The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore, brothers. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 155, Part I, 12 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CONTINUES TO FORM GOVERNMENT. Leonid Kuchma has re-
appointed Mykhailo Zhurovsky as education minister and named Oleksander
Osaulenko as statistics minister, Ukrainian TV reported on 8 August.
Bohdan Babii has been appointed chairman of the State Committee on Oil,
Gas and Oil Processing Industry and Stanislav Syvokin head of the State
Committee for the Protection of Consumer Rights. Kuchma also appointed
five oblast governors. In other news, Leonid Kuchma met with Russian
President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow on the day of Yeltsin's inauguration,
Ukrainian agencies reported on 9 August. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS APPEAL FOR REGION-WIDE REFERENDUM. Thirty-five
lawmakers in the Crimean legislature have requested that parliamentary
leaders hold a special session to discuss those provisions on Crimean
autonomy in the new Ukrainian constitution of which they disapprove,
Radio Ukraine reported on 10 August. The lawmakers, who are members of
four pro-Moscow caucuses, said they hoped the session will vote to call
a region-wide referendum on those provisions as well as on points within
the Crimean constitution they believe insufficiently guarantee the
region's autonomy. The Crimean basic law has yet to be approved. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS PRESIDENT PROPOSES DATE FOR REFERENDUM. Alyaksandr Lukashenka on
8 August proposed to the parliament that a referendum on increasing his
powers be held on 7 November, the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik
revolution and a public holiday, Reuters reported. Parliamentary Deputy
Chairman Henadz Karpenka said the referendum was "an attempt to distract
people from growing economic problems." He also asked how Lukashenka
would find the $2 million needed to hold the vote. Lukashenka has
indicated that the referendum questions will include increasing the
president's powers and extending the term of office for the head of
state from five to seven years. Voters would also be asked whether they
were in favor of changing the date of Belarus' independence day from 27
July, marking the republic's 1990 declaration of independence from the
USSR, to 3 July, the day on which Minsk was liberated from Nazi
occupation in 1944. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA, RUSSIA SIGN AGREEMENT ON ENERGY EXPORT. The Estonian Economics
Ministry, Estonian Energy, the governor of Leningrad Oblast, the
president of RAO Rossiya, and the director-general of Slantso mines have
signed an agreement on the sale to Russia of 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours
of Estonian electricity, ETA reported on 9 August. The energy is to be
produced using oil shale imported from Russia. The agreement will help
retain jobs in Estonian power stations and Russia mines and will also
provide income to the Estonian Railway. Meanwhile, Taidus Linikoja,
deputy head of the Estonian Department of Fisheries, on 9 August said
agreement had been reached on the text of a fishing accord with Latvia,
following talks in Tallinn with a Latvian delegation, BNS reported. --
Saulius Girnius

BATTLE FOR CABINET POSTS CONTINUES IN POLAND. Tensions continue within
Poland's coalition government between the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)
and the Polish Peasants' Party (PSL) over the division of new cabinet
posts, Polish media reported. These posts were created as a result of
the reform of the central administration, finally approved last week.
PSL leaders have apparently set their sights on the capturing one of the
two new economic portfolios: the Economics Ministry or the Treasury. If
they succeed, Finance Minister Gregorz Kolodko or Privatization Minister
Wieslaw Kaczmarek, two of the more liberal members of the current
cabinet, could be ousted. The reform abolishes seven existing ministries
while creating six new ones. It strengthens the prime minister's
position vis-a-vis the cabinet. -- Ben Slay

NEW CZECH JUSTICE MINISTER DISMISSES TOP ATTORNEYS. Jan Kalvoda on 9
August dismissed High State Attorney Libor Grygarek and Prague State
Attorney Josef Kredba, Czech media reported. Their dismissal goes into
effect at the end of the month. Kalvoda said the move is part of an
attempt to approve the efficiency and prestige of the state attorney
service. He added that the decision was based on "poor mutual
communication between Kredba and Grygarek" and the "unpleasant
situation" in the Prague city office. Kredba has failed to find a
sufficient number of capable and qualified employees for his staff,
thereby weakening the Prague office, Kalvoda said. Meanwhile, Grygarek
"tolerated" the situation in Kredba's office rather than improving it,
despite having the power to do so. Kalvoda is expected to name
replacements this week. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PROSECUTOR-GENERAL DEFENDS DECISION TO NULLIFY PRESIDENT'S
PARDON. Michal Valo told Radio Twist on 9 August that he was correct in
declaring President Michal Kovac's pardon of two men charged in the
Technopol fraud case (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 August 1996) null and
void. "In democracies and legal states, decisions on granting pardons
cannot be understood as an absolutely arbitrary move of a monarch who
grants a pardon whenever it occurs to him...to murderers or some
criminals," Valo said. He admitted the constitution does not lay down
conditions for granting pardons, noting that he is not asking the
Constitutional Court to override Kovac's ruling. He said that, instead,
the court should explain whether the head of state can grant pardons
"arbitrarily." Valo's move has been criticized as unconstitutional. If
the prosecutor-general does not act according to the law, "Slovakia is
headed toward not a legal but rather a police state," Sme commented on
12 August. -- Sharon Fisher

HORN SAYS HUNGARY ALMOST READY TO SIGN BASIC TREATY WITH ROMANIA.
Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn told Hungarian TV on 11 August that the
signing of the basic treaty with Romania is just around the corner,
Hungarian dailies reported. Although discord over the Hungarian minority
in Romania has stalled negotiations on the treaty since mid-1995, Horn
said Hungary now accepts the Romanian interpretation of the Council of
Europe recommendation on ethnic minority rights. He also announced that
Foreign Ministry State Secretary Ferenc Somogyi will go to Bucharest
next week to resolve any remaining issues. Meanwhile, a Romanian Foreign
Ministry spokesman told Romanian TV that his country welcomes the
Hungarian announcement. -- Ben Slay

WILL HUNGARY LEGALIZE PROSTITUTION? The Interior Ministry has drawn up
two proposals on legalizing prostitution in Hungary, Magyar Hirlap
reported on 10 August. According to the first proposal, prostitutes
would be limited to working in special "tolerance zones" to which the
authorities would "turn a blind eye." The second states a prostitute
would be required to be registered as an "individual entrepreneur" and
would be subject to taxation. -- Ben Slay

NATO MILITARY EXERCISE. More than 1,000 troops from 22 countries--most
of which belonged to the former East bloc--begin a week-long military
exercise in the U.S. on 12 August, RFE/RL reported. Participants include
the three Baltic states, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria,
Albania, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The Czech
Republic and Azerbaijan are sending observers. "Cooperative Osprey 96"
is the largest exercise NATO has held in the U.S and is designed to
integrate regular NATO forces with the eastern forces in combined peace-
keeping on land and sea. Russia said it will not participate or send
observers because of the high costs of transport, food, and equipment
storage. -- Michael Shafir

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO TO GET TOUGH WITH SERBS? IFOR began a pre-announced inspection tour
of arms depots at the Bosnian Serb military headquarters of Han Pijesak
on 10 August, Reuters reported. They visited one site at the
mountainside stronghold built as part of Josip Broz Tito's defense
system but were denied access to a second area. NATO the next day opened
talks with the Serbs on the issue but also pulled its liaison officers
out of Bosnian Serb civilian headquarters at Pale, the BBC added. The
Serbs charged that IFOR was manufacturing an incident to distract
attention from problems between the Croats and Muslims. However, a
series of incidents has taken place at Han Pijesak and elsewhere in
recent weeks, with the Serbs' testing the limits of NATO's patience by
apparently violating the military provisions of the Dayton treaty. Under
that agreement, all weapons sites were to have been registered with NATO
by 18 April. -- Patrick Moore

TENSIONS BETWEEN CROATS, MUSLIMS CONTINUE IN BOSNIA. Bosnian Muslims and
Croats 10 August fought with sticks and stones in and around the town of
Novi Seher, central Bosnia, Reuters reported. According to the Bosnian
Radio, Croats prevented a group of Muslims from attending a planned
Muslim religious festival and Muslims retaliated by blocking the main
highway between the Muslim-dominated town of Zenica and Croat-held
Zepce. Meanwhile, Croats from central Bosnia have sent a letter to
Bosnian Federation President Kresimir Zubak complaining of being
harassed by their Muslim neighbors, Oslobodjenje reported on 10 August.
In other news, the same daily reported on 11 August that Muslims are
repeatedly being expelled from the Croat-held part of Mostar, while
shooting and attacks on cars frequently take place in both halves of the
town. -- Daria Sito Sucic

KORNBLUM PUTS PRESSURE ON CROATIAN PRESIDENT OVER BOSNIAN FEDERATION.
U.S. envoy to Bosnia John Kornblum visited Croatia on 10 August to press
Franjo Tudjman to ensure that the Bosnian Croats will abide by the
Dayton peace accords, Reuters reported. The EU on 9 August announced
that the city council, which until recently had been boycotted by the
Croats, will meet on 14 August to elect a mayor and deputy. But chief
Bosnian Croat negotiator Mile Puljic complained to the head of the EU
mission, Martin Garrod, that the council's Muslim president has not
consulted his side. Meanwhile, Bozo Raic, head of the ruling Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ), lashed out at Garrod for saying that local
elections will not be repeated in Mostar in September although they will
take place in all other towns and cities in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Oslobodjenje reported on 12 August. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOMBS IN NORTHERN BOSNIA, ZAGREB. Two explosions hit a Bosnian Croat
(HVO) military base at Rosulje in the Usora valley southwest of Doboj on
11 August, Reuters and Nasa Borba reported. Some vehicles were damaged,
but there were no injuries in the unexplained incident. Tensions between
Croats and Muslims have been high in the area in recent days. In an
apparently unrelated development, a bomb went off in central Zagreb,
causing neither damage nor injuries. Police said the device was the work
of amateurs and unlikely to have been planted by Serbian terrorists,
Western news agencies noted. -- Patrick Moore

MONTENEGRIN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS SAY MILOSEVIC-TUDJMAN SUMMIT WAS
"HUMILIATION" FOR THEIR REPUBLIC. In an official response to the summit
meeting between Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman near Athens on 8 August (see OMRI Daily Digest,
9 August 1996), the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDPCG) said
the meeting served only to underscore Montenegro's "humiliation" and
second-class status within the federation. The SDPCG added that it
highlighted where power lies in Serbia-Montenegro and that the
Montenegrin authorities have sovereignty only "in the decision-making of
where to organize festivals and beach-football contests," Beta
reported. Meanwhile, Jovan Glamocanin, chair of the Radical Party Nikola
Pasic, claimed that the presidents' summit was "a highly significant
step forward for the implementation of the Dayton peace." -- Stan
Markotich

KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR BOMB ATTACKS. The
Liberation Army of Kosovo has claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on
police stations in Podujevo and Pristina on 2 August, Beta reported on
10 August. In a letter to the Swiss Albanian-language weekly Bota Sot,
the group warns that "the Albanian people of Kosovo will not be cheated
by defeatists.... Nor will they lay down their arms until the occupied
territories have been liberated." It added that in the future, "attacks
to liberate the country will be fierce and merciless." Meanwhile,
Milivoje Djurkovic, chairman of the Decani municipal council, said that
unknown individuals threw or planted explosive devices at a housing
complex for Serbian and Montenegrin refugees from Albania in Babaloc on
8 August, ATSH reported. Three unfinished houses were damaged by the
explosion, but nobody was injured. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN RESHUFFLE RIDDLE. Government spokesman Ion Mihai Rosca has
denied a report by the independent news agency Mediafax about an
imminent reshuffle of the cabinet (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 August
1996), Romanian media reported. He accused the agency of breaking the
rules of professional journalism and "misinforming" the public. Rosca
added that at a meeting last week between President Ion Iliescu and
Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, there was no discussion of a "massive
reshuffle of the government." Vacaroiu, in an interview with Romanian TV
on 10 August, also denied that a reshuffle was imminent. But an
editorial in Adevarul on the same day said the report was accurate and
based on sources from the major coalition partner, the Party of Social
Democracy in Romania. Meanwhile, Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR)
Senator Valer Suian gave partial credibility to the report by commenting
that the government's reorganization would not affect ministers who are
PUNR members. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN ELECTION UPDATE. Nicolae Manolescu, chairman of the Party of
Civic Alliance (PAC) and a literary critic, will run as the National
Liberal Alliance (ANL) candidate in the presidential elections scheduled
for early November, The Liberal Party '93 is the other member of the
ANL. In other news, the Ecological Movement of Romania (MER) has elected
Antonie Iorgovan as chairman and as the party's candidate in the
presidential elections. The MER belongs to the Democratic Centrist Union
(UDC), whose other members are the Agrarian Democratic Party (PDAR) and
the Romanian Humanist Party. Iorgovan, who is considered the "father of
Romania's constitution," will run against PDAR presidential candidate
Ion Coja (a sympathizer of the interwar fascist movement in Romania), in
a three-party ballot designed to determine who will be the UDC joint
candidate. -- Michael Shafir

ANOTHER WOMAN RUNS FOR PRESIDENT IN MOLDOVA. Veronica Abramciuc, head of
the Moldovan Socialist Party's (PSM) National Relations Department, will
run for president as an independent, BASA-Press reported on 10 August.
Moldovan pundits believe that her decision to run as an independent can
be attributed to both the split within the PSM and the Central Electoral
Commission's refusal to register the Patriotic Popular Forces Bloc, to
which the PSM belongs. Meanwhile, Pamant si oameni, the Agrarian
Democratic Party of Moldova (PDAM) paper, stated that deputy Maricica
Levitchi, who is also running as an independent, is not a member of the
PDAM. Levitchi had left the PDAM to join President Mircea Snegur's Party
of Revival and Reconciliation but later returned to the PDAM. --
Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. President Zhelyu Zhelev on 10 August said that he
believes the parliament should make a last effort to reach a compromise
on the country's coat of arms, Reuters reported. He added that if the
attempt fails, either the next parliament or a referendum should decide
on the issue. Government and opposition are divided over whether the
lion on the emblem should be crowned. Zhelev on 6 August vetoed the
latest Socialist-sponsored coat of arms (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 August
1996). In other news, the 18-floor Interpred building in central Sofia
has been sold to the local Maxcom Holding and 12 unnamed individuals for
$34 million, government officials said on 9 August. Maxcom committed
itself to invest $5 million in the building over the next five years.
The buyers will pay 30% of the price in cash and the rest in Bulgarian
foreign and domestic debt bonds. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA'S "LIVING SAINT" DIES. Bulgaria's best-known clairvoyant has
died of cancer in the Sofia government hospital at the age of 84,
Bulgarian and Western media reported on 11 August. "Aunt Vanga," a blind
peasant woman from Rupite in Pirin Macedonia, was revered for her
clairvoyant and healing powers by Bulgarians, of whom more than 1
million are said to have consulted her, including intellectuals and
politicians. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and former communist dictator
Todor Zhivkov are both reported to have sought her counsel. Opposition
presidential candidate Petar Stoyanov also went to see her at the start
of his campaign. In a condolence telegram, Videnov said "she lived not
for herself but for the people.... That made her a living saint for us."
Other top politicians also sent condolences to Vanga's relatives. --
Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION BOYCOTTS TALKS WITH PRESIDENT. The Socialists, the
Social Democrats, the Party of National Unity, and the Agrarian Party on
9 August boycotted a meeting with President Sali Berisha to discuss
preparations for the 20 October local elections, international agencies
reported. The Socialists criticized Berisha's decree on setting up a
permanent election commission, saying that while they welcomed such a
commission, it should be based on a proper legal framework. Berisha has
offered half of the commission's seats to the opposition but said that
only parties currently participating in local government should be
included. This means that the Democratic Alliance and the Democratic
Party of the Right would have no representatives. It seems likely that
if the opposition boycotts the electoral commission, it will also
boycott the elections. The commission is scheduled to hold its first
meeting on 13 August. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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