Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. - John F. Kennedy
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 93 Part II, 18 May 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 93 Part II, 18 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxSPECIAL REPORTxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
COMMUNIST HOUSING: A FLAW IN THE DESIGN
More than 170 million people in Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union live in decaying housing complexes. This
five-part series examines the issues, compares East Berlin's
rehabilitation success story with Prague's less than
successful efforts, and describes the state of U.S. public
housing.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/housing/

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* BELARUS BLOCKS HUMANITARIAN AID TO CHORNOBYL VICTIMS

* SERBIA BLOCKADES KOSOVA

* NO RESULTS FROM MILOSEVIC-RUGOVA MEETING

End Note: STILL STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN HOMELAND
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS BLOCKS HUMANITARIAN AID TO CHORNOBYL VICTIMS.
Participants in a conference in Warsaw on 16 May focusing on
the after-effects of the Chornobyl nuclear accident adopted
a resolution saying that Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's "dictatorial regime is preventing international
humanitarian aid from reaching victims of the disaster at
the Chornobyl nuclear power station," AFP reported. The 12-
state meeting condemned the Belarusian government for
introducing a 40 percent tax on international humanitarian
aid and appealed to the international community to send aid
directly to the some 3 million Chornobyl victims in Belarus.
Also on 16 May, some 50 young people from various European
countries staged a protest in front of the Belarusian
embassy in Warsaw to denounce Lukashenka's regime and its
human rights violations. JM

PREMIER SAYS BELARUS ON RIGHT TRACK. Syarhey Linh told the
National Assembly on 15 May that Belarus's economic
performance in 1998 shows that the government has chosen the
correct strategy and work methods, Belapan and Interfax
reported. The premier said real incomes increased by 10
percent from January-April, while GDP grew by 12 percent,
compared with the same period in 1997. The government
intends to keep this year's budget deficit below 3.5 percent
of GDP. At the same time, Linh noted the government's
failure to keep the monthly inflation rate below the planned
2 percent. He also said that the profitability of
enterprises has dropped from 17.3 percent to 6.3 percent. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS, TEACHERS PROTEST WAGE ARREARS. More than
1,000 coal miners from Pervomaysk set off on a 130-kilometer
march to Dnipropetrovsk on 15 May to demand the payment of
wage arrears, Ukrainian Television reported. According to
the Independent Trade Union of Coal Miners, strikes continue
at 46 mines over wage arrears (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 and
7 May 1998). Also on 15 May, some 3,500 teachers in Kherson
staged a rally in front of the local government building to
demand payment of the previous two months' wages. Fifty of
the 55 schools in Kherson are on strike, while almost 300
teachers have declared a hunger strike. JM

ULMANIS GREETS YELTSIN STATEMENT. Responding to press
reports of Yeltsin's statement in Birmingham at the G-8
summit (see Part I), Ulmanis welcomed the Russian
president's desire to expand political dialogue with Latvia.
An "open and regular dialogue" will strengthen mutual
confidence and create stability in the region, he said,
noting that Russian-Latvian relations and European
integration have created "a vast circle of issues to be
discussed." JC

LITHUANIA INTRODUCES HARSHER PUNISHMENT FOR TERRORIST ACTS.
The parliament has introduced harsher punishment for the
acquisition, possession, production, and sale of firearms,
ammunition, and explosives, BNS reported on 15 May, It has
also added an article to the penal code on crimes classified
as "acts of terrorism." Such acts that result in any deaths
or in which three or more individuals are seriously injured
now carry prison sentences of 10-20 years. The same
punishment can be handed down for explosions or arson
against state agencies or facilities of strategic importance
to the national security. The move follows a recent wave in
Lithuania of explosions and arson attacks. JC

POLAND TO HOLD LOCAL ELECTIONS ON 11 OCTOBER. Polish Prime
Minister Jerzy Buzek signed a decree on 16 May stating that
local elections will be held on 11 October. The elections to
three-tier local governments, which are to replace the
current two-level administrative system, will pave the way
for completing administrative reform. An April opinion poll
showed that 48 percent of Poles support reducing the number
of provinces and introducing the "powiat," a middle tier of
local administration. However, 46 percent of the respondents
demand that a national referendum be held on administrative
reform. JM

RALLY TURNS VIOLENT IN PRAGUE. A rally of environmental
activists on Prague's main Wenceslas Square on 16 May turned
into an open clash with the police. Four policemen were
injured, and some 50 youths aged 13-20, including several
German youngsters, were detained after breaking shop windows
and plundering, CTK reported. Twenty-five people were later
charged with breach of public order and damaging property,
and nine were kept in custody. The rally began as an
authorized, pre-election meeting organized by the
Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation and the radical ecological
Earth First movement to protest the impact of economic
globalization on the environment. MS

ROM KILLED IN RACIAL INCIDENT. A Romany man was killed by a
passing truck in the night from 16-17 May in Orlova, police
told CTK on 17 May. He had been left lying on the road after
being attacked by a group of skinheads, who were detained.
The truck driver fled the scene. The incident occurred after
a Romani father and his daughter were verbally insulted by
the skinheads on their way home from a restaurant. Four Roma
attacked the skinheads, who fought back. The chairman of the
Orlova Roma Civic Initiative told CTK that the death would
be avenged. MS

EXPERT TEAM CHIEF WARNS AGAINST SLOVAK NUCLEAR PLANT.
Wolfgang Kromp, the Austrian chief of an international team
of experts who inspected the controversial Mochovce nuclear
plant last month, says the plant must not be allowed to
become operational, Reuters reported, citing the Austrian
APA agency. In an appeal to Austrian Chancellor Viktor
Klima, Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and the
director of the plant, Kromp said triggering the first chain
reaction at the plant could lead to the contamination of the
reactor. The Soviet-made plant is located some 120
kilometers from Vienna. Austrian authorities have long
expressed concern about its safety. MS

HUNGARY'S MAJOR PARTIES CONCERNED ABOUT FAR-RIGHT GAINS. The
ruling Socialist Party (MSZP) and its main center-right
challenger, the Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian
Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP), have reassured the Jewish
community that they will not let the gains of the extreme-
right Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIEP) threaten
Hungary's democratic progress. MSZP executive deputy
chairwoman Magda Kovacsne Kosa told Peter Feldmajer, the
president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities,
that her party will do its best to ensure that all can live
in peace and security in Hungary. Feldmajer said that FIDESZ
has stressed that under no circumstances would it "accept
the MIEP's support" in a new government. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIA BLOCKADES KOSOVA. The Serbian authorities closed the
border crossings into Kosova to all private vehicles on 15
May, regardless of whether drivers are Serbian or ethnic
Albanian. Police have since allowed only vehicles belonging
to state-owned corporations to pass. Serbian authorities
gave no official explanation for stopping the private
vehicles. One unnamed official told Reuters that all
vehicles periodically require a safety check and that
Kosovar drivers can "afford the delay" because "the
Albanians are all smugglers and they are very rich as a
result." Other observers have suggested that Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic has placed restrictions on
economic activity in Kosova in retaliation for the latest
international sanctions against his country. PM

THREE KOSOVARS KILLED. Three ethnic Albanians died near
Klina on the Prishtina-Peja road on 17 May. The Kosova
Information Center reported that the deaths occurred when
police attacked a village in the area. KIC added that
several homes were "burned, others were demolished, and
[still] others pillaged." Serbian sources stated that armed
Kosovars attacked a paramilitary police patrol and that one
policeman was wounded. There was no independent report on
the incident because Serbian authorities have barred the
road to foreign journalists for more than one week. PM

SERBIAN POLICE EVICT SERBIAN STUDENTS. Serbian police on 18
May ordered several hundred Serbian students to leave the
premises of the Technical Faculty of Prishtina University,
which are slated to revert to the control of Kosovar faculty
and students later in the day. The Serbs began their protest
on 17 May against the latest stage in the implementation of
the education agreement that representatives of Milosevic
and Rugova signed in March. The pact restores Albanian-
language education in government school buildings in stages
between 31 March and 30 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 April
1998). A Kosovar spokesman recently told "RFE/RL Newsline"
in Thessaloniki that the implementation of the education
agreement has become a low priority for the Kosovar
leadership since the end of February, when the Serbian
crackdown began. PM

NO RESULTS FROM MILOSEVIC-RUGOVA MEETING. Milosevic told
Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova during two hours of talks in
Belgrade on 15 May that Kosova must remain part of Serbia
and that the Kosova question is an internal Serbian affair.
Rugova said that Kosova must become independent, the
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported, citing sources
close to the Kosovar leader. Four top advisers from his 15-
strong negotiating team accompanied Rugova, but two members
of the so-called G-15 resigned from that body to protest
Rugova's decision, which he made under U.S. pressure, to
meet Milosevic without a foreign intermediary present. Later
this week, the G-15 and its Serbian counterpart will begin
holding weekly meetings that will alternate between
Prishtina and Belgrade (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 May 1998).
PM

ALBANIA STILL WANTS NATO PRESENCE. Prime Minister Fatos Nano
said in a statement on 16 May that the Milosevic-Rugova
talks represent a "positive preliminary result.... This
gives hope for a peaceful solution of the Kosova problem,
for a quiet future of the region in general and especially
for the lowering of armed tension on our state border." Nano
added: "We stick by our request for the intensification of
cooperation with NATO and the undertaking of a series of
stabilizing measures" along Albania's border with Kosova.
Tirana has repeatedly called for the stationing of NATO
troops to bolster security in the region, as UN peacekeepers
have helped do in Macedonia. NATO has twice turned down the
request (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 May 1998). AFP reported
from Brussels on 15 May that NATO has sent "a reconnaissance
mission" to northern Albania to study the terrain in
preparation for a possible deployment. PM

HERZEGOVINIANS REBUKE TUDJMAN, WESTENDORP. Members of the
Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
which is a branch organization of Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman's party, elected hard-liner Ante Jelavic as party
chairman at the HDZ's annual convention in Mostar on 16 May.
Tudjman, through his personal emissary Ivic Pasalic, backed
the candidacy of the more moderate Bozo Ljubica. It is
unclear how Tudjman will respond to the delegates' decision,
the Zagreb daily "Jutarnji list" wrote on 18 May. In a
letter to the convention on 16 May, Carlos Westendorp, who
is the international community's chief representative in
Bosnia, told the delegates that the Herzegovinian Croats
must abandon efforts to create their own mini-state within
the mainly Croatian and Muslim federation. Jelavic told the
delegates that the HDZ will continue with its current
policies and stressed that the Croats must have their own
army. PM

HEBRANG APPOINTED CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER. Tudjman
appointed outgoing Health Minister Andrija Hebrang to
succeed the late Gojko Susak as defense minister in Zagreb
on 14 May. Hebrang said following his appointment that the
Croatian army should "be adjusted to all the principles
of...NATO [but] also remain the main protector of Croatian
people and state's interests." PM

SERBIAN BROADCASTERS DEFY GOVERNMENT. Participants in a
meeting of the Association of Independent Electronic Media
(ANEM) agreed in Belgrade on 17 May to "continue their
broadcasts regardless to the decision of the Yugoslav
Ministry of Telecommunications on the allocation of
temporary frequencies" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 May 1998),
Radio B-92 reported. The independent broadcasters argue that
the new monthly fee of $35,000 is prohibitively high for
private broadcasters in Yugoslavia. ANEM members charge that
the government is using the high fees to drive them off the
air. PM

SLOVENIAN TRUCKERS CUT OFF LJUBLJANA. Several hundred
truckers blocked roads leading into the Slovenian capital on
18 May to protest the introduction of a new road use tax.
The drivers also want the authorities to relax new traffic
regulations, which, among other things, include tougher
punishments for motorists driving under the influence of
alcohol. In other news, Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek faces
a vote of confidence later this week stemming from the
disclosure last winter of the existence of a secret defense
pact between Slovenia and Israel. Drnovsek needs the support
of the Slovenian People's Party (SLS), which is a member of
his governing coalition, to survive the vote. Observers say
that Drnovsek's party may not be willing to pay the high
political price that the SLS is demanding in order to secure
its support. PM

TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Ismail Cem and his
Romanian counterpart, Andrei Plesu, on 15 May welcomed the
beginning of a dialogue between Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic and Kosova Albanian minority leader Ibrahim
Rugova. At the same time, they said that if the dialogue
fails, their countries are "ready to contemplate other
measures" to help resolve the conflict. Among other things,
they discussed the setting up of the multinational military
force for south-eastern Europe but disagreed on where its
headquarters should be. Turkey has proposed the Bulgarian
city of Plodviv, while Romania prefers Constanta, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. Cem also held talks on improving
bilateral economic ties with President Emil Constantinescu,
Premier Radu Vasile, and parliamentary chairman Petre Roman.
MS

WORLD BANK TO RENEGOTIATE ROMANIAN LOANS. Kenneth Lay, the
World Bank official responsible for Romania, said on 15 May
after talks with Romanian officials that the bank will
negotiate with Bucharest three accords to replace the FESAL
agreements, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Those
agreements were canceled after Romania failed to abide by
their provisions. Lay said the new accords will be used for
the privatization of the banking sector and state owned-
enterprises, adding that further aid is entirely dependent
on the success of Romania's privatization program. The FESAL
agreements were signed in 1994 and canceled on 30 April. MS

DEADLOCK IN MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT PARLEYS? Mircea Snegur and
Iurie Rosca, the co-chairmen of the Democratic Convention of
Moldova (CDM), on 15 May told journalists in Chisinau that
the CDM will not agree to any further compromises in talks
with Premier-designate Ion Ciubuc on the distribution of
portfolios in the new government, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau
reported. Snegur said Ciubuc has accepted only two of the
CDM's seven proposals for cabinet ministers, whereas the CDM
has agreed to the re-appointment of Nicolae Tabacaru as
foreign minister and Tudor Botnaru as minister for state
security, both at the insistence of President Petru
Lucinschi. The same day, Lucinschi said the coalition must
take into consideration the views of the premier-designate.
MS

BULGARIAN PREMIER DENIES BREAKING ARMS EMBARGO.
"Demokratsiya" on 16 May quoted Ivan Kostov as denying that
Bulgaria is involved in breaking the UN embargo on arms
deliveries to Sierra Leone. He said that Bulgaria is
"strictly observing" the embargo and that no Bulgarian
company has done business with the British Sandline
International company. According to a recent report
published in the "Sunday Times," Sandline International has
delivered Bulgarian-made arms to Sierra Leone. Kostov said
that if Bulgarian arms reached Sierra Leone via another
African country, Sofia "bears no responsibility" for that
development. Meanwhile, Romanian media reported on 15-16 May
that a transport of Bulgarian-made machine-guns destined for
Slovakia was turned back at the Calafat border check point
because the transit had not been cleared with the Romanian
authorities. MS

END NOTE

STILL STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN HOMELAND

by Mubeyyin Batu Altan

	On 18 May, Crimean Tatars mark the 54th anniversary of
their mass deportation from Crimea by the Soviet
authorities. Although that was one of the saddest days in
the history of the Crimean Tatar people, they are by no
means the only ones who have to live with such a heritage.
Among the other nations deported by Stalin were the Koreans,
Chechens, Ingush, Karachais, Volga Germans, and Kalmyks, to
name just a few. Why then do we, the Crimean Tatar
community, consider 18 May so important?
	The reason is simple: the "Surgun," as the mass
deportation is called in Crimean Tatar, has not yet ended.
More than half of the Crimean Tatars deported 54 years ago
have so far been unable to return, even though most other
deported groups are now back in their historical homelands.
Along with the Ahiska (Meskhetian) Turks, the Crimean Tatars
stand out as the nation that continues to experience the
direct effects of deportation and not just the resulting
dislocation.
	If the Crimean Tatars had been helped to return to
their homeland, had received an apology from those
responsible, and had been compensated for their losses, 18
May would not have the significance it is currently
accorded. It would, of course, be commemorated as a time of
mourning. But the next day, Crimean Tatars would return to
normal life.
	Unfortunately, they do not have that option. And as a
result, the Crimean Tatars have no choice but to make a big
fuss about their deportation and thus keep the memory of 18
May 1944 alive. Their nation remains divided; many still
have relatives in Uzbekistan or other parts of the former
Soviet Union who cannot yet return to Crimea . Indeed, many
continue to search for relatives lost during the "Surgun,"
as a glance at Crimean Tatar newspapers shows.
Advertisements in those papers reveal that even now, many
Crimean Tatars have been unable to find out whether their
loved ones are alive or dead.
	Moreover, it appears that many Crimean Tatars are
losing ground in their peaceful struggle to return and
resettle in their Crimean homeland. Some 90.000 Crimean
Tatars were denied the right to cast their ballots in the
March 1998 Ukrainian elections because Kyiv does not
consider them citizens of Ukraine--despite the fact that
they were forcibly and unjustly uprooted from their homeland
and did not become Uzbek citizens by choice. As a result,
the Crimean Tatars have almost no representation in the
current Crimean parliament--in sharp contrast to the
situation before the March ballot, when they had 14
representatives in the legislature.
	 Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov, the two Crimean
Tatar representatives in the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv,
are bound to find it extremely difficult to shoulder the
responsibility for an entire people, even with the support
of the Ukrainian government. And unfortunately, it appears
that there are many in Kyiv who will seek to block their
efforts to help the Crimean Tatars.
	On 17 May, Crimean Tatars living in the U.S. once
again peacefully gathered to commemorate the "Surgun." At a
special ceremony in Corum, New York, they dedicated the
first Crimean Tatar monument in honor of all Crimean Tatars
who were killed or died during the "Surgun" and its
aftermath. And, in particular, they remembered those whose
bodies were thrown off the trains carrying the Crimean
Tatars from their homeland to Uzbekistan.
	But for the Crimean Tatars in Crimea and for those
still living in exile, everyday is another "18 May." This
will remain the case until all the Crimean Tatars are able
to return and settle in their ancestral homeland, until they
are allowed to live there in peace and harmony with other
nationalities just as they did before the "Surgun." But as
they continue their struggle, it is both their hope and ours
that there will be no more martyrs to add to the long list
of those who have already died for the Crimean Tatar
national cause.

The author is editor of "Crimean Review," a U.S.-based,
English-language publication dedicated to recording the
history and current status of the Crimean Tatars.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1998 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with the
word "subscribe" as the subject or body of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with the
word "unsubscribe" as the subject or body of the message.
_________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are
online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 18 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs for countries in Eastern Europe, the
Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia and the South Slavic region
are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE Broadcast Studio:
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact
Paul Goble, Publisher
Email: GobleP@rferl.org
Phone: 202-457-6947
Fax: 202-457-6992
Postal Address:  RFE/RL,  1201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20036  USA
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Laurie Belin, BelinL@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Bruce Pannier, PannierB@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org

Freelance And Occasional Contributors
* Fabian Schmidt
* Matyas Szabo
* Pete Baumgartner
* Jeremy Bransten
* Jolyon Naegele
* Anthony Wesolowsky
* Julia Guechakov

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole