Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 43, Part II, 03 March 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 7 March issue of OMRI's journal, TRANSITION:

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

UKRAINE AND ROMANIA AGREE ON BASIC TREATY DRAFT. Ukrainian First Deputy
Foreign Minister Anton Buteiko and his Romanian counterpart Dumitru
Ceausu initialed a draft of a basic treaty on friendship and
cooperation, AFP reported on 1 March. No date has been set for the
signing of the treaty, but Romania has been under pressure to conclude
the accord in order to qualify for the first wave of NATO expansion. The
two main obstacles to the treaty have been Romania's demand that Ukraine
condemn the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact that made Romania give up
territory in favor of the Soviet Union (Kyiv refused to do so because it
argued it could open the way for future claims to Ukrainian territory)
and the issue of the Romanian minority in Ukraine. Ukraine accepted
Romania's demands regarding the minority question, while Bucharest
backed away from its insistence that the 1939 pact be condemned. --
Ustina Markus

ANOTHER DEMONSTRATION IN BELARUS. A gathering to mark the 930th
anniversary of the founding of Minsk turned into a demonstration against
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Reuters reported on 2 March. The rally
took place one day after the announcement that Russia and Belarus had
agreed in principle to hold simultaneous referendums on integration (see
related story in Russian section). Between 3,000 and 5,000 people
participated in the demonstration and marched to the parliament
building. No serious clashes were reported and the protesters disbanded
after reaching the parliament. -- Ustina Markus

KALININGRAD CHIEF VISITS LITHUANIA. Leonid Gorbenko, the administrative
chief of the Kaliningrad Oblast, on 28 February discussed economic and
cultural relations with Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas, Prime
Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, and Economy Minister Vincas Babilius,
Radio Lithuania reported. Gorbenko was heading a delegation of officials
and businessmen at the first Lithuania-Kaliningrad economic cooperation
conference. He called for lowering the cost of transit shipping through
Lithuania in order to help both the Kaliningrad and Klaipeda ports. He
also noted that a Lithuanian language course will be instituted this
fall at the University of Kaliningrad. -- Saulius Girnius

RUSSIAN DEPUTY PREMIER HOLDS TALKS IN LATVIA. Valerii Serov held talks
with his Latvian counterpart Anatolijs Gorbunovs and President Guntis
Ulmanis in Riga on 27-28 February, ITAR-TASS and BNS reported. Serov and
Gorbunovs agreed that the first full meeting of an intergovernmental
Latvian-Russian commission -- chaired by the two men -- will meet in
Moscow in April. The commission will discuss a range of bilateral issues
including transport, trade, and educational and cultural cooperation.
Serov called for granting Latvian citizenship to Russians living in
Latvia and no new cuts in education in the Russian language. -- Saulius
Girnius

CONTROVERSIES OVER POLISH CONSTITUTION CONTINUE. During 24-28 February
Sejm and Senate proceedings on the draft constitution, 200 Polish
parliamentarians (out of 560) proposed 482 amendments to the draft
constitution elaborated by the parliamentary commission. Several Polish
politicians commented on recent Solidarity pronouncements on the
constitution draft (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 February 1997). The co-
ruling Democratic Left Alliance rejects the priority of "natural law"
over man-made law. The Polish Peasant Party and the Freedom Union said
they are ready to accept the reference to the Polish nation in the
preamble. According to a Demoskop poll conducted on 6-11 February and
published by Gazeta Wyborcza on 1 March, 75% of respondents declared
their intention to participate in the constitutional referendum and 51%
said that the two drafts -- one endorsed by parliament and the other by
Solidarity -- should be submitted to a referendum (the current law
provides only for submitting the parliament's draft to a referendum).
Each of the drafts enjoyed 22% support in the poll. -- Jakub Karpinski

GREAT PRIZE OF POLISH CULTURE FOUNDATION. On 28 February three people:
poet, translator, and essayist Stanislaw Baranczak, theater director
Jerzy Grotowski, and poet/essayist Zbigniew Herbert received the Great
Prize for 1996, awarded by the Polish Culture Foundation, Polish media
reported. Baranczak was a member of the opposition Worker's Defense
Committee in the 1970s. He currently teaches Polish literature at
Harvard University. With great understanding of the linguistic aspect of
poetry, he translated many English language poets into Polish. Grotowski
was active in Poland in Opole and Wroclaw until the 1980s, experimenting
in new theater forms with his Laboratory Theater (later he also worked
abroad). One of his best known performances is Apocalypsis Cum Figuris
(1968-1974). Herbert, author of classical and reflexive poetry, is
considered by some the greatest living Polish poet and a possible
candidate for the Nobel prize. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH POLICE'S ARREST OF EXTREMIST LEADER CAUSES CONTROVERSY. Czech
police on 28 February arrested extreme-right Republican Party Chairman
Miroslav Sladek only hours after the parliament had lifted Sladek's and
two other Republican deputies' immunity from prosecution, Czech media
reported. The fact that police took Sladek into custody before
prosecutors received a copy of the parliament's resolution stripping him
of immunity has caused an uproar among deputies. Parliament Chairman
Milos Zeman asked Internal Affairs Minister Jan Ruml to explain the
police action; Ruml admitted the police had acted improperly. Sladek,
who received a suspended two-year prison sentence a year ago, is now
charged with spreading racial hatred in connection with public
statements he made during German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's recent visit
to Prague. Sladek said that not enough Germans were killed during World
War II. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK NATO MEMBERSHIP DISCUSSED. During a TV debate on 2 March, Slovak
National Party (SNS) Chairman Jan Slota said Slovakia would have to
"keep its mouth shut" if it joined NATO, CTK reported. Slota, whose
party is a junior partner in the ruling coalition, added that entering
the alliance would cost billions and could ruin Slovakia's finances.
Meanwhile, opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) deputy Pavol
Kanis said NATO membership is the best solution for Slovakia. Although
most SDL deputies voted in favor of holding the controversial NATO
referendum, Kanis called the plebiscite "absurd." He pointed out that if
Slovakia is not accepted to NATO, its international position would
worsen. In other news, the SNS has invited French National Front
Chairman Jean Marie Le Pen to Slovakia. Slota will soon meet Le Pen in
Strasbourg to discuss cooperation between the two parties. -- Anna
Siskova

SLOVAK ROUNDUP. Fifteen of Slovakia's 21 theaters went on strike on 28
February, while other theaters remained on strike alert, Slovak media
reported. The theaters are protesting government cultural policy.
According to Association of Slovak Theater Unions Honorary Chairman
Vladimir Durdik, the Culture Ministry broke off the dialogue with
theater unions two years ago. Confederation of Trade Unions Deputy
Chairman Jozef Kollar warned that the strike could spread to such
sectors as Danube shipping, mining, and the defense industry. In other
news, President Michal Kovac on 28 February appointed Lubomir Dobrik as
a Constitutional Court judge. Kovac was required to pick one of two
candidates nominated by the parliament last month -- Dobrik and ruling
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) deputy Jan Cuper. Dobrik said
he gave up his HZDS membership before taking the oath. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN DEPOSITORS PANIC. Rumors that Hungary's second largest retail
bank is going bankrupt caused thousands of deposit holders to rush to
Postabank branches on 28 February, withdrawing 21 billion forints ($131
million) and sending the stock exchange's BUX Index down 140 points,
Hungarian media reported on 3 March. Postabank and National Bank of
Hungary (MNB) officials immediately assured depositors that the rumor
was a false alarm and that the bank's healthy liquidity will allow it to
meet its obligations. MNB also said that its resources will be made
available to ensure the cash flow, if necessary. Suspecting a political
plot behind the false alarm, Finance Ministry State Secretary Laszlo
Akar said it was no coincidence that the panic was timed to coincide
with the farmers' demonstrations and that the secret service will
investigate the origins of the rumor. Postabank manages about 200
million forints in individual savings. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN DEMOCRATIC FORUM TO EXPAND CIRCLE OF ALLIES. The opposition
Democratic Forum wrapped up a two-day national convention on 2 March,
concluding that it will sign an election agreement not only with the
opposition Young Democrats but also the Christian Democrats, Hungarian
dailies reported. Party President Sandor Lezsak defined the Democratic
Forum as a national centrist party that identifies itself with Christian
values. The party called on the cabinet to urgently solve problems in
agriculture, recently highlighted by a farmers' road blockade in eastern
Hungary. In January, the Democratic Forum and the Young Democrats
announced that they intended to field joint candidates in the 1998
general elections, which was followed by a Christian Democrat-
Smallholders Party cooperation pact. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN ALBANIA. The Albanian government declared
a state of emergency on 2 March in response to the violence that erupted
throughout the country after 28 February, when protests against the
collapse of several get-rich-quick pyramid schemes turned violent. At
least 14 people have been killed, and an estimated 150 were injured,
international media reported. The hardest hit region was the southern
part of the country, and shooting broke out in several cities as
protesters continued their calls for the resignation of President Sali
Berisha and his government and early elections. Rampaging protesters
ransacked symbols of authority, plundered arms depots, and publicly
destroyed police property. According to some eyewitness reports, local
civilian police offered little resistance, themselves possibly big
losers in pyramid scheme investments. -- Stan Markotich

VIOLENCE REACHES ALBANIAN PRESIDENT'S DOORSTEP. Sali Berisha's summer
residence in Vlora was the site of mass looting over the weekend, CNN
reported on 3 March. An announcement that the government of Premier
Alexander Meksi would tender its resignation failed to calm the public
ire. And in the latest development, AFP, citing local reports, said on 3
March that the country's parliament has ordered "armed rebels" to
surrender their weapons by 2 p.m. CET that same day or face reprisals
from the country's security forces. The decision follows the 2 March
declaration of a state of emergency and also includes a provision for
press censorship. -- Stan Markotich

EASTERN SLAVONIAN SERBS ARE MOVING TO SERBIA, REPUBLIKA SRPSKA. The UN
spokeswoman in Belgrade, Susan Manuel, said on 28 February that more
than 1,800 Serb families have reportedly left eastern Slavonia for
Serbia in February, AFP reported. The Association of Serb refugees in
Banja Luka said that around 800 eastern Slavonian Serbs moved to the
Bosnian Serb entity last month, Oslobodjenje reported on 3 March. Most
were Croatian Serbs who fled to eastern Slavonia from other parts of
Croatia. They are now settling in the Brcko area in northern Bosnia,
which is a matter of dispute between Bosnian Serbs and the Croat-Muslim
federation. Meanwhile, Serb officials in eastern Slavonia said they will
hold a referendum on 6 April over the Croatian government's plans to
divide the territory into two administrative districts once it returns
to Zagreb's control, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN CROATS REJECT UN REPORT ON MOSTAR INCIDENT. The Mostar branch of
the ruling Croatian Democratic Party (HDZ) in Bosnia-Herzegovina on 2
March rejected the UN police report on violent Muslim-Croat clashes
earlier this month, saying it was "incomplete, one-sided and
tendentious," Oslobodjenje reported. Mostar Croat authorities also
repeated that they will not arrest the three police officers named by
the UN as suspects in the 10 February shooting of unarmed Muslims, AFP
reported. According to Colum Murphy, a spokesman for the High
Representative's office, one of the suspects is missing. Mostar Croat
claims to have detained 19 other suspects in the Mostar incident. But no
international official has seen any of the allegedly arrested criminals.
Meanwhile, Croatia said it had arrested a second suspected gangster
leader from Mostar, Vinko Martinovic, following last week's arrest of
former Bosnian Croat warlord Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

YUGOSLAVIA AND REPUBLIKA SRPSKA SIGN SPECIAL TIES. The president of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Zoran Lilic, and the Serb member of
Bosnia's three-man presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, signed a pact on 28
February establishing "special ties" between Belgrade and Pale, local
and international media reported. Under the agreement, the two parties
are to establish a joint council in charge of economic cooperation and
creating a single market. The council will also deal with regional
security, crossing of state borders, citizenship, and coordinating
foreign policy. The agreement said the two parties will not allow a
third party to use their territories to conduct acts of aggression
against the other. Bosnia's presidency chairman Alija Izetbegovic
strongly criticized the pact and accused Krajisnik of overstepping his
authority by signing it. Izetbegovic said the agreement shows the
Belgrade regime "has not given up its claims on Bosnia-Herzegovina," AFP
reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

IS MILOSEVIC PLAYING HIS OLD TRICKS AGAIN? On 28 February the board of
the independent weekly NIN voted to oust its editor in chief, Dusan
Velickovic, local independent media reported. NIN, which broke with the
pro-regime Politika publishing house in 1994, and whose market share has
been rising steadily, may be the latest target in a government offensive
to reassert its control over the media. Velickovic has remarked "my
replacement reminds me of the stealing of votes in the last [17
November] local elections." Finally in other news, over 1,000
instructors, professors, and researchers formed an alternative
administration of higher education on 2 March in Belgrade, the latest
step in their campaign for academic freedom. -- Stan Markotich

KING MIHAI IN ROMANIA. Visibly overwhelmed by emotion, King Mihai, who
was forced to abdicate in 1947, on 28 February began a six-day visit to
his country one week after his Romanian citizenship was restored. At the
airport he was handed his new passport in the presence of several
government members who welcomed him "privately." International media
reported that the crowds welcoming the former monarch were substantially
smaller than those during his 1992 visit. On 1 March he was received by
Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea, whom he told the occasion was "not merely
a visit, but a return home." The former monarch said that the
government's economic measures were painful but absolutely necessary. On
2 March he attended a church service conducted by Orthodox Patriarch
Teoctist. A spokesman for the king said he intended to move back to
Romania but he must "enjoy all the advantages that he had had in the
past." For that purpose, talks are underway with the authorities on
providing him with a residence. -- Michael Shafir

POLICE SHAKE-UP CONTINUES IN ROMANIA. Some 20 generals and other high
police officers were replaced on 28 February following the dismissal of
Gen. Costica Voicu as head of police the previous day, Romanian media
reported on 1 March. In an interview for Romanian national television on
28 February, Interior Minister Gavril Dejeu said the changes were needed
because the officers had failed to properly fight corruption and
organized crime. He said not all the officers replaced were considered
incompetent -- some will be serving in other posts -- but all had
obviously failed in their primary task. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVA, UKRAINE TO SET UP CUSTOMS UNION. The joint Moldovan-Ukrainian
commission on economic and commercial cooperation agreed at its 27-28
February meeting in Chisinau to draft a list of "principles" for setting
up a customs union between the two states at an unspecified date in the
future. Moldovan agencies reported on 28 February that the document also
deals with the avoidance of double taxation and with facilities for
transiting goods. The commission also approved a number of accords for
cooperation on border-zone settlements, joint controls at the border
crossings, as well as a protocol on Moldovan property in Ukraine. The
documents will be signed during President Leonid Kuchma's visit to
Moldova on 11-12 March. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT IN PRAGUE. Petar Stoyanov on 28 February met his
Czech counterpart Vaclav Havel in the latter's first official function
since undergoing a lung cancer operation in December, international
media reported. Referring to the Czech Republic's economic reforms,
Stoyanov said "Your success is an inspiration for us." During his two
lectures later that day Stoyanov said that the country's interim
government will break with the communist past and will deepen the
structural reforms to "the point of no return." Concerning the
government's statement that Bulgaria is determined to join NATO,
Stoyanov pointed out that despite Bulgarians' very "deep emotional
relationship" with Russians, Bulgaria's policy will be decided in Sofia
and in no other capital in the world. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIAN PREMIER COMMENTS ON HIS FRENCH VISIT. Upon his return from
France, Interim Premier Stefan Sofiyanski told reporters on 2 March that
he has won a commitment from Paris to support Bulgaria's request for
rescheduling its debt to the Paris Club of government creditors, AFP
reported. Sofiyanski also added that he had asked the Paris Club to roll
over about $50 million owed this year, saying Bulgaria's payments had
been timely until recently, but that the current economic crisis has
prevented it from meeting the latest deadlines. Sofiyanski added that
French Premier Alain Juppe said he would help Bulgaria win new credits
with the Paris Club and the International Monetary Fund. -- Stan
Markotich

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Sava Tatic

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            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