History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 7, Part II, 7 January 1997

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

BABY-THEFT SCANDAL IN UKRAINE. The trial over the illegal adoption of
babies in Ivano-Frankivsk has had political reverberations, NTV and
Intelnews reported on 6 January. The deputy head of the Lviv regional
administration, Yurii Zyma, was dismissed from his post by President
Leonid Kuchma. Zyma was charged with complicity in the illegal
adoptions, along with the chief doctor of the Lviv Oblast state hospital
Bohdan Fedak; another doctor, Volodymyr Droshenko; and the former head
of the oblast administration, Zinovii Ursul. Between 1992 and 1994, over
130 newborns from the west Ukrainian hospital were sold to Westerners
for $6,000-13,000 each, while the mothers were told their babies had
been stillborn. In all of Ukraine, 802 babies were sold without their
parents' consent. The fate of 630 is still unknown, and Interpol has
been looking into the cases. -- Ustina Markus

OUTPUT OF UKRAINE'S ZAPORIZHZHYA STATION. Last year, the Zaporizhzhya
nuclear power station produced the most electricity in its 12-year
history, Ukrainian radio reported on 6 January. The station is the
largest in Europe. In December, it generated 3.6 billion kilowatts of
electricity. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT DISMISSES FOOD OFFICIALS. Alyaksandr Lukashenka
dismissed several officials over the disruptions in the supply of food
to the population this winter, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 January. The
officials included the first deputy trade minister, the first deputy
chairman of the board of directors of the Belarusian Cooperative Union,
the president of the Belarusian Food Industry, a deputy chairman of the
Brest regional executive committee, and a deputy chairman of the Minsk
city executive committee. Over the winter months, there has been a
shortage of butter, sour cream, sugar, and meat. An investigation
concluded there should have been an ample supply, but commercial
structures had bought up the products and then exported them for profit.
-- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN UPPER HOUSE NEARLY COMPLETE. The new upper chamber of
parliament is almost complete, with 53 deputies having been elected from
regions and from Minsk city, Belarusian television reported on 6
January. Under the new constitution, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is
to appoint additional deputies. He had to confirm the candidates
nominated in the regions before they could be elected. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN POLICE LACKING CITIZENSHIP MAY BE FIRED. A third of the police
force in Estonia's northeastern Ida-Virumaa region, 114 officers, may
lose their jobs as of 1 February because they have not obtained Estonian
citizenship, BNS reported on 6 January. Ida-Virumaa police chief Helmut
Paabo said the officers could have passed the citizenship exam if they
had really wanted to. The dismissals would leave some towns in the
northeast with an understaffed police force. In Sillamae, out of the 60-
member police force, only 15 have Estonian citizenship. Paabo said
authorities hope to resolve the crisis by restructuring payroll and
duties. -- Ustina Markus

UPDATE ON COMMUNIST TRIAL IN LITHUANIA. Former Yedinstvo activist
Valerii Ivanov was expelled from the courtroom on 6 January where
Lithuania's former communist leaders are on trial for their role in the
13 January 1991 Soviet crackdown in Vilnius, BNS reported. Ivanov was
asked to leave the courtroom because he was subpoenaed as a witness in
the case, and can therefore only be present when he gives testimony.
Ivanov had to be asked to leave four times before he complied, arguing
the expulsion was a violation of his rights. After a month and a half
recess, the trial resumed on 6 January. -- Ustina Markus

LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS POLAND. Algirdas Saudergas on 6
January began a visit to Poland, his first abroad since Lithuania's new
government was appointed in December last year. Saudergas said Poland is
Lithuania's most important geo-strategic partner. "Lithuania wants to be
a Central European country, not a Baltic republic," Gazeta Wyborcza
reported him as saying. His Polish counterpart Dariusz Rosati said
Poland and Lithuania have similar aims, among others regarding NATO
membership. Both countries intend to conclude new treaties on cultural
exchanges and on joint military action, including setting up a battalion
for peace missions by next year. The two ministers said they were
watching developments in Belarus and would consider joint initiatives.
Saudergas, who speaks fluent Polish, had come to Poland in 1991, when
the Soviets were cracking down on Lithuanian demonstrations, to prepare
for the establishment of an emigre government in Warsaw if necessary. --
Jakub Karpinski

NEW CZECH JUSTICE MINISTER APPROVED. Vlasta Parkanova, currently a
department head at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and formerly a
deputy in the Czechoslovak federal parliament, on 6 January was approved
by the three government coalition parties as the next minister of
justice, Czech media reported. Parkanova had been officially nominated
by the coalition Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) on 3 January. President
Vaclav Havel is expected to appoint her on 7 January. The post became
vacant after Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Jan Kalvoda
resigned from his government posts in response to the fact he had
falsely claimed to possess a Doctor of Law degree. The decision on who
will fill the post of deputy prime minister will not be made until the
ODA's congress in March. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK OPPOSITION RESPONDS TO PRIME MINISTER'S OFFER. Democratic Union
Chairman Jozef Moravcik on 6 January responded to Vladimir Meciar's
recent calls for a meeting of party representatives "to agree on the
rules of political competition," TASR reported. "[Meciar's] initiative
could be useful if this meeting were not just a cover-up maneuver with
which the ruling coalition wants to stop the decline of its influence on
public opinion," Moravcik said. After the last multi-party talks -- held
during the June 1996 coalition crisis -- Meciar failed to keep his
promises to the opposition Party of the Democratic Left regarding
privatization. Moravcik called for direct presidential elections as well
as changes in Slovak TV, which has been used as a tool by the ruling
coalition. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN NEO-NAZIS COMMEMORATE FASCIST LEADER'S BIRTHDAY. About 100
neo-Nazis gathered at the grave of Ferenc Szalasi on 6 January to mark
the 100th birthday of the Hitler ally, Hungarian and international media
reported. With Nazi assistance, Szalasi became Hungary's fascist leader
in October 1944. During his short leadership, he ordered thousands of
Jews, left-wingers, and deserters killed. Szalasi was executed as a war
criminal in 1946. The Federation of Hungarian Resistance Fighters and
Anti-Fascists protested the neo-Nazis' move in a statement released
through the state news agency MTI. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY, ISRAEL SIGN TECHNICAL COOPERATION PACT. Visiting Hungarian
Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs and his Israeli counterpart David Levy on
6 January signed a technical cooperation agreement involving
agricultural and other joint projects, Hungarian dailies reported.
Israel has offered $160,000 over three years to establish in Hungary a
pilot farm equipped with high-tech agricultural technology. During the
first day of his three-day official visit to Israel, Kovacs also met
with a group of Israeli bankers and with Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat. Kovacs is still scheduled to hold talks with President Ezer
Weizman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Dan
Meridor. According to Israeli government figures, some 100 Israeli
businesses have invested around $750 million in Hungary, most notably in
the areas of telecommunications, computer software, and pharmaceutical
products. Trade between the two countries totaled about $100 million in
1996. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA NEEDS $1.4 BILLION FOR RECONSTRUCTION IN 1997. The
World Bank said on 3 January that foreign donors will need to provide
$1.4 billion this year to sustain reconstruction and the return of
refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina, international agencies reported. A donor
conference in Brussels on 9-10 January will assess progress and set
priorities for 1997. According to the World Bank's director for Bosnia,
Christine Wallich, priorities will shift from emergency intervention to
sustainable reconstruction, targeting infrastructure, refugee
resettlement, job creation, and financial institutions, AFP reported.
The World Bank alone plans to approve some $160 million in low-cost
loans. Out of $5.1 billion pledged in aid to Bosnia by foreign donors in
four years, $1.2 billion was spent in 1996. But Wallich warned that is
only a fraction of what is needed in Bosnia, where war damage is
estimated at $20 billion. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CONTROVERSY OVER INDEPENDENT TV STATION IN BOSNIA. Kosta Jovanovic, news
director of TVIN, Bosnia's internationally funded independent television
network, said on 7 January that TVIN was resuming broadcasting after
having stopped on 1 January due to satellite problems, Oslobodjenje
reported. But when the station went silent, the Bosnian Federation's
state-run media launched a campaign saying that the station had stopped
broadcasting because of a financial scandal in which local stations
contributing to TVIN's broadcast were cheated, AFP reported on 5
January. Jovanovic said the accusations were a deliberate attempt to
discredit the network before the Brussels fund-raising conference. In
other news, Bosnia-Herzegovina is supposed to take up the presidency of
the Central European Initiative (CEI) in 1997, AFP reported on 4
January. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS OPENED. President of the Croatian
Constitutional Court Jadranko Crnic on 6 January opened the new Croatian
Institute for Human Rights in Novi Vinodolski, Novi List reported the
next day. Crnic came on behalf of President Franjo Tudjman and said that
respect for human rights is the greatest legacy of Croatian history. The
institute is a non-governmental organization founded by the law schools
from major Croatian cities and Croat-held Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
as well as the Police Academy, the Croatian Bar, and others. Meanwhile,
State Attorney Anto Klaric, on his return from Strasbourg where he
reported to the Council of Europe on human rights in Croatia, said that
Croatia has been watched through a magnifying glass, Slobodna Dalmacija
reported on 7 January. Klaric said the international community deputies
have lost sight of who is an aggressor and who is a victim. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

HUGE ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS EVE MARCH IN BELGRADE. A crowd of at least
200,000 people walked through the Serbian capital to St. Sava's
cathedral to mark Orthodox Christmas Eve in yet another day of protests
against the cancellation of the 17 November local election results. The
protest was typically good-natured and peaceful, except for a reported
small explosion at the headquarters of JUL, the small left-wing party
led by Mirjana Markovic, the wife of Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic, AFP noted on 7 January. After Patriarch Pavle said mass at
the cathedral, opposition leaders made speeches outside and presented
5,000 gift boxes for the children of their supporters. The usually
uncommunicative police had earlier assured the demonstrators that they
would not interfere with Christmas processions. -- Patrick Moore

WILL FEDERAL YUGOSLAV ARMY UNITS MOVE AGAINST MILOSEVIC? Following
discussions between army Chief of Staff Gen. Momcilo Perisic and student
leaders on 6 January, the army issued a letter saying the military will
not allow itself to be used against peaceful protesters (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 6 January 1996). The text stated that problems must be solved by
peaceful and constitutional means, Nasa Borba wrote on 7 January,
thereby ruling out the possibility that Milosevic could rely on the army
to crush dissent as he did in March 1991. The London daily The
Independent, moreover, reported on 7 January that at least some units
may be ready to turn on Milosevic if he tries to declare a state of
emergency, AFP wrote. The Serbian leader has never gotten on well with
the military, which resents his building up a powerful police force as
his own Praetorian Guard. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS OPPOSE MILOSEVIC. Aleksa Buha, who succeeded
Radovan Karadzic as head of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), in his
Christmas message on 6 January called on Milosevic to avoid bloodshed
and respect the election results. Buha said: "It is stupid to stubbornly
refuse to recognize what the laws of civilization dictate," AFP and Nasa
Borba reported. Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic repeated her
earlier declaration of support for the students. There has long been
little love lost between Milosevic and the Pale leadership, which feels
that the Serbian president has repeatedly betrayed vital Bosnian Serb
interests for his own political purposes. Milosevic backed opponents of
the SDS in last September's Bosnian elections. -- Patrick Moore

OLD GUARD OUSTED AT ROMANIAN NATIONAL TV. Stere Gulea, the director-
general of Romania's national television (TVR), on 6 January announced
sweeping top-level personnel changes, Romanian and Western media
reported. Eight senior news executives were replaced in the biggest
shake-up at TVR since the fall of the communist regime. The new head of
the Information Department is Alina Mungiu, a respected journalist and
political analyst. TVR is the only Romanian station with nationwide
coverage and the main source of information for isolated rural areas.
Under former leftist President Ion Iliescu, TVR was often accused of
blatant pro-government bias. The former ruling party, the Party for
Social Democracy in Romania, described the changes as "political purge."
-- Dan Ionescu

UKRAINE TO SUPPORT MOLDOVA'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY. Ukrainian Foreign
Minister Hennady Udovenko on 6 January said that Ukraine "takes the
Moldovan side" on the issue of settling the conflict between Moldova and
its breakaway Dniester region, Western agencies reported. The comment
was made one day after Moldovan President-elect Petru Lucinschi met
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Odessa. During the Sunday
unofficial talks, Lucinschi called on Kuchma to mediate more actively in
the peaceful settlement of the dispute. On his part, Kuchma reportedly
expressed Ukraine's support for Moldova's territorial integrity. --
Zsolt Mato

DOBREV NOMINATED AS BULGARIAN PREMIER. The Executive Bureau of the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on 7 January nominated Interior Minister
Nikolay Dobrev for the post of prime minister, Reuters reported. On 6
January, Dobrev had agreed to be the BSP nominee for that post, although
he had previously said that he wanted to stay on as interior minister,
RFE/RL and Pari reported. Dobrev now has to be approved by the BSP's
parliamentary allies -- the Bulgarian Agrarian People's Union
"Aleksandar Stamboliyski" and the Political Club Ekoglasnost -- and by
the parliament. Dobrev will succeed Zhan Videnov, who resigned as
premier in December. Dobrev, who emerged as an outspoken Videnov critic
at the recent BSP congress, has support within the party but also within
the population for his fight against corruption and organized crime, but
critics of his nomination pointed out that he lacks experience in
economics or finances . -- Stefan Krause

WILL A WAVE OF PROTESTS IN SOFIA OVERFLOW BULGARIA? More than 30,000
people demonstrated on 6 January in front of the local BSP headquarters
in Plovdiv, Bulgarian media reported. "If we have to die, we'll die out
on the squares," Plovdiv Mayor Spas Garnevski of the Union of Democratic
Forces said. The rally follows a mass rally of 40,000 of the "new
majority of the hungry" organized by the opposition in Sofia on 3
January. Further rallies are planned for the next few days in Sofia,
Varna, Burgas, Lovech, and Montana. Krastyo Petkov, chairman of the
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, said his group
will support the civil protests, Trud reported on 7 January. His
statement contradicts an earlier Duma report that Petkov would guarantee
the civil peace needed for the functioning of a new BSP government. --
Maria Koinova in Sofia

ALBANIAN STUDENTS STRIKE. Up to 25,000 students in Tirana and
Gjirokastra staged a strike on 6 January, Zeri i Popullit reported. The
protest was organized by the students' union and supported by former
student leader, Democratic Party legislator and notorious dissident Azem
Hajdari. The students demanded better working and living conditions in
the university and dormitories, a doubling of their stipends, the
legalization of a student radio and newspaper, the construction of a
freedom monument in Tirana's Student City, and freedom from military
service for those who attended military high schools. Rilindja
Demokratike on 7 January called the protesters "Hajdari's Falange,"
implying they were a minority and charged Hajdari with running amok.
Hajdari originally had planned to hold a general strike but apparently
realized that he had insufficient workers' support, Gazeta Shqiptare
reported on 5 January. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

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