The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same. - Heraclitus
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 129, Part II, 1 October 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

* BELARUS ACCUSES MOSCOW OF ATTEMPTED BLACKMAIL

* NATO SEIZES FOUR BOSNIAN SERB TRANSMITTERS

* RIOT POLICE ATTACK BELGRADE DEMONSTRATORS

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS ACCUSES MOSCOW OF ATTEMPTED BLACKMAIL. The
Russian government "often" uses debts for gas supplies to try to
blackmail Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, his official
newspaper "Sovetskaya Belorossiya" said on 30 September. The same
day, Lukashenka told Belarusian Radio that "Belarus owes Russia
only $200 million for gas while Russia owes Belarus $1 billion" for
guarding its borders and collecting customs duties. He did say,
however, that his government will give official accreditation to
Russian Public Television (ORT) journalists in Minsk, ITAR-TASS
reported. However, his aides were quoted as saying that the charges
brought against ORT journalist Pavel Sheremet, who is still being
detained in Hrodno, were fully justified. Also on 30 September,
Russian and Belarusian officials met in Moscow in an effort to
promote integration of the two countries.

BELARUSIAN PROTESTERS DEMAND RELEASE OF POLITICAL
PRISONERS. Several dozen demonstrators on 30 September staged
protests to call for the release of ORT journalist Pavel Sheremet and
two youths detained on charges of hoisting the banned Belarusian
national flag on the Stolbtsy town hall, RFE/RL's Belarusian service
reported. The protests took place outside President Lukashenka's
residence in Minsk and outside the prison in Zhodina, 40 km east of
the capital, where the two youths are being interrogated The
Belarusian Social Democratic Party, which organized the rally in
Zhodina, said it plans further protests over the next few days.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BRINGS BACK CAMPAIGN AIDE. Leonid
Kuchma on 30 September issued a decree appointing Dmytro
Tabachnyk as an adviser, Ukrainian media reported. Less than a year
ago, Kuchma fired Tabachnyk, who was a campaign leader but has
been accused of corruption. Tabachnyk's return suggests Kuchma is
preparing for a re-election campaign in 1999. In other news, an
opinion poll published in the 30 September issue of "Vseukrainskiye
vedomosti" suggests that almost one-third of Ukrainians are ready to
sell their votes to the highest bidder. Those sampled said they would
charge candidates or parties between $11 and $400 for their votes.

PROBLEMS, MARKERS ON UKRAINIAN BORDER. A Polish-Ukrainian
experiment at joint customs and border control posts has led to long
lines on either side of the border, ITAR-TASS reported on 30
September. The same day, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced
it will begin demarcating the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in
accordance with the provisions of a bilateral border accord.
According to the Russian news agency, the border will be marked by
poles rather than by barbed wire.

ESTONIAN COMMISSION SUBMITS REPORT ON MILITARY ACCIDENT.
A government commission investigating the 11 September military
training accident that claimed 14 lives has concluded that the
tragedy was caused by a combination of circumstances, according to
RFE/RL's Estonian service. The panel blamed the unit's leaders for
pressing ahead with the maneuvers, despite bad weather. Major-
General Johannes Kert, the commander of the defense forces, was
also blamed for failing to draw up regulations for the Baltic
Peacekeeping Battalion. The unit's chain of command is "impossible
to unravel," the report concluded. President Lennart Meri has turned
down Kert's offer to resign, while Premier Mart Siimann has so far
not submitted Defense Minister Andrus Oovel's resignation to the
president.

LATVIA NOT TO DEMAND EXTRADITION OF WAR CRIME SUSPECT.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry has drawn up a letter to the Simon
Wiesenthal Center saying that Riga does not intend to demand the
extradition from Australia of 83-year-old war crime suspect Konrads
Kaleis, AFP reported on 30 September. The letter stressed, however,
that Latvia will cooperate with organizations investigating Kaleis's
case. Earlier this year, the center urged Latvia to demand that Kaleis
be handed over so that he can brought to trial. It suspects him of
having played a role in the massacre of 20,000 Latvian Jews during
the Nazi occupation.

EXPERTS SAY ECOLOGICAL DISASTER THREATENS KLAIPEDA. Experts
have warned that the floating workshops that sank into the Klaipeda
harbor in 1993 may cause an ecological disaster, BNS reported on 30
September. A report submitted to the Lithuanian Shipping Company
(LISCO) said that lubricants, fuels, and paints that were on board the
workshops could spill into the harbor at any time. A LISCO official
told the news agency that a tender will be announced in October to
lift the workshops from the harbor bed. In other news, President
Algirdas Brazauskas will pay an official visit to Moscow on 23-25
October to meet with his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, and
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. The two sides are expected to
sign an accord delimiting the Russian-Lithuanian border.

POST-ELECTION MANEUVERING IN POLAND. Leszek Balcerowicz, the
leader of the Freedom Union party, is now the favorite to become
Poland's next prime minister, Polish media suggested on 30
September. Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) chairman Marian
Krzaklewski has declined that post. Meanwhile, the outgoing
government told reporters that it will leave its successor a draft
1988 budget. But in an indication that the cohabitation between
President Aleksander Kwasniewski and the new liberal government
may prove uncomfortable, Kwasniewski has confirmed the
appointment of a number of senior military officials, ignoring the
AWS's request that their appointment be postponed until the new
government has been installed.

CZECH FINANCE MINISTRY RAISES ESTIMATE OF BUDGET DEFICIT.
The Czech Finance Ministry has increased its estimate of this year's
budget deficit by another 1 billion crowns ($30.4 million) to 14.9
billion crowns ($452 million), "Pravo" reported on 1 October. Finance
Minister Ivan Pilip said the deficit could rise still further to 20 billion
crowns.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT REJECTS OPPOSITION BID TO REINSTATE
DEPUTY. The parliament on 30 September turned down an opposition
proposal to reinstate Frantisek Gaulieder, a former deputy of Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
(HZDS), RFE/RL's Slovak service reported. The government majority
deputies stripped Gaulieder of his parliamentary mandate in
December after he resigned from the HZDS over a policy
disagreement. The HZDS maintains that Gaulieder signed a letter
resigning his seat. Gaulieder maintains that the letter was forged. In
August, Slovakia's Constitutional Court ruled that the parliamentary
vote violated Gaulieder's constitutional rights. It ordered the
parliament to reconsider its decision.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION REQUESTS GUARANTEES OF FREE ELECTIONS.
The Slovak Democratic Coalition's five leaders has sent a letter to
Premier Meciar urging him to invite foreign observers to ensure that
the 1998 parliamentary elections will be held in accordance with
democratic rules. They said free and fair elections are threatened by
the parliamentary vote refusing to reinstate Gaulieder and by the 29
September prosecutor-general's decision not to prosecute Interior
Minister Gustav Krajci for interfering in the referendum last May on
NATO membership and direct presidential elections.

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN DISMISSED. The Steering
Committee of the Independent Smallholders' Party on 30 September
has dismissed Agnes Nagy Maczo as deputy leader of the party,
Hungarian media reported. Maczo was harshly criticized by party
chairman Joszef Torgyan for having recently proposed that the
Smallholders set up an alliance with the extremist Hungarian Justice
and Life Party and other rightist formations. Torgyan said he told
Maczo she can retain her post as deputy parliamentary chairperson
only if she "behaves herself" in the future. In other news, the Central
Statistical Office reported on 30 September that GDP has increased by
3.2 percent in the first six months of 1997, compared with the same
period last year.


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO SEIZES FOUR BOSNIAN SERB TRANSMITTERS. NATO-led SFOR
troops have taken control of Bosnian Serb transmitters on Mount
Trebevic near Sarajevo, Leota near Nevesinje in the south and Duga
Njiva and Udrigova in the north, AFP reported on 1 October. Russian
troops participated in the SFOR operation following a request from
NATO's Supreme Commander in Europe General Wesley Clark.
Bosnian Serb radio and television normally received in Sarajevo have
been muffled. A spokesman said SFOR received a request on 30
September from international mediator Carlos Westendorp for
military action to be taken against Bosnian Serb radio and television.
Independent Belgrade-based Radio B-92 reported from Pale that at
least 40 SFOR armored vehicles took control of the transmission
station on Mount Trebevic, near Sarajevo. Westendorp has
repeatedly threatened to shut down Bosnian Serb stations if hard-
liners in Pale do not stop broadcasting propaganda against Western
organizations in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

UN DISSATISFIED WITH MOSTAR BOMB PROBE. The UN said on 30
September it is dissatisfied with the investigation into the 18
September car bomb explosion in Croat-controlled West Mostar,
which injured some 30 people. UN spokeswoman Kelly Moore said
local Croatian police have gone back on a previous agreement to
share information on the case.

RIOT POLICE ATTACK BELGRADE DEMONSTRATORS. Riot police
attacked thousands of demonstrators in central Belgrade on 30
September during an evening march protesting the ouster of Mayor
Zoran Djindjic and the editors of an independent television channel.
Hundreds of riot police waded into the crowd of some 20,000 Djindjic
supporters. Police beat and detained several protesters. Djindjic was
voted out of office by the city council after his former ally in the
opposition Zajedno coalition, Vuk Draskovic, blamed Djindic's election
boycott for his third place in the presidential elections. Djindjic's
opponents also sacked the board of the pro-democracy Studio-B
radio and television. Djindjic called his dismissal illegal, but he said
he will not contest the decision.

MILOSEVIC INVITES BOSNIAN COLLECTIVE PRESIDENCY TO
BELGRADE. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on 30 September
invited all three members of the Bosnian collective presidency to
visit Yugoslavia. RFE-RL's South Slavic service reported that the
Serbian member, Momcilo Krajisnic, handed over the invitation to his
Muslim and Croatian counterparts. The meeting would be the first
between the collective heads of Bosnia and the Yugoslav leadership.

RIOT POLICE BREAK UP KOSOVAR DEMONSTRATION. Several hundred
riot police, supported by armored vehicles and water cannon,
dispersed some 3,000 students in Pristina on 1 October. The students
were calling for the restoration of Albanian-language education in
schools and universities. They also demand the return of university
buildings and other premises occupied by the Serbian regime since
1991. Police ordered the students to disperse and patrolled the
streets and access roads to Pristina. Protests are also planned on 1
October in Mitrovica, Gnjilane, Urosevac, Djakovica, Pec, and Prizren.
Student leaders have rejected pleas from Kosovar President Ibrahim
Rugova and foreign diplomats to postpone the protest until after run-
off Serbian elections. Late on 30 September, some 7,000 students
staged a silent protest in Pristina.

UN ENVOY SAYS MACEDONIA IMPROVES HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION.
UN Human Rights Commission special envoy Elisabeth Rehn said on
30 September Macedonia has improved human rights. Rehn
announced she was recommending that Macedonia be removed from
her mandate because of its efforts. But she warned that she remains
concerned about abuses by police, including unlawful arrests and
detentions. She also expressed concern over the plight of the ethnic
Albanian minority.

CROATIA INTRODUCES JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. UN
transitional administrator William Walker and Croatian Justice
Minister Miroslav Separovic signed a declaration in Vukovar on 30
September on conditions for reintegrating Croatia's judiciary into
eastern Slavonia, Hina reported. Walker told reporters he expects the
Croatian judiciary, under UN supervision, will start work in Croatia's
last Serb-held enclave as soon as possible.

ALBANIAN ARMS AMNESTY EXPIRES. A six-week amnesty for people
in possession of weapons stolen during the recent civil rebellion
expired at midnight on 30 September. But Interior Minister Neritan
Ceka said hours earlier that only 45,000 weapons had been handed
in or seized. He estimated some 600,000 military weapons remain in
the hands of the population. Ceka warned on nationwide television
that anybody who continues to hold weapons will be punished under
the penal code, which provides for between five and 10 years
imprisonment for that crime. He said police will start checking
buildings and will make no compromises with those still in
possession of weapons.

CLOSURE OF ROMANIAN MINES SUSPENDED. Finance Minister Mircea
Ciumara and leaders of the trade unions agreed on 30 September to
"temporarily suspend" and re-examine a government scheme for
closing down mines and paying compensation to those who accept
early retirement, Radio Bucharest reported. The decision comes in
response to the mass migration to rural areas of miners opting for
compensation and to the danger that the country's energy needs will
not be met. Talks will continue on 1 October and will be attended by
Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea. In other news, President Emil
Constantinescu met with Premier Jean-Claude Junker in Luxembourg
on 30 September to discuss Bucharest's efforts to join the EU, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported.

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS AMENDMENT ON WOMEN
DEPUTIES. The Chamber of Deputies on 30 September rejected a new
version of the law on political parties, which included an amendment
aimed at promoting women's representation in the legislature, Radio
Bucharest reported. The amendment had stipulated that subsidies for
each party will be increased proportional to the number of women
members of the parliament (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 September
1997).

CHISINAU, TIRASPOL DISAGREE OVER SECURITY ZONE. At the
meeting of the Joint Control Commission on 30 September,
representatives of Chisinau and Tiraspol disagreed over the future of
the security zone, BASA-press and Infotag reported. Tiraspol objects
to the Moldovan proposal that Transdniester armed formations,
border guards, and custom check points be moved further back into
the zone. All sides agreed previously that the size of the zone must
be reduced. The Moldovan delegation also insisted on the urgency of
implementing the protocol rencently signed by Chisinau, Moscow,
and Tiraspol. It also stressed the need to examine the
implementation of the July 1992 Moldovan-Russian agreement on
settling the conflict in the region.

BULGARIA CALLS FOR CONTINUED NATO EXPANSION. Addressing the
UN General Assembly on 30 September, Foreign Minister Nadezhda
Mihailova called for continued NATO expansion to ensure that no
former communist countries are left in a "gray zone" and that equal
security is achieved for all European nations. She said her
government's desire to join NATO and the EU has the overwhelming
support of the Bulgarian people. Mihailova also urged the UN to grant
exemptions to those states hardest hit by the embargo against Serbia
and Montenegro. She said that, together with the losses caused by
the sanctions against Libya and Iraq, "the total amounts of direct and
indirect costs for Bulgaria" as the result of the embargo is
"comparable to the country's foreign debt," Reuters reported.






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