It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. - Samuel Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 20, Part II, 29 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 PRESIDENT SUSPENDS RESOLUTION ON CRIMEAN GOVERNMENT'S
DISMISSAL . . . Leonid Kuchma has signed a decree suspending the Crimean
parliamentary resolution on the dismissal of the peninsula's government,
Ukrainian TV reported on 28 January. He said the resolution contravened
the Ukrainian Constitution, and he asked the Constitutional Court to
resolve the issue. Crimean parliamentary speaker Vasyl Kyselyov, meeting
with Kuchma the same day, said the decision to dismiss Arkadii
Demidenko's government was "hasty" and could worsen the situation in
Crimea. Crimean Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Klychnykov, who
had proposed that the government be dismissed, said Anatolii Franchuk is
the most acceptable new prime minister. Franchuk, currently a member of
the Ukrainian parliament, headed the Crimean government in 1994-1995. --
Oleg Varfolomeyev

. . . AND DENIES WANTING TO POSTPONE ELECTIONS. Kuchma's spokesman,
Dmytro Markov, has dismissed reports about extending the term in office
of both the president and the parliament as "political rumors,"
Ukrainian TV reported on 28 January. Markov noted that the president
believes that postponing the presidential and parliamentary elections
would damage the country's democratic development and worsen
confrontation between political forces. Rukh spokesman Vitalii
Shevchenko said calls to extend the powers of the parliament and
president until 2000 or 2001 are unconstitutional and a "political
intrigue." Centrists from the Yednist faction have recently made such
calls. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

UKRAINIAN TRADE UNIONS TO FORM POLITICAL PARTY? Oleksander Stoyan,
chairman of the Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), has
announced that the unions may create their own party, UNIAN reported on
28 January. He added that the unions will be more active in future
elections and want to win enough seats in the parliament to set up their
own faction. Stoyan noted that the FTU is undecided about supporting any
of the existing parties. Parliamentary speaker Oleksander Moroz has
urged the trade unions to increase their political power by establishing
contact with parties that "act in tandem with the trade unions," UNIAN
reported on 27 January. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

FORMAL CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST FORMER HEAD OF BELARUSIAN NATIONAL BANK.
Tamara Vinnikava, who headed the Belarusian National Bank from spring
1996 until her arrest earlier this month, has been formally charged with
exceeding her authority, Belapan reported on 27 January. Under Article
167 of the Belarusian Criminal Code, she could be sentenced to three
years in prison for granting a $2 million loan to an insolvent company
while serving as head of Belarusbank in 1995. Vinnikava has denied the
charges. Her lawyers believe that the case has political implications
and was fabricated in a hurry. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

IMF OFFICIAL PRAISES LITHUANIAN MONETARY POLICY. Donald Donovan, deputy
director of the IMF's Second European Department, said in Vilnius on 28
January that he approves of the monetary policy program drawn up by Bank
of Lithuania President Reinoldijus Sarkinas, Radio Lithuania reported.
The program calls for maintaining a stable litas exchange rate while
gradually eliminating the currency board. Donovan is scheduled to hold
talks with Prime Minister Gediminas Vagonius today. Meanwhile, an IMF
mission has been in Lithuania for more than a week discussing the
implementation of the economic memorandum Lithuania signed with the IMF
in 1994. Lithuania is trying to modify its pledge to reduce import
duties on agricultural products. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH GOVERNMENT ACCEPTS PLAN FOR EU INTEGRATION. The cabinet has
accepted a document outlining the principles for achieving Poland's
integration into the EU, Polish media reported on 29 January. The
"National Integration Strategy" provides for the gradual elimination of
trade barriers and protectionism. Poland expects negotiations on its
admission to the EU to start in early 1998. Deputy Prime Minister
Miroslaw Pietrewicz of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) was the only
cabinet member to vote against the document. Other PSL ministers had
been expected to demand more protection for Polish agricultural
products, but they refrained from doing so. The document must now be
approved by the Sejm. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, commenting
on the favorable conditions granted to the Korean automobile company
Daewoo (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 January 1997), said that all car
makers in Poland have been granted the same conditions, including those
from the EU. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER WRAPS UP TALKS ON DECLARATION WITH GERMANY.
Milos Zeman met with leaders of Bundestag caucuses in Bonn on 28 January
to discuss a preamble to the Czech-German declaration, international
media reported. Zeman's opposition Social Democrats argue that the
declaration does not close property issues related to the countries'
recent past. They have proposed an introduction to the declaration
including a statement to that effect. A representative of Germany's
Social Democrats told CTK on 28 January that German opposition parties
support the Czech proposal but that the government coalition parties are
opposed. Zeman told journalists on 28 January that his party would
support the declaration if all issues relating to the past were resolved
once and for all. -- Jiri Pehe

U.S. OFFERS CZECHS FREE USE OF FIGHTER PLANES. Representatives of the
U.S. Navy, acting on behalf of the U.S. government, have offered to
lease the Czech Republic seven McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 "Hornet" fighter
planes under a no-cost, five-year agreement, Reuters reported on 28
January. The offer includes the supply of spare parts, pilot and ground
personnel training programs, and support equipment--for which the Czech
Republic would have to pay. With an eye on eventual membership in NATO,
the Czech government has been debating whether to buy new aircraft.
Proposed cuts in defense spending have clouded the debate over upgrading
the fleet. -- Jiri Pehe

U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION CONCERNED ABOUT DEVELOPMENTS IN SLOVAKIA. The
U.S. Helsinki Commission has sent a letter to Slovak parliamentary
chairman Ivan Gasparovic expressing deep concern about "escalating
threats to the process of democratization in Slovakia," TASR reported on
28 January. The letter, signed by four U.S. congressmen, points out that
Frantisek Gaulieder--who was stripped of his parliamentary mandate in
December after he quit the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
(HZDS)--denies that he wrote a resignation letter (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 5 December 1996). The removal of his mandate therefore
contravenes the OSCE's Copenhagen Document, which Czechoslovakia signed
in 1990, the commission argues. It urged Gasparovic to ensure that
Gaulieder is reinstated in the parliament. -- Anna Siskova

SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTIES CALL FOR SECRET SERVICE CHIEF'S DISMISSAL.
Opposition representatives on 28 January said they will not start talks
with the ruling parties until certain steps are taken to instill mutual
trust, Slovak media reported. They were responding to Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar's recent calls for multi-party talks on the timing of
the next parliamentary elections and on constitutional changes.
According to an unidentified Christian Democratic Movement (KDH)
representative, the opposition's conditions for holding such talks
include the dismissal of Slovak Information Service chief Ivan Lexa. A
close ally of Meciar, Lexa is suspected of involvement in the kidnapping
of President Michal Kovac's son in August 1995, in addition to other
activities. -- Sharon Fisher

RUSSIA, HUNGARY TO SEEK SOLUTION TO TROPHY ART ISSUE? Russian President
Boris Yeltsin on 28 January proposed that Hungary and Russia establish a
joint working group to settle the future of art treasures looted by the
Soviet Army during World War II, Hungarian dailies reported. In a letter
to Hungarian President Arpad Goncz, Yeltsin said the return of the so-
called trophy art could be resolved, despite a parliamentary resolution
last year imposing a moratorium on the settlement of the issue. Yeltsin
also described the broadening of Russian-Hungarian relations as
essential. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN RULING DEMOCRATS PROMISE TO COMPENSATE CHEATED INVESTORS . . .
President Sali Berisha told a rally of some 10,000 supporters in Tirana
on 28 January that the government will seek to repay "quickly and
fairly" the money that has been "stolen" from them, AFP reported.
Hundreds of thousands of Albanians have lost their savings through the
recent collapse of pyramid schemes. The opposition Socialist Party
called off a planned demonstration and appealed to its supporters to
exercise restraint. Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu rejected the
Socialists' demand for a multi-party caretaker government and new
elections, saying "that would be making a hostage of democracy." In a
symbolic gesture, Shehu and Berisha repaired some of the street paving
that was destroyed in recent riots. The total damage wreaked during the
weekend riots is estimated at $50 million. -- Fabian Schmidt

. . . AT RISK OF HYPERINFLATION. At least five leading pyramid schemes
have collapsed since last fall. Others are still operating and paying
out interest but are not returning capital. Zef Preci, director of the
Albania Center for Economic Research, estimates that the $300 million
seized from two schemes would cover only one-third of total investments.
He told Reuters that "the only way the government can compensate people
in full is by printing money and that will set inflation alight." World
Bank representative Carlos Elbirt said that any further surge in prices
could be ruinous for Albania's economy. The budget deficit in the first
11 months of 1996 reached $260 million, or 11% of GDP, while the central
bank has foreign exchange reserves totalling just $270 million.
Moreover, much of the assets seized from the two schemes are held in the
form of Albanian treasury bills. The IMF has pledged to help the
government. -- Fabian Schmidt

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS RECEIVE MANDATE TO FORM GOVERNMENT. President Petar
Stoyanov on 28 January gave Interior Minister Nikolay Dobrev, the
premier-designate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the mandate to
form a new government, Pari reported. Previously, the BSP had rejected
Stoyanov's proposal to refuse the mandate and pave the way for early
parliamentary elections. Dobrev has seven days to form a new government.
Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Chairman Ivan Kostov said the SDS will
end its boycott of the parliament and agree to elections in May, as
Stoyanov has asked them to do. Kostov said he and his supporters are
"going to fight now" against a new Socialist government. Meanwhile, the
three main trade unions are staging a nationwide strike today to protest
Dobrev's decision to form a new government, RFE/RL and Western media
reported. The strike began with work stoppages and road blocks. --
Stefan Krause

PROTESTERS IN SERBIA "RE-CLAIM" BELGRADE STREETS. An estimated 60,000
people marched through downtown Belgrade on 28 January after riot police
had apparently halted efforts to enforce a ban on mass protests,
international media reported. But in the nearby town of Smederevska
Palanka, riot police indiscriminately clubbed women and children who
were taking part in a protest rally. Beta also reported that a deputy of
the Zajedno opposition coalition was beaten in the same town. The police
brutality seems to have been triggered by Zajedno municipal leaders'
decision to swear in a parallel local council. Zajedno won the November
runoff municipal elections in Smedereveska Palanka, but the Socialists
refuse to recognize either this or other opposition wins. -- Stan
Markotich

IS SERBIAN PRESIDENT SECURING GOLDEN PARACHUTE? Slobodan Milosevic is
buying up properties in Greece, AFP and the Greek daily Eleftherotypia
reported on 28 January. The report states that Milosevic already owns a
luxury yacht and at least several other properties in the neighboring
Balkan state. He is now said to be planning to invest in a villa on the
island of Corfu. Onasa suggests that Milosevic may be preparing an
escape route, should events force an end to his political career at
home. Greece is one of the few states that supported Belgrade during the
recent Yugoslav wars. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 29 January reports that
Milosevic has brokered a political deal whereby he will take over the
federal presidency from Zoran Lilic and Montenegrin President Momir
Bulatovic will become federal Yugoslav prime minister. -- Stan Markotich

ALBRIGHT LOOKS BEYOND MILOSEVIC, TUDJMAN. Following meetings with
European leaders in Washington on 28 January, U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright said that the international community will insist on
"cooperation and compliance" with the Dayton agreement, adding that
"there is no one individual upon which all this is dependent." This
remark seems to bear out recent speculation in the U.S. and
international press that Washington is looking beyond embattled Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and ailing Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman to a new generation of leaders. In a gentle poke at some
European allies, as well as at Milosevic and Tudjman, she pointed out:
"we want to have institutions built in Bosnia that will sustain a
democratic, multi-ethnic state." Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokesman
reaffirmed NATO's position that catching war criminals is "civilian"
police work and that SFOR peace keepers will not do it, international
news agencies reported. -- Patrick Moore

UN, BOSNIAN SERBS TO SET UP JOINT POLICE PATROLS. The international
community's High Commissioner Carl Bildt met with Republika Srpska
President Biljana Plavsic on 28 January to discuss violent incidents two
days previously in which Serb mobs attacked and injured Muslims helping
rebuild the village of Gajevi (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 28 January
1997). Following the session, Bildt's office announced that UN and
Republika Srpska police will set up joint patrols in the tense area
"immediately," international news agencies reported. Bildt's office also
said that "the Republika Srpska condemns any form of violence and
disrespect for the ... [agreed] procedure" by which refugees may return
to their homes now under the control of another ethnic group. Bildt will
continue his talks with Plavsic in Banja Luka today. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR JULY. Robert Frowick, head of the
OSCE mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, on 28 January said all the political
parties represented on the Provisional Election Commission have finally
agreed to the municipal election regulations, international media
reported. Elections for mayors and local councils in Bosnia will take
place on 12-13 July. The OSCE, which supervised Bosnia's general
elections in September, postponed the local elections after Bosnian
Serbs were caught manipulating the registration of refugees. Frowick
said the OSCE will be more careful in supervising the ballot this time.
Under the new rules, Bosnians can opt to vote where they are now living
if they submit proof that they settled there before 31 July 1996,
Reuters reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN MOB ATTACKS CROATIAN OFFICIALS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. UN spokesman
Philip Arnold on 28 January said that some 50 Serbs in Borovo Selo
stoned Croatian pension officials, bank representatives, and police, AFP
reported. No one was injured, but the bus transporting the Croatian
officials was damaged and windows of a nearby document-issuing center
were smashed. Arnold said the attack had prevented local Serb citizens
from receiving pensions that the Croatian government has recently
started to pay out. Meanwhile, Veljko Dzakula, head of the Serbian
Democratic Forum, the organization that represents the interests of
Croatian Serbs, said on 28 January that the situation of Serbs in
Croatia has deteriorated, AFP reported. Blaming the Croatian government
for this state of affairs, Dzakula said Serbs face grave violations of
their rights every day , including provocations, threats, looting and
government-imposed bans on visiting their former homes. He said the
situation was worst in the Knin area, southern Croatia, which was
formerly a UN protected zone. -- Daria Sito Sucic

PARTY MERGER IN MACEDONIA. Petar Gosev and Stojan Andov, leaders of the
Democratic Party and the Liberal Party, have decided to merge their
formations into "a strong [party] in the center," Nova Makedonija
reported on 29 January. They agreed that Gosev will head the new
formation, which will be called Liberal-Democratic Party or Democratic-
Liberal Party. Gosev said the new cooperation will not adversely affect
the coalitions at the local level between the Democrats and the
nationalist Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization--Democratic
Party for Macedonian National Unity. In other news, Greece and Great
Britain on 27 January blocked a proposal for the EU to provide
macroeconomic support to Macedonia. -- Stefan Krause and Michael Wyzan

BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Following a meeting with top
officials in Bucharest on 28 January, Malcolm Rifkind said he was
"extremely impressed by the changes [in Romania] in the last months,"
Reuters reported. Rifkind also said that the new government's commitment
to reform and improved relations with neighboring Hungary and Ukraine
have boosted its chances of admission to NATO. But he stopped short of
backing Romania's entry in the first wave. Rifkind stressed the need for
Romania to ensure good relations with neighbors that are not seeking
NATO membership, primarily Russia and Ukraine. -- Zsolt Mato

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTIES DEMAND DISMISSAL OF SECRET SERVICE HEAD.
Leaders of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) and the Greater
Romania Party (PRM), in separate meetings with President Emil
Constantinescu on 28 January, have demanded that Intelligence Service
director Virgil Magureanu be dismissed, Romanian media reported. Last
week, Ion Diaconescu, chairman of the Democratic Convention of Romania,
had announced that Magureanu will not be fired. PUNR leader and Cluj
major Gheorghe Funar also demanded the dismissal of National Bank
governor Mugur Isarescu and stressed once again his opposition to
opening a Hungarian consulate in Cluj. PRM leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor
called Magureanu "the most diabolical personality and biggest gangster
in Romanian history." -- Dan Ionescu

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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            Copyright (c) 1997 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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