|If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale|
No. 57, Part II, 21 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 TRIALS, SENTENCING IN BELARUS. A Belarusian court fined former parliamentary speaker Mechyslau Hryb 20 million Belarusian rubles ($830) for helping organize a rally on 15 March to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the 1994 constitution, international agencies reported on 20 March. The fine was the maximum possible for such an offense, and Hryb accused the courts of conducting a political trial. He argued he should be immune from prosecution, as his term as deputy had not expired when the 1996 parliament was dissolved and a new bicameral legislature established. Prosecutor General Aleh Bazhyelka had met with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka the day before and agreed to lift Hryb's immunity. A case is pending against the first deputy speaker of the 1996 parliament, Vasil Novikau, for the same offense. -- Ustina Markus POLITICAL INTIMIDATION IN BELARUS. Police visited the homes of leading opposition figures, demanding they admit they violated a presidential edict that restricts demonstrations, Belapan reported on 17 March. Former parliamentary speaker Syamyon Sharetski refused to sign the admission, as did Henadz Karpenka, Valeryi Shzhukin, and Stanislau Bahdankevich. All were deputies in the 1996 parliament who refused to join the new legislature; they maintain the 1996 parliament is the only legitimate legislature. Former Interior Minister Yuryi Zakharenka was fined 2.6 million Belarusian rubles ($86) by the court for participating in the Constitution Day rally, and police laid siege to former Defense Minister Pavel Kazlauski's home, leaving only after Russian reporters arrived. NTV reported on 20 March that Belarusian television has been reporting that the wives of NTV correspondent Aleksandr Stupnikov and RFE/RL correspondent Yurii Drakokhrust had received grants from the Soros Foundation two years ago. NTV noted that Belarusian media have increasingly portrayed journalists as Western collaborators. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN STUDENTS PROTEST. Some 50 students in Minsk on 20 March protested against the decision of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to restore a Soviet-era scheme of appointing university graduates to jobs, international agencies reported. The unsanctioned rally was promptly broken up by riot police, who reportedly arrested some 30 people, including former parliamentary deputy Pavel Znavets. The president and the Education Ministry were hoping to curb unemployment by forcing recent graduates to work in radiation-polluted areas, which are significantly understaffed. -- Sergei Solodovnikov UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO. The first round of negotiations on formalizing Ukraine's relationship with NATO began in Brussels on 20 March, Ukrainian radio reported. Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko said Ukrainian membership in the European Community is a strategic goal and membership in NATO a future possibility. He said Ukraine will conclude an agreement with NATO regardless of Russia's actions. Udovenko added Ukraine's agreement with NATO should be completed before NATO Secretary General Javier Solana visits Kyiv on 7 May. The agreement should incorporate security guarantees for Ukraine; affirm that NATO is open to membership from other countries in the future, including Ukraine; address the possibility that Europe may be redivided into spheres of influence; and create a special consultative committee between NATO and Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus UKRAINE TO DISSOLVE CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT? Presidential administration head Yevhen Kushnaryov accused the Crimean parliament of excessive politicking and described its decision to strip seven deputies of their mandates as "unconstitutional and undemocratic," UNIAN reported on 19 March. Kushnaryov said the Crimean parliament can be dissolved by a decision of the Ukrainian parliament, but he added Kyiv did not intend to do this at present. The Ukrainian government says the Crimean presidium should suspend its decision on the deputies until the Constitutional Court has made a ruling on it. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev LATVIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS AMENDMENTS TO CITIZENSHIP LAW. The Saeima on 20 March voted 40 to 9 with 6 abstentions to reject proposals submitted by the Socialist Party/Equality of Rights caucus to grant citizenship to children of permanent residents and spouses of Latvian citizens after five years of marriage, BNS reported. The parliament also rejected the proposal to reduce the number of deputies in the 100-member Saeima needed to submit claims to the Constitutional Court from the current 67 to 10. -- Saulius Girnius ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS STILL STUCK ON RUSSIAN MINORITY. During a visit to Moscow by an Estonian parliament delegation on 20 March, Mikhail Valukenko, the deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma's committee for CIS affairs, said the status of the Russian-speaking minority in Estonia remained the main stumbling block to improving relations, BNS reported. He did not consider Estonia's dropping its demand that the border agreement mention the 1920 Tartu Treaty as a concession. Nikolai Monakhov, a member of Russia's presidential human rights committee, said Estonia must either give Russians equal rights or grant them a separate state in areas, such as Narva, that have large Russian populations. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH PRIME MINISTER CONDEMNS GDANSK SHIPYARD WORKERS. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz denounced the recent occupation of the ministries by workers from the bankrupt Gdansk shipyard (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 March), saying: "That was not a legal protest but a crime committed by organized squads," local media reported on 21 March. He appealed to Solidarity not to make Poland "another Albania" and said bad management from 1989 to 1993 was responsible for the shipyard's bankruptcy. Janusz Wojciechowski, chairman of the Supreme Auditing Chamber, said the shipyard's financial condition is due to the Mieczyslaw Rakowski government's 1988 decision to liquidate the company. Cimoszewicz said a government plan of cooperation with the Szczecin shipyard will save the jobs of 2,000 of the 5,000 Gdansk workers, but according to Rzeczpospolita, there is no such detailed plan. -- Beata Pasek MORE SOLIDARITY DEMONSTRATIONS. About 2,000 people took part in a march organized by Solidarity in Warsaw in response to the police action against workers protesting the Gdansk shipyard's closure, local media reported. Demonstrators stood outside the Sejm chanting "Communists are fascists" and "Cimoszewicz-Cyrankiewicz" (comparing Poland's current prime minister with its longest-serving Communist prime minister). They also threw stones, bottles filled with gas, and red paint at the headquarters of the governing Social Democracy of the Polish Republic building. Solidarity decided not to call for a general strike but to urge people to vote for non-communists in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Solidarity announced more protests to be held today in Warsaw and other major cities. -- Beata Pasek CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO ENLARGEMENT. Josef Zieleniec told Reuters on 20 March that the eastward expansion of NATO would go ahead despite Russian opposition. "I am confident of that. There is no turning back, actually, and this will also be an important step as regards the stabilization of the security situation in Europe," said Zieleniec. He said he hoped the Russian-U.S. summit in Helsinki would help build trust between Russia and the West but cautioned both sides against playing power games in post-communist Central Europe. "It is important to make it clear that the Central European space is not a space in which Russia and the West should contest for power and influence. Such an idea is quite unacceptable for us," noted Zieleniec. (See "Foreign Ministry Pans 'Propaganda Campaign' in Prague Over Ambassador's Comments," in Russian section). -- Jiri Pehe SLOVAK OPPOSITION FAILS TO OUST CULTURE MINISTER. Ivan Hudec on 20 March easily survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote organized by the opposition, Slovak media reported. Hudec has been under increasing fire from the opposition since his refusal to meet with striking actors during a 10 March sit-in at the Culture Ministry and the police's subsequent forcible removal of protesters from the ministry building. The opposition's reasons for the no-confidence vote included Hudec's violations of the civil and labor codes, "insensitive ... intervention into various cultural spheres," incompetent management causing "lasting damage to the development of Slovak culture," and "arrogant behavior." Hudec defended his actions, and ruling coalition representatives continue to strongly support him. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER CONCLUDES FRENCH VISIT. During a 20 March meeting with French President Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Meciar asked Chirac to support Slovakia's integration into the EU and NATO. Meciar also met his French counterpart, Alain Juppe to discuss "strengthening the partnership." Juppe said only that Slovakia has made "no small progress." In an interview with French TV station LCI, Meciar rejected doubts about the state of democracy in Slovakia and said there is a difference between having authority and being authoritarian. -- Anna Siskova HUNGARIAN FINANCE MINISTRY ACCUSED OF MISMANAGING FUNDS. According to the State Audit Office, the Finance Ministry's management of its settlement accounts--accounts that regulate debt payment to Hungary by foreign governments--is inadequate and the credibility of the ministry's data is questionable, Vilaggazdasag reported on 21 March. The Audit Office also found flaws in the registration of incoming and outgoing payments from 1993 to 1995. According to the report, records for several billion forints lent by the ministry were missing. Also, the office found that the ministry's use of credits from international bodies for sector development was confusing. For example, $25 million from the World Bank, originally intended to overhaul power plants in Borsod County, was in fact spent on development in Budapest. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE ITALY: NO MILITARY INTERVENTION IN ALBANIA. Italian Defense Minister Beniamino Andreatta on 20 March ruled out unilateral military intervention in Albania, AFP reported. The same day, Italian Marines returned some 400 Albanians, including 45 children, to a beach near Durres. They had rescued them from a ship adrift in rough seas. Italy also expelled 50 Albanian suspected criminals. In Brindisi, police arrested Despoti Clirimi, who was photographed pointing a rifle at crowds of frightened people in Durres. Meanwhile, more than 2,200 U.S. Marines were stationed off the Albanian coast to evacuate foreigners. -- Fabian Schmidt DEMOCRATS MAINTAIN STIFF CONTROL OVER MEDIA. The Democrat-controlled Albanian legislature refused to transfer its authority over state radio and television to the government. It also refused to allow newspapers to resume uncensored publishing. Reports indicate that criminal gangs have taken control of various southern cities. At least 121 people have been killed since 28 February. Political leaders, now part of the all-party government charged with organizing elections by June, have come out against using force to remove Berisha, saying the democratic process will decide. "We do not support any military move to overthrow Berisha. We think he can and should be removed by legal, peaceful means," Social Democratic Vice Chairman Paskal Milo said. -- Fabian Schmidt ALBANIAN REBELS TARGET PRESIDENT. In the south, an unidentified rebel leader proposed sending armed men to Tirana to put President Sali Berisha under house arrest, Reuters reported on 21 March. AFP reported that Gjoleke Malaj, head of the "citizens' committee" in Tepelena, said that a 50-man unit had been sent to Tirana to kill Berisha if he refuses to resign. Insurgent commander Gen. Xhevat Kociu was less threatening, saying: "All we want is to force Berisha to resign. That's why we took weapons in our hands--not to kill but to force his removal." He warned, however, that the insurgents' support for the caretaker government may be short-lived if Prime Minister Bashkim Fino fails to help their cause. -- Fabian Schmidt MOSTAR CROATIAN POLICE OFFICERS GIVEN SUSPENDED SENTENCES. Croatian authorities in the divided city of Mostar on 20 March gave suspended sentences to three policemen named by the UN police as participants in the 10 February shooting at a Muslim crowd. An initial report by a UN official was critical of the trial, saying that some witnesses lied and the room was packed with armed police officers, AFP reported. In other news, Bosnian Presidency Chairman Alija Izetbegovic on 20 March left for a five-day visit to the U.S., where he will be given an award for democracy development from the U.S. Center for Democracy in Washington, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic EASTERN SLAVONIAN SERB PARTY MERGES WITH CROATIAN SERB PARTY. Independent Democratic Serbian Party (SDSS), led by eastern Slavonian Serb leader Vojislav Stanimirovic, merged with the Independent Serbian Party (SSS), led by Milorad Pupovac, ahead of next month's elections, AFP on 20 March reported, quoting Novi List. The SDSS represents Serbs who will remain in the region when it reverts to Croatian control, and the SSS represents Serbs in the rest of Croatia. The combined party would bear the name SDSS and would be led by Stanimirovic, according to Novi List. -- Daria Sito Sucic FEDERAL YUGOSLAVIA GETS NEW GOVERNMENT. Parliament on 20 March approved a cabinet headed once again by Prime Minister Radoje Kontic in a reshuffle stemming from the 3 November legislative elections. The government now has 20 members, up from the previous total of 14, AFP and Nasa Borba noted. Among the old faces are Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic and Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic. Key additions include Interior Minister Zoran Sokolovic, who is the outgoing Serbian interior minister and a close aide to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and Deputy Prime Minister Vladan Kutlesic, who was Milosevic's adviser. The appointments reinforce the widely held belief that Milosevic is building up the federal government as a prelude to his own assumption of the federal presidency later this year. -- Patrick Moore YUGOSLAV ROUNDUP. Some 20,000 Belgrade students held boisterous celebrations on 20 March to celebrate the removal of Dragutin Velickovic as rector of the university, AFP and Nasa Borba reported (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 March). Their chants included: "Slobo, you are next," which echoes opposition demands for the ouster of Milosevic. Also in the capital, the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) blasted the government for ignoring demands for a round table with the opposition and suggested that mass demonstrations could start again. Finally, the head of the Montenegrin trade delegation in the U.S. blamed the Yugoslav embassy for being behind an embarrassing letter allegedly written by Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic to two members of Congress (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 March). -- Patrick Moore CONSTANTINESCU RECEIVES OPPOSITION LEADERS. President Emil Constantinescu on 20 March received the leaders of the opposition parliamentary groups boycotting debates in the legislature and discussed ways to overcome the crisis, Radio Bucharest reported. Greater Romania Party leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor said Constantinescu agreed to mediate in the conflict over the lifting of Tudor's parliamentary immunity, adding that if that decision is not reversed he will no longer participate in Senate debates. The leader of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, former President Ion Iliescu, said his party will return to parliament and support the budget law "with some modifications." The Party of Romanian National Unity said it will participate in the debates but continue its protest. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIA GETS G-24 AID. Minister of European Integration Alexandru Herlea announced after a meeting in Brussels of the joint Romania-European Parliament commission that representatives of the G-24 countries have agreed to grant Romania some $145 million to cover its trade deficit, Radio Bucharest reported the same day. Several industrialized countries also promised substantial additional help: Japan and Switzerland will grant $50 million each, Sweden $4 million. The EU has agreed to release the second installment of an $80.5 million loan granted in 1996 and frozen because of the previous government's economic policies. The IMF and the World bank will also extend help. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIA'S FIRST PROTEST AGAINST CIORBEA GOVERNMENT. Energy workers on 20 March demonstrated against the economic measures of the Victor Ciorbea government in Bucharest and other Romanian cities, RFE/RL and international agencies reported. In Bucharest, the workers called for the resignation of the government and demanded new contracts and higher salaries. The workers also protested against the planned privatization and restructuring of the energy sector, predicting massive layoffs. -- Michael Shafir NEW MOLDOVAN CHIEF OF STAFF. President Petru Lucinschi on 20 March appointed Col. Vladimir Dontul chief of the General Staff and first deputy defense minister, BASA-press reported. Col. Anatol Guboglo was appointed deputy defense minister. Dontul was commander of an artillery brigade and Guboglo was commander of a motorized infantry brigade. -- Michael Shafir EUROPEAN COURT SENTENCED BULGARIA ON BEHALF OF LATE PRIME MINISTER. The European Court of Justice in Strasbourg sentenced Bulgaria to pay the family of Andrey Lukanov a fine plus legal costs amounting to $12,000, Kontinent and Pari reported on 21 March. Lukanov, the Socialist prime minister in 1990, was detained for six months in 1992 after being deprived of his parliamentary immunity following allegations that he was involved in giving money from the state budget to communist parties in Third World countries. He was murdered in October 1996. According to Novinar, justice would be better served if those guilty of detaining Lukanov paid the fine, rather than the current Bulgarian government, which is facing an economic crisis. -- 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 email@example.com 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. 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