|It matters if you don't just give up. - Stephen Hawking|
No. 195, Part II, 8 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 UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS ELECT JUSTICES, NEW DEPUTY SPEAKER. The Ukrainian legislature has elected four of the six justices it is authorized to select on the country's 18-member Constitutional Court, Ukrainian TV reported on 7 October. They are: Mykhaylo Kostytsky, Oleksander Myronenko, Vitalii Rozenko and Stanislav Yatsenko, Holos Ukrainy reported on 4 October. Deputies must still choose two more justices and approve a bill on the Constitutional Court. The president and a congress of judges have already appointed the other 12 members. Legislators also elected Viktor Musiaka, a member of the Reforms caucus, as deputy parliamentary speaker. Musiaka resigned as President Leonid Kuchma's representative in the legislature when Kuchma called a controversial referendum on the constitution, which was canceled when the parliament adopted the new basic law in June. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN SPAIN. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma arrived in Madrid on 7 October for an official visit, Ukrainian and Western agencies reported. Kuchma met with King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Mario Aznar. The purpose of the visit was to develop ties between Ukraine and Spain, especially in the area of economics, and to win Spain's support for Ukraine's entry into European structures. Kuchma was accompanied by his wife, Liudmyla, Foreign Minister Henadii Udovenko, and Defense Minister Oleksander Kuzmuk. A series of documents were signed, including an agreement on friendship and cooperation. Other accords concern relations in economy and industry, air links, social protection of citizens, military cooperation, and cultural and educational exchanges. -- Ustina Markus UKRAINIAN INFLATION FALLS IN SEPTEMBER. Consumer prices in Ukraine increased by 2% in September, Ukrainian Radio reported on 7 October. This rate, which contrasts with the 5.7% inflation rate recorded in August, means that consumer prices have increased by 34.8% since the beginning of the year. It is also consistent with the government's agreement with the IMF. September's low inflation suggests that the impact of the temporary monetary instability that followed the introduction of the hryvnya as Ukraine's national currency was minimal. In the wake of the currency reform, government officials had predicted 8-10% inflation for September. All this should help Ukraine maintain monthly disbursements from the IMF's $867 million standby credit, as well as improve prospects for negotiating a $1.5 billion stabilization fund. Wage and payments arrears continue to choke Ukraine's financial system, however. -- Ben Slay BELARUSIAN OPINION POLL ON CONSTITUTION. According to a poll of 1,500 people conducted by the Center for Sociological Research at the Belarusian State Institute for Information, 59% said the people should adopt a constitution by referendum; 23% said a constitution should be adopted by parliament; 10% said it should be done by an all-Belarusian assembly; and 5% said the president should pass a constitution through decree, Belapan reported on 7 October. Only 30% of those polled said they were familiar with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's draft constitution; 47% said they heard something about it on TV or radio; 22% said they were not familiar with it at all. Nonetheless, 66% said they would vote in the referendum; only 7% said they would definitely not vote; and the rest were undecided. ITAR-TASS reported that Communist leader Syarhei Kalyakin said the communists would call upon the people to vote against Lukashenka's constitution, which would liquidate the "power of the soviets." -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN MURMANSK. Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir said he hoped trade between Belarus and Murmansk would triple over the next 18 months, Radio Mayak and ITAR-TASS reported on 5 October. Chyhir was in Murmansk to establish direct ties between Belarus and the Russian region. Minsk was especially interested in getting phosphorous and fish in exchange for bartered Belarusian goods. Chyhir was also scheduled to meet with the local administration and discuss human rights. The issue is of interest to Belarus because every tenth inhabitant in Murmansk is of Belarusian descent. -- Ustina Markus ESTONIAN COURT RULES EXPULSION OF RUSSIAN ACTIVIST UNLAWFUL. The Tallinn district court ruled on 7 October that the expulsion in March 1995 of Petr Rozhok, the former representative in Estonia of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party, was unlawful because of procedural errors, BNS reported. The decision overturned a ruling by the Tallinn administrative court in February that the expulsion was legal. The court ruled that the Citizenship and Migration Department that had executed the expulsion did not give the district court a proper deportation order. Rozhok was represented by well-known Russian lawyer Boris Kuznetsov. Rozhok, who is a Russian citizen, said that he intends to return to his family in Tallinn. Estonian authorities have three months to appeal the decision to the state court. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIA, SLOVENIA SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT. Lithuanian and Slovenian Foreign Ministers Povilas Gylys and Davorin Kracun signed a free trade agreement in Vilnius on 4 October, Radio Lithuania reported. The agreement goes into effect on 1 January. Kracun said he hoped Lithuania could become a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement at the end of next year when Slovenia will chair the organization. Kracun noted that the current volume of trade between the two countries of $3-4 million per year was likely to increase by at least 50% in 1997. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH-UKRAINIAN POLICE AND MILITARY COOPERATION. The Polish and Ukrainian internal affairs ministers, Zbigniew Siemiatkowski and Yurii Kravchenko, signed an agreement in Kyiv on 4 October providing for an exchange of information between police forces and the creation of joint police detachments, Polish media reported. The aim of the cooperation is to fight international gangs, particularly those smuggling illegal immigrants. The Polish and Ukrainian defense ministers, Stanislaw Dobrzanski and Oleksander Kuzmuk, on the same day visited a joint peacekeeping battalion, which will for the first time take part in Polish troop exercises in southern Poland. Due to financial reasons, Poland is considering reducing its peacekeeping contingent in Bosnia if the IFOR mandate is prolonged after December, Rzeczpospolita reported on 5 October. -- Beata Pasek CZECH COALITION LEADERS DECLARE UNITY. Prime Minister and Civic Democratic Party Chairman Vaclav Klaus, Christian Democratic leader Josef Lux, and Civic Democratic Alliance Chairman Jan Kalvoda met on 7 October to discuss the role of the three parties' minority government in light of growing pressure from the opposition, Czech media reported. Last week Klaus accused the opposition Social Democrats of trying to govern through the parliament and of attempting to reverse the post-1989 developments in the country. The statement issued by the three leaders says that the coalition parties want to complete the transformation process in the country and raise the political culture in the Czech Republic to a level common in developed parliamentary democracies. The coalition is not opposed to the controlling function of the parliament but "rejects pressure [put by the parliament on the government] going beyond the constitutional framework." -- Jiri Pehe SLOVAKS SUPPORT OPPOSITION'S "DEMOCRATIZATION" PROPOSALS. A September opinion poll by the FOCUS agency revealed that 78% of Slovaks favor opposition representation in the National Property Fund (FNM), the agency that controls privatization, Slovak media reported on 8 October. Opposition representation on OKO, the parliamentary commission that oversees the secret service, was supported by 75% of respondents, while 80% favored opposition members on the radio and TV boards, and 74% supported a deputy parliament chairman representing the opposition. Although one leftist opposition deputy was elected to OKO during the June coalition crisis, the FNM, radio, and TV boards consist solely of coalition representatives. Other FOCUS findings released recently show that political party preferences are almost static, with the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia remaining on top with 28% support. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar remains the most trusted politician, followed by President Michal Kovac. -- Sharon Fisher and Anna Siskova HUNGARIAN PREMIER TO LAUNCH PARLIAMENTARY PROBE INTO PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL. After a parliamentary debate on the recent privatization scandal, Gyula Horn has pledged a full investigation into the activities of the privatization agency's top-level management, Hungarian dailies reported on 8 October. Deputies agreed to set up a parliamentary commission to investigate further details of the case. Meanwhile, the press speculated on Tamas Suchman's successor as industry and trade minister. According to Nepszabadsag, Imre Karl, the commissioner in charge of examining energy costs ahead of next year's energy price increase, Socialist economist Laszlo Puch, and Ikarus and Videoton President Gabor Szeles are being considered. To calm international fears of uncertainty regarding future privatization deals, Horn stressed that "privatization policy will not change, all concluded contracts are valid and the government will honor the commitments specified therein." -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE U.S. "FURIOUS" WITH BOSNIAN SERBS; THREATENS SANCTIONS. State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns said on 7 October that the U.S. was "furious" with the Bosnian Serb member of the newly-elected presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, who ignored the inauguration of the Bosnian assembly, international agencies reported. Krajisnik decided to skip the ceremony rather than take the oath of office and loyalty pledge to Bosnia- Herzegovina. Burns said U.S. diplomats delivered a "very stiff" note to Krajisnik on 6 October, asking him to demonstrate the Bosnian Serbs' commitment to the peace process in the following days. Otherwise, Burns said, the U.S. will bring the issue of sanctions up on the UN Security Council, which only last week lifted the sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The UN Security Council pledged to monitor compliance with the peace process. -- Daria Sito Sucic BOSNIAN UPDATE. OSCE election supervisor Robert Frowick held a closed- door meeting on 7 October with Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic in Banja Luka. Nasa Borba wrote on 8 October that they most likely discussed the upcoming local elections. In Sarajevo, Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic said that the Muslims and Croats should simply ignore the Serbian boycott of joint institutions. In the Muslim village of Jusici on Bosnian Serb territory, 60 Muslim refugees have again returned to the village after their papers were processed by the UNHCR. They had earlier returned to their destroyed homes, much to the consternation of IFOR, which feared a clash between the Muslims and the Serbs. They agreed to leave after a face-saving formula was found whereby the Muslims left for three days but began to return again on 6 October (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 1 October 1996). -- Patrick Moore ZAGREB FREES SERB POWs UNDER NEW AMNESTY LAW. Croatia, acting on a new general amnesty law, has released 41 Serbs detained for rebelling against the state the preceding weekend, Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 8 October. Some 18 other Serbs charged with war crimes remained in custody of the Split district court. Most of those released went to Serbia, while a few opted to stay in Croatia, according to the state-run agency Hina. Additionally, 15 Serbs charged and imprisoned for espionage against Croatia were released from Zagreb's custody on 7 October, Novi List reported the next day. Lawyers for the imprisoned announced that they were filing charges seeking compensation for those kept in custody for one year. The amnesty law pardons all Croatian Serbs who took part in the uprising after Croatia's declaration of independence in 1991, except those charged with war crimes. -- Daria Sito Sucic SERBS ARREST THIRD SUSPECTED KOSOVAR TERRORIST. Serbian police officers on 7 October arrested a third suspected terrorist, Reuters reported. The police claim that Idriz Haljiti participated in two bomb attacks on a police station and one on a refugee camp in Vucitrn. Police continued to search for other members of a group, believed to be the ominous Kosovo Liberation Army. Two other suspected terrorists were arrested last week. Meanwhile, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic refused to receive UN human rights envoy Elizabeth Rehn, Nasa Borba reported on 8 October. During a meeting with Rehn, the minister without portfolio in charge of minority rights, Margit Savovic, expressed "astonishment and concern" about statements Rehn made in Kosovo, when she discussed with Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova the option of making Kosovo an "international protectorate." She is scheduled to visit eastern Slavonia on 8 October. -- Fabian Schmidt ROMANIAN ELECTORAL UPDATE. In an appeal carried by Radio Bucharest on 7 October, Emil Constantinescu, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), called on opposition parties to set up "a large political alliance for the defense of democracy and free elections." He accused the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) and President Ion Iliescu of heading an "oligarchy of the enriched" ready to defend its interests by any means, including the undermining of democratic institutions and the constitution and attempting to intimidate the media. The appeal was welcomed by the Social Democratic Union and by the National Liberal Alliance and was attacked by the PDSR, which claimed that "civic liberties and the freedom of elections are not endangered by anyone, with the possible exception of the CDR." -- Michael Shafir ROMANIAN-LANGUAGE SCHOOL IN DNIESTER SUSPENDS STRIKE. The committee formed by teachers and parents at the Grigoriopol school in the breakaway Dniester region decided to suspend its strike and resume negotiations with local authorities, Infotag reported on 7 October. Lessons will, however, be taught using the Cyrillic script, as demanded by the authorities. This concession was agreed to in order to secure the release of three teachers detained as "strike instigators." The committee agreed to prepare all necessary documents for registering the school as a non state-run, alternative educational establishment, where Latin script may be used, and to search for an alternative location for the school. Meanwhile, the Moldovan Education Ministry accused the Tiraspol authorities of violating children's and parents' rights under UN conventions. Another strike continues in the town of Slobozia, where local authorities refuse to allow the use of the Latin script "under any circumstance" and say that unless "disobedient" teachers allow the children to attend local Russian-language schools, they will be fired. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT COMPILES LIST OF BANK DEBTORS. The Interior Ministry has begun gathering information on all big bank debtors, Standart and Kontinent reported on 7 October. Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Deputy Gincho Pavlov said the "credit millionaires'" list will be published on the eve of the 27 October presidential elections and will include names of parliamentary deputies who were not known publicly as "credit millionaires." Bulgarian Business Bloc Leader Georges Ganchev said two of them are members of his party and that BSP faction leader Krasimir Premyanov had promised them a respite if they "vote for [the BSP presidential candidate, Culture Minister Ivan] Marazov." However, Premyanov said the big bank debtors are trying to destabilize the country, accused them indirectly of being behind former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov's murder, and declared that the BSP will stop the chaos in Bulgaria. -- Maria Koinova BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ON FOREIGN POLICY. Petar Stoyanov, presidential candidate of the United Democratic Forces, laid out his foreign policy concept in a lecture at Sofia's Atlantic Club on 7 October, Bulgarian media reported. Stoyanov said Bulgaria must join NATO, noting that a refusal to join would result in isolation not only from the West but also from the Visegrad countries and Bulgaria's neighbors. Stoyanov also noted his intention to work for good relations with Russia but said that the present government's foreign policy led to an estrangement from Europe and the U.S. without bringing Bulgaria closer to Russia. On the Balkans, Stoyanov said Bulgaria must have a "completely balanced" policy. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, in a meeting with Marazov and his running mate, Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova, accused the opposition of being irresponsible and said Stoyanov is working toward a "total confrontation of society." -- Stefan Krause UPDATE ON BULGARIAN RELATIONS WITH IMF, WORLD BANK. Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Rumen Gechev noted on 7 October that the IMF Executive Board would consider releasing a $116 million standby tranche on 20 November, Bulgarian media reported. He observed that the delay in the release of the money, which was to be available in September, was because the IMF was waiting for completion of the first large cash privatization deal, the first voucher auction under mass privatization, and court proceedings for 64 pending bankruptcies. Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov observed that only two weeks remain for the government to close those enterprises and the national bank to resolve the fate of nine banks put under supervision on 23 September in order to receive the money. Gechev also noted that a way must be found to provide credits for grain sowing before the end of October to avoid disastrous consequences this winter. -- Michael Wyzan ALBANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY LEADER REFUSES TO TESTIFY AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT. The trial against communist-era President Ramiz Alia is expected to end within ten days, Dita Informacion reported on 6 October. Imprisoned Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano refused to testify against Alia, who in the previous trial against Nano took complete responsibility for his prime minister's actions. Alia is charged with crimes against humanity but the trial is likely to focus on the killing by police of protesters in Shkoder on 2 April 1991. -- Dukagjin Gorani STOLEN CULTURAL ARTIFACTS FOUND IN ALBANIA. Police on 7 October found a priceless 13th century canvas, known as the Gllavenica epitaph, and a revolver belonging to late communist dictator Enver Hoxha, Reuters reported. A pen and ink-well belonging to Albanian renaissance poet Ando Zako Cajupi, and four religious paintings were also found while searching the house of suspect Aleksander Sota. The articles were stolen from the Albanian National Museum two years ago. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Pete Baumgartner ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING 1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU 2) To subscribe, write: SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name) To unsubscribe, write: UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L 3) Send the message BACK ISSUES Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail. 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