Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 145, Part II, 23 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

*CIS SUMMIT OPENS IN CHISINAU


*KUCHMA SIGNS ELECTION LAW, DENOUNCES PARLIAMENT


*MONTENEGRIN POLICE CLOSE ALBANIAN VILLAGE TO MILOSEVIC
BACKERS

End Note
DRAWING BORDERS GEOGRAPHIC AND POLITICAL
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REGIONAL AFFAIRS

CIS SUMMIT OPENS IN CHISINAU. Ten of the 12 CIS presidents
arrived in Chisinau on 22 October to attend the 21st CIS heads of
state summit. (Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov is sick, and
Georgia's Eduard Shevardnadze arrived one day later) The CIS
foreign ministers failed to reach agreement on the proposed creation
of a committee to resolve conflicts within or between member states.
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov said some states want
that body to be purely consultative, while other unnamed countries
share Russia's support for vesting it with the authority to take
administrative measures and deploy peacekeepers, ITAR-TASS
reported. The foreign ministers did, however, agree on a plan for
resolving the Abkhaz conflict, which will be submitted to the heads
of state on 23 October, Russian presidential spokesman Sergei
Yastrzhembskii told ITAR-TASS.

MOST PARTICIPANTS NOT OPTIMISTIC. On arriving in Chisinau,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin noted that the CIS heads of state
"have not met for a long time" and have drifted apart somewhat. He
expressed the hope that the Chisinau gathering will serve to "glue"
relations between member countries. (On the eve previous summit in
March, a Russian blueprint for subverting several CIS member states
was published, causing outrage among participants and contributing
to the postponement of the current summit.) Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma expressed the hope that the gathering will give
impetus to the CIS's further development. His Azerbaijani
counterpart, Heidar Aliev, said he hopes the CIS will become "more
effective" but as a "union of equal nations [that will not] be
dominated by one country " Uzbek President Islam Karimov also
stressed that CIS member countries must remain independent. He
warned against attempts either to revive the USSR or to conclude
alternative unions within the CIS.

INTER-STATE COUNCIL PRESIDENTS MEET. The presidents of the four
members of the CIS Inter-State Council (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
and Kyrgyzstan) met in Moscow on 22 October before flying to
Chisinau, Russian agencies reported. They adopted a 13-point
document on increasing economic cooperation and strengthening
integration. That document provides for transferring the
chairmanship of the CIS Customs Union from Belarus to Kazakh
President Nursultan Nazarbaev, introducing unified customs duties
by the end of 1997, strengthening the work of the CIS Inter-State
Economic Committee, and drafting a coordinated policy to prepare
CIS states for membership of the World Trade Organization. The
presidents approved in principle a request by Tajik President
Imomali Rakhmonov for his country to be admitted to the Customs
Union.

TOP-LEVEL MEETING ON TRANSDIESTER... Presidents Yeltsin (Russia),
Leonid Kuchma (Ukraine), and Petru Lucinschi (Moldova) took part in
a "special meeting" on 23 October convened to discuss the
Transdniester conflict, BASA-press reported. Yeltsin later told
journalists that he "accepts" the proposals submitted by Lucinschi,
but the Russian leader did not specify what those proposals were.
Infotag reported that a Moldovan draft prepared for the meeting was
based on the agreement recently reached in Moscow at the tripartite
negotiations with Tiraspol representatives (see "RFE/RL Newsletter,"
10 October 1997). Yeltsin also said Russia's policy is clear: "We
recognize Moldova's integrity and independence and all problems
must be solved in Chisinau." He also stressed the position of State
Duma deputies on the Transdniester conflict does not represent the
official Russian stance.

...WHILE TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADER FAILS TO SHOW UP. Meanwhile,
Igor Smirnov has failed to arrive at the CIS summit now under way
in Chisinau, BASA-press reported on 23 October. Vladimir
Atamanyuk, the deputy chairman of the breakaway region's
Supreme Soviet, said Moldovan Premier Ion Ciubuc's invitation to
Smirnov to attend both the summit and the "special meeting" at
presidential level had arrived "only yesterday," despite the fact that
preparations for the summit have been "on-going for two months."

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KUCHMA SIGNS ELECTION LAW, DENOUNCES PARLIAMENT. In a
speech carried on Ukrainian Television on 22 October, Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma announced he has signed the law
regulating the upcoming parliamentary elections. But he sharply
criticized parliamentary deputies for "populism that borders on
madness" for passing legislation without taking into account the
financial resources of the country. And he called on the Ukrainian
population to show maturity and vote for "morally clear and decent"
deputies. Meanwhile, U.S. special adviser on aid to the newly
independent states Richard Morningstar told Kuchma that
Washington backs the Ukrainian president's policy of budgetary
restraint and that the U.S. will continue its policy of "strategic
cooperation" with Kyiv.

UKRAINE, ROMANIA EXCHANGE TREATY RATIFICATION DOCUMENTS.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko and his visiting
Romanian counterpart, Adrian Severin, on 22 October exchanged
documents confirming the ratification of the basic treaty signed by
the two countries in June, Interfax and Radio Bucharest reported.
Both ministers said the treaty signifies a "radical turning point" in
bilateral relations. Udovenko told journalists that both countries have
"progressive legislation" on the rights of national minorities and that
there is no "political obstacle" to education in the mother tongue for
the Romanian minority in Ukraine. But he added there are "technical
and financial difficulties" that must be overcome.

BELARUS DOES NOT WANT TO JOIN EU. At a press conference
following his meeting with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk
ash-Shara, Belarusian Foreign Minister Ivan Antonovich said his
country has no interest in joining the EU anytime soon, Interfax-West
reported on 22 October. "We want to establish relations of equality
with all European organizations," Antonovich said, "but we follow our
own road." The EU has been sharply critical of the increasingly
authoritarian policies of Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka.

KUROPATY CASE REOPENED. The Belarusian Prosecutor-General's
Office has reopened the investigation into Kuropaty, a mass grave on
the outskirts of Minsk, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 23
October. "Slaviansky Nabat" quoted a member of the original
independent investigative commission as saying the results of the
original inquiry were falsified. Siarhiej Kascian, also a member of the
original commission and currently the deputy director of the lower
house's International Affairs Committee, told an RFE/RL
correspondent that it was not the NKVD that was responsible for the
deaths of those Belarusian citizens buried at Kuropaty, as the
commission had concluded, but Nazi troops. The original investigation
into Kuropaty was conducted in 1988-1989 and headed by
archeologist Zianon Pazniak, currently leader-in-exile of the
opposition Belarusian Popular Front. That panel concluded that from
1937-1941, the Belarusian NKVD shot some 250,000 citizens and
buried them in an unmarked mass grave outside Minsk.

ESTONIAN PREMIER STANDS BY HIS DEFENSE MINISTER. Mart
Siimann has reconfirmed he will not fire Defense Minister Andrus
Oovel, ETA reported on 22 October. The parliamentary State Defense
Committee recently called for Oovel's dismissal on the grounds of the
poor legislative record of his ministry (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13
October 1997). "I am not the sort of lousy prime minister who sacks
the defense minister when the State Defense Committee proposes
[such a move]," Siimann said. He also stressed he does not believe the
problems related to state defense can be solved by sacking one man.

INVESTIGATION INTO LITHUANIAN ARMS DEAL REOPENED. The
Prosecutor-General's Office has reopened a criminal investigation into
abuse of office and negligence at the Defense Ministry over the
1992-1993 acquisition of weaponry from the Russian navy, BNS
reported on 22 October. Among those under scrutiny is former
Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius, a parliamentary deputy who
is also charged with large-scale fraud in a separate, more recent case.
A spokesman for the prosecutor-general said the investigation into
the arms deal was terminated in August 1995 "without grounds" and
that all facts linked to the case were not fully clarified. Under the
deal, the construction firm Selma built apartment houses for Russian
army troops in Kaliningrad in exchange for Russian weaponry. It is
alleged that the Defense Ministry, under Butkevicius's leadership,
paid Selma too much for the arms and equipment.

CZECH BUDGET NARROWLY PASSES ON FIRST READING. The
parliament voted 99 to 97 to approve the government's budget in
the first reading, CTK reported on 22 October. This victory for Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus's cabinet was possible only because four
deputies did not take part in the voting. Parliamentary spokesmen
said they expect the legislature to approve the measure in the
subsequent two readings. Meanwhile, "Mlada Fronta Dnes" reported
on 22 October that officials in the eastern city of Ostrava are actively
considering giving Roma families there money for air tickets so they
can leave the country. Human rights groups around the world have
been sharply critical of the rising tide of anti-Roma attitudes in
Eastern Europe.

SLOVAK POLICE BREAK UP NUCLEAR PLANT PROTEST. Slovak police
on 22 October roughed up Greenpeace activists who tried to project
an anti-nuclear slogan on the Mohovce nuclear power plant, Czech
Television reported. The activists said they will seek to bring charges
against the officers. TASR, meanwhile, said the police behaved in a
proper way.

HUNGARIAN RULING ON CROATIAN CLAIM OVER MISSING ARMS. A
parliamentary sub-committee on 21 October ruled that Croatia does
not have a valid claim for compensation over a missing shipment of
automatic rifles paid for in 1990, Hungarian media reported. At the
same time, it ruled that the company acting as an intermediary
between Zagreb and the Hungarian firm that failed to deliver the
paid-for shipment is entitled to compensation. Two earlier shipments
were delivered to Croatia on the eve of the civil war in former
Yugoslavia, despite protests by Belgrade.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MONTENEGRIN POLICE CLOSE ALBANIAN VILLAGE TO MILOSEVIC
BACKERS. Police on 23 October blocked the road to the mainly ethnic
Albanian village of Tuzi to an automobile convoy carrying supporters
of outgoing President Momir Bulatovic. The previous day in
Podgorica, speakers at a rally of 5,000 Bulatovic backers demanded
weapons for supporters of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
and his ally Bulatovic. They also charged that "traitors and Muslims"
had voted for President-elect Milo Djukanovic. Bulatovic, for his part,
called for new elections "as soon as possible." Montenegrin police
officials blamed the leaders of the demonstration for what the police
called the worsening security situation in Podgorica, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital. The
Montenegrin government's Information Department warned its
Serbian counterpart in a letter that Montenegro will take
"appropriate legal measures" unless the government-backed
Belgrade media stop their "unobjective and tendentious reporting"
about Djukanovic.

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS TO BOYCOTT ELECTIONS. Democratic
Party leader Zoran Djindjic and Democratic Party of Serbia head
Vojislav Kostunica said in Belgrade on 22 October that their
formations will not take part in the Serbian presidential elections
slated for 7 December. The two Milosevic opponents charged that the
government has not created the basic conditions for free and fair
elections, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission began to register presidential
candidates and will continue to do so until 17 November. A potential
candidate needs to collect 10,000 signatures of registered voters to
qualify for a place on the ballot.

KOSOVO ALBANIANS TO RELAUNCH PROTESTS. Leaders of Kosovar
students said in a letter to foreign diplomats on 22 October that the
students will resume demonstrations on 29 October, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Pristina. 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. The
"New York Times" and the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
suggested recently that the clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army may
attract increasing support from young people if peaceful protests
continue to be broken up or prove ineffective.

NATO TO SEND MORE TROOPS TO BOSNIA FOR REPUBLIKA SRPSKA
VOTE. Diplomats said in Brussels on 22 October that an additional
1,000 SFOR troops will go to Bosnia to help ensure order during the
23 November Bosnian Serb parliamentary elections. The contingent
will include soldiers from non-NATO member states as well as from
NATO countries. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, spokesmen for the UN's
international police force said UN police have found and confiscated
illegal weapons from a Serbian police station in Brcko.

WORLD BANK PRAISES BOSNIAN PRIVATIZATION LAW. Officials of
the World Bank and other international economic organizations said
in Sarajevo on 22 October that the laws passed by the mainly
Croatian and Muslim Federation's parliament the previous day will
go far to help attract foreign investment and promote recovery. The
laws deal with the privatization of state firms, the sale of
apartments, and the settlement of war-related claims. Observers said
the measures are similar to those adopted in many other former
communist countries, except that the Bosnian laws also deal with
damages and claims stemming from the war.

CROATIA HAS NEW COMMUNIST PARTY. Stipe Suvar, a former leader
of the League of Communists of Croatia, said in Zagreb on 23 October
that he has founded the Socialist Workers Party of Croatia (SRPH)
and that the party will hold its founding congress on 25 October.
Suvar added that he expects the SRPH to attract large numbers of
women, young people, and members of ethnic minorities, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Zagreb. Observers noted that leftist
parties attracted little support in Croatia as late as 1995, but that
Zdravko Tomac's Social Democrats are now the largest single
opposition party. Public opinion surveys regularly show that most
Croats have difficulty making ends meet.

ALBANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER WANTS BERISHA INDICTED. Neritan
Ceka on 22 October said Democratic Party leader and former
President Sali Berisha freed 52 dangerous criminals by decree in
March Ceka said he will provide evidence to parliament soon, "Koha
Jone" reported. He added that the prisoners were freed "to sabotage
the elections [in June and July] by using terror and violence." Ceka
called for a parliamentary commission to be set up to investigate the
matter and to press legal charges against Berisha. Meanwhile,
Defense Minister Sabit Brokaj accused former army commander
General Adem Cobani of having ordered troops on three occasions
during the unrest to fire on civilians (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21
October 1997). Speaking in the parliament on 22 October, he charged
that Berisha, who was commander-in-chief at the time, had been
involved in the incidents. Cobani also claimed that the army
prepared chemical weapons and rockets for use against Vlora,
Permet, and other southern towns, "Shekulli" reported.

BIG AID PLEDGES FOR ALBANIA. The international donors'
conference on Albania ended in Brussels on 21 October with the
approval of a $600 million aid package. Of that sum, $100 million is
to help cut the budget deficit and the other $500 million to support
infrastructure, development, and administrative reform over the
next two years. World Bank representatives, however, stressed that
the availability of the aid will depend on the government's
willingness to close down pyramid investment schemes. The donors
earmarked some $1 million for that purpose. A further $30 million is
available as humanitarian relief. The IMF said it hopes Albania will
cut its inflation from 50 percent in 1997 to 15 to 20 percent the next
year. It also wants Tirana to boost GDP growth from 8 percent this
year to 12 percent in 1998.

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION DEMONSTRATION IN BUCHAREST. Defying
an order by the Bucharest Mayor's Office, the opposition
demonstration against the government's policies was held in the
capital's Senate Square on 22 October, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. That square is the scene of an ongoing hunger strike by the
"1989 revolutionaries" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 October 1997).
Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of the Greater Romania Party,
Adrian Nastase, the deputy chairman of the Party of Social
Democracy in Romania, and Adrian Paunescu, the first deputy
chairman of the Socialist Labor Party, addressed an estimated crowd
of some 5,00O. Scuffles broke out when some demonstrators tried to
break the police cordon and join the striking "revolutionaries." Also
on 22 October, five of the hunger strikers were hospitalized following
13 days without food.

REHABILITATION OF ANTONESCU GOVERNMENT BEGINS. Prosecutor-
General Sorin Moisescu on 22 October launched the procedure for the
judicial rehabilitation of several members of Romania's fascist
government headed by Marshal Ion Antonescu. Those officials were
sentenced in 1949 to prison sentences of between two and 10 years
and their property confiscated for "crimes against peace," Radio
Bucharest reported. An initiative to rehabilitate Antonescu, as well as
those executed with him in 1946 or those whose death sentences
were commuted to life imprisonment, has been under consideration
by the Prosecutor-General's office for several years now.

BULGARIA DISCLOSES NAMES OF FORMER COLLABORATORS. Interior
Minister Bogomil Bonev on 22 October revealed to the parliament
that 14 of its current members collaborated with the communist-era
secret police. Two of the named are members of the ruling Union of
Democratic Forces. Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Turkish ethnic
party, the Movement for Rights and Freedom, was also identified as a
collaborator. Bonev said Dogan worked for the secret services
between 1974 and 1988, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported. Dogan told
Reuters that the list is a plot aimed at removing his party from the
political scene. The other deputies identified by Bonev belong to the
opposition Socialist Party and the Business Bloc. The list, whose
publication is in line with the provision of a law passed in July, also
includes seven high-ranking government and judicial officials as well
as the directors of two state-owned banks.

END NOTE

DRAWING BORDERS GEOGRAPHIC AND POLITICAL

by Paul Goble

        Russian President Boris Yeltsin's willingness to sign a border
demarcation agreement with Lithuania now reflects the convergence
of three strands in Moscow's foreign policy in the Baltic region. But
when Yeltsin signs the demarcation agreement with visiting
Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas during his visit to the
Russian capital on 23-24 October, those strands may not be equally
obvious, even though all three are likely to prove equally important.
        First, Yeltsin's decision reflects Moscow's increasing willingness
to treat the three Baltic States in a differentiated fashion, rewarding
Lithuania, which has been the most cooperative, while putting
pressure on the other two.
        Second, it demonstrates an effort by the Russian government to
show it can and will develop better relations with the Baltics if those
countries are willing to cooperate. This is especially important in
Russian calculations because many in Scandinavia and the West view
progress in relations between Moscow and the Baltic States as the
"litmus test" of Russia's readiness to be accepted into Europe, as
former Swedish Premier Carl Bildt put it.
        Third, Yeltsin's decision appears to be part of a Russian effort
to portray Estonia and Latvia in the most negative light, hoping
thereby to reduce those states' attractiveness to Western partners
and as potential candidates for membership in the EU and NATO.
        At one level, those three strands of Russian policy appear
contradictory. Obviously, Moscow will have a difficult time in
simultaneously presenting itself as a good neighbor and seeking to
put pressure on two of the three Baltic States.
        But at another level, this combination of factors is consistent.
Yeltsin and the Russian foreign policy establishment are behaving
entirely rationally in treating the three Baltic countries differently.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are three very different countries with
very different domestic and international positions. Some Western
governments continue to treat them as a unit because of their history
of Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1991, but their very individual
situations both domestically and internationally justify a
differentiated approach.
        By dealing with the Balts in such a way, Yeltsin and Moscow
demonstrate that they recognize not only those countries' specific
approaches to domestic issues, such as the treatment of ethnic
Russians, but also the very different security problems of the three.
In addition, Yeltsin is to be given credit for backing an improved
relationship with the Baltic countries without any real danger of
having to live up to promises.
        The leaders of a number of factions in the Russian parliament
have already indicated they will not ratify any agreement Yeltsin
may sign with Brazauskas. As a result, Yeltsin will have the best of
both worlds: approbation from the West without a commitment to
follow the strictures of the agreement he appears likely to sign.
        Moreover, Yeltsin's very positive approach toward Lithuania
allows him to place enormous pressure on both Estonia and Latvia to
change their positions on a variety of issues or face ostracism from at
least some Western institutions. In particular, he may be forcing
Estonia's hand to change its approach lest it lose the support of its
West European partners, who have already indicated that they want
Estonia to begin in December the process of becoming a member of
the EU.
        That apparent calculation is unlikely to prove wrong, especially
if Western governments argue that Estonia and Latvia should make
the same concessions that the Lithuanians have in order to establish
good relations with Moscow. It may also ultimately prove the most
critical in the thinking of the Russian government. Both Russian
nationalists and the government have continued their criticism of
Estonia and Latvia for their attitudes toward their ethnic Russian
populations. And thus signing an accord with Lithuania only
highlights what Russian nationalists and Moscow see as the lack of
progress on this issue in the other two Baltic States.
        Even if Russia's apparent calculation backfires because the
West declines to follow its logic, Moscow has the choice of shifting
gears and signing border accords with Estonia and Latvia, as Yeltsin
has sometimes indicated he is willing to do. Thus, the Russian
government's latest effort to demarcate a region politically as well as
geographically appears to be a situation in which Moscow has much
to gain and very little to lose.

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