We are always the same age inside. - Gertrude Stein
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 196, Part II, 9 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 HOSTAGES FROM CHECHNYA ARRIVE IN ODESSA. Odessa Mayor Eduard
Hurvits negotiated the release of 34 Ukrainian citizens held hostage in
Chechnya, Ukrainian radio reported on 9 October. Hurvits flew to Grozny
where he met with a number of rebel Chechen leaders, including acting
President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev. The Ukrainian hostages had been
recruited in Kirovohrad for reconstruction work in Grozny in the summer.
Fifty nine of them were captured in the first half of August. The
Chechen leaders reportedly sympathized with Hurvits and allowed 34
hostages to return with him to Odessa. The plane also brought home the
body of a 19-year old Ukrainian who died in captivity. -- Ustina Markus

WAGE ARREARS IN UKRAINIAN ARMY. Andrii Timofeyev, the deputy chief of
the finance department in the Defense Ministry, said the average
Ukrainian serviceman has not been paid in two months, ITAR-TASS reported
on 8 October. Timofeyev said President Leonid Kuchma's 5 October decree
on paying servicemen's wages and other social benefits was unlikely to
be implemented because there was no money in the state budget to cover
the wage arrears. Kuchma's decree raised servicemen's salaries almost to
the same level as Russian salaries. -- Ustina Markus

CRIMEAN ADVISOR SURVIVES SHOOTING. Anatolii Artiushenko, a Crimean
parliamentary aide and advisor to the regional government, was shot by
two unidentified assailants in an apparent murder attempt, Ukrainian TV
reported on 9 October. Artiushenko has been hospitalized with two bullet
wounds resulting from the incident, which occured outside the Crimean
capital's main post office. Local police are investigating. Crimea has
one of the highest crime rates in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials recently
revealed the murder rate in the region has jumped 44% compared to 1995.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT TO COMPROMISE? Alyaksandr Lukashenka said he was
ready to consider compromising with parliament and would appear in the
legislature at the end of the week with his proposals, ITAR-TASS
reported on 8 October. Lukashenka said that 110 deputies (over half of
the elected legislature) were prepared to reconsider the referendum date
set by parliament, 24 November, and schedule the ballot for 7 November,
as Lukashenka wanted. But the deputies want to add a number of
amendments to Lukashenka's version of a new constitution. Lukashenka
said he was 99% ready to compromise. The same day communist leader
Syarhei Kalyakin said the communists would not participate in any
demonstrations on 19 October because they feared there could be serious
public disturbances. The 5,000 member All Belarusian Congress is
scheduled to meet that day and debate Lukashenka's proposed new
constitution. The opposition has been preparing to stage a massive
protest rally at the same time. -- Ustina Markus

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES FREE-TRADE PACTS. The Seimas on 8 October
unanimously ratified the free trade agreements signed with the European
Free Trade Association in December and with Poland on 27 June, BNS
reported. It also approved an additional question for the referendum
that will be held on 20 October together with parliamentary elections.
The question proposed by the conservatives asks whether state property
still to be privatized should be sold only at public auctions and used
to compensate people for savings lost to inflation and increase
pensions. The Seimas also passed a law regulating state-owned national
radio and television. -- Saulius Girnius

OSCE COMMISSIONER VISITS LATVIA. The OSCE High Commissioner on National
Minorities, Max van der Stoel, met with Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs
and President Guntis Ulmanis on 8 October, BNS reported. He said that
the attitude of resident non-Latvians toward Latvia as an independent
state was improving, but was still disturbed by the fact that 28% of the
permanent residents in Latvia were not citizens. Ulmanis, however, said
that the naturalization process had just begun and that the situation
would improve when more residents will be able to apply for
naturalization. Latvian officials at the Naturalization Administration
noted that less than 1,000 residents were naturalized in 1996, although
33,000 were eligible to apply. -- Saulius Girnius

DEPUTIES CRITICIZE ESTONIAN PRESIDENT'S SPEECH. Twenty one Estonian
lawmakers, mostly from farm parties, issued a statement on 8 October
accusing President Lennart Meri of overstepping his responsibilities by
saying on tv that Estonia was ready to sign a border agreement with
Russia immediately, BNS reported. The deputies asserted that according
to the constitution, the president is not empowered to make statements
in the name of the state and they said his remarks only "fanned discord
on the domestic political scene at a time when we need to stick
together." Progress Party Chairwoman Andra Veidemann, however, called
the statement against the president "political demagoguery." -- Saulius
Girnius

POLISH LEFT AGAINST REPUBLICAN LEAGUE. The left-wing daily Trybuna,
linked to the co-ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), criticized on 7
October the right-wing Republican League for a series of crude attacks
this year against left-wing politicians, including President Aleksander
Kwasniewski, former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy, and Education Minister
Jerzy Wiatr. In January, the league scattered 2,000 leaflets in the Sejm
with a slogan "SLD=KGB," they threw eggs at Wiatr in Krakow in May, and
they protested Kwasniewski's recent visit to Warsaw University,
displaying posters exclaiming, "No entry without a diploma," mocking the
president's recent false claims of having a university degree. Trybuna
said the league's has introduced brutal methods into political life.
Danuta Waniek, the chief of the president's chancellery, said the league
"broke the law many a time" and that the prosecutors should take
appropriate steps against it, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 8 October. --
Jakub Karpinski

A SECOND DRAFT CONSTITUTION IN POLAND? The Polish left-wing parties, the
ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and Polish Peasant Party, and the
Labor Union, a party often in opposition, would like the current
parliament to adopt the constitution, Rzeczpospolita reported on 8
October. Deputy Izabella Sierakowska (SLD) said the constitution is
third on her party's list of priorities, after public insurance and
health service policies. She said deputies from the opposition Freedom
Union remain preoccupied with already resolved questions in the draft,
like the reference to God in the preamble. She said she has opted for a
referendum on two different drafts. Solidarity and the Movement of
Poland's Rebirth, both not represented in the Sejm, would prefer the new
parliament, scheduled to be elected next year, to adopt the
constitution, in the hope that the next legislature will be more
diversified. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH POLITICAL UPDATE. The Czech parliament on 8 October elected the
members of two 12-member investigation committees that are to look into
the recent banking scandals and the privatization of the steel company
PoldiKladno, Czech media reported. The chairmen of the two committees
are to be elected on 9 October. The parliament also began discussing the
state budget. The caucus of the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD)
appears to be split over whether to support the budget in the first
reading. While some CSSD deputies have indicated they will vote against
the budget, the chairman of the parliament's budget committee, the
CSSD's Josef Wagner, urged his party to approve the budget. Wagner
criticized the budget, but argued that the CSSD has to have the
stability of the country in mind. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ON RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. In an 8 October
interview with the Russian daily Trud, Vladimir Meciar stressed that "in
foreign policy we aim for balance in relations with the East and the
West," TASR reported. "Slovakia is well aware of its geopolitical
value," Meciar said, adding that although his country favors full
integration into Europe, "[this] does not mean that we will
unconditionally agree with the West on everything." He called Slovak-
Russian relations "good and without problems," but noted Slovakia's
trade deficit with Russia. After the Czech Republic, Russia ranks second
in terms of imports to Slovakia; however, it is seventh in terms of
Slovakia's export markets. Also on 8 October, the Russian Embassy in
Slovakia handed over copies of historic documents on the 1944 Slovak
National Uprising. The originals, held by the Russian Presidential
Archives, were unavailable to historians until now. -- Sharon Fisher

BOMB THREAT AT SLOVAK OPPOSITION DAILY. Production of Sme had to be
interrupted for more than one hour on 8 October after an anonymous
caller twice announced that a bomb lodged in the editor's office would
explode, the daily reported the next day. Police and experts searched
the building and later allowed the staff to continue production.
Meanwhile, the paper promised to step up security measures. Anonymous
bomb threats are not a new phenomenon in Slovakia, but it is rarely
possible to determine the culprit. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARY'S PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL CONTINUES. According to the daily
Nepszabadsag, such unjustified payments as the record-high consultant
fee that recently erupted a major privatization scandal are not unique
in Hungarian privatization practices. The paper reveals that the
management of the privatization agency (APV) on 25 September approved a
draft contract with the company Dunaferr on assets management,
establishing that APV will pay a 1 billion forint ($6.3 million)
"incentive fee" to Dunaferr for an equity increase between 1997 and
2001. Dunaferr's management seeks to increase the company's capital by
about 8 billion forints during this period, but observers say the 1
billion forint fee is disproportionate to the equity rise. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

PARLIAMENT SETS DATE FOR HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN BASIC TREATY RATIFICATION.
The Hungarian parliament is expected to begin debate on ratifying the
Hungarian-Romanian basic treaty on 28 October, Magyar Hirlap reported on
9 October. The treaty, signed by Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn and
his Romanian counterpart Nicolae Vacaroiu in Timisoara on 16 September,
has been ratified by the two houses of the Romanian legislature. The
Hungarian parliamentary vote is likely to take place before the Romanian
parliamentary and presidential elections, set for 3 November.-- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

EASTERN SLAVONIA UNDER CROATIAN ADMINISTRATION IN EARLY SPRING. Jacques
Klein, the UN transitional administrator for eastern Slavonia, the last
Serb-held area in Croatia, said on 8 October he hoped the disputed area
would return under the Croatian authority administration in spring next
year at the latest, Hina reported. "Our aim is next spring and then
terminate the mandate by early summer," Klein said after a meeting with
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, adding he always considered the six-
month extension of the UNTAES mandate as reasonable. Croatian Deputy
Prime Minister Ivica Kostovic said the Croatian government would
cooperate with UNTAES and fulfill its financial obligations until the
spring, while expecting the UN forces to enable the repatriation of
displaced persons to the villages included in the return pilot-project.
Klein said he wished elections in eastern Slavonia to "take place as
soon as possible" on the basis of pre-war lists of registered voters. --
Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERB LEADER READY TO COOPERATE? The Serbian member of the
Bosnian presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, said he is ready to take part in
joint institutions with the Muslims and the Croats, Nasa Borba reported
on 9 October. He added that he is willing to sign a declaration of
loyalty to the Bosnian Constitution and recommend to the Bosnian Serbs
elected to the joint legislature that they do the same. Krajisnik
maintained that he did not attend the opening session of the presidency
and legislature in Sarajevo purely out of concern for the Serbs' safety
and not for political reasons, a point that many observers would dispute
(see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 8 October 1996). He called for a new
ceremony to be held in the Republika Srpska and he added that it is now
up to the international community's High Representative, Carl Bildt, to
make the next move. Oslobodjenje pointed out that Serbian participation
will be necessary for the legislature to function legally. -- Patrick
Moore

BOSNIAN SERB UPDATE. The government of the Republika Srpska (RS) met in
Pale and called for special relations with the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, Serbia, and Montenegro, as is allowed by the Dayton
agreement. The government also wants to close the refugee centers in
Zvornik, Bratunac, and Visegrad, Nasa Borba reported on 9 October.
Meanwhile in Mostar, a delegation of ethnic Serb refugees arrived from
Belgrade to discuss plans for their permanent return to their hometown.
On Mt. Jahorina, the opening session of the new Academy of Sciences of
the Republika Srpska is slated for 11 October. There will be a four-
person Executive Committee and Presidency, which will include the
historian and nationalist ideologue, Milorad Ekmecic. Meanwhile, near
the "zone of separation" between the two entities, RS police will patrol
jointly with their UN counterparts in three villages near Zvornik.
Muslim refugees have begun returning to their homes in the area as they
are allowed to do under the Dayton agreement, much to the consternation
of IFOR and the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore

FIRST TRAINING CENTER FOR MUSLIM-CROAT ARMY OPENS. Military Professional
Resources Inc., a company run by retired U.S. Army generals, opened the
first military training center on 7 October for the joint Muslim-Croat
Army in Pazaric, south of Sarajevo, Oslobodjenje reported. The opening
ceremony was attended by Defense Minister Vladimir Soljic, a Bosnian
Croat, and his Muslim deputy Hasan Cengic. Gen. Rasim Delic, who will
command the joint forces, said: "From this moment, I am not a general
without an army," while his Croat deputy, Gen.-Col. Zivko Budimir said
the center might well become the future Bosnian Military Academy. The
$400 million U.S.- sponsored program is aimed at establishing a balance
between the federal army and Bosnian Serb forces. It also intends to
help merge Muslims and Croats into a united force under civilian
control. -- Daria Sito Sucic

THE "OTHER SERBIA" ADDRESSES EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. Leaders of the
opposition Zajedno coalition parties addressed the European Parliament
on 8 October, Nasa Borba reported. Vuk Draskovic from the Serbian
Renewal Movement, Zoran Djindjic from the Democratic Party and Vesna
Pesic from the Citizen's Union, presented their platform to European
legislators. They said their coalition represented a democratic and pro-
European Serbia and pointed out it was the first time that
representatives of the "other Serbia" were invited to Brussels. They
stressed that only establishing democratic institutions and a state
based on the rule of law can bring about peaceful solutions to pending
problems in the region, such as the Kosovo dispute. -- Fabian Schmidt

POLL SHOWS SNEGUR AHEAD IN PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST. A public opinion poll
conducted by the Moldova Moderna Research Center jointly with the
Russian-German Sinus Institute of Sociological Research shows incumbent
President Mircea Snegur is backed by 34.3% of the voters. Presidential
elections are scheduled for 17 November. According to BASA-press, second
after Snegur is parliamentary Chairman Petru Lucinschi with 22%. Prime
Minister Andrei Sangheli is backed by only 6.9%. The other candidates
registered even less support than Sangheli. -- Michael Shafir

UPDATE ON BULGARIAN "CREDIT MILLIONAIRES." The government's intention to
publish a list of "credit millionaires"--people who took big bank loans
and did not repay them--before the 27 October presidential elections
continues to stir political controversy. Standart on 9 October reported
that the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is preparing amendments
to the banking law after Bulgarian National Bank officials said the
publication would contravene present legislation. Some bankers have
objected to the publication, saying it could result in "an action to
settle political and business accounts," Trud reported. Union of
Democratic Forces caucus leader Yordan Sokolov said that if such a list
already exists, it indeed violates current legislation. BSP faction
leader Krasimir Premyanov said he had not seen the list, but was sure
that no BSP deputies were on the list, since "BSP party and [faction]
statutes bar [them] from...such activities." -- Stefan Krause

MACEDONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS BELGRADE. Blagoje Handziski met with
his federal Yugoslav counterpart, Pavle Bulatovic, in Nis on 8 October,
Nasa Borba reported. The defense ministers were accompanied by high-
ranking military delegations. Both sides agreed to quickly resolve open
border disputes and to open mutual military representation offices in
the respective capitals as a first step towards deepening military
cooperation. They also agreed on the exchange of documents concerning
the pensions of Yugoslav Peoples Army officers. MILS, however, indicated
that the sides also discussed a Macedonian request for federal Yugoslav
military equipment, which Belgrade is obliged to destroy following the
Dayton agreement. Serbian capacities for arms destruction are limited to
one factory in Smederevo and observers doubt that Belgrade will be able
to fulfill its obligations, BETA reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN RIGHT FORMS COALITION BEFORE ZOGU'S 101 BIRTHDAY. The National
Front party and the Legality movement, celebrated King Ahmet Zogu's
101st birthday on 7 October by forming a coalition for the upcoming
local elections, Koha Jone reported. During a rally in Shkoder, the head
of a former landowners association denounced Albanian President Sali
Berisha as a "communist," while the head of the local Association of the
Politically Persecuted charged the Democrats with planning election
fraud. In other news, the Center Pole coalition sent a protest letter to
the German embassy condemning the participation of German Christian
Democratic party officials in the election campaign in support of the
Democratic Party as a violation of the electoral law. Dita Informacion
on 10 October pointed out that this could be punishable by up to three
years in prison. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Chrystyna Lapychak

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