We do not live an equal life, but one of contrast and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 190, Part II, 7 January 1998



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

* KLAUS'S POSITION ENDORSED BY PARLIAMENTARY
FACTION

* BOSNIAN SERBS TOLD TO SET UP GOVERNMENT

* DEMOCRATS CHARGE POLITICAL MURDERS IN NORTHERN
ALBANIA

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPEALS FOR CHURCH UNITY. In his
Orthodox Christmas message read on Ukrainian state
television on 6 January, President Leonid Kuchma urged the
country's Orthodox Churches to try to cooperate with one
another. Kuchma suggested that "unity in Orthodoxy is a
reliable guarantee of the spiritual unity of the nation."
Ukraine currently has three Orthodox hierarchies --the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate, and the
smaller Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which
itself is divided into two subgroups. The three frequently
fight among themselves over property, doctrine, and
ecclesiastical subordination. PG

CHORNOBYL OFFICIAL SAYS CONTAINMENT BLOCK MAY
CRUMBLE. Valentin Koupnyi, the deputy director of the
Chornobyl nuclear power station, says the sarcophagus
around the part of the station damaged by the 1986 accident
is "in danger of crumbling," Interfax-Ukraine reported on 6
January. Koupnyi complained that there have been no
repairs to the containment wall because the international
community has not yet provided sufficient funds.  PG

POLAND GRANTS ASYLUM TO BELARUSIAN CITIZEN. The
Polish government has granted asylum to Belarusian
journalist and Belarusian Popular Front activist Yan
Churilovich, according to the  Belapan news agency  and
RFE/RL's Belarusian service.  Churilovich has been in
Warsaw for more than a year, working for a local
newspaper, studying at the university, and campaigning
against the government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka. PG

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT GIVES INITIAL APPROVAL TO
PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM... The cabinet on 6 January
approved in principle the 1998 privatization program, ETA
reported. The program includes  Estonian Oil Shale, the
power utility Eesti Energia, Estonian Railroads, and the
telecommunications company Eesti Telekom. Economy
Minister Jaak Leimann told reporters that of those
companies, only Eesti Telekom will be fully privatized this
year. The state will also sell the remaining 30 percent in the
Estonian Shipping Company and 10 percent in the gas
company Eesti Gaas. A majority stake will be sold in the
state distillery Liviko. JC

...TURNS DOWN REQUEST TO EASE CITIZENSHIP LAW. Also on
6 January, the cabinet rejected a proposal by ethnic Russian
deputies that the requirements for receiving Estonian
citizenship be eased, ETA reported. Under that proposal,
non-Estonian pensioners, invalids, and children as well as
the spouses of Estonian citizens would not have been
required to pass a language exam to gain citizenship. Russian
deputy Sergei Ivanov told the news agency that Russians
have practically ceased to apply for Estonian citizenship
because all those capable of passing the language exam have
done so. Last month, the government proposed amendments
to the citizenship law whereby all children born in Estonia
would automatically become citizens (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
9 December 1997). JC

ADAMKUS APPOINTS FRIEND AS CHIEF OF PRESIDENTIAL
ADMINISTRATION. President-elect Valdas Adamkus has
chosen his long-time friend Raimundas Miezelis to head the
administration of the President's Office. Adamkus told BNS
that he selected Miezelis because of his "organizational and
administrative skills." The two men have been friends since
attending college together. Miezelis, who is 67 and chairman
of the Valdas Adamkus Fund,  returned to Lithuania last
year after pursuing a career in the U.S. and South America.
Meanwhile, ELTA reports that Adamkus will take his oath of
office on 25 February. JC

KLAUS'S POSITION ENDORSED BY PARLIAMENTARY
FACTION. The Civic Democratic Party's (ODS) parliamentary
faction on 6 January voted by 32 to 26 to support the ODS
Executive Council's position that ministers Stanislav Volak,
Ivan Pilip, Michal Lobkowicz, and Jan Cerny do not represent
the party in Josef Tosovsky's cabinet, CTK reported. At the
same time, the faction declared its readiness to support the
new cabinet provided that its program reflects that of the
ODS. Former Interior Minister Ivan Ruml told CTK that the
members of the ODS wing who oppose former Premier and
ODS Chairman Vaclav Klaus  may set up a "firmer
organizational structure" within the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, several ODS senators have expressed
reservations about President Vaclav Havel's candidacy for a
second term. Most ODS senators asked by CTK said they
"have yet to make up their mind." MS

CZECH CROWN REACHES RECORD LOW. The Czech crown on 6
January fell to a record low of 36.05 to the U.S. dollar and
19.72 to the German mark, AFP reported. The Central Bank
intervened "to prevent unjustified changes," according to a
bank spokesman who did not detail the extent of the
intervention.  In other news, an opinion poll conducted by
the Institute for Public Opinion Research in December 1997
shows that 51 percent of Czechs believe their income
dropped last year, compared with 1996. Only 14 percent
said their income rose, while 64 percent claimed their
income was lower than under the communist regime. MS

EXTREMIST CZECH LEADER ARRESTED. Miroslav Sladek, the
chairman of the extreme-right Republican Party, was
arrested on 6 January in front of the Chamber of Deputies'
building in Prague, a party spokesman told CTK. Interior
Ministry spokesman Jan Subert said Sladek was arrested for
repeatedly refusing to show up for his trial on charges of
incitement to hatred. His parliamentary immunity was lifted
in February 1997 for remarks made during a visit by
Chancellor Helmut Kohl one month earlier that the Czechs
"did not kill enough Germans during World War II." MS

CZECH GOVERNMENT TO CONTINUE WITH CONSTRUCTION OF
TEMELIN. Industry and Trade Minister Karel Kuhnl on 6
January said the government is still set on completing the
controversial Temelin nuclear power plant, despite delays
and rising costs. Neighboring Austria strongly objects to the
plant, which it claims poses a risk to the environment. The
facility was originally scheduled to be completed by 1995.
The earliest completion date is now late 1999, and it is
estimated costs could exceed $2 billion. MS

HUNGARIAN TV PRESIDENT DISMISSED. The board of
trustees  overseeing Hungarian State Television dismissed
HTV president Istvan Petak on 6 January, saying he had
continuously breached the media law and mishandled funds,
Hungarian media reported. The board has named vice
president Lorant Horvath as acting president and asked the
prosecutor-general to launch an investigation into Petak's
mishandling of funds. Petak and opposition officials claim
that the decision was politically motivated and that "certain
[government] circles" want to gain an information monopoly
on television. MSZ

HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL REJECTS 'NEW YORK TIMES'
ALLEGATIONS. Security Services Minister Istvan Nikolits has
rejected allegations by "The New York Times" in its 5
January issue that former communist countries invited to
join NATO pose security problems because their intelligence
officers previously worked for the KGB, Hungarian media
reported the next day. Nikolits said the report gives a false
impression of Hungary's national security staff, stressing
that the secret service has been "considerably renewed"
since the end of communism. He did not deny, however, that
officers from the previous regime still work for the services,
explaining that security interests do not allow all personnel
to be changed. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS TOLD TO SET UP GOVERNMENT. A
spokesman for Carlos Westendorp, the international
community's chief representative in Bosnia, said in Sarajevo
on 6 January that the Bosnian Serbs must quickly agree on a
government or else Westendorp will take "appropriate
measures." Another spokesman for the international
community gave the same message in person to Momcilo
Krajisnik, the Bosnian Serb member of the joint presidency,
an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Sarajevo. Krajisnik
and other hard-liners are blocking attempts by Republika
Srpska President Biljana Plavsic to form a government of
technocrats (see "RFE/RL Bosnia Report," 7 January 1998). At
a conference in Bonn on 9-10 December, representatives of
the international community gave Westendorp increased
powers to take decisions should Bosnian politicians prove
unable or unwilling to do so themselves. PM

PLAVSIC SAYS BRCKO IS KEY TO DAYTON'S SURVIVAL.
President Plavsic said in Banja Luka on 6 January that the
Dayton agreement will be dead if the international
community does not grant the contested strategic town of
Brcko to the Republika Srpska. She added that the Serbs
would not accept the cutting of their republic into two,
which, she stressed, would result were the Serbs to lose
Brcko. The town's future was the only question left open
when the Dayton agreement was concluded at the end of
1995. International mediators have repeatedly delayed
making a decision about Brcko, which had a Muslim majority
before the war but has linked the two halves of Bosnian
Serb territory since 1992. PM

DOES KARADZIC HAVE BLUEPRINT FOR BOSNIA? Indicted
war criminal Radovan Karadzic drew up a plan in November
to outline Bosnian Serb hard-line strategy to sabotage the
Dayton accords, Western news agencies reported from
Sarajevo on 6 January. Bosnian officials showed the
document to U.S. President Bill Clinton during his visit on 22
December. Observers said the plan contains nothing new but
is highly detailed and indicates that Karadzic is still in
charge among the Pale-based hard-liners. Mirza Hajric, an
aide to Alija Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of the joint
presidency, commented that "again we have undeniable
proof that Karadzic is controlling developments in the
Republika Srpska. There can be no reconciliation [in Bosnia]
until all war criminals are arrested." Meanwhile in Bonn,
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said that Bosnian
peacekeepers should have a broader mandate to enable
them to go after Karadzic and arrest him. PM

IMBROGLIO OVER BOSNIAN SERB TV. Westendorp's
spokesman said in Sarajevo on 6 January that the
international community will appoint someone to supervise
the work of Bosnian Serb Television (SRT) in Plavsic's
stronghold of Banja Luka. The decision was prompted by
SRT's airing of a strongly anti-Croatian program during
Roman Catholic Christmas in December. The Dayton
agreement forbids the propagation of ethnic hatred. The
spokesman also said the international community has
rejected a request from hard-line TV Pale for the return of
transmitters seized by peacekeepers last summer. PM

HAGUE COURT LAUNCHES FOURTH TRIAL. The trial of the
Croat Zlatko Aleksovski began at the Hague-based
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on
6 January. Aleksovski is charged with abusing Muslim
prisoners and using Muslim civilians as human shields
during the Croatian-Muslim conflict in 1993. PM

DUTCH AID FOR MOSTAR. Officials of the Dutch government
and of the Mostar city administration announced in
Herzegovina's main city on 6 January that The Netherlands
will help restore 450 buildings and other objects in that
area, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Mostar. In
Washington the previous day, a spokesman for the State
Department said the U.S. will provide $29 million to help
resettle refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina. PM

CROATIA SAYS MUSLIM MINORITY NOT "INDIGENOUS."
Bosnian government officials told an RFE/RL correspondent
in Sarajevo on 6 January that Croatian officials have said a
reference to a Muslim minority was dropped from recent
amendments to the Croatian Constitution because Muslims
are not "native" to Croatia but have migrated there in recent
times. The amendments also dropped any reference to a
Slovenian minority, presumably on the same grounds (see
"End Note," "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 December 1997).
Representatives of Croatia's large Muslim and Slovenian
minorities argue that those populations have long lived in
Croatia. They fear that the constitutional change means the
minorities will lose cultural and other rights. PM

MONTENEGRO'S BULATOVIC TO BELGRADE? Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic may make outgoing
Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic, his staunch
supporter, Yugoslav foreign minister in order to remove him
from an increasingly difficult political position at home,
"Nasa Borba" wrote on 7 January (see "RFE/RL Newsline, 5
January 1997). On 6 January, a Belgrade court called into
question the validity of the 19 October election, which
Bulatovic lost to President-elect Milo Djukanovic, an
opponent of Milosevic. Meanwhile in Podgorica, Montenegrin
Deputy Prime Minister Miodrag Vukovic said he will propose
a referendum for Montenegrin independence from
Yugoslavia if Milosevic ends Montenegro's equal status with
Serbia within the federation, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" wrote on 7 January. PM

DEMOCRATS CHARGE POLITICAL MURDERS IN NORTHERN
ALBANIA. Masked gunmen killed six people near the
northern city of Tropoja on 5 January, according to "Gazeta
Shqiptare."  The Democratic Party said three of those killed
were members of its local branch. A party statement
published in "Rilindja Demokratike" on 7 January blamed the
killings on the government, which it called a "criminal
clique." The other victims were two policemen and a secret
service agent. The Interior Ministry has sent special police to
the city to investigate. Meanwhile, the State Prosecutor's
Office has accused four policemen of killing a murder
suspect in the Fier hospital on 5 January in an apparent act
of lynch justice. FS

ALBANIAN POLICE CHIEFS ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING. State
prosecutors have charged 15 police chiefs with involvement
in smuggling, "Koha Jone" reported on 7 January. The
prosecutors said all the accused were employed under the
previous Democratic government and have left the country
since the June 1997 elections. Meanwhile, a group of judges
who are protesting allegedly political sackings resumed their
hunger strike on 6 January (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23
December 1997). They interrupted their protest on 26
December after Catholic Archbishop Rrok Mirdita offered to
mediate a meeting between them and President Rexhep
Meidani. That meeting never took place, however. FS

EBRD GRANTS LOAN TO ROMANIA. Minister of
Telecommunications Sorin Pantis and Charles Frank, the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
representative in Romania, have signed an agreement on a
$100 million loan to Romania's Telecom company, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. The seven-year loan is to
support the privatization plan for Telecom, which is to be
completed by the end of 1998. That plan provides for the
installation of new phone lines and improved operations
before the sale of the company. It also calls for an
international tender. At least 30 percent of the company's
stock is to be sold on the Bucharest stock exchange. MS

MOLDOVAN AUTONOMOUS REGION CHALLENGES ELECTORAL
LAW. The Parliamentary Assembly of the autonomous
Gagauz-Yeri region on 6 January unanimously passed a
resolution suspending the validity of the Moldovan electoral
law in the region, BASA-press reported. The assembly
objects to the stipulation in the law whereby all Moldovan
territory is one single electoral district. Assembly speaker
Piotr Pasali told BASA-press that the measure is legal
because under the existing legislation providing for a special
status for Gagauz-Yeri, the assembly may suspend legislation
passed by the parliament in Chisinau until the Constitutional
Court has ruled on the assembly's objections. MS

RUSSIAN GAS DELIVERIES CUT TO BULGARIAN TOWNS.
Russian gas deliveries to five Bulgarian towns have been
halted since 1 January because of the dispute between the
state-owned Bulgargas, on the one hand, and Topenergy
(controlled by Russia's Gazprom) and the private Bulgarian
Multigroup conglomerate, believed to be in the hands of
former Communists, on the other. Topenergy signed a
contract with Gazprom in 1997 to deliver gas to Bulgarian
consumers, but the pipelines are controlled by Bulgargas,
which refuses to allow Topenergy to act as intermediary
between itself and Gazprom. As a result, Bulgargas has cut
deliveries to Stara Zagora, Pazardjik, Lovich, Pervomai, and
Yambol, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported. An
agreement between Sofia and Gazprom to have Bulgargas
buy a controlling stake in Topenergy folded when
Multigroup refused to sell its holding. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON CHURCH RIFT. Petar Stoyanov
has said the two rival heads of the Bulgarian Orthodox
Church, Patriarchs Maxim and Pymen, should both resign in
order to resolve the split within the Church, RFE/RL's Sofia
bureau reported on 6 January. Stoyanov said it is
"scandalous" that the Church has been "suffering from this
split for seven years." The Synod headed by Patriarch
Pymen has accused Patriarch Maxim of collaboration with
the communist regime. Speaking at a ceremony
commemorating Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev, a poet
who died in 1875 fighting against the Turks, Stoyanov said
that "under [the Turkish] yoke, the Bulgarian clergy chose
prison and [even] death." Today, he added, "we are asking
for a smaller sacrifice from our prelates--to give up their
positions." MS

REGIONAL AFFAIRS

CIS JANUARY SUMMIT CANCELED. The CIS summit scheduled
for 23 January has been canceled, Interfax reported on 6
January, citing a source within the CIS Executive Secretariat.
However, the next summit, planned to take place on 16
March, will go ahead as scheduled, according to the same
source. Interfax reports that Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma proposed postponing the January summit in a letter
to his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin. LF

END NOTE

NEW CZECH CABINET BEGINS WORK AS KLAUS'S ODS TEETERS

by Jolyon Naegele

        "Three Kings' Day" in the Roman Catholic calendar (6
January) was supposed to have been the day on which the
three leaders of the Czech coalition parties were to have met
to sort out their differences. But in the months since that
meeting was agreed upon, the tripartite coalition collapsed.
Its leaders are now barely on speaking terms with one
another.
        Former Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic
Party (ODS) is in disarray, with nearly half its deputies in
the lower house forming a faction opposed  to Klaus and
with the party leadership demanding that the dissenters
either terminate the faction's activities or leave the ODS.
        Last month, Klaus had unsuccessfully demanded that a
political agreement be reached with his designated successor
, Josef Tosovsky, before discussing ODS nominations to the
new cabinet. Tosovsky insisted that each of the three
coalition parties first submit names and hold discussions
later. He then circumvented Klaus and offered posts to four
ODS members, including the ODS whip in the lower house of
the parliament, Jan Cerny, and Finance Minister Ivan Pilip,
who had called for Klaus's resignation in November.
        The four new ministers--Pilip, Defense Minister Michal
Lobkowicz, Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Stanislav
Volak, and Minister for Local Development Cerny--now face
demands from Klaus and his aides to either give up their
cabinet posts or leave the party.
        President Vaclav Havel, despite his recuperative
vacation in the Canary Islands, has taken an active role in
forming the new government, appointing Tosovsky and
making clear which cabinet members from Klaus's
government could stay on and which had to leave. Havel
briefly interrupted his vacation and flew back to Prague to
swear in the new government on 2 January.
        In a brief speech at the appointment ceremony,
Tosovsky said that the main issues in his not yet elaborated
government program will be actively continuing negotiations
on joining NATO and the EU, resuming the pace of economic
reform (including privatization), fighting crime and
corruption, and improving access to information about the
cabinet's work by "making all decisions maximally
transparent.".
        After the 20 January presidential elections, the
parliament is due to hold a vote of confidence in the new
government. Klaus said recently that the four dissenting
ministers should "freely" choose either to stay in the
government and remove the party's initials after their
names or resign from the government.
        On 5 January, however, the ODS leadership decided
that it will neither block Tosovsky's cabinet nor bind its
deputies in the confidence vote. This would appear to ensure
the government's survival. Moreover, the Social Democrats
said one day later that they will vote confidence in the
government, provided its mandate does not go beyond June.
        All these developments have exposed a variety of
shortcomings in how politics function in the Czech Republic.
        Not only is the country still far from being a civil
society, where government ministers concede that the rule
of law is still a distant goal, but old Bolshevik habits are
alive and well in the ruling parties' structures. Stalin's
"democratic centralism" is Klaus's preferred way of dealing
with dissenting members. According to that doctrine,
discussion within the Party was permitted only until a
decision was reached; thereafter, no dissenting views were
tolerated,
        Czech journalism has once again proven that its
greatest strength is political commentary and its most
glaring weakness investigative reporting. Stories about
shady party financing were poorly researched. Rumors of
Klaus's building a villa near Lake Constance in Switzerland
have been circulating among journalists for two years. But it
was not until late last year that a few Czech reporters
trooped off to Switzerland to try to find out the truth.
        Klaus's blaming journalists  for what he called the
"media assassination" of the ODS is further evidence of his
own lack of comprehension about the role of the news media
in a free society.
        "Lidove noviny" warned on 6 January that "if the ODS
leadership does not ease up its confrontational tone, then it
is likely that it will lose not only the next elections but all
subsequent ones as well." The newspaper added that the ODS
is sending very ominous signals abroad about the domestic
situation, which, it stressed, is far from being as unstable as
is being claimed.  Moreover, the newspaper continued, the
alleged chaos could  harm the Czech Republic's admission
into Western structures.
        Similarly, in an apparent bid not to jeopardize
Tosovsky's confidence vote, the Czech news media has been
silent about the new prime minister's party affiliations in
the past. Tosovsky is not currently affiliated with any party.
But as a banker, he was sent to London to work at
Zivnostenska banka in 1984-1985 and again in 1989. A
former Czechoslovak diplomat who worked with Tosovsky
during his first posting in London told RFE/RL that Tosovsky
could not have been posted to London without having been a
member of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.

The author is an RFE/RL senior news editor.

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