Be willing to have it so; acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. - William James
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 209, Part II, 29 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 APPOINTS NEW NAVAL COMMANDER. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
on 28 October appointed Rear Admiral Mykhailo Yezhel as commander of
Ukraine's navy and deputy Defense Minister, and Rear Admiral Viktor
Fomin as first deputy navy commander, UNIAN reported. Defense Minister
Oleksandr Kuzmuk denied that former navy commander Volodymyr
Bezkorovainy was being cast off politically. He said Bezkorovainy was
offered the job of defense minister's aide in charge of Black Sea Fleet
talks. Russian Public Television reported Kuchma denied the command
changes were a concession to Russia. He also confirmed that the lease
offered to the Russian Black Sea Fleet for Sevastopol would be long
enough to enable Moscow to build a new base over that period. Russian
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the term of the lease would be
20 years. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE VOWS TO SHUT DOWN ONE OF THE CHORNOBYL REACTORS. Reactor No. 1
will be stopped completely on 30 November, international news agencies
reported on 28 October. Ukraine had promised to close the reactor in
November, but Environment and Nuclear Safety Minister Yurii Kostenko
said two weeks ago that stopping it as planned could generate problems.
The decision is in line with the schedule, according to which Kyiv has
agreed to shut down Chornobyl by 2000 in return for $3 billion in grants
and funding from the Group of Seven. The European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development is expected to grant money to build two
reactors in western Ukraine to replace electricity lost by Chornobyl's
closure. The United States would give $27 million to strengthen the
concrete sarcophagus over Reactor No. 4, that was destroyed in 1986,
Kostenko said. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN NEWS. In a published appeal to the people, President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka insisted he would hold his constitutional
referendum, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 October. The same day, he signed a
decree on preparations for the referendum. The previous day, the Foreign
Ministry announced it was unhappy with the European Parliament's
resolution on the situation in Belarus. The European Parliament found
the country's regime to be authoritarian. Belarus's Foreign Ministry
responded that the country had been a "pioneer" in nuclear disarmament,
and the European parliament's resolution was "incorrect, out of place,
and regrettable." The resolution will hinder ratification of an
agreement on partnership and cooperation between Belarus and the Council
of Europe and also implementation of a trade accord. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIAN STRATEGIC TROOPS ARE TO LEAVE BELARUS BY 1997. Belarusian
Defense Minister Leanid Maltseu denied any breach of accord on
withdrawal of remaining Russian strategic troops, Belapan reported on 29
October. There are currently 18 ICBM Topol (SS-25) mobile systems with
18 warheads left on Belarusian territory. He said that under the
agreement the troops were to leave by 31 December 1996, although several
issues remain before the troops can leave. Meanwhile, an army truck
crashed into a ditch 80 km east from Minsk on 28 October. Seven
conscripts were killed and two were injured by the scattered timber,
which the truck was transporting. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

ESTONIAN RULING COALITION NOT TO SPLIT. After more than three and half
hours of talks on 25 October, leaders of the Coalition Party and the
Reform Party decided to continue the government coalition. Prime
Minister Tiit Vahi said that the rift had been emotional, and that the
decision to keep the coalition was made at the beginning of the meeting;
the remaining time was spent on finding a compromise, BNS reported.
Reform Party Chairman Siim Kallas said that the coalition's break up
would have made it more difficult to reach an agreement with Russia. The
two parties, however, have been unable to agree on cooperation in the
recently elected Tallinn and Tartu city councils. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT PROPOSES SEIMAS SET NORTHERN SEA BORDER. Algirdas
Brazauskas on 25 October submitted to the parliament for "immediate
discussion" a draft law unilaterally setting the sea border with Latvia,
Radio Lithuania reported. His action was prompted by the Latvian
parliament's ratification the previous day of an oil exploration license
with two oil companies in sea territory claimed by both countries. The
Seimas is expected to adopt the law at its next session on 5 November.
The law will be in effect until a bilateral treaty on sea borders with
Latvia is signed. -- Saulius Girnius

CZECH PREMIER'S HOLIDAY SPEECH PROMPTS CRITICISM. Vaclav Klaus's speech
made on October 28--commemorating the 78th anniversary of the founding
of an independent Czechoslovakia--was criticized by Social Democratic
party leader Milos Zeman as "preelection propaganda," Czech media
reported. Klaus said mistakes were made during the reform process, but
that there is no reason for the country to be swept by "a wave of
negativism." Klaus warned against populist promises that, in his
opinion, are being made by the opposition. Zeman said Klaus had "abused
his post" to make a preelection speech. He said it is "disgusting" that
Klaus used for his speech the holiday of the founding of the very same
state "he helped to destroy." -- Jiri Pehe

CONGRESS OF HUNGARIAN CIVIC PARTY IN SLOVAKIA. Laszlo Nagy was reelected
chairman of the Hungarian Civic Party (MOS) at its congress, held on 27
October, Slovak press reported. The MOS is a member of the coalition of
ethnic Hungarian parties in the Slovak parliament. Nagy told the
congress that the government of Vladimir Meciar has introduced a
parliamentary dictatorship in Slovakia, the daily SME reported. Nagy
said that the southern part of Slovakia, where most Hungarians live, is
a disaster compared to the other parts of the country. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARY'S RADICAL RIGHT-WING HOLDS DEMONSTRATION IN BUDAPEST. Tens of
thousands of demonstrators called for radical moves and unity among
"national" forces at an anti-government rally outside parliament on 27
October, Hungarian media reported. The rally was organized by the far-
right extra-parliamentary Hungarian Justice and Life Party. The crowd
called for the resignation of top government politicians. Several
foreigners were invited as guest speakers, among them Jean-Marie Le Pen,
president of France's far-right National Front. Le Pen firmly rejected
the idea of European unity. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO TO TRY TO COUNTER BOSNIAN BOMBINGS, ARSON. IFOR commander Adm.
Joseph Lopez met on 26 October with the Bosnian Serb member of the
collective presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik. On 28 October, Lopez also
spoke to the Croatian representative Kresimir Zubak and with the Muslim
Alija Izetbegovic, news agencies reported. The purpose of the
discussions was to end a recent spate of attacks on buildings, which are
apparently aimed at intimidating refugees from returning to areas from
which they have been "ethnically cleansed." At issue especially were the
systematic blasting of more than 90 Muslim homes and two mosques near
Serb-held Prijedor, as well as the torching of 65 Serbian houses in
Croat-held Drvar. The Dayton agreement guarantees refugees the right to
go home, and since August, groups of Muslims have been trying to return
to their villages just inside the Serbian side of the inter-entity
frontier in northeast Bosnia. -- Patrick Moore

HAGUE BOSNIAN TRIBUNAL UNDER A CLOUD? Dusan Tadic, a Bosnian Serb on
trial in The Hague for war crimes, denied that he was ever in two of the
three concentration camps where he is accused of abusing and murdering
Muslim or Croatian prisoners, the VOA reported on 28 October. The case
of Tadic was weakened considerably on 25 October when the judge told the
tribunal to disregard testimony from the Serb who had been the main
witness against the indicted man. Dragan Opacic admitted that he had
been forced into taking the stand against Tadic by the Bosnian
authorities, who coached him daily on how to testify. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN UPDATE. IFOR opened a rebuilt railway bridge at Bosansko Petrovo
Selo near Doboj on 28 October to reconnect Bosnian lines with Western
Europe, the VOA reported. It is now possible to travel by train from
Zagreb to Belgrade, too, Onasa added. Meanwhile at Ploce on the
Adriatic, the U.S. ship bringing arms for the Bosnian army has left its
moorings and headed out to sea to await further instructions from
Washington, Nasa Borba and Oslobodjenje wrote on 28 October. The
Americans are making delivery contingent on the sacking of a top Bosnian
Muslim commander, whom Washington feels is the main obstacle to
integrating the Muslim and Croat armies (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25
October 1996). -- Patrick Moore

SERBS THREATEN TO BAN FEDERATION PARTIES FROM MUNICIPAL POLLS. Dragan
Kalinic, head of the Bosnian Serb parliament, threatened on 26 October
to ban parties from the Muslim-Croat Federation from taking part in
municipal elections in the Republika Srpska (RS), AFP quoted BETA
reports. Kalinic said the Federation parties must be registered
according to the RS laws defining the rights of national minorities,
which include Muslims and Croats. Kalinic criticized the new electoral
registration rules for the municipal elections, saying they disqualify
over 300,000 Serbs living abroad or in Serbia-Montenegro as refugees.
The OSCE recently announced that refugees could no longer register to
vote in places they "intended" to live, owing mainly to the Bosnian Serb
registration manipulations during  Bosnia's  general elections. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERBS ACCUSED OF INTIMIDATING INDEPENDENT MEDIA. The OSCE has
started an investigation into Bosnian Serb authorities' intimidating the
independent media in the Republika Srpska, AFP reported on 28 October.
Several independent papers have stopped publishing after being denied
access to the Glas Srpski printing house controlled by the ruling
Serbian Democratic Party (SDS). Two reporters of the weekly Alternativa
are being sued by senior SDS journalists over an article that linked the
two men to attempts during recent elections to prevent meeting of
opposition parties. OMRI reported Alternativa's editor was told that the
Glas Srpski's printing ban was for publishing a protest to a similar ban
imposed on the only independent daily, Nezavisne Novine. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

SERBIAN OPPOSITION OFFICIALS STAGE HUNGER STRIKE. Three members of the
Zajedno or Together coalition (consisting of the Serbian Renewal
Movement, the Democratic Party, the Democratic party of Serbia, and the
Serbian Civic League) competing in the upcoming 3 November elections
staged a hunger strike and demanded that they be permitted to monitor
election returns, Belgrade's Radio B 92 reported on 28 October. One of
the protesters vowed that "we will stay until our demands are met, or
until the police [forcibly] evict us." The three reportedly locked
themselves in at election headquarters in Nis in order to protest a
decision by the ruling authorities barring them from monitoring returns.
Earlier, on 25 October, the coalition said it might boycott the
elections if independent monitors were not allowed to observe on polling
day. -- Stan Markotich

BELGRADE TRANSIT WORKERS STRIKE. Bus and tram drivers in Belgrade nearly
halted commuter traffic in that city on the morning of 28 October before
the transit authorities could muster more vehicles, local and
international media reported. Slobodan Vucenovic, a local dispatcher
told Reuters "there [were] only 483 vehicles on the street...out of
1,009 scheduled." Two of six transport unions staged the strike,
demanding unpaid back wages. -- Stan Markotich

POLICE ARRESTS 30 KOSOVO ALBANIANS AFTER KILLING OF TWO SERBS. Serbian
police arrested 30 ethnic Albanians in Surkis near Podujevo after a
police officer and a civil servant were killed there in an ambush with
automatic weapons on 25 October, Reuters reported. Funerals for the
victims were held on 27 October in Surkis and Velika Reka with a heavy
Serbian police presence, AFP reported. Deputy Prime Minister of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nikola Sainovic and Serbian Interior
Minister Zoran Sokolovic visited representatives of the Serb community
in Podujevo the previous evening. Sokolovic promised that a police
intervention unit be stationed in the town, and said he would ask the
federal government to set up a Yugoslav army garrison in Podujevo. --
Fabian Schmidt

CROATIA BURIES WW2 FASCISTS AND COMMUNISTS TOGETHER. Croatian
authorities on 27 October in the Adriatic town of Omis reburied together
the bodies of World War II fascist soldiers and the remains of communist
partisans they had fought, AFP reported. Of 112 bodies, 104 were remains
of soldiers from marionette fascist Independent State of Croatia, six
were former Ustashi troops--equivalent of the Nazi SS--and two were the
bodies of partisans. Vice Vukojevic of the ruling Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ) said the ceremony was "a symbol of the reconciliation of
the Croat people," AFP quoted him as saying. Jewish communities in
Croatia and abroad and former partisans protested the ceremony. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

RUSSIA WANTS LARGE CUT IN MACEDONIAN PEACE KEEPING. Russia's UN
representative Sergei Lavrov on 28 October stated in Skopje that "Russia
believes the [UNPREDEP] mandate should stay the same but with a major
reduction in troops," AFP reported. Lavrov met with President Kiro
Gligorov and Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski. The mandate of the
1,100 troops runs out on 30 November, but Skopje has asked for an
extension because of the weakness of its own army. Meanwhile, the
defense ministry said it will buy arms for $200 million over the next
five years. NATO had asked that the weapons comply with Western
standards but Skopje made it clear that Macedonia was under no
obligation to buy Western-made weapons. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN JOURNALISTS SENTENCED FOR LIBEL. A Bucharest court sentenced
two journalists on 25 October for "offending the authorities," Romanian
media reported. Sorin Rosca Stanescu, editor of the daily Ziua and Tana
Ardeleanu, a Ziua reporter, were handed down prison sentences of one
year and 14 months respectively for a series of articles suggesting that
President Ion Iliescu had been recruited by the KGB in his youth. The
prosecution requested a minimum 6-month suspended sentence, but the
court ignored the request and also banned the two to work as journalists
in the future. The journalists will appeal the decision. The timing of
the verdict--just one week before general and presidential elections--
has been interpreted by the independent media as a warning addressed to
journalists criticizing Iliescu. -- Zsolt Mato

SNEGUR URGES RUSSIA TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM MOLDOVA. Moldovan President
Mircea Snegur on 25 October told journalists in Moscow that, if he is
reelected, he would insist that Russian troops be withdrawn from eastern
Moldova by late 1997, Infotag reported on 28 October. Snegur made the
statement after meeting Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
during a Black Sea Economic Cooperation summit. He further reiterated
earlier statements that Moldova, whose constitution provides for
neutrality, does not plan to join any military alliance, including NATO.
-- Dan Ionescu

UNITED OPPOSITION CANDIDATES WIN FIRST ROUND OF BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS ... Petar Stoyanov and his running mate, Todor Kavaldzhiev
received 44.09% of the vote in the first round of the Bulgarian
presidential elections on 27 October, 24 chasa reported, based on
preliminary figures released by the Central Electoral Commission. The
candidates of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Culture
Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova, trailed
with 26.98%, followed by Bulgarian Business Bloc leader Georges Ganchev
and Arlin Antonov with 21.86%. Aleksandar Tomov and Gen. Lyudmil
Marinchevski received 3.18%, and the comedians Hristo Boychev and Ivan
Kulekov, 1.34%. Other candidates received less than 1 percentage point.
Voter turnout was 62.7%, or 12-15 points less than at the previous
presidential and parliamentary elections. A runoff between the top two
will take place on 3 November. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia

...CASTING DOUBTS ON PRIME MINISTER'S FUTURE. Meanwhile, Marazov's and
Bokova's poor showing prompted speculation about the future of Prime
Minister and BSP Chairman Zhan Videnov. During a BSP plenary meeting on
28 October, leading BSP members demanded Videnov resign as premier and
party leader, Kontinent and Standart reported. Sociologist Andrey
Raychev, a leading member of the Alliance for a Social Democracy, the
most important reformist faction within the BSP, did not rule out a
party split. Union of Democratic Forces Chairman Ivan Kostov, Ganchev,
and the leader of the mainly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and
Freedom, Ahmed Dogan, ruled out a coalition with the BSP in the present
parliament, in which the BSP holds an outright majority. Meanwhile,
Ganchev's driver was killed and his bodyguard seriously injured in a
road accident on 28 October. Ganchev, who was not in the car, said the
crash "was not an accident." -- Stefan Krause in Sofia

ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS CLAIM VICTORY IN LOCAL ELECTION SECOND ROUND. Foreign
Minister and party leader Tritan Shehu said the Democrats won 21 out of
22 town halls and 73 out of 96 communes in the second round of local
elections on 27 October. That would give the Democrats 90.6% of town
halls and 86.7% of communes all over the country. The opposition
Socialists reportedly gained only 6.25% of the city halls and 4.5% of
the communes, down from 51% and 59.8% respectively in 1992, Reuters
reported. Official results are expected later. Council of Europe
observers said they noted "serious deficiencies" in the second round
"caused by individual errors and ... the consequence of certain
traditions," AFP reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Valentina Huber

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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