The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 47, Part II, 07 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-DD@omri.cz

**See important message below on the upcoming changes to TRANSITION
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

RUSSIA BLOCKS UKRAINIAN TANK DEAL. Russia reassured India that it would
derail Ukraine's $550 million tank deal with Pakistan by refusing to
deliver components necessary to complete the tanks, The Times of India
reported on 6 March. Ukrainian stocks of Russian-supplied components are
reportedly only sufficient to build 30-35 T-80 UD tanks. So far, Kyiv
has delivered 15 out of the scheduled 320 tanks to Islamabad. Since the
deliveries began last month, the Russian press has been denouncing the
deal and Ukraine's decision to develop its tank industry without Russia.
When Kyiv first unveiled the tank at the Abu-Dhabi arms fair in 1995, it
claimed to be able to produce the vehicle and all of its component parts
domestically. Moscow claims it supplies 90% of the separate components
and spare parts for the T-80 series tanks, including its 125mm gun. --
Ustina Markus

KYIV WOMEN INJURED IN RALLY. Police beat several elderly women with
metal bars at an "empty saucepans march" on the Kyiv city administration
building, international agencies reported on 6 March. Some 500 retirees,
mostly women, marched through Kyiv to protest low pensions in an action
organized by an association of pro-communist organizations. Pensions in
Ukraine, $30 on average, are often months overdue and shrunk by
inflation. Meanwhile, the Ternopil league of Ukrainian women in western
Ukraine appealed to thelocal mayor to cancel International Women's Day
on 8 March, Den reported on 6 March. Ternopil women blasted the holiday
as a communist legacy. President Leonid Kuchma has called 8 March a
"holiday of spring, youth and love." -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN MOSCOW. Alyaksandr Lukashenka arrived on
6 March in Moscow to hold a series of meetings with Russian President
Boris Yeltsin and a number of leading Russian politicians, international
agencies reported. The two leaders are to discuss the pace and strategy
of the integration of the two states. Russia and Belarus have recently
been coming up with a number of initiatives concerning the substance of
the integration process. The options under consideration include
incorporation of Belarus by Russia, which Lukashenka has recently ruled
out; the signing of a new union treaty between equal republics; and the
creation of a supranational legislative structure, whose decisions would
be binding for both countries. The leaders would also have to decide on
further economic integration, unification of legal norms, and transport
and energy systems. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

SIIMANN TO FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT IN ESTONIA. Prime Minister designate
Mart Siimann announced on 6 March that his recent talks with other
political parties revealed that a broad-based government would face
"serious, and perhaps insurmountable differences," hence he will form a
minority government backed by the Coalition Party and three smaller
pensioners' and farmers' parties, ETA reported. Siimann said that he
would present his cabinet, including some changes in relation to the one
led by Tiit Vahi, to the parliament for approval on 11 or 12 March.
Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar said that the political
consultations had improved communication and mutual understanding among
the parties, but he doubted the new government would have a long life.
-- Saulius Girnius

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT VISITS LATVIA. Arpad Goncz began an official two-day
visit to Riga on 6 March with talks with President Guntis Ulmanis, which
focused on the enlargement of the European Union and NATO, BNS reported.
Latvian Interior Minister Dainis Turlais and Hungarian Interior Ministry
Political Secretary Gabor Vilagos signed an agreement on combating
terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Education and Science
Minister Juris Celmins and Hungarian Culture and Education Deputy State
Secretary Peter Medgyez signed an agreement on cooperation in education,
culture, and science. Latvia also submitted draft agreements on the
promotion and protection of investments, avoidance of double taxation,
and free trade relations. -- Saulius Girnius

GDANSK SHIPYARD FIRES EMPLOYEES. The shipyard that was the cradle of the
Solidarity movement in August 1980, has finally gone bust. The
shipyard's liquidator, who is taking care of the interests of the
already bankrupt company, on 6 March began giving pink slips to 3,800
shipyard employees who will receive three months severance pay and other
indemnities -- totaling $8.54 million -- to be paid by the treasury. The
immediate cause of the liquidator's decision was the refusal of Pekao SA
bank to grant the shipyard a $100 million credit to finance the
construction of five ships. The value of the shipyard's property has
been estimated at $88 million (excluding land); 200 people will remain
employed to guard that property. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz
asked the Szczecin shipyard to analyze possibilities of cooperation with
the Gdansk shipyard that would save as many jobs as possible and
preserve the shipyard's property. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH METALLURGICAL GIANT IS BANKRUPT. A Czech court ordered on 6 March
that bankruptcy proceedings be started against the giant steel company
Poldi Kladno, Czech media reported. The decision came only two days
after a company called ProWin bought the Bohemia Art company that was
the principal owner of Poldi Kladno. The steel giant, employing some
5,000 people, has faced severe economic problems for more than a year.
The government has been trying to force out Vladimir and Marko Stehlik,
who bought Poldi Kladno several years ago and later formed Bohemia Art
as an umbrella company. Both Stehliks are currently under investigation
for dubious business deals. The new court-appointed administrator of the
company immediately fired Marko Stehlik from his post as Poldi director.
Vladimir Stehlik is currently in police custody. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH BUDGET IN TROUBLE. Czech Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik announced
on 6 March that his ministry will propose to the government to make
budget cuts amounting to 11 billion crowns ($400 million), Czech media
reported. Kocarnik said the cuts would take place across the board.
Kocarnik's proposal followed his recent announcement that the latest
figures show the state budget with a 6.7 billion crown deficit in
February, a development pointing to a slowdown in economic growth.
Opposition Social Democratic Party Chairman Milos Zeman said on 6 March
that the decline in budget receipts is, among other things, a logical
consequence of the present government's inability to collect taxes.
Zeman contended that the current right-of-center government, led by
Vaclav Klaus, does not have any breakthrough economic policies in stock.
-- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK JUNIOR COALITION PARTNER SAYS "NO" TO NATO. Association of
Workers Deputy Chairman Jan Borovsky on 6 March announced that his party
will ask its supporters to vote "no" on NATO membership in the upcoming
referendum, Slovak media reported. The party is also against the second
and third referendum questions, which ask Slovaks whether they favor
deploying nuclear weapons and having foreign military bases in Slovakia.
Only the ethnic Hungarian parties are encouraging their supporters to
vote "yes" on all three questions. Also on 6 March, U.S. Deputy
Secretary of State John Kornblum visited Bratislava where he noted the
Slovak government's unwillingness to heed certain recommendations,
particularly on the passage of the minority language law. Meeting with
Kornblum, Slovak Foreign Ministry State Secretary Jozef Sestak
criticized the U.S. government report on NATO expansion, especially the
section comparing the observance of democratic principles in Slovakia
with the situation in Albania, CTK reported. -- Sharon Fisher

OPPOSITION LEADER, PROTESTING FARMERS TO ATTEND FAR-RIGHTIST RALLY.
Gyorgy Giczy, chairman of the opposition Christian Democrats has
announced that he will deliver a speech at a rally staged by the far-
right Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIEP) in Budapest on March 15,
one of the country's national days, Hungarian media reported on 6 March.
Istvan Csurka, president of the extra-parliamentary MIEP, said that
protesting farmers in eastern Hungary have also decided to participate
in his rally. In other news, the farmers on 5 March rejected Prime
Minister Gyula Horn's invitation to hold further negotiations on the new
tax and social-insurance code, after government officials seemed
determined to stick to their original plans during a morning
consultation. The farmers announced on 6 March that a convoy of 300
tractors will drive through downtown Budapest on 10 March to further
protest the government's agricultural policy and legislation. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

AMNESTY IN ALBANIA . . . President Sali Berisha met with leaders of the
opposition on 6 March in an attempt to calm fighting in the southern
part of the country. Emerging from the meeting was an announcement of a
blanket amnesty for all involved in hostilities, except those who had
"committed crimes," CNN reported on 7 March. According to the terms,
armed rebels were to hand over all weapons, beginning at 6 a.m. local
time today, at which point the military were to cease all actions for a
48-hour period. In addition, Berisha and the opposition agreed to the
formation of a multiparty commission to investigate pyramid scheme
investments, as the collapse of several of those had led to thousands
losing their life savings and ultimately triggered the armed conflict.
Finally, Berisha has also reportedly agreed to the idea of holding early
elections. -- Stan Markotich

. . . BUT REBELS SET TO CONTINUE FIGHTING. Rebels throughout the
southern part of the country have signaled their intention to continue
the conflict. One rebel leader, identified as Captain Tato by Greek
television, vowed "We won't turn over our weapons until our demands are
met." Surrounded by well-armed supporters, Tato reiterated the call for
Berisha's immediate resignation. "He [Berisha] wants our guns, but we
want his head," he reportedly said. And just before the announcement of
the amnesty, leaders in Sarande reiterated their list of demands, which
include Berisha's resignation, a new coalition government, and
compensation for those who lost their savings in the investment schemes.
-- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS POSTPONED AGAIN. Danish Foreign Minister Niels
Helveg Petersen, chairman of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, said on 6 March that the Bosnian elections were
rescheduled from July to September, international media reported. That
is the third postponement of the elections -- originally scheduled for
September 1996, along with the general elections, then moved to
November, and then again to July 1997. U.S. Defense Minister William
Cohen sharply criticized the delay, and blamed civilian authorities for
the setback. Cohen said the delay will not stand in the way of a U.S.
pullout from Bosnia in June 1998, although "it complicates matters," AFP
reported. But the U.S. State Department fully supported the decision to
postpone the polls, and said there was a greater hope to have free and
fair elections, Reuters reported. High Representative Carl Bildt also
welcomed the OSCE decision. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERB ASSEMBLY TO RATIFY TREATY WITH YUGOSLAVIA. The Bosnian Serb
parliament on 15 March will ratify a controversial pact with the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, despite objections by the Muslim and Croat
partners in the central government of Bosnia-Herzegovina (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 3 March 1997), Oslobodjenje reported. The accord only calls for
ratification by the Yugoslav federal parliament and the Bosnian Serb
assembly, although international treaties and foreign relations lie
within the jurisdiction of Bosnia's central government in Sarajevo. The
U.S. State Department supported a protest by Bosnia's Muslim presidency
member, Alija Izetbegovic, who said the pact was unconstitutional, Nasa
Borba reported on 5 March. The high representative for Bosnia, Carl
Bildt, urged Yugoslavia not to ratify the agreement before it has been
approved by Bosnia's multiethnic parliament. Bosnia's Muslim Party of
Democratic Action said its deputies will not ratify the agreement,
Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN STATE TELEVISION STANDS BY MILOSEVIC. The state-run Radio and
Television Serbia on 6 March announced that it would no longer provide
relays of programs broadcast on BK Television, international media
report. BK, owned and run by wealthy entrepreneur Bogoljub Karic, has
the capacity to reach an estimated 60% of Serbia's population, but in
recent weeks the station has stepped up criticism of Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic. In addition, reports have recently circulated that
Karic is preparing to launch a political party to run against the
governing Socialists in republican presidential and parliamentary
elections -- slated for later this year -- and has plans to solicit the
support of such influential and popular individuals as American
businessman and former Premier of Yugoslavia, Milan Panic (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 28 February 1997). -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIAN STUDENT HUNGER STRIKE IN THIRD DAY. A hunger strike by some
20 Macedonian students from the Pedagogical Faculty (PF) in a Skopje
park near parliament entered its third day on 6 March, MILS reported.
The hunger strikers are conducting their protest in the open because a
permit issued for erecting tents there has been declared invalid for
environmental and public-safety reasons. The hunger strikers were
supported by 3,000 to 4,000 protesters, who marched for the 19th
consecutive day. The protesters included students from Kumanovo, Ohrid,
Skopje, and Stip, along with other citizens. The protesters are
demanding suspension of both a law on the PF passed on 30 January
(allowing instruction in Albanian) and of minority university admission
quotas, along with the resignation of Education Minister Sofija
Todorova. University officials addressed the protesters, asking them to
suspend the strike until the Constitutional Court rules on the law. --
Michael Wyzan

ROMANIA SLAMS OPPOSITION TO UKRAINE TREATY. A press release from the
Foreign Ministry vowed on 6 March to pursue efforts to sign a basic
treaty with Ukraine, which is regarded as boosting Romania's chances of
admission to NATO, Reuters reported on the same day. The ministry warned
against "recent agitation" against the pending treaty, saying it was
"fueled by circles alien to Romania's interests, which want the country
to stay out of European and Euro-Atlantic structures," and called the
drive "unpatriotic." On 6 March, the media reported that hundreds of
leaflets denouncing the intention to agree to a loss of territories
incorporated into the Soviet Union had been distributed overnight in
Timisoara. There had been earlier reports of such leaflets in Bucharest,
Suceava, and Turnu Severin. Police launched an investigation to trace
the authors of the leaflets. -- Michael Shafir

COUNCIL OF EUROPE TO STOP SPECIAL MONITORING OF ROMANIA? A Council of
Europe (CE) delegation of rapporteurs is investigating the possibility
of removing special monitoring of Romania's implementation of the
commitments it took upon joining the organization, Romanian media
reported. Delegation leader Gunnar Jansson said the monitoring might end
in April, but the decision is to be made by the CE General Assembly on
25 April. In related news, the EU commissioner in charge with relations
with Central and Eastern European countries, Hans van den Broek, on 6
March arrived in Bucharest in an attempt to boost cooperation between
the EU and Romania. He said the EU will effectively support the new
government's economic reform program. -- Zsolt Mato

MOLDOVAN MEDIA DEVELOPMENTS. The government decided on 3 March to
dismiss Andrei Hropotinschi, the editor in chief of the government daily
Moldova suverana, BASA-press reported on 6 March. Hropotinschi, in fact,
had announced on 15 February that he would resign on grounds of his
strong backing of former Premier Andrei Sangheli in November's
presidential race. Constantin Andreev, currently a reporter for the
daily, was named by State Minister Nicolae Cernomaz as the most likely
candidate to succeed Hropotinschi, but the Moldova suverana deputy
editor in chief, Tudor Topa, told BASA press that "neither I, nor the
staff, will accept to work under Andreev." In other news, the
Communications and Information Ministry announced on 6 March that the
airing of Ukraine's first channel television programs will be stopped on
10 March because the channel refuses to pay its debts to Moldovan
television for the period July 1996-March 1997. Since February 1996, the
channel has aired six hours daily. It covers over 80% of Moldova. --
Michael Shafir

REGISTRATION OF BULGARIAN PATRIARCH MAKSIM INVALIDATED. Bulgaria's
Supreme Administrative Court declared void the registration of one of
the two rivaling synods of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, headed by
Patriarch Maksim, Reuters and local media reported on 6 March. Patriarch
Maksim was elected in 1971, but his synod has never been registered by
the communists. After almost 5 years of intrachurch feuding over his
legitimacy, the former Socialist government registered Maksim in
December 1996. However, his opponents, backed by the anti-communist
Union of Democratic Forces, enthroned former Metropolitan Pimen as
patriarch in July 1996. It was Pimen who conducted the blessing ceremony
when President Petar Stoyanov took office in January 1997. "It is not
possible to withdraw as patriarch, not only because I do not have any
grounds to, but because I would commit a sin before God and would be
betraying those who have elected me," Patriarch Maksim commented after a
meeting with Stoyanov. -- Maria Koinova

BULGARIA ABOLISHES VISA REQUIREMENT FOR WEST EUROPEANS. Bulgaria's
interim government on 6 March abolished visas for Western Europeans,
RFE/RL and Pari reported. The move is aimed at strengthening the
country's position in seeking visa concessions for Bulgarian citizens
and at fostering tourism from EU countries. The government also took
measures to restrict the illicit trade in Bulgarian passports, deciding
that a criminal check will be required before a new international
passport is issued. "We have to stop serving as a transit point to
Europe for people from the Third World," Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev
commented. Citing budget cuts, the ministers also decided that Bulgaria
will reduce staff at its missions in Ethiopia, Uruguay, Nicaragua,
Cambodia, and North Korea. In other news, the head of the Bulgarian
Intelligence Service, Brigo Asparuchov, on 6 March was replaced by a
little-known 34-year-old lawyer, Dimo Gyaurov, a deputy of the Union of
Democratic Forces in the recently dissolved parliament. -- Maria Koinova

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Sava Tatic

*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!

What's in Store for the magazine Transition

We've learned much in the last two years about what sort of magazine
Transition can be and what role it should play in Central and Eastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union. Of greatest help in this process has
been the advice of readers. Among some of the desired changes are for
Transition to offer even more articles by writers in the region - lively
opinion pieces as well as fact-filled analysis and expanded departments.

Accordingly, Transition will be substantially restructured and
relaunched as a monthly with the issue dated June 1997. The last
biweekly issue will be 6 April, followed by a brief hiatus. All existing
subscriptions will be honored and extended according to the new monthly
frequency, which is priced at $65 for 12 issues. As before, we offer a
substantial discount for readers in and of the countries we cover (apply
to the contacts listed below for more information).

For engaged intellectuals, policymakers, journalists, and scholars from
the region, the new Transition will provide a rare forum for the
exchange of ideas and criticism on political, economic, and cultural
issues and events. Transition will also offer readers from abroad a
window on the experiences of countries moving away from a single
ideology. We are certain that the magazine's new format and orientation
will make it even more useful for your work, as well as contributing
more to your understanding.

For more information, contact the OMRI Marketing Department at tel.
(420-2) 6114 2114, fax (420-2) 6114 3181; email: transition-DD@omri.cz

*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!*^!

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1997 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
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TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
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subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit
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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
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The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
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