If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 28, Part II, 10 February 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

************************************************************************
In the 21 February issue of TRANSITION, OMRI's biweekly journal:

DISSIDENTS -- THEN AND NOW
- Reshaping Dissident Ideals for Post-Communist Times
- How Rude pravo 'Helped' Get Charter 77 off the Ground
- In Poland, A Long-Standing Tradition of Resistance
PLUS...
- CENTRAL ASIA: The Gordian Knot of Energy
- BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: Janusz Bugajski on Stabilizing Partition with SFOR
- VIEWPOINT: Vladimir Shlapentokh on Creating 'The Russian Dream' After
Chechnya

For subscription information, send an e-mail message to
transition@omri.cz
************************************************************************

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE BOOSTS TRADE WITH IRAN. Ukraine has won Iranian industrial
orders worth $52 billion after a week-long visit by an Iranian
delegation headed by the country's industry minister, Reuters reported
on 9 February. Tehran ordered metallurgy products worth $26.5 million
and railway locomotives and carriages worth $25.5 million. Kyiv
officials said Ukraine wants to buy Iranian oil and gas to ease its
dependency on Russian imports, but because of a shortage of pipelines
and terminals, the deal has not been signed. Ukrainian Foreign Minister
Hennadii Udovenko said last week that Ukraine, in trading with Iran,
would not violate international restrictions and complained of excessive
speculations on Ukraine's ties to Iran. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

CRIMEAN ROUNDUP. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma appointed former
Crimean Parliament Speaker Vasyl Kyselyov presidential representative in
Crimea, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 February. Kyselyov, elected speaker last
October, was dismissed by the Crimean parliament on 6 February.
Meanwhile, about 200 delegates participated in Crimea's Russian
community assembly in Simferopol. The assembly called on ethnic Russians
in the Crimea to unite to defend their rights and national interests and
to preserve and promote Russian culture. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry
said a visit to the Crimea by Russian Duma deputies Sergei Baburin and
Georgii Tikhonov would be "undesirable" and might lead to an
"invigoration of the separatist movement." Baburin and Tikhonov were
invited to participate in the assembly. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

OSCE URGES BELARUS TO RESTORE DEMOCRACY. The Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) repeated on 7 February its call for
Belarus to restore democratic institutions and renewed its offer to
mediate the country's political crisis, Reuters reported. OSCE Chairman
and Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Peterson said in a statement
released in Vienna that neither the preparation for last year's
plebiscite, nor the new constitution, which gives sweeping powers to
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, lives up to democratic
standards. Peterson urged the Belarusian government to restore respect
for democratic principles, enter into dialogue with the opposition, and
ensure free media. The statement also expressed Peterson's personal
doubts that the government would respond positively. -- Sergei
Soldovnikov

ESTONIA, UKRAINE INITIAL SOCIAL SECURITY AGREEMENT. Government
delegations in Tallinn on 7 February initialed an agreement that would
allow residents of both countries, even if they relocate to the other
country, to continue receiving pensions, child support, medical
services, and compensation for work-related accidents, ETA reported.
Another agreement on mutual recognition of certification of goods was
also initialed that day. Trade volumes between the two countries
increased by 171.4% in 1996 compared to 1995, due primarily to the
implementation of a free trade agreement in March 1996. The agreements
are to be signed during Prime Minister Tiit Vahi's visit to Kyiv later
this month and will go into effect after ratification by both
parliaments. -- Saulius Girnius

POLAND REFUSES TO EXTRADITE CHINESE COUPLE. A Warsaw court has ruled
that Poland should not extradite a Chinese couple wanted in China for
allegedly embezzling about $1 million, Polish and international media
reported on 8 February. In August 1996, the Mandugeqis were arrested in
Warsaw on an international arrest warrant issued by Chinese authorities
in 1994--a year after the couple left the country. The court said it has
seen evidence proving the couple's guilt, but Poland will allow
extradition only to countries that respect human rights, which is not
the case in China. The couple faces punishments banned by international
conventions, therefore extraditing them would violate international
human rights laws. Poland could face charges in the European Court of
Human Rights were it to go ahead with extradition, the judge said. The
judge added Poland has no extradition treaty with China to provide a
legal basis for deportation. The prosecution has seven days to appeal
the verdict. -- Beata Pasek

POLISH RULING PARTY APPROVES PLATFORM. A conference of 300 delegates of
the co-governing Social Democracy of the Polish Republic (SdRP), the
descendant of the communist party, approved a party platform, Polish
media reported on 10 February. According to Jozef Oleksy, SdRP leader,
the main platform planks are "lasting and stable democracy, efficient
and open economy, and a just and united society." It also denounces the
Stalinist period of postwar Polish history but does not include a
condemnation of the government's conduct during the events of 1968,
1970, 1976 and 1980-1981, proposed by Oleksy. Delegates rejected another
Oleksy proposal to stress the importance of the 1989-1993 reforms by
post-Solidarity governments for current economic successes. -- Beata
Pasek

CZECH RAIL WORKERS STRIKE ENDS. Rail workers called an end to their
strike on 8 February after five days of interrupted service, Czech media
reported. Deputy Prime Minister Josef Lux, who replaced Transportation
Minister Martin Riman at the negotiating table, was able to reach an
agreement with the trade unions representing the striking workers. Under
the agreement, the government will present a blueprint for reforming the
country's transportation system by 31 May. The unions will be consulted.
The government rejected the unions' demand that it recall Czech Railways
General Director Rudolf Mladek. Union representatives, however, said
they were hopeful Mladek would be recalled following an in-depth
inspection of the ailing railway system. Such an inspection is to take
place under the agreement. -- Jiri Pehe

SKINHEADS ATTACK ANTI-RACISM DEMONSTRATORS. Around 20 policemen blocked
a demonstration of 300 members of anarchist and anti-fascist
organizations protesting repeated attacks on Romanies in Prievidza, a
town in central Slovakia, CTK reported on 7 February. The demonstration
was illegal, as its organizers failed to fulfill all the requirements
for holding a demonstration. After an attack on the demonstrators by
dozens of skinheads, who threw empty bottles and stones, police
attempted to separate the two groups. According to a member of "For
Mother Earth," dozens of demonstrators were wounded by police as well.
The organizers sent a letter to Interior Minister Gustav Krajci claiming
that the police failed to move against skinheads but "brutally beat"
participants of the anti-racism demonstration. The police chief of
Prievidza said the police acted within the limits of the law. -- Anna
Siskova

COMMISSION REPORT ON HUNGARIAN PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL POINTS FINGER AT
FORMER MINISTER. A report by the parliamentary commission investigating
last fall's privatization scandal says that then-Privatization Minister
Tamas Suchman exerted political pressure on the staff of the State
Privatization and Holding Company (APV) to hire the outside consultant,
Marta Tocsik, who has been in the center of the controversy,
Vilaggazdasag reported on 10 February. Following revelations of an
illegal payment transfer to Tocsik's account by the APV last fall,
Suchman denied any responsibility for hiring Tocsik and gave
contradictory statements on other details as well. The report goes on to
say that the government is guilty for letting the prime minister appoint
the APV's board and chairman. The commission's final report is expected
within two weeks. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY'S FREE DEMOCRATS REELECT CAUCUS LEADER. The parliamentary caucus
of the junior coalition party, the Alliance of Free Democrats, reelected
party chairman Ivan Peto on 9 February as head of the caucus, Hungarian
media reported. Peto was the sole candidate as more than ten others
nominated for the post declined the nomination. Peto offered his
resignation as party chairman after a major privatization scandal
erupted last fall, implicating both coalition parties, but was asked to
stay by the party's executive council. Now, with falling popularity
ratings and continuing discussion over whether the party should quit the
coalition with the Socialists, leadership positions have become quite
unpopular within the Alliance of Free Democrat ranks. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

VIOLENCE IN MOSTAR. The southern Bosnian city Mostar has been rocked by
12 explosions in recent days, international and local media reported.
The explosions began on 3 February, and four blasts were reported in
western districts of the city in the following days, with seven more on
6 and 7 February, AFP reported. There have been no casualties. Croat
leaders quickly blamed Muslim extremists, and the former mayor of the
Croat held part, Mijo Brajkovic, said events in Mostar mirrored the
fragile state of the Muslim-Croat Federation. "...There is a defect on
all of this; something is not functioning," AFP reported. Brajkovic
threatened that unless the international community's representatives do
something to end the violence, local people will. But Muslim leaders
said the explosions were the work of extremists trying to divide the
city. The explosions follow a wave of evictions of non-Croats from the
city. Evictions reportedly continued on 7 and 8 February, Onasa reported
on 9 February. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN OPPOSITION URGES CAUTION AHEAD OF VOTE. Just ahead of a slated
11 February parliamentary discussion on a bill that will allegedly
recognize opposition victories in municipal elections, leaders of the
opposition Zajedno coalition cautioned once again that Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic may not be entirely sincere about recognizing the
opposition wins from the 17 November runoffs. Leader of the Serbian
Renewal Movement Vuk Draskovic summed up the mood, saying protests
against the government would continue and that "we must never trust
their [Socialists'] word, because those who stole our votes could have
fixed a new [ruse] ... caution, caution, caution," Radio B92 reported on
9 February. Meanwhile, the ultranationalist leader of the Serbian
Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, has indicated that he may be the
catalyst for nullifying the substance of any legislation recognizing
Zajedno. He said he would "definitely" demand "a constitutional court
evaluation" of the legislation, Radio B92 reported. -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN RADICALS CONFERRING SUPPORT TO SOCIALISTS. Nevertheless, the
flamboyant accused war criminal, Seselj, is also, at least for the
record, disavowing any formal cooperation with the ruling Socialist
Party of Serbia (SPS). Responding to what he called "news ... from the
anti-Serb press," Seselj addressed the question of SRS members joining
the cabinet of Serbia's Premier Mirko Marjanovic, Nasa Borba reported on
10 February. Because Marjanovic is reportedly planning a cabinet
restructuring at the legislative session on 11 February, that
restructuring, remarked Seselj, must not be taken to mean the SRS will
join the premier's coalition. Asked about membership in government,
Seselj said: "He didn't ask me [to join], nor would I." -- Stan
Markotich

SERBS DEMONSTRATE IN VUKOVAR. About 500 Serbs marched through Vukovar on
7 February for the third straight day. They are concerned about their
status once eastern Slavonia reverts to Croatian control in July.
Croatia, for its part, has submitted a document to the UN Security
Council outlining the Serbs' future rights, and the UN authorities have
praised the text. The Serbs are still arguing for territorial autonomy,
which has been rejected by both the UN and Croatia. Croatian media have
suggested that the purpose of recent violent incidents and other
protests in eastern Slavonia has been to block reversion to Croatian
control. Local Serb judicial officials nonetheless met with Croatian
Justice Minister Miroslav Separovic and agreed to begin implementing
Croatian laws, news agencies added. Croatian local elections are slated
for 16 March and President Franjo Tudjman has urged Serbs to obtain
Croatian papers in time to vote. -- Patrick Moore

TUDJMAN'S HEALTH SATISFACTORY. A team of international and Croatian
doctors issued a statement on President Franjo Tudjman's health via
Health Minister Andrija Hebrang on 7 February. They said that the
"diagnosed stomach disorders have ceased and swelling in the lymph nodes
has considerably diminished," Hina and Reuters reported. The previous
week, Tudjman gave an interview to CNN and described reports that he has
terminal cancer as "exaggerated." When Tudjman spent a week at
Washington's Walter Reed Army Hospital in November, U.S. diplomats told
CNN that he has inoperable stomach cancer and perhaps only months to
live. -- Patrick Moore

ALBANIA PROTESTS APPOINTMENT OF OSCE ENVOY TO KOSOVO. The Albanian
Foreign Ministry on 9 February protested the appointment of OSCE High
Commissioner for National Minorities Max van der Stoel as special OSCE
envoy for Kosovo. A spokesman said the fact that van der Stoel would
hold both positions would complicate his chances of success. The Kosovar
shadow-state leadership argued that the appointment of van der Stoel
meant that the OSCE was treating the Kosovo conflict as a national
minority issue, rather than as an international conflict. It also
refused to meet van der Stoel as long as he holds his current position.
The Kosovars refuse to be treated as a national minority within Serbia.
-- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST LEADER CALLS FOR PRESIDENT'S IMPEACHMENT. Corneliu
Vadim Tudor, leader of the chauvinist Greater Romania Party, on 7
February sharply attacked President Emil Constantinescu over statements
made during his recent West European tour, Radio Bucharest reported.
Tudor "firmly condemned" Constantinescu's statement that Romania has no
territorial claims against Ukraine. He demanded that the president be
suspended from office and impeached for high treason. Romania and
Ukraine have been unable to sign a basic bilateral treaty because of a
disagreement over northern Bukovina and southern Bessarabia, territories
annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and currently part of Ukraine. --
Dan Ionescu

CONTROVERSIAL ROMANIAN POET RESIGNS FROM POST IN NEO-COMMUNIST PARTY.
Adrian Paunescu, the former poet laurate of late dictator Nicolae
Ceausescu, announced on 9 February that he has resigned from his post as
first deputy chairman of the Socialist Labor Party, the heir to the
communist party in Romania, local media reported. His decision came in
response to widespread criticism from his own party's ranks as well as
from other leftist forces over his participation in the presidential
election last November. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN MINERS' LEADER TO STAY IN CUSTODY. The court of appeals in
Bucharest on 7 February decided to extend an arrest warrant for Miron
Cosma, the leader of the Jiu Valley miners, Romanian and international
media reported. Cosma, who was detained last month for his role in the
1991 riot that toppled Petre Roman's government, described the action
taken against him as a "political frame-up." Some 2,000 miners on 8
February staged a rally of solidarity with Cosma in the town of
Petrosani. The meeting was reportedly marred by violence. -- Dan Ionescu

PRO-LUCINSCHI MOVEMENT SET UP IN MOLDOVA. A new political formation was
set up on 8 February in the Republic of Moldova to promote President
Petru Lucinschi's political platform, BASA-press reported. The Movement
for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova is headed by Deputy Speaker
Dumitru Diacov. It sees itself as a centrist organization with some
affinities with both the moderate left and right. -- Dan Ionescu

NEW STEPS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A CARETAKER CABINET. President Petar
Stoyanov on 12 or at the latest on 14 February will issue a decree to
dissolve Bulgaria's parliament and set a date for early parliamentary
elections, Demokratsyia reported on 8 February. Stoyanov will form a
caretaker government, which is expected to be led by Sofia Mayor Stefan
Sofiyanski. In other news, an 8 February Bulgarian Socialist Party's
Supreme Council plenum decided t{¦t the 4 Febrą¦ry move to return the
mandate in order to form a second government was the right move to solve
the political crisis and to keep the country's civil peace, the paper
Duma reported. -- Maria Koinova

RIOTING CONTINUES IN ALBANIA. About 50 people were injured in the
morning of 10 February in Vlora on the sixth consecutive day of rioting
following the collapse of pyramid schemes. An angry crowd of about 5,000
people attacked about 100 riot police and managed to isolate about 20.
The crowd pursued them, beat them, stripped off their uniforms and
seized guns, helmets, and shields. It appeared that the policemen were
then let go, but the uniforms and equipment were burned in the center of
town, international agencies reported. The previous day, one man died
from a heart attack and at least 40 were injured during clashes with
riot police. The injury tolls on both sides during these days were the
highest since cheated investors launched anti-government protests on 15
January. In Fier, on 9 February, protesters set up road blocks and
burned cars and tires. Meanwhile, Gjallica scheme Director Fitim
Gerxhalliu and his 11 managers were arrested and charged with fraud. --
Fabian Schmidt

OPPOSITION CALLS FOR DAILY PROTESTS. The opposition Forum for Democracy
has called for two hours of peaceful daily protests, following the model
of the Belgrade opposition. On 8 February, police detained and badly
beat some of the organizers on their way to a banned demonstration in
Tirana's Skanderbeg Square. They included communist-era dissidents Kurt
Kola and Fatos Lubonja, and Socialist Party leaders Rexhep Mejdani and
Kastriot Islami. On 9 February, uniformed men beat Democratic Alliance
leaders Neritan Ceka, Prec Zogaj, Arben Demeti, and journalist Ilir
Keko. Koha Jone protested the 11th day of detention and beating of its
reporter Roland Beciraj, who had covered rioting in Korca. Elsewhere,
another journalist, Artan Cela, was beaten by bodyguards of the VEFA
pyramid company, after reporting that VEFA President Vehbi Alimucaj was
robbed in Permet. Arben Puto of the Albanian Helsinki Committee called
for international support, saying, "it is important to have a few words
from abroad condemning the violence, and a few words of encouragement
for the opposition." -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Valentina Huber

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1997 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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