You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 102, Part II, 25 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 HANDS OVER DETAINED ORT JOURNALISTS TO RUSSIA

* BOSNIAN SERB ARMY DELAYS KEY DECISION

* CIS PEACEKEEPERS FREED IN ABKHAZIA

End Note
TEN YEARS AFTER HIRVEPARK

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS HANDS OVER DETAINED ORT JOURNALISTS TO RUSSIA...
Three Russian Public Television (ORT) journalists detained in Belarus
on 15 August on charges of illegally crossing the Belarusian-
Lithuanian border were handed over to the Russian ambassador in
Minsk on 22 August and later flown to Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported.
They were part of the second ORT crew to be detained in Belarus
within the past month. A fourth member of the crew--a Belarusian
citizen--is still in detention. The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed
satisfaction over the journalists' release, but Russian State Duma
Speaker Gennadii Seleznev, who was on a visit to Minsk, described
the actions of the ORT journalists as a "provocation." Two other ORT
journalists who were detained in July and are both Belarusian
citizens remain in detention.

...WHILE YASTRZHEMBSKII KEEPS UP PRESSURE. Although a 22
August statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed
satisfaction with the handover of the three Russian journalists,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin's spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii
has kept up the pressure on Minsk. Yastrzhembskii told journalists
on 22 August, "I do not retract one word" of a 21 August statement
harshly criticizing the Belarusian authorities, RFE/RL's Moscow
bureau reported. (That statement was denounced by Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.) Appearing on nationwide
Russian television on 24 August, Yastrzhembskii said Yeltsin expects
the ORT journalists who are Belarusian citizens to be released before
Lukashenka travels to Moscow in early September. Speaking in
Moscow the same day, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
described the arrests of Russian journalists in Belarus as
"unacceptable" but noted that "Russia needs the union with Belarus
and will do everything to reinforce it," according to Interfax and
Reuters.

MULTINATIONAL NAVAL EXERCISES START IN UKRAINE. The "Sea
Breeze 97" maneuvers began on 23 August at Ukraine's Black Sea
port of Donuzlav. Warships from the U.S. and Turkey, along with
ships from Bulgaria, Georgia, and Romania, are participating in the
week-long exercises. The Russian government has expressed
opposition to the NATO-backed maneuvers and refused an invitation
to participate. Meanwhile, Georgian Defense Minister Vardiko
Nadibaidze arrived in Ukraine on 23 August for a three-day official
visit. On his arrival, Nadibaidze told journalists that military
cooperation already established between the two countries could
serve as a model for other nations. He also said that the formation of
Georgia's military would have been impossible without Ukraine's
help. Nadibaidze met with Ukrainian defense officials to discuss
boosting military cooperation.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PRESENTS NEW GOVERNMENT, MARKS
INDEPENDENCE. Leonid Kuchma on 22 August presented the new
government that he recently appointed to implement economic
reforms, UNIAN reported. In a ceremony at his residence, Kuchma
said the guiding principle in forming the cabinet was professionalism
and not personal links, and he promised that the government will be
open to scrutiny. The new cabinet, headed by Valery Pustovoitenko,
has 21 ministers and is Ukraine's sixth since the 1991 collapse of the
Soviet Union. On 24 August, in a speech marking the sixth
anniversary of his country's independence, Kuchma said intensive
work must be carried out to solve Ukraine's internal problems. He
acknowledged that the country has experienced difficult times and is
still in a period of transition.

BALTICS WANT ALL THREE COUNTRIES IN EU ACCESSION TALKS.
Following their meeting in Tukums, Latvia, on 22 August, the foreign
ministers of the three Baltic States said they hope the EU will start
negotiations with all of them in 1998 at the latest, BNS and ETA
reported. Latvia's Valdis Birkavs and Lithuania's Algirdas Saudargas
expressed their dissatisfaction with the European Commission's
recent decision to recommend that only Estonia start accession
negotiations. Estonia's Toomas Hendrik Ilves stressed that Tallinn
supports the admission of all three Baltic States into the EU and that
it will continue to support that goal in the future. During their
meeting, the three leaders discussed EU enlargement and Baltic
cooperation.

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT PASSES MEMORANDUM ON EU. Following
repeated delays, the government on 22 August passed a
memorandum urging the EU to start entry talks with all associate
members, which it describes as the "only politically correct solution,"
BNS reported. The government pledged to deal with some of the
deficiencies noted by the European Commission and to pay greater
attention to domestic reforms required for entry into the EU. A 46-
point action program is currently being prepared to supplement the
memorandum. Also on 22 August, Foreign Minster Valdis Birkavs
told RFE/RL's Latvian Service that government allocations for foreign
affairs are insufficient and that Estonian diplomats are advertising
their country's success more "aggressively" than their Latvian
counterparts.

LITHUANIA DENIES DELAYING PROSECUTION OF SUSPECTED WAR
CRIMINAL. The government on 22 August released a statement
denying that it has procrastinated over the prosecution of suspected
Nazi collaborator Aleksandras Lileikis, BNS reported. The statement
came in response to recent accusations by the Wiesenthal Center, an
Israeli-based Nazi-hunting organization. It stressed that the only
obstacle to the 89-year-old Lileikis's trial are legal provisions that
prohibit a defendant from undergoing interrogation if such a process
would endanger his or her life. It added that the government is
drafting amendments that would allow prosecution of suspected war
criminals regardless of their state of health. The government also
rejected the Wiesenthal Center's accusations that Vilnius is staging a
September meeting to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the
death of the Jewish sage Gaon Elijah of Vilnius in order to
"compensate" for lack of progress in the Lileikis case.

POLISH, HUNGARIAN, CZECH PREMIERS DISCUSS NATO. Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz of Poland, Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, and Gyula
Horn of Hungary held talks on NATO enlargement in the Polish city of
Krakow on 22 August. RFE/RL's correspondent in Krakow reported
that the three prime ministers exchanged information regarding
their future negotiations on NATO membership. Representatives from
other countries' involved in negotiations with Brussels joined the
prime ministers at the talks. The meeting came six weeks after
NATO's invitation to begin membership negotiations.

JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER IN POLAND. Yukihito Ikeda arrived in
Warsaw on 22 August for a three-day visit, AFP reported. During
talks with his Polish counterpart, Dariusz Rosati, the following day,
Ikeda criticized what he called Poland's "discriminatory practices" on
importing cars from countries outside the EU. Cars imported into
Poland are currently subject to a 35 percent tax. But under a 1992
agreement, EU countries can export to Poland some 39,000 cars and
150 trucks without paying the import tax. That quota is increased by
5 percent each year. Ikeda said during his meeting with Finance
Minister Marek Belka on 23 August that Japanese enterprises are
showing increasing interest in investment in Poland. He cited plans
by Japanese car manufacturer Isuzu to build a diesel engine plant in
Poland's southeastern region of Silesia.

U.S. HELSINKI COMMITTEE SENDS LETTER TO CZECH PREMIER. The
U.S. congressional Committee for Security and Cooperation in Europe
has sent a letter to Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus asking him to strive
to abolish those provisions of the Czech citizenship law that
adversely affect the country's Romani minority, Czech media
reported on 25 August. The letter, signed by Senator Alfonse
D'Amato and representative Christopher H. Smith, said that as long as
the citizenship law remains valid, the declared wish of the Czech
government to integrate Roma will sound false. Meanwhile, Canada's
Immigration Office, faced with an influx of Czech Roma seeking
political refuge, have begun extensive background checks on all new
arrivals, AFP reported. Immigration officials say that there has been
a steady increase in Roma seeking asylum who claim that they are
victimized in the Czech Republic by skinheads and police and banned
from some professions and even from entering shops and
restaurants.

ANOTHER CZECH PRIVATIZATION ROW. Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus
on 23 August rejected a call from the opposition Social Democrats
(CSSD) that a report on the government's plans for bank privatization
should include information on the sale of the state's stake in the
Investicni a postovni banka (IPB), CTK reported. CSSD chairman Milos
Zeman, who is also chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, had said the
previous day that if the government were to keep its promise to
deputies, it would have to include in its report details of the sale of
the IPB to the Japanese banking house Nomura. The decision to sell
the IPB to Nomura has been criticized as "nontransparent" by both
the opposition and by the co-ruling Christian Democrats The CSSD has
threatened to call a vote of no-confidence in the government if the
parliament is not consulted about the sale of the IPB.

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ON HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTIES.
Vladimir Meciar, in his weekly radio address on 22 August, has
likened the country's ethnic Hungarian politicians to a Trojan horse.
Meciar was responding to Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn's
request during recent bilateral talks in Gyoer, Hungary, for
Hungarian minority representation on various Slovak government
committees. Meciar said Hungary should stop talking about minority
representatives and instead openly admit that it wants
representatives of Hungarian minority parties on those committees.
Meciar said that he is not going "to put a Trojan horse on a
government committee." He added that ethnic Hungarian politicians
want to be on Slovak government committees but at the same time
refuse to talk to the Slovak government.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERB ARMY DELAYS KEY DECISION. A meeting between
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic and the Bosnian Serb
army (VRS) general staff slated for 25 August has been postponed
for one day, the BETA news agency reported. No reason was given for
the delay. The VRS has issued contradictory political statements in
recent days, which has led some observers to suggest that the VRS
may follow other Bosnian Serb institutions in openly splitting
between supporters of Plavsic and those loyal to Radovan Karadzic.
The general staff appears to be under the influence of Pale, whereas
troops based in Banja Luka seem to be loyal to Plavsic. The police
and not the VRS, however, are the most effective security force in
the Republika Srpska.

REPUBLIKA SRPSKA MOVING TOWARD SPLIT? Banja Luka radio and
television employees loyal to Plavsic severed all links to the hard-
liners' Radio and TV Pale on 22 August. The journalists said they
were tired of broadcasting what they called "primitive propaganda."
Plavsic said on 24 August that the Bosnian Serb people are "fed up
with the lies" broadcast by Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of
the joint Bosnian presidency. On 25 August, Karadzic supporters in
Pale accused Plavsic loyalists of treason for broadcasting programs
critical of Karadzic. In related news, Plavsic on 22 August named
Mark Pavic as interior minister to replace Dragan Kijac, whom she
sacked in June. The next day, the Pale-based government called the
appointment of Pavic "illegal" and said that Pale will no longer
recognize Plavsic's decisions as binding.

COOK CALLS FOR WAR CRIMES TRIALS IN BOSNIA. British Foreign
Secretary Robin Cook proposed in London on 24 August that at least
some Bosnian war criminals be tried in Bosnia instead of in The
Hague. Some Bosnian officials told the British media, however, that
Serbian hard-liners in particular will see Cook's offer as a sign of
weakness and will prod the international community for even more
concessions on the issue of war criminals. In Sarajevo, Hague court
officials said they are interested in examining tapes confiscated by
the international police the previous week from Bosnian Serb police
headquarters in Banja Luka. And in Zagreb, local court officials said
on 22 August that they will launch proceedings against Mladen
"Tuta" Naletilic, whom the authorities arrested in February on
charges of criminal dealings in Mostar. The Bosnian government
regards him as a war criminal for atrocities he allegedly committed
against Muslims.

CROATIAN OPPOSITION WANTS PARLIAMENTARY REPUBLIC.
Representatives of several opposition parties ended a three-day
meeting in Porec on 23 August with a call for an end to strong
presidential government, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
that Istrian town. The opposition leaders said they want a
parliamentary democracy and changes in the electoral law. They
insist that popular referendums be mandatory on all key issues. The
regional Istrian Democratic Party called the meeting, which was
attended by leading centrist and center-right parties. The main
opposition party, the Social Democrats, did not take part. The
disunity of the opposition has been a major factor in enabling the
governing Croatian Democratic Community to stay in power.

KOSOVO UPDATE. Unidentified gunmen killed Sadik Morina, an ethnic
Albanian loyal to the Serbian authorities, in Srbice, northwest of
Pristina, on 23 August. The Kosovo Liberation Army has claimed
responsibility for killing eight other pro-Belgrade Albanians this
year. In Tirana, Foreign Minister Paskal Milo told Vice President
Fehmi Agani of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) that the new
Albanian government is willing to help solve the Kosovo question but
that the Kosovars themselves must take ultimate responsibility for
their own destiny. Milo added that he nonetheless supports calling a
conference of Albanians from all countries to formulate a common
program on Kosovo. In Pristina, LDK President Ibrahim Rugova said
on 22 August that he expects Washington will soon become more
involved in solving the Kosovo problem. He downplayed differences
between the LDK and the State Department over the issue of
independence for Kosovo, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Pristina.

CONFLICT OVER LEADERSHIP IN ALBANIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
Fifty-two members of the Democratic Party have signed a petition
calling for the resignation of Sali Berisha as party leader, "Gazeta
Shqiptare" reported on 24 August. The group, which includes former
parliamentary deputies, said that a "reform with Berisha [in place] is
a farce," and called on the local organizations of the Democratic Party
to distance themselves from the central party leadership. The
signatories argued that "Berisha alienates people and [his presence]
makes it difficult for the [Democrats] to get back into government."
Signatory Arben Mece told "Dita Informacion" that "this is a fight
about ideas, not people." Democratic Party spokesman Alban Bala
reacted sharply, saying that the signatories should leave the party.
He charged that they have not been active day-to-day party workers
and that they did not bother complaining before.

ALBANIAN POLICE ARRESTS FOUR GANG MEMBERS. "Dita
Informacion" reported that police arrested four more members of the
"Zani" Caushi gang on 23 August, bringing the total number arrested
to 20. Caushi himself has so far eluded arrest (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
22 August 1997). In other news, former parliamentary speaker
Pjeter Arbnori from the Democratic Party has begun the sixth day of
a hunger strike inside the parliament building, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Tirana. Arbnori is protesting what he
calls biased reporting by state television. "Rilindja Demokratike" said
on 24 August that state television director Eduard Mazi has issued an
order banning any reporting on the hunger strike.

ALBANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY WANTS MORE LOCAL OFFICIALS.
Interior Minister Neritan Ceka has revoked the appointments of a
number of new police commissioners in three southern police
departments after protests by the local branch of the Socialist Party
in Gjirokaster, "Dita Informacion" reported on 24 August. The
Socialist Party also objects to the appointment of a Social Democrat as
the new prefect. The local Socialists are angry that they do not hold
any of the key positions in the city. The mayor is a Democrat, and the
district council is headed by a member of the ethnic Greek Human
Rights Party.

ROMANIAN PREMIER ON PACE OF REFORMS. Victor Ciorbea on 23
August denied that the IMF is considering postponing the approval of
the second $86 million installment of Romania's $450 million standby
agreement because it is unsatisfied with the pace of the reforms.
Finance Minister Mircea Ciumara had announced the possible
postponement of the approval one day earlier. After meeting with
leaders of the government coalition, Ciorbea said that the state
bodies in charge of implementing reforms might undergo
restructuring in the near future to avoid duplication and possible
obstruction of reforms by their staff. The leaders of the coalition
agreed that legislation on reform implementation must be simplified
in order to speed up the process. They also pledged to improve
consultation and collaboration among the coalition members,
RFE/RL's Bucharest Bureau reported.

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON OUTCOME OF BUDGET CUTS. Victor
Babiuc on 22 August said the recent cuts in defense spending may
endanger Romania's future integration into NATO, Radio Bucharest
reported. Babiuc said the ministry's budget for 1997 has been cut to
2.36 percent of GDP from 2.68 percent, the figure agreed in an earlier
version of the budget. He said that as a result of the cuts, Romania
will have to delay the setting up of a planned Rapid Reaction Force,
reduce participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace Program, cut
flight hours for pilot instruction, and slow down the pace of the
modernization of military communication systems. The army will
also be unable to honor some contracts to purchase new equipment.

ROMANIA'S FORMER KING ON AUGUST 1994 COUP. Former King
Michael on 23 August participated in a colloquium of historians in
the Transylvanian town of Bistrita on the significance of the coup
that he led against former dictator Ion Antonescu 53 years earlier.
All participants agreed there had been "no alternative" to the coup,
whose original intent was to save Romania from Soviet occupation.
They also agreed that the communist regime, which later distorted
the role of the former monarch and "hijacked" the event, had
falsified history. Until 1989, Romania's national day was marked on
23 August . The former monarch is on a private visit to western
Romania.

NAVIGATION HALTED IN BULGARIAN DANUBE WATERS. Low levels
of water stopped navigation on the Bulgarian stretch of Danube River
on 24 August, BTA reported. Water near the Island of Belene was
only 1.6 meters deep and just above 2 meters near the town of Ruse.
Normally, the water at both locations is about 6 meters deep.
Bulgaria has recently suffered from a lack of rain. In other news a
businessman suspected of links to organized crime was shot dead in
Radomir, southwest of Sofia. Yulian Vitanov was the director of an
insurance company run by former athletes who himself had a record
for assault and other crimes. His killer managed to escape.

BORDERS CLOSED TO INTERNATIONAL ANTI-TURKISH PROTEST. A
spokesman for the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry on 22 August said
Sofia will not permit the transit through its territory of a train
chartered by supporters of the Kurdish minority in Turkey. He said
the transit was denied for "technical reasons," which he did not
specify, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported. The train is
scheduled to leave Brussels on 26 August and to reach the
southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir on 1 September, which is
World Peace Day. The event has been organized by a German group
called Hannover Appeal. Also on 22 August, Turkish Premier Mesut
Yilmaz said in Ankara that the train will not be allowed to cross the
Turkish border. Romania and rump Yugoslavia also announced they
will not permit the train to transit their territories, Romanian media
reported.

END NOTE

TEN YEARS AFTER HIRVEPARK

by Heiki Ahonen

        On 23 August, Tiit Madisson staged a 24-hour hunger strike in
his prison cell to protest what he says is his unconstitutional
conviction on charges of planning a coup d'etat. His protest took place
on the 58th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which had
sealed the fate of the Baltic States for more than a half-century. It
also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the first political
demonstration in postwar, Soviet-occupied Estonia, which Madisson
had helped organize.
        The 1987 demonstration occurred at a time when changes were
in the air but when few would have publicly predicted the
approaching dissolution of the Soviet Union. Four years before the
Soviet empire crumbled, Moscow was still officially denying the
existence of the secret protocols of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop
Pact, which had divided Eastern Europe into the so-called zones of
influence between Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union.
        When the dissident group led by Madisson called for the 23
August 1987 demonstration, it wanted to put pressure on Moscow to
acknowledge the existence of and to publish those protocols. This was
more than simply a demand for historical truth, however. It was a
direct challenge to the existing system and an open expression of
doubt in the legality of Soviet rule in Estonia and in the other Baltic
States, where similar meetings took place the same day.
        Both the authorities and the organizers of the 1987 Estonian
meeting were surprised by the number of participants, with an
estimated 2,000-3,000 people gathering in Hirvepark, in downtown
Tallinn. Speakers focused on demanding that Moscow acknowledge
the existence of the 1939 protocols, but there were also calls for the
reinstatement of the Baltic States' independence. The militia presence
was too small to permit intervention, and the demonstration thus
proceeded peacefully. But in the wake of official Tallinn's angry
reaction, Madisson was forced to emigrate.
        The Hirvepark meeting was the catalyst for the demonstrations
that followed and involved up to hundreds of thousands of people.
Those meetings, affectionately dubbed the "singing revolution,"
culminated on 20 August 1991 -- during the coup attempt in Moscow
-- with the decision by the Estonian Supreme Soviet to reestablish
Estonian independence.
        Ten years after the first Hirvepark meeting, the main organizer
of the event is behind bars after being found guilty last year of
planning to overthrow the government. In a letter to the prime
minister, Madisson -- who returned to Estonia from Swedish exile
after the country regained independence -- had drawn attention to
the plight of the members of paramilitary organizations in post-
Soviet Estonia. He had threatened to use armed force if they did not
receive social justice. That threat was considered sufficient proof that
Madisson was planning a coup, although the defendant clearly did
not have the means with which to carry out such a "plan." Since
Madisson had earlier received a suspended sentence on charges of
embezzlement, the court had no choice but to hand down a prison
sentence following his second conviction. Madisson was sent to jail
for two years and two months.
        Madisson's case has received extensive publicity in Estonia, not
least because of his hero-like status of a dissident who played an
active role in paving the way for the 1991 radical changes. Ironically,
his memoirs about his experiences as both a dissident and a prisoner
in Soviet labor camps arrived in Estonian bookstores only after his
arrest last year. The cover of that book was illustrated with a letter
Madisson had written from his post-Soviet prison cell.
        Public opinion seems to be in favor or releasing Madisson.
While it is recognized that the court abided by the letter of the law,
questions have been raised about a system that allows yesterday's
dissident to become today's political prisoner -- moreover the first in
independent Estonia -- without taking into account the emotional
factor. Also, the fairness of the conviction has been queried in view
of the fact that there have been no convictions in Estonia of
communist-era mass murderers and torturers.
        Revolutions are said to devour their children. In the case of
Estonia, this has proved particularly true. However, revolutions are
not evaluated by the fate of those who helped bring them about.
Rather, they are assessed by the degree of stability and the nature of
change they are able to introduce.
        On 23 August 1997, while Madisson was staging his hunger
strike, Tallinn Mayor Ivi Eenmaa unveiled a plaque in Hirvepark
commemorating the 1987 demonstration. Several organizers of that
meeting attended the unveiling, but, as the Estonian press has
pointed out, none of the original members of the group is actively
involved in politics today. It could be argued that, by virtue of his
current status and the publicity surrounding him, Madisson is the
exception.

The author is director of RFE/RL's Estonian Service. He was one of the
organizers of the 1987 Hirvepark meeting.






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