Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. - Jennie Jerome Churchill
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 177, Part II, 12 September 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

UKRAINE ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF SMALL-SCALE PRIVA-TIZATION PROGRAM.
State Property Fund Chairman Yurii Yekhanurov told parliament on 11
September that Ukraine had completed its small-scale privatization
program, except in Crimea, Ukrainian TV reported. Yekhanurov said 80% of
small enterprises were taken over via employee buyout lease options. He
said 80% of privatization revenues went to local budgets. In regard to
large-scale privatization, he said over 40 million residents had already
picked up their vouchers. He complained, however, that investment
declined because many potentially profitable companies were barred from
privatization. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

NEW CAUCUSES FORMED IN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT. Two new caucuses were
formed within the legislature, Ukrainian TV reported on 8 September. A
new center-left group, called Social-Market Choice, is made up of
prominent figures such as former Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk, former
President Leonid Kravchuk, and ex-Donetsk governor Volodymyr Shcherban.
The caucus has declared its opposition to the current government of
Pavlo Laza-renko. The second caucus is a pro-government group comprising
members of the Popular-Democratic Party and former members of the
Statehood, Center, Unity, and Agrarians caucuses. Communist Party of
Ukraine leader Petro Symonenko told Ukrainian agencies that his party
will no longer argue against the legitimacy of the newly-adopted
Ukrainian constitution, but will begin a campaign this autumn for early
presidential and parliamentary elections. He said the group was also
planning to organize mass labor strikes then. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN WARNS OF FASCISM. Syamyon Sharetsky in an
article in Narodnaya Volya on 11 September said that the new
Constitution proposed by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka "prepares the
ground for a totalitarian fascist state," Reuters reported. In a
strident attack Sharetsky noted: "There will be unlimited power for a
single person. Such a draft can only be proposed by a person with a
maniacal drive for power." The same day parliament deputies accused the
presidential security service of searching their offices overnight under
the pretext of searching for a bomb. Opposition leader Alyaksandr Dobro-
volsky said that the police seemed to have been looking in vain for
lists of deputies who signed a document on impeaching the president. He
accused Lukashenka of using again the tactic of intimidation he had
applied in April 1995, when opposition deputies on a hunger strike were
thrown out of the parliament building and beaten up by masked guards. --
Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA TO DOUBLE DEFENSE EXPENDITURES. The Defense Council, made up
of the president, parliament chairman, prime minister, foreign and
defense ministers, decided on 10 September that Lithuania's defense
expenditures in 1997 should increase to about one percent of gross
domestic product (GDP), Radio Lithuania reported. This year the budget
provided expenditures of 0.56% of GDP or about 200 million litai ($50
million). Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius said that the increased
military spending was linked to Lithuania's effort to seek NATO
membership. He noted that attention was already given this year to the
purchase of needed military hardware as shown by the government
guaranteeing the credit for the purchase of anti-tank armaments. --
Saulius Girnius

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ON CZECH-GERMAN RELATIONS. Helmut Kohl told the German
parliament on 11 September that the Czech-German declaration should be
signed by the end of this year, Czech and German media reported. The
declaration, to be adopted by the parliaments of both countries, will
address some unresolved historical issues and hopefully help improve
bilateral relations. Kohl has rarely commented on the declaration in the
past. He admitted that the negotiations on the declaration have been
more difficult than anticipated and that "the common past still stirs
too many emotions." He noted that it was "Germans who attacked
Czechoslovakia and Hitler's policies that caused injustice." Kohl
suggested that Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec address the German
parliament. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT REJECTS "DEMOCRATIZATION" PROPOSALS. Slovakia's
opposition failed in its efforts to add most of its "democratization"
proposals to the agenda of the parliament session that began on 11
September, Slovak media reported. In an unusual sign of unity, the
opposition agreed to the moves during round-table discussions two days
earlier (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 September). However, only one of
these proposals made it to the parliament's agenda: the no-confidence
vote in Culture Minister Ivan Hudec, who has been under attack for his
controversial policies on theaters and museums. The deputies also
approved a separate proposal by Christian Democratic Movement Chairman
Jan Carnogursky demanding that Interior Minister Gustav Krajci explain
the spread of child pornography in Slovakia and the police's failure to
stop it. -- Sharon Fisher

PROCEDURAL CONTROVERSIES IN THE SEJM. The Sejm rejected on 11 September
a motion demanding that the 30 August vote on the abortion law be
repeated. The law broadened the conditions under which abortion is legal
(See OMRI Daily Digest, 3 September 1996). Three deputies declared that
their votes had been wrongly recorded by the Sejm's computerized system.
Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych, however, noted that experts determined that the
counting device was not broken during the August vote. The motion to
repeat the August vote was supported by 158 deputies, mostly from the
opposition, but also by 60 from the co-ruling Polish Peasant Party; 234
deputies, coming mostly from the co-ruling Democratic Left Alliance and
the leftist Labor Union, were against and 31 deputies abstained. --
Jakub Karpinski

CHIRAC, LANDSBERGIS IN WARSAW. French President Jacques Chirac told the
Polish parliament on 12 September that France hopes Poland will join the
EU by the year 2000. Chirac also supported Poland's desire to enter NATO
quickly, saying this process should begin next year. "The year 1997
should engage the process, in an irreversible way," he said. Chirac
arrived in Warsaw the previous day accompanied by four ministers for a
three-day visit. Chirac also met his Polish counterpart Aleksander
Kwasniewski and said Poland will be "one of the first or the first to
enter the EU." Leader of the Lithuanian Conservatives and former
parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis held talks with Kwasniewski and
parliament speaker Jozef Zych. Kwasniew-ski said Warsaw will make
efforts that Lithuania would not be left outside the European security
structure. -- Jakub Karpinski

SPANISH ROYAL COUPLE IN HUNGARY. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia
arrived in Hungary on 10 September for a three-day official visit at the
invitation of Hungarian President Arpad Goncz, international media
reported. The highlight of the king's second trip to Hungary was his
address to the parliament the next day, during which he expressed
support for Hungary's European integration. "Hungary is destined to play
an important role in building the new European security structure," Juan
Carlos said. He also expressed appreciation for Hungary's stand on
relations towards the neighboring countries, but warned that eventual
NATO membership should not lead to further splits. -- Sharon Fisher and
Petronella Gaal

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT ON RESTITUTION OF JEWISH PROPERTY. Most Hungarian
parties on 11 September agreed on a proposal to handle the restitution
of Jewish property, Hungarian media reported. The proposal states that
restitution will take place in accordance with paragraph 27 of the Paris
Peace Treaty, which stipulates that the Hungarian government must
compensate all victims of racial, religious, or fascist discrimination
and transfer the compensation to the organizations that represent the
victims. The Constitutional Court ruled that parliament had to settle
the issue by 31 December 1993; however, few efforts were made before
1994, when the government of Gyula Horn established a committee to
negotiate with Jewish organizations. In recent discussions, the parties
agreed to create a foundation whose board of trustees will handle the
property transfers. Foreign Affairs State Secretary Istvan Szent-Ivanyi
said the restitution will be partial and gradual. -- Petronella Gaal

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERB LEADER CONFRONTS SERB UNITY... Republika Srpska's (RS)
acting President and the Serbian Democratic Party's (SDS) candidate for
RS president Biljana Plavsic has again spoken out on the question of a
Greater Serbia. Plavsic, in remarks reported by Nasa Borba on 12
September, observed that there is "no peace without the unity of all
Serb lands." Plavsic also went on record as saying that the RS "has only
that sovereignty which is afforded it by the Dayton peace, and for now
we are happy with that." Nevertheless, she said "there won't always be
this kind of anti-Serb climate in the world," implying that her
commitment to partitioning Bosnia remains solid. -- Stan Markotich

...BUT IS THE SERBIAN PRESIDENT FINESSING THE ISSUE? But there is open
speculation that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is influencing
parties under his control in the Republika Srpska to address, or
specifically to evade, the issue of the Bosnian Serb entity's status. On
12 September Nasa Borba reported that Milosevic recently held a closed-
door meeting with officials from the Socialist Party of the Republika
Srpska (SPRS), including its chairman, Zivko Radisic, who subsequently
dropped his candidacy for the RS presidency. Radisic maintains he was
not forced to withdraw his candidacy, but only that Milosevic asked him
to mute any rhetoric dealing with "the issue of unity with Serbia
because they [Milosevic's governing Socialist Party of Serbia] are under
great international pressure to recognize Bosnia and Herzegovina." The
limelight and the politicking of dealing with the RS's status, noted
Nasa Borba, was the "hot chestnut [Milosevic] tossed into Plavsic's
hands." -- Stan Markotich

OPINION POLLS AHEAD OF BOSNIA'S ELECTIONS. A survey in September of 517
voters in the Bosnian federation conducted by the Sarajevo magazine Dani
and the U.S. Information Agency indicated that 54.8% would vote for the
ruling Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA), 17.2% or the opposition
parties' coalition Joint List, 12.3% for former Prime Minister Haris
Silajdzic's Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1.3% for the Liberal Party,
and 0.1% for the Women's Party, Onasa reported. It also revealed that in
the Bosnian presidential elections 63.2% would vote for incumbent
President Alija Izetbegovic, 23.1% for Silajdzic, and 5.8% for Social-
Democratic Party candidate Sead Avdic. A poll of 1,000 Bosnian Serbs in
the Republika Srpska conducted by the Bijeljina Extra Magazine indicated
that 37.4% would vote for the ruling Serbian Democratic Party (SDS),
16.8% for the opposition coalition Alliance for Peace and Progress
(SMP), and 16.4% for the opposition Democratic Patriotic Bloc (DPB). In
the presidential race, 30.1% would vote for DPB's president Predrag
Radic, and 29.4% for Biljana Plavsic from the SDS, Nasa Borba reported.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

INTER-ENTITY VOTER ROUTES AGREED. Interior ministers of the Bosnian
Federation and the Republika Srpska on 10 September agreed on 19 routes
across the entity line that voters could take to cast ballots in
Bosnia's general elections on 14 September, Onasa reported. Bosnian Serb
Interior Minister Dragan Kijac predicted that about 350,000 people would
cross inter-entity borders that day. People will be able to cross the
borders only in approved vehicles. The three officials in a joint
statement assumed joint responsibility for ensuring maximum police
presence along the agreed routes "to provide for the safety of all
citizens." According to the agreement, voters have to return to their
entities immediately after casting their ballots, and rallies and
demonstrations are forbidden on election day. The mass movement of
people will be closely watched by IFOR forces. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTER TURNOUT 75 PERCENT SO FAR. The OSCE said that
three-quarters of the nearly half million Bosnian refugees registered to
vote abroad have already cast their ballots for Bosnia's elections, AFP
reported on 10 September. The figure of 75% is provisional, because
voting slips are still arriving, and the final tally would be known only
the day after the vote in Bosnia itself. Of 58 countries that accepted
Bosnian refugees, Austria has the highest voter turnout with 86%,
followed by Germany with 83%, and Serbia-Montenegro with 73%. Some
140,000 other Bosnians living abroad have registered to vote in person
on 14 September in Bosnia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

KOSOVAR SHADOW STATE PREMIER ON SCHOOL AGREEMENT WITH SERBS. Bujar
Bukoshi voiced careful optimism about the latest agreement between
Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova and Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic allowing Albanian children to return to school (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 3 September 1996), Illyria reported on 10 September.
He said it would be a "significant moment in our political movement" if
Albanian children returned to school. But Bukoshi also warned against
"uncontrolled euphoria," noting that Belgrade had signed and then broken
agreements before. He predicted Belgrade will put forward "substantial
problems and obstruction" when it comes to implementing the agreement
and noted that the agreement contained many "ambiguities leaving room
for different interpretations." Bukoshi charged that Kosovo's Albanians
gained nothing from the agreement while Milosevic manipulated all the
parties involved to score points both at home and abroad. -- Stefan
Krause

MENINGITIS EPIDEMIC STIRS CONTROVERSY IN BUCHAREST. Bucharest's mayor
Victor Ciorbea on 11 September announced that the start of the new
school year would be delayed from 16 September until 1 October because
of a meningitis epidemic that has swept through Romania since early
August, Radio Bucharest reported. But Romanian Education Minister Liviu
Maior said on the same day that mayors do not have the competence to
interfere in the functioning of the educational system. The controversy
appears to be of political nature, since Ciorbea is a member of the
opposition Democratic Convention of Romania. Meanwhile, the epidemic of
meningitis and meningo-encephalitis continues to spread. According to
the latest data released by the Health Ministry, 414 cases have been
registered until 11 September, of which 50 are children. The epidemic
has resulted in 21 deaths so far. -- Dan Ionescu

CONFERENCE ON MINORITIES ENDS IN BUCHAREST. The third international
meeting of government offices for ethnic minorities questions ended in
Bucharest on 11 September, Radio Bucharest reported. The two-day
conference, sponsored by the Council of Europe (CE) and the Executive
Commission of the European Union, was attended by delegations from 17
former communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe. This year's
seminar, presided over by CE Deputy Secretary-General Peter Leuprecht
and Viorel Hrebenciuc, Coordinator of the Romanian government's Council
for National Minorities, focused on the implementation of the CE
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, as well as on
cooperation among governmental offices dealing with minorities. -- Dan
Ionescu

DNIESTER LEADER REPLIES TO SNEGUR'S MESSAGE. In a letter addressed to
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, the president of the self-declared
Dniester Moldovan Republic, Igor Smirnov, suggested that they resume
talks only after the signing of a memorandum on the normalization of
relations between the two sides, Infotag reported on 11 September.
Smirnov repeated earlier accusations that the present deadlock in
negotiations was caused by Moldova's reluctance to sign the memorandum.
His letter came in reply to a 3 September message from Snegur, urging
the Dniester leadership to resume talks on the region's future legal
status within the Republic of Moldova, as well as regular summit
meetings. Infotag also reported that Moldovan and Dniester experts will
meet in Tiraspol on 16 September to continue drafting the status, after
a break of more than two months. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIA DENIES HOSTING SOVIET NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The Defense Ministry on
11 September dismissed as "pure insinuation" a report in Moscow's
Komsomolskaya Pravda that Soviet nuclear missiles were stationed in
Bulgaria in the 1980s, Bulgarian and international media reported. The
Russian daily cited a former Soviet Army captain's assertion that he
served in a "super-secret base" near the resort of Borovets, 60
kilometers from Sofia, which he claims contained 70 nu-clear warheads.
President Zhelyu Zhelev and Chief of General Staff Tsvetan Totomirov in
a joint statement denied the report and suggested someone might want to
cause friction between Bulgaria and its neighbors Greece and Turkey,
which are named as possible targets in the Russian publication. Former
communist dictator Todor Zhivkov also dismissed the report, while then-
Defense Minister Dobri Dzhu-rov did not comment. Komso-molskaya Pravda
said former Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov confirmed the
existence of the base. -- Maria Koinova and Stefan Krause

UPDATE ON BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS. Agriculture Minister Krastyo
Trendafilov and Trade Minister Atanas Paparizov on 11 September informed
the BSP Executive Bureau about efforts to ensure sufficient grain
supplies, Pari reported. Trendafilov said that currently 130,000 tons of
grain are being imported and a further 680,000 tons were purchased
domestically. He assumed responsibility for ensuring the bread supply of
Sofia and some mountainous regions. He said that other regions should
take care of their problems by themselves, claiming that there are large
amounts of grain in private bakeries and households. He said Bulgaria
wants to import more grain, but needs credits because the government
does not want to strain further the balance of payments. Paparizov
called the grain problem short-term and financial. The grain and bread
shortage that started at the beginning of 1996 has so far caused the
resignations of two agriculture ministers. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Saulius Girnius

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