Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 128 Part II, 7 July 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 128 Part II, 7 July 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

* U.S. ACCUSES BELARUS OF FURTHER VIOLATING VIENNA
CONVENTION

* TIRANA SAYS YUGOSLAV SOLDIERS ENTERED ALBANIA

* SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY WITHOUT RESULTS

End Note: WHEN COMMERCE AND CULTURE CONFLICT
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

U.S. ACCUSES BELARUS OF FURTHER VIOLATING VIENNA CONVENTION.
The U.S. on 6 July protested the removal of a fence around
the residence of the U.S. ambassador at Drazdy, near Minsk,
as well as the presence of a Belarusian official on the
property. The official was reportedly seen walking in the
grounds of the residence. State Department spokesman James
Rubin called those acts an "assault" on the Vienna
Convention on diplomatic relations and demanded that the
Belarusian authorities put back the fence and remove its
representatives from the property. "If that doesn't happen,
we'll obviously consider next steps," Reuters quoted Rubin
as saying. JM

IMF RECALLS REPRESENTATIVE FROM BELARUS. Richard Haas, IMF
resident representative in Belarus, left Minsk on 5 July
after failing during his 18-month stay in Belarus to
persuade the government to introduce market reforms. "When
the Belarus government changes its policy, the IMF will
return to Minsk to support it," he told Reuters. Belarus
will now come under the jurisdiction of the IMF's office in
Lithuania. JM

OSCE RECONFIRMS OFFICIAL STATUS OF SUPREME SOVIET. The OSCE
Parliamentary Assembly, meeting in Copenhagen on 7 July,
reconfirmed that the 13th Belarusian Supreme Soviet is the
legislature officially recognized by the OSCE, RFE/RL's
Belarusian Service reported. The Supreme Soviet was
dissolved by President Lukashenka following the
controversial November 1996 referendum but is still
recognized by most international organizations as Belarus's
legitimate parliament. The Copenhagen meeting is being
attended by two Belarusian delegations: one from the Supreme
Soviet and the other from the National Assembly, created by
Lukashenka after the 1996 referendum. JM

BELARUS CELEBRATES NATIONAL HOLIDAY WITH SOVIET-STYLE
PARADE. A military parade to celebrate Independence Day took
place in Minsk on 3 July. Belarusian Television reported
that more than 4,000 troops participated in the parade,
along with missile launchers and anti-aircraft systems. They
were followed by a column of athletes and rows of tractors
and trucks. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka addressed the
crowd, saying that in the international arena, Belarus is
currently experiencing the "practice of double standards,
the striving for 'diktat,' muscle-flexing, and the strategy
of unjustified economic sanctions and blockades." He
stressed that "nobody has been allowed to speak with us from
a position of strength, in the language of blackmail and
threats." JM

UKRAINE RAISES INTEREST RATE TO 82 PERCENT. The Ukrainian
National Bank on 6 July announced that it will raise its key
interest rate from 51 percent to 82 percent beginning from 7
July, ITAR-TASS reported. The hike is widely seen as a
measure to support the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnya, the
exchange rate for which has been recently falling owing to
growing mistrust among foreign investors of Ukraine's
financial markets. JM

ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER BACK FROM CHINA. Following a
week's visit to the People's Republic of China, Andrus Oovel
told reporters in Tallinn on 6 July that Estonia may buy
Chinese-made air and anti-tank defense systems, ETA
reported. Oovel met with Chinese defense officials to
discuss, among others, security issues, NATO, and military
cooperation between the U.S. and China. No agreements were
signed during his visit. JC

LATVIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSES REFERENDUM ON CITIZENSHIP LAW
AMENDMENTS. Guntis Ulmanis told national radio on 6 July
that the results of the campaign to collect signatures
supporting a referendum on the citizenship law amendments
will depend on how well those amendments are explained to
the population, BNS reported. Asked if such a referendum
were necessary, Ulmanis answered that democracy is a "good
thing" that allows a dialogue between state structures and
the people. He urged politicians to talk more about the
"essence" of the issue, including "the Latvian language and
opportunities for studying it," rather than trading swipes
among themselves. He added that he believes it is time for
Latvians to make a "decision on our own as to how we should
move forward." Also on 6 July, the Central Electoral
Committee announced that signatures in support of the
referendum will also be collected among the 32,000 or so
Latvian citizens living abroad. JC

POLISH GOVERNMENT SUFFERS SETBACK OVER ADMINISTRATIVE
REFORM. The ruling coalition on 3 July failed to override
the presidential veto of the government-proposed bill to
reduce the number of provinces from 49 to 15 (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 3 July 1998). The ruling coalition was 16 votes
short of the three-fifths majority necessary to push through
the vetoed legislation. The plan intended to consolidate
Poland's administrative system, bringing it into line with
EU territorial division standards. Coalition politicians are
now urgently negotiating a compromise plan with the
opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) in order to pass a
new administrative division bill before the summer recess.
According to the 7 July "Zycie Warszawy," the coalition has
proposed either 10 or 12 new provinces, while the SLD
supports its former proposal of 17. JM

POLISH PARLIAMENT REBUKES GERMAN CALL FOR RESETTLEMENT
RIGHT. The Sejm on 3 July passed a resolution strongly
criticizing the German parliament's call in late May to
grant German post-war expellees the right to resettle in
Poland and the Czech Republic. The Sejm resolution says the
Bundestag's call "does not help the nicely developing
cooperation between Poland and Germany," dpa reported.
Referring to demands by Germany's expellees to get back
their homes and farms confiscated by the communist
authorities, the Sejm resolution says that "our
participation in the [European] Union must require the
inviolability of Poland's borders, confirmed by all our
neighbors, and of Polish property rights." JM

MINORITY CZECH SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT IN OFFING? The leaders
of the Social Democratic Party (CSSD) and the Civic
Democratic Part (ODS), Milos Zeman and Vaclav Klaus, on 3
July agreed to begin negotiations on a CSSD minority
government that would be tolerated by the ODS. Zeman told
journalists that the agreement could lead to a change in the
electoral system by either raising the electoral threshold
or by changing the voting system from a proportional to
either a majority or a proportional-majority system. Klaus
said that "under no circumstances" would the OSD agree to
participate in a CSSD-led coalition. MS

KLAUS STILL OPEN TO COALITION WITH CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS,
FREEDOM UNION. Also on 3 July, Klaus said his party is not
"closing the door" on a coalition with the Christian
Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Freedom Union, but KDU-CSL
leader Josef Lux called the ODS conditions for such a
coalition (including Klaus as premier and a majority of
seats for the ODS in the cabinet) a "dictate." Freedom Union
chairman Jan Ruml said both his party and the KDU-CSL are
ready to discuss supporting a Klaus-led minority government.
Presidential adviser Jiri Pehe said President Vaclav Havel
is "not enthusiastic" about the prospect of a "grand
coalition," even "an indirect one." But Pehe added that if
Zeman is able to "submit sufficient guarantees" of stability
for the cabinet, Havel "will not hamper the coalition." MS

SLOVAK OPPOSITION MERGES. The Slovak Democratic Coalition
(SDK) merged to form a party on 4 July and elected Mikulas
Dzurinda of the former Christian Democratic Movement as its
chairman, CTK reported. The move was prompted by the
amendment to the electoral law, passed by the parliament
last month, that requires each member of an electoral
alliance to obtain at least 5 percent of the votes. The
other parties that belong the new formation, also called the
SDK, are the Democratic Union, the Democratic Party, the
Social Democratic Party of Slovakia, and the Slovak Green
Party. Also on 4 July, Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
accused U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Ralph Johnson of "gross
interference" in Slovak internal affairs for having
criticized the amendment to the electoral law, Reuters
reported. MS

SLOVAK MOCHOVCE PLANT HOOKED UP TO GRID. Austrian Consumer
Protection Minister Barbara Prammer on 5 July criticized
Slovakia's decision to start up the controversial Mochovce
nuclear plant. The previous day, the plant was connected to
the national electricity grid and began running at 20
percent of its capacity, supplying about 30 megawatts of
electrical power to the network, Reuters, reported citing
TASR. MS

NEW HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER SWORN IN. By a vote of 222 to
119 with eight abstentions, the parliament on 6 July
approved the new coalition cabinet's program and elected
Viktor Orban, chairman of the Federation of Young Democrats-
Hungarian Civic Party, as prime minister. Orban acknowledged
that the implementation of the government's program may
require more time than initially planned. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

TIRANA SAYS YUGOSLAV SOLDIERS ENTERED ALBANIA. A spokesman
for the Albanian Interior Ministry said on 6 July that
between 20 and 40 armed Yugoslav soldiers penetrated 100
meters into Albanian territory in the mountainous Has
district earlier that day, "Koha Jone" reported. He called
the incident the most serious border violation since
Belgrade launched its crackdown in Kosova in February. The
spokesman added that the Foreign Ministry has lodged a
formal complaint with the Yugoslav authorities and demanded
a meeting to discuss the "provocative" incident. FS

MONITORS ARRIVE IN KOSOVA. Ten diplomats accredited in
Belgrade visited Serbian-controlled areas in the Drenica
region on 6 July. Their trip is the beginning of an
international monitoring mission whose members will also
visit regions controlled by the Kosova Liberation Army
(UCK). Forty foreign military experts and 25 EU monitors
will arrive in Kosova soon, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" reported on 7 July. The EU representatives will be
based in Prishtina, Peja, Mitrovica, and Prizren. All
monitors will travel in pairs and have orders not to take
unnecessary risks or to undertake missions without the
approval of both the Serbian and Kosovar authorities. The
observers will be able to report on what they see but have
no authority to intervene. PM

SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY WITHOUT RESULTS. U.S. Ambassador to the UN
Richard Holbrooke and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Nikolai Afanasevskii shuttled together between Belgrade and
Prishtina from 4 to 6 July to discuss the situation in
Kosova with the Yugoslav and Kosovar leaderships,
respectively. In Prishtina on 5 July, Holbrooke said the two
diplomats made little progress in persuading the Kosovar
factions "to get their act together" and speak with one
voice. The next day, Afanasevskii noted in Belgrade that the
failure of the Kosovars to adopt a unified position among
themselves on the future of the province is hindering
progress toward a negotiated settlement, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. Holbrooke added that diplomatic
efforts aimed at ending the crisis will continue as part of
what he called an ongoing process. PM

HILL SETS DEADLINE FOR KOSOVA. U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia
Christopher Hill said in Ohrid on 6 July that there is no
way that Kosova "can shoot its way out of Serbia, but
Belgrade cannot maintain...the status quo" either. Hill
stressed that the crisis must be ended within the next 14
days, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. He did not
specify what will happen if it does not. Hill added that the
UCK enjoys widespread support from the population of Kosova
and cannot be considered "a group of extremists." In Skopje,
a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said two smugglers were
wounded the previous day in separate attempts to bring in
arms and ammunition from Albania, which were destined for
Kosova. In New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in
a report on 6 July that Kosova has become "a key issue for
the overall stability of the Balkan region." He warned that
the fighting could spill over the province's frontiers if it
does not stop soon. PM

BOSNIAN-TYPE DESTRUCTION IN KOSOVA. U.S. special envoy
Robert Gelbard, speaking in Banja Luka on 6 July, urged
Bosnian Serbs not to become involved in the fighting in
Kosova. He expressed concern about unspecified reports that
some Bosnian Serbs are preparing to volunteer to fight on
the Yugoslav side. In Geneva on 3 July, a UN spokesman
charged that Serbian paramilitaries have been systematically
destroying Kosovar villages recently according to a pattern
established during the Bosnian war of 1992-1995. The
spokesman said that paramilitaries plunder a village,
transport away any valuables that can be moved, kill the
livestock, and set fire to the houses. He added that the
existence of the pattern has been confirmed by the accounts
of numerous refugees and foreign journalists, the Prague
daily "Mlada fronta Dnes" reported. PM

MINISTER CALLS KOSOVAR WOMEN 'CHILD-BEARING MACHINES.'
Outspoken Serbian Family Affairs Minister Rada Trajkovic
said in Belgrade on 6 July that the Kosovar birth rate,
which is the highest in Europe, is a "demographic bomb" for
Serbia. She added that Kosovar men often practice bigamy and
have up to three wives. Kosovar women, she continued, are
"child-bearing machines" who have no rights and cannot speak
without their husbands' permission. Trajkovic argued that
the women have so many children that they cannot keep track
of the children's illnesses or even of their names, Tanjug
reported. She said that her views are the result of her
experience working as a doctor in Prishtina. PM

BOSNIAN GENOCIDE TRIAL OPENS. The trial of Milan Kovacevic,
a Bosnian Serb, opened at the war crimes tribunal in The
Hague on 6 July. Kovacevic is charged with genocide in
connection with his activities at the Omarska, Keraterm and
Trnopolje concentration camps in the Prijedor area in 1992.
It is the first trial for genocide to begin at the tribunal.
Meanwhile in Zagreb, Ephraim Zuroff of the Vienna-based
Simon Wiesenthal Center gave Foreign Minister Mate Granic
and Deputy Justice Minister Snjezana Bagic documents related
to the cases of Dinko Sakic and his wife, alleged to have
committed crimes against humanity during World War II,
Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 June 1998). PM

ONE DEAD IN SOCCER-RELATED VIOLENCE. A young Muslim woman in
Mostar was killed by a stray bullet fired during
celebrations following Croatia's World Cup quarter-final
victory in Lyon on 4 July. An elderly Muslim man was injured
when he was hit in the head by a bullet, and some 200 people
in nearby Stolac attacked the home of a recently returned
Muslim refugee. Martin Garrod, who is the international
community's local representative in Mostar, condemned what
he called "criminal behavior" and demanded an end to the
frequent use of firearms in Herzegovina. PM

ALBANIAN PROSECUTORS LAUNCH PROBE INTO CUSTOMS EVASION.
Prosecutor-General Farudin Arapi on 6 July launched an
investigation into some 60 cases of alleged customs evasion,
"Koha Jone" reported. Among the 90 people under
investigation is Director-General of Customs Gezim Bleta,
Arapi's spokesman said. The probe follows a recent report by
President Rexhep Meidani's office saying that the government
has already lost some $80 million in customs revenues in
1998 alone owing to evasion (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 June
1998). FS

NO INFORMERS IN ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT, DEFENSE COUNCIL. Prime
Minister Radu Vasile on 6 July said all ministers have
submitted written declarations saying that they had no links
with the former Securitate. The only exception is Finance
Minister Daniel Daianu, who admitted a few years ago to have
worked for the Securitate's Foreign Intelligence
Directorate, from which he resigned. President Emil
Constantinescu on the same day said the investigation
requested by the Supreme Defense Council shows none of its
members worked for the former secret police. In other news,
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania on 3 July
elected Senator Hajdu Gabor to replace Francis Baranyi as
health minister. Premier Vasile has approved Gabor's
appointment. Baranyi resigned after admitting he was forced
to sign a pledge to act as a Securitate informer. He
stressed, however, that he never informed on anyone. MS

ROMANIAN LIBERALS MERGE AGAIN. The National Council of the
governing National Liberal Party (PNL) on 4 July approved
the formation's merger with the Liberal Party. Liberal Party
leaders Dinu Patriciu and Horia Rusu are to be PNL deputy
chairmen. The Liberal Party recently split, and the wing led
by Nicolae Cerveni has set up the Liberal Federation,
together with other fringe liberal formations. The PNL
council also recommended that the constitution be amended to
replace the present proportional electoral system with a
majority system. It also wants to raise the electoral
threshold from 3 percent to 5 percent, establish different
functions for the Senate from those of the Chamber of
Deputies, and allow for parliamentary immunity to be lifted
by a vote of 51 percent instead of 66 percent at present. MS

ETHNIC BULGARIAN KIDNAPPED IN KOSOVA. Foreign Ministry
spokesman Radko Vlaikov told BTA on 4 July that Bulgaria is
concerned about the fate of Stamen Genov, an ethnic
Bulgarian from Bosilegrad who was taken hostage, along with
three Serbs, by the Kosova Liberation Army on 2 July.
Vlaikov said that Genov is a military doctor at a hospital
in Djakovica in Kosova. He added that Bulgaria has contacted
the International Red Cross, the OSCE, and the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees to ask for help in tracing Genov.
In other news, representatives of CEFTA countries attending
a conference in Prague on 3 July announced those states will
sign an agreement on Bulgaria's accession "as soon as
possible," Hungary's MTI agency reported. MS

END NOTE

WHEN COMMERCE AND CULTURE CONFLICT

by Paul Goble

	Expanded international trade brings many benefits to
everyone involved, but its impact on national cultures is
more complicated, benefiting some and undermining others.
	Trade can benefit national cultures in three ways. It
can give a country the resources necessary to defend its own
cultural traditions. It can extend the cultural influence of
the exporting country across the world. And it can open the
culture of the importer to new possibilities.
	But trade can also threaten national cultures as well.
It can promote an international culture that may overwhelm
national ones. It can undermine efforts by national elites
to promote national loyalty. And it can exacerbate tensions
in culturally divided countries.
	Not surprisingly, those who feel their cultures
threatened often look for ways to limit the impact of
international trade on their traditions, while those who
benefit from such commerce tend to view any discussion of
culture as an unwarranted effort to limit free trade.
	This debate broke out again last week at a meeting of
19 countries in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. Cultural
officials from the Americas and Europe explored ways to
limit the cultural impact of trade on their societies. They
suggested that countries must have some ability to limit
trade in those areas, such as film and television, that
directly threaten their national cultures by holding up
powerful alternative models from abroad.
	No representative from the U.S. was initially invited
to the meeting, however. The Canadian organizers said they
did not do so because the U.S. does not have a cultural
minister. But under pressure from U.S. officials, they later
backed down and allowed the U.S. embassy to send observers.
	The real reason for the initial decision, one that not
all participants supported, appears to be long-standing
Canadian concern that U.S. culture is overwhelming its
Canadian counterpart through television broadcasts, book
publishing, and Canadian imports of many U.S. products.
	In the past, Canadians have adopted measures to
increase Canadian content in the media and thus to restrict
U.S. content. The U.S., for its part, has denounced those
measures as violating international agreements on free
trade.
	Most of the media coverage of the Ottawa meeting
implied that the dispute between Canada and the U.S. was
either unique or simply part of a more generalized concern
in many countries about the "Americanization" of their
popular cultures.. And it suggested that Canada was engaging
in a somewhat silly and inevitably hopeless defense against
the inevitable.
	But the Ottawa meeting, which is scheduled to be
followed by sessions in Mexico City and Athens, draws
attention to a much more widespread problem, one familiar to
many smaller countries living next to a larger one.
	One region where this problem threatens to break out
in an even more dramatic fashion is in the countries of the
former Soviet space, between the Russian Federation and its
much smaller neighbors. And because of three specific
features of this region, the conflict there could be even
more intense than the one highlighted at the Ottawa meeting.
	First, by virtue of its size and economic
possibilities, the Russian Federation is likely to loom even
larger in the lives of the peoples of the former Soviet
republics than does the U.S. in the lives of Canadians.
	Second, because of their past experience with Moscow's
rule and because of their desire to strengthen their own
national identities, the non-Russians are likely to be even
more sensitive to the impact of Russian culture on their own
national cultures.
	And third, because of the unique pattern of language
knowledge in the non-Russian countries, they are likely to
see the impact of trade on culture as particularly
threatening.
	Many observers describe the non-Russian countries as
bilingual, but that is simply not true, at least in the
sense that is usually meant. In most of those states, the
non-Russians speak their own language as well as Russian,
while most ethnic Russians there speak only Russian.
	As a result, expanded trade with its attendant
cultural influence may tend to solidify the cultural and
political divisions in these societies rather than help
overcome them. And that in turn is likely to have a profound
impact on the policies of the non-Russian governments.
	To the extent that they seek to restrict the cultural
impact of trade with Russia, these countries may have to
give up some economic advantages and some political support
from other large countries that are suspicious of any
cultural arguments.
	But to the extent that they do not seek to take such
measures, they may find themselves in a position like the
Canadians and others where their national cultures will be
transformed beyond recognition and beyond their control.

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