Science and art have that in common that everyday things seem to them new and attractive. - Friedrich Nietzsche
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 191, Part II, 8 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 WANTS DISSENTERS TO LEAVE PARTY

* KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY ACTIVE IN
MACEDONIA?

* ALBANIA'S NANO SEEKS TO TACKLE CRIME

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

ADAMKUS SAYS NO 'DRASTIC CHANGES' IN FOREIGN,
DOMESTIC POLICY. In an interview with BNS on 7
January, Lithuanian President-elect Valdas Adamkus
stressed he does not envisage any drastic changes in the
country's foreign or domestic policies. He welcomed the
current government's efforts toward integration into
Western structures but warned that membership in NATO
may not be achieved until 2005. "We will grow stronger
during that period and will be accepted with greater
pleasure, compared to what our striving would look like
today," he commented. Adamkus also emphasized that social
"harmony" and welfare top his domestic policy agenda. JC

MINISTRY STAFF TO BE CUT IN VILNIUS. The
Lithuanian cabinet has approved cutting ministry and
administrative personnel by 10 percent, ELTA reported on 7
January. Minister of Public Administration Reform Kestutis
Skrebys stressed, however, that few officials will be affected
since posts currently vacant in many ministries are slated to
be abolished. In particular, the Agriculture, Forestry, and
Interior Ministries will be targeted, whereas new posts will
be created at the European and Finance Ministries. Last year,
some 1,000 government administration employees lost their
jobs through downsizing. JC

ESTONIANS HAVE MOST TRUST IN PRESIDENT,
CENTRAL BANK. In a poll carried out by the Saar Poll
institute last month, 65 percent of respondents said they
have confidence in President Lennart Meri, while 64 percent
expressed their trust in the Bank of Estonia, ETA and BNS
reported on 7 January. Support for the central bank has
grown considerably since spring 1997, according the
Estonian news agency. The border guards placed third in the
poll with 59 percent backing, followed by the press (56
percent) and Prime Minister Mart Siimann (52 percent). JC

EMBASSY SAYS 125,000 RUSSIAN CITIZENS IN
ESTONIA. As of 1 January, the Russian Embassy in Tallinn
recorded some 125,091 Russian citizens living in Estonia,
BNS reported on 7 January. Earlier, the embassy had denied
having data on the number of Russian nationals in that
country, according to the news agency. Andres Kollist, head
of the Estonian Citizenship and Migration Department, said
that  by 1 January, his department had issued residence
permits to 88,683 holders of Russian passports. He added
that the department's statistics show that as of July this
year, there will be 315,361 non-Estonians who qualify as
applicants for a permanent residence permit under
amendments to the aliens law. JC

CZECH POLITICIANS DISCUSS ELECTION DATE. Vaclav
Klaus and Josef Lux, the chairmen of the Civic Democratic
Party (ODS) and the Christian Democratic Party respectively,
on 7 January agreed that early parliamentary elections will
be held this year. They were unable to agree, however, on
either the date for the ballot or how to terminate the
mandate of the current legislature. (Under Czech law, the
legislature's mandate can be ended either by the chamber's
decision to dissolve itself or by the parliament's rejection of
three consecutive cabinet lineups.) According to CTK, the
elections may be held either in June or in November. The
opposition Social Democratic Party has said its support for
Josef Tosovsky's cabinet is conditional on the ballot taking
place in June. Klaus, however, commented it was not possible
to "swear that the date will be June."  MS

KLAUS WANTS DISSENTERS TO LEAVE PARTY.   Klaus
on 7 January told journalists that the emergence of a faction
within the ODS opposed to the party's leadership has harmed
the party and that it would be better if the faction's
members left the ODS. He commented that this would
"reunite the party and improve its position" in the
forthcoming elections, CTK reported.  Former Interior
Minister Jindrich Vodicka, a member of the dissenting wing,
told Czech Television the same day that a group calling itself
the Right Alternative will meet on 9 January to discuss
setting up a new right-wing formation. The group includes
members of the dissenting ODS faction,  the Civic Democratic
Alliance, and two extra-parliamentary parties (the
Democratic Union and the Conservative Party), as well as
former members of the Club of Committed Non-Party
Members. But he added it would not be possible to set up
the new party before early elections. MS

DATE SET FOR SLOVAK PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
The parliament will elect a new president on 23 January,
TASR reported on 7 January. Parliamentary chairman Ivan
Gasparovic said candidates can register until 12 January.
President Michal Kovac and the opposition have been
pressing for presidential elections by popular vote, but they
failed in that  bid. If the legislature cannot agree on a
candidate, some presidential powers will be transferred
temporarily to Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. The
parliament must elect the president with a three-fifths
majority. Observers say that requirement may produce a
prolonged deadlock. Meciar has said his Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia will not  put forward a candidate in the
first round. The center-right opposition Slovak Democratic
Coalition endorses Stefan Markus, a member of the Academy
of Sciences, while the Democratic Left Party has nominated
former Environment Minister Juraq Hrasko, AFP reported.
MS

HUNGARIAN, SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTERS TO MEET
'SOON.' A Foreign Ministry official in Budapest told RFE/RL
on 7 January that the foreign ministers of Hungary and
Slovakia plan to meet soon in Hungary. No date has yet been
set, but Slovak Premier Meciar and his Hungarian
counterpart, Gyula Horn, agreed last month in Vienna that
their chief diplomats will meet in January 1998 to try to
resolve their differences over the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros
dam. Slovakia canceled a September meeting between
foreign ministers Zdenka Kramplova and Laszlo Kovacs
because of ongoing Hungarian complaints about the
mistreatment of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. MS

HUNGARIAN LABOR MINISTER ON UNEMPLOYMENT.
A total of 464,000 people (10.4 percent of the working
population) were unemployed at the end of 1997, Labor
Minister Peter Kiss told Hungarian media on 7 January. That
figure is expected to drop to 9.5 percent by July 1998, he
said. Meanwhile, nearly 15 percent of the companies polled
by the National Labor Research Center said they have
vacancies. The center estimates that some 1.3 million people
were working in the black or gray economy in September
1997. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY ACTIVE IN MACEDONIA?
A statement bearing the name of the clandestine Kosovo
Liberation Army (UCK) has claimed responsibility for recent
acts of violence in Podujevo in Kosovo and in Gostivar,
Prilep, and Kumanovo in Macedonia, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Pristina on 7 January. If the
statement is authentic and the claim true, the three
incidents in Macedonia would constitute the UCK's first acts
of violence outside Kosovo (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 and 7
January 1998). Western Macedonia has a large ethnic
Albanian population who enjoy more cultural and political
rights than the Kosovars but whose political organizations
want increased autonomy and Albanian-language education.
Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov said last August that the
Macedonian Albanian politicians want to secede from his
republic. Tensions were high in Gostivar and Tetovo for
much of last year because of a dispute over the ethnic
Albanians' right to fly the Albanian flag. PM

SKOPJE, TIRANA DOUBT UCK'S CLAIM. Macedonian
officials told state-run television in Skopje on 7 January that
the UCK is not active in Macedonia and that the statement is
a propaganda ploy aimed at making the UCK seem more
powerful than it is. Macedonian Albanian political leaders
said that they have no ties to the UCK. Albanian state
television reported from Tirana that there are illegal
organizations among the Macedonian Albanians but that the
UCK is not one of them. PM

U.S. CONCERNED ABOUT KOSOVO, MONTENEGRO. Robert
Gelbard, President Bill Clinton's special envoy to the former
Yugoslavia, said in Washington that the U.S. is greatly
concerned that tensions in Kosovo and in Montenegro could
lead to violence. He added that Washington may find it
necessary to formally declare the UCK a terrorist
organization. Gelbard said he will underscore U.S. concerns in
person when he visits Podgorica, Belgrade, and Pristina
within the next week. He also warned Croatia to dismantle
the remaining institutions of the Croatian Republic of
Herceg-Bosna, which was supposed to have been abolished
under the Dayton agreement. PM

NATO DISCUSSES KOSOVO, BOSNIA. General Wesley
Clark,  the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in
Europe, told NATO ambassadors in Brussels on 7 January
that Bosnia needs more democracy and less corruption. He
particularly condemned the continuing influence of indicted
war criminal Radovan Karadzic, "Nasa Borba" reported. In a
declaration, the ambassadors expressed "great concern"
about the situation in Kosovo. Representatives of Poland, the
Czech Republic, and Hungary took part in the weekly
gathering of ambassadors for the first time. PM

CALL FOR SERB-SERB DIALOGUE ON KOSOVO. Vladika
Artemije, a Serbian Orthodox Church leader,  and Momcilo
Trajkovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement said in Pristina
on 7 January that representatives of all Serbian political
parties should meet in the Serbian capital on 16 January to
discuss Kosovo, the Belgrade daily "Danas" reported. PM

DRASKOVIC READY TO ENTER SERBIAN
GOVERNMENT? Vuk Draskovic, the leader of the Serbian
Renewal Movement (SPO), is negotiating with Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia
about SPO participation in the new Serbian government, the
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" wrote on 8 January.
Draskovic's former allies in the Zajedno (Together) coalition
have accused him of participating in last year's Serbian
elections in return for some seats in the government. PM

NEW TV STATION FOR BOSNIAN SERBS HARD-
LINERS? The Pale-based hard-line faction has given up
hopes of regaining control of Bosnian Serb state-run
television (RTS) and plans to launch a private station called S
Channel, the Belgrade daily "Vecernje Novosti" wrote on 7
January. NATO forces took control of the hard-liners' RTS
transmitters last fall after Pale-based RTS continued to air
programs that NATO said propagated ethnic hatred in
violation of the Dayton agreement. PM

CROATIAN UNIONS SLAM VAT. The League of
Independent Labor Unions said in a statement on 7 January
that the new 22 percent valued-added tax, which came into
force on 1 January, has already forced up the cost of living
by 7-8 percent in its first week of existence, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Zagreb. PM

GERMANY SAYS SLOVENIAN NATO MEMBERSHIP
CERTAIN. German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe told top
Slovenian officials in Ljubljana on 7 January that they can
count on NATO membership as soon as possible. He added
that Germany will train Slovenian officers and help
modernize the Slovenian military. PM

ALBANIA'S NANO SEEKS TO TACKLE CRIME. Prime
Minister Fatos Nano  sacked Tirana police chief Pashk Tusha
on 7 January and replaced him with Fadil Canaj, a former
top Justice Ministry official. Nano also demoted deputy
Interior Minister Sokol Bare to the rank of national police
chief and appointed Fatmir Hakani, the head of the national
criminal police, to the crime-ridden town of Fier to replace
local police chief Agron Rodha. The appointments are an
attempt to deal with rising crime and a large number of
recent incidents in which gangsters have killed policemen,
"Koha Jone" reported. An RFE/RL correspondent reported
from Tirana that there is a growing impatience in Tirana and
other parts of Albania over the continued widespread
lawlessness. Fier, Saranda, and Vlora are the main crime
centers, and gangsters control many roads throughout
southern Albania at night, the "Frankfurter Rundschau"
reported on 8 January. FS

ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT CHARGES DEMOCRATS
WITH COUP ATTEMPT. Interior Minister Neritan Ceka
said on 7 January that the current crime wave is part of
former President Sali Berisha's strategy for a coup d'etat,
"Shekulli" reported. Social Democratic Party Secretary-
General Dhori Kule charged that the Democratic Party is
trying to "create a fictitious state-within-a-state" by calling
on Democratic mayors to organize "general elections on the
basis of communities and municipalities." The Democrats are
demanding new general elections to oust the governing
coalition, which was elected last June. FS

SOCIALISTS SET TO LIFT BERISHA'S IMMUNITY?
Socialist Party legislators, meeting on 7 January in Tirana,
clashed over whether to take steps leading to the arrest of
former President Berisha, who is also the leader of the
Democratic Party. Legislator Spartak Braho said that Berisha
is behind a "politically motivated crime wave" and that
"without Berisha's arrest nothing will be regulated in this
country," "Koha Jone" reported. The daily added that no
decision was taken but commented that the debate "recalled
meetings of [Democratic] legislators in 1993, when they
prepared for the arrest of [current Premier and then
opposition leader] Fatos Nano." FS

ANOTHER COALITION CRISIS IN ROMANIA. Prime
Minister Victor Ciorbea on 7 January rejected a call by the
Standing Bureau of the Democratic Party to reinstate
Transportation Minister Traian Basescu. Ciorbea was backed
by all other coalition members, except the Democrats.
Basescu had been forced to tender his resignation on 29
December after refusing to retract criticism of what he called
the government's inability to reach decisions after "useless
18-hours discussions." Ciorbea said it would be "illegal...and
morally and politically wrong" to reinstate Basescu.  He
called on the Democrats to nominate another candidate for
the portfolio. The Standing Bureau also said the government
had been distracted from its main task of reform by
engaging in disputes over issues of minor importance and
warned that Romania may miss its chance to become a
viable NATO candidate for the "second wave" of membership
if reform is not implemented, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. MS

ROMANIAN FINANCE MINISTER EXPECTS "ZERO
GROWTH."  Daniel Daianu on 7 January told journalists that
the hardships triggered by the country's economic reform
are not over and that Romanians would still have to "tighten
their belts" in 1998. Daianu said GDP had decreased in 1996
by 6 percent and that  the economy could "at best" achieve
"zero growth" in 1998. He noted that inflation last year
reached some 150 percent, partly owing to compensation for
those laid off and the losses to the state budget caused by
"the rotten Romanian banking system." Daianu predicted
that the budget deficit this year will not exceed 4.5 percent
of GDP, in accordance with the recommendations of
international financial institutions, and that inflation will be
around 30 percent. MS

BULGARIA CRACKS DOWN ON MARIJUANA GROWERS.
Bulgarian police are cracking down on farmers who grow
marijuana  instead of other cash crops. A senior police
officer quoted by Reuters on 7 January said more and more
hemp is being grown around the country. He added that
drug barons encourage the farmers to plant the crop, telling
them they use the fiber for canvas or rope. In 1997, police
burned some 20 hectares of land planted with cannabis,
which had been intended for local consumption. MS

A DEFINING ELECTION

by Paul Goble

        The victory of Valdas Adamkus over Arturas
Paulauskas in the 4 January runoff of the Lithuanian
presidential election is likely to help define the future not
only of that country but of other former communist states
as well.
        Such a conclusion has relatively little to do with the
biographical differences of the two, which have drawn so
much media comment: a Lithuanian who spent much of his
life as an American official and one who was the scion of
the Soviet-era nomenklatura. Rather, it reflects three,
possibly less obvious factors that seem certain to become
more important both in Lithuania and in other countries
across this region.
        First, this election was in many ways the first
genuinely post-independence vote in Lithuania. The
electorate voted not out of concern over whether Lithuania
would continue to exist but rather to determine what kind
of country it would be. Both Lithuania media commentary
and the pattern of voting testifies to this.
        Vytautas Landsbergis, the man who led Lithuania to
the recovery of independence, finished third in the first
round and thus was shut out from the runoff. Part of the
reason for his poor showing was that he continued to cast
the issue in terms of Lithuania's survival rather than
Lithuania's future development. Unfortunately for him, at
least this time around, ever more Lithuanians appear to have
decided that they now have the unaccustomed luxury to
think about what kind of country Lithuania will be rather
than whether it will survive.
        Second, the voting demonstrated that in Lithuania, the
old communist party and state nomenklatura have the power
to mobilize a significant portion of the population in
elections but an even greater power to alienate voters. In
the first round, Paulauskas led with 45 percent of the vote,
far ahead of Adamkus and Landsbergis. But in the second
round, Paulauskas was unable to pick up the five additional
percentage points that he needed to win.
        Throughout the campaign, Paulauskas cast himself as
a youthful man of the future. But public opinion polls and the
actual voting suggest that most Lithuanians were more
impressed by the people he had around him-namely,
individuals associated with Lithuania's Soviet-era past.
Part of the reason for this was a poster put up during the
closing days of the campaign. It showed Paulauskas with
some of those officials standing behind him, directly asking
whether he was a man of the future or one of the past.
        Not surprisingly, those former officials did all they
could to elect Paulauskas, a man far more familiar to them
than Adamkus. In the first round, they were able to deliver
an impressive plurality for him. But their success led to
their defeat in the second, as ever more people reached the
conclusion that they did not want to take the chance that
voting for Paulauskas might entail.
        The Paulauskas campaign only increased that feeling
when his campaign manager used the same word to describe
Lithuanian Americans, such as Adamkus, that Lithuanians
have used in the past to describe the Soviet occupiers. That,
too, backfired, probably less because it offended the way in
which Lithuanians think about the West than because it
recalled an ideological style that they have sought so hard
to escape.
        Third, the election gives Lithuania five more years to
escape from its communist past, to develop under the
leadership of someone steeped in democracy and free
markets and committed to broadening and deepening its ties
to the West. Unless something untoward happens, the next
presidential vote in Lithuania will not take place until
2003. By that time, Lithuania will have had 12 years of
post-communist independence, a period that should allow
the country to turn the corner.
        This is not to say that everything is now settled and
over in Lithuania. Many problems remain. Some are
hangovers from the past; others may be self-inflicted, even
by the new president-elect.
        Indeed, his relative lack of experience in Lithuania
may make it difficult for him to understand everything
going on there and thus make it easier for some to avoid
changing the ways in which they do business. But the
presidential vote was a defining election, one that seems
certain to lead Lithuania in a new direction. Moreover, it
may even become a bellwether for similar elections across
the former communist world.

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