The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 141, Part II, 17 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

CENTRAL ASIA IN TRANSITION: Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This
six-part report on the RFE/RL Web site details how much has
changed since the collapse of the USSR -- and how much has not.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/asia/index.html

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Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINE WILL NOT RESTART CHORNOBYL THIS YEAR

* HARD-LINE BOSNIAN SERB TELEVISION BACK ON AIR

* KRAJISNIK CASTS DOUBT ON BOSNIAN SERB ELECTIONS

End Note
HOW THE CIS MAY END

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE WILL NOT RESTART CHORNOBYL THIS YEAR. Officials at the
Chornobyl nuclear power plant said cracks in the piping in one of the
reactors will keep the plant closed until sometime in 1998, Interfax
reported on 16 October. That reactor, the only one to have operated
in the last several years, was shut off in June for maintenance,
during which the cracks were discovered. Chornobyl managers
denied Kyiv press reports that workers at the plant have been
subject to excessive levels of radiation as a result of the cracks.
Ukraine has pledged to close the plant by the year 2000 if foreign
governments provide sufficient funds to build an alternative power
facility.

UKRAINE TO SELL MILITARY TRUCKS TO INDIA. The AvtoKraz
factory in Kremenchuk will sell 600 military trucks to India starting
next year, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 16 October. The deal is
valued at some $24 million. Ukraine is now the world's fifth-largest
arms exporter.

BELARUSIAN JOURNALISTS PLAN "GAGGED MOUTH" MARCH.
Journalists opposed to the authoritarian rule of Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka are planning to hold a "gagged mouth
march" in Minsk on 19 October to protest what they call the
"totalitarian control over information" in that country, ITAR-TASS
reported on 17 October. The organizers said they hope to use the
demonstration to call attention to the dangers posed by both
Lukashenka's policies and the draft media law that would give the
government sweeping new powers to suppress dissent. Meanwhile,
collective farm leaders jointly protested Lukashenka's removal of
one of their number, Interfax reported on 16 October. The collective
farmers said the president's action is "illegal."

IMF OFFICIAL ON FUND'S FUTURE ROLE IN BALTICS. Dimitris
Demekas, the IMF's permanent representative in Estonia and Latvia,
has said he expects IMF financial assistance to the Baltic States to
decline in the coming years as the countries' economies continue to
strengthen, RFE/RL reported on 16 October. Demekas was addressing
an international conference in Riga on banking and finance in the
Baltics. He said that with the growing prospect of EU membership for
the Baltics, particularly for Estonia, the role of the IMF as the main
economic policy adviser to the their governments would be bound to
decline. At the same time, he stressed the fund would continue to
play a key role in the region, particularly in promoting sound
banking principles and limiting financial sector risks.

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS AMENDMENTS TO CITIZENSHIP
LAW. Lawmakers on 16 October rejected amendments to the
citizenship law proposed by the People's Harmony Party, BNS and
ITAR-TASS reported. Under the amendments, citizenship would have
been granted to children born in Latvia since independence and the
age limit for submitting citizenship applications lifted (currently only
those under 25 can apply). Previously, the Cooperation Council of the
coalition parties had agreed to reject the amendments to safeguard a
provision of the government cooperation agreement whereby the
citizenship law cannot be changed.

U.S., LITHUANIAN DEFENSE CHIEFS MEET ON NATO EXPANSION. U.S.
Defense Secretary William Cohen and Lithuanian Minister of National
Defense Ceslovas Stankevicius met at the Pentagon on 16 October for
talks on NATO expansion and Vilnius's bid for admission to the
alliance. Their discussions focused on steps Lithuania must take to
join the alliance. Cohen praised Lithuania's participation in Bosnian
peacekeeping operations and the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion as
well as its efforts to form a joint peacekeeping battalion with Poland.
"The Baltic States have made a strong effort to measure up to NATO
standards, " Cohen said. At the same time, he warned that the "stairs
to NATO membership are very steep." Commenting on Russian
concerns, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon stressed Moscow has
nothing to fear from Baltic membership in NATO.

POLISH INQUIRY EXONERATES SOVIETS IN 1946 POGROM. A four-
year government investigation has determined that Soviet officials
did not incite the violence that led to the killing of 42 Jews in the
Polish town of Kielce in 1946, PAP reported on 16 October. In the
past, many Poles have laid the blame for this tragedy on the Soviet
authorities. Members of the investigation team said they may urge
Warsaw to bring to justice Polish officials who failed to prevent the
killings.

CZECH GOVERNMENT CLOSES NAZI ARCHIVE. The Czech government
has closed a Prague-based Nazi SS archive to researchers, "Dnes"
reported on 16 October. According to the daily, the authorities took
that step to prevent the theft of materials from the archives and also
to avoid angering the German government, which currently is
pressing for the return of the archives to Germany.

OSCE URGES SLOVAKIA TO ADOPT MINORITY LANGUAGE LAW. In an
interview published in "Sme" on 16 October, Max van der Stoel, the
Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe's high
commissioner on national minorities, urged that Slovakia bow to
international pressure and pass a law that would protect the
language rights of minority groups in that country. But van der Stoel
said he remains "uncertain" as to whether Bratislava would do so.

HUNGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REFUSES TO RULE ON NATO
REFERENDUM. The Constitutional Court on 16 October said it is not
competent to rule whether the referendum on NATO membership
can be held separately from the plebiscite on land ownership by
foreigners. The court's announcement came in response to the
government's request for clarification on the issue. Prime Minister
Gyula Horn responded by saying the referendum on NATO
memberhsip will proceed as planned on 16 November. Horn said the
governemnt would be able to obtain the two-thirds majority
necessary for the passage in the parliament of the proposal to hold
one referendum on NATO and a separate one on land ownership,
Reuters reported on 17 October.

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES SIGN ELECTORAL PACT. The
Alliance of Young Democrats and the Christian Democratic Alliance,
set up by former members of the Christian Democratic Party, have
signed an electoral accord, Hungarian media reported on 16 October.
The agreement stipulates that the two parties will field joint
candidates in single-member constituencies in the 1998
parliamentary elections. The accord also applies to local elections.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HARD-LINE BOSNIAN SERB TELEVISION BACK ON AIR. Pale TV
resumed broadcasting on 16 October, just over two weeks after NATO
troops seized its transmitters. Pale-based officials would not reveal
how they managed to get back on the air. Some observers suggested
that the Serbs used a series of small transmitters over a large area in
what the observers called a "guerrilla action." NATO spokesmen said
in Sarajevo that SFOR is trying to determine how Pale TV managed to
resume broadcasting. The programs did not differ in content or
language from the earlier anti-Western transmissions that prompted
SFOR to take control of the principal transmitters. Meanwhile, the
"Los Angeles Times" wrote on 17 October that the U.S. has supplied
$700,000 worth of broadcasting equipment to Pale's rivals at Banja
Luka TV and will provide training for television journalists there.

KRAJISNIK CASTS DOUBT ON BOSNIAN SERB ELECTIONS. Momcilo
Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency and
spokesman for the faction supporting Radovan Karadzic, said in
Belgrade on 16 October that "without presidential elections, there can
be no parliamentary elections." He and his rival President Biljana
Plavsic recently agreed that Bosnian Serb parliamentary elections
can go ahead on 23 November. She argues, however, that nothing
was decided on holding presidential elections in December, which her
opponents demand (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 October 1997).
Elsewhere in Belgrade, Orthodox Patriarch Pavle and some 60
Serbian and Bosnian Serb intellectuals signed a declaration defending
indicted war criminals Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic. The
signatories charge that the two are victims of Western anti-Serbian
sentiments.

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT TO STRIKE DEAL FOR MONTENEGRIN PORT?
Bosnian Transport Minister Rasim Gacanovic said in Sarajevo on 16
October that his government wants talks with the Montenegrin
authorities on use of the port of Bar. Negotiations with Croatia over
use of the port of Ploce collapsed two days earlier (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 15 October 1997). Mladen Mitrovic, the commercial.
manager for Bar's port authority, said the Bosnians' "proposal of
cooperation can only be welcomed and [that Bar is] interested in
cooperation with [other republics of] former Yugoslavia." The
communists developed Bar in the 1980s after building a costly
railway link between the port and Belgrade. A rail connection
between Sarajevo and Bar would have to go through either Croatia or
the Republika Srpska and Yugoslavia. Bar has fallen on hard times
following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the imposition of
international sanctions.

SERBIAN POLICE KILL ONE PERSON IN ATTACK ON KOSOVO STATION.
Serbian police in Pristina on 16 October identified the man killed in
an attack on a police station near Klina as an Albanian terrorist (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 16 October 1997). The attack is the latest in a
recent series that the police attribute to the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Ethnic Albanian spokesmen charged that police have mistreated
Albanian villagers in reprisal for the attacks. Meanwhile in Skopje,
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said that the international
community holds Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic responsible
for developments in Kosovo.

KOSOVO STUDENTS TO RESUME PROTESTS. Representatives of ethnic
Albanian students in Pristina have agreed to resume mass protests
on 29 October. The students want the Serbian authorities to
implement a 1996 agreement that provides for restoring Albanian-
language education at all levels in the province. The students also
demand the immediate restoration of Albanian-language instruction
at Pristina University, where for some years professors have taught
only in Serbo-Croatian. On 1 October, police broke up the first major
protest by Kosovar students in years. Meanwhile in Belgrade, local
student leaders told "Nasa Borba" that they are in contact with the
Albanian students in Pristina and hope to meet with them soon.
Visiting student leaders from Ljubljana promised computers and
other equipment to the Belgrade students.

CROATIAN ANTI-FASCISTS CRITICIZE GOVERNMENT. Spokesmen for
the League of Anti-Fascist Fighters of Croatia said in Zagreb on 16
October that their members, who fought the Axis powers during
World War II, do not receive all the benefits to which they are
legally entitled, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Croatian
capital. The spokesmen charged that the veterans are paid smaller
pensions than those they should receive and that their rights to
housing and to officially recognized invalid status are not respected.
The veterans of Josip Broz Tito's Partisan movement, who enjoyed
many privileges under communist rule, also charged that the current
authorities belittle the Partisans' war record and praise Tito's
enemies as Croatia's true patriots. Meanwhile, the government
announced that it and UN officials have uncovered two criminal rings
smuggling automobiles and coffee to Yugoslavia via eastern Slavonia.

ALBANIA'S BERISHA REFUSES TO ATTEND ROME CONFERENCE. Former
President Sali Berisha said in Tirana on 16 October that he will not
attend an international conference of foreign aid donors, which
opened in Rome on 17 October. Berisha said his inclusion in an
Albanian delegation led by the Socialists would only be "a facade." He
demanded that he have an opportunity in Rome to present the views
of his Democratic Party instead. Representatives of the Organization
on Security and Cooperation in Europe said, however, that Berisha
will be able to state his opinions and that his presence is most
desirable, especially in talks on constitutional reform. Albania's
foreign aid donors are anxious to stabilize the country's political life
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 October 1997).

POLITICAL TURMOIL CONTINUES OVER ROMANIAN
'REVOLUTIONARIES.' The Chamber of Deputies on 16 October
approved the government's request to postpone the debate on
amending the law granting benefits to participants in the 1989
uprising. The vote was cast without the participation of deputies of
the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), who announced
they are boycotting the legislature's debates in solidarity with the
strikers, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. At a press conference
later on 16 October, PDSR leader Ion Iliescu accused the government
of using the dispute over the law to deflect attention from the
"dramatic collapse of the economy and of living standards." He said
accusations that the PDSR have instigated the strike are "monstrously
absurd," Mediafax reported. Also on 16 October, Transport Minister
Traian Basescu criticized President Emil Constantinescu for having
intervened in the dispute and thus weakened the government's
position.

EBRD PRESIDENT IN BUCHAREST. Jacques de Larosiere, the president
of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, met with
President Constantinescu, Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea, National
Bank governor Mugur Isarescu, and Finance Minister Mircea Ciumara
in Bucharest on 16 October, RFE/RL's bureau in the Romanian capital
reported. Constantinescu said the discussion concentrated on
Romanian infrastructure development and some "negative aspects" of
Romanian bureaucracy. De Larosiere said he is "positively impressed"
by the progress of reforms, adding that the EBRD intends to play a
"truly historic role" in the transformation of Romania's economy if
such progress continues. Ciorbea said Bucharest is aiming for the
rapid privatization of the banking sector.

TIRASPOL REJECTS AGREEMENT DRAFTED BY EXPERTS. Authorities in
the breakaway Transdniester region have rejected the power-
sharing agreement drafted by Moldovan and Transdniestrian experts
in Moscow at their 5-9 October meeting, Infotag and Interfax
reported. A meeting scheduled for 16 October between President
Petru Lucinschi and separatist leader Igor Smirnov to consider the
agreement did not take place. Moldovan presidential counselor
Anatol Taranu said he doubts the agreement will be signed "in the
near future". Smirnov is still examining the agreement, he noted.
Vladimir Atamanyuk, the deputy chairman of the Transdniester
Supreme Soviet, said in Chisinau that "such a rough draft cannot be
submitted [for approval] to such a high-level CIS meeting" as the one
scheduled for 22-23 October in Chisinau. He added that further work
on the draft is needed.

VAN DEN BROEK IN BULGARIA. EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner
Hans van den Broek said during his one-day visit to Sofia on 16
October that the EU is convinced that Bulgaria's future is in the union.
After meeting with President Petar Stoyanov and Prime Minister
Ivan Kostov, Van den Broek told reporters the EU is very encouraged
by the "very ambitious and courageous" reform process set in motion
by the government. He said the reason for his visit was to confirm
the EU's commitment to Bulgarian membership in the union, which,
he said, is an "irrevocable process," Reuters reported. Van den Broek
signed a $22.4 million Social Assistance and Job Creation Program to
help some of the neediest groups to cope with unemployment and
winter conditions.. In other news, the National Employment Service
on 16 October announced that unemployment in September dropped
to 11.5 percent from 13.9 percent the previous month.

BULGARIA STARTS CLEARING LAND MINES NEAR GREEK BORDER.
Bulgaria on 16 October began clearing land mines from its border
with Greece. Atanas Gonevski, the head of the engineering
department of the border guards, said some 556 anti-personnel
mines will be dismantled from a 2-kilometer swath of land near the
village of Orlitsa. He added that he hoped the operation will be
concluded within two weeks. It could take as long as three years to
clear all the mines from a 70-kilometer stretch of the border. He said
some 80 percent of the mines are in the vicinity of the town of
Momchilgrad, Reuters reported.

END NOTE

HOW THE CIS MAY END

by Paul Goble

        The continued existence of the Commonwealth of Independent
States is now threatened both by the leaders of member countries
who think it is doing too much and by those who think it is not doing
enough. The only thing those two sides seem to agree on is that
Moscow is to blame, either because the Russian government has used
the CIS as a cover for its own national agenda or because it has
neglected to promote the organization's development.
        Both views are very much on public display as leaders of the
12 former Soviet republics prepare for the upcoming CIS summit in
the Moldovan capital of Chisinau.
        On 13 October, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said in
his weekly radio address that Tbilisi may soon look for other
partners if Moscow keeps ignoring Georgia's interests and
prerogatives as an independent country. He said Georgians are
increasingly angered by what he described as Moscow's crude
Soviet-style approach to Georgia and the other members of the CIS.
Shevardnadze also indicated that unless the Russian government
changed its approach to Georgia, he would look for other partners in
the West, all of whom, he stressed, have shown greater respect for
his country and its interests.
        The next day, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma took a
different tack, blaming the organization's failure squarely on
Moscow. Kuchma said that Russia had done little or nothing to
promote the CIS as an institution. Kuchma made those remarks
during his visit to Kazakhstan, whose leader, President Nursultan
Nazarbayev, has regularly urged that the CIS be strengthened and
possibly transformed into what he calls a Eurasian Union.
        At one level, this debate is simply a continuation of the one
that has spanned the almost six-year history of the CIS. In March, for
example, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine, who
have been promoting cooperation among themselves at the expense
of CIS ties, considered not attending a CIS summit to protest both
Russian actions and the suggestions by several Moscow analysts that
the Russian government take an even tougher line toward CIS
countries.
        But the problems are deeper than that, reflecting divisions
inherent in the organization from the outset.
        Since the creation of the CIS in December 1991, some of its
members have viewed the organization as a kind of divorce court, an
institution that would allow them to negotiate the division of spoils
from the former Soviet Union. Other countries have hoped the
organization would serve as the basis either for continued
cooperation among the former Soviet republics or even for their
reintegration into a single political system.
        Neither side has been happy with what has happened, but the
reasons for their unhappiness vary widely and often in unexpected
ways. Some of the biggest advocates of the CIS, such as Kazakhstan's
Nazarbayev, have wanted a tighter organization not so much in order
to return to Russian domination but rather to rule out that possibility
by establishing rules Moscow would have to follow. And some of the
biggest opponents of improving CIS operation, including many in the
Russian capital, have opposed developing the organization in that
direction lest it restrict Moscow's freedom of action in dealing with
its neighbors.
        Thus, while many Russian officials have claimed that the CIS is
a regional security organization, they have been unwilling to fully
respect the rights of non-Russian countries, including Georgia, with
regard to the basing of troops and other matters.
        At another level, however, the arguments now being advanced
by Shevardnadze, Kuchma, and other leaders of CIS member states
may have more profound consequences. On the one hand, they could
lead to a new agreement among the current states, one covering
fewer issues but covering those in greater detail. This would
formalize something that has been true but has gone largely
unrecognized: namely, the 12 member countries are increasingly
independent and are not interested in a single plan for reintegration
sponsored by Moscow.
        On the other hand, those arguments could prompt current
members to decide, as Shevardnadze has suggested, that some
countries beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union are far
more reliable partners. Either of those developments would spell the
end of the CIS as it has existed until now.
        At the upcoming meeting in Chisinau, the first development is
by far the more likely outcome. But the second is also possible, and
Russian policy may even be promoting it. In addition to the actions
about which both Shevardnadze and Kuchma have complained,
Moscow is currently subverting the CIS by forming various bilateral
and multilateral relations with CIS member states, thus calling into
question the utility of the organization.
        As a result, the days of the Commonwealth of Independent
States now appear to be numbered. The only question still open is
whether it ends with a bang or a whimper.






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