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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 165, Part II, 21 November 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

ENERGY POLITICS IN THE CASPIAN AND RUSSIA: Oil has begun
flowing from the Caspian Sea, home to one of the biggest oilfields in
the world. RFE/RL provides continuing coverage of regional energy
developments on its Web site.
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Headlines, Part II

*KYIV SEEKS MORE HELP TO CLOSE DOWN CHORNOBYL


*ALBANIA, YUGOSLAVIA TO HAVE FULL DIPLOMATIC TIES


*SERBS GET ULTIMATUM OVER KARADZIC POSTERS

End Note
THE LANGUAGE OF HATE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KYIV SEEKS MORE HELP TO CLOSE DOWN CHORNOBYL.
Representatives of some 50 countries gathered in New York on 20
November to discuss how to raise the $760 million that the
international community estimates is needed to close the Chornobyl
nuclear power plant, ITAR-TASS reported The meeting, which was
co-chaired by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and U.S. Vice
President Al Gore, resulted in some commitments of additional funds
but still far less than necessary. Kuchma commented that the
conference came "10 years late. But better late than never." He also
noted that Ukraine currently spends 12 percent of its budget
revenues on the Chornobyl plant. PG

UKRAINE TO DEFEND NATIONAL CURRENCY. Ukraine's central bank
has announced plans to support the embattled hryvna, Ukrainian
media reported on 20 November. Other Ukrainian officials suggested
Kyiv has the necessary funds to prevent a further decline in the
value of its currency. The hryvna has recently come under pressure
as a result of both domestic economic difficulties and international
currency speculation. PG

LUKASHENKA OPPONENTS STAGE FLAG PROTEST. On the first
anniversary of the vote that gave President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
sweeping powers, Belarusians opposed to his rule displayed the now
outlawed red-and-white national flag, RFE/RL's Belarusian service
reported on 20 November. Some flags were so large that the
authorities had to use heavy-duty equipment to remove them. No
single group has taken responsibility for the latest protest. PG

BELARUS SEEKS TO RESTORE SOVIET-STYLE TIES WITH CUBA.
Belarusian parliamentary speaker Anatoly Malofeyev said in Havana
on 20 November that Minsk seeks to "restore all its positive ties with
Cuba that existed in Soviet days," ITAR-TASS reported. He added that
his country understands all the problems Havana faces "in its efforts
to find its place in the contemporary world and in the struggle to
survive in the new difficult conditions." The Minsk delegation is
particularly interested in obtaining Cuban sugar in exchange for
Belarusian machinery and fertilizers. PG

BALTICS PAVE WAY FOR JOINT ECONOMIC AREA. Meeting in Riga on
20 November, the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian prime ministers
agreed to abolish non-tariff customs barriers, BNS and ETA reported.
They also signed a resolution on establishing a joint economic area
that would allow the free movement of labor and services and the
creation of a joint border regime. A second resolution signed in Riga
stresses the need to continue to cooperate in combating illegal
immigration and to tighten control over the countries' eastern
frontiers. JC

ESTONIAN PREMIER THREATENS TO RESIGN OVER BUDGET DEBACLE.
Mart Siimann has threatened to resign if his government and the
opposition cannot reach agreement over the 1998 budget, ETA
reported on 20 November. The previous day, the opposition voted
several amendments into the draft that would result in a budgetary
imbalance (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 November 1997). Under
Estonian law, the budget must be balanced. Siimann is due to meet
with opposition leaders on 24 November in a bid to reach agreement
on the issue. JC

SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINAL INDICTED IN LITHUANIA. The
Lithuanian Prosecutor-General's Office has filed criminal charges
against Kazys Gimzauskas, who is suspected of involvement in
genocide during World War II, BNS reported on 20 November. The
89-year-old Gimzauskas was deputy director of the Vilnius regional
security police from the fall of 1941 to July 1944. During that period,
the force was headed by Aleksandras Lileikis, who is also accused of
involvement in genocide but has not yet been indicted owing to poor
health. The parliament recently began debating amendments to the
criminal code aimed at facilitating investigations into genocide
suspects (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 November 1997). JC

POLAND WOULD EXPEL RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS FOR SPYING. Foreign
Minister Bronislaw Geremek said on 20 November that Warsaw
would expel any Russian diplomat found to be involved in espionage,
ITAR-TASS reported. Geremek's comments followed the recent
publication in "Zycie" of a list of 23 Russian diplomats the newspaper
identified as spies (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 November 1997). The
editors of "Zycie" have promised to publish a second list that will
include the names of another 28 alleged Russian agents. PG

HUNGARY'S ANTI-NATO OPPOSITION CHALLENGES REFERENDUM. The
far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party on 19 November
announced that it will challenge the validity of the 16 November
NATO referendum in the Constitutional Court. It argued that a 1989
referendum law requiring turnout to exceed 50 percent is still in
force. The next day, the pacifist Alba Circle group asked the National
Election Commission (OVB) to declare the plebiscite illegal on the
same grounds. OVB Chairman Istvan Kukorelli said the commission is
aware that the referendum law remains in force until the end of
1997, but he said a constitutional amendment passed in July
superseded that legislation. Under that amendment, a referendum is
valid if at least 25 percent of the electorate voted either for or
against the issue put to the vote. MSZ

HUNGARY TO SLOW DOWN FORINT DEVALUATION. Finance Minister
Peter Medgyessy and National Bank President Gyorgy Suranyi
announced on 20 November that beginning January 1998, the
"crawling peg" devaluation of the forint will be reduced by 0.1
percent to 0.9 percent a month. Medgyessy noted that GDP growth is
more favorable than expected, reaching 4 percent by the end of
1997, and the deficit lower than the planned 4.9 percent of GDP. He
also said that Hungary's foreign debt was $10.5 billion at the end of
September. Medgyessy and Suranyi expect the 1997 inflation rate to
be reach some 18 percent. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ALBANIA, YUGOSLAVIA TO HAVE FULL DIPLOMATIC TIES. A Foreign
Ministry spokesman said in Tirana on 20 November that Prime
Minister Fatos Nano and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
agreed at the recent Balkan summit on Crete to establish full
diplomatic relations. The spokesman said that "technical" problems
are holding up the appointment of ambassadors. The previous
Albanian government of President Sali Berisha refused to appoint an
ambassador to Belgrade until Yugoslavia solved the Kosovo question
to the satisfaction of the province's ethnic Albanian majority. The
Kosovar and Albanian media have speculated since the Crete summit
that Nano may have agreed to tone down Tirana's support for the
Kosovars in return for better ties to Belgrade (see "End Note" in
"RFE/RL Newsline," 6 November 1997). PM

SPECIAL STATUS FOR KOSOVO? The Albanian Foreign Ministry
spokesman added on 19 November that the Kosovo question can be
solved only by granting the province autonomy within Yugoslavia
and that West European countries will work toward that end. In
Paris, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and his German
counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, appealed to Milosevic to open talks with
the Kosovars aimed at establishing autonomy for the province.
Milosevic rose to power in the late 1980s on the pledge to end the
autonomy that Kosovo then enjoyed, and he had kept that promise.
Kosovar political leaders argue that the Albanians have no future in
Yugoslavia and want independence. PM

KOSOVAR PARTIES FORM ALLIANCE. Some 13 political parties, NGOs,
and other organizations set up the Kosovo Democratic Forum in
Pristina on 19 November, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
that city. Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova's
Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) did not join the new grouping,
which is led by the Parliamentary Party's Adem Demaci (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 11 November 1997). Demaci argues that Rugova's policies
of non-violence and of appealing to the U.S. and the EU to help solve
the Kosovo problem have not brought results. He said that the
founding of the Democratic Forum proves that the Kosovars can take
responsibility for solving their own problems themselves. PM

SHOOT-OUT NEAR MACEDONIAN-ALBANIAN BORDER. A Macedonian
Defense Ministry spokesman said in Skopje on 20 November that a
border guard was badly wounded near Struga the previous day in a
shoot-out with intruders from Albania. This is the second violent
incident in that area within several days and one of more than 100
shoot-outs near the frontier so far this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
19 November 1997). Also in Skopje, spokesmen for an independent
truckers' union said on 20 November that police prevented drivers'
attempts to block major highways and border crossings. The truckers
want road usage fees reduced. PM

YUGOSLAVIA TO RETURN CITIZENS' SAVINGS. The federal
government agreed in Belgrade on 20 November on a plan to repay
citizens' hard-currency savings. The government froze hard-currency
accounts at the time of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.
According to the new plan, each account holder may receive up to
$200 in 1998, $250 in 1999, and additional payments at a fixed rate
of increase in subsequent years. Western experts say that Belgrade's
total hard-currency debts to its citizens amount to $6 billion, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Serbian capital. PM

SERBS GET ULTIMATUM OVER KARADZIC POSTERS. Representatives
of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is
supervising the Bosnian Serb parliamentary elections on 22-23
November, said in Sarajevo on 20 November that the hard-line
Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) must take down posters depicting
indicted war criminal and former SDS leader Radovan Karadzic.
Officials of the SDS replied in Pale that the SDS has nothing to do with
the posters, which bear the name of the Serbian National Society.
Under an agreement in June 1996 between the international
community and the Bosnian Serb leadership, Karadzic was to have
disappeared from public life at that time. Posters depicting him
nonetheless appeared during the Bosnian election campaign that fall.
PM

MUSLIMS, CROATS URGED TO VOTE. Alija Izetbegovic, the Muslim
member of the Bosnia joint presidency, and Kresimir Zubak, his
ethnic Croatian counterpart, urged their respective constituents to
vote in the Republika Srpska's elections. Izetbegovic appealed to
Muslims to go to the polls and "help those [candidates] who advocate
an integral and democratic Bosnia." PM

COUNCIL OF EUROPE SLAMS ALBANIAN POLITICIANS. A delegation
from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly said in Tirana
on 20 November that members of the Socialist and Democratic
Parties are not willing to engage in dialogue or make compromises,
"Shekulli" reported. A delegation spokesman added that one of his
group's concerns is the slow process in drafting a new constitution.
He added that all political forces must be involved in the process.
Elsewhere, the parliament's constitution drafting commission,
meeting for the first time, failed to agree on a plan to carry out its
work. The Democrats did not show up for the meeting, "Koha Jone"
reported. FS

ALBANIAN PYRAMID VICTIMS DEMAND ACTION. Spokesmen for the
National Association of Creditors, which represents the interests of
pyramid investors who lost their money when the schemes collapsed
early this year, said that their association demands a roundtable of
all political parties at the end of November to develop a joint
strategy to deal with the pyramid issue. Association head Mistret
Sahiti said that those who lost their money will be reassured that the
authorities are serious about dealing with the pyramids only if all 10
political parties agree on a program. Turning his attention to the
government, Sahiti threatened a nationwide hunger strike of failed
investors if the government does not find a way of returning their
money. FS

ROMANIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL ON ANTONESCU
REHABILITATION. Sorin Moisescu has responded to Senator
Alphonse D'Amato and Congressman Christopher Smith's protest
against the judicial procedure for posthumously rehabilitating six
members of the interwar government headed by Marshall Ion
Antonescu, "Advearul" reported on 21 November. Moisescu said the
six ministers did not share any responsibility for the decisions of that
cabinet. He noted that Romania's constitution had been "suspended"
in 1940 and all power transferred to Antonescu, who was designated
the country's "leader." Consequently, neither collective government
nor personal responsibility applied under those circumstances. MS

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT AMENDS BUDGET. The cabinet on 20
November issued an "urgent ordinance" increasing budget
expenditures by 1.05 billion lei ($131.4 million). The bulk of that
sum is for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (262 billion lei),
the Defense Ministry (205.1 billion lei), and the Interior Ministry
(193 billion lei).The government measure was requested earlier the
same day by President Emil Constantinescu, who said parliamentary
commissions debating amendments to the budget have been
"unjustifiably procrastinating." An "ordinance" takes effect
immediately, without the parliament's approval. MS

TRADE UNIONISTS PROTEST IN BUCHAREST. Between 15,000 and
20,000 members of the Fratia trade union confederation marched in
Bucharest on 20 November to protest the government's market
reform program, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The protesters
called on Victor Ciorbea's cabinet to resign. MS

MOLDOVA TO SELL REMAINING FIGHTER PLANES. Prime Minister Ion
Ciubuc on 20 November said Moldova intends to sell its six remaining
MiG-29C fighter planes. But he refused to disclose the identity of the
buyer, saying the planes are now undergoing repairs in Belarus,
Infotag reported. Ciubuc confirmed that the U.S. is to pay $80 million
for the 21 planes bought from Moldova. He said Washington has
already transferred $40 million, while the remainder of the debt will
be paid in the form of equipment for "humanitarian operations."
Ciubuc also said the cabinet may be "somewhat reshuffled" in the
near future, noting that "compromising information" on several
ministers was being examined. Also on 20 November, Ciubuc and the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed an
agreement for a $30 million credit to finance an overhaul of
Chisinau's water supply system, RFE/RL's bureau in the Moldovan
capital reported. MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH SEPARATIST LEADER. President
Petru Lucinschi met with separatist leader Igor Smirnov in Chisinau
on 20 November, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau and ITAR-TASS reported.
The two leaders failed to reach an agreement on how to dispose of
the Russian military equipment in the Transdniester. Smirnov said
he and Lucinschi "differ on who should benefit from that [process]
and to what degree." Smirnov is insisting on a share of the weapons
and has publicly claimed the entire arsenal is Transdniestrian
property. The same day, Russian Minister for CIS Affairs Anatolii
Adamishin, whom President Boris Yeltsin recently appointed as
coordinator of the Russian team mediating the Transdniester conflict,
met in Chisinau with Minister of Defense Valeriu Pasat. The problem
of the withdrawal of the Russian arsenal remains "most difficult," but
a policy of "small steps" may succeed in the end, Pasat commented.
MS

GAZPROM RESOLVES SOFIA-MOSCOW DISPUTE. Shareholders in
TopEnergy, which is 50 percent owned by Russia's Gazprom
company, have voted to exclude the controversial private Bulgarian
Multigroup from a Russian-Bulgarian pipeline project. The vote
requires Multigroup to sell their stakes in TopEnergy by 16
December to the state-owned Bulgargaz company, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported. Multigroup is viewed by many
Bulgarians as a dubious intermediary company set up by former
communists and serving Russian interests. Last month, Bulgarian
Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova said Sofia's dispute with
Gazprom was affecting relations with Moscow. MS

BULGARIAN-TURKISH FREE TRADE ZONE IN OFFING. Trade Minister
Valentin Vasiliev on 20 November said his country and Turkey will
agree to set up a free trade zone before Turkish Premier Mesut
Yilmaz's scheduled visit to Sofia on 4 December, an RFE/RL
correspondent in the Bulgarian capital reported. He said a
comprehensive agreement on trade liberalization between the two
countries is still being negotiated but noted that a memorandum on
the free trade zone can be quickly signed. Vasiliev spoke after
meeting with Turkish Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Isin
Celebi. MS

END NOTE

THE LANGUAGE OF HATE

by Patrick Moore

        Most analyses of the developments in the former Yugoslavia in
the past 10 years have stressed the role played by the nationalist
official media on all sides in fomenting ethnic hatred. Those media
continue to convey a large part of their negative message not just in
the way they select subject matter for their reports but in their use
of language itself.
        Part of the nationalists' manipulation of language has involved
imposing rules of political correctness upon individual speakers and
writers, both in the media and in public life in general. This has
sometimes led to unintentionally amusing results as individuals
struggle to speak a supposedly "pure" speech for their ethnic group,
which may be based on a dialect spoken hundreds of miles from
where those individuals were born or where they live. This is
because the differences between Serbo-Croatian dialects are based
on geography, not on ethnicity. It thus appears artificial when
Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic affects the "real" Serbian of
Belgrade.
        But the language of hatred goes beyond mere political
correctness. It involves selecting loaded terms that serve to
demonize an entire ethnic group. On 14 November, RFE/RL discussed
the phenomenon in a roundtable with social scientists and journalists
from Croatia.
        One participant noted that the language of hatred did not begin
with the rise to power of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic a decade
ago. It has its roots in the communist, totalitarian practice of
mobilizing support by blackening those who dare to have different
opinions. It reflects an "us-against-them" mentality.
        By using ethnic pejoratives, nationalists can easily characterize
members of other nationalities in the blackest of terms. Thus, until
recently, the Croatian official media regularly used the term
"Srbocetnik"--linking the Serbian ethnic group as a whole with the
chetnik rebel fighters--to characterize all Serbs as anti-Croatian.
        The Serbian media, for their part, conjured up Serbs' worst
memories of Croatian war crimes against Serbs during World War II
by lumping all Croats together as "Ustashe," the fanatical followers of
Hitler's ally Ante Pavelic. The Muslims' wartime enemies, for their
part, characterized them as "fundamentalists." That term served to
identify even secular individuals--who happened to be descended
from people who had embraced Islam--with the most hardened
religious fanatics. In short, an entire nationality was tarred with the
same brush.
        The social scientists and opposition journalists told RFE/RL that
they are pessimistic about the chances of overcoming the language of
hatred and its legacy, even now that peace has come. First, the "us-
against-them" mentality reflected in the language of hatred was
propagated by the communists throughout society for more than 40
years and hence will be difficult to eliminate quickly.
        Second, the new states that emerged from Josip Broz Tito's
Yugoslavia were born amid hatred, as one panelist put it. Thus, he
argued, hatred is already an internal component of those countries'
domestic politics and is likely to remain so for many years to come.
War only served to reinforce the negative feelings.
        Third, the trends toward political correctness that developed
during the war continue to be reinforced not only by the official
media but by the school system as well. Serbian, Croatian, and
Muslim children learn from books written in artificially "pure"
languages. The texts, moreover, portray each respective people's
history in only the most glowing of terms. That helps ensure that the
"us-against-them" mentality will be passed on even to generations
too young to remember the recent fighting.
        But is their a way to break the vicious circle of ethnic hatred?
Roundtable participants told RFE/RL that the negative system of
values must be opposed by a positive one based on tolerance. That
can come about only by promoting civil society and developing
democratic institutions.

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