You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 55, Part II, 19 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 21 March issue of OMRI's journal TRANSITION**:

THE MIDDLE CLASS
- Economic Reform Casts a Long Shadow in Russia
- The Making of the Middle Classes
- Poland's Perpetually New Middle Class
- Some Russians Are Learning to Be Rich

PLUS...
- RUSSIA: The NATO Distraction (A discussion with Grigorii Yavlinksii)
- UKRAINE: Caution is the Key for Ukraine's Prime Minister
(a profile of Pavlo Lazarenko)
- CENTRAL EUROPE: Security Services Still Distrusted
- TAJIKISTAN: Defining the 'Third Force'

MEDIA NOTES: Journalists as Physical Pawns;
Political Moves at Russian TV

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

Note: Transition is not available electronically

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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

MORE ON BELARUSIAN EXPULSION OF U.S. CITIZEN. President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka said the expulsion of the director of the Belarusian branch
of the Soros Foundation, Peter Byrne, was not done "spontaneously" and
was not directed against Washington, NTV reported on 18 March. He said
Byrne is not permitted to re-enter the country because his activities in
Belarus were incompatible with his status. Soros Foundation spokesman
Syarhei Lyaushunou said he disagrees with the Belarusian authorities'
belief that the foundation is working to destabilize the republic under
the guise of offering humantarian aid, Belarusian television reported on
17 March. Belarusian television cited grants given by the Soros
Foundation to members of the opposition as evidence that the foundation
was operating against the state's interest. The report said opposition
leader Yuryi Khadyka received $19,500 in a grant last year, the wife of
an NTV correspondent received $7,105, and the wife of an RFE/RL
correspondent got $6,990. (See "RUSSIA CRITICIZES GERMANY ON DESERTERS,
U.S. ON BELARUS," in Russian part for more on Belarus.) -- Ustina Markus

DEMONSTRATIONS IN UKRAINE. Separate demonstrations by both left-wingers
and nationalists were held in Ukraine on 18 March, international
agencies reported. Several thousand protesters gathered outside the
Crimean government building in Simferopol to protest NATO expansion and
urge integration with Russia. At the same time, tens of thousands of
left-wingers protested in major cities throughout the country over the
country's economic situation and the chronic wage arrears. The leftist
protests were matched by protests staged by national democrats, who
called for the removal of ex-communists from positions of power and a
ban on the Communist Party. Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil said the
protests were prompted by economic, not political, motives. Kyiv owes
2.7 billion hryvnyas ($1.5 billion) in back wages and pensions. Leftists
criticize the measures taken to reform the economy for causing economic
hardship, while nationalists blame government corruption and leftists
for blocking economic reform and causing the economic hardships. --
Ustina Markus

UKRAINE AND IMF, WORLD BANK. An IMF delegation arrived in Ukraine for
further talks on a $2.5 billion-3 billion extended fund facility,
Reuters reported on 18 March. The disbursal of the credits has been held
up because Ukraine's parliament and government have not agreed on a 1997
budget. A few days before the delegation's arrival, a strange manifesto
condemning the IMF was distributed in Ukraine's parliament, Den reported
on 14 March. It warned that IMF policies could lead to a global
financial apocalypse and called on U.S. President Bill Clinton to help.
The document was disseminated by the International Schiller Institute,
an anti-IMF group set up in 1965 in the U.S. Ukrainian deputy Natalya
Vitrenko has been working on the International Schiller Institute's
behalf in Ukraine. In other news, the World Bank approved a $120 million
credit to Ukraine to support a guaranteed facility to encourage foreign
investment, AFP reported on 18 March. -- Ustina Markus

LATVIAN PRESIDENT IN DENMARK. Guntis Ulmanis, on an official visit to
Denmark, said on 18 March he is concerned that the interests of the
Baltic countries be observed during the ongoing NATO enlargement debate
between the Western countries and Russia, BNS reported. Speaking at the
Danish Foreign Policy Association, Ulmanis said he fears that important
decisions on the Baltic states' security could be made behind their
backs. He said that Latvia is sure that Denmark will support the
proposal to include the Baltic battalion in NATO forces as an integrated
part. -- Jiri Pehe

COMMON LIST IN POLISH SENATE ELECTIONS. Leaders of Solidarity Electoral
Action (AWS) and the Movement for Poland's Reconstruction (ROP) agreed
on 18 March to present common candidates to the Senate in the upcoming
parliamentary elections. Both parties will first elaborate lists of
candidates on the local level and if agreement is not reached the lists
will be sent to Warsaw where negotiators from both the ROP and AWS will
establish a common list. Local agreements with other parties, in
particular the Polish Peasant Party and Freedom Union, "are not
excluded," according to the ROP vice president, former Internal Affairs
Minister Antoni Macierewcz. AWS is recently leading public opinion polls
in popularity. -- Jakub Karpinski

UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER IN POLAND. Pavlo Lazarenko and his Polish
counterpart Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz signed on 18 March a package of
economic agreements including a medical industry cooperation agreement
and an agricultural cooperation program. The two said both governments
expect at least a $500 million increase in bilateral trade in 1997.
During talks with President Aleksander Kwasniewski on 18 March,
Lazarenko spoke of the joint declaration the two presidents plan to sign
in May during Kwasniewski's visit to Ukraine. "This document will be of
historic importance for both peoples," Kwasniewski said. The document
will avoid mentioning concrete events from the often troublesome history
of mutual relations, Polish media reported. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER SUMMONS RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR. Josef Zieleniec
summoned Nikolai Ryabov on 18 March to tell him that his recent
statements had "seriously harmed Czech-Russian relations," Czech media
reported. The Russian ambassador to Prague said on Russian television
NTV on 16 March that the Czech Republic's entry into NATO would threaten
key Russian-Czech bilateral agreements. He warned that Russia might
revise economic agreements with the Czech Republic, including those on
gas and nuclear energy supplies. Later Ryabov said that his statements
were misrepresented and that he did not think they contained any threat
to the Czech Republic. -- Jiri Pehe

KING OF NORWAY IN PRAGUE, GAS DEAL CONCLUDED. King Harald and Queen
Sonja arrived in Prague on 18 March for a three-day state visit, Czech
media reported. President Vaclav Havel said after his meeting with the
king that the Czech Republic will begin buying natural gas from Norway.
Havel said King Harald's visit speeded up negotiations on gas deliveries
from Norway. He added that the recent threats by Russia's ambassador to
Prague that Czech membership in NATO could have a negative impact on
Czech-Russian trade, especially on the supply of Russian natural gas,
influenced the decision. The Czech Republic is completely dependent on
Russia for natural gas. -- Jiri Pehe

MORE PROTESTS IN SLOVAKIA. Some 2,000 students from the Trnava
University joined protested on 18 March outside the government's
headquarters in Bratislava, Slovak media reported. The students say a
government plan to build a new university in Trnava threatens the
existence of Trnava University, which is currently short of money. Many
lecturers at Trnava University are known to be opposed to Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar. Like their Bratislava colleagues in the last few days,
the students in Trnava also voiced support for striking actors in
Slovakia. Eight trade unions in the country, representing 250,000
workers, have also threatened to go on strike. The head of Slovakia's
Confederation of Trade Unions, Ivan Saktor, said the strike will occur
if Meciar's government does not show more willingness to talk with its
opponents. -- Jiri Pehe

HUNGARIAN FARMERS CONTINUE BLOCKADE THREAT. A Hungarian farmers' union
on 18 March maintained its threat to block border crossings if the
government does not agree to its demands, despite warnings that such
action would be illegal, Reuters and Hungarian media reported.
Representatives of the farmers' union METESZ sent an ultimatum to the
government the previous day, saying they will block border crossings and
roads to the capital unless their demand for unconditional tax relief
for farmers earning less than 1.5 million forints ($8,500) a year is
met. A February demonstration sparked a series of farmer protests over
income and social security tax increases for farmers. The government
made concessions to the farmers who have since formed METESZ. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS: SEPARATE PRIME MINISTER AND PARTY PRESIDENT
POSITIONS. The so-called social democratic and left-wing leaders within
Hungary's senior coalition Socialist Party are scheduled to meet this
week to hammer out a joint stance in favor of separating the posts of
prime minister and party president, Hungarian media reported on 19
March. Both positions are held by Gyula Horn. The issue has been long
debated in the largely heterogeneous Socialist caucus. According to the
daily Vilaggazdasag, the group would welcome both Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs and former Prime Minister Miklos Nemeth for the post of
prime minister. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN REBELS THREATEN TO ELECT OWN PRESIDENT. Gjirokastra rebel
leader Agim Ghozita, a former army general, told Reuters on 18 March
that if President Sali Berisha does not resign, the southern Albanian
insurgents will elect their own presidential council to challenge him
directly. Ghozita said the rebels want a political, not a military,
solution. He added he is willing to work with the new government only if
it stops all cooperation with Berisha. But Prime Minister Bashkim Fino
of the Socialist Party rejected that demand. Berisha has pledged to step
down if his Democratic Party loses elections scheduled for June. In
Gjirokastra, gunmen raided the city's main bank on 18 March and seized
all the money. In Tirana, the restoration of normal life continued as
the government announced Rinas airport will reopen on 20 March. --
Fabian Schmidt

REFUGEE CRISIS WORSENS. More than 2,500 people arrived in Italy on 18
March, bringing the number of refugees there to nearly 10,000, according
to the UNHCR. A derelict freighter with some 100 people on board ran
aground south of Durres. The exodus is apparently largely organized by
the Albanian mafia, which charges between $500 and $1,000 per person for
passage to Italy. Italy's chief anti-Mafia prosecutor, Pier Luigi Vigna,
said the exodus might include criminals freed during the recent armed
anarchy. CNN showed footage of Italian border guards collecting dozens
of machine guns from arriving refugees. Marine insurance writers in
London effectively declared the area a war zone liable to increased
premiums. Italy on Wednesday expelled by helicopter 135 refugees it
deemed dangerous. -- Fabian Schmidt

INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO SOLVE FINANCIAL CRISIS. New Albanian Finance
Minister Arben Malaj told the EU fact-finding mission on 18 March his
country needs at least $300 million to prevent economic collapse. He
said the country faces a food crisis because looters have stolen
government food reserves. In Geneva, the International Red Cross
appealed for 15 million Swiss francs ($11 million) to assist Albania
with food and medicine. The sum would cover urgent needs for three
months. Some Albanian leaders renewed an appeal for Western countries to
send troops to help the government restore order, but EU mission head
Jan D'Ansembourg ruled that out. Greek Economy Minister Yannos
Papandoniou said Greece will guarantee a $75 million loan with favorable
conditions to Albania once the situation has normalized. The loan will
help provide partial compensation to people who lost savings in failed
pyramid schemes and will assist the financial system, Reuters reported.
-- Fabian Schmidt

CROATIA GIVES FINAL AMNESTY LIST TO EASTERN SLAVONIA SERBS. The UN
Transitional Administration in eastern Slavonia has handed over to local
Serb leaders Zagreb's final list of persons who will not be given
amnesty for alleged war crimes, Vecernji list reported. The cases of
those not mentioned on the 150-name list will be handled according to
the amnesty law passed by the Croatian government last year. Neither
party is happy with the list: Croats find it too short and Serbs too
long. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN HARDLINER NEW PRESIDENT OF BOSNIAN FEDERATION. Former
federation Defense Minister Vladimir Soljic, a Croat, was elected on 18
March by the federation parliament as the new president of Bosnia's
Muslim-Croat federation, local media reported. Soljic replaced Kresimir
Zubak, now the Croatian member of Bosnia's collective presidency. Ejup
Ganic, a Muslim, was retained as federation vice president. Both men are
elected on behalf of their respective national parties, the Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ) and the Muslim Party of Democratic Action
(SDA). Meanwhile, Haris Silajdzic, one of the Bosnian government co-
chairmen, criticized the OSCE's work in Bosnia and asked that the
organization name those responsible for the third postponement of
Bosnia's local elections, Oslobodjenje reported on 19 March. In other
news, a Bosnian Serb woman on 18 March testified at the Hague-based
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia about
atrocities done by Muslim guards to Serbian prisoners of the Celebici
prison camp in 1992, international media reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBS IN ZAIRE. The International Herald Tribune reported on 19 March
that "brokers with connections to President Slobodan Milosevic's
government have made deals to supply the embattled Zairian military with
men and equipment." The article added that the authorities in Belgrade
and in Pale make big money from equipment sales, while the soldiers are
very well paid by Yugoslav standards. The federal Yugoslav Foreign
Ministry denies any official link to the deals with Zaire, but the
article cites numerous examples of government connections to the African
enterprise. -- Patrick Moore

SERBIAN OFFICIALS UNDER PRESSURE FOR FAIR ELECTIONS. German Foreign
Minister Klaus Kinkel told Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic that
the Serbian authorities must not hinder opposition-controlled local
governments or the media if they want to rejoin the OSCE. He added that
the authorities must also launch a "constructive dialogue" with the
opposition, Nasa Borba reported on 19 March. Meanwhile in Vienna,
another opposition leader, Vesna Pesic, threatened a boycott of the
presidential and legislative elections slated for later this year if
there is no level playing field. She said the opposition wants not only
free media but also a special electoral commission to make sure that the
vote is free and fair, AFP reported. -- Patrick Moore

MONTENEGRIN GOVERNMENT: LETTER WAS FAKED. Montenegrin authorities denied
a report in Belgrade and U.S. dailies that Prime Minister Milo
Djukanovic had written two members of the U.S. Congress to criticize
federal Yugoslav policies in Bosnia and Kosovo. The Montenegrin
spokesmen said that the letter was faked, AFP reported. Tensions between
Podgorica and Belgrade are nothing new and have become increasingly
public in recent weeks, but the alleged Djukanovic letter was
particularly sharp in its criticism. -- Patrick Moore

PARLIAMENTARY UPHEAVAL IN ROMANIA. The Party of Social Democracy in
Romania (PDSR) said in a letter to President Emil Constantinescu that it
will boycott parliamentary debates in protest against what it called
non-respect of parliamentary procedure and a purge of the state
administration, Romanian media reported on 17-18 March. PDSR leader and
former President Ion Iliescu asked Constantinescu to mediate. Deputy
PDSR leader Adrian Nastase said the way that the parliamentary immunity
of Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor was lifted
was only one of the reasons for the decision. The PRM is also boycotting
the debates, while representatives of the Party of Romanian National
Unity (PUNR) announced they will be present in the house but will not
participate in debates. The PUNR is protesting against the removal from
the parliamentary agenda of their proposed amendment to the land-
ownership law. Constantinescu said the boycott is irresponsible but that
he is willing to mediate if the three parties take "national priorities"
into consideration. The ruling majority has the votes to pass
legislation in the opposition's absence. -- Michael Shafir

FOREIGN INVESTORS CAN  OWN LAND IN ROMANIA. The Chamber of Deputies on
18 March passed legislation allowing foreign investors to own land,
Radio Bucharest reported. An identical bill was approved last month by
the Senate and will become law when President Emil Constantinescu signs
it. The bill was approved in the absence of opposition representatives,
who are boycotting the debates. In other news, the EU finance ministers
on 17 March authorized the second installment of a loan approved back in
1994 as financial assistance. The installment ($80.5 million) had been
withheld because of the previous government's evasive reform
implementation. The EU said the loan has been authorized in recognition
of the new government's "courageous" reform drive. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN-MOLDOVAN INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE MEETING. The seventh
session of the joint Romanian-Moldovan inter-ministerial committee was
held in Bucharest on 17 March, Romanian national television reported on
the same day. Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Severin and Moldovan
Deputy Premier Ion Gutu signed a protocol providing for free-trade zones
in border regions, as well as accords on environment protection and
education. Radio Bucharest reported that Severin spoke of extending
regional border co-operation to include Ukraine as a third party to new
Euro-regions. -- Michael Shafir

IMF STANDBY FOR BULGARIA BRINGS ADDITIONAL NEW LOANS. EU External
Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek said on 18 March in Sofia that
additional lending worth $400 million-500 million will likely be
forthcoming from the EU and the rest of the G-24, Reuters reported. On
17 March, Bulgaria had reached two agreements providing credits worth
about $617 million -- $510 million in a standby credit and $107 million
from a special facility for importing grain. The Open Society Foundation
has offered $25 million for importing food and medicine, RFE/RL reported
on 16 March. Leaders of all main political parties, including the
recently ousted socialists, on 18 March pledged to support the tough
conditions underlying the standby deal. Those conditions involve
enterprise restructuring and privatization and tough budgetary
discipline. -- Michael Wyzan

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

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

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.

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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