|The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts|
No. 213, Part II, 4 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 UKRAINE TIGHTENS CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS. The Ukrainian Parliament on 30 October adopted a new citizenship law barring dual citizenship in the country, Ukrainian media reported the next day. The new legislation requires anyone seeking Ukrainian citizenship to relinquish all foreign citizenship. The previous law of October 1991 allowed dual citizenship if a bilateral treaty between countries existed providing for mutual citizenship, although no such treaty was signed with Russia. The recent decision has upset many leftists and Crimean forces who have lobbied for dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship, especially in regions heavily populated with ethnic Russians. The new law states that anyone who has lived in Ukraine since 1991 may be naturalized. Individuals living abroad who can prove Ukrainian origins may be eligible as well. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN TYCOON SHOT IN DONETSK. Parliamentary deputy Yevhen Shcherban and his wife were shot dead at Donetsk airport on 3 November, international agencies reported. The killers fled in a car, which was later found burned. Ukrainian media had linked Shcherban, one of the richest businessmen in Ukraine, with an unsuccessful attempt on Prime Minister Lazarenko's life last July in Kyiv. Shcherban denied the accusations. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev UKRAINIAN FOREIGN ROUNDUP. Argentinian Foreign Minister Guido di Tella was in Kyiv on 1 November for an official visit, Ukrainian and international agencies reported. Di Tella met with President Leonid Kuchma, parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz, and his counterpart Hennadii Udovenko. Udovenko said Ukraine wants a special relationship with Argentina because some 300,000 ethnic Ukrainians live there and stressed scientific cooperation in Antarctica and between their space agencies. The same day, Russian Public Television reported Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the issue of the Black Sea Fleet was not yet completely resolved, and November talks would take place only if "constructive solutions" had been found. On 4 November ITAR-TASS reported Britain's Prince Charles arrived in Ukraine to open a memorial for British soldiers who died in the Crimean War. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DISMISSED. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka dismissed Defense Minister Leanid Maltseu at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of a medical institute because the minister appeared drunk and unable to coherently deliver a speech, international agencies reported on 1 November. First deputy Defense Minister and chief-of-staff Alyaksandr Chumakau was named acting defense minister. Lukashenka interrupted Maltseu and ordered him to leave. He then apologized to the audience for the "former defense minister's" behavior. Belapan reported former Interior Minister Yuryi Zakharenka said he did not rule out that Maltseu's drunkenness was a result of "provocation." He said he knew Maltseu personally, and the former defense minister did not abuse alcohol. AFP reported deputy Henadz Karpenka said Maltseu's drunkenness was not an isolated incident. Last week, Finance Minister Pavel Dik appeared drunk in parliament. -- Ustina Markus REFORM PARTY DEMANDS MORE WEIGHT IN ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT. The board of the Estonian Reform Party, meeting on 1 November in Paide, decided that the party's recent successes in local elections should result in its having greater initiative in the government, BNS reported. Party secretary general Heiki Kranich, however, said the party had no intention of leaving the ruling coalition with the Coalition Party and rural parties nor would it demand more ministerial portfolios. The area where the party will most likely try to assert its influence is by demanding changes in the 1997 draft budget proposed by the Coalition Party. -- Saulius Girnius LATVIA SUSPENDS AEROFLOT FLIGHTS TO RIGA. Gennady Danilychev, head of the Aeroflot department for the Baltic region, announced on 1 November that Latvia had rejected the Russian airline's winter schedule of three weekly flights from Moscow to Riga, Western agencies reported the next day. The decision was a reaction to Russia's earlier refusal to grant the Latvian carrier, Baltic Airways, flights from Riga to Moscow. Danilychev said that Baltic Airways was virtually owned by the Scandinavian airline, SAS, and was thus treated differently than if it were owned by a former Soviet republic. The only airline continuing flights between the two cities is Russia's Transaero. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH PRIME MINISTER IN HOLLAND. Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok told his Polish counterpart Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz in The Hague, that Poland would become a NATO member in 1999, but he avoided specifying the date of its EU entry, Polish dailies reported on 2 November. Kok, however, promised that Holland, which will hold the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 1997, will ensure that entry negotiations with East European applicants begin in early 1998. In a speech to the Institute of International Affairs in The Hague, Cimoszewicz said that Poland does not agree that NATO should sign an accord with Russia before making a decision on eastern expansion. -- Beata Pasek FORMER POLISH PRESIDENT ON TAIWAN. Former Polish President Lech Walesa met with Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui during his five-day visit to Taiwan, which ended on 4 November, Polish and international media reported. Walesa was invited as a guest of the dailyChina Times and Taiwan's trade unions. Walesa called on democratic countries to sever relations with communist China, following China's latest sentencing of Wang Dan, a human rights activist, to 11 years in prison. Poland still recognizes the government in Beijing as the government of all of China. But Taiwan opened a representative office in Warsaw in 1992 and Poland opened a trade office in Taiwan in 1995. -- Jakub Karpinski SLOVAK OPPOSITION DEPUTY ON SECRET SERVICE. Democratic Union deputy Milan Knazko told Sme on 2 November that the Slovak Information Service has been misused against internal enemies. Knazko said he decided to withhold from authorities the whereabouts of Oskar Fegyveres--the lead witness in the kidnapping case of President Michal Kovac's son--because of fears for Fegyveres's life. His suspicion was raised by methods used by the SIS against Fegyveres's friend, Robert Remias, who was killed in an April car explosion, he said, adding that the SIS has also shadowed journalists, opposition deputies who spoke publicly about illegal SIS activities, and Jaroslav Simunic, the first investigator of the Kovac Jr. case. Currently, the secret service is shadowing Kovac Jr.'s lawyer Jan Havlat, Knazko said. He said that while a number of post-1989 SIS agents have been fired, the SIS now employs many Moscow-trained agents from the communist era. -- Sharon Fisher DEBATE ABOUT INTEGRATION ON SLOVAK TV. Western integration topped the agenda of the political debate on Slovak TV's Kroky (Steps) on 3 November. The debate showed the lack of understanding between the opposition and the ruling coalition. Parliamentary Foreign Committee Chairman Dusan Slobodnik said that despite efforts by the opposition press to depict Slovakia in a "bad light," EU deputies maintain positive relations with Slovakia. Slobodnik said Meciar's speech before the joint EU-Slovak parliamentary committee--in which he accused the president and opposition of damaging Slovakia's reputation abroad (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1 November)--was factual. According to Slobodnik, the opposition's aim is to prevent Meciar from leading Slovakia to the EU and NATO, thinking naively that Meciar and his party would be blamed for the failure. -- Anna Siskova HUNGARIAN UNDERWORLD FIGURE KILLED. Jozsef Prisztas was shot dead on the morning of 1 November while getting into his car outside his Budapest apartment, Hungarian and international media reported. Prisztas, a restaurateur, was also said to deal in slot machines. Budapest Police chief Janos Bodracska said gang warfare has gone beyond what a civilized capital can tolerate, and police are offering a 1 million forint ($6,300) reward to anyone providing clues leading to those responsible for four grenade attacks that have recently hit Budapest. Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze said public security in Budapest is comparable to other large European cities. He said homicides, burglaries, and robberies have fallen in 1996, although car theft has become more prevalent. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY ASKS GERMANY TO TAKE BACK HAZARDOUS WASTE. A German Environment Ministry spokesman said on 2 November that Hungary has asked Germany to take back 380 tons of industrial chemicals stranded on its territory for months, AFP reported. The German weekly Der Spiegel reported that the waste, destined for China, was to be shipped via Croatia; however, Croatian authorities refused its passage and returned it to Hungary. The German ministry stressed that the matter is the responsibility of the state Environment Ministry of Lower Saxony, the region where the waste supposedly originated. But a Lower Saxony spokeswoman said it was unclear why her state should be responsible, adding that it was uncertain whether the chemicals actually constitute hazardous waste, Reuters reported on 3 November. -- Sharon Fisher SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE IZETBEGOVIC "TO MOVE" CONTROVERSIAL BOSNIAN DEFENSE OFFICIAL. President Alija Izetbegovic said that Deputy Defense Minister Hasan Cengic will be transferred to another job as part of a government reshuffle. Izetbegovic apparently refused to bow to U.S. pressure and openly sack the minister, whose removal Washington said was a precondition for resumption of U.S. military aid, AFP reported on 3 November. The public imbroglio has dragged on for nearly two weeks. U.S. spokesmen a†Ddifferent times have given two reasons for Cengic's removal: he was allegedly blocking the integration of the Croat-Muslim joint command; or because of his purported links to Iran. Izetbegovic has denied that Cengic or any of the Bosnian military have links to Iran, saying "we chose military cooperation with the United States [over that with Iran], because that gives more guarantees in preventing aggression in the future." -- Patrick Moore SERBIAN PRESIDENT CELEBRATES ELECTORAL VICTORIES ... Slobodan Milosevic and members of his leftist coalition, including his wife and leader of the Yugoslav United Left, are celebrating electoral victory in federal Yugoslavia's 3 November parliamentary elections, Reuters reported. Official results are far from in, and may be delayed until 7 November. Nevertheless, only hours after polls closed at 8 p.m., a representative of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia told the press that Milosevic's leftist coalition had "an overwhelming lead" over the main opposition coalition Zajedno (Together). Polling for local offices and the Montenegrin republican legislature were also held. Back on 5 October AIM Podgorica reported that changes to the electoral law favored the Montenegrin ruling Democratic Socialist Party so much so that the modest support of only 30% of the electorate could still theoretically translate into a majority of seats for the DPS in the 85-member house. -- Stan Markotich ... WHILE THE OPPOSITION POINTS TO IRREGULARITIES. Meanwhile, the opposition camp has raised serious questions over electoral improprieties. For his part, nationalist leader of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, remarked he was barred from monitoring the polls in several constituencies. Moreover, several opposition leaders continue to claim that the ruling Socialists dominated media coverage of the elections throughout the campaign, and that the Socialists--despite the presence of some international observers--still control vote counting procedures. Finally, independent and pro-opposition media encountered difficulties in reporting returns, prompting allegations of government interference. Nasa Borba on 4 November reported that Podgorica's Radio Antena M, suffered a cut in its power supply while attempting to report electoral irregularities. A representative of the station has said that deliberate arson may have caused the broadcast interruption. -- Stan Markotich MACEDONIA ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY. A new penal code went into effect on 1 November, AFP reported. Crimes that used to receive capital punishment now carry maximum penalties of 20 years to life in prison. The new penal code also includes offenses that were formerly unspecified such as computer fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. -- Fabian Schmidt SLOVENIAN UPDATE. Relations between Ljubljana and Rome continue to improve, Reuters reported on 1 November. Italy and Slovenia reached an accord on the preservation of grave sites of ethnic Italians who died on what is now Slovenian territory during the Second World War. In other news, Joze Smole, a long-time confidante of socialist Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, died in a Ljubljana hospital on 31 October, STA reported. Smole, who was 69, served in a number posts, including that of Belgrade's ambassador to Moscow. -- Stan Markotich ROMANIAN ELECTIONS LOOK TIGHT. Voter turnout was just above 70% in the country's third post-communist presidential and general elections on 3 November, Romanian and foreign media reported the same day. Preliminary results are expected on 4 November, but various exit polls indicate that the opposition might for the first time win the elections. The Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) garnered 32-36% of the votes. CDR is followed by the currently ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania with 21-25%, and the Social Democratic Union with 11-13%. Among presidential candidates, incumbent President Ion Iliescu and CDR candidate Emil Constantinescu appear set for a neck-to-neck struggle. A runoff for the presidency on 17 November appears inevitable. -- Dan Ionescu and Zsolt Mato ROMANIAN SECRET SERVICE HEAD SAYS HE WILL QUIT. Before voting on 3 November, Virgil Magureanu, head of the Romanian Intelligence Service, suggested that he might quit his job under the new legislature, Mediafax and Reuters reported. Magureanu said he would "vote for the change," without elaborating. Asked about a recent spy scandal in France provoked by revelations about former French Defence Minister Charles Hernu having allegedly worked for communist secret services, Magureanu said that the scandal might damage Romania's image in the West and hamper its efforts to join NATO. -- Dan Ionescu TWO TO RUN IN DNIESTER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The central electoral commission of the self-declared Dniester republic registered two candidates in the presidential race, scheduled for 22 December, BASA- press and Reuters reported on 2 November. The two are incumbent president Igor Smirnov and Vladimir Malakhov, a businessman who heads the Chamber of Local Industries. Six others who intended to run for presidency, including head of the Tiraspol legislature Vitalii Glebov, failed to collect the required 10,000 signatures. Smirnov, a Soviet-era industrial manager who used to run one of the region's biggest factories, is viewed as the sure winner. -- Dan Ionescu OPPOSITION CANDIDATE WINS BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Petar Stoyanov of the united opposition and his running mate, Todor Kavaldzhiev, on 3 November won the second round of the Bulgarian presidential elections, beating Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Bulgarian media reported. According to preliminary figures issued by the Central Electoral commission the following day, Stoyanov received 59.96% of the vote, and Marazov, 40.04%. Turnout was put at 61.72%. Stoyanov garnered 70-75% in Sofia and Plovdiv, and around two thirds of the vote in the other big towns. On a nationwide scale, Stoyanov also won by a slight majority in small towns and villages, which have tended to vote for the BSP. Marazov scored a narrow victory in the traditionally leftist northwest. Stoyanov will replace outgoing President Zhelyu Zhelev on 22 January 1997. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia SOCIALIST REACTIONS TO STOYANOV'S VICTORY. Prime Minister and BSP Chairman Zhan Videnov at an election night press conference refused to state whether there will be personal consequences within the government or the party as a result of the lost presidential elections. Marazov and Bokova also did not say whether they will resign from the government after a campaign in which they distanced themselves to a large extent from the government and Videnov, but they implied they will stay on.Trud reported that at a meeting of the BSP Executive Bureau earlier the same day Videnov said he will ask for a confidence vote as party leader at an extraordinary party congress to take place by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Kontinent reported that a BSP plenary meeting was set for 11 November to discuss the election results. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia UPDATED FINAL ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS. According to the latest figures, given to Reuters on 2 November by Central Election Commission, the Democratic Party won 58 out of 64 town halls and 267 out of 310 communes. The Socialist Party won four town halls, one mayoralty went to an independent candidate and another to a candidate from a rightist coalition between the Monarchy Legality Movement and the National Front. The Socialists won 15 rural communes, five were won by independent candidates and nine by the ethnic Greek Human Rights party. The National Front won four communes, the Republican Party six, the Social Democratic Union two and the Christian Democrats one. Turnout in both rounds on October 20 and 27 was 72%. Meanwhile, the Center Pole Coalition said the vote was fraudulent, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 2 November. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Valentina Huber ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. 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