What you can become, you are already. - Friedrich Hebbel
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 193, Part II, 4 October 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

RUSSIA GOES AHEAD WITH TAX ON UKRAINIAN IMPORTS. Russia has implemented
the long-discussed 20 percent VAT on Ukrainian imports, ITAR-TASS
reported on 1 October. Checkpoints are to be set up on the main roads
used to transport Ukrainian imports to Russia. Ukrainian parliamentary
speaker Oleksandr Moroz said the VAT was still not a closed issue. One
complication is that Belarus, which has a customs union with Russia, has
refused to impose the VAT on Ukrainian goods, leaving open the
possibility that Ukrainian exporters will reroute their exports through
Belarus. -- Ustina Markus

PARLIAMENT DELAYS FORMATION OF UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. A
congress of judges elected six more justices to the new Constitutional
Court, but Ukrainian lawmakers failed to select the final six,
postponing their decision for another week, Vseukrainskie vedomosti and
Ukrainian TV reported on 2-3 October. The congress appointed Volodymyr
Vozniuk, head of the state's screening commission for judges; Supreme
Court justices Lyudmyla Malynnikova, Vasyl Nimchenko, Mykola Savenko,
and Viktor Skomorokha; and Donetsk Oblast Chief Justice Lyudmyla Chubar
to the 18-member court. The president made his six appointments earlier
in the week. Presidential Chief of Staff Dmytro Tabachnyk accused the
legislature of deliberately stalling its appointments because the court
would put a stop to its habit of taking unconstitutional decisions. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

DISPUTES OVER BELARUSIAN REFERENDUM CONTINUE. Viktar Hanchar, head of
the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), asked the prosecutor general to
look into the legality of Finance Minister Paval Dik's refusal to
release funds for the 24 November parliamentary by-elections and
referendum, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 October. Hanchar said the CEC asked
Dik three times to release the funds and the prosecutor general also
appealed to Dik. Dik has not released funds because President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka issued a decree forbidding the use of state funds to finance
the referendum. Lukashenka is financing his referendum from a special
account that the CEC cannot access. In other news, Belapan reported that
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma had sent a letter to Lukashenka saying
that democracy could only be built in Belarus through consensus between
all political forces in the country. Last week Russian President Boris
Yeltsin made a similar call for political compromise in Belarus. --
Ustina Markus

FEWER PEOPLE THAN EXPECTED APPLY FOR ESTONIA'S ALIEN PASSPORT. The
Estonian Citizenship and Migration Department has received 112,443
applications for alien passports, BNS reported on 3 October. Koidu
Mesilane, head of the department's Citizenship Division, said a little
more than 177,000 applications had been expected. She suggested the main
reason for the shortfall is an increase in the number of Estonian
residents opting for Russian passports over Estonia's special passports
for aliens. Russian deputies in the parliament, however, released a
statement accusing the government of pressuring Russians in Estonia to
obtain Russian citizenship. -- Saulius Girnius

BALTIC FREE TRADE TREATY ON FARM GOODS RATIFIED. The Latvian Saeima
voted 55 to 11 on 3 October to ratify the agreement on free trade in
agricultural products in the Baltic states that was signed by the
countries' prime ministers on 16 June in Vilnius, BNS reported. The
parliaments of Lithuania and Estonia had ratified the treaty earlier and
the passage by the Latvian legislature brings it into force. The treaty
abolishes import and export duties and quotas on farm and fish products,
as long as their Baltic origin is documented. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH POETESS RECEIVES NOBEL PRIZE. The 1996 Nobel prize in literature
was awarded to Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, born in 1923 in Bnin,
Western Poland. Since 1931, she has been living in Krakow. She published
her first poem in 1945 and her first collection of poems in 1952. Since
1953 she has been a member of the editorial board of the Krakow literary
weekly Zycie Literackie (Literary Life). In the early 1950s her poetry
touched political subjects; since then, it has become more private,
philosophical, and ironic. Among her collections of poems are Wolanie do
yeti (Call to Yeti, 1957); Sol (Salt, 1962); Wszelki wypadek (Any Case,
1972); Wielka liczba (Great Number, 1976); and Koniec i poczatek (End
and Beginning, 1993); Her poetry has been translated into 36 languages.
Szymborska is the fourth Polish Nobel prize laureate in literature after
novelists Henryk Sienkiewicz (1905) and Wladyslaw Reymont (1924) and
poet Czeslaw Milosz (1980). -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH SENATE REJECTS LIBERALIZATION OF ABORTION LAW. The Polish Senate
on 3 October rejected amendments liberalizing Poland's law against
abortion, Polish media reported. The amendments, adopted by the Sejm on
30 August, would allow abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy if the
woman is in a difficult social, family, or financial situation. The
Senate vote, which the Sejm can override with a new vote by a majority
of those present, fell 52-40 against the liberalization, with two
abstentions and one vote ruled not valid. The critical votes came from
the co-ruling Polish Peasant Party (PSL); 32 of the part's 35 senators
voted no. "Today the Polish Peasant Party kept its Catholic, Christian,
and peasant character," PSL Senator Adam Daraz said after the vote. On
the day of the vote, thousands of protesters sang religious songs and
prayed in front of the parliament building. No date was yet set for a
new vote in the Sejm. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PREMIER ATTACKS SOCIAL DEMOCRATS. Vaclav Klaus told journalists on
3 October that the recent policies of the opposition Social Democratic
Party (CSSD) threaten the post-1989 reforms. Klaus complained that the
CSSD has voted jointly with the Communists on several issues, and that
the parliament, chaired by CSSD chairman Milos Zeman, is trying to
control the government. Klaus called on the electorate to vote for his
party in the fall Senate elections and thus break the current political
deadlock. Zeman told journalists that Klaus suffers from paranoia,
pointing out that the CSSD could have formed a majority government with
the Communists and Republicans but rejected "the temptation of power."
He said the parliament has the right to control the government and that
the prime minister should perhaps retire from politics if he finds it
difficult to play by democratic rules. -- Jiri Pehe

U.S. VOICES CONCERN DURING SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER'S VISIT. During a
visit to Washington by recently appointed Slovak Foreign Minister Pavol
Hamzik, U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on 3 October
expressed concern about the Slovak government's weakening commitment to
democracy, AFP reported. "The government of Slovakia continues to assure
us that it is committed to strengthening democracy. We would like to see
that translated into solid action on the ground," Burns said. Hamzik met
this week with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Defense
Secretary William Perry. Also on 3 October, federal Yugoslav Prime
Minister Radoje Kontic began a two-day visit to Slovakia, signing
cooperation agreements in agriculture, culture, and air traffic. After
meeting with his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, Kontic said
Bratislava had promised its "political support." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER HITS BACK AT STRIKING ACTORS. During a Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) rally on 3 October, Vladimir Meciar
joined Culture Minister Ivan Hudec in his attack on Slovak National
Theater employees, Slovak media reported. "We will not allow the
transformation of the National Theater into a workplace of the
opposition against the government. Not for state money," Meciar said.
Hudec said striking actors will not be paid, while Meciar indicated they
will be replaced. "In regional theaters there are also many artists who
have something to say to the audience and are accomplished
personalities. Therefore, I think the National Theater must be opened to
them," Meciar said. The same day, Hudec replaced the Trnava Theater's
director with a HZDS member, Sme reported. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL CONTINUES. The Hungarian press has
identified the man hired by the State Privatization and Holding Company
(APV) and paid a record fee of 300 million forints ($2 million) to
negotiate certain privatization deals (see OMRI Daily Digest, 30
September 1996). Marta Tocsik, who is not a lawyer, was hired to
negotiate deals involving municipal land with local governments,
Hungarian dailies reported on 4 October. Jozsef Torgyan, leader of the
opposition Smallholders Party, alleged that Tocsik's fee was later
transferred to the Socialist Party's election funds. The scandal is
being investigated by the APV's supervisory board and is expected to
result in the firings of top APV officials as well as a drop in the
coalition parties' popularity. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BELGRADE, SARAJEVO ESTABLISH FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. Bosnian
President Alija Izetbegovic and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
agreed in Paris on 3 October that Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia will exchange ambassadors. The two former
Yugoslav countries also promised to institute visa-free travel,
reestablish communications links, and promote mutual economic relations.
They recognized the historic continuity of each other's respective
states, while noting that the issue of legal succession to the former
Yugoslavia will have to be settled in keeping with international norms
and by the agreement of all concerned, Oslobodjenje reported on 4
October. The agreement is peppered with such words as "cooperation" and
"friendship" and appears to be yet another step toward normalizing
relations in the region. Each side made a major concession in the
process: Sarajevo seems to have backed away from pressing Belgrade on
charges of genocide stemming from Serbia's role in the Bosnian war,
while Belgrade agreed to respect the territorial integrity of its
neighbor, thereby implicitly repudiating the idea of a greater Serbia
that would include Bosnian territory. Bosnian Serb President Biljana
Plavsic promptly issued a communique on 4 October blasting Milosevic as
having betrayed the Serbs of Bosnia and Croatia, AFP reported. --
Patrick Moore

CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PROMISES SUPPORT FOR BANJA LUKA CROATS. After
institutions of authority are established in line with the Bosnian
election results, Croatia will open a consulate in Banja Luka, the
Bosnian Serb stronghold in northwestern Bosnia, Mate Granic told Banja
Luka's Roman Catholic Bishop Franjo Komarica on 3 October, according to
Hina. The bishop stressed the difficult position of Croats in the Serb-
controlled town and said Croatia's help was needed. Komarica is the only
Catholic bishop who remained in Banja Luka during the four years of war.
Meanwhile, Bozo Raic, president of the Croatian Democratic Community
(HDZ) in Bosnia, announced the formation of the Bosnian Croat National
Community, "a community of the Croats living in Bosnia," Onasa reported
on 1 October. Raic said the community will not be a substitute for the
self-styled Bosnian Croat para-state of Herceg-Bosna. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

BOSNIAN MINERS GIVE UP STRIKE. Representatives of some 19,000 miners
from all over Bosnia on 3 October rescinded a previous threat to call a
general strike, but underscored their unhappiness with temporary
solutions to their problems, Oslobodjenje reported. On 2 October, the
miners had threatened to strike unless they received their salaries for
August and September, Onasa reported. Federation Prime Minister Izudin
Kapetanovic promised they would be paid for August by 4 October at the
latest, but Sulejman Hrle, head of the Association of Bosnian Trade
Unions, said it was a pitiful disgrace that the miners must rally each
month to demand their salaries. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SWITZERLAND AND FEDERAL YUGOSLAVIA AGREE ON RETURN OF KOSOVAR REFUGEES.
The Swiss government's decision on 2 October to recognize the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia will enable Swiss authorities to expel about
10,000 ethnic Albanian refugees international media reported. The
Belgrade government had refused to allow the Albanians to return, but
has now agreed to start negotiations with Bern over the return later
this month. No date has been set for the return and a UNHCR spokesman
urged the Swiss government to be cautious. Another 15,000 refugees from
federal Yugoslavia have been either granted temporary residence or have
applications pending. In other news, Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor of
the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said on 3
October that she would not protest the UN's lifting of sanctions against
Belgrade, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

SERBIAN ARMS FACTORY WORKERS CALL OFF STRIKE. Workers at the Kragujevac
arms factory decided to return to work on 3 October after a 34-day
strike, Nasa Borba reported. The trade unions representing the workers
said that all demands had been met, including the complete payment of
June, July, and August salaries. The workers will also get extra pay for
1995 and 1996 amounting to 350 dinar ($70). Part of the deal is a 9.74
million dinar ($1.95 million) weapons order by the federal Yugoslav
army. Following demands by the workers, the company's director, Lt. Col.
Vukasin Filipovic; his deputy Dragan Milosavljevic; and the firm's sales
and economic directors have been sacked. Meanwhile, workers at an
electronic plant in Nis went on strike. -- Fabian Schmidt

CROATIAN SUPREME COURT RULES ON WAR-CRIMES SUSPECT'S EXTRADITION. The
Croatian Supreme Court has ruled that Zlatko Aleksovski, a Bosnian Croat
wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for
Former Yugoslavia, should be extradited to The Hague, AFP reported on 3
October, citing Hina reports. Aleksovski, a member of the Bosnian Croat
army, was accused along with four others of slaughtering more than 100
Muslims in the Lasva valley during the Muslim-Croat conflict in 1993.
However, another two suspects charged with leading the slaughter, Ivica
Rajic and Dario Kordic, are reportedly still at liberty in Croatia. --
Daria Sito Sucic

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATIES WITH BUDAPEST, BELGRADE. The
Romanian Chamber of Deputies ratified basic treaties with Hungary and
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 3 October, Romanian media
reported. The chamber adopted the treaty with Hungary by 159 votes to 1.
The main political organization representing Romania's Hungarian
minority, the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR),
abstained, and the ultra-nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity
(PUNR) and extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM) did not participate in
the vote. The treaty with Belgrade passed with only two abstentions. The
Senate had previously ratified both treaties. -- Zsolt Mato

NATO COMMANDER DISCUSSES EXPANSION WITH ILIESCU. U.S. Army Gen. George
Joulwan, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe, discussed
NATO's eastward expansion and Romania's prospects for joining the
organization with Romanian President Ion Iliescu in Bucharest on 3
October, Romanian and international media reported. Joulwan also met
Romania's chief of staff, Gen. Dumitru Cioflina; Defense Minister
Gheorghe Tinca; and other senior military and civilian officials during
his two-day visit to the country. Joulwan stressed the need for closer
military relations between Romania and its neighbors as a prerequisite
for developing regional cooperation. -- Zsolt Mato

NATIONWIDE STRIKE PLANNED IN BULGARIA. The opposition Union of
Democratic Forces (SDS) and trade unions will organize a nationwide
strike against the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov immediately
after the 27 October presidential elections, Standart reported on 4
October. In late September, trade unions demanded Videnov's resignation
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 September 1996). The strike will include
teachers and workers in power plants, mines and transportation. Until
the strike, trade unions plan to organize civil protests around the
country. The SDS promised to support the protests without participating
in their organization. Similar strikes and mass protests led to the
resignation of then-Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov in 1990, paving the
way for the SDS accession to power in 1991. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIA STEPS UP SECURITY AFTER LUKANOV MURDER. The government approved
a proposal by Interior Minister Nikolay Dobrev on 3 October to step up
security in the wake of former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov's murder,
Trud reported. Measures include intensified protection and control of
strategic points and buildings. Main streets, important buildings, and
"vulnerable objects" in towns will receive special attention. The daily
notes, however, that the government had discussed such measures before
Lukanov's murder on 2 October. Novinar reported that on 27 September, an
explosive device was found in Lukanov's car when he visited his hometown
of Pleven. Political scientist Andrey Raychev, a close friend and
political ally of Lukanov's, told Kontinent that Lukanov planned to
disclose proof of corruption in the highest echelons of power by 20
October. -- Stefan Krause

EU LINKS AID TO BULGARIA WITH AGRICULTURAL REFORM. The EU will help
Bulgaria alleviate its ongoing grain crisis if Sofia speeds up
agricultural reforms, EU Representative in Bulgaria Thomas O'Sullivan
said on 3 October, according to international media. He said Bulgaria
could receive supplies for this year through commercial credits
negotiated with individual EU member states, while future shortages
could be compensated for by EU grants linked to progress in agricultural
reforms. Bulgaria had asked the EU for help on 30 September, saying it
needs 450,000 metric tons of grain for bread and 700,000 tons of fodder.
-- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN TRADE UNIONS ANNOUNCE ONE-DAY STRIKE. Trade unions announced a
24-hour strike for 4 October, demanding government compensation for
rising bread and fuel prices, Reuters reported. Independent Trade Union
leader Estref Mersinaj said a one-hour warning strike on 16 September
had failed. The government liberalized prices for bread, gas, and fuel
in July, triggering a 30% rise in prices. About 200,000 public-sector
workers took part in the September protest. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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