It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. - Erasmus
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 234, Part II, 5 December 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 OMRI Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are
available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT LAMBASTS GOVERNMENT OVER PROPOSALS TO CURTAIL SOCIAL
BENEFITS. Following a meeting with President Leonid Kuchma late last
night, the government has decided to withdraw its proposals to cut
benefits for World War II invalids and to increase the retirement age
beginning in 1997, Ukrainian TV and ITAR-TASS reported on 5 December.
Kuchma sharply criticized Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko and his
government for "inefficiency" and "lack of responsibility." He told the
government "to stop once and for all any attempts to infringe on
people's basic rights." Meanwhile, a group of prominent international
academics have nominated Kuchma for the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize,
international agencies reported on 4 December. Kuchma is credited with
diffusing ethnic tensions in Crimea, giving up Ukraine's nuclear
weapons, improving relations with Moscow, and pushing through market
reforms. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

NUCLEAR REACTOR SHUT DOWN IN SOUTHERN UKRAINE. Reactor No. 2 at the
Yuzhnoukrainska nuclear plant has been switched off owing to a short
circuit, Ukrainian and international agencies reported on 4 December.
Ukrainian nuclear experts reported no radiation emissions. The plant,
located in Mykolaiv Oblast, some 280 km south of Kyiv, has already been
shut down three times this year because of other problems. A reactor at
Ukraine's Zaporizhya plant--the largest nuclear facility in Europe--was
also shut down recently owing to a fault. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

BELARUS'S ACTING PRIME MINISTER IN CHINA. A delegation headed by Syarhey
Linh arrived in Beijing on 4 December, Belarusian Radio reported. Linh
was accompanied by the ministers of foreign economic relations,
industry, education, and science, as well as other officials and
prominent Belarusian businessmen. The delegation will sign several trade
agreements and study Chinese experience in creating free economic zones.
Such a zone is intended to be created in the western Brest region of
Belarus. Linh is due to meet today with his Chinese counterpart, Li
Peng. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

NORDIC COUNTRIES AGREE TO TAKE ASIAN REFUGEES DETAINED IN LATVIA. The
Swedish, Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian ministers responsible for
immigration, meeting near Helsinki on 4 December, agreed to take 108 of
the 130 Asian refugees being held in the Olaine internment camp in
Latvia, Western agencies reported. The case of the remaining 22 refugees
is to be reviewed. Extensive media coverage was devoted to the refugees
in April 1995, when they were shuttled between Latvia, Lithuania, and
Russia for 16 days on what was dubbed the "train of despair." The
ministers expect Latvia to adopt and implement refugee legislation in
accordance with the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. Two days earlier,
Latvia and Finland had signed an agreement on the readmission of illegal
immigrants. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT. Algirdas Brazauskas on 4
December signed a decree approving the 17-member cabinet of Prime
Minister-designate Gediminas Vagnorius, Radio Lithuania reported. The
Homeland Union has 11 ministers, the Christian Democratic Party three,
the Center Union two, and the Confederation of Industrialists one.
Vagnorius will present his government program to the parliament today,
but legislators are not expected to approve it until next week. --
Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON MISSING FILES PROBE IN POLAND. Warsaw prosecutors
investigating allegations about secret files missing from the State
Security Bureau (UOP) archives (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 December 1996)
have said that former Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski and
former UOP chief Gen. Gromoslaw Czempinski may be asked to testify as
witnesses, Rzeczpospolita reported on 5 December. The daily speculates
that the probe may focus on Milczanowski and Czempinski rather than
former President Lech Walesa. Walesa had received his personal files
from the UOP, but when he returned them, some files were missing. Among
the missing documents were allegedly a written statement by Walesa
vowing to keep quiet about conversations he had with the communist
secret police and receipts for money he had received. Milczanowski and
Czempinski are suspected of having delivered the documents to Walesa.
Meanwhile, President Aleksander Kwasniewski met with his French
counterpart Jacques Chirac in Paris on 4 December. Chirac assured
Kwasniewski that France will support Poland's speedy admission into the
EU and NATO. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PRESIDENT DOING WELL AFTER SURGERY. Ladislav Spacek, spokesman for
Czech President Vaclav Havel, has told journalists that the president is
recuperating "nicely" after surgery to remove half of his lung earlier
this week. Havel had been diagnosed as suffering from a malignant tumor.
Spacek said there were no signs of complications and that the patient's
condition is "very good." Doctors say the cancer has been caught at an
early stage and that the prognosis for Havel is positive. -- Jiri Pehe

LOW SUPPORT FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP AMONG CZECHS. A poll conducted by the
Institute for Public Opinion Research suggests that only 38% of Czechs
are in favor of their country joining NATO, Czech media reported on 4
December. Some 35% were opposed, while 27% were undecided. A further 33%
saw NATO membership as a security guarantee, while 40% considered the
main disadvantage to be the expected higher costs for the Czech army.
Czech politicians disagree over whether there should be a national
referendum on NATO membership. The three coalition parties are all
against such a referendum, while the opposition Social Democrats support
joining NATO but insist on a plebiscite. Two minor opposition parties,
the Communists and the extreme-right Republicans, strongly oppose NATO
membership. -- Jiri Pehe

SUDETEN GERMANS CRITICIZE CZECH-GERMAN DECLARATION. Franz Neubauer,
chairman of the Sudeten German community, told German Radio on 4
December that he was disappointed with the Bonn government's behavior in
negotiating a joint Czech-German declaration. The declaration is
designed to deal with past mutual grievances, including the expulsion of
some 3 million Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel are to
meet today with representatives of Sudeten Germans. "The [Bonn]
coalition didn't think it necessary to inform the Sudeten Germans of the
exact wording [of the declaration]," Neubauer said. "It makes little
sense to discuss the wishes of the expellees if everything is already
fixed. The decisions are once again being taken over the heads of those
concerned." -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK DISSIDENT DEPUTY STRIPPED OF MANDATE. The parliament on 4
December voted to remove the mandate of deputy Frantisek Gaulieder, who
quit the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) last month,
Slovak media reported. Gaulieder, a founding member of the HZDS, had
accused the party of failing to keep its pre-election promises and of
passing unconstitutional legislation. Opposition Christian Democratic
Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky warned that "Slovakia is reaching the
level of Belarus and Serbia." He added that the move sets "a dangerous
precedent" that will negatively influence Slovakia's ties with the West.
The vote took place after parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic had
received a letter in which Gaulieder allegedly said he wanted to give up
his mandate. Gaulieder claims that the letter was forged and insists
that he did not write it. He has promised to take the case to court and
to international institutions. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRIVATE TV CHALKS UP SUCCESS. The Slovak private TV station
Markiza has strengthened its influence and position on the media market,
TASR reported on 5 December. Markiza began broadcasting three months ago
and was able to secure a large number of viewers immediately. According
to data released by the VISIO TV institute, Markiza's viewership exceeds
40% of the total population. Only 21.2% of viewers reportedly watch the
state-run Slovak TV 1. In those areas where it broadcasts, Markiza has
48.3% viewership, while Slovak TV 1 has only 16.8%. Czech TV Nova also
has a large share of Slovak viewers. -- Anna Siskova

DEATH THREATS ACCOMPANY INVESTIGATION INTO HUNGARIAN PRIVATIZATION
SCANDAL. Tamas Deutsch, a member of the opposition Young Democrats and
chairman of the parliamentary commission investigating the recent
privatization scandal, said he and his family have received death
threats, Hungarian dailies reported on 5 December. In a related
development, Marta Tocsik--the lawyer at the center of the scandal, who
earlier this year received a record-high consultancy fee under an
illegal contract with the State Privatization Agency--has been sent a
two-page handwritten death threat from the self-proclaimed "Justice-
Delivering Death Brigade." Tocsik's defense attorney has also received
death threats. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIAN PROTESTS CONTINUE TO GROW . . . With mass demonstrations in
Belgrade well into their third consecutive week, local media report that
the largest number of people so far took to the streets on 4 December.
Nasa Borba estimates that 150,000 people gathered in the capital city,
while other estimates put the number at more than 200,000. Students held
a peaceful demonstration outside the presidential residence to demand
that the state-run media give coverage to the protest actions. At a mass
rally downtown, student protesters demanded that independent media be
allowed to cover the demonstrations. They distributed pamphlets saying
that "Enough is enough: You have closed [Radios] B-92 and Index,
shameless in your arrogance, but in fact you are afraid that you won't
be able to steal any more or send other peoples' children to war." --
Stan Markotich

...WHILE MILOSEVIC TAKES SOME MEASURES. In what may be a move to appease
the demonstrators, Milosevic has fired the hard-line head of the
Socialist Party of Serbia branch in Nis, state radio and TV reported on
4 December. Beta and Nasa Borba reported that Milosevic intends to sack
other officials, including the Serbian Information Minister Aleksandar
Tijanic, following the closure of independent Radio B 92. According to
some reports, Tijanic has already resigned. There are also reports that
the government has closed down another independent radio station--BOOM
93, based in Milosevic's hometown of Pozarevac. Meanwhile, CNN on 4
December reported that police are arresting  protesters, at least in
Belgrade, and sentencing them to 25 days in prison. Finally, 90 Serbian
justices are formally protesting the nullification of the results of 17
November elections. -- Stan Markotich

LONDON CONFERENCE ON BOSNIA OPENS . . . The latest international
gathering to assess implementation of the Dayton peace agreement began
in London on 4 December. Speakers made the usual admonitions to the
former Yugoslavs to keep their promises, and they stressed that more
attention must be paid to enabling refugees to go home and to catching
war criminals, international media noted. But enforcement of these
provisions in 1996 has been lax to say the least, and it is difficult to
see how matters can improve next year with a much smaller peacekeeping
force present. Some speakers reminded the former Yugoslavs that
donations of reconstruction aid will be contingent on good behavior, but
so far this carrot has failed to produce the desired results. -- Patrick
Moore

. . . BUT DELEGATES THINK MAINLY OF SERBIA. Most attention at the 4
December meeting seemed to be directed toward the dramatic events in
Belgrade rather than Bosnia, with speakers warning the Serbian
government not to use force. U.S. envoy John Kornblum went further,
saying that Serbia's "internal structure and its internal order [are]
unacceptable to us." The international community's High Representative
Carl Bildt noted that "peace can never be stable in Bosnia if we don't
have stability throughout the region. That stability can never be built
on repression." NATO's Secretary General Javier Solana, who comes from
Spain, said his message for Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was
"Adios, amigo," international media reported. -- Patrick Moore

FAILURE TO ACCOUNT FOR MISSING PERSONS THREATENS BOSNIAN PEACE. Cornelio
Sommaruga, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
has said there can be no real peace in Bosnia until the fate of the
16,000 missing people can be established, AFP reported on 5 December.
Sommaruga said some 13,000 of the missing are known to have been in the
hands of the Bosnian Serbs, including the 8,000 who disappeared from the
Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, which was taken by the Serbs last year.
Another 1,500 people are thought to have been held by Muslims and 1,000
by Croats. Sommaruga said the ICRC, which under the Dayton peace accords
has a mandate to reunite families, has faced "aggression" and harassment
while seeking to track down the missing people. In other news, a group
of 24 Bosnian refugees expelled by Germany on 4 December have returned
to Bosnia, AFP reported. Thirteen were immediately detained by the
police in Sarajevo on criminal charges. -- Daria Sito Sucic

DEMONSTRATION IN VUKOVAR AFTER TUDJMAN'S VISIT. Angry Serbian
demonstrators on 4 December forced UN spokesman for eastern Slavonia
Philip Arnold and a group of Croatian journalists to cut short their
visit to Vukovar, international and local media reported. The incident
occurred one day after Croatian President Franjo Tudjman visited the
town, which is located in the last Serb-held enclave in Croatia (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 4 December 1996). Arnold said some 150-200 Serbs
gathered in front of the town's cultural center to protest Tudjman's
visit. They prevented Arnold and the Croatian journalists from entering
the building. Meanwhile, the Croatian rail unions on 4 December
announced that passenger traffic will resume but not commercial traffic,
Vecernji List reported the next day. Union head Zlatko Pavletic said the
decision was made to help ordinary citizens, but he added that the
strike will continue. -- Daria Sito Sucic

NEW MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT URGES WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN TROOPS. Petru
Lucinschi on 4 December called for the speedy withdrawal of all Russian
troops from Moldova, Interfax and international news agencies reported.
He urged the Russian side to respect the deadlines set in the October
1994 bilateral accord. That document, however, has not yet been ratified
by the Russian State Duma. Lucinschi, who was a high-ranking official
during the Soviet era, said he would insist that a Russian-Moldovan
basic treaty be signed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, outgoing
President Mircea Snegur, speaking at the OSCE summit in Lisbon, also
called for the Russian troops to pull out of eastern Moldova. The 6,500-
strong contingent in the breakaway Dniester region is the last Russian
military unit to be based on foreign territory against the host
country's will. -- Zsolt Mato

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATY WITH UKRAINE. The parliament on 3
December ratified a friendship and cooperation treaty with Ukraine,
Infotag reported. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and his Ukrainian
counterpart, Leonid Kravchuk, signed the treaty in October 1992. The
Ukrainian parliament ratified the document last month, after having
insisted that border questions between the two countries be settled
before ratification. According to Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister
Aurelian Danila, only a few sections of the border continue to be
disputed, including areas near Basarabeasca and Giurgiulesti. -- Dan
Ionescu

ONE MILLION BULGARIANS SUPPORT NATIONWIDE STRIKE. According to strike
committee data, almost 1 million people supported the nationwide one-day
strike on 4 December, national media reported. The Confederation of
Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB) organized the strike to
press for the government's resignation and to demand guarantees for the
socially vulnerable throughout the winter. The other big trade union,
Podkrepa, expressed only "moral support," as did some opposition forces.
Meanwhile, KNSB leader Krastyo Petkov and Prime Minister Zhan Videnov
met in Sofia the same day and reached some "verbal" agreements. Videnov
promised compensation in the form of bonds. Trud reported that
outstanding wages have been paid retroactively because of the strike.
Most newspapers characterized the strike as "weak" and "sluggish."
Petkov was jeered at a rally in Plovdiv, and some people in Gabrovo
demanded his resignation. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIAN ARMY FACES FINANCIAL PROBLEMS. Defense Minister Dimitar Pavlov
on 3 December acknowledged that the Bulgarian army owes suppliers some 4
billion leva ($10 million), mostly for food and uniforms, Reuters
reported. Pavlov said the army cannot rely on government funds to feed
the troops over the winter and has to make its own arrangements. Many
army units have their own farms and are able to produce most of the meat
eaten by their troops. Pavlov said the army needs at least $20 billion
over the next 10 years to modernize its equipment, but he added that the
state will probably be unable to provide those funds. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS THREATEN GENERAL STRIKE. Azem
Hajdari's Union of Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH) has given the
government an ultimatum to meet nine demands or face a general strike,
Koha Jone reported on 5 December. Among the demands are the introduction
of cost of living allowances, the doubling of wages, the definition of a
minimum wage, the passage of new legislation improving the social
security of workers, and the implementation of measures to fight
corruption within the trade unions. The BSPSH has requested a meeting
with President Sali Berisha to discuss its demands and wants official
recognition. The courts have so far declined to recognize Hajdari as the
official leader of the BSPSH. He was elected to that post following an
extraordinary congress last month. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                    BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/DD/Index.html

FTP
ftp://FTP.OMRI.CZ/Pub/DailyDigest/


                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Reprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the OMRI Daily Digest. For
subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit
the Transition Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/Index.html


OMRI ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region. There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write to ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
OMRI Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/ED/Index.html


RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published every
Wednesday) initially focusing on the local elections taking place
throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election season is
over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to broader
social, political, and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE REGIONS Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace contains the latest news about developments in the
Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other countries of Southeastern
Europe. Published every Tuesday, it contains both brief news summaries
and longer essays on specific events or issues facing the people of the
region.  To subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE TRANSLATION OF THE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI Your Name
   Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole