What you can become, you are already. - Friedrich Hebbel
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 201, Part II, 16 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

***********************************************************************
Available now -- The OMRI Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the Former
Soviet Union -- "1995: Building Democracy." Published by M.E. Sharpe
Inc., this 336-page yearbook provides a systematic and comprehensive
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
***********************************************************************

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES SUBSIDY-HEAVY ECONOMIC PROGRAM. The
Ukrainian parliament approved a three-year government economic plan that
features heavy state supports for key industries, Western agencies
reported on 15 October. Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko presented the
program, which calls for government aid to large producers in aviation,
automotives, telecommunications, combine-harvesters and agriculture with
the goal of boosting industrial output and GDP by 1.7% next year.
Lazarenko said 40 projects and 17 new laws need to be implemented to
help reverse the current decline. The plan also provides for some tax
reductions, although it retains a 20% VAT on cigarettes, spirits, and
luxury goods. However, the program postpones long-awaited land reform,
mainly due to pressure from the conservative agrarian lobby. Lazarenko
admitted his government could only continue to pay off its $1.7 billion
wage debt to public-sector employees in monthly installments. He also
admitted that only 13 million of the country's 52 million people are
actually working, in contrast to the official 0.9% unemployment rate. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE RECONSIDERS CLOSING CHORNOBYL REACTOR. Yurii Kostenko,
environmental protection and nuclear safety minister, said Ukraine may
reconsider its pledge to shut down Chornobyl reactor no. 1 by the end of
October, Western and Russian media reported on 15 October. According to
Kostenko, closing one reactor could make another one prone to an
accident due to a lack of heat in the coming winter. Chornobyl's two
working reactors produce 5% of Ukraine's electricity. During this
month's meeting in Paris between Ukrainian and G-7 experts, Ukraine
promised to close one of the two reactors in return for an 118 million
ecu ($147 million) grant allotted to starting the process of shutting
down the plant. The G-7 pledged a total of $3.1 billion in aid to
Ukraine for shutting down Chornobyl by 2000. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

IZVESTIYA WARNS AGAINST BACKING BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT. On the eve of
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's 16 October visit to Moscow, Izvestiya
ran a lengthy article on the dangers of backing Lukashenka. It
admonished Moscow for not paying sufficient attention to its "permanent
ally" while its president was creating an explosive situation in
Belarusian society. It also noted that Belarus had developed a habit of
signing agreements squaring its debts with Russia and then falling into
debt again, and that despite Lukashenka's promises of economic
improvement, in the two and a half years since his election living
standards have steadily declined, often to near subsistence level. The
writer also pointed out that the Belarusian president had shown he is an
unreliable ally by supporting Gennadii Zyuganov in the Russian
presidential race. If Russia supports Lukashenka, the article concluded,
it will have to bear responsibility for "the rebirth of a totalitarian
state." -- Ustina Markus

TENSION IN ESTONIA'S RULING COALITION. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi lashed
out the Reform Party's ministers in a 15 October article in Eesti
Paevaleht, BNS reported. Vahi wrote that in one year in office Foreign
Minister Siim Kallas had not improved relations with Russia and
Economics Minister Andres Lipstok was unable to establish order on the
country's markets. The Reform Party's board suggested the article had
been prompted by the premier's fears that the party would perform very
well in the 20 October local elections. Seven of Estonia's 15 ministers
and 71 of 101 parliamentary deputies are running in the elections. Vahi
claimed later that there was no major discord in the coalition and that
he was only trying to help find solutions to the country's problems. --
Saulius Girnius

POLISH TV BROADCASTING LICENSES DISTRIBUTED. After more than a year of
delays, the Polish Radio and TV Broadcasting Council has allocated two
TV broadcasting licenses, Polish media reported on 16 October. The
council assigned a network in northern Poland to TVN, a company
registered by Mariusz Walter and Jan Wejchert, who also own ITI, a major
film distributor and producer of TV programs. One-third of TVN's shares
are owned by the Bermuda-based company Central European Media
Enterprises Group, a major player in commercial TV broadcasting
throughout the region. A network in central Poland was allocated to
Nasza Telewizja, organized by Polish businessmen apparently with the
support of the co-ruling Democratic Left Alliance. Nasza Telewizja said
it will create a "family and non-aggressive" TV station. -- Jakub
Karpinski

POLISH STATE SECURITY ARCHIVIST REJECTS TRANSFER. Antoni Zielinski,
former director of the State Security Office (UOP) archive, has rejected
his transfer to a new post at the UOP and instead resigned, Polish
dailies reported on 16 October. Zielinski had been director of the UOP's
archive since February 1992 until UOP chief Andrzej Kapkowski dismissed
him from that post last week and nominated him as chief of the UOP's
team of advisers. A UOP spokesman denied that Zielinski's dismissal had
anything to do with his informing of the Sejm's lustration commission
that material was missing from communist secret-police files (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 26 September 1996), and said the new post offered to him
was more prestigious. Col. Waldemar Mroziewicz, a functionary of the
Interior Ministry's archive since the communist era, was made the UOP
archive's new director. -- Beata Pasek

CZECH MINISTERS DISCUSS TRADE DEFICIT. The rapidly growing foreign trade
deficit is merely "a price we pay for our rapid economic development"
and "no reason to panic," Premier Vaclav Klaus said after a 15 October
meeting of economic ministers. The deficit stood at 110 billion crowns
($4 billion) at the end of August, already equaling the trade deficit
for all of 1995. Estimates put the trade deficit for 1996 at 160 billion
crowns. The ministers agreed to start seriously addressing the deficit,
but warned that no turnaround is likely before the end of 1997. The
chief economic adviser of the opposition Social Democrats, Jan Mladek,
was quoted by Lidove noviny on 16 October saying there are only three
ways to counter the deficit: a devaluation; import surcharges; or other
import barriers. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK AUTHORITIES CLOSE CONTROVERSIAL INVESTIGATIONS. Citing a "lack of
evidence," the Bratislava Police on 15 October closed two major
investigations related to the August 1995 kidnapping of President Michal
Kovac's son, Slovak and international media reported. The first involved
the April 1996 death in a car explosion of Robert Remias, who was acting
as a contact for a Slovak Information Service (SIS) officer in hiding
since he claimed the SIS had engineered the kidnapping. The second
involved a phone conversation between SIS chief Ivan Lexa and then-
Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek, broadcast in May, that was full of
hints about interference in the police investigation of the kidnapping.
Investigators said their analyses "did not prove unambiguously that the
voices were those of Hudek and Lexa." Peter Weiss, deputy chairman of
the Party of the Democratic Left, said the adjournments "show the
insufficient political will and professional commitment to resolve these
matters." Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky added
that "[Remias's] murderers can be prosecuted up until 29 April 2016."
Meanwhile, Sme reported that an SIS agent "Martin K." had shadowed
Remias and was near Remias's car at the time of the explosion. -- Sharon
Fisher and Anna Siskova

HUNGARY'S JUNIOR COALITION PARTY LEADER OFFERS RESIGNATION. After
revelations that an official of the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ)
was implicated in the country's recent privatization scandal, party
leader Ivan Peto offered his resignation but was asked by the party's
main executive body to stay, Hungarian media reported on 16 October.
Peto said he assumes political responsibility for the activity of the
implicated party member, Barnabas Bernhardt, who was on the party's
National Council and the board of directors of a company that benefited
financially from the state privatization agency's controversial payments
to a consultant at the center of the privatization scandal. Another Free
Democrat was among the former members of the agency's board of directors
who were all dismissed over the affair. Meanwhile, another SZDSZ member
resigned from his parliamentary seat, attributing his move to
frustration over the privatization scandal and the delay in passing a
law to regulate conflicts of interest for deputies. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIA REPORTEDLY ADMITTED TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Reuters on 16
October quoted diplomats at the Council of Europe saying that body's
Council of Ministers had voted to admit Croatia. That country is now
slated to become the 40th member of the Strasbourg-based organization on
6 November. Croatia's admission has been delayed over concerns about
press freedom, minority rights, democracy, and Croatia's role in the
Bosnian peace process. The Council now apparently feels that Zagreb has
made sufficient progress on most of these fronts to justify approval.
Recent weeks have seen a judge throw out a government-backed slander
suit against critical journalists (although the state prosecutor has
appealed that ruling), and the passing of an amnesty law for Serbs who
took up arms against Croatia but did not commit war crimes. The
organization's delay in accepting Croatia angered not only the
government but also many in the opposition, who charged that Croatia was
being forced to meet tougher standards than were some other countries.
-- Patrick Moore

NEW AGREEMENT ON BOSNIAN REFUGEE RETURN. A plan put forward by
international mediators to enable refugees to go back to their homes in
areas now controlled by another ethnic group was accepted by the
interior ministers of the Croat-Muslim federation and the Republika
Srpska in Sarajevo on 15 October. Prospective returnees will now have to
apply to the UNHCR, after which other organizations will determine
whether the applicant indeed has property in the area. The returnees
must be civilians and will have to accept the authority of the side now
in control of the area. There will be financial aid for reconstruction
and provisions for UN police to supervise local police when the latter
send out patrols of more than three men, Oslobodjenje and news agencies
reported. The new measures are aimed at preventing unnecessary tensions
from arising when refugees try to go home, while at the same time
ensuring their right to do so. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN BUS DELAYED AT SERBIAN BORDER. A regular bus link between
Sarajevo and Belgrade began operating on 14 October, with the first
Serbian bus safely arriving in Sarajevo. But two Bosnian buses making
the first Sarajevo-Belgrade run in four years arrived in Belgrade on 15
October only after being blocked for six hours by Serbian border police,
international agencies reported. The buses left Sarajevo for the
inaugural trip of the new intercity service, seen as a move toward
normalization between the two capitals. Passengers said Serbian police
demanded they pay $40 for tourist visas, although visa-free travel
between the two countries was agreed on at the recent Paris meeting
between Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia and Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Reuters reported. They also said that military conscripts
could not enter the country, only women and children. The bus was
allowed to continue only after telephone calls to various ministries in
Sarajevo and Belgrade. -- Daria Sito Sucic

NATO WARNS CROATIA OVER BOSNIAN PEACE. During a 15 October meeting with
Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa, NATO Secretary General Javier
Solana warned Croatia to fully back implementation of the Croat-Muslim
federation in Bosnia and the normalization of the situation in Mostar,
according to a NATO official cited by AFP. Solana also stressed the
importance of establishing a common army for the federation and a return
of refugees, and complained of Croatia's stiff taxes on military
vehicles and material crossing its territory, international and local
agencies reported. Matesa said Solana supported Croatia's plan for the
peaceful reintegration of eastern Slavonia, Hina reported. But the NATO
official cited by AFP said Solana made a "very firm" warning to the
Croatian government not to provoke an exodus of Serbs. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

LITTLE HEADWAY IN TALKS ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA'S ASSETS. The latest round
of talks on the division of the former Yugoslavia's assets and debts
began behind closed doors in Brussels on 14 October, but made little or
no headway, Nasa Borba reported on 16 October. In a related development,
the Bosnian Serb leadership launched a protest on 14 October complaining
about being excluded from the discussions, SRNA reported. Momcilo
Krajisnik, Serb representative in the Bosnian collective presidency,
said "Muslim representatives" were not empowered to speak for all
parties in Bosnia, AFP reported. -- Stan Markotich

MORE WARRANTS ISSUED FOR SUSPECTED KOSOVAR TERRORISTS. The state
prosecutor's office has issued 12 more arrest warrants for suspected
members of the mysterious Kosovo Liberation Army, international agencies
reported. The ethnic Albanians are suspected of committing a number of
bomb attacks earlier this year. Three suspects have been arrested
recently. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi
called on Germany to ensure "the rights and dignity of ... Albanians [to
be expelled to Kosovo from Germany] be respected," AFP reported. Shadow-
state President Ibrahim Rugova has called for international supervision
of the refugees' return. The Serbian paper Jedinstvo, meanwhile, alleged
that Albanian terrorists, trained by separatist organizations abroad,
would infiltrate Kosovo during the refugee return. The paper demanded
detailed identity checks and selective repatriation "in order to prevent
our country admitting ... enemies." -- Fabian Schmidt

ANTI-SEMITIC TONES IN THE ROMANIAN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN. Anti-Semitic
leaflets targeting Social Democratic Union (USD) presidential candidate
Petre Roman were discovered at the USD head office in Timis county, the
daily Cronica Romana reported on 16 October. The leaflets call on voters
not to allow the country to be led by "a kike." Earlier, graffiti urging
voters not to cast their ballot for a "first non-Romanian president"
were reported from Brasov. Roman, who is partly of Jewish descent and is
the son of a former communist official, was also obliquely attacked by
the director of the electoral campaign of the ruling Party of Social
Democracy (PDSR) in Romania, Ovidiu Sincai, the daily Adevarul reported.
He accused the candidate's father, Valter Roman, of having intended to
set up an independent state in Transylvania. This falls in line with
allegations that Roman represents "Judeo-Communism," often aired by
formations such as the Greater Romania Party. The pro-opposition dailies
Ziua and Romania libera recently attacked U.S. Ambassador Alfred Moses,
accusing him of supporting the PDSR in exchange for legislation
providing for restitution of Jewish property confiscated by Romania's
fascist and communist regimes. -- Michael Shafir

OSCE REPRESENTATIVES NOT ALLOWED TO CHECK ARMS IN DNIESTER REGION.
Dniester and Russian representatives in the Joint Control Commission,
the Russian-sponsored peacekeeping body in Moldova, did not allow an
OSCE visit to alleged military sites in the Dniester region, BASA-Press
reported on 15 October. The OSCE mission wanted to visit the fortress of
Tighina and the Pribor factory in the same city. Officials from Moldova
claim the fortress is supplied with Grad jet-rocket equipment produced
in the factory (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 October 1996). -- Zsolt Mato

RUMORS ABOUT BULGARIAN COALITION GOVERNMENT INTENSIFY. Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP) spokeswoman Klara Marinova and deputy faction
leader Stefan Gaytandzhiev said on 15 October that the party wants to
form a coalition government after the presidential elections, Standart
reported. The daily said that both a party coalition and a government of
experts seem possible, but added that participation by the opposition in
a government including Prime Minister Zhan Videnov seems out of the
question. According to Novinar, the BSP's Nikola Koychev, chairman of
parliament's Economics Commission, has already been chosen as future
prime minister of a broad coalition government. The daily said the
coalition will be formed after the Union of Democratic Forces wins a no-
confidence vote in Videnov with the support of several BSP deputies. --
Stefan Krause

PROTESTERS DEMAND BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION. Between 5,000 and
20,000 people rallied in Sofia on 15 October and demanded the
government's resignation, international and national media reported. The
meeting was organized by the two major trade unions in the country, the
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions and the Confederation of
Labor-Podkrepa, and was joined by students. Protesters lit bonfires and
burned electricity and telephone bills to protest the government's
economic policy. Others shouted "resignation" and "red garbage" in front
of the government building. Podkrepa leader Konstantin Trenchev urged
opposition deputies to boycott parliament after the 27 October
presidential elections and all Bulgarians to depose the government "by
force if necessary." -- Maria Koinova

ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ACCUSED IN $5 MILLION SCANDAL. About $5
million given by two state-owned banks to the Albanian Defense Ministry
trading company MEICO has dissapeared, Koha Jone reported on 15 October.
According to the paper, Defense Minister Safet Zhulali agreed to give
the former premises of the Military Studies Institute to the banks as
compensation. MEICO failed to return one-year credits of $3 million from
the Albanian Savings Bank and $2 million from the National Bank it
received in 1993. In a meeting with Zhulali, Finance Minister Ridvan
Bode, and National Bank Governor Kristaq Luniku, Albanian President Sali
Berisha insisted on a quick resolution of the scandal, before local
elections on 20 October. -- Dukagjin Gorani

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Tom Warner

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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