Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 171, Part II, 4 September 1996


***********************************************************************
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 email your request to: annual@omri.cz
***********************************************************************

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

GERMAN CHANCELLOR SIGNS AGREEMENTS WITH UKRAINE. Visiting German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl signed seven trade agreements with Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma on 3 September, Ukrainian radio and AFP
reported. They included a deal with a coal-mining enterprise near
Kharkiv and an agreement to modernize the Odesa airport. Germany is
Ukraine's largest trading partner in the EU; Ukrainian-German trade
totaled $1.6 billion in 1995. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEETS. Parliament met in the first day of its sixth
session on 3 September, Ukrainian radio reported. The resignations of
three deputies in government posts were accepted. These included First
Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Durdynets; Anatolii Zolotarov, head of the
state cooperative for industry and building; and Serhii Uspuch, head of
the state administration in Transcarpathia. Under the new constitution,
deputies cannot simultaneously hold other government appointments.
Parliament also approved the national symbols as set out in the
constitution and called for a nationwide competition on the exact design
of the state symbol--a trident--and for words for the national hymn.
Parliament is also considering who should replace Deputy Speaker Oleh
Domin, who resigned after being appointed head of the Kharkiv oblast
administration. -- Ustina Markus

SPLIT AMONG BELARUSIAN COMMUNISTS. Several leader of the Party of
Communists of Belarus issued a protest over party First Secretary
Syarhei Kalyakin's signing of a resolution by the "round-table"
opposition to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belapan reported on 2
September. Viktar Chykin, secretary of the party's Central Committee,
called for avoiding splits in the party. Chykin said Kalyakin's alliance
with right-wing forces came as a surprise to ordinary communists. He
said the "round-table" forum was unconstructive, and called upon the
Communists to hold a special congress to work out a concerted policy
over the referendum. Chykin's exact position is unclear, since he said
he did not oppose Kalyakin's position in general, but felt the Communist
leader should have first discussed the matter with party leadership. --
Ustina Markus

INDEPENDENT RADIO STATION CLOSED IN BELARUS. Station 101.2 was shut down
because its operations were "interfering in government communications,"
Radio Rossii and PAP reported on 1 September. The station broadcast
primarily music and some news. The head of the station, Zhanna Litvina,
said the move was just another in a series aimed at curtailing media
freedom. She also said it was part of the state's anti-Belarusian
policy, since it was the only independent channel broadcasting in
Belarusian and fostering national "rebirth." The station plans to appeal
the decision. -- Ustina Markus

LATVIAN ARMY CHIEF RESTORED TO OFFICE. President Guntis Ulmanis and
Prime Minister Andris Skele on 3 September officially restored Home
Guard Col. Juris Dalbins as commander in chief of the armed forces, BNS
reported. Dalbins had been suspended in late July after numerous
fatalities in the armed forces, in part caused by inadequate military
discipline. Ulmanis said an investigating committee had concluded that
the direct commanders of companies and platoons, not Dalbins, were to
blame. -- Saulius Girnius

RESCUE OF LITHUANIA'S VAKARU BANK BLOCKED. The Lithuanian Cabinet voted
on 30 August not to allow the Klaipeda State Harbor to invest 20 million
litai ($5 million) in frozen funds into the Vakaru Bank in Klaipeda, BNS
reported. Finance Minister Algimantas Krizinauskas said the Bank of
Lithuania will soon revoke the bank's license and initiate bankruptcy
proceedings against it, as promised in the memorandum signed with the
International Monetary Fund on 4 July. He said the government will
experience losses of 70-100 million litai with the bankruptcy, but even
more if it attempted to save the bank. Krizinauskas said if the Vakaru
Bank's license is not revoked by 19 September, Lithuania will lose an
$80 million loan from the World Bank. But he said even after the filing
of bankruptcy proceedings, the bank could save itself by finding outside
investors without any direct or indirect government aid. -- Saulius
Girnius

BATTLE OVER POLISH PUBLIC TV CONTINUES. Polish Public TV's (TVP) most
viewed Channel 1 has no director after the TVP board fired Tomasz
Siemoniak on 30 August (see OMRI Daily Digest, 30 August 1996).
Siemoniak had replaced Maciej Pawlicki on 1 April and made some
concessions to the left-dominated TVP board, cancelling programs the
ruling coalition considered unfriendly. But in August, Siemoniak refused
to satisfy the demands of the board. The board then pressed Siemoniak to
postpone the airing of a political program called "Echoes of the Day"
and to remove its creators from other political programs. Several TV
journalists resigned in protest. The opposition Freedom Union party
accused the ruling coalition of trying to grab control of public TV, but
Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz denied on 3 September any
attempts to influence the TVP. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. The government on 3 September fired four state
secretaries, Slovak media reported. The dismissal of Pavol Hrma and
Pavol Kacic, state secretaries of the economy and interior ministries,
respectively, followed last week's sacking of the heads of those
ministries. Also fired were Environment Ministry State Secretary Jan
Prislupsky and Culture Ministry State Secretary Olga Salagova, a former
actress who supported the Slovak National Theater staff in their
conflict with Culture Minister Ivan Hudec. Government spokeswoman
Ludmila Bulakova told Slovak Radio that the changes are the result of
coalition talks, and the cabinet approved the proposals without comment.
The government also dismissed the heads of two ministerial offices. In
other news, SND director Dusan Jamrich on 3 September warned that the
theater is experiencing "the darkest period in its history, including
the Fascist era." He denied Culture Ministry charges that he was
involved in financial fraud, CTK reported. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S OPPOSITION ATTACKS DRAFT BASIC TREATY WITH ROMANIA . . .
During a special session of the parliament on 3 September, opposition
parties condemned the draft Hungarian- Romanian basic treaty, Hungarian
dailies reported the next day. They accused governing parties of
"supporting a draft that sets limits to minority rights, of neglecting
the interests of the Hungarian community in Romania, and of supporting
Iliescu's election campaign." Opposition leaders said the "approval of
the basic treaty could win a pat on the back from Europe but never its
respect." The session was convened on the initiative of the opposition
in an effort to ensure that the cabinet will not sign the treaty without
preliminary authorization from parliament. The initiative, however, was
rejected in a parliamentary vote by governing parties, who hold 72% of
all seats. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

. . . BUT GOVERNMENT REMAINS ADAMANT. In reaction to the opposition's
heated criticism, socialist Prime Minister Gyula Horn said, "I have
heard nothing that would prevent me from signing the treaty." Foreign
Minister Laszlo Kovacs argued that the international community considers
the basic treaty the most important indication of an intention to
improve bilateral relations with Romania. He said the treaty will help
Hungary's Euro-Atlantic integration efforts and will contribute to
stability in the region. He said the draft is the "maximum that can be
attained under present conditions." Matyas Eorsi, chairman of
Parliament's foreign affairs committee, warned that a failure to approve
the treaty could lead to an increase in anti-Hungarian manifestations in
Romania. He added that the chances of signing a document that is
acceptable to both Bucharest and ethnic Hungarian organizations in
Romania are close to zero. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

STATES OF FORMER YUGOSLAVIA MEET FOR SUCCESSION TALKS. Representatives
from Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia met in Ljubljana on 3
September to discuss the succession issue but failed to make any
headway, according to Reuters. A plan submitted by Sir Arthur Watts,
legal expert to the international community's high representative Carl
Bildt, was discussed at length but ultimately panned. While details of
the Watts proposal remain sketchy, international media reports suggest
its main weakness insofar as the representatives were concerned was its
treatment of former Yugoslav assets held abroad. Shedding some light on
the Slovenian position, Miran Majek, head of Slovenia's succession
commission, said, "We cannot agree that the new Yugoslavia retains
embassies that used to belong to the former Yugoslavia." -- Stan
Markotich

BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTING ENDS. Voting by the 641,010 Bosnian citizens
living abroad has finished, international media reported on 4 September.
Voters live in 55 countries or territories ranging from Serbia-
Montenegro, Croatia, and Germany--which have the largest numbers--to
Albania and New Caledonia with but a handful each. The turnout was
affected by technical problems--including late delivery of ballot papers
or issuing of the wrong papers--as well as by various political problems
and general confusion about candidates and parties. Voting lasted from
28 August to 3 September in Serbia-Montenegro, where the turnout reached
56%. Many Muslim voters stayed away from the polls in Germany,
apparently confused as to whether their leaders back home had called for
a boycott or not. Things went relatively smoothly in Croatia, where over
two-thirds of those eligible voted. Balloting in Bosnia-Herzegovina
itself is slated for 14 September. -- Patrick Moore

NEW SLANDER CHARGES AGAINST INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN CROATIA. The ruling
Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) on 3 September filed slander charges
against two independent newspapers, the daily Novi List and the weekly
Nacional, international agencies reported. Senior editors of the two
papers were accused for publishing "lies and delusions," muddying the
leaders of the HDZ and its members. The charges were made under a new
law providing for prosecution of journalists who offend top state
officials, and only a few weeks before the country's first freedom of
speech-related trial against a senior editor of the satirical weekly
Feral Tribune. Novi List is Croatia's only independent daily, with a
circulation of 40,000, and Nacional is a weekly magazine often critical
of top officials. A free media was one of the conditions for Croatia's
accession to the Council of Europe. -- Daria Sito Sucic

GERMANY DETERMINED TO RETURN BOSNIAN REFUGEES. German Interior Minister
Manfred Kanther said on 1 September the repatriation of about 320,000
Bosnian refugees will go ahead as planned on 1 October, AFP reported.
Kanther said forcible expulsions may have to be used because not all the
refugees would return voluntarily. A meeting of Germany's state
authorities, who opposed the federal authorities on the issue of refugee
repatriation, is scheduled for mid-September, when Kanther will be
seeking formal approval of the repatriation scheme. But the Bosnian
Ministry for Refugees said the 1 October deadline is too soon for
refugee repatriation, and insisted on their voluntary return,
Oslobodjenje reported on 4 September. Bosnian refugees in Germany hope
to extend their refugees status there due to the postponement of
Bosnia's municipal elections, originally scheduled in September, until
spring. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN ARMS PLANT WORKERS CONTINUE JOB ACTION. Hunger strikers at the
Zastava plant are being encouraged to give up that protest, Nasa Borba
reported on 4 September. On 2 September Beta reported that opposition
leader Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement had issued an appeal to
the hunger strikers, urging them "not to take [this protest] to the end"
since the government "wants nothing more than for [you]...to die of
hunger." In other news, on 3 September Tanjug reported that visiting
Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati met with Milosevic, and that both
leaders called for improved relations between rump Yugoslavia and Poland
in various fields, including agriculture, economics, and tourism. --
Stan Markotich

CONFUSION SETTLED OVER KOSOVO AGREEMENT? Translation errors between the
Serbo-Croatian and Albanian version continued to cause confusion over
the education agreement that Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim
Rugova and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic separately signed in
Pristina and Belgrade on 1 September. The Albanian version explicitly
mentions universities, while the Serbo-Croatian version does not. But
the Sant'Egidio Community, a Rome-based Roman Catholic peace group that
mediated the deal, said it had settled the dispute in talks on 2
September. Sant'Egidio's founder Andrea Riccardi said his group would
continue to support the dialogue between the Serbian government and the
LDK, Reuters reported. "There is no agenda, but I sense the next steps
will be in the areas of civil life, culture, economy and health," he
added. -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIA, BOSNIA TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES. Visiting Bosnian Prime
Minister Hasan Muratovic and his Macedonian counterpart, Branko
Crvenkovski, on 30 August agreed to establish diplomatic relations after
the 14 September Bosnian elections, international media reported.
Following the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries will
sign agreements on economic and trade cooperation, on protection of
investment, and against double taxation. -- Stefan Krause

ITALY BACKS SLOVENIA ON NATO, EU. Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini
said on 3 September that "Italy will give full support to Slovenia's
intentions" to join NATO and the European Union, Reuters reported. Those
remarks came after Slovenian Foreign Minister Davorin Kracun met with
Dini in Rome that same day. For his part, Kracun said both parties had
signed two agreements aimed at allowing citizens of each country to
travel to the other without passports or visa requirements. Slovenian-
Italian relations have been steadily improving since May 1996, after
Ljubljana dropped its objections to foreigners owning property, a move
widely regarded as enabling Italian citizens whose property was
nationalized after they left Slovenia after World War II to buy back
real estate. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN CABINET RESHUFFLE. Following the ouster of the Party of
Romanian National Unity (PUNR) from the governmental coalition, three
new ministers, all members of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania
(PDSR), were sworn in by President Ion Iliescu on 3 September, Radio
Bucharest reported. They are Ion Predescu, former chairman of the
Senate's judicial commission, who takes over the justice portfolio;
Alexandru Lapusan, at agriculture; and Virgil Popescu, who is now
communications minister. Lapusan and Popescu were formerly deputy
ministers. The government also dismissed five PUNR county prefects and
several deputy prefects. In a press release, the PUNR attacked the PDSR
for its decision to break up the coalition, calling it "immoral" and
aimed at achieving sole control of the parliamentary and presidential
elections scheduled for 3 November. The PUNR also accused the PDSR of
jeopardizing the country's national interests by deciding to sign the
basic treaty with Hungary. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN MILITARY NEWS. Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca on 2 September
signed an agreement in London with the Bell Textron Company providing
for the construction of the Cobra attack helicopter under license, Radio
Bucharest reported. In other news, Romanian and international media on
31 August reported the beginning of a new NATO 10-day military exercise
in the Black Sea. The exercise, conducted near the Romanian port of
Constanta within the framework of the Partnership for Peace, is focusing
on humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. Apart from Romanian and
U.S. forces, participants include Greece, Italy, and Ukraine. -- Michael
Shafir

NEW MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. Moldovan Communist Party Chairman
Vladimir Voronin has announced his candidacy in the presidential
elections scheduled for 17 November, Infotag reported on 30 August.
Voronin, who was Soviet Moldova's last interior minister, told Reuters
he expected the support of many Moldovans disillusioned by the painful
market reforms. In related news, Ilie Ilascu, who has been sentenced to
death and has been in prison since 1992 for alleged terrorist acts in
the breakaway Dniester Republic, also announced his intention to run. --
Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS PICK NEW PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP) on 3 September nominated Culture Minister Ivan
Marazov as presidential candidate and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina
Bokova as vice-presidential candidate, Duma reported. Marazov had been
the running mate of Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, who was rejected
by the Central Electoral Commission and the Supreme Court. According to
Kontinent, BSP leader and Prime Minister Zhan Videnov wanted Justice
Minister Mladen Chervenyakov to run for president, while former party
leader Aleksandar Lilov preferred Nikolay Kamov, chairman of the
parliamentary foreign affairs committee. Standart reported that Videnov
objected to Marazov, saying he is unsuitable as commander in chief of
the armed forces and has health problems. The BSP again criticized the
ruling but said it accepts it because it respects the democratic
institutions. Meanwhile, Pirinski said he will file a complaint with the
European Court of Justice for Human Rights. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. A Tupolev 154 of the Bulgarian carrier Hemus Air was
hijacked on 3 September by a Palestinian man, Reuters reported. He
hijacked the plane on a flight between Beirut and Varna, released the
150 passengers in Varna, and was then flown to Oslo, where he
surrendered to the police. A Norwegian police official said the man
asked for political asylum. In other news, Michael Kapustin, a Russian-
born Canadian businessman and former owner of the "Life Choice"
investment fund, was extradited from Germany, AFP reported. Kapustin is
accused of defrauding investors of $18 million in "Life Choice," an
obvious pyramid scheme. Kapustin claimed the fund was developing a cure
for AIDS and promised 151% interest in 1993 and 227% in 1994. "Life
Choice" paid the interest in 1993, attracting 10,000 new investors in
1994, put stopped paying in 1995 after transferring its funds overseas.
-- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN ROUND TABLE. Fourteen
Albanian parties, including the opposition Socialists, Social Democrats
and the Center Pole coalition, agreed to participate in talks with
President Sali Berisha on 4 September, Rilindja Demokratike reported on
4 September. Zeri i Popullit said the talks would focus on a new law on
local elections and added that the opposition parties in a previous
debate had agreed to the meeting despite the fear that it "may be turned
into a propaganda spectacle" by the government. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Janet Hofmann

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