Eat to live, and not live to eat. - Benjamin Franklin
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 7, Part II, 10 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

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT TO REGULATE ALCOHOL PRODUCTION, SALES. The Cabinet
of Ministers is to impose stricter controls over the production and sale
of alcohol, Ukrainian Radio reported on 9 January. State Food Production
head Leonid Svatko said that, in the last six months of 1996, Ukraine
earned $175 million from alcohol exports. He added that if the state had
not regulated the sale and production of alcohol, $120 million of that
sum would have remained outside Ukraine. The new regulations include a
minimum price for imported alcohol. The state has also stepped up
inspections of alcohol vendors; and since the beginning of the year
alone, more than 2,000 vendors have lost their licenses. Meanwhile,
Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko criticized the government for its "lack
of discipline," particularly the Finance Ministry. He said that the
ministry has already received eight warnings and that a ninth would not
be issued. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUS CONCERNED ABOUT WESTERN ALIENATION. Belarusian Foreign Minister
Uladzimir Syanko has agreed to the European Union's request to allow an
EU fact-finding mission into the country to assess the situation in
Belarus, AFP reported on 9 January. German Foreign Minister Klaus
Kinkel, meeting with Syanko in Berlin the same day, expressed EU
concerns about recent political developments in Belarus. The same day,
ITAR-TASS reported that First Deputy Foreign Minister Valeryi Tsypkalo
has begun talks with the EU and the Council of Europe. The council is
considering revoking Belarus's special status with the organization
later this month. The Belarusian National Assembly, the new lower house
of parliament, also ratified a number of international agreements on
minority rights, the rights of deportees, and other human rights issues.
-- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. Syamyon Sharetsky, speaker of the
parliament that was dissolved last year, arrived in Warsaw on 9 January
to meet with Polish officials, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. A
number of deputies to the 1996 parliament continue to meet under
Sharetsky and refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the new legislature.
Opposition leader Zyanon Paznyak, who was granted political asylum in
the U.S. last year, is also in Warsaw. The same day, Radio Rossii
reported that the nationalist Belarusian Popular Front picketed the
presidential administration building in Minsk. They protested food
shortages in the country and demanded that President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka guarantee to make dairy and meat products available in shops
at prices correlated to wages and pensions. The previous day, Belarusian
TV reported that Lukashenka has appointed former Justice Minister
Valyantsin Sukala as head of the Supreme Court. Sukala supported the
president during last year's political crisis. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIA WON'T SIGN BORDER TREATY WITH ESTONIA. Russian Foreign Minister
Yevgenii Primakov on 9 January said that Russia will not sign a border
agreement with Estonia, Western agencies reported. He added that Russia
should not be "afraid" to impose economic sanctions on Estonia to
protect the rights of Russian speakers living there. Former Estonian
Foreign Minister Siim Kallas said Primakov's statement was probably due
to a domestic political struggle in Russia. Last November, he agreed to
drop the Estonian demand that the agreement mention the 1920 Tartu
Treaty. His successor, Toomas Ilves, said during an official visit to
Sweden that Primakov's statement was "regrettable" and
"incomprehensible," particularly because it demarcates where Russia had
unilaterally fixed it two years earlier. He noted that Estonia was
prepared to sign the agreement and expected Russia to do the same as a
step toward enhancing the security and stability of Europe. -- Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIA'S BUDGET DEFICIT IN 1996. Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius
on 9 January announced that in 1996 the state failed to collect 356
million litai ($94 million) in planned revenues and the state social
security fund Sodra 691 million litai, BNS reported. Noting that only
22% of Lithuania's GDP was collected in taxes last year, Vagnorius said
that it would be "realistic" to aim to collect 32-33% of GDP in taxes,
as had been the case several years ago. -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON DISSENT AMONG POLISH OPPOSITION. Bronislaw Komorowski, former
secretary-general of the Freedom Union (UW) and one of the six deputies
who have recently quit that party, has said that the UW has no program
because it is split over ideological and values issues, Polish dailies
reported on 10 January. He added that the leadership wanted to mend the
split through "liberalism" but had failed to do so. Another dissenter,
Jan Maria Rokita, announced his support for Solidarity Electoral Action
(SAW), saying that the UW leaders should not be "offended" by the
existence of SAW simply because it was not them who had founded the
movement. Former Internal Affairs Minister Krzysztof Kozlowski, a UW
senator, criticized the dissenters, saying he himself had wanted to
reach an agreement with the SAW but its program was still unclear. --
Jakub Karpinski

JOURNALISTS IN POLAND TO BE SUBJECT TO LUSTRATION. The Sejm commission
drafting the lustration law has decided that journalists in both the
state-run and private media will be screened for cooperation with the
communist-era secret service, Polish media reported on 10 January. The
new provision is supported by the ruling post-communist Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant Party, while the opposition
Freedom Union and Labor Union fear that broadening the scope of
lustration will delay or even prevent screening state officials.
Speaking to journalists, SLD deputy Jerzy Dziewulski did not deny that
his party would like to try to avoid the screening of deputies and other
high-ranking officials. He called the new provision "irrational,"
Rzeczpospolita reported. -- Beata Pasek

CZECH INFLATION RATE IN 1996. The Statistical Office on 9 January
announced that the annual inflation rate for 1996 was 8.8%. That is
lower than predicted by economic analysts but higher than government
projections at the beginning of last year. Most economists agree that
the main reason for the high inflation rate is that wages grew faster
than expected, outpacing the growth in labor productivity. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK OPPOSITION CRITICIZES STATE OF EMERGENCY BILL. Opposition
representatives on 9 January slammed the Justice Ministry's draft law
restricting basic human and political rights in a state of emergency,
Slovak media reported. Those rights that would be targeted in such a
case include personal immunity and freedom as well as the rights to
ownership, assembly, and travel. Slovak National Party Chairman Jan
Slota demanded the passage of such a law in January 1996 in exchange for
his party's support of the Slovak-Hungarian bilateral treaty. Christian
Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky called the bill "a serious
violation of basic civil rights," saying it provides for imprisonment
and the confiscation of property in a state of emergency. The bill would
also allow the mobilization of the army, customs guards, railway police,
airport guards, and other armed forces. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ON REFERENDUM. Vladimir Meciar on 9 January told a
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) rally that while his party
supports changes to the Slovak constitution, it will not support the
referendum on direct presidential elections organized by the opposition,
CTK reported. Meciar said that if the referendum does take place, the
ruling coalition will suggest including a second question on the
immediate recall of President Michal Kovac. He also said that if the
Constitutional Court agrees that it is possible to change the
constitution through a referendum, the HZDS will call for a referendum
on "the stabilization of Slovakia's constitutional order." Meciar plans
to call a meeting of government and opposition parties next week to
discuss changes in the electoral system and the timing of the next
elections, which are currently scheduled for fall 1998. -- Anna Siskova

CONTROVERSY IN HUNGARY OVER DRAFTING NEW CONSTITUTION. The opposition
Young Democrats on 9 January rejected a proposal by the Alliance of Free
Democrats (SZDSZ), the junior coalition partner, that only four of the
seven parliamentary parties draft the new constitution, Hungarian
dailies reported. Previously, the SZDSZ had suggested that only those
parties that had supported the concept for the new basic law in December
should take part in drafting the final document. The governing
Socialists and Free Democrats as well as the opposition Young Democrats
and Democratic People Party all voted in favor of the concept, while the
other three parties voted against or abstained. The Young Democrats
argue that all parliamentary parties should take part in drawing up the
new constitution. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BELGRADE STUDENTS WIN STANDOFF WITH POLICE. Student protesters held a
triumphant and noisy march through the heart of the capital in the early
hours of 10 January following the withdrawal of security forces. The
students had organized shifts in order to confront the police for 13
hours, CNN and AFP reported. It was the first march since the
authorities banned such demonstrations on 25 December, and the students
say they will now seek a formal lifting of that prohibition. Opposition
leader Vuk Draskovic, for his part, demanded that Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic resign. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on 9 January
recognized the opposition's 17 November election victory in Vrsac, but
the protesters say they will continue until all 14 of their successes
are acknowledged. Also on 9 January, 52 of the 160 members of the
Serbian Academy of Sciences warned the government to recognize all
opposition victories lest the country degenerate into "a complete police
dictatorship" and civil war, Nasa Borba wrote. -- Patrick Moore

CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY FOR SERBIA? Prince Alexander, heir to the throne
from the Karadjordjevic dynasty, who has spent his entire life in
Britain, has said he has close links to the Serbian opposition and is
ready to return as king if the people want him. He told the Daily
Telegraph on 9 January that "it's time for a change. The people are fed
up." Royalist roots run deep in Serbia, and many observers and
politicians have suggested that the country might eventually restore the
Karadjordjevic dynasty, which the communists overthrew in 1945.
Alexander's realm would be confined to Serbia and Montenegro rather than
the entire former Yugoslavia, which his family had ruled since 1918. But
he does not exclude Bosnian Serb territories linking up with Serbia:
"One day, there will have to be a Dayton Two," he argued. He also warned
that "Milosevic is planning a collective suicide of the nation" and must
be gotten rid of. Alexander added that his role model is Spain's King
Juan Carlos, who helped Spain become a prosperous democracy integrated
into Europe. "What does the king provide? He provides unity," Alexander
concluded. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN SERBS SAY TRACKING DOWN WAR CRIMINALS WOULD ENDANGER PEACE.
Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian Presidency, has
said establishing an international police force to apprehend indicted
war criminals in Bosnia would pose a threat for peace in the country,
Onasa reported on 9 January, citing Bosnian Serb Radio reports.
Krajisnik said the Serbs are willing to try their own war criminals
using files received from the Hague-based international criminal
tribunal. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic said in a
letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the Bosnian Serbs will
not hand over their former President Radovan Karadzic or military
commander Ratko Mladic, both of whom are indicted war criminals, Reuters
reported on 9 January. Plavsic said the indictments were no longer valid
since fighting was over and there were no more reports on war crimes in
the Republika Srpska. Delivering Karadzic and Mladic to The Hague would
only threaten peace, Plavsic added. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BRCKO'S FATE CONTINUES TO HANG IN BALANCE. While international mediators
were meeting in Rome to discuss the fate of Brcko (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 9 January 1996), Bosnian Serb leaders warned that war could re-
ignite in the Balkans if the town was awarded to the Muslim-Croat
federation, Reuters reported. "Brcko is Serb and must remain Serb,"
Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic said at a ceremony in the
northern Bosnian town marking the founding of the Republika Srpska.
Krajisnik said Serbs would be compelled to wage war if the town were not
in Serbian hands. But the Bosnian Federation argues that Brcko should be
granted to Muslims and Croats, who constituted a majority of the city's
pre-war population and were subsequently "cleansed" by Serbs during the
war. Kresimir Zubak, the Croatian member of Bosnian Presidency, warned
the Serbs of "total defeat" if they were to go to war over Brcko, AFP
reported on 9 January. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIA EXTENDS LICENSE OF ZAGREB INDEPENDENT RADIO. The Croatian
government has extended the broadcasting license of the independent
Radio 101 until the end of this month, Croatian media reported on 10
January. The license was due to expire on 15 January. Some 100,000
people staged a protest in Zagreb in November when the government tried
to silence the station by granting its broadcasting concession to a
rival station. The government gave no reason for the short-term
extension of Radio 101's license. -- Daria Sito Sucic

U.S. OFFICIAL ON ROMANIA'S CHANCES OF EARLY ADMISSION INTO NATO. U.S.
Defense Undersecretary for Policy Walter Slocombe, in Bucharest on 9
January for a one-day visit, said Romania's chances of early admission
into NATO have significantly increased following recent democratic
elections and improved relations with its neighbors, international media
reported. But Slocombe stressed that his visit to the Romanian capital
should not be interpreted as indicating which countries will be
nominated to join the alliance first. At meetings with senior defense
officials, he discussed Romania's efforts to join NATO. President Emil
Constantinescu and Premier Victor Ciorbea both argued for the country's
integration into NATO, stressing again that Romania has no alternative
but to join NATO. -- Zsolt Mato

LUCINSCHI RESIGNS AS MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER. President-elect
Petru Lucinschi on 9 January handed in his resignation as parliamentary
speaker, Moldpres reported. In a secret ballot the same day, Dumitru
Motpan, head of the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party, failed to win the
required 50% of the vote to be elected to that post. Another round of
voting is expected to take place today after further consultations. One
of the favorites for the post is Dumitru Diacov, who is deputy speaker
and one of the organizers of Lucinschi's election campaign. Lucinschi
will officially take office as president on 15 January. He defeated
Mircea Snegur in the second round of presidential elections last month.
-- Dan Ionescu

ANTI-SOCIALIST DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE IN BULGARIA. Thousands of people
took to Sofia's streets again on 9 January to call for new elections,
AFP reported. Organizers have promised a third consecutive day of
protests today, saying they hope to form a human chain around the
parliament building. The protests follow the BSP's nomination of
Interior Minister Nikolai Dobrev to replace Zhan Videnov, who resigned
as prime minister on 28 December. Videnov had been blamed for Bulgaria's
dire economic situation. President Zhelyu Zhelev is scheduled on 11
January to formally ask Dobrev to form a new government backed by the
BSP and its two allies, Ecoglasnost and the Agrarian Party. Dobrev has
said he will take no action against the demonstrators "unless they
become violent." Opposition leader Ivan Kostov has likened the Bulgarian
protests to those currently taking place in Belgrade. -- Fabian Schmidt

BULGARIAN INFLATION IN 1996 REACHED 310%. According to the Statistics
Institute, inflation soared to 310.8% in 1996, AFP reported on 9
January. The head of the institute said this was 10 times the average
rate in east and central Europe. Inflation in December totaled 26.9%--
the highest monthly figure since prices were deregulated in February
1991. The institute forecast that inflation in 1997 would be 150%, but
it warned that if the lev continued to fall against the dollar,
inflation this year could exceed the figure for 1996. -- Fabian Schmidt

WIDOW OF ALBANIAN DICTATOR RELEASED FROM PRISON. Nexhmije Hoxha, the 76-
year-old widow of late communist-era dictator Enver Hoxha, was released
from a Tirana jail earlier today, Reuters reported. She was arrested in
1991 and sentenced in 1993 to 11 years in prison on embezzlement
charges, but her term was reduced three times in various amnesties by
President Sali Berisha. She is quoted as saying "I am very pleased to be
out but I am now rushing off to see my children and family.... I don't
know where I'm going to live because I have no home." She added that one
of her first priorities is to visit the grave of her husband, which, she
said, she has not seen. Enver Hoxha was buried in the Martyrs of the
Nation cemetery in 1985. His body was exhumed and re-buried in a public
cemetery in 1992. -- Fabian Schmidt

ANOTHER ALBANIAN PYRAMID SCHEME COLLAPSES. The Malvasia investment
company has gone bankrupt, Republika reported on 9 January. The Kucove-
based investment company, which was founded in 1991, offered monthly
interest rates of 7-10%. It is the third pyramid scheme to collapse
since December. Meanwhile, Koha Jone on 9 January published the full
text of a Democratic Alliance Party (PAD) statement accusing the
government of having received substantial funding from various pyramid
investment schemes. According to the PAD, the Gjallica investment scheme
alone gave the equivalent of $500,000 to the Democrats for their
election campaign. The government has denied the charges. -- Fabian
Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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