees on 5 August re-appointing several top government officials, Ukrainian TV reported. The president re-appointed Mykhailo Zubets as deputy prime minister, Vasyl Hureyev as economics minister, Valerii Maleyev as minister of machine building, military industry and conversion, Valerii Mazur as industry minister, Valerii Samoplavsky as forestry minister and Dmytro Ostapenko as culture minister. In other news, Ukrainian TV reported on 5 August that employees of Ukrainian State Radio have sent an appeal to the Ukrainian leadership demanding payment of up to four months in back wages. The government owes radio employees 70 billion karbovantsi ($378,000).They also complained that the government has not been paying the radio company's telephone and electricity bills, which has resulted in random brownouts and disconnections. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN NAVY COMMANDER BLASTS FLEET SHIPS. The commander of the Ukrainian navy, Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy, said in Kyiv that Ukraine should renegotiate the deal dividing the Black Sea Fleet ships because the 54 vessels slated to be transferred to Ukraine's navy are inoperative, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported on 5 August. Bezkorovainy accused Russia of making the ships useless, and then transferring them to Ukraine; in one case, power generators were removed from three submarines to be transferred to Ukraine. Bezkorovainy said he was prepared to delete his signature from the agreement, and that it was senseless to accept the ships since most were nothing more than scrap metal. Bezkorovainy also said the Ukrainian navy would be one-fourth the size of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet and would consist primarily of small warships with crews of 70 to 80 people. He said Ukraine would build six new warships and put nine others back in service after repairs. -- Ustina Markus and Doug Clarke BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON REFERENDUM, OPPOSITION. In what has become a ritual, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka gave a lengthy television address in which he denounced opposition leaders Zyanon Paznyak and Syarhei Naumchyk as "terminally ill cases," Reuters reported on 5 August. Both men are seeking asylum in the U.S. He told viewers that the opposition would become increasingly violent and will "break in through apartment windows and rape your wives and daughters." He reiterated his intention of holding a referendum on extending his term from five to seven years, broadening his powers, banning land ownership, and changing Belarus's national holiday from 27 July when the republic declared independence, to 3 July, when the Soviets liberated Minsk from German occupation. Lukashenka also said there was no need to hold further by- elections to fill 51 parliamentary seats, because "deputies don't keep their promises. They had promised to back the president, but have been lying ever since." -- Ustina Markus LITHUANIAN ARMY'S ADMINISTRATION TO BE REDUCED. General Staff Chief Lt.- Col. Valdas Tutkus told BNS on 2 August that fusing the general staff with the defense ministry would result in the reduction of about 70 people (about one-third of the staff). The reorganization, to be completed by winter, will help restructure the army in accordance with NATO standards and strengthen civilian control over the armed forces. -- Saulius Girnius DANISH MINISTER SUPPORTS LIFTING VISA REGIME WITH LATVIA. Interior Minister Britte Weiss told Latvian Prime Minister Andris Skele on 5 August in Riga that Denmark is willing to lift the visa regime in relations with Latvia, BNS reported. They also discussed cooperation in the sphere of territorial reform, illegal migration, and registration of residents. -- Saulius Girnius GROWING SUPPORT IN POLAND FOR EUROPEAN INTEGRATION. According to a poll conducted from 24 to 29 May, 80% of Poles would vote to join the EU, while 7% would vote against, compared to 72% for and 9% against in 1995. The survey was taken by the Public Opinion Research Center and published by Rzeczpospolita on 6 August. Only 6% believe in the immediate admission of Poland in the EU, 49% believe it will take five years to gain admission. According to an earlier EU-commissioned Eurobarometer survey, Poles and Romanians were the keenest of all Central and Eastern Europeans to join the EU. -- Jakub Karpinski POLISH OPPOSITION PARTY ACCUSES KISZCZAK OF COMMITTING A CRIME. The Movement for Poland's Reconstruction (ROP), led by former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski, accused former Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak of committing a crime against the interests of the Polish nation, Rzeczpospolita reported on 5 August. In the 1980s Kiszczak -- one of the architects of martial law initiated in 1981 -- concluded agreements with the East German secret police (Stasi), allowing it to conduct intelligence against Polish citizens and institutions, Olszewski said. Olszewski said former Solidarity leaders, including former President Lech Walesa, needed to answer whether they concluded a secret agreement granting immunity to Kiszczak and former Polish President Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski in 1989. -- Jakub Karpinski CZECH-KYRGYZ "RADAR" DEAL IN PERIL. Although the sale was approved more than 1 year ago, the Czechs have not delivered a "Tamara" electronic detection system to Kyrgyzstan because the Kyrgyz have not paid the $20 million it costs, CTK reported on 3 August, citing the daily Mlada fronta Dnes. Supposedly able to detect even stealth aircraft, Tamara is built by Tesla Pardubice, and the sale was said to have saved the firm from bankruptcy. Often called a radar system, Tamara in fact sends out no signals of its own. Instead, it detects and analyses the electronic transmissions from its targets. The report said experts believe the sale will not take place. -- Doug Clarke SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTRY: HUNGARIAN EXPLANATION NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Slovak Foreign Ministry representative Emil Kuchar said on 5 August that Hungary's explanation of its position on a declaration calling for autonomy for Hungarians in neighboring countries "did not fulfill Slovakia's expectations," TASR reported. Kuchar delivered the ministry's opinion during a meeting with the Hungarian charge d'affaires in Bratislava, Pal Benyo. The Hungarian declaration, issued at a Budapest summit last month, caused concern in neighboring countries as well as in the EU and U.S., the ministry said, adding that Slovakia rejects the "institutionalization of ethnic differences," which "disrupts the cultural mosaic of an open, civil society." Kuchar also discussed the situation with representatives of the German, French, and British embassies, while the ministry's State Secretary, Jozef Sestak, met with U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Ralph Johnson. In Budapest, Slovak Ambassador to Hungary Eva Mitrova delivered Slovakia's response to Hungary's Foreign Ministry. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY PUBLICIZES PRIME MINISTER'S PLEDGE. Pravda on 6 August published Vladimir Meciar's written pledge to the Party of the Democratic Left (SDL), in which he guarantees a halt to privatization until the National Property Fund (FNM) boards are restructured to include opposition deputies. The pledge, dated 21 June, was signed by Meciar during a coalition crisis. Although the FNM boards will not be reconstructed until September at the earliest, privatization continued on 1 August with the sale of 41 firms. SDL deputy Lubomir Fogas said his party considers this step "an expression of Meciar's political unreliability." FNM Presidium President Stefan Gavornik said on 5 August that under pressure from the ministers of agriculture, economy, and construction and public works, preparations are being made for the privatization of other firms, including banks, Praca reported. -- Sharon Fisher RFE/RL TO COMPLY WITH SLOVAK POLICE REQUEST. RFE/RL plans to give police investigators a transcript of an interview with an eyewitness of the kidnapping of President Michal Kovac's son, Sme reported on 6 August. RFE/RL Director of Broadcasting Robert Gillette told Sme that the station will provide it "as a gesture of goodwill towards Slovak authorities and in the hope that the investigation will be fully and justly resolved." Police investigator Jozef Ciz asked RFE/RL for a copy in late July, after a prosecutor rejected his adjournment of the investigation for lack of evidence. The interview was broadcast by RFE/RL one week after the incident in late August 1995. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY'S SMALLHOLDERS PARTY REJECTS EXTREMIST LEADER'S CALL FOR MERGER. Jozsef Torgyan, Chairman of the opposition Independent Smallholder's Party (FKGP), on 5 August rejected Istvan Csurka's proposal to merge with the opposition Christian Democrats and Csurka's party, Hungarian media reported. Csurka, president of the radical right-wing, non- parliamentary Hungarian Justice and Life Party, suggested that the three parties' leaders resign "for the benefit of a joint candidate for the post of prime minister" in the 1998 general elections. Torgyan said he is not willing to "smash apart the FKGP as [was] done by the Nazis and the communists," and that his mandate is to make his party the biggest in Hungary, one that will "defeat liberalism and communism." Further, he rejected Csurka's recent call for "civil disobedience." Torgyan's populist rhetoric brought his party to the top of popularity polls in Hungary last fall. -- Zsofia Szilagyi EX-HUNGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER TO JOIN WORLD BANK. Former Finance Minister Lajos Bokros has been named a senior consultant with the World Bank, Hungarian media reported on 3 August. A statement released by bank Vice President Jean Francois Richard said Bokros will work in the institute's development department and focus on capital movements, bank reform and privatization. Bokros resigned as Hungary's finance minister in February. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE MOSTAR NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE. Talks broke off again in the early morning of 6 August in the dispute between Croats and Muslims over the joint administration of Mostar, Reuters reported the same day. The EU had extended the 4 August deadline for its withdrawal if the Muslims and Croats do not agree over the administration of the divided city. EU spokesman Dragan Gasic said that only "half a sentence" was keeping the two sides from resolving the crisis. Talks are to be continued on 6 August to try to amend the disputed document. Croats want the city council to be a "provisional" body until the Bosnian federation's constitutional court rules on Croat complaints of voting irregularities. Meanwhile, the daily Oslobodjenje on 6 August reported that a supreme court rejected the Croat complaint as "groundless," but it is not clear whether it was the Bosnian federation Supreme Court or Bosnia- Herzegovina's Supreme Court. -- Daria Sito Sucic IFOR FINDS BIG SERB ARMS CACHE. Italian NATO troops accidentally came upon a major Bosnian Serb arms depot while looking for potential polling sites in Markovici, northeast of Sarajevo. The cache had not been registered with IFOR and contains 1,000 tons of weapons and ammunition occupying a space of 1,200 square meters, AFP reported on 5 August. At least 4,000 Serbian civilians mobbed the 30 Italians as they tried to begin carting off the ammunition, a job that IFOR said would require 100 trucks to complete. Two Bosnian Serb officers claimed that the site was about to be registered with NATO, but the Italians noted that it had not been declared before and was dangerously concealed near civilian housing. The crowd in any event forced the Italians to return to the depot with their trucks, the BBC noted. Under they Dayton agreement such unauthorized caches can be confiscated and destroyed. -- Patrick Moore MUSLIMS ATTACK "SERBS." A Muslim crowd of about 100 persons, mainly women and teenagers, blocked a UN-protected convoy in Ilidza on 4 August. The International Police Task Force (IPTF) was attempting to escort what the Muslims believed to be two busses of Serbian civilians wanting to return to the Sarajevo suburb of Osjek. The Muslims damaged IPTF vehicles with bricks and rocks, and a UN translator was slightly injured, news agencies reported. The busses turned out, however, to be carrying Muslims. UN spokesman Patrik Svensson said that the incident was probably designed to intimidate the remaining 240 Serbs living in Osjek. The opposition in Sarajevo has charged the governing Party of Democratic Action of trying to pack the suburbs with Muslim refugees from eastern Bosnia in order to change the ethnic and political balance. -- Patrick Moore TUDJMAN CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF RECAPTURE OF KNIN . . . Croatian President Franjo Tudjman on 5 August attended a celebration of the first anniversary of the recapture of the former rebel Serb stronghold of Knin by Croatian forces, AFP reported. Knin, which was a beginning point of the four-year Serb rebellion, represented Tudjman's greatest military victory. But the Croatian Helsinki Committee on 3 August released a report saying that at least 115 Croatian Serbs were "arbitrarily executed" in the months following the August 1995 retaking of the city and that 110 others "disappeared." The Committee also accused senior officials, including Tudjman, of knowing about the atrocities and not doing anything about them. It blamed the Croatian government for failing to prevent criminal acts from taking place after the offensive, while at the same time creating obstacles for exiled Serbs to return to Croatia. -- Daria Sito Sucic . . . WHILE SERB RADICAL LEADER SAYS KRAJINA BELONGS TO THE SERBS. Accused war criminal and leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Vojislav Seselj, said on the occasion of the first anniversary of Croatia's reclaiming of its Krajina territory from rebel Serbs, that Krajina is "simply occupied and forcibly taken from our people." Seselj vowed he would use all "peaceful and democratic" means to work towards the goal of retaking Krajina for the Serbs. Beta on 5 August quoted the SRS leader observing that "if the French had to wait nearly fifty years to reclaim Alsace-Lorraine from Germany ... and so we Serbs will have to wait for a better reconfiguration of forces in the international community ... to forge the unity of all Serb lands." -- Stan Markotich SERBIAN LEADERS REACT TO NEWS OF KRAJINA LIBERATION ARMY. Several prominent Serbs have reacted negatively to news of the formation of the self-proclaimed terrorist group known as the Krajina Liberation Army (KAO), which has vowed to wage terrorist campaigns against "Serbian traitors" and Croatia for its having reclaimed Krajina (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 August 1996). Beta on 2 August reported that Mihajlo Vucinovic, president of the association representing Krajina refugees, said that Zagreb "could hardly wait for the KOA to be formed so it could justify continued discrimination against Serbs staying in Croatia and keep those who wished from returning." Even paramilitary leader and accused war criminal Zeljko "Arkan" Raznatovic offered a condemnation, saying the KOA can accomplish "nothing through terrorism." -- Stan Markotich SUPREME COURT JUDGE: ILIESCU'S CANDIDACY UNCONSTITUTIONAL. In an interview with the daily Romania libera, Judge Paul Florea of the Romanian Supreme Court said incumbent president Ion Iliescu's candidacy for a new term is unconstitutional, Reuters reported on 5 August. The constitution stipulates that a president's mandate is limited to a maximum of two consecutive terms. Romania libera had earlier reported that Iliescu's campaign team had consulted the constitutional court and had been unofficially advised that the provision concerning a second term does not apply retroactively to the adoption of the basic law. Iliescu had served as president of the transitional legislative- executive body set up in December 1989, and was elected president in May 1990. He was again elected in 1992, after the passing of the country's new constitution, and his supporters claim his renewed candidacy is for a constitutional second term. -- Michael Shafir ILIESCU STILL LEADING POLLS. According to a recent opinion poll, the main opposition alliance, the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), is the most popular "party" in parliamentary elections scheduled for early November (33.5%), but President Ion Iliescu is ahead (37.1%) in the presidential race that will be held at the same time, the daily Libertatea reported on 6 August. The survey was conducted by the Institute for Market and Social Analysis. CDR candidate Emil Constantinescu trails Iliescu (31.6%), followed by the candidate of the Democratic Party, Petre Roman (18.7%). In the parliamentary race, the major ruling party, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, is backed by 27.5% of those polled. More than a quarter of those questioned (26%) said either that they will not vote or that they are undecided. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON POLITICAL SITUATION. President Zhelyu Zhelev, in an interview with Trud on 5 August, repeated his position that a presidential republic could help pull Bulgaria out of its present crisis. Zhelev said the present parliamentary system has shown that "it either works badly, or not at all." Zhelev called accusations that he wants more power "not serious." He repeated that he will not run in the upcoming elections but stay in politics after leaving the presidency in January 1997. Also on 5 August, Zhelev met with the united opposition's presidential candidate, Petar Stoyanov. Stoyanov told RFE/RL that he and Zhelev agreed that the main problem in Bulgaria is the government's mismanagement. Stoyanov said the opposition supports Zhelev's foreign policy orientation. -- Stefan Krause GREEK-LANGUAGE SCHOOLS TO OPEN IN SOUTHERN ALBANIA. Greek-language schools will open this year in Gjirokastra, Saranda, and Delvina, international agencies reported on 6 August. The Greek government had demanded the opening of elementary schools instructing in Greek as an important step towards improving mutual relations. The ethnic-Greek minority in southern Albania has previously been able to attend classes in Greek in regular Albanian schools. In other news, Police have arrested a man suspected of killing Bujar Kaloshi, the general director of the Albanian prisons, Koha Jone reported on 6 August. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Pete Baumgartner ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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