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OMRI DAILY DIGEST - No. 58, Part II, 24 March 1997


No. 58, Part II, 24 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

BELARUS EXPELS U.S. DIPLOMAT. Serge Aleksandrov, first secretary of the
U.S. embassy in Minsk, has been declared persona non grata and asked to
leave the country within 24 hours for taking part in an unsanctioned
opposition demonstration on 23 March, international agencies report.
Aleksandrov was detained for "provocative actions." An embassy
spokeswoman said that Western diplomats often watch protests from the
sidelines "to observe the political situation but not to participate."
Belarusian TV claimed Aleksandrov has been spying for the CIA. Two days
earlier, the U.S. cut off its $40 million aid to Belarus because of the
country's poor human rights record, Reuters reported on 21 March. U.S.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said that since nuclear
warheads have been removed from Belarus, the U.S. can suspend aid
without compromising its security interests and at the same time send a
"message of opposition" on human rights in that country. -- Sergei
Solodovnikov

POLICE BREAKS UP OPPOSITION RALLY IN MINSK. The demonstration in which
Aleksandrov is reported to have participated took place on 23 March in
downtown Minsk. Some 4,000 people headed for Yakub Kolas square, where
an authorized rally of some 10,000 people was being held to commemorate
the 69th anniversary of the Belarusian Popular Republic, international
agencies reported. Scuffles with police broke out, and several policemen
were reported to have been injured while dispersing the rally with
truncheons and tear gas. Some 70 demonstrators who smashed police car
windows with chunks of ice were detained. Civic Union leader Genadz
Karpenka and former Interior Minister Yuri Zakharenka were also taken
into custody. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BLASTS GOVERNMENT FOR POOR PERFORMANCE. Leonid
Kuchma, in his annual address to the parliament and the nation on 21
March, sharply criticized the performance of Prime Minister Pavlo
Lazarenko's cabinet, international agencies reported. Kuchma accused the
government of inertia, inconsistency, and incompetence. He also held it
responsible for the lack of a 1997 budget and for the wage arrears
crisis. He criticized the parliament for failing to pass legislation to
overcome the economic crisis, triggering loud protests among deputies
present. On a brighter note, he praised monetary reform and noted that
speeding up privatization and fighting inflation are the main economic
tasks. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

RUSSIAN LANGUAGE GETS EQUAL STATUS IN DONBAS. Legislators in Donetsk
Oblast in eastern Ukraine have voted to give the Russian language the
same status as Ukrainian, Ukrainian TV reported on 21 March. The motion
was passed following a discussion of the results of a 1994 poll showing
that Russian is the native language of 67.7% of those living in Donbas.
Deputies in Kharkiv Oblast passed a similar motion last year. Local
Ukrainian nationalists have sent a formal protest to the Donetsk Oblast
procurator-general. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

LATVIA, RUSSIA CONCLUDE TEXT ON JOINT BORDER. Aivars Vovers, head of the
Latvian delegation to talks on the border with Russia, said the two
countries fully agree on the text delimiting the joint border, BNS
reported. He and his Russian counterpart, Lyudvig Chizhov, met in Riga
on 20-21 March. Agreement still has to be reached on various technical
issues. Vovers said that an Estonian delegation will be invited to the
next round of talks, to be held in Moscow on 26-27 April, to confirm the
three-country border crossing agreed on last summer. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES CONSTITUTION. The Sejm and Senate,
meeting in a joint session on 22 March as the National Assembly, voted
in favor of the long-awaited post-communist constitution, Polish media
reported. Of the 460 Sejm deputies and 100 senators, 461 voted for the
new basic law, 31 against, and five abstained. The previous day, the
National Assembly approved several dozen amendments to the text.
President Aleksander Kwasniewski said he will need only a few days to
submit his amendments to the National Assembly, although he has 60 days
in which to do so. Following the National Assembly vote on the
presidential amendments, the constitution will be put to a national
referendum, which is likely to be held on 25 May. Among other things,
the new constitution deprives the president of the right to veto the
budget and to have a say in ministerial appointments. -- Jakub Karpinski

SEJM ADOPTS NEW PENAL CODE. The Sejm has adopted a new penal code,
Polish media reported on 21 March. The new legislation, which replaces
the 1969 penal code, abolishes capital punishment and introduces life
imprisonment with the possibility of release after 25 years. It states
that journalists may be required to reveal their sources if a court of
law deems that information as essential. The new penal code also
liberalizes regulations on pornography. Until now, the distribution and
possession of pornographic material has been prohibited. But under the
new legislation, the only punishable offenses are hard pornography and
the exposure of children and adults to pornographic material against
their wishes. Justice Minister Leszek Kubicki said that unlike its
predecessor, the new code is "rational." -- Beata Pasek

CZECH GOVERNMENT PARTY ELECTS NEW LEADERSHIP. Michael Zantovsky, a
former ambassador to the U.S. and a spokesman for President Vaclav
Havel, was elected chairman of the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) at
the ruling coalition party's congress this weekend, Czech media
reported. Ministers Pavel Bratinka, Jiri Skalicky, and Vladimir Dlouhy
were elected deputy chairmen. Zantovsky, currently a member of the
Senate and the head of its Foreign Committee, said he wants to unite the
ODA. Before the congress, two rival factions in the party had engaged in
a power struggle. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK POLITICAL ROUNDUP. Interior Minister Gustav Krajci on 21 March
easily survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote, Slovak media
reported. The opposition holds Krajci responsible for violent police
action during the Culture Ministry sit-in earlier this month. Despite
the defeat of the vote, the opposition vowed to continue its protest.
Also on 21 March, European Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan visited
Bratislava, where he warned Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
against signing a free trade agreement with Russia. In other news, a
congress of the opposition Democratic Union on 22 March overwhelmingly
elected former Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan as chairman. Former
Chairman Jozef Moravcik opted not to run. The party aims to strengthen
cooperation among Slovakia's pro-democracy parties in order to topple
the government in the fall 1998 parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, a
weekend congress of the Association of Workers -- a junior coalition
partner -- reelected Jan Luptak as chairman. -- Sharon Fisher

MECIAR ACKNOWLEDGES SLOVAKIA MAY NOT BE AMONG FIRST NEW NATO MEMBERS.
Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar told a 21 March meeting of the ruling
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) in the western Slovak town of
Trnava that Slovakia may not be among the first wave of countries
invited to join NATO. He said that "global agreements" between
superpowers, not domestic political problems, were the reason for the
delay, CTK reported. He also recommended that HZDS supporters vote in
favor of the country's entry into NATO in the referendum scheduled for
late May. Meciar said his party will not allow the opposition to "incite
people to seek conflicts." He added that he considers police
intervention against actors, opposition politicians, and journalists at
the Culture Ministry earlier this month as "appropriate." The following
day, Meciar left for a five-day official visit to Japan. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN FARMERS TO SLOW TRAFFIC. Thousands of farmers protesting tax
increases plan to slow traffic throughout the country on 26 March to
draw international attention to what they call the "untenable position
of farmers," Hungarian media reported on 23 March. The farmers' union,
Metesz, has called on the public to wear a ribbon with Hungary's
national colors to show support for the farmers. It is also encouraging
people to join the protest by driving their cars slowly to the nearest
border crossing or to the capital. The union recently attacked the
government's agricultural program as "a ruthlessly exploitative economic
policy pursued by the anti-national liberal-Bolshevik government." It
has also called for the dismissal of the cabinet spokesman, the minister
of agriculture, and "half the cabinet staff." For the past month,
Hungarian farmers have been protesting income and social security tax
increases for private farmers. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIAN REFUGEES CONTINUE TO ARRIVE IN ITALY. Three ships carrying more
than 600 refugees arrived in Brindisi on 23-24 March, bringing the total
number of Albanian refugees in Italy to more than 11,000, international
media reported. Five Albanians drowned on 22 March while swimming to an
Italian military vessel near the port of Vlora. The same day, Italian
air force planes brought nearly two tons of medicine and medical
equipment to Vlora for the local hospital, where more than 50 people are
suffering from serious gunshot wounds. In Durres, an Albanian cargo
vessel delivered 1,200 tons of flour from Italy. It was the first
delivery in ten days. Italy is also preparing a limited military
operation to escort aid convoys but is waiting for the go-ahead from a
EU meeting in Brussels today. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN ROUNDUP. Prime Minister Bashkim Fino met with rebel officials
from Vlora, who told him that police have established order there.
Elsewhere, the border crossing with Greece has been re-opened and bus
services resumed, AFP reported. But several people died in shooting
incidents over the weekend in the south, bringing the number of people
killed since the unrest began to more than 140 and the number of wounded
to more than 700. Officials attributed the latest deaths to
confrontations between armed gangs. Interior Minister Lush Perpali said
"police have decided to crack down on the armed bandits, who are
terrorizing the population." He added that "the situation remains
chaotic in several towns where there are murders, looting and rapes."
President Sali Berisha again rejected calls for his resignation, while
in Tirana more than 1,000 people, mostly women and children,
demonstrated to press for an end to the violence. -- Fabian Schmidt

MORE DISCIPLINE IN BOSNIAN SERB LEADERSHIP? The Supreme Council of the
governing Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) held a stormy closed-door
session in Pale on 22 March to discuss recent public disagreements over
ties to Belgrade between Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic and
the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik,
Nasa Borba reported on 24 March. Krajisinik has backed the new Pale-
Belgrade pact, while Plavsic opposed it on the grounds that it gives to
much power to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in the internal
affairs of the Bosnian Serbs. SDS chair Aleksa Buha said that Council
members agreed that in the future the leadership would decide on thorny
issues in private and then be obliged to support those decisions in
public. -- Patrick Moore

UN, CROATIA TO COOPERATE ON TWO-WAY REFUGEE RETURN. Senior UN and
Croatian officials agreed on 21 March to cooperate in returning some
150,000 people displaced by war in Croatia, Reuters reported. They will
set up a working group to plan a "two-way" return allowing 80,000 Croats
to go back to eastern Slavonia, currently held by Serbs, and some 60,000
Serb refugees to return to their homes in western Croatia. Meanwhile,
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has sent Croatia a draft treaty
offering eastern Slavonia Serbs dual citizenship once the area reverts
to Croatia. Serbs from the region said they would feel safer if they
have dual citizenship. In other news, Belgrade has handed over to Zagreb
some 500 files on missing people whose remains were found in the town of
Vukovar in 1991 after it was taken by rebel Serbs, Reuters reported. --
Daria Sito Sucic

TWO CATHOLIC CHURCHES BOMBED IN BOSNIA. Two Roman Catholic churches near
the town of Travnik, in central Bosnia, were bombed on 20 and 21 March,
AFP reported. The blasts were the latest in a series of attacks on
churches following the announcement that Pope John Paul II will visit
Sarajevo on 13 April. Meanwhile, High Representative for Bosnia Carl
Bildt has demanded that the three Croatian policemen who were given
suspended sentences following a violent incident in western Mostar last
month face a retrial, AFP reported. Bildt described the trial as a
"complete mockery and a farce." -- Daria Sito Sucic

CRACKDOWN ON INDEPENDENT TV IN SERBIA. The Belgrade authorities are
taking steps to drive privately-owned BK Television from the air, AFP
and VOA reported on 24 March. On 20 March, the broadcasts, which had
previously reached 60% of Serbia, were restricted to Belgrade and Novi
Sad on the grounds that bills had not been paid. Subsequently, the
station's license was called into question, an approach the regime has
often used in order to drive independent electronic media from the air
waves. BK's management has denied the charges. The real reason for BK's
problems is that whereas previously it had offered pro-regime reporting,
it was one of the few domestic media to provide extensive coverage of
the anti-Milosevic protests in recent months. Another reason may be that
wealthy station owner Bogoljub Karic has been mentioned as a possible
candidate against Slobodan Milosevic for the Yugoslav presidency later
this year. -- Patrick Moore

POLICEMAN SHOT IN KOSOVO. An unknown assailant shot at a Serbian
policeman in a cafe in Podujevo, AFP reported on 22 March. The attacker
fired five bullets at Branislav Milovanovic, who was seriously wounded.
Since the beginning of this year, eight people have been killed and
seven injured in terrorist attacks for which the Kosovo Liberation Army
(UCK) has taken responsibility. Meanwhile, a court has charged 18 ethnic
Albanians with terrorism. Police say that, in recent months, they have
arrested 66 people who are charged with belonging to the UCK or other
alleged terrorist groups. -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIAN PREMIER WANTS CONFIDENCE VOTE, EARLY ELECTIONS. Macedonian
Premier Branko Crvenkovski told the parliament on 20 March he would
request a confidence vote in his government, MIC reported. He added that
after dealing with the consequences of the failure of the TAT savings
house--in which opposition leaders claim ministers are enmeshed--he
would begin dialogue with the opposition on electoral reforms and new
elections. Crvenkovski refused to exonerate officials from blame in the
scandal and promised to draw up within a week a program to compensate
savers. Meanwhile, Greek Premier Kostas Simitis said in Bucharest that
he intends to travel to Macedonia at "an appropriate moment," AFP
reported on 21 March. Such a visit would mark a significant improvement
in the often tense relations between the two neighbors. Greece is
worried about an influx of Albanian refugees, while Macedonia is
concerned about a possible spread of the anarchy to its own large ethnic
Albanian minority. -- Michael Wyzan and Patrick Moore

ROMANIAN ROUNDUP. Greek Premier Kostas Simitis on 21 March ended a two-
day visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. He and his Romanian
counterpart, Victor Ciorbea, discussed bilateral cooperation and
security in the Balkans. The two premiers agreed that future talks on
Balkan security matters should include Bulgaria. They also called for
coordination of efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Albanian
crisis. Meanwhile, addressing the third session of the Crans Montana
Forum in Bucharest on 21 March, Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea announced
new measures to encourage foreign investment in Romania, Radio Bucharest
and international agencies reported. Ciorbea said investors will soon be
free to withdraw profits and that the necessary legislation will be
passed within the next 45 days. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST LEADER OUSTED. The National Convention of the Party
for Romanian National Unity on 22 March confirmed the ouster of Gheorghe
Funar as president. The party's Central Bureau had removed Funar from
that post on 22 February. The convention also elected interim President
Valeriu Tabara as president and removed Funar's main opponent, Ioan
Gavra, as secretary-general. -- Zsolt Mato

ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BULGARIA. Tens of thousands of Sofia
citizens attended a United Democratic Forces (ODS) rally on 23 March to
launch the opposition's campaign for next month's parliamentary
elections, RFE/RL reported. This was the first outdoor ODS rally since
the January 1997 mass protests that ousted the Socialists from power.
The embattled Socialists launched their campaign three days earlier,
when several thousand, mostly elderly, people attended a rally in Sofia.
According to a poll in Demokratsiya on 24 March, the ODS has 56-60%
support and the Socialists 17-19%. The Euro-Left garnered 5-6%, the
Bulgarian Business Bloc 5-6%, and the Union for National Salvation,
which includes the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom, 4-5%.
-- Maria Koinova

WORLD BANK OFFICIALS EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR BULGARIAN REFORMS. The World
Bank will lend Bulgaria $40 million in May for grain purchases and $170
million in June for social assistance. It will also provide a $170
million Financial and Enterprise Sector Adjustment Loan in two tranches
(June and December), Demokratsiya reported. These figures were revealed
when Premier Stefan Sofiyanski met on 21 March--his fourth consecutive
day in Washington--with World Bank officials. Meanwhile, Caretaker
Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Aleksandar Bozhkov told
Kapital on 23 March that privatization in Bulgaria will be "radical
[and] total." He said no enterprise will be in government hands in two
years' time. He said there will be no exceptions, not even for the
current rail, telecommunications, electricity, and air transport
monopolies. -- Michael Wyzan and Stefan Krause

[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.

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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RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
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