History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka
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OMRI DAILY DIGEST - No. 60, Part II, 26 March 1997


No. 60, Part II, 26 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

U.S. RECALLS AMBASSADOR TO BELARUS FOR CONSULTATIONS. Kenneth Yalowitz,
U.S. ambassador to Belarus, has been recalled to Washington to report to
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as relations between the two
countries worsen following the expulsion of a U.S. diplomat,
international agencies reported. Serge Aleksandrov, first secretary at
the U.S. embassy in Minsk, was detained on 23 March when he allegedly
took part in an unsanctioned demonstration. The Belarusian authorities
accused him of interfering in Belarus's internal affairs and asked to
leave the country. The U.S. State Department has protested this
decision, saying Aleksandrov was performing routine duties. -- Sergei
Solodovnikov

OPPOSITION LEADER ARRESTED IN BELARUS. Deputy speaker of the 1996
parliament Henadz Karpenka was arrested last night on leaving the
residence of the Czech ambassador to Belarus, ORT reported. Karpenka is
to be tried on 1 April for disturbing public order by taking part in
recent protest demonstrations. The day before Karpenka's arrest, several
parties nominated him as head of a united opposition. RFE/RL on 25 March
reported that the government has secretly tried and sentenced scores of
protesters. Fines are as high as $600, and jail sentences vary from
three to 15 days. Under Belarusian law, 15 days in prison is the maximum
sentence for participating in demonstrations and disturbing the peace.
-- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE GETS NUCLEAR FUEL, STOPS OIL TERMINAL CONSTRUCTION. Russia's
Atomic Energy Ministry says it has sent fuel to the Chornobyl nuclear
plant, despite the $30 million the facility owes for previous shipments,
international agencies reported on 25 March. Earlier this month, the
plant reduced output to half of the capacity of the only reactor still
operating there. Chernobyl has received no fuel since July 1996. Plant
director Serhei Parashin said Ukraine has paid about 20% of the debt
over the last few days. Meanwhile, the construction of a 40 million ton
oil terminal in Odessa has been frozen because of a lack of funds, ITAR-
TASS reported. The project was launched in 1993 to ease Ukraine's
dependence on oil deliveries from Russia. It has since received $26
million dollars in investment but has been heavily criticized for
economic and ecological reasons. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

ESTONIA, SWEDEN SIGN VISA-FREE TRAVEL AGREEMENT. Estonian Foreign
Minister Toomas Ilves and Swedish Deputy Foreign Minister Pierre Schori,
meeting in Stockholm on 25 March, signed an agreement on visa-free
travel between the two countries as of 1 May, BNS reported. They also
signed a protocol on continued cooperation on migration policy. Finnish
Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen and Ilves are scheduled to sign today in
Tallinn a similar visa-free travel agreement, also scheduled go into
effect on 1 May. Denmark abolished visa requirements for Estonian
citizens several years ago, and Norway and Estonia are expected to sign
a visa-free travel agreement next month. -- Saulius Girnius

U.S. CONSIDERS LATVIAN NON-CITIZEN PASSPORTS VALID. Latvian Foreign
Minister Valdis Birkavs on 25 March said the U.S. was the first country
to say it considers Latvia's non-citizen passports to be valid, BNS
reported. The ministry sent out samples of the passports to nearly 200
countries last month, asking for replies within 45 days. Estonia and
Lithuania have also informed Latvia that they will regard the passports
as valid travel documents. The non-citizen will begin to be printed next
month. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION ON SCREENING LAW. The parliamentary
commission tasked with drafting the lustration law has approved
amendments submitted during the legislation's second reading in the
Sejm, Polish media reported on 26 March. Rectors, chief editors,
managers, and others who were obliged by law to give information to the
communist-era secret service will be excluded from the screening
procedure, but intelligence and counterintelligence officials will be
included. The commission rejected an amendment defining what constituted
collaboration with the secret service, leaving the lustration court to
make a decision in individual cases. It approved having a so-called
"spokesman for public interest" who would have the same rights as the
prosecution in lustration cases. -- Beata Pasek

CZECH PARLIAMENT FAILS TO APPROVE LAW ON OMBUDSMAN. The lower chamber of
the Czech parliament on 25 March rejected a bill on the ombudsman, Czech
media reported. The bill was submitted by the opposition Social
Democrats but was strongly opposed by Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's
Civic Democratic Party and the extreme-right Republicans, both of which
claim the Czech Republic does not need an ombudsman. The bill failed to
pass largely because the coalition Christian Democratic Union withdrew
its support for the bill when one of its amendments was voted down. --
Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK STUDENTS HOLD WARNING STRIKE. Students at Trnava University and
several schools in Bratislava held a one-hour warning strike on 25
March, Narodna obroda reported. They were protesting the government's
moves to open a new university in Trnava and to "illegally" divide the
Safarik University in Kosice. The government's approval last week of the
new University of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Trnava is especially
controversial since it is seen as an effort to abolish the existing
Trnava University, whose faculty generally opposes the current
government. The cabinet had tried to win the backing of Catholic bishops
to create a Catholic university in Trnava, but the bishops rejected the
offer. The cabinet also plans to establish new universities in Banska
Bystrica and Trencin, despite severe financial difficulties and the lack
of teachers at many existing universities. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK POLITICAL ROUNDUP. Two bombs were found in a Bratislava sports
hall following the opposition Christian Democratic Movement's (KDH)
rally on 24 March, CTK reported. One bomb was found in the main hall,
and the other in a plastic bag in the men's bathroom. An estimated 4,000
people attended the meeting. Interior Ministry spokesman Peter Ondera
confirmed there were 4.2 kilograms of explosives, saying the devices
were "active" but not "let off." In other news, U.S. ambassador to
Slovakia Ralph Johnson on 25 March rejected Slovak National Party
Chairman Jan Slota's claim that the U.S is trying to "destroy"
developments in Slovakia. Slota had said the U.S. government report on
NATO expansion was "a deliberate attempt by the U.S. to influence or
destroy developments in Slovakia." Also on 25 March, the Slovak cabinet
approved a sum of 147 million crowns for the referenda on Slovakia's
NATO membership and on direct presidential elections. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN SECRET SERVICES MINISTER DENIES RESPONSIBILITY IN LATEST
SCANDAL. Istvan Nikolits has denied any responsibility in the scandal
over the illegal collection of data, Hungarian media reported on 26
March. He said it was only last November that he received an "anonymous
tip" that his office had spied on several deputies from 1994-95. He said
he launched an investigation and then fired two staff members who had
investigated alleged links between deputies and criminal circles. The
two agents are currently working abroad--one as a diplomat in Washington
and the other under "deep cover." Nikolitis said he was "astonished"
that the two agents had worked in Hungary, since they had been assigned
for abroad. Magyar Nemzet reports the Hungarian secret service was
working to uncover the Slovak, Ukrainian, and Romanian underworld in
Hungary when the names of five Socialist deputies came to light. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CONTINUED VIOLENCE IN ALBANIA. At least 13 people were killed in
separate incidents in southern Albania and Tirana on 25 March,
international media reported. Four of the victims were policemen. A
Dutch journalist was admitted to a Greek hospital after being shot in
Saranda. Gunmen in Vlora briefly took four Italian doctors hostage and
forced them to arrange for a wounded comrade to be evacuated to Italy.
The man was seriously injured in the head the previous day in a shoot-
out with police that left three officers dead. The doctors were released
once the Italians supplied a helicopter to fly the man to Bari for
treatment. Italian Defense Minister Beniamino Andreatta said "this shows
how difficult it is to operate when there is no security." EU
Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Emma Bonino said that failure to
intervene in Albania would drive civil disruption beyond the country's
borders. -- Fabian Schmidt

EU FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET WITH ALBANIAN PREMIER. The EU foreign
ministers and Bashkim Fino, meeting in Rome on 25 March, failed to reach
agreement on sending a security force to protect aid convoys. Italian
Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini told reporters that "for the moment, few
[EU] countries have shown willingness" to provide troops for such a
force. Only Austria, France, Greece, and Italy are willing to
participate. A new EU evaluation mission will visit Albania on 26 March
to identify humanitarian, administrative, and security needs. Military
experts from six countries have already flown to Albania for talks on
the possible deployment of a multinational protection force as part of
the EU relief mission. Turkey and Romania have expressed willingness to
join such a force. -- Fabian Schmidt

TWO ALBANIANS KILLED IN KOSOVO. Two ethnic Albanians close to the
Serbian regime were killed and a third man wounded in an attack by
unidentified gunmen, AFP reported on 26 March. The victims were
identified as Jusuf and Fehmiu Halitaj. The incident took place in
Sicevo. Responsibility for similar killings has been claimed by the
Kosovo Liberation Army. The number of Albanians shot dead in Kosovo this
year now totals 12. Six Serbs, mostly policemen, have been killed in
separate shootouts. -- Fabian Schmidt

ARE BOSNIAN SERB POLICEMEN FIGHTING IN ZAIRE? Bosnian Serb Interior
Minister Dragan Kijac on 25 March denied that his ministry has sent
policemen to fight in Zaire, AFP reported. But local and international
media claim that the Kinshasa government have hired demobilized soldiers
and members of special police forces from the Republika Srpska and
Serbia to fight in the civil war. Kijac also denied that his ministry is
providing papers for Serbs who want to go to Zaire. He said that if some
Serbs have gone to Zaire, "such departures took place through
independent agencies" and not through his ministry. In other news, a
Pakistani Embassy official in Sarajevo said a 140-strong group of mainly
Muslim Bosnian army officers will begin training in Pakistan in April as
part of a bilateral cooperation program, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

TUDJMAN SAYS SERBS WHO ACCEPT CROATIAN STATE CAN STAY. Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman, visiting the former front line in Belisce on
25 March, said the Serb minority in Croatia will be guaranteed their
rights and state protection if they accept Croatian citizenship,
international media reported. "We have to open our arms to Serbs who
have not committed war crimes. ... Serbs who stay here will be
protected. The Croatian authorities will protect them," AFP quoted
Tudjman as saying. But at a rally in Osijek organized by ruling Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ), Tudjman was booed when he repeated those
remarks. Osijek is home to some of the tens of thousands of refugees who
were expelled from eastern Slavonia in 1991, when rebel Serbs captured
it. Tudjman promised that refugees could start returning to their homes
this year. -- Daria Sito Sucic

ZAJEDNO LEADERSHIP WARNS SERBIA COULD BECOME ANOTHER ALBANIA. The
leaders of the opposition coalition said there can be no progress as
long as Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic remains in power. The
country could "face Albania's destiny" unless Milosevic goes, they
added. But while criticizing Milosevic is nothing new for Zajedno, the
leaders on 25 March also began to outline their own alternative
political and economic program, AFP reported. "Our economic program
consists of proposals for major economic changes--transition and
privatization," the opposition's economic expert Miroljub Labus said.
The "two major problems for the Serbian economy are unemployment and
lack of investment," he continued. "With a dynamic economic program, and
new rules and regulations compatible with European laws, we can prepare
our country for joining the European Union around 2005," coalition
leader Vesna Pesic added. -- Patrick Moore

MONTENEGRIN PRIME MINISTER SACKED FROM PARTY JOB. Milo Djukanovic has
been ousted as vice president of the governing Socialist Democratic
Party (DPS) of Montenegro, AFP reported on 25 March. The move is the
latest development in a prolonged controversy in which Djukanovic called
on Serbian President Milosevic to resign. Djukanovic is now expected to
lose the premiership in a confidence vote, since the DPS has a majority
in parliament. President Momir Bulatovic also seems bent on ousting
other members of government who favor more autonomy for Montenegro, Nasa
Borba notes today. Ongoing tensions between Belgrade and Podgorica
reflect a widely-held perception in Montenegro that Milosevic's policies
are preventing the revival of the mountain republic's two main sources
of income, namely shipping and tourism. -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN PREMIER SURVIVES CONFIDENCE VOTE. Branko Crvenskovski
survived a confidence vote in Macedonia's parliament on 25 March, AFP
and Nova Makedonija reported. He gained support from all parties except
the Liberals--who walked out of the session--and the ethnic Albanian
PDPA-NDP coalition. Liberal leader Stojan Andov justified his party's
boycott of the vote by saying the government has made no progress toward
combating organized crime and that the confidence vote is a diversion
from the parliament's real work. But Ljupce Georgijevski, head of the
nationalist non-parliamentary opposition party VMRO-DPNME, supported
Crvenkovski's recent declaration of war against the mafia. He has
canceled a general strike scheduled for 27 March. Meanwhile, the head of
the Bitola government financial office is under investigation for
allegedly transferring public funds to Bitola's TAT savings house, which
absconded with $90 million in deposits from 30,000 savers. -- Michael
Wyzan

ROMANIAN MINISTERS IN U.S. Ulm Spineanu, minister of state in charge of
economic reforms, and Minister of Communications Sorin Pantis are
currently in the U.S. in a bid to boost U.S. investment in Romania, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from Washington on 25 March. Spineanu will
attend the opening of the conference "Romania--The Number One Emerging
Market in Eastern Europe" in the U.S. capital later today. Organizers
say they had to stop registration because far more investors wanted to
participate than originally envisaged, Adevarul reports on 26 March.
Meanwhile, Premier Victor Ciorbea's scheduled meeting with Portuguese
Premier Antonio Guterres had to be canceled because of "unforeseeable
circumstances," Radio Bucharest reported upon his return to Romania. --
Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN DEPUTY PREMIER WARNS AGAINST "BULGARIZATION." If Moldova fails
to undertake necessary economic reforms over the next few months, the
country may follow Bulgaria's path, Deputy Premier Ion Gutu told a round
table on structural reforms organized by the World Bank's Moldova
office. Gutu said the government was aware that the current crisis can
be overcome only through deepening reforms and cooperation with
international organizations, Infotag reported on 25 March. World Bank
expert Hafez Ghanem said either the country can allow reforms to slow
down and find itself in a situation like that of Bulgaria's or it can
pursue the Hungarian and Polish models. He said reforms were urgent in
the energy, agriculture, and services sectors. "Today's statistics in
Moldova resemble those of Bulgaria one year ago," Ghanem said. --
Michael Shafir

FORMER MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON FUTURE PLANS. Mircea Snegur, addressing a
press conference in Chisinau on 25 March, said he will never run again
for presidential office and will concentrate his efforts on ensuring
that the Party of Revival and Accord wins the parliamentary elections
scheduled for 1998, Infotag reported. He also said negotiations were
under way for setting up a Democratic Convention of Moldova with forces
on the right of the political spectrum. -- Michael Shafir

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS LAUNCHED AGAINST FORMER BULGARIAN MINISTER. Vasil
Chichibaba, first agriculture minister in the former Socialist
government, and three of his deputies have been charged with economic
crime, Trud reported on 26 March. In 1995, there was a severe grain
shortage because 827,280 tons of grain were exported for 7.14 billion
leva ($196.3 at the 1995 average exchange rate of 67.2 leva to $1);
later, 198,933 tons had to be imported for 6.46 billion leva. If
Chichibaba and his deputies are found responsible for the losses caused
to the state budget, they will face up to 10 years in prison. In other
news, Interior Ministry Secretary Atanas Atanasov and National Police
Director Slavcho Bosilkov said more than 30 contract killings have taken
place since 1991. They said authorities know most of the perpetrators
but, under current legislation, can neither arrest nor try them. --
Stefan Krause

BULGARIA TO BUY RUSSIAN MILITARY AIRCRAFT? Deputy Defense Minister
Simeon Petkovski has said Bulgaria is negotiating with Russia about
buying 14 MiG-29SM planes and setting up a joint venture to overhaul MiG
planes, Reuters reported. Petkovski said Russia offered Bulgaria a $450
million loan to buy the planes and to set up an international service
center in Plovdiv. He said both sides agreed in principle, but the loan
will have to be approved by the Bulgarian parliament after the 19 April
parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, President Petar Stoyanov has
appointed his economic adviser Krasimir Angarski as caretaker economics
minister, Demokratsiya reported. -- 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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