The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No.119, Part II, 17 September1997



A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern Europe,
Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by the staff of Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and
Southeastern Europe.  Part I covers Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is distributed simultaneously as a
second document.  Back issues of RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI
Daily Digest are online at RFE/RL's Web site:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline

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Headlines, Part II

* EU CRITICIZES BELARUS

* U.S. DIPLOMAT NOT TO DISQUALIFY BOSNIAN SERB HARD-LINERS

* KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY SAYS IT CARRIED OUT ATTACKS

End Note
INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS IN TRANSYLVANIA: RHETORIC AND
REALITY (PART II)

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

EU CRITICIZES BELARUS. EU Foreign Ministers on 15 September
issued a strongly worded statement criticizing Belarus for "allowing
recurrent violations of human rights" and for its "obstructive"
attitude to relations with the EU, RFE/RL's Brussels correspondent
reported. The statement announced several measures to restrict
contacts with and aid programs for Belarus. Observers in Brussels
told RFE/RL's correspondent that Russia, and possibly other
countries, have exerted influence to try to suppress the EU's criticism
of Belarus.

BELARUSIAN POLICE SEIZE PROPERTY OF SOROS OFFICE. Alyaksandr
Antipenka, the executive director of the Soros Foundation in Minsk ,
told RFE/RL's Minsk correspondent on 16 September that police have
confiscated property belonging to the foundation's office. Antipenka
estimated the value of the seized goods at $3,000. The Soros
Foundation was forced to close its premises at the beginning of
September after the government claimed it owes $3 million in back
taxes. The foundation says that it previously received assurances
from the government of its tax exempt status. It accuses Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka of seeking to destroy civil society
in the country.

BELARUS, ESTONIA INITIAL ECONOMIC ACCORD. Estonia and Belarus
have initialed an economic and trade cooperation agreement, ETA
reported. Government delegations from both countries met in Minsk
on 16 September. According to the Estonian news agency, the key
element of the accord is the establishment of most- favored-nation
status between the two countries.. The accord also deals with the
transit of Estonian goods via Belarus.

UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT SUBMITS 1998 BUDGET TO PARLIAMENT.
The government on 16 September submitted the 1998 draft budget
to the parliament, Reuters reported. The document provides for a
deficit of 5.2 percent of gross domestic product. Two days earlier, a
spokesman for Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko said
Pustovoitenko would not submit the draft to the parliament until
deputies had made changes to various tax laws. The Finance Ministry
said, however, that the draft budget is based on existing tax laws.
Under the constitution, the final budget must be passed by 1
January. But the parliament did not approve the 1997 budget until
June of this year.

ESTONIAN DEFENSE CHIEFS SUBMIT RESIGNATIONS. Defense Minister
Andrus Oovel and Major-General Johannes Kert, commander of the
defense forces, have handed in their resignations over the deaths of
14 soldiers during peacekeeping maneuvers off Estonia's
northwestern coast, ETA reported. The two defense chiefs had come
under considerable pressure from the media to step down. Both said
they felt responsible for the tragedy. Toomas Kitsing, Oovel's deputy
at the Defense Ministry, also tendered his resignation. President
Lennart Meri called an emergency session of the State Defense
Council on 17 September to discuss whether to accept the
resignations. The soldiers died while attempting to wade across a
shallow bay during a storm at sea. Authorities have blamed the
unit's commander, Jaanus Karm, for ordering the crossing. Karm,
however, has said the exercise was approved by his military
superiors.

LATVIAN PREMIER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST BUTINGE TERMINAL.
Guntars Krasts has voiced his support for those opposed to the
construction of an oil terminal in Butinge (Lithuania), close to the
border with Latvia, BNS reported on 16 September. Krasts said that
Riga has "every reason" to demand that Vilnius respect
environmental regulations because of the danger posed to a nearby
Latvian beach. At the same time, he said, Latvia should remember
that "global money is looking for ways to work in the oil business."
Latvian environmentalists have protested the construction of the
terminal. They also plan to stage protest actions abroad.

POLISH PRESIDENT ON POST-ELECTION SCHEDULE. Aleksander
Kwasniewski told journalists on 16 September that he plans to call
the first post-election session of the parliament on 20 October. This
would allow the maximum possible time for a ruling coalition to be
formed. Under Polish law, the president has to summon the newly
elected parliament no later than 30 days after election day, which is
21 September. Kwasniewski will have 14 days after the first session
to designate a prime minister, who, he said, need not come from the
largest political group in the new parliament. Following his
appointment, Kwasniewski's premier-designate will have 14 days to
win a confidence vote for his proposed cabinet.

CZECH GOVERNMENT THWARTED IN PLANS FOR SPECIAL FLOOD TAX.
Deputies from Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party
and its junior coalition ally, the Civic Democratic Alliance, have said
they will not support the government's proposal to introduce a 13
percent income tax next year aimed at balancing the budget in the
wake of the catastrophic July floods, Czech TV reported on 16
September. Since the opposition has said it will not support an
increase in income taxes, the government must now find other ways
to balance the budget. Finance Minister Ivan Pilip said on 15
September that he may propose increasing taxes on consumer goods.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has announced that this year's
budget deficit is likely to total 14 billion crowns ($450 million).

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT UNSURE HOW TO PROCEED IN GAULIEDER
CASE. The parliamentary Constitutional and Legal Committee on 16
September failed to decide how to proceed if there continues to be no
quorum at legislative sessions, Slovak Radio reported. The coalition
parties have repeatedly boycotted the sessions called to discuss the
case of deputy Frantisek Gaulieder, who was stripped of his
parliamentary mandate in December 1996 after he left the ruling
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). The Constitutional Court
ruled in July that the parliament had breached Gaulieder's
constitutional rights when it stripped him of his mandate on the
basis of a "letter of resignation." Gaulieder denies having written
such a letter. Since the Constitutional and Legal Committee was
unable to reach a decision, parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic
of the HZDS will have to decide how to proceed.

HUNGARIAN PREMIER REASSURES ETHNIC SLOVAKS. At a meeting
with representatives of the Slovak minority in Hungary, Gyula Horn
said on 16 September that Slovak Prime Minister Meciar's proposal
for a "minorities exchange" between the two countries is not on
Hungary's agenda. Slovak minority leader Mihaly Mata told reporters
that media reports about the proposal have aroused fears among
Hungary's ethnic Slovaks. He said while Slovaks do not intend to
leave Hungary, they consider Slovakia their second homeland,
regardless of any developments in "high politics."

HUNGARY SEEKS JAPANESE INVESTMENTS. Hungarian Finance
Minister Peter Medgyessy and National Bank President Gyorgy
Suranyi met in Tokyo on 16 September with leading Japanese
businessmen in a bid to attract more Japanese investment to
Hungary. Japanese investment in Hungary to date totals some $500
million. Eximbank President Yashuda Hiroshi assured Medgyessy that
Japanese development credits will continue to be available to
Hungary. So far, Eximbank has extended credits worth $300 million
to small and medium-size companies in Hungary.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. DIPLOMAT NOT TO DISQUALIFY BOSNIAN SERB HARD-LINERS.
Robert Frowick, the U.S. diplomat supervising the Bosnian local
elections held on 13-14 September, refused in Sarajevo on 16
September to disqualify the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), the main
Serbian nationalist party, from the vote. Frowick said that to do so
would jeopardize the peace process and the safety of foreign
personnel on Bosnian Serb territory. A panel of foreign judges had
earlier disqualified the SDS on the grounds that indicted war criminal
Radovan Karadzic is still, in effect, head of the party. The Norwegian
judge who heads the panel said he may resign to protest Frowick's
decision. Some observers charged that Frowick and other foreigners
monitoring the vote have already made too many concessions to the
main Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim nationalist parties, the "Los
Angeles Times" reported on 17 September.

MAJOR POWERS DEMAND RESPECT FOR BOSNIAN ELECTION RESULTS.
Diplomats from the contact group countries (the U.S., the U.K, Russia,
Germany, and France) said in London on 16 September that those
who do not respect the outcome of the vote can expect stiff sanctions.
The contact group also demanded that representatives of the Serbs,
Croats, and Muslims quickly agree on long over-due measures, such
as establishing a common citizenship and issuing joint passports.
Meanwhile in Moscow, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Russia
expects the elections to lead to a stabilization of the overall situation
in Bosnia. The spokesman added that close cooperation between
Russia and its Western partners helped make the elections a success.

U.S. WANTS QUICK CONCLUSION OF CROAT-BOSNIAN TALKS. U.S.
mediators said in Zagreb on 16 September that Washington hopes
Croatian and Bosnian negotiators meeting in the Croatian capital will
conclude an agreement on Bosnia's access to the Adriatic by the end
of the month, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Zagreb. The
issue has bedeviled relations between Zagreb and Sarajevo for
several years. Ploce, Bosnia's natural outlet to the sea, belongs to
Croatia. Neum, a small fishing village belonging to Bosnia, cuts
Croatia's Adriatic coast in two. Croatian authorities fear that Bosnia
may seek to annex Ploce. The Bosnian authorities, for their part, will
not cede transit rights in Neum to Croatia without concessions by
Zagreb over Ploce.

HYPER-INFLATION TO RETURN TO SERBIA? A panel of leading
Serbian economists said in a statement on 15 September that the
current election campaign could lead to a return to rampant inflation
that plagued Yugoslavia for much of the 1980s and 1990s. The
experts said that the government has printed money to pay wages
and pensions in order to prevent possible social unrest in the runup
to the 21 September presidential and parliamentary vote. The
economists added that the only way to avoid the return of the
rampant inflation is for the government to withdraw up to two
billion dinars from circulation right after the elections. Observers
noted that the return of hyper-inflation could prove politically and
socially explosive, because much of the Serbian population already
lives below the poverty level.

KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY SAYS IT CARRIED OUT ATTACKS. The
clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) has said in a statement in
Pristina that it is responsible for a recent series of armed attacks on
police stations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 September 1997). The
statement claimed that some Serbian policemen were killed and
wounded in the raids, but the official Serbian media have said there
were no casualties. Meanwhile, Montenegrin presidential candidate
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic called for an improvement in
relations between Yugoslavia and Albania, the Belgrade daily "Danas"
reported on 16 September. Observers noted that economic links
between Montenegro and Albania have been close since the collapse
of communism. Albania was home to a major fuel smuggling
operation into Montenegro during the war, when Yugoslavia was
under an international embargo.

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES KEY TAX HIKE. The parliament
on 16 September approved a new tax law that the Council of
Ministers had submitted the previous day, "Dita Informacion"
reported. The law raises value-added tax from 12.5 percent to 22
percent and includes hikes in taxes on tobacco, alcoholic beverages,
imported nonalcoholic beverages, coffee, fuel, and gas. The IMF had
demanded the hikes as a condition for implementing a cooperation
agreement and for calling an international donors' conference later
this year. Albania's budget deficit reached some 10 percent of GDP in
1996. Estimates suggest it could grow to 40 percent in 1997.

EUROPEAN POLICE MISSION TO STAY ON IN ALBANIA. The Western
European Union defense organization voted in Brussels on 16
September to extend the mandate of its police training mission by six
months, until March 1998. The WEU mission consists of 24 police
officers from 15 countries, including Bulgaria, Estonia, and Romania
as well as Western European states. Meanwhile in Tirana, a court
sentenced Ilir Ceta to 13 years in prison for trying to assassinate
President Sali Berisha near Durres in June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5
June 1997). Ceta said he wanted to kill Berisha because he
considered him the "main enemy of the Albanian people."

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS LAND RESTITUTION LAW. The
Senate on 16 September amended the 1991 law on land restitution,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The amendment, however, does
not specify how much land can be restituted to former owners.
Under the 1991 law, a maximum of 10 hectares of farm land and 1
hectare of forest land could be restituted per family. The National
Peasant Party Christian Democratic wants the amended law to allow
up to 50 hectares of farm land and 30 hectares of forest to be
returned to former owners, but the Democratic Party is opposed to
those amounts. The limits on restituted land will be decided by the
parliament by 31 March 1998, following a survey of the total land
available for restitution. In the meantime, former owners will be
able to reclaim properties exceeding the previous limit. The Chamber
of Deputies has already approved the amended law. The opposition
boycotted the vote in the Senate, saying the amended legislation
would lead to the restoration of landed gentry.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES AGREE TO FORM ALLIANCE.
Representatives of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, the
Greater Romania Party, and the extra-parliamentary Socialist Labor
Party have agreed to set up an alliance, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported on 16 September. They said their main aim is to bring
about a change in the ruling coalition. Also on 16 September, the
leadership of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) criticized
former chairman Gheorghe Funar, who recently announced that his
party will join an opposition grouping called the Alliance for
Romania's Revival. The PUNR said Funar "had no mandate" from the
party to make such an announcement. Meanwhile, Funar, who is also
mayor of Cluj, has ordered the town's park benches to be painted in
Romania's national colors "to show that Cluj is a Romanian town."

RUSSIA DISTANCES ITSELF FROM DEPUTIES' SUPPORT FOR
TRANSDNIESTER. The Russian Foreign Ministry on 17 September
issued a statement saying the State Duma deputies who participated
in the seventh anniversary celebrations of the Transdniester
breakaway region's independence "did not represent the official
position of Russia" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 September 1997),
BASA-press reported on 16 September. The statement noted that the
resolution of the Transdniester conflict rests in adopting a special
status for the region that would reflect Moldova's territorial
integrity. It added that any "unilateral interpretation" of the
memorandum signed in Moscow in May is "counterproductive."

GAGAUZ-YERI OPPOSITION DENOUNCES LOCAL GOVERNOR. At a press
conference in Chisinau on 16 September, opposition representatives
from the Gagauz-Yeri autonomous region of Moldova accused
Governor Georgi Tabunshchik of breaking the region's electoral law,
an RFE/RL correspondent reported. They said the press conference
was held in Chisinau, rather than in the region's capital, Comrat,
because there is "heavy censorship" and "pluralism of opinion is not
accepted" in Comrat. Deputy Constantin Tusanji said that on
Tabunshcik's orders, the local electoral commission had falsified the
results of the 31 August elections for Comrat mayor. Tusanji ran for
the mayoralty and claims to have received 53 percent of the vote.
The organizers of the press conference claimed that foreign
countries--particularly the U.S.--are backing Tabunschik's
"unpopular regime," Infotag reported.

BULGARIA TO CLEAR MINES FROM TURKISH BORDER. General
Lyutskan Lyutskanov, secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs,
says Bulgaria will remove mines at its southern border with Turkey
by the end of 1998, the daily "Standart" reported on 16 September.
Lyutskanov said there are some technical problems involving the
removal of the mines, noting that the fields where they were planted
are much overgrown and that access is difficult. Also on 16
September, the Interior Ministry announced that police in northern
Bulgaria arrested a man who tried to smuggle 30,000 pirate compact
discs to neighboring Serbia. The value of the discs is estimated at
some $150,000.

END NOTE

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

by George Schopflin

        Just as the Romanian are divided by various cleavage lines, so
the Hungarians have different attitudes and are sociologically
heterogeneous. Broadly, they fall into three categories: those in the
overwhelmingly Hungarian areas of the Szekler lands (some 700,000
people); those in the mixed areas of central Transylvania (around
500,000), for whom interaction with Romanians is a daily experience;
and those from the area closest to Hungary itself (also around
500,000). The last category is closer also in culture and values to the
ones dominant in Hungary. These sociological cleavages are not
translated into politics: Hungarians vote largely for the Hungarian
political party, the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania
(UDMR).
        The Hungarians of Romania are not necessarily well disposed
toward Hungary. They have been known to refer to Hungary as "the
country where the cheese is artificially enriched with vitamin C,"
thereby implying their Hungarian identity is far more authentic than
the Hungarians of Hungary itself. The political fall-out of this attitude
means there is virtually no support for reunification with Hungary.
When the Transylvanians go to Hungary, they are foreigners there.
        In essence, their coexistence with the Romanians and their
interaction with the Romanian state--even when that interaction has
been hostile--have reshaped their identity. The gap between them
and Hungary is growing, while their integration in Romania is an
accomplished fact.
        The attitude of the Transylvanian Hungarians to the Romanians
is very similar to how the Romanians see them: they accept the
majority and have learned to live with them but do not warm to
them particularly. In this context, the threefold internal cleavage in
the minority has some political relevance in attitudes toward the
Romanian majority and the Romanian state.
        In the Szekler lands, the Hungarian elite has more or less
reestablished the dominant position it had before the
industrialization of the Ceausescu era dislodged them. The Romanian
elite has largely gone, although the middle- and lower-level
bureaucrats remain. The area is fully bilingual; only the institutions
of the Romanian state (police, military, railroads) are monolingual. In
the Szekler lands, low levels of competence in Romanian are
widespread, while at the bottom end of the social scale, knowledge of
Romanian is barely necessary. As a result, the Romanians are the
minority in this region.
        In central and western Transylvania, the situation is quite
different. The population is mixed, and there is competition between
the two groups for resources. Transylvania is changing rapidly. It is
no exaggeration to say that it is undergoing a second modernization,
after the failed communist modernization. This process is uneven and
uncontrolled. The impact of the Romanian state is comparatively
weak, because its leverage (both financial and administrative) is
limited.
        There is also the economic pull of Hungary, not to mention its
cultural prestige. Despite the differentiation noted above, Budapest is
the pole of attraction. Even more significant is the Transylvanian
Hungarians' own aspirations, skills, and determination to survive as a
cultural community, separate from both Hungary and the Romanians.
        One of the paradoxes of the present situation is that the UDMR
is a member of the government. In effect, this is the first time that
the Hungarians are participating in a democratically elected
Romanian government. Having acquired an attitude that regards the
Romanian state and government as anti-Hungarian (the legacy of the
Ceausescu and Iliescu periods), the shift is not an easy one for many
Hungarians to accept.
        They see their party as their protector, and it is hard for them
to identify the Romanian state as being actively theirs. The legacy of
suspicion is deeply engrained. At the same time, their expectations of
creating a fully-fledged Hungarian existence through participation in
the government are unrealistic. In the Szekler lands, such
expectations do not constitute an acute problem. But elsewhere they
do and could give rise to friction if they are not met.
        Given their vagueness, it is unlikely that those expectations can
be realized. But their central significance is that the Hungarian
minority in Romania fully accepts the Romanian state. Moreover, it
constructs its political life around loyalty to that state and not to
Hungary.

The author lectures at the London School of Economics. Part I of this
article appeared in yesterday's "RFE/RL Newsline.






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