I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. - Aldous Huxley
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 12, Part II, 20 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

* CZECH PREMIER THREATENS TO QUIT

* DODIK PLEDGES "TOTAL CONTROL" IN REPUBLIKA
SRPSKA

* VUJANOVIC PROPOSED AS MONTENEGRIN PREMIER

End Note
FROM THE UNTHINKABLE TO THE INEVITABLE
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN LEFTIST BLOC TO EMPHASIZE SOCIAL
ISSUES. Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz said in Kyiv
on 19 January that his leftist bloc will base its election
campaign on alleviating wage arrears and other social
problems, Reuters reported. Parliamentary elections are to be
held on 29 March. Moroz's socialist party is grouped with the
Communist and agrarian parties in the assembly, which have
routinely resisted reform legislation. "The fate of collective
farming is at stake," he said, pledging to fight government
plans to allow the lease and sale of land. Moroz's bloc controls
170 of the 450 seats in the parliament. PB

UKRAINIAN PREMIER ON ECONOMY. Valeriy Pustovoitenko
said in Kyiv on 19 January that the government has outlined
programs to stabilize the economy in 1998, dpa reported.
Pustovoitenko said that although GDP sank 1.8 percent in 1997,
it will increase by about 0.5 percent this year. He also said that
unpaid salary debts were reduced by one-third and now total
some $470 million. This contradicts end-of-year figures
released by the central bank showing that some $2.6 billion is
still owed to workers. PB

ACCUSED JOURNALISTS WANT CHARGES FILED AGAINST
LUKASHENKA. During the ongoing trial of Russian Public
Television (ORT) journalist Pavel Sheremet and his cameraman
Dmitriy Zavadskiy, defense lawyers told the court on 19
January that they want Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka to be charged with interfering in the verdict of a
trial, Interfax reported. The statement claims that Lukashenka
said before the trial that "in time we will be able to call
Sheremet simply a criminal." The attorneys say that comment
violates Article 172 of the criminal code, which covers
"interference into a verdict on the criminal case by abuse of
office." The same day, Sheremet gave testimony in court
proclaiming his innocence and asking for the case to be closed.
PB

NEWSPAPER SAYS RUSSIA STILL CLAIMS USSR DID NOT
OCCUPY BALTICS. According to the Estonian daily
"Postimees,"  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Avdeev has sent an official note to the Russian State Duma
arguing that the Soviet Union did not forcefully annex the
Baltic States, BNS and ETA reported on 19 January. Avdeev's 8
January note was reportedly in response to Duma deputy
speaker Sergei Baburin's question as to whether Russian
Ambassador to Estonia Aleksi Glukhov had admitted the 1940
Soviet occupation of the Baltics in an interview with an
Estonian magazine. Avdeev denied that Glukhov had made such
an admission, stressing that the ministry's official viewpoint is
that Soviet troops were stationed in the Baltics in keeping with
international accords and with the agreement of the three
countries' leaderships. The "Postimees" report also claims that
Moscow argues that "threatening with force" was banned only
after the UN statutes were adopted. JC

TALBOTT URGES MOSCOW TO VIEW BALTICS IN
'HANSEATIC TERMS.' At the start of his tour of the Nordic
countries,  Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said in
Oslo on 19 January that the partnership charter between the
U.S. and the Baltic States shows Washington is "dead serious"
about keeping the door to NATO open for those three countries,
BNS and Reuters reported. Noting that  "Russia doesn't like it,
thinks it's a mistake," Talbott urged Moscow to promote ties in
northern Europe by reviving the concept of the Hanseatic
League (which from the 13th to 15th century was a major
economic force uniting some 100 mostly German towns). He
argued that Russia should view the Baltics in  "Hanseatic
terms," that is, "not as an invasion route inward but as a
gateway outward." JC

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT DOES NOT RULE OUT CHARTER
WITH RUSSIA.  Algirdas Brazauskas told Interfax on 19
January that he does not  rule out the possibility that
Lithuania and Russia will conclude a document similar to the
partnership charter between the U.S. and Baltic States.
Speaking at Vilnius airport on his return from Washington,
Brazauskas commented that "there is  no limit to perfecting
relations." He recalled  President Boris Yeltsin's  proposals last
fall on  strengthening neighborly relations with the Baltic
States and building mutual confidence, which, Brazauskas said,
were a "positive step." JC

NATO CONCERNED ABOUT POLISH MILITARY. The daily
"Rzeczpospolita" reported on 19 January that the Atlantic
alliance is concerned about the state of Poland's defense forces.
Citing a report from NATO headquarters in Mons, Belgium, the
newspaper said the Polish army is equipped to defend only
against a land-based attack and would add little to NATO's
strength in its early years of membership. The report added
that the air force is poorly trained and lacks modern
equipment, while the Polish navy could not be deployed much
beyond the Baltic Sea. It also criticized the planned increases in
defense spending as too low. The NATO document is reported to
be even more critical of the Czech and Hungarian militaries. PB

CZECH PREMIER THREATENS TO QUIT. Premier Josef
Tosovsky on 19 January threatened to resign, saying after a
meeting of parliamentary party leaders that he is "fairly
disappointed" by the attitude of "some parties." Alluding to the
Civic Democratic Party of former Premier Vaclav Klaus,
Tosovsky said at a press conference that anyone following
events in the country knows whom he has in mind, CTK
reported. Klaus, meanwhile, said that holding new elections
through the mechanism envisaged by the government--
namely, through the rejection  by the legislature of the law on
the sale of state-owned land--was "problematic." Milos Zeman,
the chairman of the Social Democrats, said he will encourage his
party to support Tosovsky's cabinet, but that decision will be
taken at a meeting of the party's Executive Committee on 24
January. MS

HAVEL'S POPULARITY GROWS. A public opinion poll
conducted by the STEM Institute on the eve of the 20 January
presidential elections shows support for the incumbent, Vaclav
Havel, at 70 percent, up four percentage points over November
1997, CTK reported. The president of  the Czech Republic is
elected not by popular vote but by the parliament. In other
news, NATO Supreme Allied Deputy Commander in Europe
Jeremy Mackenzie said after a meeting with Defense Minister
Michal Lobkowicz that he considers the Czech army's
preparation for NATO entry to be "in order." Lobkowicz said
that it would be a "very good and a very important signal" if
the parliament ratifies the Czech Republic's adherence to NATO
before early elections. He is the second minister in the
Tosovsky cabinet to take that line, after Foreign Minister
Jaroslav Sedivy. MS

HUNGARIAN PREMIER MEETS TONY BLAIR. British Prime
Minister Tony Blair told his visiting Hungarian counterpart,
Gyula Horn, on 19 January that the EU will begin accession
talks with the six candidate countries on 30 March, Hungarian
media reported. Horn proposed that the "principle of
differentiation" be applied to the six countries invited to begin
negotiations. At a joint session of the British parliament's
Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, Horn stressed the
importance of NATO accession. The chairmen of both
committees said there are no obstacles to the ratification of the
accession protocols. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

DODIK PLEDGES "TOTAL CONTROL" IN REPUBLIKA
SRPSKA. Milorad Dodik, the new prime minister of the
Republika Srpska, told his first cabinet meeting in Banja Luka
on 19 January that he intends to make that city the capital of
the Bosnian Serb entity (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 January
1998). Dodik added that Pale, the current capital and the power
base of ultra-nationalists loyal to Radovan Karadzic, will remain
the headquarters for Bosnian Serb officials participating in joint
Bosnian institutions. The new government set a 48-hour
deadline for outgoing Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic to
formally transfer his powers and a similar 72-hour deadline
for Klickovic's ministers. It also blocked the former
government's access to state accounts "in order to prevent
misuse of funds." Dodik added that he will review all decisions
made by the outgoing government since 3 July 1997, when
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic dissolved the Pale-
based parliament. PM

KARADZIC BACKERS DEFIANT. The Steering Committee of
Karadzic's Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), meeting in Pale on
the night of 19-20 January, appealed to all SDS supporters to
avoid violence in expressing their opposition to Dodik's election
by the parliament on 17 January. The committee slammed
Dodik's "phantom election," calling it "undemocratic, illegal,
unconstitutional, and unpatriotic." In an apparent allusion to
Dodik's having been elected by Muslims and Croats as well as
by moderate Serbs, the committee said the ballot would lead to
the reintegration of the Republika Srpska into a unitary
Bosnian state and betray all that the Serbs had fought for
during the war. It called on local government councils to "take
a stand on the new political situation." PM

BELGRADE HAILS DODIK GOVERNMENT.  Yugoslav Prime
Minister Radoje Kontic sent a message to Dodik on 19 January
wishing the new premier and his government "every success"
in promoting the "well-being of the Republika Srpska and all its
citizens." In Washington, a State Department spokesman
praised Dodik as a "moderate and principled" politician. The
spokesman added that Dodik's election marks a "major step
forward in the Dayton peace process." He noted that Dodik
intends to fight corruption and raise the Bosnian Serbs'
standard of living. In London, the EU presidency, currently held
by Britain, issued a statement welcoming Dodik's election and
expressing confidence that he intends to support the Dayton
agreements. PM

VUJANOVIC PROPOSED AS MONTENEGRIN PREMIER.
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic on 19 January
proposed Filip Vujanovic (43) to head the interim government
until parliamentary elections take place in the spring (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 19 January 1998). The Belgrade-born
lawyer has lived in Montenegro since 1981 and served first as
justice minister and later as interior minister under then Prime
Minister Djukanovic. Vujanovic is widely regarded as a staunch
supporter of Djukanovic. The parliament must confirm the
nomination. Also in Podgorica, the Interior Ministry announced
on 19 January that it has arrested seven more individuals in
recent days in connection with the violence leading up to
Djukanovic's inauguration on 15 January, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Montenegrin capital. PM

MILOSEVIC, TUDJMAN MAKE PLEDGE ON MISSING
PERSONS. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic promised
former U.S. Senator Bob Dole in Belgrade on 19 January that the
Belgrade authorities will make available files regarding some
400 people missing from Vukovar following the Serbian
conquest of that Croatian town in 1991. Later on 19 January in
Zagreb, Dole said that Croatian "President [Franjo] Tudjman
offered complete support" to Dole's investigations to clarify the
fate of persons missing since the war began. Dole added that
"every [former Yugoslav] leader we talked to has promised his
cooperation." PM

CROATIAN SERB FACES HAGUE COURT. Slavko Dokmanovic
went on trial in The Hague on 19 January for his alleged role in
atrocities against Croatian civilians and wounded soldiers in
Vukovar in 1991. Dokmanovic, who was installed as mayor of
Vukovar following the Serbian conquest, is charged with
overseeing the removal of some 200 people from the Vukovar
hospital to nearby places where they were badly beaten and
then killed. In related news, Croatian investigators on 19
January began digging up newly discovered mass graves where
they expect to find the remains of at least 100 persons killed
when the Yugoslav army entered border villages in 1991 and
launched "ethnic cleansing operations." PM

OIL EXPLORATION CONTRACTS FOR ALBANIA. Albanian
officials signed a several oil exploration agreements in Tirana
on 19 January with the U.S. firm Occidental and with a
consortium led by the Austrian company OMV. Albania has
long produced oil, but none of the foreign companies exploring
for new fields in the past seven years has made a major find.
The new agreements represent a major boost to the sluggish
industry, Albanian officials said. PM

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT PRESENTS REFORM
LEGISLATION STRATEGY. Government spokesman Eugen
Serbanescu has announced that the executive will tie the 21
January vote of confidence in the parliament to a bill on  the
privatization of state-owned commercial enterprises (see
"RFE/RL Newsline, 19 December 1997), RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. Serbanescu also said that 10 other bills
already submitted to the legislature and constituting a
comprehensive privatization program will be debated at the
extraordinary three-day session beginning on 21 January. The
package includes draft laws on the statutes of the National
Bank, the privatization of state-owned banks, the
transformation of state-run monopolies into commercial
companies, and local-government financing. He also announced
that value-added tax is to be raised to 22 percent from the
current 18 percent but only by 11 percent on staple foods. MS

DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOT TO SUPPORT GOVERNMENT IN
PARLIAMENT? Democratic Party chairman Petre Roman on
19 January said that President Emil Constantinescu's decision to
convene the parliament  in an emergency session is
unconstitutional. He argued that the president can convene
emergency sessions only in order to address a message to the
parliament. That argument  is disputed by government
secretary Remus Opris. Bogdan Niculescu Duvaz, the Democratic
Party minister in charge of relations with the parliament, said
the cabinet members representing his party oppose discussion
of the privatization law in the parliament on 21 January
because the law has already been in effect since 24 December,
when it was issued as a government regulation. But that claim
is untenable since regulations must also be approved by the
parliament. MS

FORMER ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER WINS FIRST
ROUND IN COURT. The Supreme Court of Justice on 19
January returned the case of Victor Stanculescu to the
Prosecutor-General's Office for re-examination, Romanian
media reported. Stanculescu has been charged with
embezzlement in connection with the import of high-tech
telephones for the military in 1990 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11
November 1997). He argues that the prosecutor-general's
investigation into his case was illegal since it was conducted
without the approval of the parliament or the president, as
required by the constitution in the absence of a law on
ministerial responsibilities. MS

LUCINSCHI ON UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
President Petru Lucinschi on 17 January told a gathering of the
pro-presidential "For a Prosperous and Democratic Moldova"
movement in Chisinau that Moldova is likely to make no
progress if  a majority of forces "that conceive social
development in terms of revolutions and political revenge" are
returned to the parliament in the March elections, BASA-press
reported. Lucinschi said the main task of the new parliament
must be to "correct the imbalance of the constitutional system,"
referring to his demand that the parliamentary system be
changed to a presidential one. MS

FROM THE UNTHINKABLE TO THE INEVITABLE

by Paul Goble

        Two developments many world leaders had long thought
impossible--eventual Baltic membership in NATO and the
transformation of that defense alliance into a collective
security organization--increasingly appear not only likely but
even inevitable.
        That movement from the unthinkable to the virtually
inevitable has taken place as a result of the convergence of
two very different patterns of political development: the
West's tradition of and insistence on step-by-step change, and
the East's experience with and expectations of sudden,
dramatic shifts.
        Both of those patterns and their increasingly certain
impact on NATO and Europe were very much in evidence on 16
January when U.S. President Bill Clinton, Estonian President
Lennart Meri, Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis, and Lithuanian
President Algirdas Brazauskas signed the U.S.-Baltic charter
at a White House ceremony in Washington.
        In his speech, President Clinton stressed the U.S.
commitment to ensuring that every country in Europe has the
right to choose its own security arrangements, regardless of
its geographic location, and to guaranteeing that the Baltic
States would eventually be able to enter NATO.
        In his response, President Meri spoke for all three Baltic
States when he repeated their desire to join the Western
alliance as soon as possible and when he suggested that
inclusion in NATO of those countries would be the next big test
for the alliance.
        Because both Clinton and the charter itself largely
repeated promises the U.S. and NATO have made in the past and
because the Baltic States appeared once again to be
unsuccessful supplicants, many observers in the U.S., Europe,
and the Russian Federation have tended to dismiss the charter
as either an element in American domestic politics or a
"consolation prize" for the Balts.
        Such conclusions could not be more wrong, albeit for
very different reasons than many of those celebrating the
signing of the charter have offered so far.
        What was striking about both the signing ceremony and
the charter itself was the extent to which both were broadly
accepted as nothing  out of the ordinary.
        As President Clinton noted at the start of his speech, the
signing ceremony attracted an unusually large number of
ambassadors, including Yulii Vorontsov, the ambassador of the
Russian Federation, to mark what the U.S. leader called an
historic and positive development for all concerned.
        And as the commentators who dismissed the charter
themselves acknowledged, the document and the speeches
given on 16 January seemed unimportant because virtually
everything in them had been said before and was now more or
less common ground.
        But that last observation is precisely the key: it is now
common ground that eventually the Baltic states will get into
NATO some day. And it is also common ground that the
organization of which they are to become members will not be
the NATO of the Cold War but a new regional security group
that will cooperate with rather than contend against Russia.
        Neither of those ideas was common ground until recently.
But because of the pattern of developments in Eastern Europe
since 1989, the very acceptance of such ideas may lead to the
inclusion of the Baltic States in NATO. Moreover, the
transformation of that alliance may take place much faster
than anyone had expected up to now.
        Even those in NATO who accept that the Baltic States
will eventually join and that the alliance itself will change in
the process have generally been reluctant to include the three
countries on a short list for candidates for invitations in
1999. But it is a measure of just how fast things may now be
moving that an unnamed senior U.S. State Department official
explicitly rejected a media recent report in the Baltic states
that NATO will not invite the three at that time.
        Along with the increasing willingness of the
international community to accept as inevitable what had been
seen as impossible, that rejection seems likely to encourage
the three Baltic governments to push even harder toward their
goal over the next 18 months in the hope that they will receive
invitations in the next round of alliance expansion.
        A year ago, such an initiative would have seemed the
most improbable of developments, just as five years ago few
thought that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic would be
taken into the Western alliance and just as 10 years ago even
fewer thought that the Soviet Union would disappear from the
map.
        Now, in the aftermath of the signing of the U.S.-Baltic
charter, those who thought Baltic membership in NATO was
utopian may discover that it is going to take place far sooner
than they had thought possible.

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