History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 153, Part II, 8 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

***********************************************************************
Available soon -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the
Former Soviet Union -- "1995: Building Democracy."
Published by M.E. Sharpe Inc., this 336-page yearbook provides a
systematic and comprehensive review of the most pivotal events in the 27
countries of the former Communist bloc and former Soviet Union during
1995. Available to OMRI subscribers at a special price of $25 each (plus
postage and handling). To order, please email your request to:
annual@omri.cz
***********************************************************************

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

COAL MINING UNION LEADERS IN UKRAINE PROTEST GOVERNMENT "CRACKDOWN."
Leaders of the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine protested what
they are calling a government campaign to discredit and disband their
organization, Ukrainian and Western agencies reported on 6-7 August.
Union activists said the 1 August arrest of a prominent strike leader,
Mykhailo Krylov, the earlier arrests of two strike organizers in Luhansk
and a police search on 6 August of a union office in Krasnoarmeysk
revealed a crackdown by Kyiv. They said that the police ransacked the
union's offices and confiscated documents related to the July coal
miners' strikes in an attempt to intimidate them and collect evidence
against the union's leadership. UNIAN reported on 6 August that leaders
of the Social Democratic Party issued a statement in Kyiv demanding the
immediate release of strike organizers, calling it a violation of human
rights. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

MORE PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. President Leonid Kuchma has
re-appointed the chairmen of two government commissions and set up a new
body aimed at coordinating measures to implement the new Ukrainian
Constitution, Ukrainian TV and radio reported on 7 August. Kuchma
appointed Volodymyr Yevtukh as chairman of the new State Commission on
Nationalities and Migration, formed on the basis of the former Ministry
of Nationalities and Migration, headed by Yevtukh. He also reappointed
Pavlo Mysnyk to head the State Committee on State Secrets and the
Technical Protection of Information. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON ROUND-TABLE, REFERENDUM. President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka rejected the proposal to hold a round-table discussion to
resolve differences between him and the parliament, Belarusian radio
reported on 7 August. He said he was ready to discuss his proposed
referendum and economic program with experts, but not with political
parties. Lukashenka added that he was pleased that the nationalist
Belarusian Popular Front and the communists have finally found common
cause and united, but said there was no need for him to sit at a round-
table with them. He also set 7 November as the referendum date, and said
there would be three to five questions on changing the constitution. --
Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER ON PRESIDENT. Syamyon Sharetsky said he
was outraged by the situation in Belarus, Belapan reported on 6 August.
He said that television spent entire evenings broadcasting struggles
against "imaginary, non-existent enemies." These included certain
deputies, the Constitutional Court, parliament, and "now all of Belarus
is supposedly surrounded by CIA agents." (A reference to Russian deputy
Viktor Ilyukhin's allegations that the CIA was plotting to destabilize
Belarus.) Sharetsky said this was creating an abnormal situation in the
republic, and urged President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to participate in
the round-table along with the prime minister, head of the
Constitutional Court, and other leading politicians. -- Ustina Markus

SIGNATURES GATHERED FOR MERI'S RE-ELECTION. Reform Party Chairwoman
Valve Kirsipuu announced on 6 August that the required 21 parliament
deputies' signatures supporting Lennart Meri's candidacy as president
had been collected, BNS reported. The deputies were from the Reform
Party, Coalition Party, and Moderates Party. Pro Patria faction deputies
that had also been expected to sign said that they would do so only
after Meri formally agreed to be a candidate. The elections will be held
on 26 and 27 August with a candidate needing to get a two-thirds
majority of votes (67) in the parliament to win. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA NOT TOLD ABOUT RUSSIAN NAVAL EXERCISES. The Lithuanian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 7 August that it had not
received any information from Russia concerning the ongoing exercises of
Russia's Baltic Fleet. The fleet's press center in Kaliningrad told BNS
that they were not military exercises, but a "cruise by a group of
ships." The "cruise" will last for about 20 days and includes a
submarine, 14 auxiliary ships, and the fleet's aircraft. It will also
have artillery and rocket-firing practices, anti-submarine search-and-
destroy exercises, and other war games. Paratrooper exercises were
carried out that day by 11th army guard units, stationed in the
Kaliningrad Oblast. -- Saulius Girnius

CONTROVERSIES WITHIN THE POLISH RULING COALITION. The Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD), dominant party in the ruling coalition, rejected on 7
August calls from their Polish Peasant Party (PSL) partners for a total
cabinet reshuffle during the upcoming restructuring of major ministries.
The chief of the government's office, the SLD's Leszek Miller, said
there are no reasons for Prime Minister Wlodziemierz Cimoszewicz to
resign. The PSL fears the reorganization of some ministries could leave
more authority with the SLD prime minister and erode the PSL's cabinet
influence. Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych (PSL) said on 6 August that the
coalition could fall apart due to tension over sharing cabinet jobs as a
result of the reform. Zych said that this would force parliamentary
elections before their scheduled date in fall 1997. -- Jakub Karpinski

NEW POVERTY ESTIMATES IN POLAND. Household survey data recently released
by Poland's Central Planning Office indicate that 13% of Polish society
lives in poverty, Zycie Warszawy reported on 7 August. This figure is
relatively low compared to other post-communist countries. These data
also indicate that Poland's income distribution is becoming less equal.
Most of the indicators cited in the study showed declining poverty rates
and rising real incomes during 1994-1995. But the share of workers
earning below-average wages increased from 60% to 65% during 1990-1995,
and the share of workers making only half of the average wage increased
from 3.8% to 11% during this time. The relative living standard of
pensioners improved during this time, however: the average pension rose
from 48% of the average wage in 1989 to 63-65% in 1995. -- Ben Slay

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S CASE AGAINST PRIME MINISTER DROPPED. A Bratislava
prosecutor on 5 August suspended Michal Kovac's complaint against
Vladimir Meciar, stating that there was no suspicion of criminal
activity, Pravda reported three days later. Kovac had filed charges
against Meciar on 28 May for misuse of power, slander and defamation of
the head of state for comments he made during a radio interview on 24
May, when Meciar accused the president of involvement in the $2.3
million fraud surrounding the Slovak firm Technopol, of knowing about
preparations for his son's kidnapping but failing to intervene, and of
influencing the investigation of the Technopol case. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK BREWERY OWNER ENDS MINERS' STRIKE. The 55 miners at the east
Slovak Bankov mine on 7 August ended their sit-in strike after staying
300 meters underground for three days, Narodna obroda reported. Upon
resurfacing, they were treated to a beer party sponsored by Gemer
brewery owner Vladimir Poliak, who is interested in buying their firm.
The beer contains the vitamins that the miners had lost during the
strike, Poliak claimed. The strike was ended following discussions at
the Vseobecna uverova banka (VUB)--the mining company's biggest
creditor--on the firm's sale, which is expected to be determined soon.
-- Sharon Fisher

STATE MEDIA PROTEST AGAINST HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT RESOLUTION. Hungarian
Radio, Hungarian Television and Hungaria Television public foundations
have protested against a recent government resolution to supervise the
financial management of state media institutions, Hungarian media
reported on 7 August. Opposition parties and the junior coalition party
Alliance of Free Democrats joined the protest. Opponents of the plan
warn that by amending the budget law, the government will violate the
media law passed in December. The newly appointed chairman of Hungarian
Television, Istvan Petak, said it would be a "tragedy" if it was
approved by parliament. The Prime Minister's Office commented that the
cabinet had no intention of drawing public service radio and television
under its authority. However, its spokesman added that the respective
media institutions have accumulated a sizable debt, and their long-term
financing needs to be definitively solved. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIAN, CROATIAN PRESIDENTS AGREE ON RECOGNITION . . . Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman met
near Athens on 7 August and agreed that bilateral relations would be
established. Nasa Borba on 8 August reported that they will open
relations "after just one more round of talks between foreign ministers
Milan Milutinovic [of rump Yugoslavia] and Mate Granic [of Croatia] in
Belgrade at the end of the month." Reuters reported that a joint
statement outlining territorial disputes, humanitarian issues, and
possible economic cooperation was released after the meeting. According
to Tudjman, the statement means "we agreed on the normalization of
relations in all fields, such as restoring (sic) diplomatic relations.
Foreign ministers will meet on 23 August and sign final agreements."
Meanwhile, Milosevic called the meeting " a huge step for the interests
of [rump] Yugoslavia and Croatia...[and] also for the entire region,"
Tanjug reported. -- Stefan Krause and Stan Markotich

. . . BUT QUESTIONS REMAIN. While both presidents hailed the talks and
the landmark agreement as breakthroughs, outstanding questions may put a
brake on the normalization of relations. Reuters reported an unnamed
Croatian official said Zagreb would insist that Belgrade recognize
Croatia in its internationally-accepted borders prior to normalization.
Belgrade, however, has not renounced claims to the strategic and
Croatian-held Prevlaka peninsula, but both sides "reaffirmed their
readiness to resolve [the issue] through negotiations." Another possible
friction point is eastern Slavonia, which remains in Croatian Serb
hands. Belgrade's recognition of it under Zagreb's jurisdiction would
send a signal to local Serbs they are part of Croatia. Furthermore,
questions relating to the division of former Yugoslavia's assets and to
rump Yugoslavia's demand to be recognized as the sole successor will
likely have to involve the other former Yugoslav republics -- Stefan
Krause and Stan Markotich

GHALI PROPOSES THAT TROOPS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA STAY ON. UN Secretary-
General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has suggested that the UN Security Council
consider a one-year extension of the mandate for the UN Transitional
Administration in eastern Slavonia (UNTAES), Hina reported on 7 August.
UNTAES' mandate expires on 15 January 1997. Ghali said it was
unrealistic to expect that UNTAES' duties will be completed by then. He
said the earliest possible date for elections in eastern Slavonia was
late February or March, while the Croatian government wants elections to
take place in December. Ghali also underscored the importance of the
financing of local administrations, where monthly costs total more than
$2 million. The Security Council has asked Croatia to fulfill its
obligations regarding the financing of local administrations. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERBS ORDER HALT TO EXHUMATIONS. The Pale authorities have
issued a statement banning further uncovering of mass graves on their
territory, AFP reported on 7 August, quoting SRNA. They charge that the
Croat-Muslim side has not allowed the exhumation of what the Serbs say
are mass graves of Serbs at Glamoc and Ozren on federal territory, and
that Pale demands reciprocity. The Serbs also want a meeting with the
Croats, Muslims, the international community's Carl Bildt, and the Red
Cross to discuss a host of issues, including missing persons and
prisoners of war as well as mass graves. The Serbs are apparently
embarrassed by evidence found in previous exhumations on their territory
indicating that thousands of Muslim males were massacred after the fall
of Srebrenica just over a year ago. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN ELECTION UPDATE. IFOR commander Gen. Michael Walker warned the
Bosnian Serbs to "take the [14 September] elections seriously" and
prevent any "angry, unruly crowd trying to stop people from voting." He
was apparently referring to the possibility of actions against Muslims
and Croats coming home to vote on what is now Serb-held territory. Gen.
Walker also noted that local Serb authorities are interested in seeing
"the voting go smoothly, [but] I am worried that this attitude isn't
shared at the top," Onasa reported on 7 August. The commander added that
IFOR is present to stop the war from being resumed but will not police
the elections. -- Patrick Moore

WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL REJECTS BOSNIAN SERB DEFENDANT'S REQUESTS. The
Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on
7 August rejected two motions made by the attorneys defending indicted
war criminal Radovan Karadzic, Nasa Borba reported the next day.
Karadzic's American lawyers asked to submit objections that would
contest the validity of the court's statute and the Rules of Procedure.
The court ruled that the issue could be discussed, but only when
Karadzic comes to trial. The tribunal also rejected a motion by a lawyer
for Dusko Tadic, the Bosnian Serb charged with killing 13 Muslims at
prison camps and 18 additional ones during ethnic-cleansing campaigns.
The motion was for hearsay testimony to be disallowed during Tadic's
trial. The court ruled it was up to the judges to decide the
admissibility of the testimony. -- Daria Sito Sucic

REHN CONCERNED ABOUT CROATIAN SERBS. UN special human rights envoy
Elisabeth Rehn, speaking in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica on 7
August, remarked that she was especially concerned with "what's
happening in Krajina," Nasa Borba reported on 8 August. The envoy
reportedly expressed dismay over the treatment of the 7,000 ethnic Serbs
living in the Krajina region of Croatia, saying "I have not been very
happy with what has been happening to those Serbs who were left behind,
old people, paralyzed people in very bad conditions." She said she was
concerned that "a new method [of violence against the Croatian Serbs]
has started again with explosives," AFP reported. She also expressed
concern over the status of Montenegro's Muslims and Albanians, the BBC
said. -- Stan Markotich

SLOVENIA TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON ELECTION REFORM. The Slovenian government
resolved on 7 August that preparations would be made to hold a
referendum on electoral reform 90 days following the convening of the
next parliament, with a vote taking place 30 days later, Reuters
reported the same day. Slovenia is currently divided into eight
electoral districts, and referendum voters will be able to choose from
four different reform models. Elections to determine the composition of
the next parliament are slated for December 1996. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIA, HUNGARY AND THE U.S. A spokesman for the Romanian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs told a press conference on 7 August that his country
took note "with interest" of the U.S. State Department position on
Hungarian minorities abroad, Radio Bucharest reported. Reacting to the
29 July American statement that the U.S. supports the rights of national
minorities to the preservation of their own cultural and spiritual
identity but rejects any drive to territorial autonomy based on ethnic
criteria, Sorin Ducaru said this position was fully in line with
Bucharest's own views on national minority rights. -- Michael Shafir

ANOTHER ROMANIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. Radu Campeanu, the leader of
the minuscule extraparliamentary National Liberal Party-Campeanu wing
was named on 7 August as a candidate in the presidential elections
scheduled for early November, Radio Bucharest reported. Campeanu will
run as the candidate of the National Liberal Ecological Alliance, which,
apart from his own formation, includes a splinter group from the
Ecologist Movement, headed by Eduard Victor Gugui. -- Michael Shafir

PRO-SNEGUR MOVEMENT SET UP IN MOLDOVA. BASA-Press reported on 7 August
that a "civic movement" supporting incumbent president Mircea Snegur's
candidacy in the November elections had been set up on the same day. The
movement includes 17 parties, organizations and associations, among
which are Snegur's own Party of Revival and Conciliation, the Alliance
of Democratic Forces, the Popular Front Christian Democratic, the Gagauz
People's Party and the Peasant Christian Democratic Party. -- Michael
Shafir

MOLDOVAN PREMIER'S PRESS CONFERENCE. Andrei Sangheli told a press
conference on 7 August that a "constructive dialogue" with the
leadership of the breakaway region of Dniestr would not resume until
Moldovan elections are over, BASA-Press reported the same day. He said
no summits conducted until then will bring results and added that the
longer it takes to solve the conflict, the higher the price paid for it.
This was an obvious allusion to his rival in the presidential elections,
President Mircea Snegur, who has practically frozen discussions on
signing a memorandum with the Tiraspol leadership. Sangheli said that if
he wins the elections, he would not favor Moldova's integration into CIS
political structures, since this contradicted the country's
constitution. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT VETOES LAND LAW AMENDMENT, COAT OF ARMS. Zhelyu
Zhelev on 7 August vetoed a recent amendment to the land law, saying it
favors collective farms at the expense of private owners and poses
obstacles to land restitution, Western and Bulgarian media reported.
Under the amendment, owners have no guarantee that they will regain
their original piece of land. Zhelev particularly objected to the phrase
"activities prohibiting the restoration of ownership," saying it paves
the way for arbitrary decisions. The previous day, Zhelev rejected
Bulgaria's new coat of arms saying it divides society. The ruling
Socialists and the opposition are divided as to whether the lion on the
coat of arms should be crowned or not (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 July
1996). Zhelev said that "the coat of arms is not a party badge and
should unite society" and called on the deputies to find a compromise.
-- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS WORSEN OVER TETOVO UNIVERSITY. Following a
resolution last week by the Albanian parliament denouncing the
imprisonment of five activists of the underground Albanian-language
university in the Macedonian town of Tetovo, the two countries have been
exchanging accusations. On 6 August the Macedonian Ambassador to Tirana
handed a protest note to the Albanian government calling the resolution
an "interference in [Macedonia's] internal affairs." The Albanian
foreign ministry reacted to the charges by claiming that its policy was
characterized by good will but pointed out that "it is our inevitable
obligation to be concerned about the rights of the Albanians wherever
they live." It also called on the Macedonian government to offer ethnic
Albanians in Macedonia active participation in all fields of public
life, adding that the level of rights of ethnic Albanians directly
determines the relations between both countries, Rilindja Demokratike
reported on 8 August. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Pete Baumgartner

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