The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
>OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 197, Part II, 10 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

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Available now -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the Former
Soviet Union -- "1995: Building Democracy." Published by M.E. Sharpe
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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
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CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS CONSIDER BURYING CHORNOBYL REACTOR. Members of the
Ukrainian Parliament's Commission on Nuclear Policy and Safety are
considering a proposal by a Ukrainian company to bury the ruined fourth
reactor at Chornobyl, Ukrainian TV and AFP reported on 9 October. The
legislators are reviewing an offer by the Kryvy Rih-based firm Kolo to
bury the reactor some 450-500 meters underground for $600 million. The
offer would be some 30% cheaper than the only other proposal made thus
far for a more permanent disposal of the highly contaminated reactor. An
international consortium called Alliance has proposed constructing a new
"sarcophagus" over the original, crumbling tomb now covering the reactor
for between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER OUSTED. Crimean legislators voted 74-2 to
dismiss their speaker, Yevhen Supruniuk, claiming he had submitted his
resignation, Ukrainian TV reported on 9 October. Supruniuk, who remains
hospitalized after escaping a recent kidnapping attempt, denied
submitting a resignation and called the vote unethical because he was
not given the opportunity to defend himself in the chamber. Earlier in
the day, a group of deputies visited him to ask him to resign, but he
refused, he said. The lawmakers blamed Supruniuk for a weakening of
Crimean autonomy. In other news, a Crimean justice ministry official
announced he had annulled the registrations of 17 regional parties,
Radio Ukraine reported on 9 October. He said the parties had failed to
re-register with the Ukrainian Justice Ministry as either national
parties or regional branches of national parties. The new Ukrainian
constitution does not recognize regional parties. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

POLISH WAR VETERANS DENIED ENTRY TO UKRAINE. Some 650 Polish World War
II veterans were denied entry visas to Ukraine, ITAR-TASS reported. The
veterans wanted to build a monument to Polish war victims in Volyn
Oblast, which was a part of Poland before the war. Recently, the
veterans erected 31 crosses in the oblast with names of former Polish
towns that are now a part of Ukraine. Local officials had them taken
down. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry justified denying the visas on the
grounds of defending Ukraine's national territorial interests. -- Ustina
Markus

BELARUSIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION URGES BALLOTS BE POSTPONED. Viktar
Hanchar, head of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), said planned
referendum and parliamentary by-elections should be postponed because
democratic conditions for the ballots cannot be guaranteed, Reuters and
NTV reported on 9 October. Belarusian radio reported the CEC found
numerous violations of the electoral law during a check of all districts
in Minsk. In addition, the Finance Ministry has refused to release funds
for holding the ballots on 24 November unless the president decrees
their release. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who wants a referendum
on his version of the constitution to be held on 7 November instead, has
so far refused to sign a decree releasing funds for the parliament's
referendum and by-elections. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
is expected to try and convince the Belarusian parliament and president
to compromise during a planned visit to discuss Belarus's energy debt.
-- Ustina Markus

PERRY REASSURES BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTERS. U.S. Defense Secretary William
Perry assured his Baltic counterparts in a letter dated 3 October that
they are "fully eligible" for NATO membership, Reuters reported on 9
October. Perry claimed that remarks he made in Norway in late September
that the Baltic states would not be among the first new NATO members
because their armed forces did not have sufficient military capability
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 30 September 1996) had been misinterpreted. He
expressed regret that the media focused on the negative aspects of his
comments and not the U.S. pledge to help get the Baltic states' defense
capabilities up to alliance standards. Countering charges of possible
Russian interference in the issue, Perry wrote: "In particular I reject-
-and the U.S. rejects--any idea that the Baltic countries are excluded a
priori or that any non-NATO country has a veto over their aspirations--
whether de jure or de facto." -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH GOVERNMENT APPROVES AUSCHWITZ TOURIST CENTER. The Polish
government approved a 245 million zloty ($88 million) "strategic
development" program for the town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and the nearby
former concentration camp on 8 October, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. The
program will create an international conference, educational, and
seminary center, to be completed by 2007. Questions about buildings
located within a 500-meter radius of the camp, as well as the
modernization of the camp's transportation system, are to be resolved by
2001. The program's second phase will focus on restoring Oswiecim's old
town and constructing the conference center. The program does not
resolve a controversy over the proposed construction of a supermarket
within 500 meters of the camp. -- Ben Slay

CZECH STATE BUDGET PASSES FIRST HURDLE. Four Social Democrats, including
Parliament Budget Committee Chairman Josef Wagner, voted with the
governing coalition on 10 October to approve the government's proposed
state budget on first reading, Czech media reported. Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus thanked Wagner for showing "political responsibility." The
coalition Civic Democratic Alliance described the budget as "anti-
liberal" and "social-democratic," but in the end voted with the rest of
the coalition to support the budget. The budget still has to pass two
more readings. -- Jiri Pehe

NEW COMMERCIAL TV IN SLOVAKIA ON TOP. TV Markiza topped Slovakia's
visual media rankings with 34.1% viewership during the last week of
September, TASR reported on 9 October. A Visio Association survey showed
that Markiza's viewership roughly equaled the combined viewership of the
pro-government state channels STV 1 and STV 2, which had 24.8% and 9.8%
viewership, respectively. TV Markiza started broadcasting on 31 August
and is partly owned by Central European Media Enterprises. The station
reaches 60% of Slovak territory and plans to reach 80% in the future.
Sylvia Volzova, who is responsible for the station's informational
programs, told the French daily Liberation on 9 October: "We are
absolutely independent, and our news will be independent as well." --
Anna Siskova

TWO NEW HUNGARIAN MINISTERS NOMINATED AFTER SCANDAL. Prime Minister
Gyula Horn nominated Judit Csiha as privatization minister and Szabolcs
Fazekas as minister of industry, trade, and tourism on 9 October, to
replace the recently sacked Industry and Trade Minister Tamas Suchman,
Hungarian dailies reported. Csiha is a political state secretary at the
Ministry of Justice and Fazekas, now the country's ambassador to
Germany, had been state secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Horn's nomination follows the parliament's approval on 8 October of a
bill changing the categorization of ministries. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

JEWISH COMPENSATION APPROVED IN HUNGARY. The Hungarian parliament voted
on 8 October to create a public foundation to administer property
confiscated from Hungarian Jews during World War II and to oversee
payments to elderly survivors of the Holocaust, Reuters reported. Jewish
leaders said the way was now cleared for the Jewish community to
negotiate with the government on how much financial support, property,
and other valuables will be given to the Jewish community. The Hungarian
government agreed to establish the public foundation in July after talks
with the World Jewish Congress and other groups, but the act needed
parliamentary approval. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. TROOPS START WITHDRAWING FROM BOSNIA. Some 240 American troops
started the official U.S. withdrawal from Bosnia-Herzegovina on 9
October, the first concrete move to ending the one-year mission of the
NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR), AFP reported. IFOR spokesman Major
Simon Haselock said the withdrawal was "technical" in nature, and that
there would not be a significant withdrawal until after the municipal
elections scheduled for 22-24 November. As these forces withdraw,
additional troops will arrive to oversee the complete pullout of the
American troops. Some 5,000 soldiers are due to arrive in Bosnia over
the next six weeks to join 2,500 soldiers already in place to make up
the new cover forces. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MUSLIM REFUGEES CONTINUE CAMPAIGN TO RETURN HOME. The interior minister
of the Republika Srpska, Dragan Kijac, told 100 Muslims who have
returned to their homes in Jusici, near Zvornik in the "zone of
separation" between the two Bosnian entities, that they now live in the
Republika Srpska and must obey its laws. The reaction of the Muslims was
mixed, AFP reported on 9 October. The Muslims are conducting a slow but
deliberate campaign to go home--as they are entitled to do under the
Dayton agreement--despite the objections of the Serbs and IFOR (see
Pursuing Balkan Peace, 8 October 1996). Bosnian Radio claims that
Bosnian Serb police led by Kijac have staged incidents in the nearby
village of Dugi Do against other Muslim returnees, Oslobodjenje reported
on 10 October. The paper added that over 3,000 refugees have gone back
to their homes in the border region near Doboj and seek the support of
the international community. -- Patrick Moore

BOMBINGS IN MOSTAR. Two explosions occurred in Mostar on 8-9 October,
news agencies reported. The first was at a Franciscan monastery that
offered aid to all three ethnic communities in the city; the second was
at a disused elementary school. Both buildings are just inside the
Croatian side of the Croat-Muslim border. The incidents come shortly
before the EU's police force is due to leave the town in the hands of
local police. -- Patrick Moore

EXHUMATIONS OF WAR VICTIMS IN BOSNIA, CROATIA. International experts
were due to give more than 150 bodies exhumed from a mass grave at
Cerska, eastern Bosnia, to Bosnian authorities on 8 October, AFP
reported. The grave is one of those linked to the massacre of thousands
of Muslims from Srebrenica last year. Meanwhile, 200 bodies have been
unearthed from a mass grave in Ovcara, Croatia, Vecernji List reported
on 8 October. Evidence suggests most of the victims were patients from
the Vukovar hospital, executed in 1991 by rebel Croatian Serbs. Croatian
authorities suspect there could be more graves in the area because 261
hospital patients went missing. In other news, a Bosnian Serb arrested
in Germany in December last year has been charged with genocide for
allegedly killing 25 Muslims in Bosnia in summer 1992, international
agencies reported. According to the UNHCR, some 14,000 persons from
Bosnia-Herzegovina--the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims--are
still classified as missing, news agencies reported on 9 October. --
Daria Sito Sucic

NO ADDITIONAL PARTIES IN BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. The OSCE announced
that only those parties registered for the 14 September general
elections may take part in the local ballot slated for 22-24 November,
Oslobodjenje reported on 10 October. It is still not clear how the OSCE
will deal with the crucial issue of voter registration. The OSCE is
under pressure from the Clinton administration to declare the electoral
process a success, but political manipulation in voter registration--
especially by the Serbs--was so blatant as to force the OSCE to postpone
the local vote. -- Patrick Moore

FORMER BANK GOVERNOR RESIGNS FROM SERBIAN OPPOSITION COALITION.
Dragoslav Avramovic resigned as leader of the Zajedno opposition
coalition due to "aggravated health conditions," Nasa Borba reported on
10 October. The 76-year-old former National Bank governor and World Bank
economist was considered the glue that joined the four parties
comprising Zajedno after seven months of quarreling. His resignation
could be a serious blow to the coalition, which according to a recent
opinion poll by Vreme had overtaken the ruling coalition of Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic in popularity, Reuters reported on 9
November. Nasa Borba speculated that the real reasons for Avramovic's
resignation are threats to obstruct his daily dialysis treatment, and
pressure by Milosevic during a closed-door meeting on 9 October. --
Dukagjin Gorani

BELGRADE TAXI DRIVERS GO ON STRIKE. Taxi drivers went on strike on 9
October demanding tax cuts and cheaper imports of second-hand cars to
help them renew their fleet. Police prevented protesters from entering
the city center. Serbia has an estimated 20,000 registered taxi drivers,
of whom 10,000 work in Belgrade, Reuters reported. Serbian Minister for
Private Enterprise Radoje Djukic called the strikers' demands justified.
The taxi drivers canceled a general strike last month, but the finance
ministry did not deliver on promised tax cuts. -- Fabian Schmidt

CROATIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS SPLIT. Stipe Mesic, president of the
Croatian Independent Democrats, suspended his deputy Josip Manolic from
his post on 9 October for proposing to solve the dispute over Zagreb's
city government by giving the mayorship to the ruling Croatian
Democratic Community in return for 80% of city government posts going to
the opposition, Slobodna Dalmacija reported. Mesic said such statements
were threats to the opposition parties' unity. Manolic had also
supported the normalization of relations between Croatia and the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, which Mesic opposed. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MYSTERIOUS POISONINGS IN MACEDONIA'S ALBANIAN SCHOOLS. Hundreds of
pupils have been hospitalized in the Tetovo area in recent days with
symptoms of poisoning, MILS reported on 9 October. Most of the pupils
were quickly released since examinations did not indicate serious
illness, but some returned still complaining of pains. Classes were
canceled in some schools. Medical teams began examining the water and
other possible sources of poisoning. The ethnic Albanian Party for
Democratic Prosperity claimed the poisonings were deliberate and that
the Interior Ministry had suspects in other similar cases. Nova
Makedonija, meanwhile, put the blame on people who wanted to create
political chaos, noting a similarity to poisonings in Kosovo in March
1990. -- Fabian Schmidt

GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS ENTER 'KEY PHASE' The latest meeting between the
Greek and Macedonian UN ambassadors, Christos Zacharakis and Ivan
Tosevski, on 7 October in New York prompted Nova Makedonija and the
Greek Kathimerini to write on 9 October that talks on Macedonia's name
had entered a "key phase." The news agency MILS reported that Zacharakis
proposed several composite names including the word Macedonia, such as
New Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia--Skopje. Tosevski did not
comment on the report. The daily commented that the most Greece could
get is that Macedonia would be referred to as New Macedonia in the UN, a
second name would be established for internal use, and Greece would
chose a third name for bilateral communication. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIA REJECTS VOTERS' CARDS. Voters in the 3 November elections will
use existing IDs rather than new voters' cards, following an 8 October
vote of the Chamber of Deputies, Romanian media reported. The Senate had
already approved the government proposal. The opposition and foreign
experts had long pressed for the use of voters' cards to diminish the
possibility of fraud. Earlier, the government had approved use of the
cards, but it now claims they cannot be manufactured in time. Meanwhile,
the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania criticized a statement
by Wim van Velzen, the Dutch president of the European Union of
Christian Democrats, who said after a visit that President Ion Iliescu
was trying to rig the ballot and that his "manipulations" are "quite
brazen," Reuters reported. The statement accused van Velzen of blatantly
interfering in the elections and defying "the norms of good manners,
politics, and his own country." -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN POLICE SAY WITNESS SAW LUKANOV'S MURDERER. National
Investigation Service Director Boyko Rashkov announced on 9 October that
police interviewed a witness who clearly saw the face of the man who
killed former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov, RFE/RL reported. Rashkov
said a computer-assisted portrait of the suspect has been completed and
will be published soon. Rashkov said investigators think the man was
alone when he killed Lukanov on 2 October, but did not comment on
whether others are involved directly. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN ETHNIC-TURKISH PARTY SUPPORTS PROTESTS. Ahmed Dogan, chairman
of the Movement for Rights and Freedom, said after a 9 October meeting
with Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB) leader
Krastyo Petkov that he supports civic protests against the government,
Bulgarian media reported. Petkov said protests will continue during most
of the campaign period for the 27 October presidential elections,
including a national protest meeting in Sofia on 15 October organized by
the KNSB and Bulgaria's other main trade union, Podkrepa. On 8 October,
the KNSB called a nationwide one-day strike for 20 November. Plants,
offices, schools, and the state administration will strike for 24 hours,
while medical doctors, pilots and employees of institutions who by law
may not strike will join in "symbolic actions." -- Stefan Krause

KOHL RECEIVES BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. The united opposition's
presidential candidate, Petar Stoyanov, met on 8 October with German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl and other officials in Bonn. Kohl was reportedly
concerned about Bulgaria's mounting crisis and the slowing of economic
reforms. Stoyanov appealed for Germany's support for Bulgaria's speedy
admission into the EU. It was the first time Kohl had received a
Bulgarian politician since his visit to Bulgaria in 1993. -- Maria
Koinova

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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