Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man. - Leon Trotsky
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 157, Part II, 14 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

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

IMF MISSION IN UKRAINE. An IMF mission arrived in Kyiv on 12 August
to assess whether Ukraine is meeting the requirements for the
disbursement of a stand-by credit, AFP reported. The mission is
empowered to begin negotiations that may lead to credits worth $2.5
billion. It is also scheduled to discuss a $1.5 billion
stabilization fund for Ukraine to introduce its national currency,
the hryvna, by the end of the year. -- Ustina Markus

AFTERMATH OF DONBAS STRIKES. A government commission looking into
the effects of the July miner's strike in the Donbas has concluded
that losses amounted to 4 million tons of unmined coal, and 25
trillion karbovantsy ($66 million), Ukrainian radio reported on 12
August. The strike also left some 50 mines virtually paralyzed. As
a result, the current coal output is almost half of last month's.
-- Ustina Markus

DATE SET FOR BELARUSIAN ELECTIONS. The Belarusian parliament has
set 24 November as the date for parliamentary and local by-
elections, Belarusian TV reported on 12 August. ITAR-TASS the same
day reported that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has announced he
wants to ask how people feel about the death penalty in the
referendum scheduled for 7 November. He also said the public needed
to have the issues of privatization and NATO expansion explained.
-- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN NEWSPAPER UNHAPPY WITH RUSSIAN POLLSTERS. The
parliamentary newspaper Narodnaya hazeta has canceled an agreement
with Russia's Nazavisima gazeta and Voks popul because it is
dissatisfied with the results of polls they have conducted for it,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 11 August. The Belarusian president's
administration is reportedly displeased with the results of a poll
on the popularity of 50 Belarusian politicians, and the editor of
Narodnaya hazeta has accordingly sent an official letter to his
Russian colleagues in Moscow asking for the pollsters to be
replaced. This is not the first time Belarus has voiced its
displeasure with Russian media. The Belarusian president's
administration has already asked the Russian Duma to replace
Russian correspondents in Minsk. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIAN PARTY IN ESTONIA SEEKS TO EXTEND REGISTRATION PERIOD FOR
NON-CITIZENS. The Russian Party in Estonia has asked the government
to extend the period in which non-citizens can register to vote in
the 20 October local elections, BNS reported on 13 August.
Registration began on 10 August and is scheduled to last until 10
September. It requested that the registration period be extended
until 18 October since it would be impossible for all eligible non-
citizens to register in one month. Unlike the parliament elections
where only citizens are eligible to vote, non-citizens who have
applied for a residence permit and have lived in the respective
territory for at least five years are allowed to take part in local
elections. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN FINANCE MINISTER ON LOW BOND INTEREST. Algimantas
Krizinauskas told the parliament on 13 August that three-month
treasury bills were sold at 11.7% interest at an auction earlier
that day, BNS reported. This was 4.23 percentage points down on
last week's level and less than half of the year's average interest
of 25.8%. He also said that it will cost the government twice as
much to revive the Vakaru Bank as letting it file for bankruptcy.
The cabinet will probably decide next week whether to allow the
Klaipeda state seaport to invest 20 million litai to purchase stock
capital in the bank. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH CABINET APPROVES PRIVACY LAW. The government on 13 August
approved legislation giving Polish citizens greater control over
personal data, Rzeczpospolita reported. Based on EU standards, the
legislation prohibits the collection or use of personal data
without the consent of the individual in question, stipulating only
a few exceptions to the rule. It also creates a Privacy Protection
Office to safeguard this practice. If approved by the parliament
and the president, the legislation would primarily impact
institutions that are currently repositories of such information,
including the military, passport offices, vehicle registration
agencies, banks and insurance companies, schools and universities,
as well as civil institutions registering property sales, births,
deaths, marriages, and divorces. It is estimated that it will cost
6.5 billion zloty ($2.4 billion) a year to implement the law. --
Ben Slay

POLISH ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION DECLINING. Per capita annual consumption
of alcohol in Poland declined to 8-8.5 liters in 1995, down from 9-
11 liters in the past, Rzeczpospolita reported 14 August. Despite
this decline, Poland still ranks among the top 30 countries
worldwide in alcohol consumption. With regard to the consumption of
liquor with a high alcohol content (especially vodka), Poland ranks
among the top 10. -- Ben Slay

CZECH PRIME MINISTER CALLS FOR PARTY MERGER. Vaclav Klaus told
Czech Radio on 13 August that his Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
might win 40% of the vote if it merged with its smaller coalition
partner, the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA). He was responding to
a statement by ODS Deputy Chairman Josef Zieleniec that the party
might win 40% support--rather than the 30% it received in the last
elections--if it showed "a more open face." Several former and
current ODS deputies have said that party members who hold
different views from those of the premier are silenced. Klaus
argued that a merger would "clean up" the political spectrum,
leaving five parties with markedly different ideologies. "If we
have 20 or 25 parties, then it is very difficult for one to gain
40%," he noted. ODA Chairman Jan Kalvoda said he considered it
"politically naive" to view the merger of two parties as a way
either of dealing with inter-party tensions or obtaining 40% of the
vote. -- Sharon Fisher

CANCELLATION OF CZECH PUBLIC TENDER CAUSES CONTROVERSY. The U.S.
firm Unisys has expressed disappointment over the cancellation of a
public tender for the Czech army's 4 billion crown ($145.4 million)
staff information system, Czech media reported on 14 August. Unisys
won the tender last year, but former Defense Minister Vilem Holan
canceled the order in December, saying he was convinced his
subordinates had made mistakes during the bid. Because Holan was
not empowered to make such decisions, the former Ministry for
Economic Competition overrode Holan's verdict and canceled the
tender. Klaus--who is temporarily heading the ministry's successor,
the Office for the Protection of Competition--has now taken the
final decision on the cancellation. Mlada fronta Dnes on 13 August
reported that Klaus gave the army 60 days to launch a new tender.
Unisys has yet to decide whether it will participate again and is
considering taking the case to court. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES NEW DISTRICT CHIEFS. The government on 13
August agreed on the heads of Slovakia's eight new regions and all
but one of its 79 new districts, Narodna obroda reported. The
cabinet also approved changes to the district boundaries. The new
state officials were selected by a special Interior Ministry
commission. CTK reported that only one of the regional and district
heads is not an ethnic Slovak, despite the fact that ethnic
Hungarians have a majority in a number of the districts. Nine of
the officials were reportedly members of the election team of Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar's party. Meanwhile, government spokeswoman
Ludmila Bulakova, responding to a Sme report on 13 August, denied
that Meciar spent his recent vacation in Russia. "The prime
minister spent this year's summer vacation on Slovak territory,"
she said, adding that the report was "absurd speculation." --
Sharon Fisher

REACTION IN HUNGARY TO CANCELED HORN-MECIAR MEETING. Gyorgy Giczy,
president of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, has said
that the Slovak government's unexpected cancellation of a meeting
between Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn and Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar is a "slap in the face" to Hungary,
Hungarian dailies reported on 14 August. In an open letter to Horn,
Giczy said that if Horn seeks another meeting with Meciar or if the
government takes "irrevocable steps" in the negotiations over the
basic treaty with Romania, the Christian Democrats will call for a
special parliamentary session. The opposition Smallholders' Party
released a statement calling the canceled prime ministerial meeting
another "affront" to Hungary. Meciar and Horn are expected to meet
in Slovakia on 13-14 September during a summit meeting of premiers
from the CEFTA member states. -- Ben Slay

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IFOR COMPLETES INSPECTION OF SERBIAN MILITARY CENTER. NATO
inspectors, led by commander Gen. Sir Michael Walker, visited Han
Pijesak on 13 August, Nasa Borba and Oslobodjenje reported. They
had brought along Bosnian Serb acting president Biljana Plavsic as
a guarantee that their access would not be blocked, as was the case
the previous weekend (see OMRI Special Report, 13 August 1996).
Walker and Plavsic were welcomed and escorted by Gen. Milan Gvero,
the number two in the Serbian command. An IFOR spokesman denied
media speculation that the purpose of the weekend mission was to
arrest Bosnian Serb commander and indicted war criminal Gen. Ratko
Mladic, whose headquarters is located at the mountain stronghold,
Onasa noted. Meanwhile in Washington, a Defense Department
spokesman said that U.S. forces in Bosnia have been on special
alert since late last week because of bomb threats by an offshoot
of Hezbollah, CNN reported on 14 August. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SHORTS. Plavsic told Serbian TV that the Bosnian Serbs'
Republika Srpska will "have more than 80 percent sovereignty" after
the 14 September elections, Nasa Borba reported on 14 August. This
is a climb-down from her position that the vote will mean complete
sovereignty. Her view is, nonetheless, still in conflict with the
Dayton agreement, which specifies that Bosnia-Herzegovina is one
state consisting of two "entities," namely the Republika Srpska and
the Croatian-Muslim federation. Meanwhile, Sarajevo airport will
re-open on 15 August to civilian traffic with an Air Bosna flight
to Istanbul, Oslobodjenje noted on 14 August. Conditions at the
airport are still poor, and standard navigation equipment is
lacking. Flight safety will depend on French IFOR and on pilots'
professional skills. -- Patrick Moore

OSCE REJECTS CROATIAN SERBS APPEAL TO VOTE IN BOSNIA. The OSCE
Election Appeals Sub-Committee on 12 August said it has rejected an
appeal by Croatian Serb refugees to be allowed to vote in the
September elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Onasa reported. The
Association of Croatian Serbs in Bosnia, which made the appeal,
said it represented the interests of almost 60,000 people, some of
whom had acquired real estate and settled in the Republika Srpska.
The OSCE noted that, according to preliminary estimates, 77% of all
voters living abroad have so far registered to vote in the
elections, Onasa reported on 13 August. Meanwhile, Croats and
Muslims have agreed to hold the first joint session of the new
Mostar City Council on 14 August, Oslobodjenje reported. Both,
however, have proposed different agendas for that meeting. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

BELGRADE REAFFIRMS WISH TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH SUCCESSOR
STATES. Belgrade on 13 August reaffirmed its wish for a complete
normalization of relations with Croatia and other successor states
of former Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported. Belgrade and Zagreb
committed themselves to normalizing bilateral relations following
the meeting in Greece last week between Presidents Slobodan
Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman. The rump Yugoslav authorities said
current ties with Croatia in the economic and humanitarian fields
are "positive" and stressed the importance of finding solutions to
the issue of the Prevlaka peninsula, claimed by both Belgrade and
Zagreb. Meanwhile, Novak Kilibarda, head of the Montenegrin
People's Party, said Milosevic is not authorized to solve the
border problem of rump Yugoslavia and Montenegro. He added that the
issue should be decided by the people, Nasa Borba reported on 14
August. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BELGRADE'S UN REPRESENTATIVE STARTS NEGOTIATIONS ON TRIBUNAL
OFFICE. The head of Belgrade's diplomatic mission at the UN has
begun negotiations on the opening of an office of the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in Belgrade, Nasa Borba
reported. Vladislav Jovanovic exchanged letters about the office
with UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali after the Belgrade
government expressed its willingness to reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, a bush fire in the nature reserve of Deliblatska
Pescara, about 70 km north of Belgrade, destroyed some 3,000
hectares of forest, Nasa Borba reported. Some 600 refugees from
Bosnia and Croatia who were settled in the area were evacuated to
nearby towns. -- Fabian Schmidt

MEETING BETWEEN MACEDONIAN, GREEK FOREIGN MINISTERS CANCELED. Greek
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on 13 August canceled a
scheduled meeting with his Macedonian counterpart, Ljubomir
Frckovski, after the latter said Macedonia will not change its
name, Nova Makedonija reported. Pangalos and Frckovski were to meet
in New York in September during the UN General Assembly. A Greek
Foreign Ministry statement said that Frckovski's recent statements
have created a "negative climate" in bilateral relations. In an
interview with the Greek weekly To Vima on 11 August, Frckovski
said Macedonia wants to continue bilateral talks in New York to
sort out differences but will not change its name. He conceded that
a modus vivendi between Skopje and Athens must be found on the name
issue. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN CABINET DISMISSES EIGHT PREFECTS. Octavian Cozmanca, head
of the government's local administration department, on 13 August
announced that eight prefects were being replaced on the
recommendation of the Permanent Delegation of the ruling Party of
Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), Radio Bucharest reported. Seven
of the dismissed prefects are PDSR members, while the eighth
belongs to the Socialist Labor Party, a former PDSR ally. Some had
been involved in public scandals, including Constantin Raducanoiu
(PDSR), whose children were arrested after beating up other youths.
The police officer leading the investigation into the incident was
initially removed in what the opposition claimed to be a clear case
of power abuse. Romanian observers link the dismissals to the
PDSR's efforts to polish its image ahead of the November general
elections. -- Dan Ionescu

SNEGUR ON MOLDOVAN-DNIESTER MEMORANDUM. President Mircea Snegur on
13 August issued a statement explaining his reluctance to sign a
memorandum on the normalization of relations between the Republic
of Moldova and its breakaway Dniester region. BASA-press quoted
Snegur as saying that the draft memorandum fails to specify that
the Dniester region is a part of Moldova and instead refers to a
"common [Moldovan-Dniester] state," which, he pointed out, is
contrary to the spirit of the Moldovan Constitution. Snegur
commented that, under these circumstances, signing the document
would set "a dangerous precedent for Europe that might lead to
destabilization at regional levels." He also criticized the
Moldovan parliament, which is dominated by conservative and leftist
forces, for putting pressure on him to sign the current version of
the memorandum. Such pressure could only "complicate the
negotiations," he concluded. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN POLITICIANS TO RECEIVE MORE PAY. The salaries of
parliamentary deputies have been raised from 26,169 leva ($130) a
month to 32,169 leva ($170), 24 chasa reported on 14 August. Under
the parliament's statutes, deputies are to receive three times the
average salary, which the National Statistical Institute put at
10,728 leva for the past three months. Since all deputies are
members of parliamentary commissions, they receive an extra 10% of
their basic wage. This means they will now have a monthly wage
package of 35,385 leva. President Zhelyu Zhelev, Prime Minister
Zhan Videnov, and Parliamentary Chairman Blagovest Sendov earn 50%
more than deputies, or 48,253 leva at the current level. Sendov's
deputies will now receive 45,036.60 leva, and ministers and heads
of parliamentary commission 41,819.70 leva. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT MAKES APPOINTMENTS TO ELECTION COMMISSION BY
DECREE. Sali Berisha on 13 August issued a decree giving the three
leading posts on the permanent Election Commission to government
appointees. The ruling Democrats received four posts and their
allies--the Republicans, the Christian Democrats, and the Social
Democratic Union--one each. The opposition Socialists, Social
Democrats, and Agrarians received a total of six seats, Albania
reported on 14 August. But the opposition has refused to accept its
seats, saying that the formation of the commission is based on a
presidential decree, not the law. They argued that the commission
is fully controlled by the Democrats and therefore could not
guarantee free elections, international agencies reported. A
meeting between the Democrats and the Socialists the same day
failed to resolve the dispute. -- Fabian Schmidt

TWO ALBANIAN POLICEMEN SHOT DEAD. Unidentified persons on 12 August
shot dead two policemen in a Tirana suburb, Reuters reported. It
was the latest in a series of police murders. The two officers were
brothers and were off duty when they were attacked. No suspects
have been arrested, but police said they believed the killing is
linked to the attempted arrest of a murder suspect. -- Fabian
Schmidt


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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