To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 200, Part II, 15 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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CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN MINERS' UNION LEADERS SENTENCED FOR JULY STRIKE. Petro Kyt and
Mykhaylo Skrynsky, leaders of the Independent Miners' Union, were
sentenced in Luhansk for organizing an illegal strike in July to protest
unpaid back wages, UNIAN reported on 10 October. The labor leaders were
given prison terms of two and a half and three years, respectively, for
disturbing the public peace and disrupting traffic. Their attorneys plan
to appeal to the Supreme Court. The miners' union has claimed the
charges are part of a government campaign to suppress the independent
labor movement. Another union activist awaiting trial for similar
charges, Mykola Krylov, accused Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko of
purposely withholding wages to provoke miners into striking, in order to
clamp down on the unions and oust his political rival, Donetsk Governor
Volodymyr Shcherban, Ukrainian TV reported on 11 October. -- Chrystyna
Lapychak

UKRAINE HOSTS FEDERAL YUGOSLAV DELEGATION. A parliamentary delegation
from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia paid an official visit to
Ukraine on 14 October, ITAR-TASS reported. Led by parliamentary speaker
Radoman Bozovic, the delegation discussed cooperation and how Ukraine
could help restore Serbia-Montenegro's economy with Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma, parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz, Prime Minister
Pavlo Lazarenko, and Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko. Kuchma told the
UN administrator of eastern Slavonia, Jacques Klein, who was in Kyiv the
same day, that Ukraine had not stood on the sidelines during the Balkan
war and will not do so during peace and reconstruction. Kuchma suggested
that Ukraine could help supply specialists to aid Belgrade in its
economic reconstruction, and said that Ukraine might send more troops to
the UN contingent in eastern Slavonia. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN, RUSSIAN DEPUTIES DISCUSS INTEGRATION. A round-table
discussion between Russian and Belarusian parliamentary deputies in
Moscow on 14 October focused on the issue of Russo-Belarusian
integration, Russian Public Television reported. Because the meeting was
organized by independent research centers from both countries, many
Russian Duma deputies expected it to be an anti-Lukashenka and anti-
integration meeting. However, of those attending -- including deputies
from the Russian Communist and Yabloko factions and all five
parliamentary factions in Belarus -- both sides agreed there was not a
single solidly-backed political force in Belarus that opposed
integration. -- Ustina Markus

LITHUANIAN PREMIER ON SEA-BORDER DISPUTE WITH LATVIA. Mindaugas
Stankevicius said on 14 October that he hopes Latvia's parliament will
not ratify agreements on offshore oil exploration with the U.S. company
Amoco and OPAB of Sweden, and instead draw up new trilateral agreements
with Lithuania and the two companies, Radio Lithuania reported.
Stankevicius said he had made that proposal to his counterpart Andris
Skele in Palanga on 11 October. He called Latvian Foreign Minister
Valdis Birkavs's proposal to take the countries' sea-border dispute to
an international court an attempt to "avoid responsibility." He also
denied Latvian media reports that Lithuania is trying to attract oil
companies from the East, saying Lithuania wants to keep Amoco in the
Baltic Sea. He said Lithuania's ambassador in Washington had already
informed Amoco about the trilateral agreement proposal. -- Saulius
Girnius

ONE VICTORY, ONE DEFEAT FOR POLISH ENVIRONMENTALISTS. Reconstruction of
the largest radio tower in Europe has been definitively halted by a
decision of the Supreme Administrative Court in Lodz, Polish dailies
reported on 12 October. Polish Telecom (the tower's owner) claims that
if the tower is not rebuilt, Polish programming may no longer be
transmitted to Poles living in the former Soviet Union. Polish
environmentalists and local residents claimed the 646-meter-high
structure posed health risks. Environmentalists were less pleased by a
decision to more than double the number of wolves targeted during the
November-February hunting season, from last year's 30 to 72, Reuters
reported on 13 October. Poland's 208 wolves are blamed for killing 500
deer, 80 wild boars, and 230 sheep in mountainous southeastern Poland.
French film star Brigitte Bardot last year called on then President Lech
Walesa to ban the "massacre" of Poland's wolves. -- Ben Slay

PIRATE POETRY EDITION IN POLAND. A collection of Polish Nobel laureate
Wislawa Szymborska's (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 October 1996) poems have
appeared in Warsaw in a pirate edition, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 15
October. The collection, Great Number, was originally published in 1976
by the Czytelnik publishing house. The pirate publishers identified
themselves only as the Poetry Lovers Society, giving no address for
themselves or the printer. The book is being sold at street-side
bookstands and distributed by wholesale book traders. Booksellers risk
confiscation of books, and the publishers potentially up to two years of
prison. Czytelnik recently re-released Szymborska's volume End and
Beginning, published in 1993. A new selection of 101 of her poems will
be published soon. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ON NATO, EU. Speaking on Slovak Radio on 14
October, Vladimir Meciar reconfirmed that his country wants to join the
European Union and NATO as soon as possible and again placed the blame
for Slovakia's lack of progress in that regard on his critics. Meciar
said Slovakia has some advantages in comparison with other countries,
"but also has the huge disadvantage of questioning itself." The premier
said "the level of political dialogue is low" and that "certain
individuals, who are driven by their personal traumas," are sending
signals abroad that damage Slovakia's image. Meciar said objections to
developments in Slovakia "are being raised during every discussion I
take part in," but when he analyzes the contents of such objections,
"they prove to be insignificant." -- Jiri Pehe

THREE SLOVAK PARTIES TO JOIN 'BLUE OPPOSITION.' An agreement on
cooperation among the Democratic Party (DS), the Democratic Union (DU),
and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) will be signed by the end of
October, Slovak media reported on 15 October. "Voters are waiting for a
real alternative to the current governmental power," said DU Chairman
Jozef Moravcik. "Our objective is to form the next government, in which
the KDH, the DU, and the DS will have a majority," Moravcik said. The
so-called "blue opposition" coalition is likely to put forward a common
list of candidates in the next general elections. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARY'S DISMISSED PRIVATIZATION MINISTER RESENTFUL IN OPEN LETTER. In
an open letter to his Socialist Party, Tamas Suchman blamed his
dismissal on the media and the Socialists' junior partner in the
governing coalition, the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), Hungarian
media reported. He accused the media of bias, claiming "some of the
press have not pardoned us for our 1994 electoral success." Interior
Minister Gabor Kuncze of the SZDSZ described the letter as the statement
of a hurt man, and said his party had always been against political
interference in the privatization process. Meanwhile, the Socialist
Party presidium issued a statement on 14 October refuting statements by
opposition parties and the Free Democrats that left-wing policy is
marked by corruption. The statement described the conduct of opposition
parties in the scandal that led to Suchman's dismissal as irresponsible
and accused the Free Democrats of trying to wriggle out of the
responsibility of joint governance. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERB LEADER SAYS SEPARATION STILL A PRIORITY. Independence from
the Croat-Muslim federation and union with Serbia still top the
governing Serbian Democratic Party's (SDS) agenda, Aleksa Buha, the
foreign minister of the Republika Srpska and head of the SDS said on 14
October. He demanded that the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany,
Russia, China, and the UN set up diplomatic offices in Pale. Buha added
that the Republika Srpska's government and parliament will meet there on
19 October, news agencies and Nasa Borba reported. Buha said the Serbs
might take until 28 October to return to the three-man Bosnian
presidency, which he said will determine its own rules and procedures.
-- Patrick Moore

CROATS BLOCK SERB REFUGEES FROM RETURNING HOME. Bosnian Croats prevented
250 Serbs from visiting their homes in Drvar on 13 October, forcing the
refugees to go back to Banja Luka, Nasa Borba reported. Tens of
thousands of Croatian and Bosnian Serbs fled the Croatian advance
roughly one year ago. They have since charged the Croats with conducting
a policy of "ethnic cleansing" and using violence and intimidation
against the mainly elderly or infirm Serbs who stayed behind. The Dayton
agreement guarantees freedom of movement and the right to return to
one's home. Onasa quoted a UNHCR spokesman on 14 October saying the
incident was particularly "tragic" since the association of Serbs from
Drvar is one of the few voices in the Republika Srpska calling for all
people to return to their homes. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN MUSLIM REBEL'S BACKERS ARRESTED. Muslim authorities arrested 18
people in Bihac and Velika Kladusa on suspicion of war crimes over the
weekend, AFP reported on 14 October. Critics charge that the 18 are
being hounded because they support former local kingpin Fikret Abdic, a
bitter enemy of the Sarajevo government who has left the country. A
judge released 13 but ruled the remaining five could be held for a
month. That violates the 1996 Rome agreement between all three sides in
Bosnia not to hold any suspects who have not been indicted by the war
crimes tribunal in The Hague. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the first bus from
Belgrade since April 1992 arrived on 14 October, Nasa Borba and Onasa
reported. -- Patrick Moore

MORE CALLS FOR DELAYING BOSNIA'S MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. Echoing comments
by OSCE chief monitor Ed van Thijn (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 October
1996), UN human-rights rapporteur Elisabeth Rehn said on 14 October that
municipal elections should be postponed until spring because of
continuing human-rights violations as well as the winter weather, AFP
reported. Former Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said the
elections should wait until spring "because time is needed to remove
evident irregularities and mistakes noticed during the September polls."
A final decision on when the elections will be held will be taken this
week, according to Robert Frowick, head of the OSCE mission in Bosnia.
Meanwhile, the international community's High Representative, Carl
Bildt, urged the OSCE to continue follow-up work after the elections.
The agency recently decided it has neither the mandate "nor structures
necessary for the installation of elected officials." Installing the
candidates elected in Bosnia's September general elections has proved
difficult, and more problems are expected as Muslims will presumably be
elected to municipal councils in the Republika Srpska. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

OPPOSITION BOYCOTTS ZAGREB CITY COUNCIL. The Alliance of Opposition
Parties began a 30-day boycott of Zagreb's city council to force
President Franjo Tudjman to accept one of their own as the Croatian
capital's mayor, international and local agencies reported. The six
opposition parties warned last month they would boycott the council if
Tudjman does not agree to an opposition mayor, but received no response.
The statement warned of additional pressure if Tudjman failed to respond
positively to their requests. In the past year, Tudjman has rejected
four candidates for mayor nominated by the council's opposition
majority, arguing that the capital cannot be run by opponents of state
policy. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BILL ON PROPERTY OWNERSHIP. The lower house
of the Croatian parliament approved a bill compensating people whose
property was nationalized or confiscated under communist rule, Slobodna
Dalmacija reported on 15 October. An estimated $57 billion worth of
property is involved, including land, apartments, and business
locations. Justice Minister Miroslav Separovic said the government
strove for a balance between the state's means and legitimate requests
for restitution. Critics said the bill does not return enough property.
The Ministry of Justice has registered more than 67,000 applications for
restitution, including several hundred applications by the Roman
Catholic and Serbian Orthodox churches, as well as by the Croatian
Jewish community. The latter criticized the legislation because it
ignored assets seized by fascists during World War II. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

BELGRADE JOURNAL PUBLISHES VUKOVAR ACCOUNT. A member of the federal
Yugoslav army has become the first official to give a statement to the
Belgrade media confirming that Serbs committed atrocities after the fall
of the Croatian city of Vukovar in 1991, Reuters reported on 14 October.
According to an unnamed soldier cited in Dnevni Telegraf, drunken
Serbian paramilitaries assaulted and robbed Croatian men before taking
them to a location just outside Vukovar to be executed. The Yugoslav
army has denied all charges that it was aware of such atrocities or that
it was in any way connected to them. Reuters also quoted Dejan
Anastasijevic, a journalist with the independent weekly Vreme,
speculating that the soldier's remarks "may be a sign that [Serbian
President Slobodan] Milosevic is preparing the ground for extraditing"
Colonel Veselin Sljivancanin, indicted for participating in the Vukovar
atrocities. -- Stan Markotich

LJUBLJANA-BELGRADE RELATIONS AT A STALEMATE. Ivo Vajgl, a representative
of Slovenia's foreign ministry said on 14 October that despite Belgrade
media reports to the contrary, relations between Slovenia and the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are not likely to advance or improve in
the near future. The Ljubljana daily Delo quoted Vajgl saying that
"except for the fact that we've both recognized each other, we have yet
to get any official word from Belgrade that it intends to normalize
bilateral ties." Vajgl said many "open" questions remain between
Ljubljana and Belgrade, Onasa reported, notably regarding the former
Yugoslavia's succession. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN POLITICIANS PAY RESPECT TO ORTHODOX RELICS. Politicians joined
thousands of Romanian Orthodox worshippers visiting the northeastern
city of Iasi on 14 October, on a pilgrimage to relics believed to be
those of St. Andrew, Reuters reported. The faithful queued for hours at
Iasi cathedral to touch a silver casket holding the relics, which were
flown in from Greece by the Romanian Orthodox Church. Half of the
Romanian presidential candidates took their turn at the casket,
including incumbent President Ion Iliescu (a former communist) and his
two main rivals, Democratic Convention leader Emil Constantinescu and
the leader of the Social Democratic Union, Petre Roman. St. Andrew, one
of the 12 Apostles, is believed to have brought Christianity to what are
today the Romanian lands. -- Zsolt Mato

NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT IN BULGARIA? A new coalition government of the
opposition Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) and a splinter faction of
the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) will be formed after the 27
October presidential elections, Kontinent predicted on 15 October.
According to the daily, the BSP will split immediately after the
elections. SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov was cited as saying that the time is
ripe for his party to assist in the BSP's breakup. Dimitar Popov, prime
minister of Bulgaria's first post-communist coalition cabinet in 1990-
1991, said the idea of a coalition had been ripening for some time in
both the BSP and SDS. Popov said he was asked whether he would head such
a government and said a coalition was necessary but difficult to achieve
given the present confrontation between the two blocs. Sources within
the BSP said there has been no consideration of starting talks with the
opposition. -- Stefan Krause

ALARMING STATISTICS IN BULGARIA. The cost of living in Bulgaria has
tripled in 1996, Trud and Kontinent reported on 15 October, citing a
survey of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions. Due to rising
prices and high inflation, a four-member family needs 991,522 leva
($4,593) annually to cover its basic needs. In September, one person's
monthly living expenses were 20,658 leva, half of that for food. Prices
of bread and cheese -- the most basic staple in Bulgaria -- nearly
doubled over the last three months. Meanwhile, Duma reported that
Bulgaria's population has decreased by 600,000 over the last seven years
due to a declining birth rate. The survey also showed a high number of
extramarital children and a changed ethnic structure. The surveyors also
noted that children were putting greater value on material prosperity,
and that they were increasingly victimized by violence, prostitution,
drugs, and other criminality. -- Maria Koinova

PRO-GOVERNMENT DAILY SUGGESTS ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS BEHIND MURDER. Police
have arrested two men suspected of the 26 July murder of Bujar Kaloshi,
general director of Albanian prisons, Albania reported on 15 October.
The pro-government daily claims the two suspects, whose identities were
not disclosed, were involved in a conspiracy involving a "terrorist
organization of a political character." The order to kill Kaloshi, the
paper claims, came from people who are currently imprisoned in Tepelena,
adding that "the heads of the organization have proven links with some
of the most well-known names of the old communist nomenclature."
Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano is currently serving a prison term in
Tepelena, but Albania -- known for its sensationalist and often careless
reporting -- does not mention him explicitly. Police arrested another
murder suspect in early August. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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