Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 42, Part II, 28 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

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The 7 March issue of OMRI's journal, TRANSITION, includes these articles:

BALKAN UNREST
- Pyramid Schemes Leave Albania on Shaky Ground
- Back to the Basics in Bulgaria
- Protests in Serbia Raise Hopes of Reconciliation in Kosovo
- In Post-Dayton Balkans, Change Comes Where It's Least Expected
PLUS...
- RUSSIA: Chernomyrdin: A Prime Minister Without Politics
- VIEWPOINT: Azerbaijan: Democracy in a State of Emergency

        and Reviving the Black Sea...

For subscription information about OMRI's new monthly, send an e-mail
message to transition@omri.cz
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY ROUNDUP. The parliamentary Human Rights
Commission has said that banning the death penalty in Ukraine now would
be "untimely," ITAR-TASS reported on 27 February. It proposes a gradual
introduction of life imprisonment, saying that it is taking into
consideration public opinion and the lack of facilities for maintaining
life prisoners. The Council of Europe sharply criticized Ukraine last
month for failing to honor its commitment to stop executions. Meanwhile,
the parliament has passed an amendment granting Ukrainian citizenship to
all citizens of the former USSR who have been permanent residents in
Ukraine since the country gained independence in 1991. Another amendment
stipulates that Ukraine will not extradite Ukrainian citizens, except in
special cases stipulated by international law and approved by the
Ukrainian parliament. In other news, the radical right Ukrainian
National Assembly has expelled several of its extremist members in an
effort to become a parliamentary-style party, NTV reported on 27
February. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

ANOTHER ANTI-KUCHMA PLOT REVEALED IN UKRAINIAN PRESS. The Ukrainian
newspaper Nezavisimost has published an article alleging that several
Ukrainian deputies have been collaborating with Russia to remove
President Leonid Kuchma from power, Izvestiya and NTV reported on 27
February. According to several unconfirmed documents, a team was to
start a disinformation campaign linking the November killing of deputy
Yevhen Shcherban to Kuchma and Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko. An
official from a "foreign power" (meaning Russia) is reported to have
felt that Kuchma should be removed by the end of the year because of his
pro-Western orientation and that those who participated in his ouster
could replace him. In mid-January, a similar article appeared in
Vseukrainskiye vedomosti alleging Russian officials were plotting a
disinformation campaign that would lead to Kuchma's impeachment. There
has been no official reaction from Kyiv to the article, and the editor-
in-chief of Nezavisimost was unavailable to respond to NTV's questions.
-- Ustina Markus

RUSSIAN MILITARY DELEGATION IN UKRAINE. A Russian military delegation
headed by Col.-Gen. Viktor Smirnov, commander of the Missile and Space
Defense Forces, has arrived in Kyiv for talks about Russia's continued
use of an early-warning radar station on Ukrainian territory, ITAR-TASS
reported on 27 February. The Ukrainian side will be represented in the
talks by the commander of the Air Defense Forces Oleksandr Stetsenko.
Ukraine and Russia want an agreement on an early warning system in case
of a missile attack and a system to monitor the cosmic air space. The
same day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Andreev said
Russia will not participate in August naval exercises on the Black Sea
with other NATO and Partnership for Peace countries because it would
"complicate the situation in the region." -- Ustina Markus

HUMAN RIGHTS IN BELARUS. According to the Chairwoman of the Belarusian
Helsinki Committee, Tatsyana Pratsko, Belarus is "on a par with Iran or
Iraq" as regards human rights, Belapan reported on 26 February. Pratsko
said the least respect is being shown for civil rights, such as personal
freedom and security, equality before the law, presumption of innocence,
freedom from interference in private life, and freedom of movement.
Pratsko considers the requirement of residence registration to be "the
crudest violation of the right to free choice of abode." Other rights
most frequently abused are freedom of speech, the right to receive and
spread information, and the freedom to hold peaceful demonstrations, she
noted. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

NEW ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER NOMINATED. President Lennart Meri on 27
February named Deputy Chairman of the Coalition Party Mart Siimann as
candidate for prime minister, ETA reported. Siimann, a 50-year-old
psychologist, was the director-general of state-run Eesti TV and the
private station RTV. He is required to submit his government's program
to the parliament within 14 days. If it is approved by a majority of
deputies, he has seven days to present his cabinet to the president for
final approval. Siimann is likely to get the support of about two-thirds
of the parliament, but it is still unclear if any other parties will
join the minority coalition. Siimann has said that he will retain most
ministers from the previous government. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER APPROVED. The Saeima on 27 February approved
the appointment of Roberts Zile, head of the parliamentary budget and
finance committee, as finance minister, Reuters reported. The portfolio
has been at the center of controversy since October 1996, when Aivars
Kreituss had to resign after being expelled by the Democratic Party
Saimnieks (DPS). Premier Andris Skele filled the post temporarily but
later resigned as premier in the wake of the controversy caused by the
appointment of DPS candidate Vasilijs Melniks as new finance minister
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 January 1997). Unable to find a candidate
acceptable to Skele, the DPS has had to accept Zile, who is a deputy of
For the Fatherland and Freedom. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH SOLIDARITY PROVES INTRANSIGENT OVER CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES.
Solidarity has sent a note to Sejm speaker Jozef Zych outlining its
position on constitutional issues, Polish media reported on 27 February.
It argues that "it is imperative to guarantee the protection of the
right to life from conception to natural death." The constitution
preamble should invoke God's name and stress the heritage of Christian
faith and culture, according to Solidarity. It should also stress the
achievements of the pre-war Second Republic and pay tribute to patriotic
resistance "against foreign domination from 1944 to 1989." Solidarity
insists that two drafts of the constitution be put to a referendum.
Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, the secretary of the Catholic Episcopate, has
come out in support of the Solidarity statement "as a first step toward
negotiations." The main parliamentary parties, including the co-ruling
Democratic Left Alliance, were very critical of the statement. Labor
Union leader Ryszard Bugaj called it "unacceptable." -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH DEPUTIES STRIPPED OF PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY. The lower house on 27
February voted to strip three deputies from the extremist Republican
Party of their parliamentary immunity, Czech media reported. Republican
leader Miroslav Sladek is suspected of spreading national and racial
hatred when he told a January demonstration against the Czech-German
declaration about his regret that more Germans were not killed during
World War II. The two other deputies, Josef Krejsa and Rudolf Smucr, are
wanted by the police for kicking wreaths during a memorial ceremony in
Terezin, the site of a Nazi ghetto for Jews during World War II. Another
two Republican deputies suspected of assault and national and racial
hatred, respectively, were not stripped of their immunity. Most
governing coalition deputies voted in favor of stripping the immunity of
all five, while most Social Democratic deputies voted against. -- Victor
Gomez

CZECH GOVERNING COALITION AGREES ON RENT DEREGULATION. The leaders of
the Czech governing coalition on 27 February agreed at a special
deregulation conference that rent controls are to be almost completely
lifted by 2000, Czech media reported. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said
that from that year on, rent controls will apply only to housing for
certain segments of society, such as those who are disabled. The
coalition also agreed that rent controls be gradually lifted and at
different speeds in communities of different sizes. According to a
Finance Ministry proposal, rents are to increase in Prague by 100% this
year, while they will go up by 62% in cities with more than 100,000
residents. The state will also offer social assistance to low income
earners as compensation for the deregulation. -- Victor Gomez

SLOVAK CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES AGAINST GOVERNMENT DIRECTIVE. The
Constitutional Court has ruled that government directives on issuing and
trading National Property Fund (FNM) bonds are unconstitutional, Slovak
media reported on 27 February. Forty-six deputies had appealed to the
court to examine the directives, which, they argued, contravene the laws
on mass privatization and securities. The court ruled that, under Slovak
law, only the Securities Bourse, the RM-System Slovakia, and legal
entities authorized by the Ministry of Finance, can organize securities
markets. As the Slovak government granted the FNM the power to do so,
the government went beyond its powers, according to the court. The
government now has six months to amend the directives to comply with the
law. -- Anna Siskova

SLOVAK RULING PARTY "AFRAID" OF AUTHORITIAN REGIME. The Movement for
Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) is not entirely opposed to direct
presidential elections, HZDS deputy Jan Cuper said. He added that a
constitutional guarantee should be introduced to prevent the abuse of
power in that office, otherwise the presidency could be used to create
an authoritarian regime. Cuper noted that Premier Vladimir Meciar is
drawing up an amendment to the Constitution that, he noted, should
"solve" the problem of the Constitutional Court's power, Slovak media
reported. According to Meciar, the Constitutional Court should not be
empowered to interpret the constitution but rather should focus on
deciding whether laws are in accordance with the constitution. In other
news parliamentary spokesman Ivan Gasparovic (HZDS) has discussed with
U.S. Ambassador Ralph Johnson the Slovak referendum on NATO membership.
-- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES CONCESSIONS TO FARMERS' DEMANDS. The
cabinet on 27 February approved proposals to meet most demands by
farmers who have been protesting since the beginning of this week,
Hungarian media reported. Tax procedures are to be simplified and
farmers' tax and social insurance burdens eased. Small-scale protests
are continuing throughout the country, and farmers' representatives will
decide whether to accept the government's offer later today at a mass
rally in Kiskoros, south Hungary. Istvan Jakab, president of the
National Federation of Farmers, said the cabinet's concessions meet only
some of the federation's demands. He added that his organization intends
to proceed with plans to stage a nationwide road-blocking protest on 10
March. Meanwhile, Sandor Orosz, chairman of the parliament's agriculture
committee, acknowledged the legitimacy of the farmers' demands but
criticized the cabinet for "giving in" to the protests. -- Zsolt Mato

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN HUNGER STRIKES CONTINUE. Forty-six students in the southern
town of Gjirokaster have launched a hunger strike to show solidarity
with hunger strikers in the city of Vlora, where students are demanding
the resignation of the government (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 February
1997), local media reported. Meanwhile in Tirana, Premier Alexander
Meksi told the parliament that the country is on the verge of total
economic collapse. International media reported that police blockaded
main roads in the capital city, cordoning off much of the university
area. Students staged a second day of protests and boycotted classes. --
Stan Markotich

MILOSEVIC TO FACE SOCIALIST-DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGE? Bogoljub Karic, one of
the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Serbia, is rumored to be considering
forming a Social Democratic Party to directly challenge President
Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia in republican elections
slated for this year, Belgrade independent media reported on 27
February. Dnevni Telegraf said that Karic's party would include such
high-profile members and possible parliamentary candidates as former
Serbian Premier Milan Panic. While Karic himself did not confirm the
reports, his television station BK Television reported he will run for
president in elections also slated for this year. But Vecernje novosti
runs an article today downplaying announcements of Karic's interest in
politics, noting he has not yet announced his candidacy. In other news,
deans of several faculties voted to sack the controversial and staunchly
pro-Milosevic rector of Belgrade University on 27 February. The deans,
however, have no authority to enforce that decision. -- Stan Markotich

IS CRACKDOWN ON MOSTAR NATIONALISTS ONLY A BLUFF? Following the UN
report on the violent clashes in Mostar earlier this month, both Croatia
and Bosnian Croats have begun a crackdown on Mostar's Croatian warlords
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 February 1997). Croatia has arrested the
leader of Mostar's paramilitary mafia, Mladen Naletilic Tuta, while
Bosnian Croats have arrested five Croatian men and issued warrants for
the arrest of another three, according to Reuters. But UN spokesman
Alexander Ivanko said the arrest of criminals and the UN police report
were two separate issues. He noted that if this were a crackdown on
organized crime, it was "extremely welcome." But at the same time, he
said the UN cannot confirm any of the arrests. Some analysts suspect the
Croatian government of bluffing, since it has come under pressured from
the international community to exert influence on Bosnian Croat hard-
liners in Mostar. Meanwhile, U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith
has met with Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic to underscore
Zagreb's obligation to help the Bosnian peace process, Hina reported on
27 February. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS AGREE ON FOREIGN DEBT BILL. The Bosnian
Council of Ministers on 27 February reached agreement on a bill
regulating the country's foreign debt, Oslobodjenje reported. The draft
law was proposed by the Office of the High Representative to Bosnia-
Herzegovina. Boro Bosic, the council's Serbian co-chairman, said it has
been forwarded to the parliament for urgent consideration. The adoption
of such a law is one of the conditions for a stand-by loan from the IMF
and for an international donors' conference on postwar aid to Bosnia,
Hina reported. In other news, economic experts from Bosnia-Herzegovina,
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Croatia met on 26 February in
Banja Luka, Bosnia's Serbian entity, to discuss privatization and
employment in the Bosnian Federation and the Republika Srpska, Onasa
reported. Eric de Mill, chief of the UN Development Program mission to
Bosnia, presided over the meeting. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIA, INDONESIA SIGN TWO AGREEMENTS. Croatia and Indonesia on 27
February signed agreements on economic and technical cooperation and on
air traffic, Hina reported. The two countries are expected to sign soon
agreements on avoiding double taxation and protecting investments. Also,
the Croatian and Indonesian oil companies--INA and Kondur Petroleum--
have signed a letter of intent on technical assistance in the
exploitation of oil and gas. Croatian Premier Zlatko Matesa is visiting
Indonesia at the invitation of Indonesian President Suharto. His visit
is aimed at promoting economic cooperation between the two countries. --
Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVENIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES GOVERNMENT. The Slovenian legislature on
27 February voted in favor of Premier Janez Drnovsek's cabinet, Radio
Slovenija reported. The new government was formed after three months of
wrangling since the November 1996 elections. It is dominated by
Drnovsek's Liberal Democratic Party and includes members of Marjan
Podobnik's conservative Slovenian People's Party and the Pensioners'
Democratic party. The new government is expected to be able to count on
the support of 49 of the legislature's 90 members. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN POLICE CHIEF REPLACED. At the request of Interior Minister
Gavril Dejeu, the cabinet on 27 February dismissed Gen. Costica Voicu,
head of the Romanian police force, Libertatea reported. Col. Pavel
Abraham, until now chief of the Criminal Investigations Department, has
been named Costica's successor. Government spokesman Eugen Serbanescu
said Costica was replaced in order to improve the way the ministry
functions. Responding to the move, former Interior Minister Senator Doru
Ioan Taracila accused the government of politically interfering in the
ministry's work. -- Zsolt Mato

OSCE OFFICIAL IN MOLDOVA ON DNIESTER MEMORANDUM. Donald Johnson, head of
the OSCE mission in Moldova, has urged the OSCE Permanent Council not to
endorse the memorandum between Moldova and the breakaway Dniester
Republic, Infotag reported on 27 February. The memorandum on resolving
relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol was initialed last June but has
not yet been signed. Johnson said the document does not correspond to
the "basic OSCE principles of the sovereignty and territorial integrity
of Moldova." He added that the signature of the document could set an
"extremely unfortunate precedent," warning that each side has different
interpretations of parts of the document. While Moldova called for
revisions, the Dniester authorities insisted on signing the memorandum
without any amendments. -- Zsolt Mato

ECONOMIC COLLAPSE CATASTROPHIC FOR MOST BULGARIANS. Bulgaria's interim
government on 27 February announced it will increase the price of
heating, electricity, and coal by 257%, the Bulgarian press reported.
Services offered by the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company are to be
raised eight-fold. The new prices will go into effect in March. In the
meantime, the government will try to find ways to compensate the
country's poorest citizens. Some 20 million ECU provided by the EU will
be distributed among 150,000 families beginning on 23 March. Meanwhile,
the National Statistics Institute has revealed that 89% of Bulgarians
say that they are poorer than they were last year. The number of those
who are living off their savings has doubled since 1995. Almost every
fourth Bulgarian has run up debts. In other news, German Foreign
Minister Klaus Kinkel, speaking in Bonn, commented that "Bulgaria is on
the brink of economic catastrophe," international agencies reported. He
appealed to Sofia not to delay economic reforms any longer. -- Maria
Koinova

HUMANITARIAN AID TO BULGARIA. A UN mission arrived in Sofia on 27
February to assess the need for humanitarian aid, international agencies
reported. "Bulgaria needs humanitarian aid and any support is welcome,"
Vice President Todor Kavaldzhiev told Bulgarian Radio the same day.
Hungarian-born American philanthropist George Soros has donated $1.8
million through the Sofia branch of his Open Society Foundation, mainly
to secure medicines for the Institute for Emergency Aid in Sofia and
other hospitals outside the capital, RFE/RL reported on 25 February.
Part of the assistance will go to set up soup kitchens around the
country and to support the disabled and needy university and school
students. -- Maria Koinova

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1997 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to listserv@listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                    BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/DD/Index.html

FTP
ftp://FTP.OMRI.CZ/Pub/DailyDigest/


                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Reprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the OMRI Daily Digest. For
subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit
the Transition Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/Index.html


RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published every
Wednesday) initially focusing on the local elections taking place
throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election season is
over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to broader
social, political, and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE REGIONS Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace contains the latest news about developments in the
Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other countries of Southeastern
Europe. Published every Tuesday, it contains both brief news summaries
and longer essays on specific events or issues facing the people of the
region.  To subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE Your Name
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE TRANSLATION OF THE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI Your Name
   Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message
 
         

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole