The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 84 Part II, 4 May 1998


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 84  Part II, 4 May 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

* HAVEL OUT OF INTENSIVE CARE

* HEAVY FIGHTING NEAR KOSOVA-ALBANIA BORDER

* CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DIES
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

MAY DAY DEMONSTRATORS IN UKRAINE CALL FOR USSR REVIVAL. Some
130,000 Communists and other leftists participated in May
Day rallies in nearly 300 localities throughout Ukraine,
Ukrainian media reported. At a 3,000-strong rally in Kyiv,
Communist leader Petro Symonenko hailed the former Soviet
Union and socialism and appealed "to fight against the
capitalist way of life imposed on our people." The
demonstrators called for Ukraine to join the Russia-Belarus
Union and for the restoration of the USSR. In Donetsk,
20,000 demonstrators demanded President Leonid Kuchma's
dismissal and branded government policies as "deeply anti-
popular and anti-national." JM

MOROZ THREATENS TO SEEK CABINET RESIGNATION. Oleksandr
Moroz, leader of the Ukrainian Socialist Party and current
parliamentary speaker, says the Socialists/Peasants bloc in
the Supreme Council will insist that the government resign
unless wage and pension arrears are paid, Interfax reported
on 1 May. Moroz added that the government may have to resign
even before parliament is reconvened because Prime Minister
Valeriy Pustovoytenko has won a parliamentary seat and may
give up the premiership to take up that seat. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS STRIKE AGAINST WAGE ARREARS. Miners at 30
coal mines in Ukraine refused to start work on 4 May to
demand the payment of wage arrears and improved safety
standards, dpa reported. A spokesman for the miners' trade
union said most of Ukraine's 215 coal mines are likely to
join the strike. The miners have also criticized the
government's policy of increasing imports of less expensive
coal from Poland and Russia instead of investing in
Ukrainian coal pits. JM

MAY DAY MARCHES IN MINSK. Some 7,000 people took part in a 1
May march in Minsk organized by city authorities, Belapan
reported. According to Mikola Statkevich, leader of the
opposition Belarusian Social Democratic Party, the
authorities mobilized support for the rally at plants,
institutions, and schools. Belapan interviewed a worker who
said his plant administration promised him 100,000 rubles
($2) for participating in the rally. The official parade was
trailed by some 600 people taking part in another authorized
march organized by the opposition Social Democratic Party.
That group chanted slogans against President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka and demanded freedom for political prisoners. Men
in civilian garb arrested some 10 members of the Social
Democratic Party, including Statkevich, RFE/RL's Belarusian
Service reported. JM

EARLY ELECTIONS LOOM IN ESTONIA. Following a meeting between
Prime Minister Mart Siimann and President Lennart Meri on 2
May, a government spokesman said the president will wait for
all political parties to respond to the premier's proposal
for early elections before he dissolves the parliament and
calls a pre-term ballot. The same spokesman added that
Siimann is finding it increasingly difficult to carry out
his political program because of lack of support in the
parliament. The premier has said that if various political
parties in the parliament are against early elections, he
will submit his resignation, ETA reported on 4 May. All
three junior coalition parties have so far opposed an early
vote. JC

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT SEEKS TO DISPEL DISPUTE OVER MERI'S
COMMENT. Valdas Adamkus has moved to quell a dispute over
Estonian President Meri's recent statement about the
introduction of visas for non-EU members once Tallinn joins
the union. In response to a journalist's question early last
week, Meri had admitted that if requested to do so by the
EU, Estonia will require Latvian and Lithuanian citizens to
have entry visas to enter the country. That comment prompted
the Lithuanian government to issue a statement on 30 April
slamming Estonia's behavior toward the other Baltic States
as "arrogant." The following day, Adamkus told Lithuanian
Radio he regretted that Meri had made such a statement but
that "the Estonian president was fair in what he said." JC

LATVIAN CABINET SURVIVES CONFIDENCE VOTE. Lawmakers on 30
April voted by 5O to zero with no abstentions to express
confidence in the cabinet of Guntars Krasts, BNS reported.
The Democratic Party Saimnieks, which recently quit the
ruling coalition, did not take part in the vote. Two days
later, at a congress of the Fatherland and Freedom party,
Krasts warned that "excessively close economic links with
Russia may pose a threat under certain circumstances." He
added that Russian political pressure has "consolidated
[Latvia's] right-wing parties for movement toward the EU and
NATO." He also recognized that an important precondition for
Latvia's accession to the EU is agreement on changes to the
citizenship law. JC

RESPONSES TO SENATE RATIFICATION OF NATO EXPANSION TREATY.
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski on 1 May hailed the
U.S. Senate's vote to ratify the NATO expansion treaty,
which admits Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to the
alliance, as "great step on the historical way of overcoming
the tragic past of our continent." Czech President Vaclav
Havel, who is recovering in Austria from surgery (see
below), said in a 1 May statement that the Senate vote is
important in promoting close political and economic ties
with Central European countries and contributing to a basis
of new stability. (The previous day, the Czech Senate had
voted 64 to three in favor of joining NATO.) Hungarian Prime
Minister Gyula Horn said the Senate's passage of the NATO
expansion treaty was recognition of the progress Hungary has
made and of the country's stability. PB/JM

RIGHTISTS ATTACK LEFT-WING MAY DAY PARADE IN WARSAW. Right-
wing youths from the Republican League and skinheads from
the National Rebirth of Poland threw egg and shouted insults
at a 1 May parade in Warsaw organized by various left-wing
groups, "Gazeta Wyborcza" reported. Some 3,000 members of
the Democratic Left Alliance, the OPZZ trade unions, and the
Polish Socialist Party took part in the parade. Similar
clashes took place during May Day parades in Poznan, Gdansk,
and Krakow. JM

HAVEL OUT OF INTENSIVE CARE. Czech President Havel was taken
out of intensive care on 2 May and is expected to be flown
back to Prague on 6 May. He is reported to be resuming some
official work in an Innsbruck hospital. Havel recently
underwent three operations and was kept in a sedated state
for nearly a week after suffering from an abdominal abscess
while on vacation. PB

CONSTRUCTION ON CONTROVERSIAL CZECH NUCLEAR PLANT TO
CONTINUE. Karel Kuhnl, Czech minister of industry and trade,
said the Temelin nuclear power plant will be completed
because it would cost nearly as much to stop construction as
to complete it, Reuters reported on 30 April. Kuhnl said
some 63 billion crowns ($1.9 billion) has already been spent
on the project and that costs could reach 100 billion crowns
before it is operational in about two years.
Environmentalists and the Austrian government have urged the
Czech government to halt construction on the plant, which is
a hybrid of Soviet and Western designs. PB

SLOVAKIA STILL WITHOUT PRESIDENT AFTER SIXTH FAILED VOTE.
The parliament on 30 April failed to elect a president,
RFE/RL's Slovak Service reported. Milan Secansky of the
governing Movement for a Democratic Slovakia received 72
votes, 18 shy of the three-fifths majority needed to be
elected. Brigita Schmoegnerova of the Party of the
Democratic Left received 47 votes. It was the sixth attempt
by the parliament to elect a president since Michal Kovacs's
term ended in early March. Parliamentary speaker Ivan
Gasparovic said the legislature will vote for a seventh time
on 29 May. In accordance with the constitution, Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar has assumed many of the president's
powers. PB

BOMB EXPLODES AT OPPOSITION LEADER'S HOME IN BUDAPEST. The
apartment of Jozsef Szajer, deputy chairman of the
opposition Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic
Party (FIDESZ-MPP), was badly damaged by a bomb blast on 2
May. Szajer and his family were away at the time of the
explosion. It was the third time a bomb has exploded or been
found near the home of an opposition politician since March.
No arrests have been made in connection with any of those
incidents. The 2 May attack has been condemned by all
parties. Prime Minister Horn said it is "dishonorable" to
infer that such an attack would serve the interests of any
of the political parties ahead of the 10 May elections. The
FIDESZ-MPP is running a close second behind Horn's Socialist
Party in all opinion polls. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HEAVY FIGHTING NEAR KOSOVA-ALBANIA BORDER. Albanian military
sources and observers from the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe reported from the northern Albanian
border town of Qafe e Morines near Bajram Curri on 3 May
that they heard the fire of rifles, automatic weapons,
mortars, and artillery from the Kosovar town of Ponoshec.
"The Serbs said it was an attack on a police station," OSCE
ambassador Daan Everts told Reuters. "There must have been
heavy retaliation." Italian military attache Colonel Sergio
Russo commented, adding that "things look dangerous in this
part of the border. The Albanians report a build-up of
Serbian military units." Other Albanian sources added that
houses were on fire. Serbian police officials said that five
of their men were wounded. Three Kosovars were killed and
three wounded in the Drenica area the previous day. PM

ALBANIA CALLS FOR ARMY VOLUNTEERS. The National Defense
Council on 1 May announced it will recruit 1,000 volunteers
into the army. The new troops will help border security
units in northern Albania prevent arms smuggling and illegal
border crossings, "Koha Jone" reported. The volunteers will
receive monthly salaries of up to $220. The average Albanian
monthly income is about $65. Meanwhile in Kukes, the OSCE
unofficially opened an office on 3 May to help monitor that
part of the border region. Last month, the organization
opened an office in Bajram Curri, to the north of Kukes. FS

STRONGER 'FIRE WALL' FOR MACEDONIA. A British Defense
Ministry spokesman on 2 May said that British troops will go
to the Macedonian-Kosovar border as part of an international
"fire wall" to prevent the Kosovar conflict from spilling
over into Macedonia, "The Sunday Telegraph" reported. "We
are interested in greater cooperation with Macedonia and
Albania. This is our effort to contribute to increased
security and stability in the region," the spokesman said.
The British units will join U.S. and Scandinavian soldiers
already serving with the UN forces there (UNPREDEP), which
is the first mission in UN history aimed at conflict
prevention rather than at peacekeeping after a war. Senior
British army officials told the newspaper that they expect
the enterprise will become a Bosnia-type NATO mission within
one year. PM

U.S. WARNS MILOSEVIC. A State Department spokesman on 30
April said that the latest sanctions against Serbia,
including the freeze on foreign investments slated to take
effect on 9 May, will have a "chilling effect" on
Yugoslavia's economy. The spokesman added that Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic may soon face the breakup of
rump Yugoslavia as a result: "having successfully presided
over the amputation of former Yugoslavia..., he's setting
himself up for further successes of this nature unless he
reverses course." The spokesman also said that the Contact
Group's recent decisions affecting its relations with
Belgrade contain incentives as well as punitive measures
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 April 1998). PM

MORE CRITICISM OF MILOSEVIC'S TELEVISION STATION. Yugoslav
Deputy Prime Minister Vojin Djukanovic said in Podgorica on
1 May that he and federal Prime Minister Radoje Kontic have
not received an official answer from the Belgrade
authorities as to who is behind Milosevic's new Yugoslav
Television (RTJ). Djukanovic added that RTJ is not a federal
broadcasting station but "the project of one group of
citizens," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The
Montenegrin authorities refuse to rebroadcast the signals of
the new station, which most observers regard as Milosevic's
vehicle to bring his views to Montenegro (see "RFE/RL Bosnia
Report," 29 April 1998). PM

WARNINGS FOR HERZEGOVINIAN CROATS. Bosnian Foreign Minister
Jadranko Prlic, a Croat, warned extreme nationalists in
Drvar on 2 May to stop attacking Serbs and their property
because "the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot survive
amid chaos." The previous day, the international community's
Carlos Westendorp threatened the nationalists with
unspecified measures to prevent further ethnic clashes.
Kresimir Zubak, who is the Croatian member of the joint
presidency, also recently warned the extremists in Drvar to
end the violence (see "RFE/RL Bosnia Report, 29 April 1998).
PM

CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DIES. Gojko Susak has died aged 53
after a long battle with lung cancer, Hina reported on 4
May. Susak was the leader of the hard-line Herzegovinian
Croats, who hold many key positions in Zagreb, and helped
fund President Franjo Tudjman's rise to power in the late
1980s. Many observers regarded Susak as the second most
powerful man in Croatia. During the war of 1991-1995, he
helped mastermind the development of the army, which led to
its eventual victory over Serbian rebels. It is unclear who
will succeed him as leader of the Herzegovinians. PM

TUDJMAN AIDE QUITS. Hrvoje Sarinic, until now the head of
President Franjo Tudjman's office and one of the most
influential men in Croatia, has quit his post at the
presidential palace, "Jutarnji list" reported on 4 May. He
gave no reason for his decision, but the Zagreb daily
suggested it is in protest against the continued involvement
of some of his colleagues from the governing Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ) in an ongoing banking scandal.
The daily added that the person most likely to benefit
politically from Sarinic's resignation is Ivic Pasalic, who
is Tudjman's chief domestic affairs adviser. Several leading
opposition politicians told "Vecernji list" that the
resignation is evidence of deep splits in the HDZ. PM

ARGENTINE POLICE ARREST SAKIC. Police in Buenos Aires on 1
May arrested Dinko Sakic, who was a commander at the World
War II Croatian concentration camp at Jasenovac. Police
spokesmen say he will be extradited to Croatia later this
week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 April 1998). Sakic, who is
76 and has lived in Argentina since the end of World War II,
drew attention to himself by telling Argentine television
last month that he was a commander at the camp and that he
is proud of himself. He added that "all that we did in the
war was in the interest of Croatia and the Christian world.
My only regret is that we did not do all the things of which
we have been accused," "Die Presse" reported on 27 April.
The Serbian authorities say Sakic is a mass murderer. PM

ACCUSED CIGARETTE-SMUGGLING RINGLEADER ARRESTED IN ROMANIA.
Colonel Gheorghe Trutulescu has been arrested on suspicion
of masterminding a lucrative cigarette smuggling scheme that
has led to resignations in the government, AFP reported on 3
May. Trutulescu was detained in Arad, northwest of
Bucharest, after becoming a fugitive. On 30 April, General
Ion Dohotaru, the chief of military counter-intelligence,
and General Mihai Marin Stan of the State Security Service
became the latest military officials to be dismissed,
Mediafax reported. President Emil Constantinescu said the
two should be held accountable for the actions of persons
under their command who are thought to be involved in the
affair. PB

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT ACCEPTS CABINET'S RESIGNATION. In
accordance with constitutional provisions, Prime Minister
Ion Ciubuc's cabinet formerly submitted its resignation to
the new parliament on 30 April, RFE/RL reported. The
legislature accepted the resignation. Valentin Dolganciuc, a
member of the Christian Democratic Popular Front, is
premier-designate and is awaiting approval from President
Petru Lucinschi (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 April 1998). The
new cabinet is expected to be formed this week. Ciubuc said
that despite the dreary economic situation in the country,
his government can take the credit for some positive
developments, including the halt in the decline of
industrial output. PB

BULGARIAN SOCIALIST LEADER CALLS FOR LEFTIST COALITION.
Georgi Parvanov, leader of the opposition Bulgarian
Socialist Party, said on 1 May that the party is in a "state
of crisis" and should form a coalition with other leftist
parties, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia reported.
Parvanov, who was speaking at a Socialist congress, said the
party's current state can largely be blamed on former
Socialist Prime Minister Zhan Videnov's lack of "adequate
and pragmatic policies." The Socialists hold the second-
largest number of seats in the parliament, but the party's
membership numbers and reputation severely suffered after it
stepped down from power amid mass protests last year. PB

BULGARIAN POLITICIANS TO GIVE UP BUSINESS POSTS. Prime
Minister Ivan Kostov has ordered politicians serving on the
boards of state-owned firms to step down, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported on 2 May. Kostov's action
comes on the heels of criticism by Bulgarian President Petar
Stoyanov, who said such boards have become "hidden sources
of income" for politicians. The opposition has accused the
governing Union of Democratic Forces of allowing relatives
and party loyalists to serve on those boards. Kostov also
ordered a special commission to find competent people to
fill the positions vacated by politicians and their
appointees. PB

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