Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise. - Sigmund Freud
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 62 Part II, 31 March 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 62 Part II, 31 March 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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RUSSIAN MEDIA EMPIRES II
Businessmen, government leaders, politicians, and financial companies
continue to reshape Russia's media landscape. This update of a September
report identifies the players and their media holdings via charts, tables
and articles.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rumedia2/index.html

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Headlines, Part II

* INDEPENDENTS SURPRISE IN UKRAINE

* RUSSIA, CHINA BLOCK YUGOSLAV ARMS EMBARGO

* ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS

End Note:
TOUGHER SANCTIONS: A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD IN
YUGOSLAV CRISIS

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE'S INDEPENDENTS WIN MAJORITY OF SINGLE-
MANDATE SEATS. According to the Ukrainian Central Electoral
Committee, 114 independents have been elected to single-mandate seats in
the parliament, AFP reported on 30 March. The committee said 37
Communists and 13 candidates from the pro-reform Popular Democratic
Party have also been elected to such seats. Results for some 40 of the total
225 single-mandate seats have not yet been announced. The strong showing
by independent candidates means that at least one-quarter of the parliament
will be made up of deputies with no party affiliation. Many of the
independent deputies are businessmen, and some analysts say they may
offset the large number of Communist and other leftist deputies. PB

EXIT POLL GIVES COMMUNISTS THE LEAD IN PARTY-LIST
VOTE. An exit poll by the Gallup organization shows the Communist Party
as having won 26 percent in the vote for party-list mandates. The nationalist
Rukh party gained 11 percent support, followed by the Green Party (7
percent), the Hromada party (6 percent), and the Popular Democratic Party
(5 percent). The Central Electoral Commission said the United Social
Democrats, the Socialist/Peasants' Bloc, the Agrarians, and the Progressive
Socialist Party may also pass the 4 percent threshold needed to enter
parliament. The committee said final results may not be available until 3
April. PB

COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER STILL WANTS TO ABOLISH
PRESIDENCY. Petro Symonenko says he expects his party to receive 30-
35 percent backing in the party-list vote. He commented that preliminary
results show that "we must cast off this ruinous [reform] course."
Symonenko accused President Leonid Kuchma of "bringing Ukraine to the
brink of economic collapse" and he reiterated his call to abolish the
presidency. Symonenko has also strongly criticized international aid
organizations, saying they treat the Ukrainian economy like a "marionette."
The Communist Party, which was banned from 1991-1993, has 80 seats in
the outgoing legislature and is likely to improve on that figure. PB

BELARUSIAN OFFICIALS BAN PROTESTS ON UNION TREATY
DAY. Minsk city officials said on 30 March that two opposition parties will
not be allowed to hold demonstrations on the first anniversary of the signing
of the Belarusian-Russian Union Treaty, Belapan reported. City authorities
denied the Belarusian Popular Front and the Belarusian Social Democratic
Party permission to stage demonstrations on 2 April, which were planned to
take place in different parts of the city. City officials said the
demonstrations would interfere with official festivities to take place in the
city marking the signing of the treaty. PB

UK'S COOK SEES NO OBSTACLE FOR TALLINN OVER
RUSSIAN MINORITY. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the 30
March "Postimees" that concerns over Estonia's large Russian minority are
unlikely to hinder Tallinn's progress in EU entry talks, Reuters and ETA
reported. The U.K. currently holds the rotating EU presidency. "Estonia has
recently taken serious steps to ease conditions to get Estonian citizenship,"
Cook said. He also that it is important for the EU that Estonia has followed
the recommendations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. Estonia, along with 10 other
applicant states, begins formal talks on EU entry in Brussels on 31 March.
JC

LANDSBERGIS SAYS RUSSIA WAGING COLD WAR AGAINST
BALTICS. Lithuanian parliamentary chairman Vytautas Landsbergis told
journalists on 30 March that Russia is waging a Cold War against the Baltic
States and is trying to also involve the leaders of influential Western
countries, BNS reported. He added that Moscow is seeking to create the
impression that the Baltic States' future is "entirely dependent on Russia's
will." His comment followed Russian media reports quoting Russian
presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii as saying French President
Jacques Chirac had expressed opposition to Baltic membership in NATO
during the recent summit outside Moscow (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30
March 1998). Those reports were later denied by French diplomats.
Landsbergis added that Russian accusations that Latvia and Estonia
collaborated with the Nazis during World War II are also "a sign of a Cold
War." JC

CZECH OPPOSITION LEADER TO LEAVE POLITICS? Both Milos
Zeman, the leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Party (CSSD),
and President Vaclav Havel's spokesman Ladislav Spacek are refusing to
"either confirm or refute" a report in the weekly "Tyden" that Zeman
informed Havel last week of his intention to leave politics, CTK reported.
The report comes in the wake of the so-called "Bamberg affair," in which
Zeman is alleged to have offered Jan Vizek, a Swiss businessman of Czech
origins, influential posts in the government in exchange for advantageous
loans for his party. Zeman continues to deny the allegations. Vizek claims
he wanted to help the CSSD because he disliked former Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus, but he says he now fears that if Zeman becomes premier, he
will resort to "purges." Vizek explained that for this reason, he had
published documents on the agreement he had with Zeman. MS

BOEING BUYS INTO CZECH AIRCRAFT PLANT. The Czech
government on 30 March approved an agreement whereby a joint venture of
Boeing and the Czech national airline CSA will acquire a 34 percent share
in the Aero Vodochody aircraft factory for $28.3 million. Minister without
portfolio Vladimir Mlynar told journalists in Prague that Boeing will have a
90 percent share in the joint venture and that CSA will own the remaining
10 percent, CTK reported.

SLOVAK PETITION DRIVE MARRED BY INCIDENT. One of the
organizers of the drive to gather signatures in support of the election of
Slovakia's president by popular vote was physically attacked in the town of
Cada on 29 March, RFE/RL's Bratislava bureau reported. The identity of
the assailant is not known. The Slovak Democratic Coalition organized the
drive, which has so far collected 40,000 of the 100,000 signatures needed
for the petition to be submitted to the parliament. MS

HUNGARY'S YOUNG DEMOCRATS COMPLETE NATIONAL
LIST. The opposition Young Democrats (FIDESZ) have completed their
national list for the May general elections, Hungarian media reported on 30
March. Party chairman Viktor Orban heads the list, and Peter Tolgyessy, a
former leading figure of the junior coalition party, the Free Democrats, is
among the top 10 candidates. Meanwhile, Independent Smallholders'
chairman Jozsef Torgyan said his party will complain to the National
Election Committee because the satellite Duna TV plans to air a debate
between Orban and Socialist Prime Minister Gyula Horn on the evening
before the deadline for election campaigning in the media to cease.
Moreover, Duna TV intends to dispatch broadcasting units only to the
Socialist and FIDESZ headquarters on election day, he said. In this way, it
will be supporting the idea of a Socialist-FIDESZ coalition, Torgyan
concluded. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

RUSSIA, CHINA BLOCK YUGOSLAV ARMS EMBARGO. U.S. and
U.K. diplomats said at the UN in New York on 30 March that Russia
remains opposed to a British-sponsored resolution that would reimpose an
arms embargo on President Slobodan Milosevic's federal Yugoslavia. U.S.
Ambassador Bill Richardson added that he is optimistic that a solution can
be found: "I believe that...we are close to imposing an arms embargo on
Serbia [on 31 March}. We are close to language that would accommodate
both sides." Russia is Yugoslavia's main foreign arms supplier and may
have recently concluded a major arms deal with Belgrade (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 26 March 1998). Beijing also opposes the embargo or any
international involvement in the Kosovo question, presumably because it
perceives the problematic Serbia-Kosovo relationship to be similar to its
own relations with Tibet. PM

RUSSIA DENIES KOSOVO THREAT. Speaking at the UN in New York
on 30 March, Russian Deputy Representative Yurii Fedotov said that
agreement on a Security Council resolution remains a long way off. "In
particular, we believe it is unfair to determine the situation in that part of
the world as constituting a threat to international peace and security. It is
simply not true.... [There are] much more threatening situations and hot spots
in the world which represent a real threat." He added that there is currently
no fighting in Kosovo and no flow of refugees. Fedotov stressed that Russia
wants the resolution to more strongly condemn "support of terrorism and
[providing] illegal supplies of weapons" as well as the "arming and training
of terrorists." PM

GELBARD SAYS SERBS HELPED UCK. U.S. special envoy Robert
Gelbard said the Serbian authorities are themselves to blame for the
publicity that the international media have recently given to the shadowy
Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), the "Frankfurter Allgemeine" wrote on 31
March. Gelbard stressed that Serbian strategy and tactics in the province
have helped draw international attention to the UCK, which was little
known until recently. The Serbian authorities recently blamed several
foreign radio and television stations, as well as Yugoslav stations that
rebroadcast the foreign programs, for misrepresenting events in Kosovo (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 30 March 1998). A spokesman for Deutsche Welle,
which was among the stations that Belgrade criticized, dismissed the
charges and added that the Yugoslav authorities have resorted to "language
from the Cold War" in making their accusations, "Danas" reported. PM

SERBIAN BORDER GUARDS KILL ALBANIAN CITIZEN. Yugoslav
border guards near Gorozup shot dead a man from the northern Albanian
village of Pogaj on 29 March. The man had already crossed the border into
Albania after leaving Prizren, in Kosovo, with three other Albanians, "Koha
Jone" reported. Elsewhere, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe on 30 March opened a field office in the crime-ridden northern
Albanian city of Bajram Curri, close to that part of Kosovo where Serbian
paramilitary police launched a crackdown on 24 March. FS

SESELJ AGAINST FOREIGN ROLE IN KOSOVO. The Serbian
Radical Party of Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj said in a statement
on 30 March that it is opposes any foreign mediation in the Kosovo dispute,
an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Serbian capital (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 March 1998). Also in Belgrade, Ljubisa Ristic, the head of
the Yugoslav parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, told visiting French
legislators that "we will strongly oppose anyone, inside and outside [the
country], who tries to provoke war in this Serbian province." PM

CROATIA, BOSNIA SET UP COOPERATION COUNCIL. Croatian
Foreign Minister Mate Granic and his Bosnian counterpart, Jadranko Prlic,
an ethnic Croat, signed an agreement in Zagreb on 30 March to
institutionalize frequent, regular contacts between leaders of the two
countries. Under the accord, the Croatian president and the members of the
Bosnian joint presidency will meet at least twice a year. Granic and Prlic
praised the agreement, but Mirza Hajric, who is Muslim presidency member
Alija Izetbegovic's chief adviser, said it lacks substance, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Sarajevo. PM

UNIFIED RAILROAD FOR BOSNIA. Bosnian Serb Prime Minister
Milorad Dodik and his federal counterpart, Edhem Bicakcic, agreed in
Doboj on 30 March to form a joint corporation that will restore a unified rail
system to all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A final agreement will be signed
later this week. The prime ministers said they hope to reach similar
agreements on restoring the power grid and telecommunications systems in
the near future. PM

OSCE SAYS BOSNIAN PARTIES MUST HAVE PROGRAMS. A
spokesman for the OSCE, which will carry out the Bosnian general
elections slated for 12-13 September, said in Sarajevo that all parties and
independent candidates participating in the vote must submit in advance a
program that states the party's or candidate's views on key issues. Such
topics include refugee return, economic reconstruction, minority rights, and
social issues. Parties must pay a deposit of $550, and independent
candidates half that amount. Deposits will be returned to parties or
candidates who are successful in the poll. Post-communist elections in the
former Yugoslavia have frequently been plagued by a plethora of tiny
parties that have no clear political profile and little chance of winning. PM

RAIL STRIKE HITS CROATIA. Many of the 8,000 employees of
Croatian Railroads staged a two-hour warning strike on 31 March all across
the country. Only international trains and trains used by the military were
not affected. The workers want a 20 percent increase in their wages, which
currently average about $300 per month. Management says it cannot offer
more than 4.6 percent. Croatia has been hit by a series of strikes since the
beginning of the year, when the government introduced a 22 percent value-
added tax. PM

ITALY WANTS CHANGE IN ALBANIAN WEU MISSION. Unnamed
diplomats told AFP in Brussels on 30 March that the Italian government
wants to change the mandate of the Western European Union (WEU) police
mission in Albania when it runs out in mid-April. Italy wants a larger role
for its police in the 60-strong force and any renewal of the mandate to be
limited to two months. Other WEU members dismissed the proposal.
Unnamed non-Italian WEU police said in Tirana that they are not satisfied
with the Italians' performance in putting a stop to smuggling. FS

ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. In a bitter speech
broadcast live on radio and television on 30 March, Prime Minister Victor
Ciorbea announced his resignation both as premier and mayor of Bucharest.
He accused his former political partners of indulging in "diversionsim" and
said he is convinced that their "so-called victory" will prove temporary and
that "history" will judge them harshly. Ciorbea also noted that he had tried
to be " a different type of premier, maybe ahead of history" and that the new
cabinet will inherit the basis for a reform program that can be continued.
Ciorbea thanked only his own colleagues in the National Peasant Party
Christian Democratic and the ministers representing the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania for their cooperation. He made no
mention of the other parties that had made up the coalition. MS

CONSTANTINESCU NAMES INTERIM PREMIER. President Emil
Constantinescu, who spoke on radio and television immediately after
Ciorbea, refrained from thanking the former premier for his achievements in
that capacity. Constantinescu said he has appointed Interior Minister Gavril
Dejeu as interim premier until consultations on forming a new cabinet are
concluded. He added he will announce a new head of government on 2
April following talks with the parties represented in the outgoing coalition
and with the parliamentary opposition parties. Observers say the fact that
Ciorbea is not to continue as premier until his successor is appointed
demonstrates the rift between the two men. Under the constitution, the new
premier has 10 days following his appointment to secure a vote of
confidence for his cabinet in the parliament. MS

U.S., ROMANIA SIGN ANTI-WEAPONS ACCORD. Outgoing
Romanian Defense Minister Constantin Dudu Ionescu and U.S. Defense
Secretary William Cohen, meeting in Washington on 30 March, signed an
accord for the prevention of the proliferation of chemical, biological, and
nuclear arms, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. Under the
accord, which is the first of its kind that the U.S. has signed with an
Eastern
European country, Washington is to provide expertise, equipment, and
training to Romanian border control guards to help detect such weapons and
hinder their delivery from East European countries to terrorists and rogue
states. Cohen said Romania remains " a strong candidate for NATO
membership" if reforms are pursued. He declined, however, to say when it
might be invited to join the alliance. MS

ELECTION COMMISSION ANNOUNCES MAKEUP OF NEW
MOLDOVAN LEGISLATURE... The Central Electoral Commission on
29 March announced that the Party of Moldovan Communists has 40 seats
in the legislature elected on 22 March. The Democratic Convention of
Romania has 26 mandates, the For a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova
Bloc (PMDP) 24, and the Party of Democratic Forces 11 mandates. The
figures reflect calculations eliminating parties that failed to pass the 4
percent threshold and redistributing the votes cast for those formations
among the parties that passed the threshold, BASA press reported on 30
March. MS

...WHILE COMPOSITION OF COALITION STILL UNCERTAIN.
President Petru Lucinschi said in an interview with Moldovan state radio on
30 March that there are "two options" for forming a future majority
coalition in the legislature and that he would accept either: a government
based on an alliance between the Communists and the PMDP or one
composed of the PMDP, the Democratic Convention of Moldova, and the
Party of Democratic Forces. Lucinschi said any new government will have
to continue pursuing market reforms and privatization and a foreign policy
based on neutrality and good-neighborly relations. PMDP leader Dumitru
Diacov said after meeting Lucinschi that an alliance with the Communists is
possible if they make an "unambiguous pledge" to support reform.
Communist leader Vladimir Voronin said his party does not want to be in
the opposition, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported.

BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CONTRADICTED BY
ACADEMY REPORT. Nadezhda Mihailova told the 30 March meeting of
foreign ministers from the EU and the 11 candidates seeking membership
that her country has achieved "financial stabilization" and made "sufficient
progress" to fulfill the "criteria for membership" by the year 2001, Reuters
reported. But a report released in Sofia by the Academy of Sciences'
Economic Institute the same day predicts that Bulgaria will be unable to
meet economic conditions for EU membership before 2030 "at best," AFP
reported. According to the report, Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine will have a
GDP in 2010 equal in size to what they had in 1990. MS


END NOTE

TOUGHER SANCTIONS: A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD IN
CURRENT YUGOSLAV CRISIS

by Christopher Walker

	With top U.S. and European diplomats giving very different
interpretations of Yugoslavia's response to the punitive measures recently
proposed by the International Contact Group, a final resolution to the
Kosovo crisis remains elusive. Many European officials claim that
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has made significant progress in
meeting the Contact Group's demands. U.S Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright and special Balkan envoy Robert Gelbard have indicated that
Yugoslav behavior continues to be unacceptable, thus requiring
consideration of more severe measures, including further economic
sanctions. It is worth examining what increased economic sanctions regime
might mean for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).
	NATO and the UN are reluctant to employ a military solution,
though a debate in the U.S. continues. Russia has strongly objected to the
use of force, as well as several other tough measures considered at the
meetings of the Contact Group.
	The investigation of atrocities in Kosovo by the Hague-based
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is a new step
that has been added to pressure Milosevic. The implication to some
observers is that he himself is a direct target of that probe. To demonstrate
its serious intention to be involved in this effort, the U.S. government
announced a $1 million contribution to help the tribunal do its work and
send independent investigators to Kosovo.
	If the Contact Group's proposed steps--the tribunal's investigation
into the Kosovo incidents, mild diplomatic and economic sanctions, and an
arms embargo on Serbia--prove insufficient to change Belgrade's behavior,
the Contact Group or certain member countries of that group may make use
of another option: harsh economic sanctions.
	Economic sanctions against the FRY were first imposed in spring
1992 and lifted after the signing of the Dayton accords in September 1996.
Combined with Milosevic's own economic polices, those sanctions wreaked
havoc on the country's economy and pushed a majority of Serbs below the
poverty line. The embargo rattled the Milosevic regime but did not dislodge
it; on the contrary, a shadowy new pro-Milosevic elite emerged, whose
members became rich by smuggling and profiteering. At present, there
remains only an "outer wall" of sanctions, which denies FRY access to key
international financial sources, such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
	The imposition of sanctions similar to those in place before the
signing of the Dayton accords could have the dual effect of intensifying the
economic misery of the average Serb, while reinvigorating conditions for
black market activity. Moreover, it is unclear whether average Serbs would
hold Milosevic responsible for their economic woes, despite leading
officials' lining their pockets. Milosevic may be able to lay blame for
domestic economic misery at the door of the West, as he did during the
Croatian and Bosnian wars.
	More important are the longer-term implications of further
sanctions. As long as sanctions are in place, the conditions in which
corruption flourishes will be prolonged and the establishment of the rule of
law delayed.
	In the case of Kosovo, the chaos, inevitable human misery, and the
immense flow of refugees that would result from armed conflict in the
Southern Balkans weighs heavily on the minds of European and U.S.
diplomats. But if the steps proposed by the international community prove
incapable of curbing Serbian behavior in Kosovo, there may be few options,
short of military measures, other than tougher economic sanctions. In such a
case, the long term impact of economic sanctions on FRY's democratic
development will be need to be considered
	The international community must thus choose from various,
unpalatable policy options aimed at modifying the parochialism and
isolationism fostered by Milosevic over the past decade.

The author is based in Prague and is manager of programs at the European
Journalism Network.

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