We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 163, Part II, 22 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 e-mail your request to: annual@omri.cz
***********************************************************************

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

COMMISSION SET UP TO END DEATH PENALTY IN UKRAINE. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma has established a commission to review and propose steps
to "humanize" Ukraine's penal code and abolish the death penalty,
Ukrainian radio reported on 21 August. Made up of legal experts,
lawmakers, and administration representatives, the commission's chief
aim will be to help bring the country's crime legislation in line with
Council of Europe recommendations, which include the abolition of
capital punishment. The president's order also calls for the possible
suspension of death sentences for convicts currently on death row and
the introduction of life imprisonment as an alternative. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

UKRAINIAN EXCHANGE BEGINS FUTURES TRADING IN THE HRYVNA. The Kyiv
Universal Exchange has begun futures trading in the hryvna, Ukraine's
long-awaited but, as yet, unintroduced permanent currency, Ukrainian TV
reported on 21 August. No details were provided on the terms of the
contracts. National Bank of Ukraine Governor Viktor Yushchenko
reiterated that the hryvna would be introduced by the end of the year at
the latest. Trading on 21 August began at a rate of 100,000 karbovantsi
to 1 hryvna; the day's average amounted to 101,604 karbovantsi to 1
hryvna. During a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of the
central bank's founding, Yushchenko said it appeared inflation in August
would be about 5%. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

REPERCUSSIONS OF TAIWAN OFFICIAL'S VISIT TO UKRAINE. Following Taiwanese
Vice President Lien Chan's visit to Kyiv, Beijing postponed a visit by a
high-level Chinese government delegation to Ukraine, Ukrainian radio
reported on 21 August. Foreign Minister Henadii Udovenko attempted
damage control by saying Lien's visit should not lead to any
deterioration in Chinese-Ukrainian relations. He said Ukraine's position
on Taiwan is well known: it regards Taiwan as an integral part of the
People's Republic of China. Kyiv is holding consultations with the
Chinese ambassador to Ukraine over the affair. Taiwanese papers reported
that Lien had met with President Leonid Kuchma during the visit, but the
president's office denied that such a meeting had taken place. Taiwanese
television also reported that Kyiv had agreed to exchange trade missions
with Taipei, but Ukrainian officials denied there had been any official
meetings with Lien and stressed that the visit was genuinely a private
one. -- Ustina Markus

DETAILS OF BELARUSIAN ROUND TABLE. Some 120 people representing 12
parties from across the political spectrum participated in a round-table
discussion on the political situation in Belarus on 21 August, ITAR-TASS
and RFE/RL reported. After the Minsk meeting, a joint statement by the
12 parties was issued announcing the decision to convene a permanent
body to assess human rights in the country, provide evidence of
constitutional violations, and oversee freedom of the press. The
statement also supported the holding of the 24 November parliamentary
by-elections, which President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said he would cancel
if the electorate approved his questions on a 7 November referendum.
Participants at the round table said they would do everything legally
possible to prevent the referendum. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIA'S NONCITIZENS SLOW TO REGISTER FOR ELECTIONS. Few noncitizens
have enrolled for the 20 October local elections, even though
registration is scheduled from 10 August to 10 September, BNS reported
on 21 August. Noncitizens are eligible to vote if they are 18 or older,
have applied for a residence permit, and have lived in the respective
territory for at least five years. In Tallinn, only 2,448 of the
estimated 77,000 eligible voters (3.2%) had registered by the evening of
20 August. The administrative secretary of Tallinn's Lansamae borough
government said, "The people are apathetic and don't give a damn about
the elections." The figures in Sillimae were only slightly better, as
770 of the estimated 11,120 eligible noncitizens (6.9%) registered in
the first 10 days. An appeal by the Russian Party in Estonia to extend
the registration period will likely be ignored, since its claim that
long lines would form at registration offices has proved to be wrong. --
Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S CAUCUSES CRITICAL OF DRAFT COALITION AGREEMENT. Representatives
of the largest parties in the ruling coalition on 21 August severely
criticized the draft coalition agreement and action program proposed the
previous week by Prime Minister Andres Skele (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15
August 1996), BNS reported. Latvia's Way caucus head Andrejs Pantelejevs
called the accord "too scanty and short," saying its "parts are mutually
contradictory." Fatherland and Freedom caucus head Janis Straume said
the program was immature and the agreement "a gesture of disrespect
toward the caucuses." He asserted that the agreement should be only a
supplementary protocol to the original agreement of 25 December 1995.
The Democratic Party Saimnieks has prepared an alternative draft
agreement. -- Saulius Girnius

BRITAIN'S 'DESERT RATS' TO TRAIN IN POLAND. Some 3,500 troops and 440
armored vehicles from Britain's 7th Armored Brigade--called the "Desert
Rats" following its World War II African campaigns--will begin training
in Poland next week, the British Embassy in Warsaw announced on 21
August. Billed as the biggest British army exercises on the European
mainland since the end of the Cold War, Ulan Eagle '96 will take place
from 30 August to 20 September at the Drawsko military base, formerly
used by Warsaw Pact troops. The maneuvers are the first to be held under
a British-Polish military agreement signed in June. Polish forces will
be invited to observe, and Polish engineers will construct a bridge. --
Jan Cleave

CUTS IN CZECH STATE EXPENDITURES. Czech Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik
announced on 21 August that his ministry will have to cut 9.3 billion
crowns in expenditures to maintain a balanced state budget for 1996,
Czech media reported. The government agreed at its meeting on 21 August
that the country's budget must not be a deficit one. Kocarnik explained
to reporters that part of the current deficit has been caused by the
failure of Russia to pay its debts to the Czech Republic and another
part by overestimating the government's income from taxes paid by
enterprises. The Finance Ministry plans to introduce spending cuts that
will affect all ministries equally. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK ARMY WANTS MORE HELICOPTERS THAN TREATY ALLOWS. The planned
reorganization of the Slovak armed forces would violate the terms of the
Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, the Slovak chief of staff,
General Jozef Tuchnya, told CTK on 21 August. He said that the army
would increase is holdings of attack helicopters from the current 19 to
40. The CFE treaty limits Slovakia to 25. On the other hand, the air
force would not need the 115 combat aircraft permitted under the treaty,
and its inventory would drop to 72. Tuchnya indicated that the air force
is pleased with its Russian-made MiG-29 fighters and said 465 million
crowns ($16 million) would be allocated for their modernization. -- Doug
Clarke

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY ON PRIVATIZATION. The opposition Party of the
Democratic Left (SDL) on 21 August demanded a retroactive examination of
the entire privatization process, Narodna obroda reported. Calling
current privatization "undemocratic, nonmarket, and against the people,"
SDL Chairman Jozef Migas noted that if fraud is discovered, the party
will demand that property be reprivatized under "market principles." SDL
Deputy Brigita Schmoegnerova criticized the east Slovak ironworks VSZ's
recent acquisition of a 43.7% stake in Investicna a rozvojova banka,
Slovakia's third largest bank. She said the move was not approved by the
National Bank of Slovakia, which, according to the banking law, must
authorize such purchases beforehand. Schmoegnerova also said the advice
of the IMF--which recommended that the merging of financial institutions
and the creation of mixed ownership between banks and their biggest
debtors be avoided--was "ignored." -- Sharon Fisher

LITTLE INTEREST IN 1968 ANNIVERSARY IN BRATISLAVA. Only about 70 people
gathered at the grave of Prague Spring leader Alexander Dubcek to
commemorate the anniversary of the 21 August 1968 Soviet-led invasion of
Czechoslovakia, Slovenska Republika reported. Attendees included
representatives of the Social Democratic Party of Slovakia (SDSS)--of
which Dubcek was chairman in 1992--as well as from the president's
office, the Party of the Democratic Left, and the Anti-Fascist Fighters.
Although invited, no representatives of the ruling coalition or of other
opposition parties were present, CTK noted. SDSS Chairman Jaroslav Volf
said his party will continue to seek a re-examination of the "unclear
circumstances" surrounding Dubcek's death in November 1992 of injuries
suffered in a car accident. Meanwhile, on 20 August, the opposition
Democratic Union warned that the current cabinet is a continuation of
the "normalization" regime that followed the 1968 invasion. -- Sharon
Fisher

HUNGARY READY TO SIGN TREATY WITH ROMANIA. Despite pressure from
opposition politicians and representatives of Hungarian minority
organizations abroad, the Hungarian government appears set to sign the
Hungarian-Romanian basic treaty, Hungarian dailies reported. Foreign
Minister Laszlo Kovacs said that he sees no reason to convene another
summit of Hungarians and ethnic Hungarians living beyond Hungary's
borders and that the treaty could be signed in September. Kovacs also
said the basic treaty is a matter for the two countries' governments to
handle. None of the questions, he said, should be discussed with
minority representatives. In a related development, the German Foreign
Ministry on 21 August welcomed the in-principle agreement on the treaty.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

OSCE PENALIZES BOSNIAN CROAT PARTY. The OSCE said on 21 August that the
Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) has "seriously violated" the voter-
registration procedure, Oslobodjenje reported the next day. The OSCE's
Mostar office reported that an HDZ official had illegally taken forms
filled in by voters in Jasenica, south of Mostar, possibly intending to
tamper with them. An OSCE appeals board had ordered the removal from
office of the local electoral commission president, Vlado Bevanda, who
had denied HDZ involvement in the matter despite evidence to the
contrary. It also ordered the removal of Bevanda's name from the HDZ
party list and the immediate termination of his candidacy for public
office. The OSCE also fined the HDZ $10,000. That same day, officials
from the two ruling parties in the Bosnian federation agreed that
obstacles to the revival of the Bosnian federation have been removed,
Onasa reported. The Muslim Party of Democratic Action and the HDZ agreed
to a more rapid institution of cantonal authorities and transitional
municipal councils, but they failed to agree on a federal finance system
and the status of the controversial state Agency for Research and
Documentation. -- Daria Sito Sucic

WHAT WILL BE DONE WITH ALL THE BOSNIAN SERB MUNITIONS? Operation
Volcano, the destruction by IFOR of some 400 tons of contraband Bosnian
Serb munitions found in Margetici, continues, with some 130 tons
disposed of to date, but questions have arisen over what to do about an
additional 16 sites declared by the Bosnian Serbs. Reportedly 10 of
those sites contain some 2,600 tons of munitions similar to those
discovered at Margetici. Suggesting that the additional munitions
deposits may not be destroyed, Maj. Brett Boudreau has said that "all
options are under consideration," Reuters reported on 21 August. Some
speculation already centers on the possibility that IFOR might allow the
Bosnian Serbs "to move the contraband to an already approved storage
site," added Reuters. -- Stan Markotich

LOCAL ELECTIONS ANNOUNCED IN SERBIA. Serbia's local elections have been
called and are to be held on 3 November, Radio and Television Serbia
reported on 21 August. Federal elections, as well as balloting in
Montenegro, are to take place the same day. The leader of the opposition
Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, welcomed news of the Serbian
local elections, observing that they may provide opposition parties the
opportunity to challenge the governing Socialist Party of Serbia power
base in local constituencies, Beta reported on 21 August. Reuters,
however, provided an analysis suggesting that with local, one set of
republican, and federal elections taking place at the same time, the
opposition parties may find their resources and organizational abilities
spread too thin, with the ruling parties ultimately posting gains. --
Stan Markotich

SLOVENIAN CONSUL TO LIBERIA INVOLVED IN ARMS TRADE? Nicholas Oman,
Slovenia's honorary consul to Liberia, was dismissed from his post on 21
August, some two months after an Italian prosecutor issued an arrest
warrant accusing Oman of smuggling arms to Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and Slovenia. Ljubljana offered no details of why it removed Oman from
the post he has held since 1993, Reuters reported on 21 August. In other
news, Oslobodjenje on 22 August reported that a member of the Bosnian
presidency, Ivo Komsic, and Nijaz Skenderagic, a member of the
leadership of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Bosnia-
Herzegovina, were in Ljubljana on 21 August but were barred by Interior
Ministry officials from speaking at a "promotional gathering" of five
Bosnian opposition parties. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN MINISTERS RESIGN. Minister of Health Iulian Mincu and Minister
of Culture Viorel Marginean have submitted their resignations, Prime
Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu told Radio Bucharest on 21 August. He said
Mincu was resigning for personal and health reasons, as well as due to
the fact that his work in the Senate took up much of his time. According
to the AFP correspondent, however, Mincu, who was once Nicolae
Ceausescu's personal nutritionist, has been implicated in several
scandals since his appointment in 1992, including mismanagement of a
World Bank loan to improve the health-care system. The resignations come
against the background of the executive's efforts to rid itself of its
corruption-tarnished image on the eve of elections. Marginean, Vacaroiu
said, wished to return to his work as a painter. Reuters reported that
he also came under attack in the media for having spent large amounts of
public money to organize exhibits of his paintings abroad. He did not
rule out other changes in the government. On 10 August, Vacaroiu had
denied reports in the press that a reshuffle of his cabinet was in the
offing. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN COALITION THREATENED BY TREATY WITH HUNGARY. The chairman of
the Party of Romanian National Unity, Gheorghe Funar, said in an
interview with Radio Bucharest on 21 August that he does not believe his
party will continue to be a member of the coalition if the text of the
basic treaty with Hungary is signed in the form agreed upon in Bucharest
last week. Funar spoke after a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister
Marcel Dinu. President Ion Iliescu will meet with representatives of
parliamentary political parties next week in order to consult them on
the treaty, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in
Bucharest on the same day. -- Michael Shafir

MONARCHY CONTROVERSY--AN ELECTORAL MANEUVER? Following the controversy
that erupted over the pro-monarchy statement attributed to the
Democratic Convention of Romania's presidential candidate, Emil
Constantinescu (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 August 1996), the daily
Evenimentul zilei revealed on 22 August that the interview granted by
Constantinescu to the U.S. Romanian-language publication Micro-Magazin
had been tampered with. The journalist who interviewed Constantinescu
admitted that he had "mended it," allegedly to reflect the views of
American readers. Evenimentul zilei concluded that this was an electoral
maneuver. The interview had been printed in Micro-Magazin as far back as
25 July, but there had been no reaction to it till the daily Jurnalul
national reprinted it on 20 August. The Party of Social Democracy in
Romania, Evenimentul zilei noted, then reacted to the Constantinescu
interview with a speed that cannot be otherwise explained but by a plan
to stage an electoral coup. Meanwhile, in an interview with Jurnalul
national published on 22 August, Constantinescu said he "could not be a
supporter of the monarchy," since he is a candidate for the presidential
office. He said he told Micro-Magazin that former King Michael should be
able to take up residence in Romania "like any other citizen of the
country" and that he would "accept the people's decision if it opted for
a monarchy in a referendum." -- Michael Shafir

IS PIRINSKI NOT A BULGARIAN CITIZEN? Union of Democratic Forces Deputy
Chairman Vasil Gotsev on 21 August said there is no documentation in the
Central State Archives proving that Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski--
the presidential candidate of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party--ever
acquired Bulgarian citizenship, Demokratsiya reported. Gotsev said no
state decree on the New York-born Pirinski's naturalization has been
located and noted that if no such document exists, Pirinski is not
formally a Bulgarian citizen. He added that Pirinski's mother, a U.S.
citizen, acquired Bulgarian citizenship based on a certificate by the
Sofia administration of the Interior Ministry, which had no authority to
change her citizenship. Gotsev said the opposition may ask the
Constitutional Court to rule on the case when the new parliamentary
session begins in September. Pirinski and the Socialists have not
commented. -- Stefan Krause

IMF MISSION IN BULGARIA. An IMF team headed by Anne McGuirk arrived in
Sofia on 21 August for a regular review of the country's economic
stabilization and reform program, RFE/RL and Bulgarian media reported.
The mission "will review progress under the [reform] program" in
connection with Bulgaria's next scheduled drawing from its current $580
million standby loan. Talks between the mission and the government will
focus on monetary and fiscal policy, McGuirk said. She added that the
government must continue its present course of reform. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN ROUNDUP. President Sali Berisha on 21 August urged the
opposition to participate in local elections on 20 October,
international media reported. He said that the elections will be "free
and fair" and that the election law is "of European standards." Berisha
said the elections would he held even if the Socialists--the biggest
opposition party--boycott them. He said the Socialists "have chosen the
boycott because they know they would be defeated in any elections."
Berisha did not comment on opposition demands to reshuffle an electoral
commission that was formed recently by presidential decree. The previous
day, Berisha's Democratic Party had announced it would adopt a law
preventing opposition representatives from pulling out of electoral
commissions in the upcoming local elections by making it a punishable
offense to do so, ATSH reported. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tim Rostan

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS
TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains
expanded analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For
subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ


ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region.  There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


RUSSIAN DAILY DIGEST
The OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and distributed the
following day.
1) Compose a message to:
        MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
        SUBSCRIBE OMRI
3) Send the message

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole