Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. - Thomas Carlyle
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 149, Part II, 30 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

*BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS MEDIA LAW AMENDMENTS


*POLAND'S BUZEK SUBMITS CABINET LINEUP


*HAGUE COURT CANNOT SUBPOENA STATES

End Note
WHAT LIES BEHIND SERBIAN SKINHEAD VIOLENCE AGAINST ROMA?
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS MEDIA LAW AMENDMENTS. By
a vote of 49 to one, the upper house of the parliament on 29 October
rejected 22 amendments to the media law, including one that bans
the dissemination of information defaming the president, Reuters
and RFE/RL's Minsk bureau reported. Deputies told the news agency
that the government-proposed amendments are unconstitutional.
Meeting with delegates to a Council of Europe conference on
journalism in Minsk the same day, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
maintained that he is "personally against censorship." He went on to
say that "no journalists in Belarus have ever been harassed for
criticizing my government."

DETAILS OF RUSSIAN-LATVIAN BORDER ACCORD FINALIZED.
Wrapping up 18-month talks, Russian and Latvian delegations
finalized the technical details of a border demarcation agreement at a
meeting in Pskov on 29 October, BNS reported. That accord still has
to be considered by the governments of both countries. A sticking
point in the border negotiations was Latvia's insistence that a
reference to the 1920 Riga Treaty be included. Latvia eventually
dropped that demand, but recently the Russian Foreign Ministry
accused Prime Minister Guntars Krasts of seeking to revive territorial
claims by suggesting that the law ratifying the agreement may refer
to the treaty (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 1997).

BUTKEVICIUS BEHIND BARS. Former Defense Minister and
independent deputy Audrius Butkevicius has been detained in a
Vilnius jail following a parliamentary vote to allow his arrest (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 29 October 1997), BNS reported. Butkevicius is
accused of accepting a bribe to use his influence to end a criminal
investigation. Deputy-Prosecutor General Kestutis Betingis told
reporters Butkevicius can be held for up to 48 hours, after which the
Prosecutor-General's Office must either release him or give reasons
for his continued detention.

POLAND'S BUZEK SUBMITS CABINET LINEUP. Forced to postpone the
announcement of his cabinet lineup for several hours owing to last-
minute haggling between the coalition parties, Prime Minister-
designate Jerzy Buzek submitted his government candidates to
President Aleksander Kwasniewski on 29 October. In addition to
those candidates announced the previous day (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 29 October 1997), Buzek proposed Janusz Tomaszewski, a
former car mechanic and deputy chairman of Solidarity Electoral
Action (AWS), as a deputy premier and interior minister. Two other
AWS members, Janusz Steinhoff and Longin Komolowski, are named
as economy and labor ministers and Eugeniusz Morawski of the
Freedom Union as transport minister. The cabinet is expected to be
sworn in on 31 October, the constitutional deadline for forming a new
government.

CZECH GOVERNMENT ASKS ROMA TO STAY... The government on 29
October called on Roma not to leave the country and urged Czechs to
improve relations with the Romani community. Twelve ministers
have been assigned tasks to help integrate Roma into society.
Following a meeting with President Vaclav Havel, Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus announced that the government "considers the Romani
community a natural part of our society" and "fully respects Romani
culture and its contribution to our country," CTK reported. Havel,
meanwhile, appealed to Czech citizens to "fight against all
unconscious and hidden elements of latent racism, which is dormant
in our society."

...WHILE BRATISLAVA SAYS ROMA SEEK SOCIAL ADVANTAGES. A
spokesman for the Slovak government on 29 October said the
emigration of the country's Roma community is motivated by social,
not political factors. He added that Roman are seeking to take
advantage of Britain's political asylum system, the RFE/RL Slovak
service reported.

SLOVAK PUBLISHERS PROTEST VAT INCREASE. Milos Nemecek, the
chairman of the Slovak Publishers' Association, has protested the
government's plan to increase value-added tax on publications from
6 to 23 percent, Slovakia media reported on 29 October. The increase
will apply to those publications in which advertising accounts for at
least 10 percent of the contents. Nemecek said the plan is an "attack
on the plurality of the press" because readers with small incomes
will have to give up their daily newspaper. The opposition sees the
plan as an attempt to silence criticism of the government, Slovak
media report. In March 1995, most Slovak dailies protested a similar
government proposal by printing a blank page.

HUNGARY'S LARGEST BANK PRIVATIZED. With the sale of more than
7 million shares, the privatization of Hungary's Savings Bank has
been more successful than expected, Hungarian media reported on
30 October. The two rounds of privatization of the country's largest
bank generated 52 billion forints ($267 million) in revenues for the
State Privatization and Holding Company. That sum is more than half
of the total revenues from the privatization of all other Hungarian
banks.

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HAGUE COURT CANNOT SUBPOENA STATES. The Appeals Chamber of
the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ruled
on 29 October that the tribunal has no right to issue injunctions
threatening sanctions against a state or an official of a state. The
Appeals Chamber said that the tribunal must ask the UN Security
Council to issue such injunctions if it feels that a state or its officials
are not cooperating with it. The tribunal had threatened to impose
sanctions on Croatia and its defense minister, Gojko Susak, for their
refusal to provide the court with documents related to the case of
General Tihomir Blaskic, who is on trial in connection with war
crimes against Muslims in 1993. Observers said the ruling is a
setback for the tribunal in its efforts to make governments comply
with their obligations under the Dayton agreements.

U.S. WARNS BOSNIA OVER ARMS... A spokesman for the State
Department announced on 29 October that the army of the mainly
Croatian and Muslim federation must destroy 100 older artillery
pieces before the U.S. delivers a similar quantity of new howitzers
under the "Train and Equip" program (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29
October 1997). The spokesman stated that Washington strictly
adheres to the arms limits set down in the Dayton agreements.

...AND OVER INCIDENTS AGAINST CROATS. Also on 29 October, the
State Department issued a written statement noting that Washington
"strongly condemns and is deeply concerned by the growing number
of violent incidents...targeted at Bosnian Croat individuals and
cultural institutions." The statement followed the recent killing of a
Croatian man near the Muslim-held town of Travnik (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 29 October 1997). Meanwhile in Sarajevo, Interior
Minister Mehmed Zilic said three men have been arrested in the case.
He described one of the three as a well-known criminal, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Bosnian capital.

OSCE TELLS CROATIAN JOURNALISTS TO APOLOGIZE. The
Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe's Sarajevo office
sent letters on 29 October to Croatian Mostar Television and Radio
Livno to demand that they publicly apologize for having "failed to
meet even the minimally acceptable standards for accurate,
complete, fair, equitable, and unbiased broadcasting." The OSCE
requested that Mostar TV anchormen read a letter on the air saying,
"We deliberately wanted to divide the peoples of Bosnia and spread
national hatred." An anchorman for the Croatian station in Mostar
refused to read the statement. He said that if he admitted spreading
national hatred, he could be tried for war crimes in The Hague.

KARADZIC'S WIFE SAYS SFOR IS STALKING HER. Liljana Zelen-
Karadzic told the Belgrade daily "Vecernje Novosti" of 29 October that
NATO peacekeepers have recently begun following her as she goes
about her daily activities. She called their alleged actions an invasion
of privacy. Meanwhile, a spokesman for SFOR said in Mostar the
previous day that SFOR military police have arrested seven
peacekeepers suspected of smuggling cigarettes and alcohol. News
agencies identified the men as Ukrainians whose activities had
attracted the attention of local Croatian police.

PRISTINA PROTESTS PASS OFF PEACEFULLY. Some 15,000 ethnic
Albanian students demonstrated in Pristina on 29 October. There
were no incidents, and protesters dispersed when the police told
them to do so. Student leaders warned, however, that they may
abandon peaceful protests in the future if their demands for
Albanian-language education continue not to be met (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 23 October 1997).

SERBIAN POLICE HARASS DIPLOMATS, JOURNALIST. Kosovo police
forced their way into the office of the independent Albanian-
language daily "Koha Ditore" in Pristina on 29 October, BETA
reported. The police demanded identification papers from editor
Ylber Hysu and from two U.S. diplomats who were visiting the
newspaper's offices. The police left after checking the diplomats'
passports as well as their diplomatic passes.

MONTENEGRIN COURT REJECTS ELECTION CHALLENGES. The
Constitutional Court on 29 October dismissed five more complaints
filed by outgoing President Momir Bulatovic over the validity of the
19 October presidential vote (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 October
1997). In Bijelo Polje, up to 10,000 Bulatovic backers demanded that
the legislature declare the elections invalid. The parliament is slated
to meet in Cetinje on 30 October to discuss tensions in the wake of
the presidential vote.

MACEDONIA, POLAND FAIL TO AGREE OVER NAME. Polish President
Aleksander Kwasniewski and his visiting Macedonian counterpart,
Kiro Gligorov, failed on 28 October in Warsaw to agree on a
formulation for Macedonia's name in a cooperation agreement.
Gligorov wanted his country to be referred to as the Republic of
Macedonia. The Poles insisted on the name under which Macedonia
was admitted to the UN: the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

ALBANIAN POLICE ARREST TWO ASSASSINATION SUSPECTS. Police
on 29 October arrested two unidentified people who were allegedly
preparing to shoot Socialist Party legislator Gafurr Mazreku as he left
the court where his trial is taking place, "Shekulli" reported. Mazreku
is charged with the attempted murder of Democratic Party legislator
Azem Hajdari in the parliament (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 19
September 1997). Mazreku claims he did not want to kill Hajdari but
only injure him.

PESTICIDE SCANDAL HITS ALBANIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. A
cement factory in Fushe Kruja, north of Tirana, has in recent years
mixed some 25 tons of the highly toxic pesticide lindane into
concrete used for buildings and roads throughout central Albania,
"Dita Informacion" reported on 30 October. Construction workers
using the materials told the newspaper that they were offered
extraordinarily good wages. They added that trucks transporting the
lindane were accompanied by two chemists who monitored the
production of the concrete. During the communist era, Albania
produced large amounts of lindane. Some 500 tons remain stored
under unsafe circumstances.

BREAKTHROUGH IN ROMANIAN-RUSSIAN TREATY TALKS. Romania is
no longer insisting that condemnation of the Ribbentrop-Molotov
pact be included in the basic treaty with Russia, an RFE/RL Romanian
service correspondent reported from Moscow on 29 October.
Romanian and Russian delegations at expert level are meeting in the
Russian capital to discuss the treaty. A Romanian Foreign Ministry
spokesman in Bucharest said it is hoped the parleys will be
concluded "in the first half of next year." Also on 29 October, visiting
President Michal Kovac met with his Romanian counterpart, Emil
Constantinescu, and other top officials. Kovac told journalists he is
particularly interested to learn how Romania has improved its image
abroad. He is the first Slovak head of state to visit Romania.

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS COMPROMISE WITH
'REVOLUTIONARIES.' The Standing Bureau of the Chamber of
Deputies on 29 October rejected Senate Chairman Petre Roman's
appeal to postpone the debate on amending the law on benefits
granted to the 1989 "revolutionaries." Roman made the proposal
after talking to those "revolutionaries" staging a hunger strike
following an attempt by one striker to set himself ablaze (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 29 October 1997). Chamber of Deputies Chairman
Ion Diaconescu said that, under house regulations, the government
must officially withdraw the proposed amendments. The
"revolutionaries" are threatening that, each day, one of their number
will set himself ablaze.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT. Addressing a two-
day conference in Bucharest on foreign investment, Constantinescu
said the reform process in Romania encounters bureaucratic
resistance and suffers from unfamiliarity with modern forms of
management. He added that the Romanian legislation on both
domestic and foreign investment must be simplified and investors
must receive guarantees that the amended legislation will not
change. Nonetheless, he urged investors to display the same courage
as the government has in pursuing reform, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported.The conference was organized by "The International
Herald Tribune."

SELEZNEV WRAPS UP MOLDOVAN VISIT. At a press conference in
Chisinau on 29 October, Russian State Duma speaker Gennadii
Seleznev said Russia will not sell the weapons belonging its military
contingent in the Transdniester to either Moldova or the Tiraspol
separatists. He added that some of those weapons may be sold to
third countries, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Given the
continued conflict between Chisinau and Tiraspol, the presence of
Russian troops in the Transdniester ensures peace and stability,
Seleznev commented. Interfax quoted the Russian leader as saying
that "the more constructive...and efficient [Chisinau's dialogue with
Tiraspol...], the louder the voices of Russian deputies who favor
ratification" of the 1990-initialed basic treaty with Moldova.

END NOTE

WHAT LIES BEHIND SERBIAN SKINHEAD VIOLENCE AGAINST ROMA?

by Patrick Moore

        An RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade on 29
October that incidents of violence between skinheads and Roma are
continuing unabated and that police have stepped up patrols of a
working-class district in an attempt to prevent further clashes.
        On 27 October, a group of skinheads severely beat Dragan and
Dragica Sisic, a Romani brother and sister, in Belgrade. Later that day,
groups of Roma assaulted skinheads, two of whom had to be taken to
hospital. The preceding days also had witnessed several incidents
between Romani and Serbian teenagers.
        Romani spokesmen told RFE/RL on 28 October that police
agreed to cancel a rock concert slated for 1 November because of
Romani fears that the bands' lyrics might incite teenagers to violence
against Roma. The spokesmen added, however, that many members
of the Romani community are anxious for revenge against skinheads.
They warned there might be more violence in Belgrade in the near
future.
        The attack on the Sisices came 10 days after Belgrade
skinheads killed Dusan Jovanovic, a Romani teenager, in what
observers called the first hate crime in which Serbian skinheads
killed a Rom. On 20 October, some 2,500 people turned out for a
silent march through Belgrade and Jovanovic's funeral. Leading
clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church were present and strongly
condemned skinhead violence against Roma.
        Romani spokesmen say skinheads have harassed Roma in
Yugoslavia for years. They charge that skinheads regularly taunt or
beat Roma and sometimes set fire to their victims' hair. Romani
organizations estimate the number of Roma in federal Yugoslavia at
140,000. Other observers say there are 2,000 skinheads in the
country.
        Political opposition groups and non-governmental organizations
condemned the attacks on Jovanovic and the Sisices. They blamed
the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for
creating what they called a growing atmosphere of intolerance. They
also called on the government to take a clear stand against racism
and hate crimes.
        Janja Bec, a Serbian sociologist from Novi Sad, told RFE/RL on
28 October that she believes the government could do more to
combat intolerance. She noted that no major figure from the Serbian
government was present at Jovanovic's funeral, while similar anti-
racism demonstrations in France draw top government personalities.
Bec added that Serbian society as a whole showed little solidarity
with the Roma and that most of the people at the funeral were
themselves Roma.
        The sociologist stressed, however, that the skinhead attacks are
the result of what she called the radicalization of society and the
conditioning of the population to accept violence and racism as
normal. That process has been going on for some 10 years--since the
rise to power of President Slobodan Milosevic. Many Serbs have thus
been conditioned to believe that problems can be solved through
violence and that there is no need for discussion or compromise.
        Bec added that Serbia's wars against its neighbors and its
eventual defeat have intensified those trends. The war not only led
to the impoverishment of most of the population; it also "taught"
young people, in particular, that violence is normal. Belgrade's defeat,
moreover, fostered feelings of inferiority, especially among young
people. Such inferiority complexes can lead, in turn, to aggression,
not least against those whom the aggressors regard as weak and as
different in some way or another. For this reason, Bec concluded, the
Roma have been targeted by the skinheads.
        Social psychologist Borivoje Kuzmanovic agreed with her
observations. He told RFE/RL, moreover, that under Milosevic,
Serbian society has ceased to make a clear distinction between right
and wrong or between that which is permissible and that which is
not. Skinheads are a typical product of such an environment, he
concluded.
        A spokesman for an NGO stressed that the skinheads are not
the only manifestation of aggressive intolerance in Serbian society.
He argued that the impressive showing of the ultra-nationalist
Vojislav Seselj in the recent Serbian presidential election is evidence
of the widespread acceptance of nationalist bigotry.
        And a statement by the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement
warned that the violence now directed against ethnic minorities may
soon be directed against anyone who opposes intolerance.

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