True heroism consists not in fighting under a flag but in not fighting at all. - Freidrich Nietzsche
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 127, Part II, 29 September 1997



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

RUSSIAN MEDIA EMPIRES. Government and business entities control
many major Russian media. This special report on the RFE/RL Web
site lists the important players.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rumedia/index.html

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Headlines, Part II

*NEMTSOV CASTS DOUBT ON RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN UNITY


*NATO AND RUSSIA DISCUSS PEACEKEEPING IN BOSNIA


*PLAVSIC POSTPONES PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS


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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

NEMTSOV CASTS DOUBT ON RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN UNITY. In the 26
September "Byelarusskaya delovaya gazeta," Russian First Deputy
Premier Boris Nemtsov said that he opposed unity between the two
countries unless Minsk changed its policies. "Just as you cannot unite
the economic systems of North and South Korea, just as you cannot
unite the economies of Florida with nearby Cuba, you obviously
cannot integrate the economies of the Russian Federation and
Belarus, whose economic fundamentals differ."

BELARUS AND INDIA PLAN CLOSER MILITARY TIES. India has
welcomed a proposal by President Lukashenka for closer military
ties between the two countries, AFP reported. Lukashenka said on 26
September in New Dehli that his country is ready to repair and
maintain Soviet-made weapons in the Indian arsenal. India's
acceptance of the proposal was conveyed by Indian Minister of State
for Defense N.V.N. Somu to Belarusian Defense Minister Alyaksandr
Chukakov during a closed-door meeting today in New Delhi. The
former Soviet Union was India's main defense supplier and most of
India's weapons today are of Soviet origin. Lukashenka said on 27
September that his current trip to India would help re-establish
relations between the two countries following the break-up of the
Soviet Union. Lukashenka's visit started on 26 September and ended
on 28 September.


RUSSIAN ADMIRAL CRITICIZES OUTSIDERS ON THE BLACK SEA.
Russian Black Sea commander Admiral Viktor Kravchenko told
Interfax 26 September that there was "no need for the presence of
third countries on the Black Sea." He said that the only countries
whose navies should be on that body of water were the coastal
states. Kravchenko's comments come after the NATO-backed Sea
Breeze exercises in which the U.S. participated and just before the
joint Russian-Ukrainian exercises scheduled for later October.

UKRAINE SAYS IT WILL NOT NEED IMF LOANS AFTER YEAR 2000.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tyhypko told journalists in
Kyiv on 28 September he believes his country will not need funds
from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank beyond the
year 2000. But he also said Ukraine could still benefit from advice
from the two international financial institutions even after that date.
He said he expects Ukraine to reach a normal stage of economic
reform in the next few years. Among the transition economies,
Ukraine is seen to be lagging badly in the reform process. Tyhypko
said the country should not abandon "clever things that have been
offered to it" by the IMF, and that it can decide what is in its own
interests. The IMF has delayed making available a $2.9 billion loan
until Ukraine meets the required criteria, replacing it with a smaller,
interim deal of $542 million.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SATISFIED WITH NEW VOTING SYSTEM.
Leonid Kuchma on 26 September welcomed the recent approval of a
new, proportional representation-type of voting for elections to
Ukraine's parliament. Kuchma, on an official visit to Mexico, was
quoted by UNIAR news agency as saying he is satisfied that
agreements reached with the parliamentary factions before he left
on his trip were implemented. Under the new voting scheme, to
replace the majority system, half the legislature's 450 seats will be
decided on the basis of party lists, with the rest going to candidates
elected on an individual basis. The number of seats allotted to the
parties is proportional to the percentage of the votes they receive.
Ukraine will hold its next parliamentary election in March 1998.

NEW POLITICAL MOVEMENTS IN UKRAINE Former Ukrainian Prime
Minister Pavlo Lazarenko was chosen on 27 September to head a
new political movement in Ukraine that its leaders said will openly
oppose the government of President Kuchma. Members of Hromada
(Community) elected Lazarenko as their chairman at a congress of
the movement. Lazarenko described his party as social-democratic
and said its main task would be to win a majority in the new
legislature to be elected next March. A Hromada spokeswoman, Yulia
Timoshenko, said the group will be "in open opposition to the ruling
regime." Kuchma dismissed Lazarenko in July amid accusations of
corruption and a lack of dedication to reforms. On 28 September, 50
Muslims representing Islamic communities in 15 Ukrainian regions
met in Donetsk to form a Ukrainian Muslim Party, Itar-Tass reported.
The as-yet unregistered party will be headed by Rashit Bragin.

ESTONIA SET FOR BORDER TALKS WITH RUSSIA. Estonian Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Ehtel Halliste told Interfax on 26 September
that Estonia intends to conduct border talks with Russia in a
constructive spirit and hopes to complete them this year. Halliste also
refuted a statement by the Russian delegation leader, Vasily Svirin,
that Estonia was going to renew its territorial claims to Russia. "We
have no territorial claims on Russia whatsoever," she said. Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin said in Moscow a
day earlier that the Estonian side was showing a nonconstructive
approach at bilateral border delimitation talks. At the Moscow
negotiations on 23-24 September, he said, the Estonian side refused
to examine Russian amendments to the draft of a state border
delimitation treaty, although it had not been initialled by the
delegation leaders. Nesterushkin said that such "an absurd approach
may bring the negotiating process to a halt."

LATVIA, LITHUANIA PRESS FOR EUROPEAN UNION MEMBERSHIP.
BNS reported on 26 September that the European Commission has
promised the Latvian government that it will update its statistics on
that Baltic state. Latvia had complained that the EC had used out of
date numbers when it decided to invite Estonia but not Latvia and
Lithuania for accession talks. Meanwhile, Lithuanian President
Algirdas Brazauskas told a conference on "Lithuania in the European
Union" that Vilnius does not understand why it has not been invited
but will continue to press for EU membership.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES RUSSIAN DUMA'S RESOLUTION.
Algirdas Brazauskas on 26 September criticized the Russian State
Duma's resolution passed earlier the same day. In the resolution,
Russian lawmakers warned against the "hasty" signing of a treaty on
the state border between Russia and Lithuania, Interfax reported.
The signing ceremony is due to take place in October. The lawmakers
also asked President Boris Yeltsin to join forces with the legislature
in order to work out a single position designed to protect "Russia's
interests." Brazauskas told journalists that some Russian politicians
repeatedly "call into question Lithuania's territorial rights over the
Klapeida region." He said all border disputes have been resolved in
official negotiations and that in October "we will sign a treaty on the
state border with Russia."

POLISH PRESIDENT STARTS CONSULTATIONS ON NEW GOVERNMENT.
Polish President Aleksandr Kwasniewski said he would meet with
Marian Krzaklewski on 29 September to begin talks on the formation
of a new government, PAP reported. In addition to meeting with the
leader of the largest party in the new government, Kwasniewski has
said he will meet with the leaders of other parties this week as well.

CZECH COALITION PARTIES IN FLUX. At its congress on 27-28
September, the Christian Democratic Union (KDU-CSL) of Deputy
Prime Minister Josef Lux criticized its two coalition partners--the
Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) and the Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus--for experimenting with economic
transformation. Lux said that his party wants to pursue social market
policies tried successfully in Western Europe. He said the government
will lose the KDU-CSL's support unless its policies change. The
executive committee of the ODS on 27 September criticized party
leaders for a lack of leadership and demanded that they regularly
present reports to the committee. The so-called "right-wing faction"
within the ODA declared at a weekend meeting that the government
must push through economic transformation or face losing the
faction's support in the parliament.

POLITICAL CHANGES IN SLOVAKIA? Slovak Parliament Chairman
Ivan Gasparovic told a meeting of the Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia (HZDS) on 26 September that the party plans to take some
steps by the end of November to change things criticized by the
European Commission. The Commission in July failed to recommend
Slovakia for talks on EU membership, owing to political problems in
the country. Gasparovic said the next parliamentary session, which
starts on 30 September, will discuss opposition representation on
parliamentary committees with a monitoring function and a bill for a
minority language law.

HUNGARIAN PARTIES CROSS-COOPERATE ON GABCIKOVO RULING.
The leaders of the six Hungarian parliamentary parties consulted
with Premier Gyula Horn on 26 September and agreed to set up a
cross-party committee to examine Hungary's strategy for the talks
with Slovakia on implementing the International Court of Justice
ruling on the Gabcikovo power plant. Interior Minister Gabor Kuncze
said future efforts should be geared at a "zero option" on mutual
compensation claims and at the return of the Danube river bed to its
original course, Hungarian media reported. In other news, the
Foreign Ministry on 26 September confirmed that the third round of
talks between Hungary and NATO has been postponed from 3
October to 13 October at the request of NATO officials. Hungarian
ambassador to NATO Andras Simonyi confirmed that NATO will grant
special status to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as of
January 1998, as an important step toward membership.

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS HUNGARY. Romanian Defense
Minister Victor Babiuc, who paid a visit to Hungary on 26-27
September, agreed with his Hungarian counterpart Gyoergy Keleti
that the document providing for the establishment of a joint
Hungarian-Romanian peacekeeping battalion will be signed in
Bucharest later this year. The battalion will become operational in
the second half of 1998, Hungarian and Romanian media reported.
The original intention was to have the battalion set up this year, but
plans had to be postponed due to financial difficulties in both
countries. Babiuc also met with Premier Horn, with whom he
discussed the latter's visit to Romania, planned for October. They
agreed to "isolate extremist parties" which seek to undermine
Hungarian-Romanian relations and democratization.


Correction: On 26 September, Newsline erroneously reported that
Polish Premier Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz had resigned Cimoszewicz
had, at that time, submitted his resignation, but it has not yet been
accepted.


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE


NATO AND RUSSIA DISCUSS PEACEKEEPING IN BOSNIA. NATO
Secretary General Javier Solana and the 16 foreign ministers of the
NATO member states agreed during a meeting with Russian Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov of the NATO Russia Permanent Joint
Council at the United Nations in New York on 26 September to form a
working group to elaborate principles and tasks in peacekeeping,
including in Bosnia. Primakov reiterated Russia's position that the UN
Security Council must be asked for advance approval for the use of
force in peacekeeping operations. Moscow is concerned that NATO
may try to detain indicted war criminals in Bosnia without prior
approval from the Kremlin. The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint
Council participants expressed satisfaction with the way municipal
elections were carried out in Bosnia earlier this month and reiterated
their determination to help bring peace and security to Bosnia
through the Dayton peace accords.

PLAVSIC POSTPONES PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS ... Bosnian Serb
President Biljana Plavsic said 27 September that parliamentary
elections in Republika Srpska have been postponed eight days until
23 November due to what she called technical reasons. Elections for
the presidency of the Serb republic and for the Serb representative
in Bosnia's tripartite presidency are set for 7 December. In an
interview on Bosnian Serb TV, Plavsic accused former Bosnian Serb
president and indicted war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic of
having withdrawn DM 49 million from Banja Luka banks last year.
Plavsic rejected suggestions that the international community is
hostile toward Republika Srpska, saying the NATO-led Stabilization
Force "is not an occupier, it protects our borders, repairs our houses
and schools, and defends peace".

. . . WHILE SDS CHIDES HER. The ruling Serbian Democratic Party
(SDS) in Pale has so far ignored Plavsic's comments on Karadzic. But it
objected to other remarks in her interview as "misleading", "unfair"
and "arbitrary". SDS dismissed her accusations of corruption in the
Bosnian Serb Interior Ministry and denied her allegation that SDS
had negotiated with the ruling Bosnian Croat party (HDZ) about
exchanging territory between Republika Srpska and the Muslim-
Croat Federation. SDS said "such statements are not naive
insinuations but a criminal act of spreading untrue reports."

EXPLOSION WRECKS INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER OFFICE. A nightime
explosion on 27 September ripped through the offices of
"Alternativa", the only opposition newspaper in the Bosnian Serb
town of Doboj. The blast damaged several apartments and sparked a
fire. There were no injuries. This was the second attack in recent
weeks on the paper, which is owned and edited by retired Bosnian
Serb army colonel Milovan Stankovic, an open supporter of Plavsic in
her power struggle with pro-Kradzic hardliners.

KOSOVARS DEMONSTRATE FOR RETURN OF SCHOOLS. More than 1,000
ethnic Albanian students and residents of the Kosovo towns of
Pristina, Mitrovica, Pec, Prizren and Gnjilane demonstrated on 28
September to protest the intolerable situation in education in the
province and demand the return of their school buildings. Serbian
authorities shut down Albanian schools six years ago. Last year,
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic reached agreement with
Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova to reopen the schools but
the accord was never implemented. The Students Union of the
University of Pristina plans to launch peaceful protests in seven
towns 1 October to force the reopening of the university. But Rugova
told reporters that the protests should be postponed to a later date
and staged only in Pristina. He called on Belgrade to show good will
and implement the education agreement.

FINANCE MINISTER INSISTS PYRAMID SCHEMES MUST BE CLOSED.
Albanian Finance Minister Arben Malaj said on his return from the
IMF-World Bank meeting in Hong Kong that the extent of western aid
to Albania depends on the elimination of pyramid schemes. He says
international bankers criticized Albania at the Hong Kong meeting for
tardiness in closing down the pyramid schemes. He added that
Albania can expect "all necessary funds" for the country's
reconstruction and development once the schemes have been
eliminated. Meanwhile, former Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky
is to step down at the end of October as the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe's envoy for Albania. Vranitzky said 28.
September he believed his task had been completed following
elections in Albania in June and July.

FORMER ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF ENTERS POLITICS. Virgil
Magureanu, the former director of the Romanian Intelligence Service,
on 28 September said that "within two months" he will set up a
"centrist" political party. In an interview with the private Pro FM
radio, Magureanu said he hopes other centrist formations in the
opposition will collaborate with his party with the purpose of taking
over political power, the daily "Libertatea" reports on 29 September.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE CALLED OFF. The leader of the
Greater Romania Party (PRM), Corneliu Vadim Tudor, on 26
September called off the planned alliance of his party with the Party
of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17
September 1997). In response to PDSR leader Ion Iliescu's statement
on Romanian television one day earlier, who called on Tudor and
Socialist Labor Party vice-chairman Adrian Paunescu to "temperate"
their extreme nationalist postures, Tudor said the PRM rejected
Iliescu's "attempt to use the unification of the opposition to return at
the head of the state." The PRM leader said that a "genuine national
opposition" can only be formed around himself, Paunescu and Cluj
mayor Gheorghe Funar, Radio Bucharest reported. The PDSR on 28
September signed an agreement with the anti-Hungarian "Vatra
romaneasca" organization and several other small parties and
organizations for setting up an anti-government alliance.

WORLD BANK OFFICIAL ASSESSES ROMANIAN PERFORMANCE.
Kenneth Lay, director of the World Bank's Southeastern Europe
department, told a press conference in Bucharest on 26 September
that the bank agrees with the "general line" of the policies pursued
by the government, but "rigorous discussions" are going on
concerning "detail implementation." He said that the pace of
privatization in the banking and agricultural sectors is unsatisfactory
and that corruption remains a serious problem. Lay also said there
are doubts concerning the state budget's capability of supporting the
costs arising from a draft law which grants foreign and local
investors equal taxation cut benefits. The bank is to discuss the
approval of two new installments of a $630 million loan, the RFE/RL
Bucharest bureau reported. In other news, the government on 27
September approved a draft law extending the powers of local
government to collect taxes for the purpose of self-administration.

WORLD BANK LOAN TO BULGARIA. World Bank officials and
representatives of the Bulgarian government on 26 September
initialled in Sofia an agreement for a $100 million loan to further
support the country's economic reforms, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau
reported. The agreement must be approved by the bank's board at
its meeting on 30 October.

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES DRAFT LAW ON CIVIL
SERVICE. A draft law on public administration approved by the
government on 27 September stipulates that former members of the
communist nomenklatura will be prohibited from filling high
positions in the civil service for a period of five years, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported. The interdiction will apply down to
the level of former county party secretary. The draft also stipulates
that one year after the law comes into effect, civil servants can no
longer be dismissed following a change of government. In other
news, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior on 26 September said
that files of the former East German Stasi recently handed over to
Bulgaria appear to contain no evidence that Bulgaria's secret service
was involved in the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II,
Reuters reported.


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