When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. - John Ruskin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 166, Part II, 27 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

FURTHER PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. Leonid Kuchma has re-
appointed Serhii Osyka as minister for foreign economic relations,
Ukrainian agencies reported. Valerii Borzov has been named chairman of
the new State Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports, while Volodymyr
Kuznetsov has been relieved from his duties as a presidential adviser
and appointed chairman of the State Credit and Investment Company.
Kuznetsov replaces Borys Sobolev, who was fired from that post several
months ago. Kuchma also dismissed Oleksander Savenko as president of
Ukrainian State TV and Radio, naming Zinovii Kulyk as acting president.
Meanwhile, Radio Ukraine reported on 26 August that Kuchma has
liquidated the State Tax Inspection Agency and formed a new, more
powerful Institute of State Tax Administration. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIANS BUY DOLLARS AS PANIC BREAKS OUT OVER NEW CURRENCY. The
government's announcement that it will introduce a new currency on 2
September has triggered massive panic-selling of karbovantsi by
Ukrainians, Western agencies reported on 26 August. The karbovanets, the
country's transitional tender, was trading at between 220,000 and
300,000 to $1 at various exchange points throughout the country,
significantly higher than the official bank rate on 16 August of 176,100
karbovantsi/$. Meanwhile, the Socialist caucus has complained that the
planned exchange rate of 100,000 karbovantsi to 1 hryvna will undervalue
the new currency and cheat the Ukrainian people. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER ESCAPES KIDNAPPERS. Yevhen Supruniuk has
revealed that he was abducted upon returning home from work on 24
August, Ukrainian agencies reported. He said he was threatened at
gunpoint by unidentified assailants, shoved into a car, and driven from
Simferopol to Krasnoperkopsk, where he was held for one day. He noted
that on 25 August he managed to overpower a guard and escape into the
town, where he was picked up and taken to a Simferopol hospital.
Supruniuk spoke of his ordeal when he returned to work the next day,
noting that he had no clue why he had been abducted. Both the assembly
and local law enforcement forces have launched inquiries into the
incident. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

LUKASHENKA TO SUMMON "CONGRESS OF BELARUSIAN PEOPLE." Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 26 August announced that he will
summon by decree a "Congress of the Belarusian People" to discuss
current political issues, RFE/RL reported. He said the decree will
define the objectives and date of the gathering, which, he added, will
be attended by some 6,000 people. The "congress" will clearly not be an
institutional body and may prove to be an ad hoc meeting of Lukashenka's
supporters and other "ordinary citizens." Observers comment that the
move is a direct response to the recent decision by political parties,
labor unions, and public organizations to oppose Lukashenka's
increasingly authoritarian policies. -- Saulius Girnius

NORDIC COUNTRIES NOT TO GIVE BALTS SECURITY GUARANTEES. The prime
ministers of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, meeting in
Helsinki on 26 August, decided that their countries cannot give the
Baltic States any guarantees for their security, BNS reported. The
premiers however, expressed the hope that the situation in the Baltics
becomes stable and that the three states will be granted EU membership.
Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Liopponen said his country will continue
defense cooperation with Estonia, but he noted that this did not qualify
as "far-reaching military cooperation." The premiers will invite their
Baltic counterparts to the next Nordic Council of Ministers' meeting in
Copenhagen in November. They also decided to allocate 100 million ECUs
($128 million) for environmental projects due to be launched in the
Baltic region next year. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIAN PRESIDENTIAL VOTE INCONCLUSIVE. In a secret ballot on 26 August
among Estonian parliamentary deputies, incumbent President Lennart Meri
received 45 votes and parliamentary Deputy Chairman Arnold Ruutel 34,
Reuters reported. Sixteen deputies turned in spoiled or blank ballots.
To win, a candidate needed to receive the support of at least two-thirds
of the 101 deputies. The result came as a surprise, since recent polls
indicate that Meri has much greater popular support. Moreover, his
candidacy is backed by four parties that, together, have 60 votes. If no
candidate receives the necessary votes following two further rounds of
voting today, an electoral college composed of the 101 deputies and 273
representatives of local governments will be convened within the next
four weeks or so to elect the president. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENT SIGNS BILLS ON GOVERNMENT REFORM. Aleksander
Kwasniewski on 26 August signed the remaining seven bills aimed at
improving the way the government works, Polish media reported. Four
other bills included in the package were signed last week. Under the new
legislation, several ministries are to be scrapped, new ones created,
and others merged. The ruling coalition--composed of the Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL)--has been divided over
the reforms. The PSL argues that their implementation should involve the
dismissal of the entire government and the appointment of a new one.
Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz (SLD) aims to replace ministers
gradually. The two parties plan to resume negotiations on the issue
later this week. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH OFFICIALS ILLEGALLY CROSS POLISH-RUSSIAN FRONTIER. Tadeusz
Szozda, Poland's deputy transport minister, was suspended from duty on
26 August after he and six other top ministry officials failed to stop
at a border crossing when re-entering Poland from Russia, Polish dailies
reported. The delegation, traveling in two cars, failed to stop for a
red light at the Gronowo checkpoint on 24 August. Police stopped and
detained the seven officials and their two drivers four hours later. One
of the officials said they had not noticed the checkpoint, while a
frontier guards spokesman noted that the meaning of the red light should
be "obvious to every driver." -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH TRADE DEFICIT KEEPS GROWING. The Czech Statistical Office has
announced that, between January and the end of July 1996, the country's
foreign trade deficit reached 85.3 billion crowns ($3.1 billion). During
the same period, exports totaled 429.9 billion crowns and imports 344.6
billion crowns. The Statistical Office pointed out that, on a positive
note, the majority of imports were capital goods. Czech media quote
economic experts as estimating that the annual trade deficit for 1996
will be some 140 billion crowns. Some economists have urged for the
crown to be devalued, but the government has so far rejected such a
step. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PREMIER DISCUSSES PROPOSED CABINET CHANGES WITH PRESIDENT.
Vladimir Meciar on 26 August met with Michal Kovac to discuss the
proposed cabinet reshuffle, Slovak media reported. Kovac, who has the
constitutional right to appoint and dismiss cabinet members, is reported
to have responded positively to the personnel changes. The meeting
between Meciar and Kovac, who have been feuding for three years, was the
first since the visit of Pope John Paul II to Slovakia in June-July last
year. Following their talks, the political council of Meciar's Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia met to discuss the cabinet changes. TASR
reported on 27 August that the three ministers to be dismissed are
Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk, Economy Minister Jan Ducky, and Interior
Minister Ludovit Hudek. -- Sharon Fisher

ANOTHER BOMB IN BRATISLAVA KILLS POLICEMAN. An off-duty policeman died
early on 26 August of injuries sustained in a bomb explosion at a money
exchange booth outside the Kmart department store in central Bratislava,
Slovak and international media reported. The 26 year-old policeman died
in the hospital. Police said the explosion was not related to the bomb
attack of the previous day (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 August 1996). The
owner of the exchange booth said that his office had been set on fire
earlier this summer. -- Sharon Fisher

ROMANIA'S ETHNIC HUNGARIAN LEADERS MEET WITH HUNGARIAN PREMIER.
Representatives of ethnic Hungarians from Romania, meeting with Gyula
Horn in Budapest on 26 August, urged that negotiations on the Hungarian-
Romanian draft basic treaty be reopened, Hungarian media reported. They
argued that Budapest had acted under considerable international pressure
and had neglected the interests of Romania's 1.6 million ethnic
Hungarians. But Ferenc Somogyi, state secretary at the Hungarian Foreign
Ministry, insisted that the expectations of the international community
"coincided with our own interests." The Democratic Alliance of
Hungarians in Romania claimed that the draft treaty fails to regulate
the restitution of confiscated Church assets and that it is unclear on
the minorities' right to education in Hungarian. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY'S BOSNIAN REFUGEES CAST THEIR BALLOTS. Some 2,000 Bosnian
refugees in Hungary have voted in the Bosnian national elections, ahead
of hundreds of thousands of others still living in exile, Reuters
reported on 26 August. According to an OSCE official the voting was
completed without any irregularities among Hungary's Muslim-dominated
Bosnian community. Under the Dayton agreement, Bosnian citizens living
abroad are entitled to vote for parliamentary and local council
candidates prior to the Bosnian elections, which are set for 14
September. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN VOTE POSTPONED. The OSCE commission charged with monitoring the
14 September elections in Bosnia has announced today that the municipal
part of the ballot will be postponed, international and local media
reported. This move comes in response to evidence that pressure and
coercion have been used against Bosnian Serbs in the Republika Srpska
and especially in Serbia to register to vote in key towns that had large
Muslim populations before the war but are now mainly Serb. The UNHCR
pointed out that the Serbs are using registration to consolidate the
ethnic partition of the country, Oslobodjenje reported. The Muslim Party
of Democratic Action had threatened to boycott the ballot if the
municipal elections are not delayed. Top Bosnian Serb officials argue,
however, that the vote must go ahead on schedule, Nasa Borba added. It
is unclear who will supervise or provide security for a postponed
ballot, which is not envisaged in the Dayton agreement. -- Patrick Moore

BILDT DENIES ELECTION DAY DEAL WITH BOSNIAN SERBS. The international
community's High Representative Carl Bildt has written the acting
president of the Republika Srpska, Biljana Plavsic, denying reports from
Pale about an alleged agreement between his office and the Serbs, Nasa
Borba reported on 27 August. According to the reports, Bildt had agreed
to Serb demands that would limit cross-border freedom of movement on
election day in violation of the Dayton agreement. Meanwhile, the OSCE
has ruled that 1,470 out of 5,010 of the SDA's candidates are ineligible
because their names do not appear on the 1991 census rolls, Onasa noted
on 26 August. Some 100 candidates of the opposition's Joint List are
also out of the running, including two of its leaders, Zlatko Lagumdzija
and Bogic Bogicevic. Finally, former Premier and Party for Bosnia and
Herzegovina leader Haris Silajdzic told the BBC that the confusion
surrounding the vote is a legacy of the communist past, which will go
away only with time. -- Patrick Moore

RUMP YUGOSLAV TRADE DELEGATION IN SARAJEVO. Federal Deputy Premier
Nikola Sainovic headed a trade delegation that met with Bosnian
government officials on 26 August, Oslobodjenje reported. The mission
was the first of its kind since the Bosnian war broke out in 1992.
Returning a visit by a Bosnian trade group to the rump Yugoslavia (SRJ)
on 23 July, the delegates met with Bosnian Premier Hasan Muratovic and
President Alija Izetbegovic, among others. Tanjug quoted Sainovic as
saying that a consensus on several economic issues had been reached and
that the Yugoslav national airline, JAT, may begin services to Sarajevo
by next week. Muratovic commented that it had been agreed that experts
would meet "to define a [joint] payments system and to define border
crossings and procedures," Reuters reported. AFP observed that no
progress was made toward reaching an agreement on establishing
diplomatic relations. -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT ON ZAGREB-BELGRADE ACCORD. Momir Bulatovic, in a
25 August interview with TV Montenegro, hailed the signing of the accord
normalizing relations between Zagreb and Belgrade (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 26 August 1996). But he stressed the agreement was a
breakthrough because Croatia had agreed for the first time to define the
strategic Prevlaka peninsula as "a disputed issue." He went on to note
that "we are reaching the stage where we can argue, using historical and
other factors, that Prevlaka belongs to its hinterland." He added that
for now Prevlaka belongs "to neither Montenegro nor Croatia, as it
continues to be monitored by UN observers." Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 27
August suggested that TV Montenegro news reports have "falsified"
accounts of the agreement by claiming it paved the way for territorial
claims against Prevlaka. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN CABINET GIVES DETAILS OF POPULIST MEASURES. A senior Romanian
official on 27 August elaborated on the government's plans to freeze
prices for basic consumer goods until 1 January 1997. Gheorghe Oana,
secretary of state at the Finance Ministry, told Jurnalul national that
the government is trying to keep down prices on various goods and
services, including energy, fuel, food products, public transportation,
and rents. A government decree issued on 23 August also guarantees
savings of up to 10 million lei ($3,166) in the event of a bank's
collapse. The package is clearly designed to polish the image of the
ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania ahead of the November
parliamentary and presidential elections. The party fared poorly in
local elections in June and saw its popularity sink further following
massive price hikes for energy, fuel, and bread in July. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVA MARKS FIVE YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE. On the eve of the fifth
anniversary of the Republic of Moldova's declaration of independence,
President Mircea Snegur told a gathering on 26 August that the country
has won broad international recognition, local media reported. But he
criticized the slow pace of economic reform, which, he said, has led to
"an abrupt fall in living standards and an increase in unemployment."
Also on 26 August, Snegur replied to a group of deputies from the ruling
Agrarian Democratic Party who had attacked him for having decorated
signatories to the 1991 independence declaration. Among those who had
signed were members of the Popular Front, an organization that later
opted for an overt pro-Romanian policy. Snegur described the attacks as
"a gross political provocation" and "an irresponsible appeal for a
further split in society." -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN SUPREME COURT REHABILITATES WAR-TIME POLITICIANS. The Supreme
Court on 26 August lifted sentences that the so-called People's Court
had handed down against leading politicians in war-time Bulgaria,
Standart reported. It rehabilitated the three regents for the infant
Tsar Simeon, three prime ministers, 10 advisers to Tsar Boris III, and
35 ministers. They were the most prominent of the more than 100
defendants in the first and biggest communist show trial to take place
in Bulgaria in 1944-1945 for bringing about Bulgaria's involvement in
World War II on the side of Germany. Of the 51 rehabilitated, 33 were
sentenced to death, while the remainder received prison terms. From 1946
to 1948, the People's Court carried out 135 trials against 11,122
defendants, of whom 2,730 received death sentences and in addition an
unknown number perished without trial. Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev
asked for the sentences to be declared null and void. The Socialist
daily Duma ran a front-page headline claiming that "The Supreme Court
Rehabilitates Fascism." -- Stefan Krause

NEW LIBERAL FORMATION TO EMERGE IN BULGARIA? Chief Mufti Nedim Gendzhev
has said incumbent President Zhelyu Zhelev and former interim Prime
Minister Reneta Indzhova will register as presidential and vice
presidential candidates in September, Duma reported on 27 August. Trud,
however, noted that Zhelev will abide by an opposition agreement whereby
he will not run following his defeat in the primaries to Petar Stoyanov
of the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS). The same newspaper noted that
Indzhova will be the presidential candidate of a Liberal Bloc that will
soon be founded and in which Zhelev will play a prominent role.
Anastasiya Dimitrova-Mozer, who was recently sacked as leader of the
Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 August
1996), is also expected to participate in that new group. According to
Kontinent, New Choice, the Radical-Democratic Party extraneous to the
SDS, and New Democracy will be the main parties constituting the Liberal
Bloc. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS WRAP UP CONGRESS. The Albanian Socialist Party's
annual congress ended on 26 August in Tirana, international agencies
reported. No successor was named for deputy leader Servet Pellumbi, who
resigned the previous day in protest at party leader Fatos Nano's reform
proposals (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 August 1996). It is unclear who
will be elected to succeed Pellumbi, although Luan Hajdaraga, Namik
Dokle, and Ilir Meta -- former party deputies -- are the most likely
candidates. All three were among those elected to a 101-member steering
council, which, in turn, will elect a secretary-general and two
secretaries in the next few days. Several former ministers who served in
the Nano government formed in May 1991 are also on the council. --
Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIA PRAYS FOR MOTHER TERESA. Albanian President Sali Berisha has
said his country is praying for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mother
Teresa, Reuters reported on 26 August. The world famous missionary, who
was born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in Skopje, marks her
86th birthday on 27 August. Berisha said in a telegram that Albanians
"unite in prayer and hope for your quick recovery and full health so you
may continue your humane and divine mission." Mother Teresa was
hospitalized on 20 August and diagnosed with malaria, a chest infection,
and an irregular heart beat. Her Missionaries of Charity opened a branch
in Tirana following the end of communism. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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