The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. - Ezra Pound
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 51, Part II, 13 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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ON UKRAINE, NATO. Malcolm Rifkind said in
Washington on 11 March that NATO should expand to Ukraine's eastern
borders, NTV and Intelnews reported. He said the move would give the
alliance the opportunity to prevent the development of ethnic conflicts.
This is the first time a high-ranking official from a NATO member
country has raised the possibility of Ukraine's inclusion into the
alliance, and there has been confusion over how the remark should be
taken. British Ambassador to Ukraine Roy Reeve played down Rifkind's
statement, saying only that Ukraine has the right to choose its form of
cooperation with NATO structures. Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksandr
Kuzmuk's reaction was to repeat Kyiv's position that there is nothing
preventing Ukraine from joining the alliance in the future, but he did
not say this was an immediate goal. -- Ustina Markus

RESULTS OF RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN ASSEMBLY MEETING. The third session of the
Russian-Belarusian Parliamentary Assembly ended in Minsk on 12 March,
Belarusian Radio and Belapan reported. Russian Duma speaker Gennadii
Seleznev was elected chairman of the assembly and Belarusian National
Assembly speaker Anatol Malafeyev deputy chairman. Otherwise, few
concrete measures were taken to speed up integration. A proposal to
immediately consider the need to create a federation between Russia and
Belarus was voted down. Meanwhile, visiting Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov
seemed to make more progress than the assembly in increasing ties with
Belarus. Luzhkov signed agreements on health, technical-economic
cooperation, and agricultural and machine deliveries. In talks with his
Minsk counterpart, Uladzimir Yarmosh, Luzhkov said Moscow is prepared to
place an order for 50 Belarusian trolley buses manufactured in Minsk.
Luzhkov also plans to organize celebrations in Moscow on 2 April to mark
the first anniversary of the Russian-Belarusian Community agreement. --
Ustina Markus

LATVIAN ARMED FORCES TO BE REORGANIZED. Commander in Chief Juris
Dalbins, speaking to journalists after meeting with President Guntis
Ulmanis, said that Latvia's armed forces will be divided into three
entities, BNS reported on 12 March. The Early Response Force will
consist of the Baltic Battalion's Latvian company; the Forces on Duty
will be made up of the Navy and the Air Force; and the core of the Basic
Force will be the National Guard. Currently, the Latvian defense forces
are organized as the National Guard, the Navy, the Air Force, and the
Mobile Infantry Brigade. The government action program requires bringing
the national defense system into line with NATO standards. A national
defense plan has to be drafted by 1 July. -- Jiri Pehe

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT ON SECURITY SERVICES. Algirdas Brazauskas told
journalists on 12 March that it was essential to increase funding for
the country's security services, BNS reported. He was speaking after
meeting with State Security Department (SSD) officials. Brazauskas noted
that the security services are doing everything in their power to
continue to function normally despite insufficient staff and technical
equipment. He added that the SSD had to be strengthened to enable it to
"fight Lithuania's domestic ills--corruption, contraband and the
squandering of state property." -- Jiri Pehe

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN PROMISES SUPPORT TO LOCAL RUSSIANS.
Vytautas Landsbergis, meeting with representatives of Lithuania's
Russian organizations on 12 March, promised to seek to resolve the
community's most pressing problems, BNS reported. Russians constitute
the largest ethnic minority in Lithuania, accounting for 9% of the total
population. The meeting focused on cultural and educational issues.
Landsbergis mentioned the signing of a cultural cooperation treaty with
Russia as a high priority issue. In his view, the 1992 cultural
cooperation treaty has produced no tangible results. -- Jiri Pehe

UPDATE ON SOCIAL UNREST IN POLAND. The National Committee of the
Solidarity trade union on 12 March met in Warsaw, Polish media reported.
The meeting coincided with a protest by some 2,000 Gdansk shipyard
workers against the shipyard's closure (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 March
1997). Committee head Marian Krzaklewski said the shipyard's closure is
an "act of political vengeance." Solidarity plans more protests in a bid
to persuade the government to save both the shipyard and 400 other
enterprises slated for restructuring. Krzaklewski said he has filed a
complaint with the Prosecutor-General's office over the police action in
Warsaw last week against protesting arms industry workers. The committee
decided that Solidarity will continue to insist that the new
constitution include references to God, the protection of life from the
moment of conception, and the settling of accounts with the communist
system. -- Jakub Karpinski

NEW CZECH INTELLIGENCE SERVICE CHIEF NAMED. The Czech government on 12
March appointed Karel Vulterin as director of the Czech Intelligence
Service (BIS), Czech media reported. Vulterin, who has experience
neither in government nor the security services, is a scientist and
trade union leader. The government looked for three months for a
replacement for Stanislav Devaty, who resigned in November following
charges that the BIS was shadowing politicians. Devaty was, in fact,
only acting director, although he presided over the BIS for more than
four years. The BIS has recently been rocked by a series of scandals
over allegations of shadowing politicians and leaking secret documents.
-- Jiri Pehe

CZECH GOVERNMENT RAISES RENT, ENERGY PRICES. As of 1 July, apartment
rents will be allowed to increase by as much as 100% in Prague and 62%
in other cities, Czech media reported. Rents for apartments in smaller
towns may increase by no more than 30%. The government also decided to
increase energy prices by 15% this year. Previously the coalition
parties had agreed that energy prices should rise by 35%, but the
government saw such an increase as too steep. Energy prices will rise by
17% next January, however. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SUPPORTS STRIKING ACTORS. Michal Kovac on 12 March
issued a statement expressing anxiety over events at the Culture
Ministry two days earlier, Slovak media reported. He stressed that if
Culture Minister Ivan Hudec does not "begin a constructive dialogue"
with the striking actors, he should resign. Referring to the actors'
sit-in (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11-12 March 1997), Kovac said "it is
deplorable that this country's artists must resort to such methods to
come into contact with their minister." He added that Hudec "should be
an example of cultivation, communication, and dialogue and not [of] ...
arrogance, intolerance, and conflict." Also on 12 March, the Slovak
National Theater's ballet and students from several universities went on
strike alert. Hudec, meanwhile, has filed criminal proceedings against
those who participated in the "unauthorized and violent occupation" of
his ministry building, CTK reported. Finally, the opposition announced
it will propose parliamentary no-confidence votes in Hudec and Interior
Minister Gustav Krajci. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT REJECTS DIRECT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The parliament
on 12 March rejected an opposition proposal for direct presidential
elections, Slovak media reported. The proposal was defeated by a vote of
62 to 46 with 37 abstentions. Shifting the vote from the parliament to
the people would require a constitutional change. Opposition parties
still plan to hold a referendum on the issue, but the parliament will
make the final decision. Also on 12 March, the parliament re-approved an
opposition bill delaying bank privatization until the year 2003.
However, a government amendment exempts two key banks--Vseobecna uverova
banka and Investicna a rozvojova banka--from the bill, allowing their
privatization to begin after 31 March. Only the privatization of
Slovenska sporitelna and Slovenska poistovna will be prevented.
Association of Workers Chairman Jan Luptak later apologized to his
supporters for voting in favor of the government amendment. -- Sharon
Fisher

HUNGARIAN, ROMANIAN PREMIERS HAIL "NEW CHAPTER" IN BILATERAL RELATIONS.
Gyula Horn and Victor Ciorbea, meeting in Budapest on 12 March, spoke of
a "new chapter" in bilateral relations, Hungarian media reported. This
is the first visit by a Romanian premier to Hungary since 1989. Horn and
Ciorbea signed five agreements, including one establishing a commission
to monitor the implementation of the basic treaty concluded last year.
Ciorbea announced plans for a new Romanian law to protect minorities'
rights in Romania that would include allowing the mother tongue to be
used in education and official dealings. He noted that the two
countries' strategic partnership as well as the involvement of the
Hungarian minority in the Romanian government could serve as a model for
the region. Ciorbea also expressed optimism about Romania's chances of
joining NATO, saying that "it is up to us to see that these two nations-
-without delays or slowdowns--step together on the road to Europe." --
Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY'S NEWS AGENCY ON VERGE OF FINANCIAL COLLAPSE. MTI could be
insolvent within a month unless it receives financial assistance,
Vilaggazdasag reported on 13 March. The news agency's management blames
stagnating state support, excessive spending, and MTI's inability to
collect outstanding debts to pay the 360 million forints ($2.1 million)
it owes the social insurance fund. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIA ON BRINK OF CIVIL WAR? Rebellion has now reached the capital
city, international media report today. In the early hours of this
morning, looters ransacked the Tirana military academy. Some soldiers
broke the city's curfew and chanted "Vlore" in the main square, in an
apparent show of solidarity with the rebels in that southern town.
Tirana's airport has been closed owing to the latest developments.
Reuters reported that five people were killed and at least 40 injured
during the night in the northern city of Shkoder, which until now had
staved off the rebellion. Newly appointed Premier Bashkim Fino told the
BBC that the country is now on the brink of civil war, AFP reported.
"Let's be realistic. ... We're on the brink of civil war here. We're in
danger. Europe has to help us at this difficult time," he said. -- Stan
Markotich

BOSNIAN MUSLIM VILLAGE ATTACKED. Gajevi, a Bosnian Muslim village in
Serb-held territory in north-eastern Bosnia, came under attack on 11
March, international media reported the following day. According to UN
officials, it was the third time this year that the town has been
attacked, causing substantial damage to buildings. An unarmed band of up
to 50 civilians were responsible for this latest incident, which came
one day after the NATO-led Stabilization Force lifted its security
cordon around the village, AFP reported. No casualties were reported,
and Russian troops stationed near the village said they were unaware
that it was under attack until they saw the flames from houses that were
set ablaze. -- Stan Markotich

FORMER YUGOSLAV PREMIER APPEALS TO SERBIAN PRESIDENT. Milan Panic, who
was federal Yugoslav premier in 1992, has joined the chorus of voices
urging Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to allow fair elections and
take steps toward respecting independent media, Reuters reported on 11
March. Panic has written a letter to Milosevic saying that, "The dignity
of the Serbian nation can be fully restored only if all future elections
pass the test of the most rigorous international scrutiny. ... The
essential first step to achieve this goal is to assure that the Serbian
media is fully independent and free." --  Stan Markotich

WASHINGTON CRITICAL OF MONTENEGRIN RULING PARTY. The U.S. State
Department on 12 March criticized the ruling Montenegrin Democratic
Socialist Party, saying that lawsuits it has brought against opposition
politicians are merely a method of silencing critics, international
media reported. Spokesman Larry Corwin said, "We are very concerned
about the implications for democracy in Montenegro." The State
Department's comments were made during Montenegrin Premier Milo
Djukanovic's ongoing visit to the U.S. A Montenegrin court on 10 March
found opposition leader Novak Kilibarda guilty of slandering both
President Momir Bulatovic and Parliamentary Speaker Svetozar Marovic
during last year's election campaign. Kilibarda has been ordered to pay
some $13,000 in fines. Corwin said the ruling was "an effort by the
Montenegrin ruling party to intimidate opposition parties." -- Stan
Markotich

ZAGREB PROTESTS "ANTI-CROATIAN" MEDIA CAMPAIGN. The Croatian embassy in
Sarajevo on 12 March sent a sharply worded letter of protest to the
Bosnian Foreign Ministry complaining of "an anti-Croatian campaign by
the Sarajevo press," Hina reported. The embassy alleged that Sarajevo
press practices were "unacceptable," because high-ranking Croatian
officials are allegedly portrayed "improperly and, of late, in extremely
bad taste." The letter added that "it is particularly worrying that
statements by senior government officials of...Muslim nationality have
also contributed to this campaign." -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIAN UPDATE. President Kiro Gligorov on 12 March upgraded the
state of combat readiness already imposed a week ago (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 5 March 1997) at the Debar, Gostivar, Kicevo, Ohrid, and Tetovo
bases, all near the Albanian border, AFP reported. A scheduled
parliamentary debate on rising inter-ethnic tension was canceled on 12
March after the nationalist, non-parliamentary opposition VRMO-DPMNE
refused an invitation to participate, MILS reported. Meanwhile, Premier
Branko Crvenkovski may fire five ministers from the ruling Social-
Democratic Union of Macedonia in connection with the scandal over the
closure of the TAT savings house, MILS reported, citing Vecer. Finally,
the health of 20 students on hunger strike to protest a law allowing
instruction in Albanian at the Pedagogical Faculty is said to be
deteriorating. The students say that over 40,000 people have signed a
petition in support of their demands. -- Michael Wyzan

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER IN SLOVENIA. Romano Prodi paid a one-day visit to
Ljubljana on 11 March, Western agencies reported. After meeting with
Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek and President Milan Kucan, Prodi said
Italy supports Slovenia's bid for inclusion in the first wave of new
NATO members as well as its accession to the EU. He added that "in the
next months, a mixed Italian-Slovenian group will be established that
will work on bilateral questions so that all shadows of the past will
disappear," Reuters reported. Italy is Slovenia's second most important
trading partner, accounting for about 20% of Slovenia's total trade
turnover. -- Michael Wyzan

CLUJ HUNGARIAN UNIVERSITY TO BE RE-OPENED? Romanian premier Victor
Ciorbea's announcement before his departure for Budapest that the Bolyai
Hungarian-language university in Cluj will be reopened has prompted
protests in Romania, not just among extremist parties. Cluj Prefect
Alexandru Farcasan, who is a member of the ruling National Peasant
Party-Christian Democratic, said reopening the university and permitting
bilingual street signs are likely to cause "discontent" among the
Romanian ethnic majority. The reopening of the Bolyay university, which
in 1958 was merged with the Romanian-language Babes University, has long
been demanded by the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, now a
member of the ruling coalition. But ethnic Romanian faculty of the
Babes-Bolyay University, including Rector Andrei Marga, are opposed to
the move. Meanwhile, Radio Bucharest quoted Ciorbea as saying in
Budapest on 12 March that a separate Hungarian-language department would
be opened within the existing university and would train Hungarian-
language teachers. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIA DENIES UKRAINIAN ALLEGATIONS OVER TREATY TALKS. Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Gilda Lazar on 12 March denied that Romanian ambassador to
Ukraine Ion Bistreanu said at a press conference that Bucharest is no
longer abiding by the reported compromise reached with Kyiv in talks
over the bilateral treaty, Radio Bucharest reported. ITAR-TASS had
reported on the alleged press conference, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister
Hennadii Udovenko had deplored the new Romanian position in an interview
with the agency, Romanian media reported on 13 March. Lazar said
Bistreanu has not held a press conference for the last ten days. She
added that the Romanian side was waiting for a Ukrainian response to its
latest proposals. Foreign Minister Adrian Severin was "ready to travel
anywhere and at any time" in order to help clarify outstanding issues,
she added. -- Michael Shafir

TRIPARTITE MEETING IN CHISINAU. Contrary to earlier reports, Infotag
said on 12 March that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and the leader
of the Transdniester breakaway region, Igor Smirnov, met the previous
day in Chisinau, not Tiraspol. The meeting was also attended by Moldovan
Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc and parliamentary chairman Dumitru Motpan, as
well as Transdniestrian Supreme Soviet chairman Grigore Markutsa. Boris
Akulov, head of the breakaway region's State Committee for Information,
said the talks do not signal "a resumption of the negotiation process."
He said that summit meetings will be resumed only if and when Moldova
agrees to sign the memorandum on the long-term settlement of the
conflict. Kuchma has invited Smirnov to visit Ukraine in April to
discuss the possible participation of Ukrainian troops in the peace-
keeping process. He also spoke in favor of boosting trade with the
Transdniester. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIA'S IMF DEAL HELD UP BY DISAGREEMENT OVER BANKS. Bulgarian
Premier Stefan Sofiyanski on 12 March said different views over a $150
million IMF loan to recapitalize Bulgaria's banks were delaying
agreement with the fund, Pari reported. Bulgaria's Banking Consolidation
Company wants the money to be used for rehabilitating banks before
privatization, while the fund insists that four banks be sold before the
end of 1996 and that foreign managers be sought for another two. The IMF
holds that the banks experienced difficulties because of bad management,
weak supervision, and intentional malfeasance. It says it will not bale
out corrupt institutions. Michael Depler, head of the IMF's European
Department I, said on 12 March he expects an agreement to be reached
within two days. -- Michael Wyzan


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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

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


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