If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 118, Part II, 16 September1997



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/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

*BELARUS, RUSSIA WAGE WAR OF WORDS OVER JAILED REPORTER.


*EU BANS ENTRY VISAS TO BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS


*U.S. THREATENS SANCTIONS FOR NONCOMPLIANCE WITH BOSNIAN
ELECTION RESULTS

End Note

INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS IN TRANSYLVANIA: RHETORIC AND
REALITY (PART 1)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS, RUSSIA WAGE WAR OF WORDS OVER JAILED REPORTER.
Valery Tolkachev, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
press secretary, told Interfax on 16 September that Pavel Sheremet,
a correspondent for Russian Public Television (ORT), will go on trial.
Tolkachev said Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Lukashenka had
agreed to such a measure during their meeting in Moscow on 6
September. However, Yeltsin's press office issued a statement on 16
September saying Russia regretted the need to return to an issue
that seems "clear and understandable to everyone." It added that
Moscow believed the issue will be closed soon "in the spirit of
humanity and for the sake of the future of the Russian-Belarusian
union." Sheremet and an ORT colleague were arrested on 26 July
after filming on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. Another ORT crew
was arrested a week later but eventually released under pressure
from Russia. Sheremet, a Belarusian citizen, is the only ORT journalist
to remain in jail.

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ARRESTED. Yury Belenky, the
deputy chairman of the opposition Belarusian National Front, was
arrested on 16 September in Minsk, Belapan reported. He was seized
in the office of Belpromstroybank, where he works, and taken by
force to the police station. The police gave no explanation for his
arrest and released him several hours later, after Belenky had
claimed parliamentary immunity. Meanwhile, the EU on 16
September criticized the "anti-democratic attitude" of Belarus and
Lukashenka. It also said that it has suspended participation in talks
between the government and the opposition.

UKRAINE, POLAND, U.K. BEGIN PEACEKEEPING EXERCISE. A week-long
peacekeeping exercise involving some 420 paratroopers from the
U.K., Poland, and Ukraine began at a military base in southern
Ukraine on 16 September. The paratroopers are taking part in a
simulated ethnic conflict at the Shirokiy Lan military base, 400
kilometers south of Kyiv. Defense Ministry spokesman Ihor
Melnichuk said the paratroopers will practice trying to prevent such
a conflict from developing into civil war. "Kozatskiy Steppe '97" is the
second major military exercise in Ukraine within the last month to
involve NATO troops. "Sea Breeze '97" took place off the Crimean
coast in August, with the participation of soldiers from the U.S.,
Turkey, and Eastern Europe.

ESTONIAN LEADERS REJECT RESIGNATION CALLS OVER SEA TRAGEDY.
President Lennart Meri has rejected calls for the resignation of the
minister of defense or the defense forces commander over the tragic
accident during maneuvers off the Estonian coast (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 12 September 1997), ETA reported on 15 September. He
said that any resignation should be decided only after the official
investigation into the accident has been completed. Similarly, Justice
Minister Paul Varul, who is heading government investigation
commission, stressed that the commission itself cannot decide
whether any official should resign over the tragedy. Rather, it has to
gather the facts and determine responsibility, he said. Meanwhile,
the bodies of 10 soldiers have been recovered; four men are still
listed as missing.

RUSSIAN DUMA SPEAKER ON RELATIONS WITH LATVIA. On the eve
of his official visit to Riga, Gennadii Seleznev told the Latvia's
Russian-language newspaper "SM-Segodnya" that he wants to see for
himself the situation in Latvia and then draw his own conclusions,
BNS reported on 15 September. Seleznev commented that Latvian
parliamentary speaker Alfreds Cepanis's visit to Moscow earlier this
year had given "impetus" to the development of relations between
the two countries. Noting that there are "major problems" with
regard to ethnic Russians in both Estonia and Latvia, Seleznev said
that economic sanctions against the Baltic States would hurt the
"ordinary people." The issue of ethnic Russians should therefore be
solved by negotiations, he argued.

POLISH PREMIER STRESSES SUPPORT FOR LITHUANIA. During his
meeting with Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas in Vilnius on
15 September, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz stressed Poland's "constant
and unchanging support" for Lithuania's bid to join NATO and the EU,
BNS and PAP reported. He also met with representatives of the
300,000-strong Polish community in the Vilnius area, assuring them
that ethnic Poles will benefit from the improvement in Polish-
Lithuanian relations. The previous day, Cimoszewicz had attended
the first session of the Polish-Lithuanian cooperation council in the
Lithuanian capital (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 September 1997).

POLAND BEGINS NATO NEGOTIATIONS. Negotiations between Poland
and NATO aimed at finalizing the terms for Warsaw's entry into the
alliance are scheduled to begin on 16 September in Brussels. They
will take place in five installments, ending on 23 October. Talks with
Hungary began 10 September, while the Czech Republic is due to
start negotiations on 23 September. RFE/RL's Brussels correspondent
reported that negotiations will decide the number of Poles,
Hungarians, and Czechs to be stationed at NATO headquarters as well
as the number of NATO personnel to be deployed on the territory of
the new member countries. NATO will ask new members to help pay
for common military infrastructure.

POLISH FLOOD DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT MORE THAN $4 BILLION.
Economy Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek was quoted by "Trybuna" on
15 September as saying the Main Statistical Office (GUS) has
estimated the damage caused by the July catastrophic floods at 15
billion zlotys ($4.3 billion). But he added that the government is still
checking the figure. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz has
said the GUS report is unreliable because it is based on data from
local authorities, which, he commented, have overstated the extent of
the damage. Cimoszewicz, who refused to reveal details of the GUS
report, said the government will carefully verify it before publishing
any data. Critics say the government does not want to publish flood
damage estimates for fear it will harm the ruling parties' chances in
the 21 September general elections.

CZECH GOVERNMENT PROPOSES SPECIAL FLOOD TAX. Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus told journalists on 15 September that a majority of his
cabinet ministers support introducing a special 13 percent income
tax next year. The purpose of the tax would be to raise 9 billion
crowns to deal with damage caused by the July floods. Without the
tax, Klaus said, the government will be unable to present a balanced
budget proposal for 1998. The opposition parties have said they are
opposed to a tax increase, as has the so-called "right-wing faction"
within the ruling Civic Democratic Alliance. Without that faction's
support, the government proposal is unlikely to be approved by the
parliament.

GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN PRAGUE. During his meeting with
President Vaclav Havel in the Czech capital on 15 September, Volker
Ruehe said 90 percent of deputies in the German parliament will
vote in favor of the Czech Republic's NATO membership early next
year when the ratification process begins in NATO countries. Ruehe
added that during his trip to Washington on 19 November, he will
try to convince the undecided members of the U.S. Senate to vote in
favor of NATO expansion, CTK reported. Also on 15 September, Havel
met with Philippine President Fidel Ramos, who is in the Czech
Republic on a two-day visit. The two presidents discussed primarily
economic cooperation.

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER STRESSES REFERENDUM'S
IMPORTANCE. Laszlo Kovacs told the parliament on 15 September
that the referendum on joining NATO and on land ownership will
determine the country's future, Hungarian media reported. With
regard to the controversial land ownership vote, he said the
government's goal is not to allow foreigners to own land but to keep
open the door to EU membership. He commented that the cabinet will
regulate the acquisition of farmland by setting "realistic" prices and
by promoting capital investment. Kovacs accused the opposition of
seeking to make an election campaign issue out of land ownership.

HUNGARIAN SMALLHOLDER STAGES PROTEST IN PARLIAMENT.
Mihaly Izso, a member of the Independent Smallholders' Party, has
begun a sit-in in the parliament to protest the government's
proposed amendment to the land law. He said he will end his protest
if the opposition's formulation of the question on foreigners owning
land is also included in the November referendum.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

EU BANS ENTRY VISAS TO BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS. EU foreign
ministers voted in Brussels on 15 September to deny entry visas to
Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint
presidency. Bosnian Co-Premier Boro Bosic, Minister of
Communications Spasoje Albijanic, and Deputy Prime Minister Gavro
Bogic are also banned from traveling to EU member states. Carlos
Westendorp, the international community's chief representative in
Bosnia, asked for the ban to punish the Serbs for holding up the
signing of agreements involving all three nationalities, including an
accord on a common citizenship and passport. Westendorp said he
wanted to punish the Serbian leaders but not ordinary Serbs.
Westendorp also urged the EU to consider resuming aid to the
Republika Srpska in an effort to bolster the position of President
Biljana Plavsic. Also in Brussels, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
called on the U.S. to maintain a military presence in Bosnia beyond
the June 1998 deadline.

U.S. THREATENS SANCTIONS FOR NONCOMPLIANCE WITH BOSNIAN
ELECTION RESULTS. A U.S. State Department spokesman on 15
September said that Washington and other members of the
international community will impose economic, travel, and possibly
other restrictions on those in Bosnia who fail to respect the outcome
of the municipal elections (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 September
1997). The U.S. and its allies are concerned that current authorities
formed largely by one ethnic group will try to prevent newly elected
councils dominated by another nationality from taking office.

BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS BLAST LOCAL ELECTIONS. Republika Srpska
Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha said in Belgrade on 15 September that
President Plavsic and international elections organizers conspired to
prevent 70,000 Serbs in Bosnia and 65,000 Bosnian Serb refugees in
Yugoslavia from voting. He did not elaborate but also said that
Muslim and Croatian refugees should not have been allowed to vote
for town councils in areas that are now under Serbian control. On 13
September, Krajisnik said the international organizers went back on
their promise to return the names of 3,000 Serbs to the voting rolls
in Brcko. International election monitors struck the names of several
thousand Serbs from the voting list on the grounds that the
individuals had no legal right to vote in the strategically located town
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 September 1997).

CROATIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR SMALLER GOVERNMENT ROLE IN
ECONOMY. Franjo Tudjman said at the Zagreb Trade Fair on 15
September that the government must limit its role in the economy to
setting long-term priorities. He added that all industries except those
vital to state security should be privatized. Tudjman warned that
Croatia needs to reduce the role of state bureaucracy in the economy
if it is to be competitive internationally and overcome the legacy of
its communist past. Tudjman's critics charge, however, that his
nationalist policies are the main reason for Croatia's international
marginalization and that only persons with close links to his Croatian
Democratic Community benefit from major privatization deals. Also
in Zagreb, the State Prosecutor's Office said that two top officials in
the Economics Ministry have been arrested and charged with abuse
of office.

SLOVENIA, CROATIA TO SEEK ARBITRATION OVER BORDER. Croatian
Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa and his Slovenian counterpart, Janez
Drnovsek, have agreed to seek international arbitration of their
disputed border in the Gulf of Piran, the government daily "Vjesnik"
reported on 16 September. Slovenia and Croatia may also seek
arbitration in the disputes over deposits by Croats in Slovenia's
Ljubljanska Banka and over the Krsko nuclear power plant in
Slovenia, which Croatia helped fund during communist rule.
Meanwhile in Ljubljana, parliamentary speaker Janez Podobnik
announced on 15 September that he has withdrawn his candidacy for
the 23 November presidential race. He failed to attract the support of
a key opposition party, according to the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung."

CROATIA, YUGOSLAVIA SIGN AGREEMENTS. Croatian Foreign
Minister Mate Granic and his Yugoslav counterpart, Milan
Milutinovic, signed six agreements in Belgrade on 15 September. The
documents deal with transportation, border regions, social insurance,
and legal aid. The ministers said that talks will begin soon to discuss
economic links and cooperation in fighting crime and terrorism.
Observers said the six agreements constitute the most significant
step toward normalizing relations between the two countries since
the breakup of former Yugoslavia in 1991. Meanwhile in Kragujevac,
police and opposition demonstrators clashed for several hours, BETA
reported.

KOSOVARS FEAR MORE REPRESSION. Hidajet Hiseni and Fehmi Agani,
the two vice presidents of the Democratic League of Kosovo, charged
in Pristina on 15 September that most Serbian parties have played
on anti-Albanian sentiments in an effort to win nationalist votes, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Kosovar capital. The two
said that they fear that repression against the provinces' ethnic
Albanian majority could become worse after the elections. The
Albanian parties are boycotting the vote, saying that none of the
Serbian parties has anything to offer Albanians.

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT, PRESIDENT QUARREL OVER
APPOINTMENTS. President Rexhep Meidani has refused to approve a
list of ambassadors presented to him some 10 days ago by Prime
Minister Fatos Nano (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 5 September). According
to "Gazeta Shqiptare" on 16 September, Meidani objects to the
appointment of "Zeri i Popullit" editor-in-chief Luan Rama to Paris
and of Bashkim Zeneli, the head of the parliament's Foreign Relations
Committee, to Bonn. The newspaper adds that two unnamed high-
ranking Foreign Ministry officials also oppose the appointments. It is
unclear why Meidani or the officials object to the nominations.
Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova has
arrived for his first official visit to Tirana since the new government
took office, state television reported on 15 September.

FORMER ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS HE FEARED ARREST.
Safet Zhulali told a roundtable broadcast by state television on 14
September that he left the country in March because he feared arrest
after the daily "Albania" had attacked him. He noted that "Albania,"
which was former President Sali Berisha's mouthpiece, had slammed
him for not sending the army against rebels in the south of the
country. Perikli Teta, Zhulali's former deputy, told the roundtable
that Zhulali was a traitor for leaving his post. Zhulali went on to deny
charges by a former pilot that the Defense Ministry in early March
ordered pilots to bomb southern cities. Pilot Ardian Elezi, who fled
with his plane to Italy on 4 March and has since received political
asylum there, told the roundtable that he fled with a colleague after
receiving orders while airborne to bomb southern positions. Zhulali
called Elezi a "deserter."

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT REOPENS UKRAINIAN SCHOOL. Emil
Constantinescu on 15 September reopened a high school in the
northern town of Sighetu Marmatiei, two kilometers from the
Romanian-Ukrainian frontier, for Romania's 300,000-strong ethnic
Ukrainian community, Reuters reported. The school, named after
Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, was opened in 1945 and closed by
Romanian authorities in 1968 on the grounds that there were too few
pupils. Some 200 students have enrolled for the current academic
year. Constantinescu said the reopening marked Romania's respect
for its ethnic Ukrainian minority.

MOLDOVA, UKRAINE DISCUSS PLANNED CUSTOMS UNION. A
Ukrainian government delegation spent two days in Chisinau to
discuss the creation of a proposed customs union between the two
countries, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 16 September. Viktor
Gladush, Ukrainian first deputy minister for foreign economic
relations and trade, and Moldovan Deputy Minister for the Economy
Dumitru Bragis signed a protocol on setting up the planned union.
They also agreed on the composition of working groups to achieve
that goal.

END NOTE

INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS IN TRANSYLVANIA: RHETORIC AND
REALITY (PART 1)

by George Schopflin

        The centrality of inter-ethnic relations in Transylvania is
beyond dispute. But the complexity of these relations is regularly
clouded by politicians' rhetoric. The reality is that neither the
Romanian majority nor the Hungarian minority is homogeneous and
this factor influences attitudes, political responses, and behavior.
        The total population of Transylvania is more than 7 million and
of these fewer than 2 million are Hungarian. But the roughly 5
million Romanians are divided in their sociological make-up. The
principal cleavage is between those who have lived in the region for
generations and those who migrated there after the 1960s.
        This cleavage is the classical one between old-established
inhabitants and newcomers. Essentially, the traditional Romanian
inhabitants of Transylvania have worked out a modus vivendi with
the multi-ethnic character of the area. This does not necessarily
mean that they are particularly pro-Hungarian or even necessarily
sympathetic to the minority, but they are generally prepared to
accept that the Hungarian presence does not challenge their ideas of
what is "normal and natural." They constitute both the absolute and
relative majority of the region. At the same time, there is a small
minority of the old established Romanians that remains strongly
anti-Hungarian.
        Broadly, they have learned to live with the multi-cultural,
multi-lingual nature of Transylvania even if they do not speak
Hungarian. For the elite, it is not unusual to send their children to
German-language schools, partly because the teaching is good and
they have access to another language.
        However, this Transylvanian Romanian elite has never been
particularly influential in Bucharest and its political skills, including
those of dealing with multi-ethnicity, have not been very effective,
given that their cultural norms differ from those of the Regatean
majority. In this sense, there is a mild cultural boundary between
them and the Romanians of the Regat. They are both Romanians but
understand this identity differently. On the other hand, they will
certainly not make common cause with the Hungarians over issues
like territorial autonomy, which the Hungarians have demanded
from time to time for fear that autonomy would lead to separation.
        For the roughly 1 million migrants, who were drawn to
Transylvania during the rapid industrial expansion of the 1970s and
1980s by offers of jobs and housing, the Hungarians are a near
inexplicable and alien element. Sociologically, many of the migrants
are from poor rural backgrounds and have had to cross several social
and cultural boundaries: from village to town, from agricultural to
industrial working, from the Regat to Transylvania.
        Many of them, when they arrived there from the Regat, were
shocked to discover that a significant section of the population was
not only not Romanian but insisted on speaking an alien language
and had very alien ways of doing things. This exacerbated the
alienation that all immigrants experience and gave it an anti-
Hungarian focus. The anti-Magyar rhetoric of the Ceausescu period
found considerable resonance among them.
        These migrants or, by now, former migrants have a particular
burden to carry. Their existence in Transylvania depended on the
center and especially on the heavy subsidies that Bucharest paid to
maintain the often uneconomic industries in which they worked.
They were an unintegrated element, sufficiently numerous to
continue with their own traditions, values and aspirations. Hence the
old established Transylvanian Romanians have not been able to
integrate them because of their dependence on the center and the
different sociological make-up.
        The 1989 collapse of communism has been a severe blow to the
migrants. Their most dependable source of support--the communist
state--has evaporated as the subsidies have dried up. They lack the
skills to make their way in a market-oriented world. And, crucially,
they lack the links with the countryside that would allow them to
add to their incomes and give them access to foodstuffs, given that
their villages are in the distant Regat. Hence the return of the land to
the peasantry has brought them few benefits.
        There is another disadvantage in their position. The ethnic
Hungarians have evolved a strategy of working in the gray economy
in Hungary. Given the much higher income levels there, they can
make enough from four months' construction work, say, to live more
than adequately in Romania. This option is generally not open to
Romanians and especially not to the Regateans, for whom the idea of
working in Hungary is foreign and threatening.
        Since 1989, the top Regatean managers and bureaucrats have
either left to return to the Regat or have the skills and know-how to
make their way in the market economy, though their formerly
privileged positions have been eroded. But that leaves the great bulk
of Regatean migrants in a very exposed position. They are the
constituency for nationalist mobilization and for the anti-reform line
associated with former President Ion Iliescu, who was defeated last
year. A minority is attracted to the much more virulent nationalism
of Corneliu Vadim Tudor's Party of National Unity. Gheorghe Funar's
Greater Romania Party receives its support from the anti-Hungarians
among the old established Romanian population. The remainder, the
great majority, voted solidly for the coalition now in power.

The author lectures at the London School of Economics. Part Two of
this article will appear in tomorrow's "RFE/RL Newsline."


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

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

Current and Back Issues of RFE/RL Newsline
RFE/RL Newsline is available online via:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline/

Back Issues of OMRI Daily Digest
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available online via:
http://www.omri.cz/publications/dd/
ftp://ftp.omri.cz/pub/dailydigest/

Listen to news for 13 countries
RFE/RL broadcasts to countries in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia and the
South Slavic region are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE Broadcast
Studio.
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html

Reprint Policy
To receive reprint permission, please contact
Paul Goble, Publisher
Email: GobleP@rferl.org
Phone: 202-457-6947
Fax: 202-457-6992
Postal Address:  RFE/RL,  1201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20036  USA

RFE/RL Newsline Staff:
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Acting Editor (Transcaucasia) CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Acting Deputy Editor (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
* Mike Gallant, GallantM@rferl.org

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630

[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