It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. - Samuel Johnson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 14, Part II, 18 April 1997


Vol. 1, No. 14, Part II, 18 April 1997

This is Part II of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Newsline.
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 RFE/RL NewsLine are available through RFE/RL's WWW
pages: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

Back  issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through OMRI's
WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* OCSE DELEGATION IN BELARUS FACES PROBLEMS BUT
MEETS WITH OPPOSITION LEADERS

* SLOVAK PRESIDENT SAYS PROSECUTOR-GENERAL INCOMPETENT

* CROATIAN PARTIES WIN IN MOST SLAVONIAN DISTRICTS
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

OCSE DELEGATION IN BELARUS FACES PROBLEMS BUT
MEETS WITH OPPOSITION LEADERS. An OSCE official was
barred yesterday from attending a Minsk court appearance of
Belarusian opposition leader Vasily Novikov, AFP reported.
Novikov, who was deputy speaker of the recently disbanded
parliament, was fined 5 million Belarusian rubles ($200) for
helping organize an opposition march in Minsk last month.
The previous day, OSCE delegation members met with, among
others, independent labor leader Hennady Bykov and former
parliament chairman Semyon Shartesky, who asked the OSCE
to urge Moscow to try to steer Lukashenka away from his
authoritarian policies. Sharetsky is scheduled to stand trial
today for refusing to comply with Lukashenka's demand that
he resign from his post as parliament chairman.

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON RELATIONS WITH
U.S. Ivan Antanovich has asked the U.S. to avoid drawing
what he called "hasty conclusions" about his country.
Antonovich told journalists in Minsk yesterday that Belarus is
"very interested in eliminating misunderstandings" with the
U.S., which he called the "great power of the modern world."
Antonovich said U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Kenneth
Yalowitz, who was recalled recently to Washington, will return
shortly with a letter for the Belarusian president. Yalowitz left
Belarus last month following the expulsion of Serge
Alexandrov, first secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, who
was detained by police during an anti-government march last
month. Belarus accused Alexandrov of being a CIA agent who
had helped organize the rally. The State Department, however,
said he was observing the protest as part of his "routine
duties."

UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CONVENES FOR
FIRST TIME. Constitutional Court spokesman Yevhen
Dmitrenko told journalists in Kyiv yesterday that Ukraine has
gained "one more attribute of a democratic country" because it
can now guarantee "all constitutional rights of [its] citizens
and organizations." Dmitrenko was speaking on the first day
the country's newly formed Constitutional Court convened.
The court's 16 judges began considering an appeal from anti-
reform lawmakers who want a constitutional provision barring
legislators from holding other posts. Under the new Ukrainian
Constitution, which was adopted last June after years of
debate, legislators are barred from working in the government
or in the private sector. Many reformist lawmakers hold top
government posts in addition to serving in the parliament.

UZBEK PRIME MINISTER IN KYIV. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Pavel Lazarenko says he wants to expand Kyiv's ties with the
Transcaucasus and Central Asia, especially Azerbaijan,
Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Lazarenko met in
Kyiv yesterday with his Uzbek counterpart, Utkir Sultanov.
Lazarenko said Ukraine wants to develop transit links through
the regions and pursue agreements on energy supplies.
Sultanov's visit also marked the first session of the
Ukrainian-Uzbek Commission for Comprehensive Cooperation.

EXPERTS TO START STABILIZATION WORK AT
CHORNOBYL. An international team of experts is to start
work next week on stabilizing the sarcophagus surrounding
the reactor destroyed in the 1986 explosion, the plant's deputy
director told Interfax yesterday. Following the explosion, which
triggered the world's worst-ever civilian nuclear accident,
emergency teams quickly erected a cement sarcophagus to
prevent further leaking of radioactivity into the environment.
The official said that the reactor still contains some 200 tons
of highly radioactive material and that cracks in the
sarcophagus are causing concern whether the structure would
withstand a strong earthquake. An official at the Ukrainian
Emergencies Ministry told AFP today that a nuclear waste
treatment facility will be built to handle radioactive waste from
an exclusion zone around the plant and from within the
reactor.

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO-RUSSIAN
RELATIONS. Toomas Hendrik Ilves says that Estonia strongly
supports NATO's efforts to work out a special relationship with
Russia. In an article published yesterday in The Washington
Post, he remarked that Russia remains a "great European
power and must be constructively involved in the creation of a
new Euro-Atlantic security architecture." Ilves noted that while
Russian perceptions should not be ignored, nor should the
views of "100 million East and Central Europeans." Estonia
and the other 10 applicant countries want to join NATO not
because of a sense of "impending threat" but because of the
recognition that NATO continues to perform a "valuable
function" after the end of the Cold War, he said.

GERMANY SUPPORTS LATVIAN EU MEMBERSHIP. German
President Roman Herzog says he believes Latvia will meet the
criteria for admission to the EU, BNS reported. Herzog was
speaking at a meeting with Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis
in Berlin yesterday. The two presidents discussed German-
Latvian relations and future German investment in the Baltic
state.

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN IN PRAGUE.
Vytautas Landsbergis says the union agreement between
Russia and Belarus means democracy is deteriorating in both
countries, which could heighten tension in Europe.
Landsbergis, who is on a three-day visit to Prague, spoke to
journalists yesterday after meeting with his Czech counterpart,
Milos Zeman. Landsbergis today meets with Senate speaker
Petr Pithart and Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec to discuss the
Czech's Republic support for Lithuania's bid to join NATO and
other European structures. He is also scheduled to give a
speech at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters. Meanwhile,
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, on a state
visit to Denmark, said yesterday Baltic membership in the EU
is not a substitute for full admission to NATO.

POLISH ROUNDUP. Sejm speaker Jozef Zych says
parliamentary elections will likely take place in Poland in mid-
September, RFE/RL's Warsaw correspondent reported
yesterday. Under Polish law, the speaker must choose a non-
work day four weeks before the end of the parliamentary term.
Meanwhile, Romanian Senate speaker Petre Roman told Polish
senators in Warsaw yesterday that Romania and Poland must
improve political and economic relations as they have the
same strategic aims, above all, joining NATO. Roman said that
for Romania, membership in the alliance would mean the "first
step toward integration into the community of democratic and
progressive states."

SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER IN BRUSSELS. Pavol Hamzik
has asked NATO not to overlook his country's bid for
membership in the alliance, TASR reported. Hamzik was
speaking yesterday in Brussels, where he met with NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana and other officials. Hamzik
said the process of change in Slovakia was "absolutely
comparable to the one taking place in Poland, the Czech
Republic, and Hungary." He asked for "understanding and
support" from NATO over the issue of Slovak gold that
Bratislava says Prague is unlawfully holding.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SAYS PROSECUTOR-GENERAL
INCOMPETENT. Michal Kovac says the country's chief
attorney has shown "professional and moral incompetence" in
failing to pursue key criminal cases. Speaking to journalists in
Bratislava yesterday, Kovac urged the parliament to dismiss
Michal Valo and listed 26 unsolved cases, including the
kidnapping of his own son, and what he called illegal deals in
the privatization of state property. Valo later rejected the
allegations at a press conference, saying he would not bow to
pressure from the president to resign. Valo was appointed by
Kovac in 1994 but can be dismissed only by the parliament.
He added that Kovac's allegations have undermined the
population's confidence in the police, the judiciary, and the
prosecutor's office.

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DENIES APPLYING FOR
NATO MEMBERSHIP. Laszlo Kovacs has denied reports that
Hungary has officially applied for admission to NATO (see
RFE/RL Newsline, 17 April 1997). He told Hungarian state TV
yesterday that in his 16 April talks at NATO headquarters in
Brussels, he confirmed Hungary's desire to join the alliance
and described the country's preparations for achieving that
goal, which, he said, were "received positively." He added that
the government considers it important to hold a referendum
on joining NATO, although it is not obliged to do so under the
constitution.

HUNGARIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICE SCANDAL. Gabor Kiss,
a Socialist Party deputy, has denied informing on party
members, Nepszabadsag reported yesterday. Last month, two
members of the Intelligence Office were dismissed for having
collected information on Socialist deputies without informing
either the Minister for Secret Services Istvan Nikolitis or the
legislature's National Security Committee. Magyar Hirlap
reveals today that it received a warning from Nikolitis on 16
April that it would be violating state secrets if it published
Kiss's denial. Meanwhile, the board of the Health Insurance
Authority has voted to ask the cabinet to dismiss Agnes Cser
as director-general of the Health Insurance Fund, thereby
rejecting the recommendation of Welfare Minister Mihaly
Kokeny (see RFE/RL Newsline, 14 and 15 April 1997).

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CONFUSION OVER ALBANIAN ELECTION DATE. Franz
Vranitzky, the OSCE's chief envoy to Albania, said in Tirana
yesterday that party leaders have agreed on 29 June as the
date for early parliamentary elections but have not yet reached
consensus on conditions for the poll. But later, Prime Minister
Bashkim Fino told the ATA news agency that "the elections will
be held by the end of June but a fixed date has not been
agreed to." Tritan Shehu, a leader of President Sali Berisha's
Democratic Party, told AFP that no date was even been
discussed. Other issues to be resolved before the elections
include dealing with the rebels in the south, drafting a new
election law, granting all parties freer access to TV and radio,
and clarifying why the pyramid investment schemes collapsed.

CROATIAN PARTIES WIN IN MOST SLAVONIAN
DISTRICTS. Croatian government spokesmen in Zagreb and
ethnic Serb leaders in Vukovar said yesterday that early,
unofficial returns show Croatian parties winning 16 out of
eastern Slavonia's 27 districts. Croatian Deputy Prime
Minister Ivica Kostovic told journalists that the governing
Croatian Democratic Community has an absolute majority in
most of those 16 areas. The remaining 11 were won by the
Serbian Independent Democratic Party (SSDS). The SSDS, a
broad Serbian coalition, claims victory in Beli Manastir and
some other municipalities, while both the Croats and Serbs
agree that the vote in Vukovar was evenly split. The UN
administration in the area will begin to release official figures
later today.

BILDT CALLS FOR ISOLATION OF BOSNIAN SERB
LEADER. Carl Bildt, the international community's High
Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, wrote UN Secretary-
General Kofi Annan yesterday that there should be only
"essential business contacts" with the Serbian member of the
joint Bosnian presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik. Bildt says that
Krajisnik is still close to former Bosnian Serb leader and
indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Bildt called
Karadzic's role "evil," an RFE/RL correspondent in Sarajevo
reported. Meanwhile, Bildt's spokesman told reporters that
there will be no international aid for Bosanski Samac and Foca
in the Republika Srpska and for Croat-controlled Vitez
because indicted war criminals openly take part in local
government there.

STEINER SLAMS BOSNIAN SERB TRIAL OF "ZVORNIK
SEVEN." Bildt's deputy, Michael Steiner, has blasted the
Bosnian Serb authorities for not allowing seven Muslim males
to have their own lawyers in a trial that was slated to open this
week in Zvornik. He said in Sarajevo yesterday that the trial is
"a travesty of justice" and could lead to sanctions against the
Serbs. Mystery has surrounded the case of the seven, who
surrendered to U.S. peacekeepers near Zvornik last May. The
Muslims claimed to be survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica
massacre, but the Serbs charged them with murder and
unauthorized possession of weapons. The peacekeepers
handed the Muslims over to the Serbian police, which the
Muslims say tortured them.

OSCE LACKS MONEY FOR BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. Danish
Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Peterson said in Vienna
yesterday that the OSCE is $32 million short of what it needs
to organize the Bosnian local elections in September. He
accused various unspecified countries of engaging the OSCE
in various political projects but failing to provide the money to
carry them out. Peterson said the time has come to abandon
the system of financing the OSCE on the basis of voluntary
contributions and to start assessing members dues instead.

ALL SLOVENIAN PARTIES BACK NATO MEMBERSHIP. All
parties signed a declaration in Ljubljana yesterday supporting
membership in the Atlantic alliance. The parties say that
Slovenia is ready to cover all expenses connected with joining.
The opposition Social Democrats launched the initiative.
Slovenia has been intensively lobbying NATO member states in
recent weeks in a bid to be admitted in the first wave of new
members. It is the only former Yugoslav republic that most
observers give a serious chance of admission in the foreseeable
future, although Croatian President Franjo Tudjman says that
his country is ready to join.

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES BUDGET LAW. A joint
session of Romania's bi-cameral parliament has passed the
law on the 1997 state budget, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported yesterday. The leftist and nationalist opposition voted
against the law. Finance Minister Mircea Ciumara told
RFE/RL's Romanian service that the budget will require "a few
months of sacrifice" from the population but will enable
Romania to shake off its current economic impasse. The
budget foresees a deficit amounting to 4.5% of GDP, an
inflation rate of 90%, and an 8% unemployment rate. The
same day, the government amended and approved the list of
10 state-owned loss-making companies slated for privatization
or liquidation. Together, those companies account for 7.5% of
the deficit in the state sector.

ROMANIA WANTS TO PURCHASE USED U.S. FIGHTER
PLANES. A Defense Ministry spokesman says Romania plans
to buy used fighter and transport planes from the U.S. military
to bring the country closer to NATO standards. He told Reuters
yesterday that Defense Minister Victor Babiuc has sent a letter
of intent to the U.S. Defense Department for the purchase of
12 F-16 or F-18 fighter jets and nine Hercules C-130 transport
aircraft. The spokesman also said Bell Helicopter Textron of
the States was "at an advanced stage" in its bid to buy a
controlling stake in the Intreprinderea Aeronautica Romana
company to jointly produce Cobra attack helicopters.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Adrian Severin and his Italian
counterpart, Lamberto Dini, met in Rome yesterday and signed
a joint declaration on a "strategic partnership" between their
countries. An RFE/RL corespondent in the Italian capital
reported that the document provides for Italian support for
Romania's integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.

RUSSIAN DUMA COMMISSION WRAPS UP MOLDOVAN
VISIT. Adrian Puzanovsky, head of a State Duma commission
for the Transdniester, says the Duma has not ratified the 1990
basic treaty with Moldova because the breakaway region's
problems have not yet been solved, BASA-press reported
yesterday. Speaking at the end of the commission's four-day
visit to Moldova, Puzanovsky said the Duma's stance is
"dictated by its responsibility" toward settling the conflict. He
added that the commission was "highly appreciative" of the
accords to resume negotiations signed by Chisinau and
Tiraspol as a result of Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's
mediation. The commission was received yesterday by
President Petru Lucinschi and other Moldovan officials.

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT WARNS CLINTON ABOUT
EXCLUSION FROM NATO. Petar Stoyanov has sent a letter
addressed to U.S. President Bill Clinton warning that leaving
Bulgaria out of NATO risks creating a "gray area" in the
Balkans, Reuters reported yesterday, citing a press release
from the presidential office. Bulgaria itself could turn from an
"island of stability" into an "island of uncertain security," he
said. Stoyanov told Reuters he expects tomorrow's
parliamentary elections to seal a new national consensus in
favor of the market reforms delayed since the end of
communist rule. He said Bulgaria was a latecomer to those
reforms but could learn from the mistakes of its more
advanced ex-communist neighbors. Meanwhile, the election
campaign ended yesterday.

The Internet in the Baltic States

by Julie Moffett

        The Baltic States are making steady strides along
the information superhighway by co-financing projects
with Western nations and organizations that will help
develop network services to increase Internet
capability in the coming years. Overall, in terms of
Internet technology and connectivity, Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania appear well ahead of most former Soviet
republics. Part of the reason for their success is the
strong support they have received in this effort from
the governments of Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
        In 1993, the Nordic Council of Ministers
initiated a program called BALTnet, which provided
funding for computer network development in the Baltic
States. One of the most important aspects of the
program was the immediate establishment of
international network links between those states and
their Scandinavian neighbors.
        However, the Baltic States, like most countries
in the region, are hampered by a technologically
outdated telephone system. Most of the phone lines in
the Baltic countries are analog (designed to support
voice) and not digital (designed to quickly exchange
data). As a result, those people who do have Internet
access are often restricted in their on-line time
owing to frustrating delays and expensive telephone
bills.
        Guntis Barzdins, a professor at the Institute of
Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of
Latvia and a regional expert on the Internet, says
that although most telephone lines in the Baltics are
analog, roughly 50% of the lines in Riga and Tallinn
are now digital. He says there are currently no
digital lines in Lithuania but that preparations are
being made for their installation in various locations
in Vilnius.
        There are still several major obstacles in the
way of improved Internet connectivity in the Baltic
nations: the high cost of computer equipment, compared
with the average salaries of workers; poor
communication infrastructure and a lack of digital
lines; expensive telephone lines; and dependency on
international funding, making long-range planning
difficult. However, progress is being made in each of
the Baltic States.
        Since establishing an Internet connection,
Estonia has concentrated on networking university,
government, and commercial users. The government has
played a large role in matching funds of private
Western donors and making the issue a national
priority. In 1995, the Open Society Regional Internet
Program (OSI-RIP) invested in mobile radio links to
extend connectivity to rural areas. According to OSI-
RIP, it is estimated that nearly 50% of all secondary
schools in the country now have some level of
connectivity.
        Estonia also created the Estonian Educational and
Research Network, or EENET. Most of the nation's
schools and government and non-governmental
organizations are now connected to this network.
Future Internet projects include a coordinated effort
called "Tiger Leap" between OSI-RIP and the Estonian
government to connect all secondary schools to the
Internet by the year 2000.
        Internet connectivity in Latvia is making rapid
progress but is concentrated mostly in Riga. Because
of a lack of funds, the Latvian government has been
hard-pressed to financially support technology
development and infrastructure building. Currently
there are two main networks operating in Latvia.: the
scientific and educational community largely use a
network called LATNET, while banks and other
commercial enterprises use a network called LATPAK.
        Internet connectivity for schools does not seem
to have been vigorously pursued. Some estimates
indicate that less than a quarter of secondary schools
in Latvia have Internet access. OSI-RIP says its 1997
projects in Latvia will include an effort to provide
more regional connectivity outside Riga and increase
communication with libraries and cultural
institutions.
        Lithuania's efforts to improve Internet
connectivity have been hampered by a lack of
government funding, but progress is being made. Its
main operating network is called LITNet.
        In 1995, OSI-RIP purchased 100 used computers for
secondary schools, which were used as servers to
connect to electronic mail. The following year, the
Lithuanian Ministry of Education installed thousands
of computers in secondary schools following a $7
million equipment donation from the U.S. company IBM.
        Internet programs for 1997 include an OSI-RIP-
funded expansion of Internet services into rural
areas, additional Internet training and the testing of
new satellite technology.
        More than 90,000 people are estimated to use the
Internet in the Baltic States: some 35,000 each in
Estonia and Latvia and 23,000 in Lithuania.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SUBSCRIBING:

1) To subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        subscribe RFERL-L YourFirstName YourLastName
3) Send the message

UNSUBSCRIBING:

1) To un-subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to
        listserv@listserv.buffalo.edu
2) In the text of your message, type
        unsubscribe RFERL-L
3) Send the message

ON-LINE ISSUES OF RFE/RL Newsline:

On-line issues of RFE/RL Newsline are available through the World
Wide Web: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

BACK ISSUES OF RFE/RL Newsline:

Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline are available through the World
Wide Web: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/

BACK ISSUES OF OMRI Daily Digest:

Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, and by FTP.

WWW: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/DD/
FTP: ftp://FTP.OMRI.CZ/Pub/DailyDigest/

REPRINT POLICY:

To receive permission for reprinting, please direct
your inquires to Paul Goble, publisher.

Email: goblep@rferl.org
Phone (U.S.) : 202-457-6947
International: 001 202-457-6947
Postal Address: RFE/RL, Connecticut Ave. 1201, NW, Washington D.C., USA

RFE/RL Newsline Staff:

Paul Goble (Publisher), goblep@rferl.org
Jiri Pehe ( Editor, Central and Eastern Europe),  pehej@rferl.org
Liz Fuller (Deputy Editor, Transcaucasia), carlsone@rferl.org
Patrick Moore (West Balkans),  moorep@rferl.org
Michael Shafir (East Balkans), shafirm@rferl.org
Laura Belin (Russia), belinl@rferl.org
Bruce Pannier (Central Asia), pannierb@rferl.org
Jan Cleave, cleavej@rferl.org.

Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630.

Current and back issues are available online at:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/.

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole