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

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 102 Part II, 29 May 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 102 Part II, 29 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx SPECIAL REPORT xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
RUSSIAN MEDIA EMPIRES III
A new prime minister has taken office, Boris Berezovsky's
now a CIS official, and the state plans to form a new media
holding company. See our updated media report.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/rumedia3/index.html
(English)
http://www.rferl.org/bd/ru/russian/content/reports/rumedia3/
index.html
(Russian)

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Headlines, Part II

* MECIAR MEETS WITH YELTSIN

* NATO ADOPTS KOSOVA PACKAGE

* SOLANA SAYS NO OPTION RULED OUT

End Note:
KRAJINA SYNDROME: KOSOVA'S SERBS
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ELECT SPEAKER FOR THIRD TIME.
The Supreme Council on 28 May failed to elect a speaker for
the third time (see also "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 and 27 May
1998). Only 176 of the 438 registered deputies cast their
ballots, falling well short of the two-thirds majority
required for a valid vote. In the latest round of voting,
Communist leader Petro Symonenko ran against Progressive
Socialists leader Nataliya Vitrenko and independent deputy
Oleksandr Rzhavskyy in the ballot. The Supreme Council has
not released any voting results. As on the two previous
occasions, the Popular Democratic Party, the Rukh, the
Social Democrats, and the Greens parliamentary groups
abstained from voting. They are demanding that a speaker be
elected along with two deputy speakers in one ballot.
Observers speculate that the parliament may call for a vote
to assess the popularity of potential candidates in such an
election, ITAR-TASS reported. JM

UKRAINE INCREASES REFINANCING RATE TO WEATHER RUSSIAN
FINANCIAL STORM. National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko on
28 May raised the refinancing rate from 45 percent to 51
percent in an attempt to shield the country from turbulence
on the Russian financial market, the Ukrainian News agency
reported. Commenting to Reuters on Russia's decision the
previous day to triple interest rates, Yushchenko expressed
the hope that Russia will continue seeking to curb financial
uncertainty since Ukraine might otherwise be unable "to stay
the course." In a joint statement issued on 28 May, the
National Bank and the government said the situation on
Ukraine's financial markets "remains difficult, but
generally controllable," Ukrainian Television reported. JM

KYIV CONDEMNS PAKISTANI NUCLEAR TESTS. In a statement issued
on 29 May, the Foreign Ministry condemned Pakistan's nuclear
weapons tests, Reuters reported. The statement said that the
nuclear tests conducted recently by India and Pakistan
demonstrate that international mechanisms to control nuclear
non-proliferation are ineffective and need to be modernized.
The ministry called on the UN Security Council to hold a
session devoted to nuclear testing. JM

BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES FREE PRICES ON IMPORTED FOODSTUFFS. A
number of oblast executive committees and the Minsk City
administration have decided to free the prices of imported
foodstuffs, "Narodnaya volya" reported on 28 May. According
to the daily, those decisions contravene earlier
presidential and governmental directives, including those
prohibiting price hikes on foodstuffs exceeding 2 percent a
month and ordering a reduction in imports. "Narodnaya volya"
says the move is prompted by the severe food shortage in
Belarus. It predicts a 30-percent increase in the prices of
foodstuffs. JM

POLAND REMAINS CALM OVER RUSSIA'S FINANCIAL TURMOIL. Polish
economists say the country's economy is too strong to be
affected by Russia's recent financial crisis, "Zycie"
reported on 29 May. The daily quoted National Bank
Chairwoman Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz as saying that there is
not enough Russian capital in Poland to necessitate "changes
in our economy" by its withdrawal. At the same time,
financial experts do not rule out that Polish investors in
Russia may suffer considerable losses if the crisis is
protracted. JM

U.S. CONGRESSMAN CONCERNED ABOUT CZECH ROMA. Christopher
Smith, co-chairman of the U.S. Congress Helsinki Committee,
on 28 May told the Chamber of Representatives that he is
"profoundly alarmed at the deterioration of the situation of
minorities in the Czech Republic" and that the government in
Prague fails to "address this pattern of violence." Smith
said local authorities' plans to build walls in Usti nad
Labem and Plzen to "separate well-off areas from
undesirables" is reminiscent of "terminology used by the
Nazis." He added that skinheads continue to attack Roma
because they are convinced the government will "not hold
them accountable for their acts, " CTK reported. MS

MECIAR MEETS WITH YELTSIN. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on
28 May met in Moscow with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,
ITAR-TASS reported. An official Kremlin statement said the
meeting took place in "an exceptionally warm spirit and
friendly atmosphere." The two leaders agreed to draw up
long-term programs for Russian oil supplies to Slovakia
until 2015, to expand cooperation in nuclear power, and to
examine the possibility of jointly producing an airplane.
Yeltsin said Russia "very much" wants Meciar's Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia to win the parliamentary elections
scheduled for September. He also said Moscow is "pleased"
with Slovak security policies and its friendly ties with
Russia. Meciar also met with Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko,
who told him Russia appreciates the "confidence and
partnership," based on "mutual economic benefit," in the two
countries' relations. MS

IAEA APPROVES START UP OF MOCHOVCE NUCLEAR PLANT. The
International Atomic Energy Agency on 28 May said it sees
"no reason" to delay the start up of the controversial
nuclear plant at Mochovce. A spokesman for the agency told
AFP that the plant is "technically ready to be activated."
He acknowledged that the plant's safety norms are not up to
Western standards but stressed that these standards are
"different" and that the Mochovce plant has the necessary
standard equipment for an East European country. The
spokesman added that "90 percent of the security precautions
have been carried out, but there are still details that will
gradually be sorted out." MS

ORBAN ON HUNGARY'S FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES. Viktor Orban,
the leader of the Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian
Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP), said in Bonn on 28 May that
Hungary is committed to continuing its Euro-Atlantic
integration and maintaining good relations with its
neighbors. The new cabinet will not seek to renegotiate
existing basic treaties with neighboring countries but wants
to supplement those accords, he said. He added that the use
of the Hungarian language in educational institutions and
the restitution of Church property are issues to be
negotiated with Romania. At the same time, he noted that the
Slovak government is "simply not implementing provisions of
the basic treaty with Hungary." Meanwhile, FIDESZ-MPP
foreign policy expert Zsolt Nemeth said the new cabinet
wants to ensure that neighboring countries and Hungarian
minorities beyond the borders benefit from the advantages of
Hungary's EU and NATO integration because, he said, the
integration process itself draws a dividing line between
Hungary and its neighbors. MSZ

VASILE SATISFIED WITH HUNGARIAN EXPLANATION OF ORBAN
COMMENTS. Following his meeting with visiting Hungarian
Chief of Staff General Ferenc Vegh and Hungarian Ambassador
to Bucharest Ferenc Fekete in Bucharest on 28 May, Romanian
Prime Minister Radu Vasil said he is "satisfied" with
Fekete's explanation of statements attributed to Viktor
Orban by an Austrian daily (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 May
1998). Vasile said Orban was misquoted due to the fact that
his comments had been translated from Hungarian into German
and from German into French by AFP. Vegh said he is
confident that the change in the Hungarian government will
not mean any change in Hungarian-Romanian relations. He and
his Romanian counterpart, General Constantin Degeratu,
agreed that the Hungarian-Romanian peace-keeping force will
start operating in the fall, after the two countries'
parliaments approve its creation. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO ADOPTS KOSOVA PACKAGE. Foreign ministers of the 16
countries belonging to the Atlantic alliance agreed in
Luxembourg on 28 May to stage major land and air maneuvers
in Albania in August and to expand exercises already slated
for September in Macedonia. In June, NATO will open a
Partnership for Peace office in Tirana and training centers
in Macedonia, while warships will call at Durres in July.
The ministers asked NATO experts to prepare plans for
stationing troops in Albania and Macedonia should the
conflict in Kosova escalate. The ministers agreed to
recommend that the UN extend the mandate of its peacekeeping
mission in Macedonia by six months and increase the force
from 800 to "at least 1,050" troops. German Defense Minister
Volker Ruehe said that Bonn will provide Macedonia with 50
BRT-70 tanks from the former East German army, the
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. PM

SOLANA SAYS NO OPTION RULED OUT. NATO Secretary-General
Javier Solana said in Luxembourg on 28 May that the alliance
excludes no option for dealing with the Kosova crisis and
that everything depends on events in the province. German
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel commented that his main worry
is that the conflict could cause thousands of Kosovars to
seek asylum in Germany. He added that Kosova is unlikely to
become "another Bosnia" because in the province only one
side, namely the Serbs, is heavily armed, the "Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. French Foreign Minister Hubert
Vedrine said NATO does not exclude a joint action with
Russia in the region. Alliance spokesmen noted that Moscow
has offered troops for possible missions in Macedonia and
Albania, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov said that the UN will
have to approve any stationing of foreign troops in the
region. PM

SERBIAN GOVERNMENT HAILS POLICE. Deputy Prime Minister
Tomislav Nikolic said in Belgrade on 28 May that the
government fully approves of the work of the paramilitary
special police forces in Kosova and will not reduce their
strength. In Kosova, Serbian and Albanian sources reported
intense fighting in the Decan region. Both sides reported
deaths in various parts of the province, but no independent
confirmation is available. The conflict has taken at least
210 lives to date, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"
reported on 29 May. In Washington, shadow-state Prime
Minister Bujar Bukoshi said that Kosova is "already in the
first phase of a war." And in Jube, Albania, President
Rexhep Meidani watched military exercises. He told artillery
gunners to keep their equipment in good shape and be
prepared to use it. In a statement in Tirana the next day,
Meidani praised the NATO package on Kosova as "serious." PM

BULATOVIC NOT TO ACCEPT ELECTION RESULTS? Yugoslav Prime
Minister and former Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic
said in Podgorica on 28 May that his Socialist People's
Party will not recognize the results of the 31 May
parliamentary vote if 34,000 out of 457,000 people listed on
the election rolls are allowed to cast their ballots.
Bulatovic charged that the 34,000 have no registration
number and that poll-watchers from his party will challenge
them if they try to vote. The election pits supporters of
Bulatovic, who is an ally of Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic, against backers of reformist Montenegrin
President Milo Djukanovic. PM

PEACEKEEPERS ARREST WAR CRIMINAL. British SFOR troops in
Banja Luka arrested Milojica Kos, the former commander of
the Bosnian Serb concentration camp at Omarska, on 28 May.
The Hague-based war crimes tribunal has indicted Kos for
atrocities committed against Muslim and Croatian civilians
at the camp between May and August 1992. Elsewhere, Nordic
and Polish peacekeepers found and removed 3 tons of illegal
weapons in the Ozren pocket area near Doboj. The
peacekeepers confiscated 12 tons of illegal arms in the same
area last month. PM

DOCTOR SAYS TUDJMAN IS 'CURED.' Andrija Hebrang, who is the
head of President Franjo Tudjman's medical team as well as a
cabinet minister, said that "at this moment, we consider
[the president] a cured man," "Vecernji list" reported on 29
May. Hebrang added that neither he nor anyone else is
Tudjman's designated successor because, "we do not have a
monarchy in which the ruler determines his successor. We
have a democratic system in which each party selects its own
presidential candidate." Tudjman underwent cancer treatment
in the U.S. in 1996 and has since limited his public
appearances. Politicians of his governing Croatian
Democratic Community have been fighting over the succession
for some months. PM

SLOVENIA TO JOIN EU BY 2003? Slovenian President Milan Kucan
said in Bonn on 28 May that he believes his country will
join the EU by 2003. He stressed that joining the EU and
NATO are still top priorities for Ljubljana. Kucan noted
that relations between the government and the Roman Catholic
Church remain strained. The two sides differ in their
interpretations of the constitution's definition of the role
of the Church in public life. Kucan said key differences are
over the restoration of Church property confiscated by the
Communists, religious instruction in the schools, and the
possible return of the Church to its pre-communist role as a
key player in politics. The president noted that the
government insists on the separation of Church and state,
the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. PM

NANO, PRODI OPEN KEY TRADE FAIR. Prime Ministers Fatos Nano
and his Italian counterpart, Romano Prodi, opened a major
industrial exhibition in Tirana on 27 May. More than 200
Italian and Albanian companies are participating in the
fair, which aims to promote the southern Adriatic as a
commercial bridge to the Balkans. At a meeting with Italian
businessmen, Privatization Minister Ylli Bufi said that
Albania will lower duties on exports to attract new
investors and to encourage production, "Gazeta Shqiptare"
reported. FS

ALBANIA TO STAGGER RETURN OF CRIMINALS FROM ABROAD. Justice
Ministry Spokesman Agim Neza told Reuters on 27 May that
Albania is prepared to take back all its citizens serving
prison sentences abroad. He added, however, that the process
will have to be staggered over an unspecified period owing
to a severe shortage of prison space. Albania signed four
conventions with the Council of Europe last week to ensure
the repatriation of Albanians convicted abroad and the
extradition of wanted criminals either to or from Albania.
Mobs demolished most prisons during the 1997 unrest. FS

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES DRAFT ON SEXUAL EQUALITY. The
government on 29 May approved a draft law on the equality of
the sexes. Among other things, the law forbids "unwanted,
unwelcome acts or scandalous behavior that affects one's
personal dignity" and says that women who have not been
promoted at work because of gender discrimination are
entitled to compensation totaling three months' wages,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The law must still be
approved by the parliament. In other news, former Foreign
Minister Adrian Nastase said on his return from Strasbourg
on 28 May that the Legal Affairs Committee of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has
unanimously recommended that Romania be removed from its
special monitoring list. MS

BULGARIA 'SURPRISED' BY HOLBROOKE STATEMENT. Foreign
Minister Nadezhda Mihailova on 28 May said she is
"surprised" by U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke's
statement that Bulgaria might decide to "grab off a piece"
of Macedonia. In an interview with Reuters on 27 May about
his book, "The End of the War," Holbrooke said an "eruption"
in Kosova could trigger a wider war and that "the Bulgarians
claim that Bulgarians and Macedonians are
indistinguishable." Mihailova told the BBC that Bulgaria was
the first country to recognize Macedonia under its
"constitutional name" of the Republic of Macedonia and has
repeatedly shown it is helping solve problems in the region
"rather than create them," an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia
reported. Foreign Minister spokesman Radko Vlaikov stressed
that Bulgaria has no territorial claims on Macedonia. But he
added that Sofia does not recognize Macedonian as a separate
language but considers it a Bulgarian dialect. MS

END NOTE

KRAJINA SYNDROME: KOSOVA'S SERBS

by Tim Judah

	Until quite recently, Serbian students in the
technical department of Prishtina University were still
telling anyone who would listen that theirs was a struggle
for Kosova, a struggle to the bitter end. Under the terms of
Kosova's education agreement signed by the Serbian
government and representatives of the province's Albanians
the Serbs were due to hand over the building to the
Albanians. A poster exhorted the police, whom it was feared
would soon move to turf them out, to: "Follow your hearts,
not your orders!"
	A rally inside the building in mid-May brought
together students and local Serbs. And despite the empty
rhetoric of "no surrender," one word recurred over and over
again: "Krajina," the name of the doomed would-be Serbian
state in Croatia, which had been betrayed and swept from the
map of history in August 1995. Within 48 hours the students
were gone, evicted by the police, but not before they had
rampaged through the building, destroying as much as they
could.
	The students were right about one thing. Their
struggle was indeed highly symbolic of the struggle for
Kosova. In the first place, they "occupied" the building as
its sole tenants, as a result of the policies of Slobodan
Milosevic, who rose to power a decade ago on the backs of
the Kosova Serbs. And, now just like the Serbs of Krajina,
whom Milosevic abandoned to their fate, the Serbs of Kosova
have understood that they have been betrayed as well.
	Many Serbs have, in fact, reluctantly concluded that
Milosevic, now Yugoslav president, has simply decided to
abandon the province. In Prishtina, frightened Serbs from
outlying districts are moving in to the center to stay with
friends and family clustered around the concrete symbols of
Serbian power, especially the army and police
headquarters.
	In the countryside, in areas that have fallen under
the control of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), those Serbs
who did not flee in time are being chased out and told in no
uncertain terms never to return. In a UCK-controlled part of
the western Decan area, seven elderly Serbs are presumed
dead after "disappearing". In the region as a whole there
are now no more than 300 Serbs left living among 55,000
Albanians.
	When Krajina fell in August 1995, the Croatian army
swept some 200,000 Serbs in front of it. Of those, 16,000
were sent to live in schools and hotels and other collective
centers in Kosova. At the time, there was much speculation
as to whether this development was the spearhead of a new
Serbian colonization drive in Kosova. But in fact, the
presence of those Serbs has done more than anything else to
shatter Serbian morale in the province.
	With their laundry always flapping from their windows,
the refugees are a constant reminder to the Kosova Serbs of
the fate of a people who trusted in Milosevic. Although some
Serbs still kid themselves that "Kosova is different" many
now realize that the battle is lost.
	Of course, there is some fighting. Some Albanian
villages are burning and there are daily killings of
Albanians by Serbs and vice versa. But on the Serbian side,
these are rearguard actions. The Serbian police could reduce
the whole of Kosova to ash and cinder within 24 hours, but
what would be the point of that? Serbia's economy is in a
truly parlous state, and relations with Montenegro are
fraught. Another round of tough sanctions could bring the
whole edifice crashing down and a militarily disastrous no-
fly zone to boot. In such a case, better to avoid rash
actions.
	Over the last two years, the emergence of the Serbian
Resistance Movement signaled some hope for the future. This
group, though committed to retaining Kosova for Serbia, did
call for real dialogue with Albanians and saw that
Milosevic's policy was heading for disaster. Among its
leading lights is Artemije, Orthodox bishop of Prizren and
Raska. His right-hand man is the monk Brother Sava.
	In the past couple of months the two men have been to
Washington, France, and elsewhere to publicize their cause
abroad. But now they are in despair. Bishop Artemije said
recently: "The chances of a dialogue have been missed. What
remains is what the gentlemen in Belgrade have chosen--the
loss of Kosova, just like the Krajina, in war." Clearly, he
has understood, like many Serbs, that Milosevic simply
cannot give up Kosova outright; rather, to secure his own
survival, he has to be seen to lose the province in war. In
this way, he can blame everyone else for its loss, including
the international community.
	As for Brother Sava, he is now a virtual prisoner in
his own monastery. The UCK roam the area at will. On 7 May,
they shot at a van taking shift workers to a now closed
nearby power plant, right outside the monastery door. The
hills around are crawling with army and police, too; but at
the checkpoint leading to the monastery, the police try to
stop journalists visiting Sava, perhaps because of his anti-
Milosevic stance. He has been reduced to communicating with
the world by e-mail and especially in trying to fend off
wild--and false--accusations in the Kosova Albanian press
that Decan is playing host to Serbian paramilitaries.

Tim Judah is a free-lance journalist and the author of the
recent book "The Serbs."

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