I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. - Aldous Huxley
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 8, Part II, 13 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 NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER IN BRUSSELS. Volodymyr Horbulin
visited Brussels for talks with NATO, Ukrainian Radio reported on 10-12
January. After the visit, Ukrainian Radio announced that a special
partnership agreement between NATO and Ukraine may be signed this year.
Horbulin said he views the special partnership between Ukraine and NATO
as an important component of European security. -- Ustina Markus

GAS DISTRIBUTORS WIN CONTRACTS IN UKRAINE. Ten Ukrainian and foreign gas
distribution companies won the rights to supply Ukrainian consumers with
more than 80 billion cubic meters of natural gas worth $5 billion,
Ukrainian Radio reported on 10 January. Competition for the contracts
had been going on for several months, and involved politicians as well
as businessmen. Previously, the major distributor was the
Ukrhazkonsortium, made up of six companies and two banks. The
Dnipropetrovsk gas system gave representatives from that region a
leading role in gas distribution. Under the new distribution scheme,
several other companies have emerged on the distribution arena,
including Interhaz, the Ukrainian Gas Company, and others. -- Ustina
Markus

POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS, DISMISSALS IN BELARUS. President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka issued a decree dismissing Uladzimir Syanko from the post of
foreign minister, and appointing Ivan Antonovich in his place,
international agencies reported on 11 January. The same day, Lukashenka
confirmed acting Defense Minister Alyaksandr Chumakau in his post.
Chumakau replaced Leanid Maltseu last year after Maltseu was
unceremoniously dismissed for appearing drunk at a banquet. Lukashenka
also appointed four members to the new 64-seat upper house of
parliament, the Council of the Republic. The four include former Supreme
Soviet Chairman Mikalai Dzemyantsei, who was removed from office for
failing to condone the putschists in August 1991; Uladzimir Karavai,
former head of the Belarusian Supreme Court during the Soviet era;
Tamara Dudko, head of the Belarusian Union of Women; and Mikalai
Yaromeka, head of the Belarusian Confederation of Creative Associations
and Cultural Funds. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES BUDGET. The National Assembly passed the
draft state budget for 1997 on 11 January, ITAR-TASS and Radio Rossii
reported. The budget sets expenditures at 43.3 trillion Belarusian
rubles (BR) and revenues at 35.8 trillion BR. The deficit is equivalent
to 3.3% of GDP. The majority of the deficit will be covered by issues of
government securities, privatization of state property, and foreign
loans. The rest of the deficit will be covered with loans from the
National Bank of Belarus. The budget was described by deputies as
"socially-oriented," with 55% of expenditures going to the social and
cultural spheres. Eight percent of the budget will be used to deal with
the ongoing consequences of the Chornobyl disaster. The agricultural
sector is to receive the lion's share of "social" expenditures, with
over half of all funds earmarked for that purpose going to support
agriculture. -- Ustina Markus

LATVIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS LITHUANIA. Andris Skele made an unofficial
one-day trip to Lithuania on 10 January to establish personal contacts
with Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius and Seimas Chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis, Radio Lithuania reported. Their talks touched upon security
issues, NATO and EU enlargement, the implementation of the Baltic free
trade agreement on farm goods that came into effect at the beginning of
1997, and the planned Baltic customs union. The leaders, however, did
not discuss the most important dispute between the two countries: the
demarcation of the sea border. In 1995, Latvia signed oil exploration
agreements with U.S. and Swedish companies in an area claimed by both
countries, but no work can be carried out on the project until the
border dispute is settled. -- Saulius Girnius

RUSSIA WANTS TO BUY FORMER NAVAL BASE IN LATVIA. The president of the
Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Arkadii Volskii, said
on 10 January that Russia is continuing talks with Latvia on the
purchase of the former naval base at Liepaja, AFP reported the next day.
Formerly the largest Russian naval base on the Baltic Sea, it was
abandoned in 1994 when Russian troops withdrew from Latvia. -- Saulius
Girnius

UNDP, FINLAND TO FINANCE ESTONIAN PASSPORT REGISTRATION. The UN
Development Program and Finland agreed on 10 January to give about 11
million krooni ($0.9 million) in aid to the Estonian Citizenship and
Migration Department to pay for the establishment of a central passport
registry, ETA reported. The program aims to supply all Estonian
passports with a machine-readable code and a registry for checking
passport data. The registry, which is expected to be ready by 1 May, is
one of the main requirements Finland had set for establishing visa-free
travel between the two countries. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW PARTY CREATED IN POLAND. The Conservative-People's Party (SKL)--
uniting the People's-Christian Party (SLCh) led by Artur Balazs and the
Conservative Party (PK) led by Aleksander Hall--was created on 12
January in Warsaw. A group of politicians who recently left the Freedom
Union (UW), led by former ministers Jan Maria Rokita and Bronislaw
Komorowski, have joined the new political formation. Former Agriculture
Minister Jacek Janiszewski, formerly from the SLCh, became the SKL
president, while Rokita and Miroslaw Styczen, who was formerly from the
PK, are his deputies, Komorowski is the SKL general secretary, while
Hall heads the SKL Political Council. The SKL wants to join Solidarity
Electoral Action (SAW), a large coalition led by the Solidarity trade
union. SAW leader Marian Krzaklewski and politicians linked to former
President Lech Walesa attended the unification congress as guests. --
Jakub Karpinski

CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND TO COORDINATE POLICIES. Polish Prime Minister
Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz ended a two-day official visit to Prague on 10
January, Czech media reported. He and his Czech counterpart, Vaclav
Klaus, discussed cooperation in a variety of fields and agreed to
coordinate the two countries' purchases of foreign military planes and
other equipment. Cimoszewicz said that within a few months--ahead of the
EU's Madrid summit in July--the two countries are planning to come up
with a joint initiative concerning their admission to NATO and the EU.
-- Jiri Pehe

CHARTER 77 CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY. Charter 77, the former
Czechoslovak dissident movement, on 10 January commemorated the 20th
anniversary of its founding with a series of events in Prague. Czech
President Vaclav Havel, one of the first three spokesmen of Charter 77,
told a gathering of former signatories that "the [Czech] state no longer
denies human rights to its citizens but human rights are still being
occasionally violated." He called for vigilance. Nobel Prize laureates
and other important personalities addressed a conference called "The
Legacy of Charter 77" held the same day. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER: NO CRISIS IN 1998. Vladimir Meciar rejected the
possibility of a constitutional crisis following the expiration of
President Michal Kovac's term in office in 1998, saying the cabinet
would assume some presidential powers if no new president is elected,
Slovak Radio reported on 10 January. He added if the current parliament
is unable to agree on a new president, the task will fall to the next
parliament, scheduled to be elected in 1998. Meciar said the next
parliamentary election should be held in June 1998, three months after
the end of Kovac's term. The Slovak Constitution states that a president
must be elected with the support of at least 90 of parliament's 150
deputies. Meciar also rejected the current electoral system, saying he
would prefer either a majority system or a combination of majority and
proportional systems. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN CABINET CALLS ON BELGRADE TO RESPECT LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS.
The Hungarian government on 12 January expressed concern at recent
developments in Belgrade, Hungarian dailies reported. The government
expects Serbian leaders to find a democratic and peaceful resolution to
the crisis over the recognition of the opposition's local election
victories. The cabinet also said that the Serbian government should
fully and unconditionally implement the OSCE's recommendations. In other
news, Sandor Lezsak, president of the Hungarian Democratic Forum,
addressed an opposition rally in Belgrade on 11 January. Lezsak said the
recent developments in Serbia and Bulgaria amount to a new anti-
Communist revolution. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

PROTESTS IN BULGARIA MOUNT . . . Demonstrations against the governing
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) continued over the weekend in Sofia,
Bulgarian and Western media reported. On 10 January, protesters blocked
the parliament building. Some stormed the building, causing 700 million
leva ($1.1 million) worth of damage and preventing more than 100
deputies -- mainly from the BSP -- from leaving. The parliamentary
opposition had previously staged a walk-out after the wording of its
"Declaration on Bulgaria's Salvation" was rejected by the Socialist
majority. Riot police broke up the blockade. Around 100 protesters and
police officers were injured. On 11 January, protests continued on a
smaller scale, but the largest demonstration so far was held in Sofia on
12 January. AFP estimated the number of protesters at 50,000, while
RFE/RL put it at 150,000-200,000. Protests are expected to continue.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of Labor Podkrepa called a nationwide
strike on 15 January. -- Stefan Krause

. . . AS POLITICIANS WRANGLE OVER POSSIBLE SOLUTION. Outgoing President
Zhelyu Zhelev on 10 January said he will not give the BSP a mandate to
form a new government, saying the current political situation makes that
impossible, RFE/RL reported. The next day, he called for early
parliamentary elections on state TV. President-elect Petar Stoyanov and
the BSP prime minister-designate, Interior Minister Nikolay Dobrev, met
on 11 January and agreed that the government and opposition should hold
talks to resolve the crisis. Stoyanov called for early elections.
Meanwhile, the BSP insisted that Dobrev be given a mandate to form a new
government. BSP Chairman Georgi Parvanov on 12 January said talks with
the opposition on early elections can start anytime, but he said he
expects the BSP to stay in power for at least another year to
"stabilize" Bulgaria. Also on 12 January, parliamentary speaker
Blagovest Sendov -- elected on the BSP ticket -- said that early
elections are necessary in his "personal opinion." -- Stefan Krause

GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE. Theodoros Pangalos held meetings on
12 January with both the Serbian authorities and leaders of the
opposition Zajedno coalition but failed to make any progress on a
solution to the crisis gripping the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(FRY), Radio B-92 reported. He did, however, say that the Belgrade
regime should recognize the opposition's 17 November victories in the
local elections. Pangalos, who described Serbia as "a loyal and real
friend," also expressed concern that the FRY may be heading for
international isolation once again. Pangalos also met with the head of
the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Pavle. Meanwhile, mass demonstrations
against the regime of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic continued on
12 January despite the continuing presence of heavily armed riot police.
-- Stan Markotich

CONTACT GROUP WARNS SERBIA. The five-member International Contact Group
met in Brussels on 11 January, but this time its attention was centered
more on Serbia than on Bosnia, international media reported. The session
called for greater democratization in the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, including recognition of the 17 November local election
results and promotion of independent media. The representatives of the
U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Russia nonetheless agreed not to pursue
fresh sanctions against Belgrade. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John
Kornblum, however, said that Washington has a program to increase
pressure on Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Nasa Borba reported on
13 January. Measures include freezing bilateral economic relations;
maintaining international political pressure; and promoting democracy
and a civil society within Serbia, including human rights in Kosovo. --
Patrick Moore

HIGH OFFICIAL SAYS SERBIAN ECONOMY TEETERING ON COLLAPSE. Carl Bildt,
the international High Representative to Bosnia, on 12 January said the
Serbian economy remains in tatters and is showing signs of further
disintegration. Bildt, speaking at an economic policy conference in
Sarajevo, was joined by other officials in warning the Bosnian Serbs
that they also face the prospect of near total economic ruin if they
remain steadfast in their resolve to maintain and solidify economic
links with Belgrade. For his part, David Lipton, assistant secretary of
the U.S. treasury, told the gathering that "For those of you
representing [the Republika Srpska] -- if you maintain a link to the
economy of Serbia as your principle economic link-- you will inevitably
follow Serbia downwards through the economic valley, the valley of
despair and isolation," Reuters reported. -- Stan Markotich

BLUNT WORDS FOR BOSNIA. Representatives of the international community
on 12 January said in Sarajevo that the Bosnians must get their
government functioning and start serious economic reforms or there will
be no international donors' conference in March. Envoys said that donors
want proof that the Bosnians have made real progress in, among other
things, adopting laws on a single central bank, a single currency, a
1997 budget, and servicing the foreign debt, Reuters reported. The
diplomats added that donors are interested in helping to sustain long-
term recovery but not in financing short-term aid projects. Meanwhile,
federal Agriculture Minister Ahmed Smajic told Oslobodjenje that the
economy is functioning at only 10 to 15% of its prewar level. -- Patrick
Moore

CROATIAN PRESIDENT REAPPEARS. Franjo Tudjman was shown on state-run
television on 10 January for the first time since New Year's, news
agencies reported. He appeared thin but robust and looking fit. The
failure of the usually publicity-conscious leader to appear in public
for several days led to renewed speculation at home and abroad regarding
his health, and some observers suggested that he has only months to live
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 January 1997). His own office had meanwhile
added to the confusion by failing to issue an unambiguous message that
the president is indeed healthy and instead put out statements that
could be interpreted in different ways. But on 13 January the official
media carried a new statement from his office, which said that:
"President Tudjman is pleased to inform the public that his recovery is
going well and that he is carrying out all his presidential duties. With
the will of the people and God, he will be able to continue carrying
them on for a long time." -- Patrick Moore

RE-ELECTED SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER ON POLITICAL FUTURE. Janez Drnovsek,
the leader of the center-left Liberal Democratic Party (LDS), said on 10
January that he would likely approach the conservative People's Party in
his search for allies in a new coalition government, STA reported.
Drnovsek, who has 15 days to unveil a new government lineup, was re-
elected prime minister by a margin of 46-44 votes on 9 January. The 10
November parliamentary elections gave no single party a clear mandate.
Meanwhile, police on 10 January opened an inquiry into allegations that
the LDS had attempted to "buy" opposition votes for Drnovsek. Drnovsek
on 10 January dubbed the allegations groundless. -- Stan Markotich

DID THE LIBERATION ARMY OF KOSOVO KILL THE FIRST ALBANIAN? Maliq
Sheholi, an ethnic Albanian member of the ruling Serbian Socialist Party
(SPS), was shot by unidentified assailants in Podujevo, Reuters reported
on 10 January. Sheholi was a member of the local city council. No
organization has claimed responsibility for the killing, but the
notorious Kosovo Liberation Army, which has been accused of killing nine
Serbs in 1996, threatened last October to kill Albanian collaborators
with the Serbian regime. -- Fabian Schmidt

CONTROVERSIAL MINERS' LEADER ARRESTED IN ROMANIA. Miron Cozma, the
leader of the miners' trade union in the Jiu Valley, was arrested on 10
January at the Prosecutor General's Office in Bucharest, Romanian and
Western media reported. He was detained on a 30-day warrant on various
charges, including "undermining state authority" and breaking firearms
regulations. Cozma, who led thousands of miners in violent marches on
Bucharest in 1990 and 1991, could face up to 15 years in jail. The last
miners' rampage, in September 1991, forced Prime Minister Petre Roman to
resign and left several people dead and dozens injured. Former President
Ion Iliescu, who has been accused of summoning the miners to Bucharest,
described Cozma's detention as politically motivated. Incumbent
President Emil Constantinescu, however, on 12 January rejected a plea by
miners' representatives to intervene on Cozma's behalf and said he would
use his powers to prevent violence. -- Dan Ionescu

DNIESTER PRESIDENT SWORN IN FOR SECOND TERM. Igor Smirnov, the president
of the self-declared "Dniester Moldovan Republic," was inaugurated for a
second term on 10 January, BASA-press reported. Smirnov, who was
congratulated by Tiraspol officials and blessed by the local Orthodox
bishop, stated at the ceremony that the creation of the secessionist
republic has made it more difficult for "Romania to incorporate
Moldova." He stressed that the future relationship between Chisinau and
Tiraspol should be based on treaties and that Moldova should "view the
Dniester region as a [separate] state." The special session of the
Supreme Soviet was attended by deputies of the Russian State Duma.
Smirnov was re-elected president with 71% of the votes on 22 December.
-- Dan Ionescu

ALBANIA PROTESTS EXPULSIONS FROM GREECE. Albania has protested against
Greece's recent expulsions of Albanian emigrants. Hundreds of Albanians
have been deported from Greece in a crackdown on illegal immigration
following a series of burglaries in an Athens suburb that have been
blamed on Albanian crime rings, Reuters reported on 10 January. Police
at the Kakavie border checkpoint said the number of expelled Albanians
has increased three-fold in recent days, reaching up to 300 a day, with
most of the deportees coming from Athens. Greece has, however, pledged
to issue working permits to most of the estimated 350,000 illegal
Albanian immigrants living in the country. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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