Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow; Naught may endure but Mutability. - Percy Shelley
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 98, Part II, 19 August1997



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/

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Headlines, Part II

* BELARUS PRESSES CHARGES AGAINST RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS

* ANOTHER SIX DEAD IN ALBANIAN GANG WARS

* PLAVSIC FOES ARREST, THEN FREE HER POLICE CHIEF

End Note
FORGET THE FORMER SOVIET UNION

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS PRESSES CHARGES AGAINST RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS.
Belarusian authorities on 18 August started legal proceedings against
four journalists from Russian Public Television (ORT), Interfax
reported. The journalists -- three Russians and one Belarusian -- are
accused of illegally crossing the border between Belarus and
Lithuania on 15 August. They were arrested at almost the same point
where another ORT team was detained in July. Belarusian officials
said on 18 August that one of the journalists, Anatoly Adamchuk,
had written a letter to the authorities admitting that ORT
"deliberately planned " the incident. Interfax also quoted Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka as saying the journalists had sent
him a message naming the people who had sent them to Belarus
"under threat of dismissal." He said it was "clear who stands behind
the puppeteers." Meanwhile, Belarusian authorities on 18 August
arrested another ORT journalist, Vladimir Fashenko, after he refused
to make a statement in the case.

RUSSIAN OFFICIALS SEEK JOURNALISTS' RELEASE. Meeting with
Belarusian President Lukashenka in Minsk, Russian ambassador
Valerii Loshchilin on 18 August handed Lukashenka a request from
Russia that the ORT journalists detained on 15 August be released as
a "gesture of goodwill," Russian news agencies reported. Speaking in
Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin
told Interfax that Russia is considering providing legal support to the
ORT journalists. Later the same day, the Russian Foreign Ministry
released a statement saying the ministry and the Russian embassy in
Minsk are taking "active measures" to try to resolve the conflict. Also
on 18 August, Russian Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin said
the recent arrests of Russian journalists do not reflect well on the
Belarusian leadership, Interfax reported.

UKRAINE MAY SUPPLY TURBINE TO IRAN. Ukrainian Foreign
Minister Hennady Udovenko on 18 August said is considering a
proposal by Turboatom, a Kharkiv-based factory, to supply a turbine
for a reactor Russia is building in Iran," Interfax reported. Udovenko
was speaking during a visit to the eastern Ukrainian city. Udovenko
said he will study a draft contract under which Turboatom would
supply a 1,000-megawatt turbine for the plant in the Iranian city of
Bushehr. Udovenko admitted that "fulfillment of the contract could
complicate relations with our partners." The U.S. and Israel have
argued that the plant could help Iran develop nuclear weapons. In
April, Israeli Trade and Industry Minister Natan Sharansky said
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma had promised him that Ukraine
would not provide Russia with turbines for the Bushehr project or
"do anything to help Iran, Iraq, or Libya build weapons of mass
destruction."

SECT LEADER RELEASED FROM UKRAINIAN PRISON. Marina Tsvygun-
Krivonogova, one of the leaders of the White Fraternity sect, was
released from the Dneprodzerzhinsk corrective labor camp on 17
August under an amnesty, ITAR-TASS reported. Tsvygun-
Krivonogova was sentenced to four years in prison in February 1996
on charges of citing mass disorder during a prayer vigil outside
Kyiv's cathedral. Tsvygun-Krivonogova, together with her husband
Yuri Krivonogov, patriarch of the sect, involved mostly teenagers in
their organization. Calling herself Maria Devi Christ, Tsvygun-
Krivonogova last addressed supporters of her faith one month ago in
a televised interview from the camp.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT ON RELATIONS WITH ESTONIA. In an
interview with the Estonian daily "Sonumileht" published on 18
August, Algirdas Brazauskas said that Estonian-Lithuanian relations
should be "much more concrete" at the government level, BNS
reported. He stressed there are no "ill signs" in those relations but
that too little attention is paid to bilateral free trade and improving
customs and communications. Brazauskas also commented that
Estonia managed to "show itself in a better light" than Latvia and
Lithuania and was thus proposed by the European Commission to
begin talks on accession to the EU. He argued that Baltic statistics are
difficult to compare because of different methodologies, which, he
said, makes the work of the European Commission difficult.
Brazauskas's remarks came on the eve of Estonian President Lennart
Meri's first state visit to Lithuania, scheduled to begin on 20 August.

POLISH PRESIDENT OPPOSES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN GOVERNMENT.
A presidential spokesman told journalists on 18 August that
Aleksander Kwasniewski will not recognize a no-confidence motion
against the government submitted by the Polish Peasant Party, a
coalition partner of the ruling, former communist Social Democratic
Party for almost four years. The Peasant Party recently called for the
government to be dismissed, citing disagreements over agricultural
policy. The president recommended that the party should withdraw
the no-confidence vote and quit the coalition if it does not agree with
government policies. Peasant Party leader Janusz Piechocinski said
on 18 August that his party had collected enough signatures for the
no-confidence motion and that he expects the parliament to take
action this week. Opposition leaders have said they, too, will reject
the no-confidence vote, which they regard as an attempt to increase
support among farmers ahead of the 21 September general elections.

ELEVEN FORMER AGENTS SEEK ELECTION TO POLISH PARLIAMENT.
Eleven candidates in the 21 September elections have admitted
working for the secret police during the communist era, the chairman
of the electoral commission told journalists on 18 August. Five of
those candidates are on lists of the Social Democratic Party. The
Polish Peasant Party, the Union of the Polish Right, the Polish
National Union, and the Party of Pensioners each have one former
agent on their lists. Recently, two candidates competing for Senate
seats, Gerhard Bartodziej of the German minority and Aleksander
Gawronik, one of Poland's richest men, also confessed to having been
agents under the Communists. A new lustration law obliges members
of the parliament and the government, senior officials, and
candidates for such posts to declare if they collaborated with the
secret police between 1944 and 1990. No action is taken against
those who confess, but anyone found to have lied risks being barred
from public office for 10 years.

CZECH PREMIER'S PARTY CONDEMNS RACISM. The Executive Council
of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party (ODS) on 18
August condemned "racially motivated statements" by some ODS
members, "Pravo" reported. Senator Zdenk Klausner had recently
suggested in a Prague newspaper that Roma residing in a Prague
district be moved outside Prague. Liana Janackova, a district mayor
in the city of Ostrava, had proposed that the city contribute to the
cost of plane tickets for Roma who would like to emigrate to Canada.
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told journalists after the meeting that
the ODS is not asking the two officials to resign but is distancing itself
from any statements by its members that could be interpreted as
racist.

U.S. ASKS SLOVAKIA, BULGARIA TO DESTROY SS-23 ROCKETS. U.S.
State Department spokesman James Rubin said on 18 August that the
U.S. is asking the Slovak and Bulgarian governments to destroy SS-23
rockets on their territories. He said the rockets are capable of
carrying weapons of mass destruction. The Soviet Union supplied the
rockets to Bulgaria and the former Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. Their
destruction is called for by the 1988 Soviet-U.S. Intermediate
Nuclear Forces agreement. In July, the Bulgarian government said the
rockets were part of the country's national security requirements
and were a strong deterrent. But it also said that the country is
reevaluating its national security strategy to take into account its
wish to join the European security system and NATO. A spokesman at
the Slovak Embassy in Washington declined to comment on what
Rubin said, CTK reported.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ANOTHER SIX DEAD IN ALBANIAN GANG WARS. Gang members in
the southern town of Perondi, near Berat, ambushed a rival group on
18 August. Six people were killed, bringing the total number of
Albanians killed as a result of gang warfare in the past week to 18.
The government has set deadlines for the return of illegal weapons,
but disarming the gangs may prove a tall order (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 18 August 1997). Meanwhile in Bari, Italy, the authorities
said they finding it difficult to persuade the 10,000 Albanian
refugees there on temporary visas to go home. Some 7,000 Albanians
have simply gone underground, and many have turned to crime.
Refugees in government shelters told journalists that they do not
want to go back to a country where "everything has been burned"
and where illegal arms abound.

KOSOVO UPDATE. Vuk Draskovic, the Serbian Renewal Movement's
candidate in the September Serbian presidential elections, said in
Pristina on 18 August that Kosovo should receive back what he called
its historical name, Old Serbia. Draskovic stressed that Kosovo is the
historical Serbian heartland, but he added that "there is enough room
for Albanians and Turks as well as Serbs." Kosovo elects 42 out of
250 seats in the Serbian parliament, but its Albanian majority is
boycotting the elections. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright told ethnic Albanian shadow-state President
Ibrahim Rugova on his recent visit to Washington that he should
continue his policy of non-violence and that autonomy, not
independence, is the only political option for Kosovo acceptable to the
international community, Belgrade dailies reported on 19 August. In
Pristina, Adem Demaci, the leader of the Parliamentary Party, said
that the Kosovo question can be solved only on the basis of national
self-determination.

MONTENEGRIN COURT WARNS BELGRADE. The Montenegrin
Constitutional Court warned its Yugoslav counterpart on 18 August
that the Belgrade court will be violating federal law if it intervenes
in the ongoing dispute regarding the registration of Montenegrin
presidential candidates, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the
Montenegrin capital. In Belgrade, representatives of the five parties
participating in the September elections each nominated a
representative to the central electoral commission that will oversee
the vote. In Vienna, Niels Helveg Petersen, chairman of the
Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, said the body
has agreed to the Serbian government's offer for the OSCE to monitor
the vote. Vienna and Belgrade had disagreed on the terms under
which the monitoring would take place. It is not yet clear what those
terms will be.

PLAVSIC FOES ARREST, THEN FREE HER POLICE CHIEF. Police loyal to
the hard-line Republika Srpska Interior Minister Dragan Kijac in Pale
arrested Milan Sutilovic in Banja Luka on 19 August. They freed him
after he refused to sign a formal resignation. Embattled President
Biljana Plavsic appointed Sutilovic police chief of the northwestern
Bosnian town on 17 August. Her sacking of Kijac in June touched off
the current power struggle among the Bosnian Serbs. Plavsic's offices
in Banja Luka are surrounded by loyal soldiers and police. NATO
troops recently prevented a clash between police loyal to Plavsic and
those backing Kijac (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 August 1997).

REPUBLIKA SRPSKA POLICE SPIED ON PLAVSIC. President Plavsic
said in Banja Luka on 18 August that evidence her supporters found
in the local headquarters of Kijac's police the previous day proves
that Kijac's men bugged her telephone, fax machine, and offices, as
well as those of other opponents of the Pale leadership (see "RFE/RL
Newsline." 18 August 1997). UN police also searched the
headquarters and seized 200 tapes. One Western official said that
Kijac's men had been "running an espionage center." International
officials added that they are particularly interested in evidence that
Kijac's police intimidated members of the Constitutional Court, which
recently ruled against Plavsic. Transcripts of Plavsic's phone calls and
faxed documents found at the police headquarters appeared in
Belgrade and Sarajevo dailies on 19 August.

OTHER NEWS FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Ivo Saraf, the Croatian
mayor of the Bosnian town of Jajce, has limited the number of
Muslims scheduled to return to the nearby village of Lendici to 80, a
spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on 18
August. She added that Saraf's decision is arbitrary and violates the
latest Croatian-Muslim accord on the return of refugees and that the
UNHCR will appeal to the Sarajevo authorities to overrule him (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 18 August 1997). In the Olovo area, Bosnian Serb
police released the five Muslims whom they had arrested the
previous day. In Vukovar, William Walker, a U.S. diplomat, arrived to
take up his duties as the UN's new chief administrator in eastern
Slavonia. He said his chief concern will be the safe return of refugees
to their homes.

CROATIA READY TO SEND WAR CRIMINAL TO THE HAGUE.
Spokesmen for the Croatian Justice Ministry said in Zagreb on 19
August that they have arrested Pero Skopljak and are holding him in
a Zagreb prison pending his extradition to the Hague-based war
crimes tribunal. Skopljak was police chief in the central Bosnian town
of Vitez during the war and is wanted in connection with atrocities
against Muslims in 1992 and 1993. Croatian Foreign Minister Mate
Granic told his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, in Frankfurt on 16
August that seven Bosnian Croats are ready to go to The Hague if
they can be assured of a speedy trial. It is unclear if he included
Dario Kordic, the most wanted Croatian war criminal among the
seven (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 August 1997). Croatia is under
intense international pressure to observe its obligations under the
Dayton agreement and hand over war criminals.

ROMANIAN NATIONALISTS DEMAND ANTI-HUNGARIAN GUARD... In
a declaration released on 18 August, the Bucharest branch of the
anti-Hungarian Romanian Cradle organization called for establishing
a "National Guard" of Romanian ethnics in Transylvania to defend the
ethnic majority in the region against the Hungarian minority there,
Radio Bucharest reported. The organization also demanded the
dismissal of Victor Ciorbea's cabinet, sharply criticizing its decision to
allow bilingual signs in localities where ethnic minorities make up at
least 20 percent of the population and to amend the education law.
The organization also called on President Emil Constantinescu to
"analyze" the situation created by those policies and to avoid "a
further escalation of 'Hungarianism' in Transylvania."

...PROTEST HUNGARY'S COMPENSATION LAW. The Party of Romanian
National Unity (PUNR) has protested the law recently passed by the
Hungarian parliament that provides compensation to Hungarian
army veterans who were prisoners in the Soviet Union during World
War II and to former Hungarian citizens deported to the Soviet
Union, regardless of their current citizenship. PUNR leader Valeriu
Tabara said that before paying compensation, Hungary should
apologize to states and citizens of countries that suffered as a result
of Hungary's wartime policies. Gheorghe Funar, the nationalist mayor
of Cluj, said compensation will be given to those Hungarian
Transylvanians who are guilty of crimes against Romanians. He also
called on the Romanian government to urgently pass a law
stipulating that those who were forced to Magyarize their names
during Hungarian rule in Transylvania revert to their original names,
Mediafax reported.

MOLDOVA TO HOST CIS SUMMIT. Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister
Vasile Sova has confirmed that the next CIS summit will be held in
Chisinau on 20 November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 August 1997),
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Foreign Ministry sources,
however, said that it is unclear how the summit will be financed,
since the Moldovan government lacks the necessary funds and does
not have 12 limousines or 12 "presidential apartments." Moreover,
Chisinau has not paid its debts to CIS, the sources added.

GAGAUZ LEADERS OPPOSE LAW ON SALE OF LAND. Georgii
Tabunshchik, the governor of Moldova's autonomous region of
Gagauz Yeri, has said that the region's leadership will not allow the
law on the sale of land to be implemented in the region, BASA-press
reported on 18 August. The Moldovan parliament passed that law on
25 July. Tabunshchik said the sale of small plots would lead to the
impoverishment of the population, because ownership of two or
three hectares of land is economically unfeasible. In other news from
Gagauz Yeri, Infotag reported on 18 August that the authorities
banned an opposition rally in the regional capital, Comrat, to
celebrate the seventh anniversary of the declaration of independence
by the region. Ivan Bejan, a deputy in the Popular Assembly, told
Infotag that the independent Gagauz republic ceased to exist in 1994
and therefore it does not make sense to celebrate the declaration of
independence.

BULGARIAN REACTOR IN TROUBLE AGAIN. Operators at Bulgaria's
only nuclear power plant had to switch off an aging reactor on 18
August , after one of its two turbines stopped for unknown reasons,
BTA reported. The malfunction occurred at the 23-year-old Unit 1,
but no increased radiation was measured. The plant, which generates
about 40 percent of Bulgaria's electricity, is located at Kozloduy, some
170 kilometers north of Sofia. The International Atomic Energy
Agency in Vienna has repeatedly expressed concern about safety at
Kozloduy, saying the four units of the plant are outdated.

END NOTE

FORGET THE FORMER SOVIET UNION

by Paul Goble

        Six years after a failed coup in Moscow sent the Soviet Union
toward its demise, many people around the world continue to search
for a single term to describe the group of countries that emerged
from the rubble. None of the terms proposed until now has proved
entirely successful. And with each passing year, the search for such a
term seems increasingly unnecessary, if not counterproductive.
        Among the terms most frequently suggested are the former
Soviet Union, the new independent states, and Eurasia. But, like all
other suggested terms, they fail to capture some important features
of the new landscape and carry some significant political baggage.
        The term "former Soviet Union" is perhaps the most obviously
problematic. The Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991; continuing to
refer to it both diminishes the status of the successor states and
encourages those in Russia and elsewhere who would like to restore
the union. Equally important, it dramatically overstates the
similarities among countries whose only real feature in common was
Russian and Soviet occupation. While that had a major impact on
each, it did not wipe out the differences increasingly on view.
        At first glance, the term "new independent states" appears to
be more neutral; but, if anything, it is even more politically charged
than the other two. Prior to the demise of the Soviet Union, no
government in the world referred to independent countries arising
from the ruins of empires as "new independent states." Instead,
those countries were quickly viewed as countries much like all
others.
        Consequently, the use of this term so long after the end of the
USSR implies that the relationship between those countries and
Moscow is somehow different. That has led many people in the
region to wonder aloud whether their states are less equal than
others. Both the citizens of those countries and others are beginning
to ask just how long those countries will have to be "independent"
before they cease to be "new."
        The term "Eurasia" also has some negative connotations,
although they are perhaps less obvious. It indiscriminately lumps
together countries that are definitely part of the European cultural
world with some that most definitely are not. It also has a history
that is anything but encouraging. One group of Russian nationalists
popularized the term to suggest that Russia represented an amalgam
of European and Asiatic civilizations and that it had a civilizing
mission across the region.
        But if none of the terms advanced thus far is adequate, the
continued search for one highlights three more fundamental
problems.
        First, many people are unwilling to accept what happened in
1991 as an irreversible watershed in world history. When other
empires dissolved in this century, few world leaders felt compelled
to reiterate support for the independence and territorial integrity of
their successors five years after the fact. No one was saying such
things about the successors to the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, or
Russian empires in 1924. But in the post-Soviet case, many leaders
have done just that and thus have sent a message to those countries
very different from the one they say they intend to send.
        Second, many people are unable to recognize how diverse the
countries of the region are and how many now have far greater ties
with countries beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union than
with countries within those borders. Other than Russian and Soviet
occupation, Armenia and Kazakhstan, for example, have little in
common in almost any respect. And despite the impact of the past,
Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are both looking beyond the Soviet
borders rather than to the former imperial center.
        Third, the search for a single term reflects an unwillingness on
the part of some Westerners to challenge the desire of some Moscow
circles to remain the dominant power in the region, regardless of the
wishes of people in those countries. Through instruments such as the
Commonwealth of Independent States and via statements about the
relevance of the borders of the former Soviet Union, the Russian
government has advanced a claim to a sphere of influence across the
region.
        Such assertions make Western terminological discussions all
the more important. To the extent that the West uses terms that
imply the territory once occupied by the Soviet Union is a single
region, some circles in Moscow will be encouraged to believe that the
West has recognized Russian claims. To the extent that the West uses
terms that treat the countries of the region as separate and unique
states, each of those states will be encouraged to develop along its
own lines.





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