If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 146, Part II, 24 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

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Headlines, Part II

* RUSSIAN PRESIDENT ON CIS'S SHORTCOMINGS

* BELARUS HELSINKI COMMITTEE LEADER CHARGED

* BULATOVIC CALLS OFF PROTESTS IN MONTENEGRO

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS HELSINKI COMMITTEE LEADER CHARGED. Belarusian
authorities on 23 October briefly detained Tatyana Protska, the
leader of the Belarus Helsinki Committee, and charged her with
interfering with a police investigation, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service
reported. Protska is due in court on 24 October and, if convicted,
faces a possible jail term of 15 days. Protska was scheduled to go to
Switzerland on 25-26 October to present a report on the human
rights situation in Belarus to a UN conference, but she has been told
that she cannot leave the country.

BRITAIN TO HELP UKRAINE CLOSE CHORNOBYL. The British and
Ukrainian governments on 23 October agreed that London will send
British experts to help Kyiv close the Chornobyl nuclear power plant
by the year 2000, ITAR-TASS reported. The memorandum of
understanding, signed in Slavutich, also calls for Britain to supply
some 200,000 pounds toward delinking the Chornobyl plant from the
Ukrainian electric power grid.

LITHUANIA, RUSSIA TO SIGN BORDER DEMARCATION ACCORD.
Presidents Algirdas Brazauskas and Boris Yeltsin are scheduled to
sign a border demarcation agreement in Moscow on 24 October,
ITAR-TASS and BNS reported. Currently on three-day visit to Russia,
Brazauskas suggested the previous day that Vilnius is prepared to
sell electricity to Kaliningrad, the Russian region located between
Lithuania and Poland.

BLACK THURSDAY ON ESTONIAN STOCK MARKET. The Estonian
exchange's TALSE index dropped a record 15.3 percent on 23
October, BNS reported. The managing director of Tallinn's Hoiupank
Asset Management group Kristjan Hanni said he expected the decline
to continue on 24 October and possibly to spread to the exchanges in
neighboring  Latvia and Lithuania. Triggered by the recent meltdown
on the Hong Kong exchange, the decline reflects liquidity problems in
the Estonian market and widespread investments on margins rather
than an attack on the Estonian currency. Responding to suggestions
that such an attack has occurred, the Bank of Estonia issued a
statement declaring it will guarantee the stability of the kroon.

ESTONIA, LATVIA, RUSSIA NAMED AS TB "HOT ZONES." A recent
study by the World Health Organization lists Estonia, Latvia, and
Russia's Ivanovo Oblast as "hot zones" of untreatable tuberculosis
that could threaten a global crisis, BNS reported on 23 October,  citing
Western sources. India, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and the
Ivory Coast are also named as countries where many people
suffering from TB stop taking drugs as soon as they feel better or run
out of money, allowing the disease still in their bodies to mutate so
that one or more medicines no longer work. The incidence of drug-
resistant TB in these "hot zones" is so high as to threaten to
overwhelm local health systems. WHO stresses that "acquired drug
resistance" is entirely preventable with proper care. The study was
conducted among 50,000 patients in 35 nations.

WAS LANDSBERGIS UNDER KGB SURVEILLANCE IN 1980S?
Lithuanian Prosecutor-General Kazys Pednycia on 23 October
announced he has found documents indicating that the Soviet KGB
kept parliamentary speaker Vytautas  Landsbergis under
surveillance from the beginning of the 1980s on suspicion  of "anti-
Soviet and nationalist activities," according to Interfax. Pednycia said
the documents were retrieved from KGB archives after Soviet secret
service officers had testified to a Lithuanian screening committee
that Landsbergis had collaborated with the KGB. That committee
recently rejected the officers' testimony as "legally insignificant."
Landsbergis categorically denies the collaboration charges.

"TOUGH" TALKS DELAY FORMATION OF POLISH GOVERNMENT. Prime
Minister-designate Jerzy Buzek on 23 October said that "difficult and
tough" talks between the two coalition parties, his Solidarity Electoral
Action and the Freedom Union, have forced him to delay the
announcement of the line-up of the new government until 28
October, PAP reported.

ZIELENIEC OUT, SEDIVY IN AS CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER. Following
the surprise resignation of Josef Zieleniec on 23 October, Czech
President Vaclav Havel moved quickly to prevent the departure
from undermining the coalition government. The same day, Havel
named Jaroslav Sedivy to replace Zieleniec, CTK reported. Zieleniec
said he was leaving because of confusion within his own Civic Union
Party. Sedivy, 67, is a former dissident who was jailed in 1970-1971.
He has been the Czech ambassador to NATO and Belgium. Sedivy said
he was taking the job "for the sake of stability" in the Czech Republic.

CZECHS TO REINTRODUCE VISA REGIME FOR CIS CITIZENS. Tomas
Gajsman, the head of the Czech Interior Ministry's migration service,
told ITAR-TASS on 23 October that Prague is reintroducing a visa
requirement for citizens of countries of the Commonwealth of
Independent States in order to protect the security of the Czech
Republic. Gajsman said the government has been forced to do so
because of a rising tide of criminal offenses committed by Russian-
speaking visitors.  Gajsman also said Prague will no longer grant
asylum to Russians who seek asylum on economic grounds.

TURKEY, SLOVAKIA SIGN DEFENSE INDUSTRY, TRAINING ACCORDS.
Slovak Defense Minister Jan Sitek and visiting Turkish Deputy
Premier and Defense Minister Ismet Sezgin have signed defense
industry cooperation and military training accords, the "Turkish Daily
News" reported on 23 October. At the signing ceremony, Sitek
stressed the importance of this cooperation, while Sezgin reassured
Bratislava that Turkey supports NATO and EU membership for
Slovakia.

HUNGARIAN PREMIER UNDER FIRE. Addressing a gathering in Vecses,
southeastern Hungary, marking the anniversary of the 1956
uprising,  Jozsef Torgyan, the chairman of the Smallholders' Party,
said it is unacceptable for the head of government to be someone
who "helped crush the 1956 revolution." Democratic Forum leader
Sandor Lezsa similarly told a gathering in Budapest that no
reconciliation is possible as long as Gyula Horn remains prime
minister. Meanwhile, President Arpad Goncz, Prime Minister Horn,
and parliamentary chairman Zoltan Gal on 23 October attended a
ceremony outside the parliament building in Budapest and at the
near-by statue of executed Premier Imre Nagy.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BULATOVIC CALLS OFF PROTESTS IN MONTENEGRO. Outgoing
President Momir Bulatovic appealed to his supporters in Podgorica
on 23 October to end their daily demonstrations in favor of a new
presidential vote (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 October 1997). He said
he will seek to have Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's presidential
victory overturned via institutional channels, not via demonstrations.
Meanwhile in Belgrade, Serbian Television's reporting on Montenegro
was more balanced that it has been for some time, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported.  Earlier that day, Western diplomats had
urged Serbian Information Minister Radmila Milentijevic to moderate
the state-controlled media's pro-Bulatovic coverage of Montenegrin
affairs.

MILOSEVIC'S PARTY NAMES SERBIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic will represent President
Slobodan Milosevic's United Left Coalition in the 7 December Serbian
presidential elections, the coalition's leaders announced in Belgrade.
Elsewhere in the Serbian capital, Radical Party leader and
presidential candidate Vojislav Seselj appeared in court for
questioning in conjunction with a July incident in which a prominent
human rights lawyer claims he was beaten by Seselj and his
bodyguard. The court must decide whether to bring formal charges
against Seselj.

AIDE TO MILOSEVIC'S WIFE KILLED IN BELGRADE. Unidentified
gunmen killed Zoran Todorovic, otherwise known as "Kundak," in the
Serbian capital's Novi Beograd district on 24 October. Todorovic was
the secretary-general of the United Yugoslav Left, a communist party
headed by Mirjana Markovic, the wife of Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic. He was also a prominent businessman and
managing director of the Beopetrol company, which imports fuel.
Police are investigating.

KARADZIC AIDE TO HEAD BOSNIAN SERB ELECTION SLATE. The
Serbian Democratic Party leadership agreed in Pale on 23 October
that party chief Aleksa Buha will head the SDS slate in the
parliamentary vote set for 23 November. Buha represents the party's
particularly hard-line faction around former party leader Radovan
Karadzic. Also in Pale, Republika Srpska Prime Minister Gojko
Klickovic sent congratulations to Montenegrin President-elect Milo
Djukanovic. Observers said the message was a sign that Pale wants
good relations with Podgorica despite the political enmity between
Djukanovic and Milosevic, on whom Pale also depends for support.

U.S. NAMES NEW AMBASSADOR TO CROATIA. The White House on 23
October announced that William Dale Montgomery will soon replace
Peter Galbraith as ambassador to Croatia. Montgomery was
ambassador to Bulgaria from 1993 to 1996 and had served in the
1970s at the U.S. embassy in Belgrade. Many observers credit
Galbraith with being largely responsible for negotiating an end to the
Croat-Muslim war of 1993 and for subsequently establishing the
Croatian-Muslim federation in Bosnia. Galbraith also helped cement
close diplomatic and military links between Zagreb and Washington
and for much of 1994 and 1995 was widely regarded as the second
most influential man in Croatia, after President Franjo Tudjman.
Meanwhile in Split, a local court issued an international arrest
warrant on 23 October for Cedo Blaskovic, the owner of the Rijeka-
Nafta shipping company. He is wanted in conjunction with charges
stemming from the explosion of one of his tankers earlier in October.

CROATIA ASSESSES WAR LOSSES. A Croatian government spokesman
on 23 October said that, according to an official commission, 2,197
people are still officially listed as missing in conjunction  with the
1991 war. Observers said most of the missing are believed buried in
mass graves in formerly Serb-held areas. As a result of cooperation
with the Belgrade authorities, the cases of 350 individuals previously
listed as missing have been cleared up. Also in Zagreb, a new book
appeared that puts Croatia's total losses from the dissolution of the
former Yugoslavia and from the following conflict at $45 billion.

FOUR ALBANIAN OPPOSITION DEPUTIES START HUNGER STRIKE. Four
opposition parliamentary deputies began a hunger strike outside the
Albanian Radio and Television building in Tirana on 23 October.
They are protesting what they say are the state-controlled electronic
media's failure to cover the Democratic Party's daily anti-
government protests over the past  month, "Rilindja Demokratike"
reported. The goal of those demonstrations is to force new elections.
In other news, Prosecutor-General Arben Rakipi told "Gazeta
Shqiptare" that investigations into the Gjallica pyramid scheme show
that the Democrats and the daily "Albania" received donations from
the company. Rakipi gave no figures but added that the recipients
will be questioned and may be asked to return the money.

ALBANIAN LEGISLATURE TO INVESTIGATE SPRING ANARCHY. The
parliament on 23 October appointed a commission to investigate
developments leading to the lawlessness in the country between
January and April, in which more than 2,000 people died. The
commission is headed by Spartak Ngjela, a member of the Monarchist
Party who was justice minister in the interim government this year,
"Shekulli" reported. The commission will be assisted by 12 experts
from the Prosecutor-General's Office, who will provide professional
advice but will not be empowered to indict suspects. The
parliamentary commission will decide whether legal charges will be
brought against individuals (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 October
1997). Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister Perikli Teta said he will
bring legal charges against all high-ranking army officers in
connection with the disintegration of the army in the spring, "Gazeta
Shqiptare" reported.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT GIVES ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT. Emil
Constantinescu told a forum on youth problems in Sinaia on 23
October that  the government must devote more attention to solving
the country's economic problems and leave other issues to the
parliament. He said the practice of ruling by "government ordinance,"
instead of passing regular parliamentary legislation, must be
stopped, except when economic legislation is urgently needed. He
also noted that ongoing debates such as those on the
"revolutionaries'" hunger strike or on accessing the files of the
communist-era secret services must be left to the legislature.
Constantinescu added that Romania's politicians pay attention to
young people only when youths  stage "street protests." He added  he
has asked the government to present in November a report its first
year in office, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported.

FINAL SPLIT IN ASSOCIATION OF FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS.
The Ticu Dumitrescu faction of the Association of Former Political
Prisoners in Romania (AFPPR) re-elected Dumitrescu as its leader at
a congress in Brasov on 23 October, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. Addressing the gathering, Dumitrescu accused the
leadership of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic
(PNTCD) of indulging in "politics of intrigue" and of having enlisted
the support of former members of the fascist Iron Guard in order to
stage his ouster as AFPPR leader at a recent rival congress of the
association (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October 1997). Cicerone
Ioanitoiu, who was elected AFPPR leader by the rival congress,
backed down from his announced intention to run for the position
voted on in  Brasov as well, declaring the gathering "illegal."

BULGARIAN LEADERS ADDRESS FOREIGN INVESTORS. Speaking at the
opening of an investors' forum in Sofia on 23 October, Prime Minster
Ivan Kostov promised to accelerate privatization and the liquidation
of money-losing state enterprises in order to attract foreign
investment, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported.  Kostov said his
government plans to eliminate 30 percent of loss-making enterprises
by the end of 1998 and will have closed  90 percent of such
companies by the year 2001. Also addressing the conference,
President Petar Stoyanov said the Bulgarian reforms are an
irreversible process that enjoy the support of the public and most
political forces.

BULGARIAN MUSLIMS HAVE NEW LEADER. Bulgaria's Muslims have
chosen  a new spiritual leader, ending a long and bitter row between
the country's two rival Muslim councils, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau and
Reuters reported on 23 October. Mustafa Alish Hadzha, aged 35, was
elected chief mufti at a conference that unified the two councils and
approved the statues of a new High Muslim Council. Neither former
rival Muslim leaders--Nedim Gendjev, appointed by the Communists
in 1988, and Fikri Sali, elected by a rival council to replace Gendjev
in 1995--ran for election. The unification conference also decided to
launch court proceedings against Gendjev for alleged
misappropriation of Muslim property.


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