It is not enough to show people how to live better: there is a mandate for any group with enormous powers of communication to show people how to be better. - Mary Mannes
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

OMRI DAILY DIGEST - No. 59, Part II, 25 March 1997


No. 59, Part II, 25 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

**********************************************************************
OMRI, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Announcement:

Due to a restructuring of operations at the Open Media Research
Institute, OMRI will cease publication of the OMRI Daily Digest with the
issue dated 28 March 1997. For more information on the restructuring of
the Institute, please access the 21 November 1996 Press Release at:
http://www.omri.cz/about/PressRelease.html

On 2 April, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will launch a daily news
report, RFE/RL Newsline, on the countries of Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union. A successor to the RFE/RL Daily Report and the
OMRI Daily Digest, the new daily will nonetheless represent a major
departure from its predecessors. In addition to analytic materials,
RFE/RL Newsline will carry news gathered by the correspondents,
bureaus, and broadcast services of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
RFE/RL will disseminate this new publication both electronically and via
fax to all those now receiving the OMRI Daily Digest and for the time
being under the same terms.

OMRI will continue to publish the periodical Transition, for more
information on Transition please access
http://www.omri.cz/publications/transition/index.html or send a
request for information to: transition-DD@omri.cz
*********************************************************************

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

U.S. RESPONDS TO EXPULSION OF DIPLOMAT FROM BELARUS. The U.S. State
Department has issued a statement condemning the expulsion of Serge
Aleksandrov, first secretary of the U.S. embassy in Minsk, following his
detention on 23 March after he observed clashes between demonstrators
and police, international agencies reported. Spokesman John Dinger said
the U.S. is considering retaliatory measures. U.S. ambassador to Belarus
Kenneth Yalowitz protested the incident to the "highest level of
Belarusian authorities." The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has issued a
statement saying that "S. Aleksandrov's activities fall outside the 1961
Convention on Diplomatic relations." Law enforcement agencies in Belarus
say they possess materials proving that Aleksandrov is a career CIA
officer working under cover. Meanwhile, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
said during a meeting with new Belarusian Ambassador to the U.S., Valery
Tsepkalot, that it is important to increase cooperation with the U.S.
He said that despite some difficulties in relations, there is no anti-
American campaign in Belarus and that the expulsion of a U.S. diplomat
was aimed against a specific person. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

CLAMPDOWN ON RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS IN BELARUS. Ivan Pashkevich, deputy
head of the president's administration, issued an order on 23 March
banning NTV, ORT, and Russian television (RTR) from broadcasting footage
from Belarus, NTV and ORT reported. The following day, security guards
prevented Russian journalists from entering the television building in
Minsk. The same day, Belarusian authorities stripped NTV correspondent
Aleksandr Stupnikov of his accreditation. The reason given for this move
was Stupnikov's "deliberate distortion of information" when reporting on
the situation in Belarus. Belarusian authorities have been complaining
about Russian journalists' coverage of Belarus since last year, and NTV
has been singled out on several occasions for criticism. -- Ustina
Markus

NEW OVERSIGHT COUNCIL TO TACKLE UKRAINE'S ECONOMIC CRISIS. Ukraine's
government has set up an oversight council to tackle the country's
economic crisis, international agencies reported on 24 March. The
council is headed by leading reformist Deputy Premier Viktor Pynzenyk
and will deal with tax reform, wage and pension arrears, and government
bureaucracy. The move follows President Leonid Kuchma's sharp criticism
of Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko's government in his annual address to
the nation and parliament on the weekend. Kuchma has appointed liberal
economist Volodymyr Lanovyi to head the State Property Fund, Ukrainian
TV reported. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT IN JAPAN. Lennart Meri on 24 March attended the
opening of the Estonian embassy in Tokyo, the country's first-ever
diplomatic mission in Asia, BNS reported. He also held talks with
several ministers and bankers on boosting economic cooperation. Two days
earlier, he met with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. After
that meeting, he said an agreement on avoiding double taxation would
help improve economic ties. Meri is scheduled to be received by Emperor
Akihito today. -- Saulius Girnius

LOCALS ELECTIONS IN LITHUANIA. Preliminary results show that only six
out of 24 parties running in the 23 March local elections failed to gain
seats, Radio Lithuania reported the next day. Turnout was 39.9%, down 4%
on the 1995 elections. The ruling Homeland Union (Conservatives of
Lithuania) won 34% of the vote, up 6% on 1995, but its coalition
partner, the Christian Democratic Party, received 13%, down 3%. The
opposition Democratic Labor Party won 15% of seats, down 5 points on its
1995 showing. In by-elections for four parliamentary seats, the Election
Action of Lithuania's Poles won one seat outright and has two candidates
in the second round of voting. Turnout of less than 40% invalidated the
vote in the Naujoji Vilnija district of Vilnius. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW PLAN TO SAVE GDANSK SHIPYARD. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz
and Andrzej Wiercinski, responsible for liquidating the Gdansk shipyard,
have agreed on a possible way to prevent the company's demise, Polish
media reported on 25 March. A tender for the shipyard has been issued
and its sale already announced in Rzeczpospolita and Lloyd's List. If no
buyer is found, the shipyard will build five ships for a new joint
venture set up by Pomorski Bank Kredytowy, the Szczecin shipyard, and
Polish Steamship Co. Some 2,000 of the 3,800 employees would be given
jobs. Each of the five ships would require state subsidies worth $4
million. According to preliminary estimates, the shipyard had losses
totaling 90 million zloty ($29 million) last year. -- Beata Pasek

POLES MARCH TO PROTEST VIOLENT MURDER. Some 50,000 people took part in
an hour-long march in Krakow on 24 March to protest the murder of 24-
year old Jagiellonian University student Michal Lysek, Polish media
reported on 25 March. Lysek was beaten to death by two teenagers earlier
this month. Student organizations in Krakow organized the march. Andrzej
Koj, rector of the Jagiellonian University, said "we want to show our
unrelenting protest against the increasing brutality of criminals,
ineffectual prosecution, and flagrant violation of the law without any
consequences." He remembered two students who were also murdered
recently. The new penal code, adopted by the Sejm last week, broadens
the right to self-defense. -- Beata Pasek

CZECH RULING COALITION CHALKS UP MAJORITY. Mlada fronta Dnes today
quotes parliament deputy Jozef Wagner as saying that the government is
no longer a minority one. Wagner was recently expelled from the
opposition Social Democratic Party (CSSD) after voting for the
government's 1997 budget proposal. The right-of-center three-party
coalition emerged from the June 1996 elections just two seats short of
an absolute majority. Tomas Teplik, another CSSD deputy expelled from
the party, announced recently he would support the ruling coalition. The
coalition now has 101 votes in the 200-member lower chamber as well as a
comfortable majority in the Senate. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK ACTORS HEED PRESIDENT'S CALLS TO END STRIKE. At a meeting with
President Michal Kovac on 24 March, Slovak theater representatives
decided to end their nearly month-long strike, Sme reported. Kovac said
he supported the theaters but expressed regret that performances had
been canceled. He challenged theater employees to change their form of
protest and renew performances. Theater workers will return to work on
26 March, although a strike warning will continue and audiences will be
informed of the actors' demands during performances. Actor Stefan Bucko
explained that "our gesture is an expression of good will to finally
reach a dialogue and resolve our problems." The next round of tripartite
talks between the cabinet, employers, and theater unions is scheduled
for later this week. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKIA PRESENTS ITS CASE ON DISPUTED DAM . Slovakia on 24 March began
presenting its case at the International Court of Justice at The Hague
in the dispute with Hungary over the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dams, Reuters
reported. Slovakia believes the Gabcikovo dispute was caused by
Budapest's failure to meet its legally binding commitments laid out in
the 1977 treaty. It accuses Hungary of invoking environmental concerns
to obscure legal issues. The Slovaks want Hungary to pay damages,
arguing that Budapest's decision to halt construction of the Nagymaros
dam caused environmental problems because of the reduced water flow. The
1977 treaty was negotiated by the Czechoslovak and Hungarian
governments, but Hungary suspended work on its companion dam in
Nagymaros in 1989. -- Anna Siskova

YET ANOTHER SCANDAL HITS HUNGARY. Two staff members of the Intelligence
Office were dismissed on 24 March following reports that the office
collected information on Socialist deputies without informing either
Minister for Secret Services Istvan Nikolits or the parliament's
National Security Committee, Hungarian dailies reported. According to
Vilaggazdasag, the office was investigating alleged links between
organized crime groups and Ferenc Baja, environment minister and a
Socialist Party leader. Those under investigation also included Laszlo
Pal, former industry and trade minister and now president of the
Hungarian Oil Company, parliamentary speaker Zoltan Gal, and deputy
Tibor Bajor. Nikolits had ordered the investigation last week on
suspicion of breach of state secrets. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

EU FAILS TO AGREE ON MILITARY PROTECTION FOR AID CONVOYS TO ALBANIA. The
EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels on 24 March, failed to agree
on a joint force to provide security to aid workers in Albania,
international media reported. Italy, Greece, and France said they would
provide troops for such a force, but the other EU member states made
clear they would not. Turkey has also offered to send troops. German
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said the EU was ready to provide aid and
that security would be provided by individual states on a voluntary
basis. He added that the OSCE should coordinate the operation. But his
French counterpart, Herve de Charette, insisted that the EU take a
leading role and proposed that the UN Security Council issue a mandate
for intervention. The EU foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss the
issue with Albanian Premier Bashkim Fino in Rome today. -- Fabian
Schmidt

ALBANIA, ITALY AGREE TO CLOSE STRAITS OF OTRANTO. Fino and Italian
counterpart, Romano Prodi, have agreed to coordinate efforts to stem the
flow of emigrants across the Adriatic Sea, international media reported
on 24 March. The number of refugees now exceeds 12,000. The Italian navy
began returning all unauthorized ships by towing two trawlers with
refugees back to Albania. But later the same day, another Albanian boat
with several hundred refugees docked in Brindisi, while an Italian air
force transport plane brought six tons of emergency medical aid for the
northern part of the country. Meanwhile, the world-famous ruins at
Butrint have been looted and vandalized, Reuters reported on 24 March.
Doors to the museum and archaeological storerooms have been smashed and
some statues stolen. -- Fabian Schmidt

IZETBEGOVIC IN WASHINGTON. Alija Izetbegovic, chairman of the Bosnian
presidency, has urged U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen to accelerate
a U.S.-sponsored program to arm and train Bosnia's Muslim-Croat
federation, AFP reported on 24 March. Izetbegovic said only 20% of the
program has been implemented so far. The Bosnian president also asked
Cohen to put more pressure on the Serbs to reduce weapon stocks in
keeping with an arms control agreement. He underscored the need to send
war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic to The Hague, saying
that, otherwise, there will be "no real peace in Bosnia." Meanwhile,
Haris Silajdzic, Muslim co-chairman of the Bosnian government, warned in
Egypt of the risk to stability in Bosnia and the whole region if U.S.
troops pull out. Cohen has said that U.S. troops will leave Bosnia in
mid 1998 even if war breaks out again. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBS AGREE TO UN POLICE FORCE IN BRCKO. The Bosnian Serbs on 23 March
agreed to allow the deployment of 200 unarmed UN policemen in the
disputed town of Brcko, in northern Bosnia-Herzegovina, AFP reported.
Bosnian Serb Interior Minister Dragan Kijac said the UN police will work
with local Serb police to "strengthen security in the region." But
Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic has rejected the idea of a joint
Serb-Muslim force in the town, saying it was "out of question." Brcko is
claimed by both Bosnian entities and was the only issue unsolved in the
Dayton peace accord. A final decision on who will rule the town has been
postponed until March 1998. Meanwhile, Brcko will remain under the
Serbian administration but also under international control. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

SERBIA'S BK TELEVISION RETURNS TO AIRWAVES. Following a ruling by the
Economic Court in Belgrade in favor of independent BK Television and
against the Serbian Post, Telephone, and Telegraph (PTT) , the station
resumed broadcasting to southern Serbia for the first time since 20
March, Nasa Borba reported on 25 March. The PTT had denied BK use of the
Avala-Jastrebac relay line on the alleged grounds of unpaid bills and
licensing irregularities. As a result, BK's range was limited to the
Belgrade and Novi Sad areas (see OMRI Daily Digest, 24 March 1997). BK
Television returned to the airwaves with a vengeance by hosting a round
table on media freedom on 24 March. Zajedno coalition leader Vuk
Draskovic said that demonstrations would resume unless there were media
freedom, and all opposition leaders backed Radical Party leader Vojislav
Seselj's call for complete privatization of the media. The regime has
recently spoken about the need for change, but its proposed media law
aims at more restrictions rather than at liberalization. -- Patrick
Moore

CROATIA, ITALY DISAGREE OVER REPAYMENT OF WAR-TIME DEBT. Croatian and
Italian experts met on 24 March in the Croatian port of Split to discuss
Croatia's $35 million debt to Italy, Vecernji List reported. Croatian
Deputy Foreign Minister Hido Biscevic offered to pay one half in cash
and the other half in stocks from the portfolio Croatia's Privatization
Fund, which consists of state-owned hotels and other tourist facilities.
But Italy rejected the proposal saying the whole debt should be paid in
real estate. The debt originates in the post-war period, when Yugoslav
partisans recaptured areas in the northern Adriatic Istrian peninsula
from the Italian fascist state and expelled the ethnic Italian minority
from Istria. A treaty between former Yugoslavia and Italy on settling
territorial and material disputes was never fully implemented. -- Daria
Sito Sucic

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN MACEDONIA. Javier Solana, at the beginning of
his two-day visit to Macedonia, met with President Kiro Gligorov,
Premier Branko Crvenkovski, Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski, and
Defense Minister Blagoj Handziski to discuss the situation in the
Balkans and NATO enlargement, Nova Makedonija reported on 25 March.
Solana noted Macedonia's "very positive" contribution to NATO's
Partnership for Peace program but did not comment on Skopje's desire to
join NATO. Solana said he and Gligorov did not discuss the possibility
of replacing UNPREDEP forces currently stationed in Macedonia with NATO
troops. Solana's visit is the first by a NATO secretary-general to
Macedonia. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN FOREIGN NEWS. Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea met with his
Spanish counterpart, Jose Maria Anzar, in Madrid on 24 March, Radio
Bucharest reported. They discussed Romania's application for integration
into NATO and the EU, which Spain supports. Later that day, he addressed
a meeting of European Christian Democratic and Popular parties in
Lisbon, talking on NATO's expansion to the East. Meanwhile, Foreign
Minister Adrian Severin was in Brussels to attend the third session of
the Romania-EU Association Council and an EU meeting on the
organization's enlargement. He urged the union to open talks with all
applicants at the same time, Reuters reported. Finally, Radio Bucharest
reported on 25 March that former King Mihai arrived in London to begin
his role as "ambassador of Romanian interests," promoting that country's
admission to NATO. He met with Prince Charles and is scheduled to have
lunch with Queen Elizabeth today. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN JOURNALISTS ACQUITTED OF OFFENDING FORMER PRESIDENT. A
Bucharest court on 24 March overturned a lower court ruling whereby two
journalists were found guilty of "offense to authority," RFE/RL and
Romanian TV reported. Sorin Rosca Stanescu and Tana Ardeleanu had
claimed that former President Ion Iliescu was recruited by the KGB while
studying in Moscow in the 1950s. Stanescu, chief editor of the daily
Ziua, writes today that the latest ruling is correct, but he says he is
not satisfied because the Penal Code article under which he and
Ardeleanu were sentenced remains valid. Stanescu challenges Iliescu to
sue for libel as an individual rather than hiding behind the Prosecutor-
General's Office. The prosecution has 10 days to appeal the sentence. --
Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN COMMUNISTS, SOCIAL DEMOCRATS HOLD CONGRESSES IN CHISINAU.
Vladimir Voronin, leader of the Party of Moldovan Communists, addressed
the party's third congress in Chisinau on 22 March, BASA-press and
Infotag reported. He said the Communists should start preparing for the
next elections and do their best to shorten the life of the present
government. Meanwhile, the two rival wings of the Moldovan Social
Democratic Party held parallel congresses in Chisinau on 22 March,
Infotag and BASA-press reported. The wing led by Anatol Taran, special
advisor to President Petru Lucinschi, adopted a resolution establishing
a United Social Democratic Party of Moldova. The rival congress of the
wing led by Oazu Nantoi appealed to center-left formations to form a
coalition for the next parliamentary elections. The congress elected
Andrei Turcanu chairman of the party and Nantoi chairman of its
political council. -- Michael Shafir

ETHNIC TURKISH FORCES TO SPLIT BEFORE BULGARIAN ELECTIONS? Almost all
northern chapters of the mainly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and
Freedom (DPS) met in Razgrad on 24 March to support the local DPS
branch's proposal to form a DPS within the United Democratic Forces
(ODS), Standart reported. The DPS leadership recently decided not to
join the ODS, opting instead to form a Union for National Salvation
(SNS) with the monarchists and other forces. Participants of the Razgrad
meeting called DPS leader Ahmed Dogan's decision "disastrous" for the
DPS. Ivan Kostov, leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, the biggest
group within the ODS, said the ODS's door remained open to Dogan, 24
chasa noted. Meanwhile, former Tsar Simeon II decided to openly support
the SNS. Just two weeks earlier, Simeon indirectly called on his
followers to vote for the ODS. -- 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. 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
------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                                    BACK ISSUES
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                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
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subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit
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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
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The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
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Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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