A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 47, Part II, 6 June1997


Vol. 1, No. 47, Part II, 6 June1997

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

* OSCE OFFICIAL POSTPONES TRIP TO BELARUS

* MILOSEVIC TO RUN FOR YUGOSLAV PRESIDENCY

* CROATIAN OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BEATEN

End Note : ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY IN TURMOIL

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

OSCE OFFICIAL POSTPONES TRIP TO BELARUS. Spenser Oliver, the secretary-general
of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe, has postponed a visit to Belarus, RFE/RL's Vienna correspondent
reported on 5 June. Oliver said the visit, which was due to start on 6 June,
was postponed because the agenda included meetings with parliamentary deputies
loyal to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka but offered no opportunity to meet
with opposition politicians. A recent OSCE report says Belarus appears to be
headed toward totalitarianism. The report was drawn up by an OSCE mission that
visited Minsk in April and met with government members and supporters as well
as representatives of the opposition. Oliver said the Parliamentary Assembly
remains "extremely interested" in examining the parliamentary situation in
Belarus. He also emphasized that his trip had been "postponed," not canceled.

NEW PROSPECTS FOR RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN SPACE CENTER. Viktor Durasov, head of the
Ukrainian Yevpatoria space center, told a 5 June news conference that an
agreement reached by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Ukrainian
counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, during their recent summit has opened up new
possibilities for the center. Durasov said the agreement will accelerate the
implementation of Ukrainian-Russian space projects and allow for the
installation of up-to-date equipment. He also noted that the center's
financial situation could improve considerably if the two countries were to
use it jointly The Yevpatoria center was set up at the beginning of space
exploration and has suffered significantly in recent years because of
financial constraints.

WWII VICTORY MONUMENT IN RIGA HIT BY EXPLOSION. A World War II victory
monument in Riga was hit by an explosion on 6 June, BNS reported. Firefighters
in the Latvian capital say that windows of nearby buildings were blown out but
the monument is still standing. The cause of the blast is not yet known. A
Latvian Interior Ministry spokesman said the Prosecutor's Office may launch a
criminal investigation into the incident. The monument, located in downtown
Riga, was erected to commemorate the liberation of Riga by the Soviet Army
near the end of World War Two. In recent years, it has been the scene of
rallies calling for restoration of the Soviet Union.

TURKISH PRESIDENT IN LATVIA. Suleyman Demirel has stressed his country's full,
unconditional support for Latvia's membership in NATO , BNS reported. The
Turkish president was speaking in Riga on 5 June at the end of his four-day
tour of the Baltic States. At a meeting with his Latvian counterpart, Guntis
Ulmanis, agreement was reached to promote the conclusion of an accord on free
trade. Turkey signed such accords with Lithuania and Estonia several days
earlier, but an agreement with Latvia is still pending because several Latvian
ministries object to some of its provisions, including those on textiles and
agricultural goods. The previous day, the two countries agreed to set up a
joint business council to promote bilateral trade. Four documents were signed
during Demirel's visit, including a cooperation treaty on combating drug
trafficking, international terrorism and organized crime.

LITHUANIAN ROUNDUP. Lawmakers have adopted a controversial law on returning
real estate to its former owners, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 June. The new
legislation provides for the rights of tenants to be guaranteed by the
municipal authorities when a residential building is restored to its former
owner. The bill has prompted protests by citizens fearing they will become
homeless once the legislation goes into effect. The opposition intends to
appeal to the Constitutional Court to quash the new legislation. The previous
day, three deputy culture ministers submitted their resignations, BNS reported
on 5 June. They did not explain their resignation, but one of the deputy
ministers told Lietuvos Rytas that he considers the leadership style of
Culture Minister Saulius Saltenis "unacceptable."

POLISH PRESIDENT REJECTS ABORTION REFERENDUM. A Polish presidential aide said
on Polish Radio on 5 June that Aleksander Kwasniewski will not initiate an
abortion referendum. The statement came one day after Pope John Paul II
publicly opposed abortion, saying any nation that allows abortion has no
future and deserves to be called a barbarian civilization (see RFE/RL
Newsline, 5 June 1997). The Constitutional Court recently ruled that a law
liberalizing rules on abortion is unconstitutional. The parliament would need
a two-thirds majority to override that ruling.

POLAND'S UNION FOR FREEDOM REJECTS PACT WITH LEFT, RIGHT. Leszek Balcerowicz,
chairman of the Union for Freedom, rejected on 5 June the possibility of a
coalition with either the ruling ex-communists or the opposition, led by the
right-of-center Solidarity union. "These groupings are very similar
conglomerates that merely have different names. It is hard to say which of the
two would be worse for Poland," Balcerowicz is quoted as saying by PAP.
Opinion polls suggest that the parliamentary elections, due in September, are
likely to be won by the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance and the
Solidarity Election Action. The Union for Freedom includes many of the
intellectuals who were behind the pre-1989 opposition to communist rule and
went on to form the first democratic governments. As finance minister,
Balcerowicz steered Poland through shock-therapy reform.

CZECH PRIME MINISTER'S PARTY CALLS FOR UNITY. The Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
issued a statement on 5 June denying any divisions within the party. The
statement stressed that the ODS unanimously backs the government and calls on
its two junior coalition partners, the Civic Democratic Alliance and the
Christian Democrats, to do the same ahead of a parliamentary vote of
confidence expected on 10 June. In May, the three-party coalition agreed to
austerity measures and a cabinet reshuffle to stem an escalating trade deficit
and halt a drop in the Czech currency. But Klaus has come under increasing
attack from his coalition partners as well as from within ODS ranks. Recent
criticism from ODS founding member and current Foreign Minister Josef
Zielieniec sparked rumors of an internal power struggle within the ODS itself.
Meanwhile, Klaus told a business conference in Montreux, Switzerland, on 5
June that he expects the 10 June vote of confidence in his government to help
stabilize the Czech currency.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN MEETS WITH NEWT GINGRICH. Ivan Gasparovic said
after his meeting in Washington on 5 June with Speaker of the House of
Representatives Newt Gingrich that U.S. awareness of Slovak efforts to join
the EU and NATO is a "very positive signal toward Slovakia." Gingrich said
there is no sense to exclude Slovakia from NATO expansion. He added that
Slovakia is clearly eligible for membership but that the U.S. needs to work
with Slovakia to develop its economic strength so it can sustain the kind of
defense commitment that mutual security requires. The U.S. State Department
recently protested a lack of respect for the rule of law in Slovakia in
connection with the Slovak government's role in the failed 23-24 May
referendum on NATO membership and direct presidential elections.

SLOVAK PREMIER INVITES HEADS OF PARLIAMENTARY PARTIES FOR TALKS. Vladimir
Meciar told a meeting of his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia in Bratislava
on 5 June that he has invited the chairmen of all parliamentary parties for
joint talks on domestic political issues, RFE/RL's Bratislava bureau reported.
"If they come it is their business, if they do not come it is their business
as well. They have been offered a chance," Meciar said. The premier also said
that the opposition has little chance of having Interior Minister Gustav
Krajci dismissed. The opposition hold Krajci responsible for the failure of
the 23-24 May referendum . However, he said, the opposition's efforts to push
through constitutional bill on direct presidential elections could pass in the
parliament.

GRENADE ATTACKS ON FOUR CAR DEALERSHIPS IN BUDAPEST. Four Yugoslav-made hand
grenades exploded early on 5 June at the premises of four second-hand car
dealers in Budapest, Hungarian media reported. Police believe the explosions,
which caused no injuries but damaged several cars, could be the work of a
single gang demanding protection money. Just two hours before the explosions,
gunfire hit the rear window of a Budapest bus. The four passengers and the
driver were not injured. The police do not exclude the possibility of a
connection between that incident and the explosions.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FINO CALLS FOR ALBANIAN ELECTION PACT. Prime Minister Bashkim Fino has invited
all political parties to sign an agreement on the fair conduct of the election
campaign. He said in Tirana on 5 June that the apparent assassination attempt
on President Sali Berisha the previous day was a "dangerous precedent" (see
RFE/RL Newsline, 5 June 1997). Politically polarized Albania has a tradition
of political violence and is awash with weapons, but the attack on Berisha was
the first such incident involving a major political figure in the current
campaign. Also in Tirana, ATA reports that a bomb went off in a school yard
but that police have arrested the culprits. In Vlora, Italian peacekeepers
broke up a shoot-out involving 18 Albanians near the Italians' headquarters.

MILOSEVIC TO RUN FOR YUGOSLAV PRESIDENCY, BUT MONTENEGRO BALKS. Top officials
of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia said in
Podgorica on 5 June that Milosevic will run for the federal presidency later
this year, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital.
Montenegro's Democratic Socialist Party, however, has said it will decide
later whether to endorse Milosevic. It added that it rejects Milosevic's plans
to strengthen the federal presidency or to elect the president by direct vote.
Current Federal President and Milosevic-loyalist Zoran Lilic's term expires
later this month. Milosevic cannot legally seek a new term as Serbian
president, and the opposition has said it will take to the streets again if he
tries to bend the law to be able to run again. His alternative means of
holding onto power would be to run for a strengthened federal presidency.

SERBIAN OPPOSITION AGREES ON ELECTION PACT. Representatives of some 12
opposition parties met in Belgrade on 4 June and agreed on a set of minimum
conditions that the government must meet before the parties will participate
in the Serbian elections due later this year. Key points include ensuring
access to electronic and other media and providing funding for the parties. If
their demands are not met, the parties said they may actively obstruct the
elections, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade. Meanwhile in
Athens, the Greek telecommunications company OTE announced it will join
Italy's Stet in taking a 49% share of Telecom Serbia. The London-based
Financial Times wrote on 5 June that the deal "reflects a flourishing
political relationship between Greece and Serbia, including the Bosnian
Serbs."

CROATIAN OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BEATEN. Vlado Gotovac, the Liberal
and opposition coalition candidate in the 15 June presidential elections, was
assaulted by a man wearing a military uniform in Pula on 5 June. Gotovac fell
to the ground and briefly lost consciousness. He then returned to address his
followers in the Istrian port city. Croatian authorities have promised to
issue a statement on the incident on 6 June, Hina reported. Tomac's party
spokesman told reporters in Zagreb that he was flown back to the capital where
he is undergoing medical tests. The spokesman added that Gotovac is suffering
from a concussion and is in shock. Police arrested the assailant. Meanwhile in
Osijek, the authorities have pardoned Ante Gudelj after he had just begun
serving a 20-year sentence for the murder of Josip Reihl-Kir. Reihl-Kir was a
local moderate police chief whose murder was a key development in the run-up
to the war between Serbs and Croats in eastern Slavonia.

WESTENDORP TO GIVE PRIORITY TO CATCHING BOSNIAN WAR CRIMINALS. Carlos
Westendorp, the international community's new high representative in Bosnia,
said in Madrid on 5 June that he will give priority to catching war criminals.
He said he will try to persuade local leaders to hand over their war criminals
and added that if they do not comply, he will consider what he called
"pressure." Westendorp echoed recent statements by U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright stressing that the international community will help those
who observe the Dayton accords and isolate those who do not. In Banja Luka,
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic discussed refugee return and
economic cooperation with her federal opposite number, Vladimir Soljic. And in
Pale, the Bosnian Serb government approved a trade agreement with federal
Yugoslavia that in effect eliminates administrative restrictions on trade
between Belgrade and Pale, BETA reported.

SLOVENIA HOSTS CENTRAL EUROPEAN PRESIDENTS. A conference of eight presidents
opens in Portoroz and Piran on the Slovenian Adriatic coast on 6 June.
President Milan Kucan is hosting his counterparts from Germany, Poland, the
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, and Hungary. The gathering is
especially important to Slovenia because it is counting on support from
Germany and Italy, in particular, in its drive to join NATO and the EU. The
main problem is that Rome could continue to block Ljubljana's EU candidacy
unless Slovenia changes its laws to allow foreigners to own property. Many
Slovenes are worried that Italians with family roots in Slovenia could buy up
land and houses. Kucan told the Prague daily Pravo on 5 June that his country
sees its future in Central Europe, not in the Balkans.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION MOVES SECOND NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION. A motion of no
confidence in Victor Ciorbea's cabinet was moved on 5 June by 143 deputies
from the opposition Party of Social Democracy in Romania and the Party of
Romanian National Unity, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The motion will
be debated on 9 June. The signatories say the reform package that the premier
recently submitted to the parliament (see RFE/RL Newsline, 4 June 1997) is not
in line with the government program approved by the parliament last year. The
legislature is scheduled to debate on 6 June another no confidence motion
proposed earlier by the opposition.

RIFT WIDENS IN ROMANIA'S MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY. Mircea Cosea, deputy prime
minister in charge of economic reform in the former cabinet headed by Nicolae
Vacaroiu, has openly joined the camp of those calling for the restructuring of
the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (see RFE/RL Newsline, 4 June 1997).
Cosea was interviewed on national television on 5 June, together with Iosif
Boda, the main critic of the current party leadership. The two men said they
do not intend to bring about a split in the party at its upcoming national
conference. But they noted that their political future will depend on whether
the PDSR is able to restructure itself and to allow a free democratic debate
on the party's future course (see also "End Note" below).

MOLDOVA'S GAS DEBT TO RUSSIA TO BE PAID IN INSTALLMENTS? President Petru
Lucinschi on 5 June phoned his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, and First
Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov asking them to help find a formula to
repay Moldova's debt to Gazprom in installments. Infotag and BASA-press
reported that Lucinschi told the Russian leaders he had received a telegram
from Gazprom threatening to cut off supplies if the debt were not cleared.
According to the Moldovan presidential office, Yeltsin and Nemtsov agreed to
negotiate a mechanism for the repayment of the debt without cutting supplies.
Moldova owes Gazprom some $570 million, of which $300 million is the debt of
the Transdniester breakaway region

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON CURRENCY BOARD . The parliament on 5 June
approved the law establishing the country's currency board within the National
Bank. The law prevents the National Bank from fueling inflation, tying local
money supply to foreign-currency reserves, and covering state budget deficits
by printing money. The same day,. Ivan Kostov's government nominated former
Finance Minister Svetoslav Gavriiski to replace Lyubomir Filipov as National
Bank governor. Meanwhile, a team of FBI agents that will advise Bulgarian
authorities on fighting organized crime met with Justice Minister Vassil
Gotsev (see RFE/RL Newsline, 4 June 1997), RFE/RL Sofia correspondents
reported. The team will also advise the government on drafting anti-crime
legislation.

BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER SUMS UP BRUSSELS VISIT. At a press conference in
Brussels on 6 June at the end of his three-day visit, Kostov stressed that
Bulgaria's quest to join NATO and the EU by no means diminishes the importance
of its relations with Russia. During his visit, Kostov met with EU, NATO, and
Belgian officials. ITAR-TASS quoted Kostov as saying that at his meetings at
NATO headquarters on 5 June, he received assurances that the aim of the
alliance's July Madrid summit is not only to establish which new members will
be admitted to the organization but also to set up a "mechanism of open doors"
providing for further NATO expansion in the future.

END NOTE

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY IN TURMOIL

by Michael Shafir

        The Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) is scheduled to hold its
annual national conference in June, its first major gathering since having
been voted out of power last fall. The question is whether the party will be
able to redefine its course of action and produce a leadership capable of
finding a political formula that will win back voters disillusioned with its
seven-year rule following the fall of communism. Presumably, the first thing
it must do is present a united front and prove itself capable of pursuing a
clear ideological line and doing away with what the electorate deems either
obsolete or repugnant.
        Few political analysts would dispute that the remnants of communist ideo
 logy,
which guided many of the PDSR leaders before 1989, are obsolete and the
party's political clientelism--which is unavoidably linked with corruption and
which Vladimir Tismaneanu, a U.S. political scientist of Romanian origin,
diagnosed as early as 1990 as "kleptocracy"--is repugnant.
        Yet, the possibility of a united leadership capable of dealing with such
issues seems even more remote than ever. In fact, the upper echelons of the
PDSR seem increasingly engaged in a "war of all against all" as the national
conference draws nearer. Nothing illustrates this better than the recent
public duel between PDSR deputy Iosif Boda, on the one hand, and Ion Iliescu,
Romania's former president and PDSR chairman, and one of his deputies, Adrian
Nastase, on the other hand. Boda, who was the manager of Iliescu's ill-fated
presidential campaign in 1996, accused Nastase of leading the party to a
dead-end and demanded his resignation. The former campaign manager was harshly
criticized by Iliescu, who demanded that Boda leave the party. For the time
being, Boda, a former ambassador to Switzerland, has received only a warning
from the party. But, according to sources in the PDSR, his expulsion cannot be
ruled out.
        That Iliescu would act in a manner reminiscent of how he himself was tre
 ated
by his presidential predecessor, Nicolae Ceausescu, is not surprising, given
his personal history and the fact that Boda destroyed what Ceausescu would
have called "the party-unity monolith." But the conflict is a lot more
complicated than that.
        There are two possible ways to approach analyzing the rifts in the PDSR.
  A
"Kremlinological" approach would search for alliances, acts of treason, and
realignments within the party and would not overlook the fact that Boda has
demanded Nastase's replacement by another PDSR deputy chairman, former Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu. Earlier, at a Sibiu branch PDSR regional
conference, some delegates called for Iliescu's replacement as party chairman
by Melescanu--a call reiterated at least at one other gathering of a PDSR
branch. Until then, Iliescu was generally considered opposed to Nastase, who,
justifiably or not, is perceived as embodying all the defects that helped the
PDSR loose power, including corruption. The "Kremlinologists" would also
emphasize that the "enemies of my enemy" are "my friends" and that Nastase is
therefore Iliescu's buddy once again.
         To strengthen that argument, the "Kremlinologists" would also point to
 an
ongoing ideological dispute. Boda and Melescanu are known to belong to a group
that wants to forge a Western-style, social-democratic identity for the PDSR
(one of its members, the Iasi deputy Mugurel Vintila, even called it the
Social Democratic Movement of Romania). The group is said to be opposed by
another that wants the PDSR to form an alliance with the leftist-nationalist
opposition represented in the parliament.
         The trouble is that the "players" in this game of ideological musical c
 hairs
seem to keep changing camps, leaving it unclear where either Iliescu or
Nastase stands. On the other hand, it only goes to show that a second
approach--one that is closer to political sociology than to
"Kremlinology"--may be more appropriate in analyzing developments within the
PDSR. As a "clientelist" party, the PDSR has been left in a most precarious
position. Not only is it no longer able to "distribute goods" to prospective
allies, but its members have been brusquely removed from influential positions
in state structures and leading economic institutions. The "war of all against
all" within the PDSR is perhaps no more than a struggle over diminished
resources. Be that as it may, the "Boda affair" does not bode well for
Iliescu's party.




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