|The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli|
No. 56, Part II, 20 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 upcoming changes to TRANSITION ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BELARUSIAN SOROS FOUNDATION FACES AUDIT. The Belarusian Security Council set up a commission to audit the Belarusian branch of the Soros Foundation, AFP reported on 19 March. The commission was created days after the director of the branch, Peter Byrne, was barred from re- entering the country because of alleged ties with the opposition. The audit commission is made up of members of the Security Council, the State Control Committee, and the Fiscal Committee. The commission demanded that the foundation hand over various documents. -- Ustina Markus LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO EXPANSION. Algirdas Saudargas, speaking at a meeting with North Atlantic Council representatives in Brussels on 19 March, said that at least one of the three Baltic countries should be included in the first wave of NATO's enlargement, BNS reported. "Such a step would ensure that the destiny of the three Baltic states is not hostage to Cold War stereotypes," Saudargas said. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have all applied for NATO membership. -- Jiri Pehe FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN ESTONIA TO CONTINUE. The director general of the Estonian Foreign Investments Agency, Juri Sakkeus, said the volume of foreign investment should not decline in the next two years, ETA reported on 19 March. Sakkeus noted that the possible investment of $250 million in the Estonian Energy Co. by the U.S. company NRG Energy would be comparable to a normal annual investments volume. Finland and Sweden, with 35% and 24% shares, respectively, are the leading investing countries, followed by Russia and the U.S. From 1992 to the third quarter of 1996, foreign investment totaled 9.3 billion kroons ($775 million). Investment has gone primarily to the processing industry (44.5%), retail and wholesale trade (26%), and transport and communications (16%). -- Saulius Girnius POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO: 'NO PHONY ARGUMENTS.' Dariusz Rosati spoke on 19 March in Britain with his counterpart Malcolm Rifkind about NATO and EU enlargement. Rosati said NATO enlargement should not be delayed because of pressures from Russia. He asked the West not to accept "phony arguments" from Russia against NATO enlargement. Rosati said Poland has been satisfied so far with progress on NATO enlargement but is concerned that "wrong decisions" could be made at the U.S.- Russian presidential summit in Helsinki that starts on 20 March. Poland opposes the barring from NATO membership of countries that were once part of the USSR, as that would imply that the West recognizes Russia's right to a sphere of influence, which is against the right of states to determine their own foreign policy, Rosati said. -- Jakub Karpinski POLISH SHIPYARD PROTEST INTENSIFIES. Police on 19 March forcefully removed some 70 Gdansk shipyard workers occupying the Treasury Ministry building in a protest against the shipyard's closure, Polish and international media reported. Workers' leader Adam Giera was transported unconscious to the hospital. Shipyard workers occupying the Economy Ministry and Labor Ministry buildings left without confrontation. Solidarity trade union leader Marian Krzaklewski said the police action is a "physical attack" on the union that calls for "extreme measures," including a general strike. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said he will not allow a violation of the law to go unpunished. Before it went bankrupt, the shipyard employed 5,000 people. -- Beata Pasek CZECH OPPOSITION LEADER ON NATO REFERENDUM. Czech Parliament Speaker and Social Democratic Party (CSSD) Chairman Milos Zeman, in Warsaw on an official three-day visit, said on 19 March that a referendum on NATO membership in the Czech Republic would not result in rejection of membership. The CSSD favors a referendum on NATO membership. Opinion polls indicate that only one-third of Czechs are in favor of membership, one-third do not know, and one-third are against. "I am a fierce supporter of [Czech] entry into the two organizations [NATO and the EU], but I still support the referendum," said Zeman. He noted that about 160 deputies in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies back Czech entry into NATO and the EU. Zeman is heading a Czech parliamentary delegation to Poland. -- Jiri Pehe SLOVAK POLITICAL ROUNDUP. The cabinet on 18 March expressed support for Culture Minister Ivan Hudec and Interior Minister Gustav Krajci, Slovak media reported two days later. Claiming that there have been no limitations on artistic and cultural freedom, the cabinet said that Hudec "consulted all cultural institutions" concerning the transformation process. The cabinet also said that police intervention to remove opposition deputies and actors from the Culture Ministry on 10 May was lawful. At the insistence of the opposition parties, a parliamentary no-confidence vote in the two ministers will take place later this month. Meanwhile, Education Minister Eva Slavkovska dimsissed student protests and said they should address the situation in education rather than in culture. She also asked where the student strike committee gets the money to finance its campaign. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER IN FRANCE. Vladimir Meciar started his first official visit to France (his first to a Western European country since 1994) on 19 March, CTK and TASR reported. Meciar appealed to French businessmen for greater investment, emphasizing the development of the Slovak economy and highlighting the cheap, skilled work force. Slovak officials signed several protocols for joint ventures with French companies. -- Anna Siskova HUNGARIAN PREMIER ON EU, NATO. Gyula Horn on 19 March said that enlargement of the EU and NATO is impossible without Hungary's participation, international media reported. He said a nationwide referendum on joining NATO should be held in the first half of 1999, after the general elections next year. Horn also called for a "treaty- based relationship" between NATO and Russia and "special partnership ties" between NATO and nations that will not be invited to join in the first round. On other matters, Horn noted that while Hungary's bilateral relations with Romania have markedly improved, those with Slovakia are stagnating. Horn referred to Slovakia's domestic political problems and the ongoing trial over a hydroelectric dam on the Danube at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE ITALY DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY OVER ALBANIAN REFUGEES. Italy declared a nationwide state of emergency on 19 March to deal with the refugee influx from Albania, AFP reported. In Puglia refugee centers, convents, and churches are overflowing with more than 10,000 Albanians. The authorities have begun sending the refugees to other areas, in the north and center of Italy. The emergency measures, approved by a special cabinet session, will see the government diverting 61 billion lire ($38 million) to help cope with the influx, while limiting residence permits to 60 days. Italy also repatriated some 300 Albanians regarded as "dangerous," most of whom escaped from jail last week. Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino has asked Italy to delay repatriations until Albania has restored its prisons, Germany's ARD TV reported. -- Fabian Schmidt ITALY CONSIDERS SENDING TROOPS TO ALBANIA. Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini implied after talks with his Albanian counterpart Arian Starova that Italy may send troops to Albania, saying there is "an urgent need of humanitarian aid ... accompanied by a security force," AFP reported. Dini said "Italy would prefer to act as part of the EU. But we are obviously ready to respond to specific requests in a case of real emergency." AFP quoted "an informed source in Brindisi" as saying that up to 1,000 Italian troops could be sent to Durres to ensure aid is safely distributed. A troop ship with some 300 marines and armored vehicles on board left Brindisi overnight. A helicopter carrier was also ready to leave Brindisi. -- Fabian Schmidt EU: ALBANIA MUST ESTABLISH SECURITY BEFORE RECEIVING AID. EU mission leader Jan d'Ansembourg, however, said Albania "has to solve its own problems before we can help." French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette said there is "no question of Europeans intervening with troops to recover arms" from anti-government insurgents. Meanwhile, 15 people, four of them children, were killed on 19 March. Two of the children were killed by siblings playing with guns. The commander of the rebel-held south, Xhevat Kociu, withdrew an ultimatum to President Sali Berisha to resign and said that the 12 rebel-controlled districts will meet on 21 March to chart their next moves. Prime Minister Bashkim Fino, meanwhile, canceled his planned visit to the south after the vigilante group Committee of National Salvation, which supports Berisha, threatened violence against the insurgents and people who negotiate with them. -- Fabian Schmidt U.S. COMMANDER URGES $2 BILLION FOR BOSNIA FORCE. Gen. George Joulwan, the commander of U.S. forces in Europe, said on 18 March that the fighting readiness of U.S. troops in Bosnia will suffer if Congress does not quickly approve $2 billion for peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Reuters reported. Joulwan was referring to the increasingly important role of the 100,000 U.S. troops in the region in providing rescue and other services, such as the recent evacuation of hundreds of Americans and other foreigners from Albania. Joulwan said the U.S. can be proud of having few casualties in Bosnia but it also should anticipate the costs of that operation and its effects on readiness to deploy forces elsewhere if needed. -- Daria Sito Sucic POLL: CROATIA'S RULING PARTY WILL LOSE IN ELECTIONS. The Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) is set to lose its majority in the upper house of parliament and its control of a number of regional councils in the 13 April local elections, according to a poll published in the independent weekly Nacional, AFP reported on 19 March. However, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman remained the most popular presidential candidate, the poll showed. Tudjman had the support of 43.1% of respondents, followed by Zdravko Tomac of the Social-Democratic Party with 10.4%, and Vlado Gotovac of the Croatian Social Liberal Party with 9.3%. The HDZ would win 26 seats in the 68-seat upper house--down from the current 38. Support for the opposition was strong in the capital of Zagreb; in major Dalmatian towns such as Split, Zadar, and Rijeka; and in the industrial town of Karlovac. The HDZ was strong outside of Zagreb and in the former war zones. -- Daria Sito Sucic BELGRADE UNIVERSITY RECTOR IS OUT. Dragutin Velickovic has resigned his post at Serbia's leading university, school officials confirmed on 19 March. The announcement led to celebrations among students, who plan a bigger demonstration on 20 March, international news agencies reported. The students have staged protests for 118 days demanding the ouster of Velickovic, who is regarded as a stooge of President Slobodan Milosevic and antagonistic toward the students. The student protests ran parallel to those of the political opposition. The interim rector is Dragan Kuburovic, who was Velickovic's deputy. A new chief administrator will be named on 1 October. Nasa Borba reported on 20 March that the Belgrade University Council held a "stormy meeting" the previous night. -- Patrick Moore U.S. BLASTS NEW SERBIAN MEDIA LAW. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said on 19 March that "instead of passing a new restrictive media law, the Serbian government should encourage independent private media and ensure independent non-partisan management of the state-owned media." He was responding to a recent draft proposal by the authorities to greatly limit private ownership of radio and television. Control of television in particular has been central in enabling President Slobodan Milosevic to maintain his hold on power. His near monopoly has, however, been threatened by the victories of the political opposition in 14 municipalities and by the defection to the opposition of the privately owned BK television station. Milosevic's new information minister, Serbian-American Radmila Milentijevic, has been trying to tighten control over the media. -- Patrick Moore ZAJEDNO CALLS FOR FORWARD-LOOKING APPROACH IN KOSOVO. The opposition Zajedno coalition's Kosovo branch said that any political dialogue must be based on a discussion of developments only since 1974, when Kosovo obtained the wide-ranging autonomy that Milosevic subsequently abolished. The Zajedno group likewise warned both the Albanians and the Serbs against belaboring alleged historical injustices prior to 1974, Nasa Borba wrote on 19 March. Dealing with conflicts throughout the Balkans is especially difficult because of a tendency in the region to dwell upon real or imagined grievances from the past rather than looking toward the future. -- Patrick Moore GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN MACEDONIA. Theodoros Pangalos on 19 March visited Macedonia, the first visit by a Greek cabinet member since Macedonian independence in 1991, Nova Makedonija reported. Pangalos said little about the dispute over Macedonia's name. He noted: "There is a threat of a spreading of the [Albanian] crisis and all efforts are being made to prevent a refugee exodus," and he urged Macedonia to cooperate with Greece in containing the crisis. Pangalos said that Greece had proposed that the EU increase its assistance to Balkan economies. Meanwhile, students holding a hunger strike in Skopje since 3 March to protest a law allowing teaching in Albanian decided on 19 March to halt that strike but to continue protesting. Finally, President Kiro Gligorov addressed parliament on 18 March, criticizing nationalist Macedonian and ethnic Albanian politicians for heightening interethnic tension. -- Michael Wyzan ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BONN. After Adrian Severin on 19 March met with his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel, a German press release said Bonn will make no commitment to support Romania's integration into NATO before the July summit in Madrid, Romania libera reported. As for the EU, the German communique said: "Candidates for entry have to satisfy certain requirements, which demand extensive adjustments." The Romanian effort to win Bonn's support was behind an invitation by Public Information Minister Radu Boroianu to members of the German minority who left Romania, Reuters reported. Boroianu said earlier this week that "repatriation would involve the right to housing and jobs" and condemned "the criminal cash sale" of ethnic Germans by Romania's ousted communists. -- Michael Shafir FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT WRITES AGAIN TO CURRENT PRESIDENT. Ion Iliescu, leader of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), in the second letter this week to Emil Constantinescu, rejected the accusation that his party is "obstructing" urgently needed legislation by boycotting parliament. The letter, carried in the daily Jurnalul national on 20 March, said the PDSR will not obstruct the passing of the budget law. Reacting to Constantinescu's accusations (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 March), Iliescu says "national interest" cannot be defined outside the framework of "a functioning democratic system and the institutions of the state based on the rule of law"--thus justifying his party's decision to boycott parliamentary debates because of what it regards as abuses by the ruling majority. Iliescu called again on Constantinescu to organize a meeting of the leaders of all parties represented in parliament. Constantinescu said he will convene such a meeting. -- Michael Shafir MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT PASSES BUDGET LAW. The Moldovan parliament on 19 March approved the budget for 1997, Infotag reported on the same day. The sometimes-heated debate on the law started on 7 March. The total budget is 2,246 million lei (some $488 million), 20 million lei higher than the figure proposed by the government and is based on a deficit figure of 330 million lei. The Defense Ministry was allocated 70 million lei, the Interior Ministry 85 million, and the Ministry of National Security 45 million. -- Michael Shafir COMMISSION FOR TRANSDNIESTER HOLDS FIRST SITTING. The inter-ministerial commission for Moldova's eastern districts, set up by President Petru Lucinschi to coordinate a single policy toward the breakaway region, held its first meeting on 19 March. BASA-press reported the same day that the chairman of the commission, Presidential Adviser Anatol Taran, said the commission must involve itself in solving the socio-economic problems faced by the Transdniester population in order to gain its trust. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS UPDATE. The registration period for the 19 April general elections ended on 19 March, paving the way for the campaign to begin, RFE/RL and national media reported. Some 40 parties will run for parliament, but the Central Electoral Commission received 57 applications, as some parties will run both alone and in coalition. In a last-minute move, the Aleksander Stamboliyski Union--an agrarian party and a former coalition ally of the Socialists--decided to run separately, prompting Demokratsiya to write: "the red coalition is dissolving." Party leader Svetoslav Shivarov, an active figure in the former Socialist government, gave no explanation for the move. Former President Zhelyu Zhelev also left a coalition with the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom and registered his own Liberal Forum coalition. The Liberal Forum, though, is unlikely to pass the 4% vote threshold. -- Maria Koinova [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 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING 1) Compose a message to firstname.lastname@example.org 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. 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