I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. - Booker T. Washington
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 199, Part II, 14 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

UKRAINE REACTS TO LEBED'S CLAIMS ON SEVASTOPOL. Ukraine's Foreign
Ministry criticized a recent open letter from Aleksandr Lebed published
by the Black Sea Fleet's Flag rodiny in which the Russian Security
Council secretary claimed Sevastopol had never been officially handed
over to Ukraine and never legally lost its Russian status, Western and
Ukrainian media reported. Lebed said Russia should take a stronger
position on the Black Sea Fleet and over Sevastopol as its base.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko said Kyiv will be guided by
a statement by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergii Krylov, who
refuted Lebed, reassuring Kyiv that Sevastopol is legally a Ukrainian
city and that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had not raised any
territorial claims. Udovenko warned that Lebed's letter could have a
negative effect on negotiations over the division of the Black Sea
Fleet. -- Ustina Markus

CHIEF OF UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT'S STAFF ACCUSED OF ABUSING AUTHORITY. The
Ukrainian parliament's Commission against Corruption and Organized Crime
called on President Leonid Kuchma to fire his chief of staff, claiming
they had found evidence that Dmytro Tabachnyk used his position to
illegally obtain an apartment in central Kyiv, UNIAN reported on 9
October. The commission said Tabachnyk should be prosecuted, evicted,
and barred from holding public office. Commission members admonished
law-enforcement authorities for their poor record in prosecuting corrupt
officials. They said that according to Justice Ministry statistics, only
560 out of 2,650 officials found guilty of abusing power in 1991-1995
were sent to prison and only 12% were barred from holding public office.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEA CHALLENGES DISBANDING OF REGIONAL PARTIES. The Crimean parliament
rejected a recent order by the Ukrainian Justice Ministry canceling the
registration of Crimean regional parties, Ukrainian media reported on 10
October. The parliament adopted a resolution saying the order does not
comply with Ukrainian legislation and expressing a lack of confidence in
the head of the ministry's main directorate in Crimea. Meanwhile, a
group calling itself the Popular Opposition Union of Crimea was set up
on 11 October, UNIAN reported. Its leader, Crimean Communist Party
leader Leonid Hrach, called for early elections in Crimea, claiming
tension there is so great it could lead to "another Chechnya." -- Oleg
Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT RESCINDS COMPROMISE OFFER. Following the Belarusian
parliament's rejection of his favored date for a referendum on a new
constitution, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka withdrew his proposed
compromises to his draft constitution, saying it was no longer possible
to compromise with the legislature, Russian and Belarusian agencies
reported on 11 November. In a secret ballot, a slim majority of 88
deputies opposed changing the date of the referendum to 7 November from
24 November, the date previously set by parliament, while 84 voted in
favor of the change. In a bid for support, Lukashenka claimed Russian
President Boris Yeltsin supported his plans to hold a constitutional
referendum and planned to meet with him on 16 October. Constitutional
Court Chief Justice Valeryi Tsikhinya said Lukashenka's constitution
would "castrate parliament and make the Constitutional Court a puppet."
-- Ustina Markus

BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTERS SIGN AGREEMENTS ON JOINT DEFENSE. Joint
declarations on the development of the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion
after 1 October 1997, setting up a joint naval unit, and creating a
unified system of control over their air space were signed by the three
Baltic defense ministers in Riga on 12 October, BNS reported. Andrus
Oovel (Estonia), Andrejs Krastins (Latvia), and Linas Linkevicius
(Lithuania) also agreed to form a joint task force to bring military
equipment in line with NATO standards. -- Saulius Girnius

FORMER LITHUANIAN PREMIER ARRAIGNED FOR ABUSE OF POWER. Former prime
minister Adolfas Slezevicius has been arraigned on criminal charges of
abuse of power, Senior Prosecutor Algimantas Kliunka said on 10 October.
Slezevicius was charged in connection with receiving almost double the
normal interest for his deposits in the Joint-Stock Innovation Bank,
which he withdrew in December 1995, days before the government suspended
the bank's activities. Kliunka said Slezevicius would not be arrested
since there are no grounds to believe he would hide, evade
investigations, or impede the progress of the trial, BNS reported. --
Saulius Girnius

POLISH UNION OF LABOR PARTY REJECTS EX-COMMUNISTS. The Union of Labor
party (UP) rejected an electoral alliance with the Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) at its congress outside of Warsaw on 12 October,
Rzeczpospolita reported on 14 October. The SLD, a coalition led by the
descendent of the communist party, has been seeking an agreement with
the UP before the 1997 parliamentary elections. In an appeal to the UP
congress, SLD leaders emphasized the two parties' social-democratic
orientation and argued that Poland is threatened by "populist economic
nationalism, fed by rightist rhetoric." The SLD is also seeking to
counter an accord with right-of-center groups apparently being sought by
its junior partner in the governing coalition, the Polish Peasants
Party. -- Ben Slay

CZECH PARLIAMENT BLOCKS CHURCH PROPERTY RESTITUTION. Following two
unsuccessful attempts in the summer, opposition parties in parliament
managed to pass a resolution on 11 October directing the government to
stop returning property to churches until the parliament passes an
appropriate law, Czech media reported. The government had planned to
bypass parliament in returning property nationalized by the communists.
At the end of September, the government decided to return a number of
buildings to churches but left out forests, fearing a clash with the
parliament. After the vote, government officials indicated the
government will not respect the resolution and will go ahead with
returning the buildings. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PREMIER: CZECH-SLOVAK DEBTS SHOULD BE FORGOTTEN. Reacting to
reports that Slovakia has failed to make payments on an 11 billion crown
debt to the Czech Republic, Vladimir Meciar told Slovak radio on 12
October that his government and the Slovak National Bank are not "in a
state of war with anyone." The Slovak prime minister said the reopening
of the debt issue by Czechs is "an effort to make Slovakia responsible
for the Czech Republic's serious economic problems." Meciar said mutual
Czech-Slovak debts originating in the times of the Czechoslovak
federation should be forgotten. "Let's agree that we do not owe each
other anything and let's start with a clean slate," he said. -- Jiri
Pehe

ACCUSATIONS EXCHANGED OVER TRADE-UNION CONFEDERATION. Following the
annual congress of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Slovakia on 12-
13 October, Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar accused the Party of the
Democratic Left (SDL) of politicizing the confederation and pursuing its
political aims through the confederation, Slovak press reported on 14
October. Narodna obroda quoted SDL Deputy Chairwoman Brigita
Schmoegnerova responding: "We have not forgotten the documents of
[Meciar's] Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), which state that
the HZDS will create its own unions if it cannot gain power in the
confederation." The congress elected Ivan Saktor, described by Narodna
obroda as "a pragmatic technocrat," as the confederation's new leader.
-- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL UPDATE. Recently dismissed Industry and
Trade Minister Tamas Suchman, speaking publicly on the subject for the
first time, accepted political responsibility for the privatization
scandal that led to his sacking but denied involvement in the affair,
Hungarian media reported on 11 October. Marta Tocsik, the consultant at
the center of the scandal, failed to attend the hearings for the second
day in a row, pleading illness. On 12 October, press reports revealed
that five other parties -- including a department head at a major
Hungarian bank -- received part of the 804 million forint ($5.2 million)
commission paid to Tocsik by the state privatization agency. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

Southeastern Europe

SERBS CONTINUE BOYCOTT OF JOINT BOSNIAN INSTITUTIONS. The Serbian member
of the Bosnian presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, has again refused to sign
a loyalty oath to Bosnia-Herzegovina, AFP reported on 12 October.
Krajisnik said he objected to any ceremonies taking place in a Sarajevo
building associated with the Croat-Muslim federation and that he would
only sign on Bosnian Serb territory. He also refused to meet German
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel together with the Croatian and Muslim
members of the presidency and met the German guest separately instead.
Krajisnik, who had earlier declined to come to Sarajevo out of alleged
fears for his safety, arrived there on 12 October to talk with Kinkel
and U.S. special envoy John Kornblum. The Serbs have engaged in a post-
election war of nerves since the first and only meeting of the
presidency on 30 September. Krajisnik says he is defending Serbian
interests, Nasa Borba reported on 14 October. -- Patrick Moore

STANDOFF BETWEEN MUSLIMS, BOSNIAN SERB POLICE. Another war of nerves is
continuing, namely that between the Republika Srpska police and the
Muslim refugees who have returned to their homes on Bosnian Serb
territory. The RS authorities released three Muslims who had been jailed
in Zvornik, Dnevni avaz wrote on 14 October. The police in Jusici over
the weekend maintained a tense standoff with Russian IFOR troops -- whom
they had threatened on 11 October -- as well as the villagers. Early in
the morning of 12 October, an explosion destroyed a Muslim home on the
outskirts of the nearby village of Mahala, in an area known as Hajvazi.
The Muslims are asserting their right to go back to their homes in
keeping with the Dayton agreement, much to the consternation of IFOR and
the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore

OSCE MONITOR SAYS BOSNIA NOT READY FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS. Ed van Thijn,
the chief OSCE monitor during Bosnia's September general elections, said
he will not accept the same job in November municipal elections because
Bosnia is not ready for them, AFP reported on 13 October. Van Thijn said
municipal voting should be postponed until spring because voter lists
are not reliable and refugees still would not be able to vote where they
wish to in November. Municipal elections were postponed from September
to November after it was found that Bosnian Serbs were tampering with
voter registration. On 12 October, OSCE spokesman David Foley said
delaying Bosnia's municipal elections would undermine the peace process.
AFP on 11 October quoted Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic
threatening: "If the process of forced and illegal repopulation of the
Republika Srpska continues, conditions for [holding] local elections
will not be reached." -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN NATIONALIST ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. Vojislav Seselj, leader of
the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and an accused war
criminal, has emerged the strongest advocate of Serbian state expansion
ahead of the 3 November federal Yugoslav and Montenegrin republican
elections. On the campaign trail in Montenegro on 13 October, Seselj
called for "the creation of a unified Serb state [and] the liberation of
Serb Krajina, Serb Dubrovnik, Serb Bosnia, and Serb Macedonia," AFP,
citing local press, reported. At a rally in Niksic, Seselj said the
eventual creation of a greater Serbia would depend heavily on Russia's
support, predicting that "Great Russia will lift herself up, she will
thunder across Europe and the world, she will return to the Balkans, and
when she does, day will dawn for the Serbs." Meanwhile, the independent
daily Nasa Borba carried poll results showing the ruling Socialist Party
of Serbia, along with its potential coalition partners the United
Yugoslav Left and New Democracy, with a 23.7% share of voter support to
the Zajedno opposition coalition's 23.9%. According to the 20-26
September poll, 29.7% of voters remain undecided and 14% do not expect
to vote. -- Stan Markotich

ALBANIAN GRAVES DESECRATED IN KOSOVO. About 62 Kosovar Albanian graves
were desecrated on 11-12 October in five mosques in Pec, AFP reported.
Unidentified vandals also reportedly set a fire that destroyed parts of
the Hamam Mosque's interior. In other news, Lenny Fischer, chairman of
the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, said respect for human
rights and a political solution for Kosovo are preconditions for
economic and political cooperation between Belgrade and the EU, BETA
reported on 13 October. -- Dukagjin Gorani

CROATIAN AUTHORITIES CLOSE EAST SLAVONIAN MARKET. Local authorities in
the Osijek-Baranja district ruled on 10 October to close down the market
on the border between Serb-held eastern Slavonia and Croatian-controlled
territory, Vecernji List reported. On 12 October, Croatian authorities
began turning back Croats on their way to the market, claiming it was
for health and hygiene reasons, AFP reported. Jacques Klein, head of the
UN Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES), supported
the market as a place where confidence between Serbs and Croats was
being rebuilt. UNTAES spokesman Douglas Coffman said the market helped
over 45,000 people from both sides to reestablish contacts broken by the
war, and that the UN "deeply deplored" the decision to close it down.
Meanwhile, UN special human-rights reporter Elisabeth Rehn had talks
with Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic on the human-rights situation
in the country, AFP reported. Rehn said Croatia had made "positive
steps." -- Daria Sito Sucic

DIVERGING POLLS ON ROMANIAN ELECTIONS. Emil Constantinescu, candidate of
the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), for the first time placed
first in a poll measuring support for presidential candidates, Romanian
media reported on 12 October. The poll, conducted by the Department of
Statistics of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies on behalf of the
private Antena 1 TV station, puts Constantinescu ahead with 31.6% of the
electorate's backing to Social Democratic Union (USD) candidate Petre
Roman's 28.2% and incumbent President Ion Iliescu's 24.2%. The poll
shows the CDR favored by 39.9% in parliamentary elections, the ruling
Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) by 20.5%, and the USD by
19.6%. However, another poll conducted by IMAS shows Iliescu ahead in
the presidential race with 33%, followed by Constantinescu (27%) and
Roman (24%), and gives the CDR only a narrow lead in parliamentary
voting (30% to the PDSR's 29%, and the USD with 21%). Media reports
suggested the former poll's sampling techniques were questionable. Both
elections are scheduled for 3 November. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIA AND NATO. Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu on 14 October
continued the Romanian campaign to convince NATO states that his country
should be among the first admitted to NATO. Melescanu is traveling for
this purpose to London and Paris, meeting British Foreign Minister
Malkom Rifkind and the French Minister for European Affairs, Michel
Barnier. On 11 October in Brussels, he met NATO General Secretary Javier
Solana, to whom he conveyed a message from President Ion Iliescu, and
also conducted talks with his Belgian counterpart, Erik Derycke. Also on
14 October, a new NATO exercise within the Partnership for Peace Program
is starting at Bucharest's Otopeni airport. Four NATO countries (the
United States, Turkey, Greece, and Italy) as well as the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, and Moldova are participating in the exercise. Hungary,
Slovenia, and Macedonia are sending observers, Radio Bucharest reported.
-- Michael Shafir

SNEGUR ON RELATIONS WITH DNIESTER SEPARATISTS. Moldovan President Mircea
Snegur told the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that separatist
leaders in Tiraspol believe they are backed by Russia as well as by
"some Moldovan leaders," Radio Bucharest reported on 13 October. Snegur
said no compromise can be reached on the breakaway region's status
because the separatists constantly raise new demands and Chisinau would
never recognize the region as enjoying an independent international
status. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS DEBATE NATIONAL SECURITY. The major
candidates for the 27 October presidential elections held their first
debate on state TV and radio on 10 October. Petar Stoyanov of the united
opposition and the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and
Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova, discussed national security
issues. Stoyanov said Bulgaria should join NATO to secure its security
interests. Marazov and Bokova said the parliament or the people should
decide on that question. Standart reported on 12 October that Stoyanov's
appearance met with 28% approval, against 14% for Marazov, while the
BSP's Duma claimed in a headline that "Ivan and Irina razed their
opponent to the ground." -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN TOP OFFICIALS' SALARIES FROZEN. Retroactively from 1 October,
salaries of parliamentary deputies, ministers, National Bank directors,
and other high officials in the budgetary sphere will no longer be
adjusted to compensate for inflation, parliament decided on 11 October.
Bulgarian Socialist Party faction leader Krasimir Premyanov said it is
intolerable that politicians' salaries grow in times of crisis. The
opposition dismissed his proposal as a "cheap populist move" ahead of
the upcoming presidential elections. Freezing deputies' stipends had
been debated since May. The basic deputy stipend is three times the
average salary, or 32,184 leva ($150) at present. -- Maria Koinova

ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE. A Tirana court rejected an appeal by the
Center Pole coalition to reduce the minimum age for election monitors to
18, Albania reported on 12 October. The Center Pole had criticized a
ruling that Albanian monitors had to be at least 25 years old, while for
foreign monitors the minimum age is 22. Meanwhile, an official of the
OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said
that he expects a green light for an ODIHR monitoring mission in few
days, Dita Informacion reported on 13 October. The Albanian opposition
had demanded the participation of the ODIHR, arguing that it had more
expertise than the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Originally only the
assembly was scheduled to send a delegation. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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