He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom. - J.R. Tolkien
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 164, Part II, 23 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

DONETSK COURT DISBANDS MINERS' STRIKE COMMITTEE. The Donetsk Court of
Arbitration ruled on 20 August to disband the Donetsk Workers' Committee
for organizing illegal miners' strikes in July, blocking roads and
railroad tracks, and causing huge losses for local mines and railroads,
Ukrainian agencies reported on 20 and 21 August. The court used as
evidence videotaped interviews by local TV reporters with the imprisoned
leaders of the committee, arrested recently for organizing the strikes.
The leftist Civic Congress of Ukraine has issued a protest against the
court's ruling, calling it a sign of the "advance of totalitarianism . .
. based on nationalist ideology" in Ukraine. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN REFERENDUM CONSIDERED LEGAL. Justice Minister Valyantsin
Sukala said President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's proposed referendum is
legal under the constitution, Belapan reported on 21 August. Under
Article 74 of the constitution, the president or the people can initiate
a referendum and parliament should set a date within 30 days of the
proposal. Any referendum questions are under the authority of the
initiator. Parliamentary Speaker Syamyon Sharetsky agreed that
parliament must set the referendum date within a month of receiving the
proposal, but he said the full texts of the referendum questions have
not yet been presented to the parliament. During a round-table
discussion that day, it was suggested that parliament may add its own
questions to the referendum or hold an alternative referendum. Under the
constitution, parliament has the right to initiate a referendum if 70
deputies back the move. -- Ustina Markus

TRIAL UPDATE IN BELARUS. The trial of nationalist poet Slavomyr
Adamovich began in Vitsebsk on 22 August, ITAR-TASS reported. Adamovich
is being tried for instigating terrorism with his poem "Kill the
President," which was published in the Vitsebsk paper Vybar. Adamovich
is also accused of illegal weapons possession and trying to cross the
border illegally. A day earlier, Belarusian TV reported on the beginning
of the trial of seven Ukrainians accused of participating in activities
leading to public disorder. The Ukrainians were apprehended during the
26 April Chornobyl demonstrations and face up to three years in prison.
-- Ustina Markus

ESTONIA, LATVIA RATIFY SEA-BORDER AGREEMENT. The Estonian and Latvian
parliaments on 22 August unanimously ratified the agreement on sea
borders signed by Prime Ministers Tiit Vahi and Andres Skele on 12 July,
BNS reported. The agreement, which went into effect upon the
ratifications, foresees conclusion of a bilateral agreement on fishing
in the Gulf of Riga by 1 September. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA POSTPONES RATIFICATION OF OIL-DEPOSIT AGREEMENT. The Saeima on 22
August did not ratify agreements with Amoco and the Swedish company
Oljeprospektering AB for oil exploration off Latvia's coast, Radio
Lithuania reported. This was not due to appeals by the Lithuanian
parliament to postpone the matter but because the lawmakers ran out of
time to discuss the 25th item on their agenda. The ratification is to be
discussed at the next session on 29 August. Lithuania claims part of the
territory where explorations are envisioned by the 31 October 1995
agreement and has asked that they not be ratified before the sea border
is settled. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH ECONOMY CONTINUES TO ROLL. Data for the first seven months of
1996 released on 22 August by the Central Statistical Office show that
Poland's economy continues to deliver strong results. According to
reports in Polish dailies on 23 August, industrial production at the end
of July was 10% above its July 1995 level, while prices actually
declined by 0.1% in July. Industrial growth was powered by Poland's
continuing investment boom--real investment spending at the end of June
was 24% above mid-1995 levels--and by consumption, which reflected a
9.4% increase in real wages in July (relative to July 1995 levels). The
price stability attained in July also means that the official consumer-
price inflation forecast of 17% for the year remains within the realm of
the possible. On the other hand, the rapid growth in real wages has
pulled down state enterprises' profits. Also, Poland's trade deficit at
the end of June had risen to $3.1 billion, compared with the $500
million deficit recorded in mid-1995. -- Ben Slay

CZECH CHEMICAL GIANT ACQUIRES ARMS-EXPORT COMPANY. Chemapol Group, a
Czech trading and chemicals conglomerate, announced on 22 August that it
had gained an 80% interest in Omnipol, the country's largest arms
trader, Reuters reported. Chemapol's general director, Vaclav Junek,
said his group hoped to double Omnipol's sales over the next two years.
He also said that Chemapol would use Omnipol's connections in an effort
to acquire the Czech aircraft builder Aero Vodochody. -- Doug Clarke

HUNGARY BUYS TANKS FROM BELARUS. The Hungarian Defense Ministry on 22
August revealed the terms of a previously announced deal to purchase 100
T-72 tanks from Belarus, Napi Gzdasag reported. Hungary has agreed to
pay $130,000 each for the tanks, which are to be shipped from Belarus
later this year. Belarus would have had to destroy the tanks to meet its
commitments under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. In a
related matter, the Hungarian Defense and Finance ministries were
reported to have agreed on a governmental guarantee for a 30 billion
forint tender to purchase new air defense missiles and radars. The
tender is expected to be issued in two weeks. -- Doug Clarke

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT POSTPONES ENERGY-PRICE INCREASE. The government on
22 August announced that it will not raise energy prices until 1 January
1997, despite its earlier pledge to foreign investors to do so,
Hungarian dailies reported. The decision comes in the wake of months-
long debate within the cabinet and between government members and
foreign investors over whether a price increase is justified. Socialist
members of the government cited "social" reasons for putting off the
rise, and Industry and Trade Minister Imre Dunai's resignation last week
is thought to be owed to his firm stand in favor of raising the prices.
The price hike would have been the second major increase this year. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY TO SELL HOTEL CHAIN. The State Privatization and Holding Co.
(APV) on 22 August announced that it has approved Danubius Hotels' 8.1
billion forint ($52 million) bid for the 14-member HungarHotels chain,
Hungarian media reported. Danubius's main rival was a domestic
investment consortium that included HungarHotels' management. The
consortium bid 6.6 billion forints. Danubius, the shares of which are
held by both foreign and domestic investors, pledged to spend $13
million on development over the next three years and to keep the present
work force for at least a year. The privatization of HungarHotels has
been marked by controversy. Prime Minister Gyula Horn called off an
agreement between APV's predecessor and the American General Hospitality
(AGH) chain in 1994, saying it would have caused a serious loss to the
country. AGH had offered 5.6 billion forints ($36.8 million at the
current exchange rate) for a 51 percent stake in the entire chain, which
then also included the Forum, one of Budapest's most luxurious hotels.
In March, APV separated the Forum from the chain; it is now being
offered for sale individually. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE GETTING WORSE IN BOSNIA. The UN spokesman in
Sarajevo, Alexander Ivanko, said on 22 August that opposition parties'
leaders and supporters are being increasingly intimidated by the ruling
parties in the northern towns of Cazin and Teslic, Onasa reported. Along
with eight explosions in the Bihac region during the past week, three
explosions were reported in Cazin on 22 August, all of them believed to
have been directed at supporters of opposition parties. The UN received
a letter from a local opposition party accusing the ruling Muslim Party
of Democratic Action of acts of intimidation in Cazin. Meanwhile, in the
Republika Srpska, a police unit controlled by the ruling Serbian
Democratic Party has taken into custody a factory director in Teslic who
headed the local opposition party. Ivanko said special Serbian forces
continue to operate around the town, with city officials refusing to
explain their presence. -- Daria Sito Sucic

NEW TRIBUNAL OFFICES IN SARAJEVO, BELGRADE. Graham Blewitt, prosecutor
for the war-crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, on 22 August
opened an office in Sarajevo and announced that a Belgrade office would
open the next day, Onasa reported. Blewitt said the tribunal's Sarajevo
office will assist the investigation team arriving in Bosnia in early
September to resume mass-grave explorations. He said the Belgrade office
represents a major step forward, since the prosecutor's office has been
trying to establish a base in the city since 1994. The Belgrade office
will allow the war-crimes tribunal to investigate alleged atrocities
against Serbs. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE. Mate Granic on 23 August arrived
in Belgrade, where he and rump Yugoslav counterpart Milan Milutinovic
are to sign an agreement on the normalization of relations, Nasa Borba
reported on 23 August. Earlier in the week, Croatian Foreign Ministry
sources had hinted that a number of outstanding issues, including
jurisdiction over the strategic Prevlaka peninsula and disagreements
over the division of assets, could delay the signing (See OMRI Daily
Digest, 20 August). But on 22 August, Zagreb announced that Granic would
participate in the "landmark" ceremony in Belgrade. The BBC on 23
August, however, reported that a signing would not necessarily mean that
all outstanding issues had been resolved; contentious issues could be
deferred. -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES ELECTION COVERAGE. Vojin Dimitrijevic, a
member of the opposition Serbian Civic League, told a 21 August press
conference that he thought it would be impossible for opposition parties
to gain equal access to media coverage during the federal campaign. He
also dubbed a recent agreement on media coverage little more than "a
state order submitted for signature," reported the BBC monitoring
service, citing Tanjug. As of 21 August, a total of 35 parties had
signed an agreement on media coverage. -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN OPPOSITION PARTIES FORGE ELECTORAL ALLIANCE. Novak
Killibarda, leader of the People's Party of Montenegro (NSCG), and
Slavko Perovic, head of the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (LSCG),
released a statement on 22 August outlining a cooperation accord for the
3 November elections, Nasa Borba reported on 23 August. According to the
agreement, the parties have resolved to campaign together, recognizing
that "it is imperative for us to fold up our party banners and set aside
those factors that divide us so as to raise the flag of democracy over
Montenegro." The NSCG, which holds 14 seats in the 85-seat republican
legislature, has advocated maintaining federal ties with Serbia, while
the LSCG, which has 13 seats, has pushed for Montenegro's outright
independence. -- Stan Markotich

TOP SERBIAN OFFICIAL CALLS FOR DIRECT TALKS ON KOSOVO. The chairman of
the Serbian parliamentary committee on security, Radmilo Bogdanovic, on
22 August said it is "time for serious talks on Kosovo" between the
Serbian government and the Kosovo Albanians, Western media reported,
citing state-run Borba. But at the same time, he set conditions that the
Kosovars are likely to reject. Bogdanovic--a close aide to Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and a former Serbian interior minister--
said the Kosovars should take the first step and "ask for talks," and he
rejected Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova's call for
international mediation. Bogdanovic said that "the state does not need a
witness to talk to its own citizens." -- Stefan Krause

BOSNIAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATES DETAINED IN SLOVENIA. Bosnian politicians
Ivo Komsic of the Croatian Peasant Party and Nijaz Skenderagic of the
Social Democratic Party on 21 August were detained by police in Slovenia
as they were about to address a campaign meeting, Oslobodjenje reported.
The police told them that according to Slovenian law they cannot hold a
meeting that has not been properly announced. Komsic said Croatia and
Slovenia are the only two European countries that do not allow such
political meetings, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

ROMANIAN ELECTORAL UPDATE. A "national committee" supporting incumbent
President Ion Iliescu's candidacy was formed on 22 August, Romanian
television announced on the same day. The committee is chaired by
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. Iosif Borda, Romania's ambassador to
Switzerland, has been appointed director of the president's electoral
campaign. The Romanian ambassador to Moldova, Marian Enache, is also a
member of the committee. The announcement was met with criticism in the
opposition press. The daily Romania libera printed excerpts from the
Statutes of the Diplomatic Corps, which forbid Romanian diplomats to be
members of political parties or become involved in party activities. In
other news, several Roma parties that had set up an umbrella
organization called Roma Unification appointed sociologist Nicolae
Gheorghe as their presidential candidate, Radio Bucharest announced. --
Michael Shafir

RULING PARTY DECIDES TO FREEZE CONSUMER PRICES. In a move obviously
triggered by electoral considerations, the Permanent Delegation of the
major coalition partner, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, on 22
August decided to freeze consumer prices of 54 products, Radio Bucharest
reported. The freeze is to be in force till 1 January 1997. It will
affect prices for gasoline and fuel for home heating, coal, public
transportation, bread, milk, comestible oil, butter, pork and poultry,
medicine and medical services, cigarettes, telephone charges, rents, and
others. The independent daily Libertatea on 23 August called the move "a
bomb whose exploding effects after the elections will be terrible." --
Michael Shafir

BENDERY AUTHORITIES PREPARE FOR EMERGENCY STATE. BASA-press reported on
22 August that the local authorities in Bendery (Tighina), a town in the
Dniester region where the Chisinau authorities have managed to keep a
police force that acts parallel to the Dniester forces, have started
preparations for a state of emergency. The move reflects rumors of a
concentration of Moldovan army units preparing an attack on the town.
Sources close to the city administration told the agency that envelopes
containing instructions on mobilization, to be opened only in case of an
attack, have been distributed to workplaces. The authorities have also
ordered a Dniester military unit to confine men to barracks and to start
fortifications. Gen. Victor Catana, the Moldovan Deputy Interior
Minister and co-chairman of the Joint Control Commission (JCC), said in
a press release that the allegations on the impending attack are a
"premeditated misinforming of public opinion." The JCC and the OSCE
mission in Moldova on 21 August released a joint statement calling on
public organizations, decision makers, and the population at large to
"refrain from actions that may increase tension." -- Michael Shafir

SNEGUR ON PRESIDENTIAL REPUBLIC. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur,
addressing a meeting of the National Press Club on 22 August, said that
Moldova should become a presidential republic and that he intends to
pursue this change if re-elected in November, Infotag reported on the
same day. He said that if his main rivals in the electoral contest,
Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli and parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi,
lose, it would mean that the government and the parliamentary majority
have lost the trust of the electorate. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS REGISTER. The Bulgarian Socialist
Party's (BSP) candidates for president and vice president, Georgi
Pirinski and Ivan Marazov, on 22 August handed in registration documents
to the Central Electoral Commission (TsIK), Trud reported. Pirinski, the
current foreign minister, turned in a Justice Ministry certificate
saying that he never lost his Bulgarian citizenship and is not a
naturalized citizen. He did so to prove that he fulfills the
constitutional requirement that the president be a "Bulgarian citizen by
birth." TsIK Deputy Chairwoman Zlatka Ruseva said the opposition
representatives on the commission will examine Pirinski's documents
"very carefully." Standart reported that the BSP has two reserve teams,
one of which will be registered in case the TsIK rejects Pirinski and
Marazov, the current culture minister. Novinar reported that, in that
case, Pirinski may replace Zhan Videnov as prime minister in the fall.
On 23 August, registration documents for the united opposition's
candidates, Petar Stoyanov and Todor Kavaldzhiev, were filed. -- Stefan
Krause

IMF MISSION HEAD CRITICAL OF BULGARIA. Anne McGuirk, head of an IMF
mission presently visiting Bulgaria, on 22 August said it was not clear
whether the country will qualify for the second installment of a $580
million IMF loan, international media reported. McGuirk said the
government has been slow in implementing economic reforms and singled
out delays in closing down 64 major loss-making state enterprises.
Closing those companies and cutting off subsidies to another 70
enterprises was part of a deal agreed on in May between Bulgaria and the
IMF. McGuirk also voiced concern about the decline of the Bulgarian lev
and called for tighter monetary policies. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER RENEWS RELEASE EFFORTS. The lawyer for
imprisoned Socialist Party Chairman Fatos Nano has contacted the
European Court of Human Rights in an effort to secure Nano's release,
Reuters reported on 22 August. Nano's lawyer, Perparim Sanxhaku, said he
has direct contacts with the court and plans to launch an appeal there
against Nano's sentence. Nano was sentenced in 1994 to 12 years in
prison for embezzlement during his term as prime minister in 1991.
President Sali Berisha has rejected domestic and international appeals
for Nano's release. The Albanian parliament last month ratified the
European Convention on Human Rights, from which the court draws its
authority. -- Stefan Krause

GREEK PRIME MINISTER CALLS EARLY ELECTIONS. Kostas Simitis on 22 August
announced that early parliamentary elections will be held on 22
September, 13 months before the parliament's regular four-year term
expires, Greek state radio reported. Simitis cited the need to revive
the economy and to strengthen the country's position vis-a-vis Turkey as
the main reasons for the early balloting. Under the Greek constitution,
early elections can be held if the premier believes that a "major
national issue" requires the government to be approved by popular vote.
President Kostis Stephanopoulos signed the decree for new elections on
23 August. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tim Rostan

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