A thing well said will be writ in all languages. - John Dryden 1631-1700
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Part I, 2 November 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

CONSERVATIVE APPOINTED AS NEW INFORMATION MINISTER IN UKRAINE. Zinovii
Kulyk, the conservative chairman of the State Committee for TV and Radio
and acting president of the National TV Company, was appointed Ukraine's
new information minister, UNIAN reported on 29 October. The report said
news of the appointment had not been widely publicized due to a pending
government investigation into Kulyk's alleged involvement in an improper
distribution of airtime on nationwide Channel 3. Kulyk is accused of
aiding Ukraina TV Company takeover efforts of Channel 3 despite its lack
of a broadcast license. Kulyk has also been accused of heavily censoring
programs produced by independent broadcasters for Ukrainian TV. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN PLANE DISAPPEARS OVER BLACK SEA. A MiG-29 disappeared off of
the Crimean coast on 31 October, Reuters reported. Both the Ukrainian
navy and the Russian Black Sea Fleet sent search parties. It is
uncertain whether the MiG fell into the sea, or whether it was hijacked.
Apart from the latest missing aircraft, two Ukrainian MiGs crashed this
year. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIAN NATIONAL BANK HEAD PRAISES UKRAINIAN CURRENCY REFORM. Sergei
Dubinin, on visit in Kyiv, said the currency reform in Ukraine was
conducted correctly, Ukrainian television reported on 31 October. The
new Ukraninan currency--the hryvnya--was introduced in September. The
Russian national bank head said Russia could learn from Ukraine's
success to get rid of the excessive zero digits on its own bank notes.
Dubinin's Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko, said the Ukrainian
National Bank would not interfere with the natural sinking of the
hryvnya's exchange rate. The reform was praised as one of the most
successful currency reforms in Europe in the past 30 years. -- Oleg
Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ON REFERENDUM. The Belarusian
Constitutional Court began reviewing the legality of the referendum on 1
November, ITAR-TASS reported. Parliament requested the review as a way
to derail the constitutional referendum scheduled for 24 November. If
the court rules that the draft constitutions put forward by the
president and parliament are only amended constitutions, then the
referendum will take place. Should the court rule that the drafts are
actually new constitutions, then the referendum would not be legal, and
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said he would dissolve parliament.
He won a popular mandate to do so in the May 1995 referendum. On that
ballot, a non-binding question was inserted asking if the president
should have the power to dissolve the legislature, to which 77.7 % of
voters responded yes. -- Ustina Markus

LEADERSHIPS OF MAJOR ESTONIAN CITIES ELECTED. Although the Coalition
Party and the Reform Party are united on the national level, they were
unable to form coalitions in Tartu and Tallinn. The Reform Party was
excluded from the coalition formed in Tartu where Pro Patria candidate
Tonis Lukas was elected mayor with the support of the Moderates and the
Tartu 2000 alliance which includes the Coalition Party. In Tallinn, the
city council on 31 October elected Reform Party candidate Priit Vilba as
mayor and former prime minister Mart Laar of Pro Patria as council
chairman, ETA reported. The Tallinn coalition, which includes the ruling
Coalition Party, was not included in the alliance. -- Saulius Girnius

SOME PROGRESS IN LATVIA, RUSSIA BORDER TALKS. Negotiators agreed to
discuss legal determination of the entire Latvian-Russian border rather
than of separate areas as proposed earlier by Latvia, Russian delegation
head Viktor Shikalov told BNS on 31 October. He said Russia, rejected
proposals to discuss the settlement of ownership and financial issues in
the Abrene region, asserting that it should be discussed only after the
border is determined. Considerable time was devoted to discussing
possible solutions to the main point of disagreement, the validity of
the 1920 peace treaty between the two countries, but no solution was
reached. The talks will continue on 1 November. -- Saulius Girnius

CZECH PARLIAMENT VOTES ON CZECH-SLOVAK BORDER. The Czech Parliament on
30 October approved in the first reading a constitutional amendment on
the Czech-Slovak border, Czech media reported. The opposition Social
Democrats, who helped defeat the amendment in April, voted in favor but
have indicated that they will support the amendment in the second and
third readings only if the government negotiates an individual financial
settlement with each of the seven Czech families whose village of U
Sabotu will be transferred to Slovakia under the amendment. The
government has proposed equal compensation for each family. The
amendment is based on a Czech-Slovak border treaty signed earlier this
year after several years of negotiations. The Slovak parliament has
approved a constitutional amendment on the border change. -- Jiri Pehe

OPPOSITION CRITICIZE SLOVAK FOREIGN POLICY. Leaders of three opposition
parties on 31 October expressed disquiet over the results of the third
meeting of the joint EU-Slovak parliamentary committee, press agencies
reported. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar caused the main stir by
accusing President Michal Kovac and the opposition of failing to consult
with the government and damaging Slovakia's reputation abroad.
Democratic Union deputy Eduard Kukan said the session reminded him of
"an academic debate of the deaf." The session confirmed the lack of
dialogue between coalition and opposition in Slovakia and the political
strategy of ruling coalition, which denies all criticism and claims
Western doubts about Slovakia are caused by the opposition, Sme and
Pravda observed on 31 October. -- Anna Siskova

SLOVAK NUCLEAR PLANT CONCERNS AUSTRIAN FACTIONS. Slovak Environment
Minister Jozef Zlocha announced on 31 October in Austria that all four
reactors of the Mochovce nuclear power plant will be completed, TASR
reported. The first two reactors are under construction, mainly through
Czech financing but also with Russian and German involvement. The
Vienna-based group, Global 2000, on 30 October said that plans to
complete the third and fourth reactors of Mochovce -- located some 80
kilometers from the Austrian border -- demonstrates the "lack of
conception" of the Slovak government's energy policy. The group accused
the government together with the German nuclear industry of planning "a
total atomic offensive." Austrian People's Party representative Maria
Rauch-Kallat on 31 October called Slovak plans to complete all four
reactors "an eminent threat to the Austrian population." -- Sharon
Fisher

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT TO PROBE OPPOSITION'S EARLIER OFFICE DEALS. The
Hungarian parliament's constitutional committee on 30 October agreed to
investigate deals in which the opposition Young Democrats and the
Hungarian Democratic Forum sold their party headquarters in 1992,
Hungarian dailies reported on 1 November. The two parties were entitled
to office buildings under a 1991 government resolution on allocation of
office space to parliamentary political parties. Both parties sold their
properties ten days after receiving them and then blocked setting up a
committee to examine the deals. The Young Democrats claim the governing
parties' insistence to investigate those deals is in retaliation for
their having uncovered a privatization scandal that recently embarrassed
the government. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY TO DISCLOSE DETAILS OF SECRET ACCORD WITH SWITZERLAND. According
to Hungarian foreign ministry officials, the Hungarian and Swiss
governments signed a secret accord in 1973 on the transfer of assets
belonging to Hungarian victims of the Holocaust kept in Swiss banks,
international media reported on 31 October. Officials, however, do not
know whether the transfer of funds was actually carried out. The former
governor of the National Bank of Hungary, Janos Fekete, who claimed no
previous knowledge of the 1973 accord, said recently that Hungary had
tried to recover those assets, but the Swiss authorities--citing banking
secrecy rules--refused their request. The contents of the accord would
not affect the ongoing negotiations on Jewish compensation, the ministry
added. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IFOR SEARCHES MUSLIM HOMES FOR WEAPONS. IFOR searched 109 Muslim homes
in Jusici for arms and other contraband on 31 October finding nothing,
Reuters reported. Muslims began returning this summer to that village on
the Serbian edge of the tense interentity border. The resettlement has
been much to the consternation of the Serbs and of IFOR, which tends to
regard them as troublemakers. The Dayton agreement guarantees all
refugees the right to go home. The president of the Community of
Croatian Refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Stef Masatovic, charged that
none of the three sides is interested in letting refuges go home and the
only solution is to build new towns for them, Oslobodjenje wrote on 1
November. -- Patrick Moore

CONCERN OVER NATIONALIST INCIDENTS IN BOSNIA. In Sarajevo, the anti-
nationalist opposition Social Democrats (UBSD) criticized the Serb
member of the three-member presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, for ignoring
incidents against non-Serbian refugees and their property in the
Republika Srpska, and slammed the Muslim Alija Izetbegovic for not
providing full security for Serbs in Ilidza, Onasa wrote on 31 October.
The UBSD also criticized the Croat Kresimir Zubak for not responding to
the destruction of Serb-owned property in Drvar and to the expulsion of
Muslims from west Mostar. -- Patrick Moore

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA NEARS 3 NOVEMBER ELECTION. An estimated
30,000 people gathered in Belgrade's Republic Square on 31 October for
the final election rally held by the opposition Zajedno (Together)
coalition. Serbian Renewal Party leader Vuk Draskovic told the crowd
that the ruling Socialists "... are trying to turn back the clock. They
want to turn the whole of Serbia into a concentration camp and plunge it
into total darkness and isolation." State controlled radio and
television did not report the event. Meanwhile, Reuters reported Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic that same day made an appearance at a
convention of his leftist coalition, dominated by his own Socialist
Party of Serbia. Milosevic, speaking to about 6,000, claimed he was
committed to regional peace and values such as reconciliation,
prosperity, and democracy. -- Stan Markotich

GROWING TIES BETWEEN BELGRADE, MOSCOW. In Belgrade on 31 October Russian
and federal Yugoslav representatives of the Inter-governmental Russian-
Yugoslav Committee for Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technological
Cooperation signed four accords, dealing principally with agricultural
issues and the "liberalization of trade," Nasa Borba reported the
following day. Signing for the federal Yugoslav side was committee co-
chairman and federal Yugoslav Trade Minister Djordje Siradovic, while
First Deputy Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants signed for the
Russian side. (For more on this topic, see "Russia Wants Base in Former
Yugoslavia," in the Russian part). -- Stan Markotich

KOSOVO ALBANIANS PLEDGE TO BOYCOTT ELECTIONS. Shadow-state president
Ibrahim Rugova said that Kosovar Albanians would boycott the federal
Yugoslav elections, as they did since abolition of the regions autonomy
in 1989, AFP reported on 31 October. He said "elections organized by
Belgrade don't interest us, they are not ours. The Albanians in Kosovo
had their [presidential and parliamentary] elections in 1992." Those
elections were not internationally recognized. Kosovo has 13 seats in
the 138 member federal parliament for which only Serb and Montenegrin
candidates run. The Socialist Party of Serbia is the strongest candidate
among Kosovo Serbs. The Serbian opposition charges Rugova with playing
into Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's hands by giving up the 13
seats. -- Fabian Schmidt

UN SAYS SERBS ARE LEAVING EASTERN SLAVONIA. UN spokeswoman in Belgrade
Susan Manuel said that fifty-two Serb families left Croatia's last Serb-
held region of eastern Slavonia last weekend, AFP reported on 31
October. In other news, about 2,000 Croats are expected to visit family
graves in eastern Slavonia on 1 November, All Saints' Day. They will
visit sites protected by the UN Transitional Police Force in selected
villages and escorted by UN vehicles. The Croat authorities agreed to
allow reciprocal visit by Orthodox Serbs to graves in Croatian
government territory. Meanwhile, the UN has returned five villages in
the southwestern tip of eastern Slavonia, to Croatian government rule
beginning the region's reintegration into the rest of the country,
Reuters reported on 31 October. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIA BUYS U.S. MILITARY HELICOPTERS. Croatian Deputy Defense Minister
Vladimir Zagorec and Bell Helicopter Textron Ltd. deputy president Fred
Hubbard signed a $15-million deal to purchase ten Bell helicopters for
Croatian armed forces, Hina reported on 31 October. Croatian Defense
Minister Gojko Susak said Croatia intends to fully introduce a Western
military structure and weapons by year 2005. In Washington, Susak
discussed with U.S. officials Croatia's desire to join NATO's
Partnership for Peace program. He said Croatia's admission to the
program was postponed at the latest NATO meeting although the United
States supports its membership. Admission will depend on the situation
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly, the Bosnian Federation, reported
Hina. Susak also said the United States would support termination of the
UN mandate in eastern Slavonia in mid-July next year. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

ROMANIA ENDS ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN. Campaigning for the 3 November
presidential and general elections officially ended at midnight on 31
October, Romanian media reported on 1 November. A five-hour debate--with
all 16 presidential candidates--ended the campaign, which was aired live
by the national TV and radio stations. Incumbent President Ion Iliescu
vowed moderation in order to avoid "violent ruptures that may destroy
the delicate balance in society." His main opponent, Emil
Constantinescu, of the Democratic Convention of Romania, pledged to take
Romania out of its current economic and social crisis, for which he
blamed Iliescu and his ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania.
Romania's electoral law prohibits any public electoral activity in the
two days preceding the voting. -- Dan Ionescu

THOUSANDS RALLY IN BUCHAREST IN SUPPORT OF THEIR CANDIDATES. Thousands
of Romanians on 31 October marched through downtown Bucharest in support
of the main opposition organization, Democratic Convention of Romania,
and its presidential candidate, Emil Constantinescu, international media
reported the same day. Ion Iliescu, who has a slight lead over
Constantinescu in latest opinion polls, told supporters he and his Party
of Social Democracy in Romania want a new term in office to build on
what has already been started. Petre Roman, a former prime minister
between 1990 and 1991 and a close third in the presidential race, on 30
October organized an electoral meeting, which ended with a rock concert.
Roman, who accused Iliescu of having "condoned the corruption and
dishonesty spread across the country," called for the ousting of what he
called the "Iliescu regime." -- Zsolt Mato

RUSSIA SUPPORTS DNIESTER PARTICIPATION IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION. Moldovan Parliament Speaker Petru Lucinschi stated that
Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin favors participation of Dniester
inhabitants in the 17 November Moldovan presidential election, BASA-
press and Infotag reported on 31 October. Lucinschi's comment came after
meeting with Chernomyrdin and other senior Russian officials in Moscow.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov said that Dniester
participation in the voting "would be a big political step [forward]"
since it would imply that the region is part of the Republic of Moldova,
reported a Chisinau parliament press release. But Dniester Supreme
Soviet Chairman Grigorii Marakutsa on 31 October denied that the
Tiraspol leadership had "received any recommendations from Russia"
concerning the region's participation in Moldovan elections. -- Dan
Ionescu

BOMB BLAST AGAINST A HIGH BULGARIAN OFFICIAL. A bomb on October 31
exploded in the car of the secretary of the Central Electoral Committee.
Haralambi Anchev, who is also a bank liquidator, was in the car during
the blast but unhurt. While Standart linked the explosion to the
upcoming presidential election runoff on 3 November, Kontinent reported
that Anchev was chased by the "shadow of Orion," an economic circle
"friendly" to Premier Zhan Videnov. At the time of the blast, Anchev was
liquidating the Bulgarian Agricultural and Industrial Bank, linked to
Orion.  -- Maria Koinova

BANKRUPTCY FOR EIGHT BULGARIAN BANKS, LOWER INTEREST RATE. The Bulgarian
National Bank (BNB) on 31 October called for bankruptcy proceedings to
begin against eight of the nine banks put under "special supervision" on
23 September (see OMRI Daily Digest, 24 September 1996) and revoked the
licenses of 15 brokerages, Pari reported on 1 November. The banks
include the state-owned Balkanbank and Stopanska banka, and six private
banks - TS, Biznes, Slavyani, Mollov, Yambol, and Dobrudzha banks. The
fate of the ninth institution, Elitbank, remains unclear. The decision,
which was supposed to be made by 23 October, comes a day before Anne
McGuirk, head of the IMF's Bulgaria mission, arrives in Sofia for
negotiations over release of a twice-delayed, $115 million tranche of a
standby loan agreed to in July. -- Michael Wyzan

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SATISFIED WITH ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said on 31 October that "the U.S.
government believes that the [20 October] Albanian local elections were
sufficiently democratic to be accepted as an expression of the will of
the people of Albania," Reuters reported. But he urged the Albanian
government "to follow the adoption of a constitution by holding a
popular referendum and parliamentary elections, which would be organized
under a new constitutional framework." The U.S. had strongly criticized
May's parliamentary elections. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Valentina Huber

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