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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 106 Part II, 4 June 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 106 Part II, 4 June 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)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* HUNGARY'S ORBAN REBUFFS SMALLHOLDERS

* REFUGEES CONTINUE TO POUR INTO ALBANIA

* ALBANIAN PREMIER CALLS ON NATO FOR HELP

End Note: A RENEWED SOURCE OF NATIONALISM
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ELECT SPEAKER FOR FOURTH
TIME... In a fourth round of voting for parliamentary
speaker, Social Democrat Leonid Kravchuk received 193 votes,
Communist Petro Symonenko 168, and Hromada party candidate
Mykola Haber 31, Ukrainian Television reported. Eight
deputies voted against all three candidates. Since none of
the candidates gained the necessary 226 votes, the election
was declared invalid. The four right-centrist parties that
until now have abstained from taking part in the election
supported Kravchuk (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 May 1998). JM

...WHILE PRESIDENT THREATENS TO FORM LEFTIST GOVERNMENT.
Leonid Kuchma on 3 June said that if either Socialist
Oleksandr Moroz or Communist Petro Symonenko is elected
parliamentary speaker, he will ask the successful candidate
to form the Cabinet of Ministers and assume responsibility
for "the entire nation," Interfax reported. "That will be a
horrible experiment, but without this experiment it would be
simply impossible to dot all the 'i's.'" Kuchma commented.
Kuchma added that Kravchuk could be a "proper" speaker. In
his opinion, the leaders of the main parliamentary groups
should agree on a "package solution" to electing a speaker
and his deputies. JM

KUCHMA MEETS VATICAN SECRETARY OF STATE. The Ukrainian
president on 3 June met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican
secretary of state, who is currently on an official visit to
Ukraine, Ukrainian Television reported. Both officials noted
"the deepening of relations between the two states." Ukraine
has 4.5 million Uniates (Eastern rite Catholics loyal to
Rome) and 500,000 Roman Catholics. One of Sodano's goals was
to discuss a possible visit by Pope John Paul II to Ukraine.
The cardinal told Ukrainian Television that the pope's visit
is "a question of the future.... I am sure that the pope
will come because he wants to and he continually mentions
Ukraine in his prayers." JM

UNCLAIMED PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS TO GO TO BUDGET. Ukrainian
Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko on 3 June said that the
government has decided to transfer to the Ministry of
Industrial Policy those privatization vouchers that were not
claimed by Ukrainian citizens, ITAR-TASS reported. The
unclaimed vouchers are worth more than 2.2 billion hryvni.
Pustovoytenko believes they can be put into circulation and
result in budget revenues worth 22 million hryvni in the
near future. JM

YOUNG BELARUSIAN OPPOSITIONIST RELEASED. Pavel Sevyarynets,
the leader of the opposition Belarusian Youth Front, was
unexpectedly released from jail on 3 June on his own
recognizance. The previous day, the authorities had extended
his jail sentence by one month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3
June 1998), and Sevyarynets had been preparing to launch a
hunger strike, Belapan reported. Sevyarynets has agreed not
to leave his hometown of Vitsebsk until an investigation
into his case has been completed. He is charged with
"malicious hooliganism" during the 2 April rally protesting
the Russia-Belarus union and faces a maximum prison sentence
of five years. RFE/RL Belarusian Service reported that the
release order came from the Belarusian Security Council. JM

BELARUS EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT INDIAN, PAKISTANI NUCLEAR
TESTS. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has issued a
statement expressing "alarm and concern" over recent nuclear
tests conducted by India and Pakistan, "Zvyazda" reported on
3 June. The statement calls on all countries with nuclear
military programs to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty if they have
not already done so and to draw up a treaty banning the
production of fissionable materials for nuclear weapons. The
ministry also repeated Belarus's proposal to create a
nuclear-free zone in Central and Eastern Europe. According
to that proposal, all non-nuclear countries would undertake
not to have nuclear weapons deployed on their territory. JM

LATVIAN PRESIDENT URGES ADOPTION OF AMENDMENTS TO
CITIZENSHIP LAW. Guntis Ulmanis has urged the parliament to
adopt the government's proposals for amending the
citizenship law before the end of the legislature's spring
session, BNS reported on 3 June. In a statement issued one
day before the parliament is scheduled to vote on those
amendments, Ulmanis said their adoption would be a "sign
that we ourselves create the policy of inclusion of
noncitizens in our country. Nothing could be more dangerous
than leaving the integration of noncitizens to drift."
Latvia's Way, the National Reform Party, and the Farmers'
Union/Christian-Democrats have all said they will support
the amendments, and the Democratic Party Saimnieks is
expected to give its backing. The Fatherland and Freedom
party has said it will vote against the amendments, but
"Diena" speculates that opposition support may be sufficient
for them to pass. JC

DEADLOCK CONTINUES OVER POLAND'S SCREENING PROCESS. Right-
and left-wing deputies are winding up the parliamentary
discussion over the procedure for screening top state
officials, "Zycie Warszawy" reported on 4 June. Under the
1997 screening law, officials are obliged to submit written
declarations as to whether they collaborated with the
Communist-era secret services. The ruling coalition of the
Solidarity Electoral Action and the Freedom Union proposes
to appoint a public interest watchdog and have the Warsaw
Appeals Court review the declarations. The opposition
Democratic Left Alliance, however, is strongly opposed to
those proposals. The current deadlock has resulted from the
refusal by judges to sit on a screening panel, which is
stipulated in the 1997 law. The voting on the proposed
amendments to the law is expected this week. JM

CZECH ELECTION CAMPAIGN OFFICIALLY STARTS. A two-week
official election campaign officially started in the Czech
Republic on 3 June, Reuters reported. Former Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus told a rally of his Civic Democratic Party in
Prague that the campaign "is about keeping our freedoms and
democracy." Christian Democratic Union chairman Josef Lux
told journalists in Prostejov, southern Moravia, that he
"firmly believes" a coalition between his party, the Social
Democratic Party (CSSD), and the Freedom Union is a
"realistic possibility" after the elections. Both Milos
Zeman, the leader of the CSSD, and Freedom Union chairman
Jan Ruml have rejected that idea. The far-right Republican
Party on 3 June announced it will field candidates in every
electoral district, CTK reported. MS

HUNGARY'S ORBAN REBUFFS SMALLHOLDERS. Federation of Young
Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP) chair Viktor
Orban on 3 June told the party's parliamentary group that
development of the provinces cannot be the "fiefdom" of a
single party. His remarks came after repeated calls by the
Independent Smallholders (FKGP) for control of a "super-
ministry" for the development of the countryside in the new
government coalition. Orban said it is inconceivable that
the provinces would belong to one party and the rest of the
country to another. He concluded that even if FIDESZ-MPP
starts coalition talks with the FKGP next week, his party
will still be the most powerful in Hungary's cabinet.
Orban's chief of staff, Andor Nagy, said Orban is not averse
to meeting with FKGP chairman Jozsef Torgyan, but the
meeting can take place only after preparatory talks. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

REFUGEES CONTINUE TO POUR INTO ALBANIA. Thousands of Kosovar
refugees continue to stream into Albania to escape the
artillery barrage leveled against several villages in
northwestern Kosova over the last five days. Milaim Cengo,
an official of the Tropoje region, said there is a constant
flow of people arriving in the region. The Kosovar refugees
are now being forced to go to Bajram Curri because Tropoje
is overwhelmed with people. "Koha Jone" reported that some
10,000 Kosovars fled to Albania by 3 June. "Shekulli,"
however, quotes an unnamed Interior Ministry official as
saying that 15,000 have arrived so far and that tens of
thousands more are on their way. The same day, a government
delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bashkim Fino left
for northern Albania to assess the needs of the refugees.
FS/PB

ALBANIAN PREMIER CALLS ON NATO FOR HELP... In a letter sent
to NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana on 3 June, Albanian
Prime Minister Fatos Nano asked the alliance to step up its
involvement in northern Albania. Nano asked for NATO to
supply food and medicine to refugees who have crossed into
Albania. He added: "I am convinced that the time has now
come in which the international community must not only
share our concerns but also act united and with force to
ensure the protection of Kosova's innocent citizens and of
peace in the region." Nano also said that "Serbian commando
teams" have made incursions into Albania to "scout the
area." Meanwhile, the Socialist Party's Foreign Relations
Secretary, Maqo Lakrori, told a press conference in Tirana
the same day that the armed resistance of Kosova Albanians
is "legitimate self-defense against Serbian repression and
massacres" and the only protection against "ethnic cleansing
of Kosovar Albanians," "Koha Jone" reported. FS/PB

...WHILE ALLIANCE SAYS THOROUGH PLANNING NEEDED. Solana said
on 3 June that NATO is keeping "all options open" in regard
to the tense situation in Kosova. The alliance's 16
permanent ambassadors, meeting in Brussels, agreed they will
send reconnaissance teams to Macedonia and Albania to review
plans for any troop deployment but that any military
operation will have to be thoroughly planned, AFP reported.
NATO defense ministers will meet in Brussels on 11 June for
further discussions. At a meeting in Palermo, the foreign
ministers of 12 European countries warned Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic to stop the killing. German Foreign
Minister Klaus Kinkel said Milosevic "has to learn that he
will be hit with strong measures." U.S. Defense Secretary
William Cohen said at a press conference in Washington with
his British counterpart, George Robertson, that military
action is a "last resort" for dealing with the crisis. U.S.
State Department spokesman James Rubin said that the U.S.
could reimpose some economic sanctions if the violence
continues. PB

RUGOVA APPEALS TO ITALY FOR HELP. Kosovar Albanian shadow-
state President Ibrahim Rugova was in Rome on 3 June for
talks with Italian officials. Rugova was reportedly trying
to get Rome to put pressure on Yugoslav President Milosevic
to stop the violence. Skender Hyseni, a Rugova spokesman,
said the renewed violence is a "bad omen" that ethnic
cleansing has begun. In Geneva, the International Committee
of the Red Cross asked Serbian authorities on 3 June for
"immediate and unimpeded access" to the Decan area of
Kosova, where most of the violence took place. Reports from
refugees arriving in Albania claim that thousands of people
are either walking toward the border or hiding in the
forests. PB

BELGRADE-PRISHTINA TALKS TO CONTINUE? Fehmi Agani, the head
of the Kosovar Albanian negotiating team, said on 3 June
that talks between ethnic Albanian Kosova leaders and
Yugoslav officials could begin on 5 June. But he added that
the talks and hopes for finding a peaceful solution to the
crisis are jeopardized by the deterioration of the situation
since the latest Serbian offensive in the Decan region, Beta
reported. PB

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL WANTS FORCE IN MACEDONIA STRENGTHENED.
Kofi Annan said in a report to the UN Security Council on 3
June that he recommends "an expanded international presence
in the region." Annan noted that in light of the upsurge in
violence in Kosova, the 750 UN troops in Macedonia have
increased patrols along the border with the Serbian
province, established around the clock observation posts,
and started boat patrols on the Ohrid and Prespa lakes. He
said such increased activity cannot be sustained over a long
period at the present troop strength. PB

BOSNIAN SERB, MUSLIM-CROAT POLICE SIGN COOPERATION ACCORD.
Muslim-Croat Federation Interior Minister Mehmet Zilic and
his Bosnian Serb counterpart, Milovan Stankovic, pledged on
3 June that their respective police forces will jointly
fight organized crime and uphold all Bosnians' rights. The
accord, signed in the presence of Elizabeth Rehn, the UN
envoy to Bosnia, envisages cooperation in providing security
for all citizens and "preventing infringements of freedom of
movement and civil rights." Stankovic said the two police
forces will cooperate in breaking up country-wide crime
syndicates but will not be involved in the apprehension of
war crimes suspects. PB

ROMANIAN COALITION RESUMES BICKERING. The leadership of the
ruling National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD)
on 2 June debated friction within the party after Prime
Minister Radu Vasile complained last week that groups within
the PNTCD want the government "to have the same fate as the
cabinet headed by [Victor] Ciorbea." Vasile's remarks were
later criticized by PNTCD deputy chairmen Mircea Ciumara and
Remus Opris. PNTCD leader Ion Diaconescu said criticism is
permitted within the leadership, but he added that once a
decision is reached, all members must respect it, while
those who fail to do so must face disciplinary action. The
leadership also discussed tense relations with the
Democratic Party, following the decision taken last week by
Industry and Trade Minister Radu Berceanu to replace the
heads of several utilities companies with professionals.
Leading members of the PNTCD have complained that the move
violated the coalition agreement, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. MS

FUTURE OF ROMANIAN SOCIALIST PARTIES' ALLIANCE QUESTIONED.
Alliance for Romania (APR) deputy chairman Marian Enache
told journalists on 3 June that the envisaged merger between
his formation and the Social Democratic Party (PSDR) will be
possible only if the PSDR quits the ruling coalition,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The PSDR National
Council on 31 May approved a resolution to continue talks
with the APR on the eventual merger of the two formations.
MS

ROMANIAN SENATE TO DEBATE TUDOR'S PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY.
Justice Minister Valeriu Stoica on 3 June asked Senate
chairman Petre Roman to convene the house to debate lifting
the parliamentary immunity of Greater Romania Party Chairman
Corneliu Vadim Tudor. Tudor is accused of insulting
President Emil Constantinescu and of slandering Roman,
another senator, and several other persons. MS

TRANSDNIESTER LEADERSHIP ATTACKS NEW MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT.
Grigorii Marakutsa, chairman of the Transdniester Supreme
Soviet, has said Ion Ciubuc's cabinet is aiming at
"Romanianizing the Moldovan Republic and unifying it with
Romania," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported on 3 June .
Marakutsa said "key ministerial posts" in Chisinau are now
"occupied by those responsible for the outbreak of the armed
conflict in 1992." He added that this "explains why the
Moldovan side is rejecting our proposal for a mutual
reduction of forces." He said Moldovan expectations of
"setting up a unitary state" on both banks of River Dniester
have "no chance" because they ignore the fact that the
"Transdniester Republic has been existing for several
years." Marakutsa warned that if Chisinau does not renounce
"its insistence on a joint indivisible state," the
separatists might "renounce our confederate state program
and orient ourselves to setting up a fully independent
state." MS

STOYANOV SAYS BALKAN FUTURE DEPENDS ON KOSOVA SOLUTION.
Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov on 3 June told
journalists after a meeting of the National Security Council
that the future of the whole Balkan region depends on a
peaceful solution to the conflict in Kosova, Reuters
reported. He said the council concluded that there is "no
direct threat" of Bulgaria's being drawn into the conflict.
But it noted that the conflict itself poses "numerous
dangers, including ethnic and religious strife and an
upsurge in crime," and endangers the Balkans' economic
development and integration into the EU and NATO. MS

BULGARIAN ROMA END PROTEST. The group of Bulgarian Roma
protesting against discrimination and non-payment of
unemployment and family benefits reached an agreement with
the authorities on 3 June following a 10-day fast, AFP
reported. Under the agreement, benefits owed since the
beginning of the year will be disbursed immediately. Jobs
will also be created for unemployed Roma in the town of Lom,
where the protest took place. In other news, Trade Minister
Valentin Vasilev on 3 June announced that Bulgaria will join
the Central European Free Trade Agreement next month,
Reuters reported. MS

END NOTE

A RENEWED SOURCE OF NATIONALISM

by Paul Goble

	Environmental disasters--some left over from Soviet
times, others the product of the actions of weak new
governments, and still others the result of the activities
of foreign firms--may reignite nationalist passions in many
post-Soviet states.
	There are three reasons behind this somewhat
surprising conclusion. First, as a recently released poll
shows, citizens in the post-Soviet states appear even more
concerned about the environment than are residents of other
countries around the world.
	Second, the leaders of many of the national movements
in these countries started as environmental activists in
Soviet times and thus are now simply returning to their
roots as a result of new ecological disasters . And third,
the media have focused increasing attention on such
disasters, especially when corrupt local officials or
foreign firms appear to be to blame.
	The United States Information Agency last month
released the results of two surveys its researchers
conducted in late 1997 in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan on
popular attitudes toward environomental issues. Those polls
found that majorities in all three countries--including more
than 65 percent in Russia--said they favored protecting the
environment even if doing so meant that they would have to
put up with slower economic growth. Such support for
environmental activism would be impressive anywhere; it is
especially striking in countries whose economic situation is
anything but good.
	In addition, the survey showed that the citizens of
these three countries were extremely critical of what their
respective governments were doing to clean up environmental
pollution. Some 70 percent of Kazakhs, 85 percent of
Russians, and a similar percentage of Ukrainians felt their
national governments were doing a poor job in this respect.
	Not surprisingly, politicians both in power and in
opposition are sensitive to such attitudes, seeing them
either as a threat or an opportunity. And that is
particularly the case with those political figures who began
their careers as spokesmen for ecological causes in Soviet
times.
	In the 1960s and 1970s, environmental concerns were
among the few issues that opposition groups, especially in
the non-Russian regions, could raise without falling afoul
of the Soviet state. Many of these environmental activists
subsequently became active in the preservation of historical
monuments when that became possible. And later still, they
adopted an openly nationalist agenda as the Soviet state
crumbled around them.
	Now in the post-Soviet environment, these same people
are drawing strength from others appalled by the
environmental degradation visited upon them by past Soviet
practices, by the failure of their own governments to
prevent new disasters, and by the poor ecological record of
many Western firms now operating in these countries. And
just as in Soviet times, they are focusing attention not so
much on the environment in general but rather on conditions
in their own country or even in one part of it. According to
the USIA poll, only one person in 50 was concerned about
global climate change, but virtually everyone was worried
about more immediate environmental degradation.
	The media in these countries are playing up these
issues, frequently with an increasingly nationalist gloss
directed either at the Soviet past, an uncaring and corrupt
local regime, or foreign firms. Recently, for example, the
press in Kyrgyzstan has called attention to the
environmental disaster visited on that country's Lake Issyk-
Kul by a Kyrgyz-Canadian gold-mining concern. Ukrainian
media have continued to discuss the fallout from the
Chornobyl nuclear accident, a disaster made all the worse by
Soviet policies and the West's unwillingness to help. And
the Georgian media have raised questions about the
consequences for that country if Turkey builds a dam on the
border between the two countries.
	Many both in the West and in these countries may be
inclined to dismiss such concerns as relatively unimportant
to the political life of this region. But the experience of
these countries in the past and the intense feelings that
environmental issues can still arouse point to a different
conclusion.
	They suggest that future environmental disasters in
this region may quickly lead to a nationalist response,
particularly if those responsible are individuals and groups
from abroad. That conclusion, in turn, indicates that anyone
seeking to do business with those countries must be
especially environmentally responsible to avoid unleashing a
popular movement that no one will be able to control.

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