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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 147 Part II, 3 August 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 147 Part II, 3 August 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

* IMF MISSION TO RECOMMEND $2.2 BILLION LOAN TO UKRAINE

* SERBS KEEP UP OFFENSIVE

* PLIGHT OF REFUGEES WORSENS

End Note: PRIMAKOV'S 19TH CENTURY MODEL
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

IMF MISSION TO RECOMMEND $2.2 BILLION LOAN TO UKRAINE. An
IMF team visiting Kyiv last week announced on 31 July that
it will recommend the release of a $2.2 billion loan to
Ukraine. "We have reached a tentative agreement with
Ukrainian authorities on the program of stabilization and
restructuring of the economy," AP quoted IMF mission head
Mohammed Shadman-Valavi as saying. The three-year program,
which Shadman-Valavi described as "very ambitious," aims to
reduce the budget deficit to 3.3 percent of GDP this year
and to 2 percent in following years. It also provides for an
inflation rate of 10 percent this year and 8 percent in
1999-2001. Ukraine may obtain $250 million immediately after
the IMF Board of Directors approves the loan in late August
and another $600 million by year's end. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS RESCHEDULE PROTEST ACTION FOR SEPTEMBER. A
protest action over unpaid wages planned by the Trade Union
of Coal Industry Workers has been postponed until September.
The union had intended to begin the action on 2 August in
Kyiv. It said that the decision to postpone the protest was
due to the "unbelievable heat" in Ukraine and to the summer
recess, ITAR-TASS reported. Despite recent payments made by
the government, total wage arrears in the coal industry
exceed $2 billion hryvni ($1 billion). The government paid
only 75 percent of last month's wages in the coal mining
sector. JM

LUKASHENKA SAYS REUNION OF RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BELARUS
'INEVITABLE.' Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
said in answer to questions by readers of "Pravda-5" that
that reunification of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus "is
inevitable and that no opponent will be able to prevent it,"
Interfax reported on 31 July. He said such a union will
appear "very soon" if "the reunification problem passes from
the area of election outbursts into the area of practical
daily work." He also expressed the hope that the Belarusian-
Russian Union Parliamentary Assembly will soon pass laws to
establish union citizenship and that the two countries'
parliaments will approve that legislation. JM

MOST MINSK RESIDENTS IN FAVOR OF 1999 PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS. An opinion poll conducted by the Belapan news
agency in late July among 600 Minsk respondents showed that
62 percent support holding presidential elections in 1999.
Lukashenka was elected for a five-year term in 1994, but the
1996 referendum in Belarus introduced a new constitution
that prolonged his term until 2001. Presidential elections
in 2001 were supported by 21 percent of the respondents. In
mid-July, the European Parliament appealed to Belarus to
hold "free and fair presidential elections" in 1999. Of the
respondents, 51 percent backed that appeal, while 17 percent
opposed it. JM

DUTIES ON ESTONIAN EXPORTS TO RUSSIA TO INCREASE. Following
Moscow's decision last month to raise duties on imports,
tariffs for Estonian producers exporting to Russia will
increase by 6 percent beginning 15 August, an economic
adviser at the Estonian Embassy in Moscow confirmed on 2
August. The increase for countries that have most-favored-
nation status with Russia is 3 percent, while all other
countries are subject to a 6 percent hike. Estonian
officials have criticized the double tariffs as
discrimination against Estonia and as violating the
principles of the World Trade Organization. In particular,
Estonian dairy producers are worried because they currently
sell their products in Russia at virtually no profit,
according to ETA. JC

RUSSIA CRITICIZES LATVIA OVER BORDER COMMENTS. Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin on 31 July
responded to Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs's
statement that Latvia will begin unilaterally demarcating
the border between the two countries (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
30 and 31 July 1998). Rakhmanin said that under
international law, the border can be demarcated only after a
border treaty has been signed. And he blamed Riga for the
fact that the treaty has not yet been signed, Interfax
reported. But Latvian Foreign Ministry official Aivis Ronis
argued that Moscow is to blame for the delay, BNS reported
on 31 July. He said that Riga will seek to have Russia sign
the treaty but if Moscow shows "no willingness to
cooperate," Latvia may consult with EU members on further
actions and may demarcate the border unilaterally. For the
time being, he noted, Latvia will only modernize and improve
border control to fight illegal immigration and smuggling.
JC

WORLD BANK GIVES LOAN TO LATVIAN RURAL PROJECT. The World
Bank has granted a $10.5 million loan to a project to make
commercial credit available to small businesses in rural
areas of Latvia, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington
reported on 31 July. A key part of the project will be
special micro loans to small-scale rural enterprises to
bolster business development. The $20 million project is
part of the Latvian government's 10-year rural development
program. It will also receive funding from the government,
participating financial institutions, donors, and the
borrowers themselves. JC

FIVE BLOCS TO RUN IN POLISH LOCAL ELECTIONS. Five coalitions
at the nationwide level will participate in Poland's local
elections scheduled for 11 October, "Zycie Warszawy"
reported on 31 July. The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) will
field its candidates under the slogan "Yours is the central
government, ours are the local ones." The Solidarity
Electoral Action (AWS) and the Freedom Union (UW), the
ruling coalition partners, will participate separately. The
UW has antagonized the AWS by retaining many local-level
coalitions with the SLD. The Social Alliance coalition
consists of the Peasant Party, the Labor Union, and the
Nationwide Party of Pensioners. The Confederation for an
Independent Poland-Patriotic Camp and the Movement for the
Reconstruction of Poland have formed a coalition on the
right of the political spectrum. JM

NEW CROSSES AT AUSCHWITZ REVIVE POLISH-JEWISH DISPUTE. The
Polish Silesia Civic Movement has recently erected some 50
crosses in a gravel pit, just outside the former Auschwitz
concentration camp, in a bid to maintain Christian symbols
at the site. The move has revived the Polish-Jewish argument
over a huge cross set up at the camp to commemorate a visit
by Pope John Paul II (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 April 1998).
Jewish organizations say they want no religious objects at
the Nazi death camp, where 1.5 million predominantly Jewish
people died during World War II. Poland's Union of Jewish
Congregations condemned the erection of the 50 crosses as an
action of "anarchic character," Reuters reported on 31 July.
The Polish civic movement has vowed to erect 152 crosses to
commemorate the number of Poles killed in the pit by the
Nazis. JM

HAVEL TAKEN OFF RESPIRATOR. President Vaclav Havel has been
taken off a respirator following surgery last week. His
doctors said on 2 August that he no longer has to be fed
intravenously and is able to speak. The previous day, part
of his lung collapsed while he was being taken off the
respirator and doctors had considered performing another
tracheotomy on him. Havel underwent a tracheotomy in late
1996, after an operation in which part of his right lung was
removed, CTK and AP reported. MS

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO TRAIL IN POLLS. According to
an opinion poll carried out by the independent MVK agency,
Vladimir Meciar's government continues to trail the combined
forces of the opposition, Reuters reported. The government
polled 37 percent support, while the opposition received
59.6 percent backing. Since May, the gap has grown from 16.9
percent to 22.6 percent. Meciar's Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia is still the party with the largest backing (27.4
percent), followed by the opposition Slovak Democratic
Coalition (23.2 percent). Among Meciar's coalition partners,
the far-right Slovak National Party is backed by 7.6
percent, but the Workers Party, with 2 percent support,
would fail to pass the parliamentary threshold. The
opposition Party of Civic Understanding received 16.4
percent support and the Party of the Democratic Left 11.5
percent and the Hungarian Coalition 8.5 percent. MS

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT SETS DATE FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS. Arpad
Goncz has set local elections for 18 October, the National
Electoral Office announced on 31 July. The executive
chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Forum, Gyorgy Gemesi,
told "Magyar Hirlap" that his party and the Federation of
Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party are to sign an
agreement on drawing up joint party lists for the local
elections. In other news, German Foreign Minister Klaus
Kinkel told his visiting Hungarian counterpart, Janos
Martonyi, that the current Hungarian government, like its
predecessor, can count on Germany's unequivocal support in
its bid to enter the EU and NATO as soon as possible. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS KEEP UP OFFENSIVE. Yugoslav troops and Serbian
paramilitary police attacked positions of the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) and civilian villages in the central
Drenica region and along the Albanian border around the
besieged village of Junik throughout the weekend of 31 July-
2 August. AP reported on 3 August that the Serbian forces
throughout the combat zone burned homes and shelled villages
in a "campaign to drive [ethnic] Albanian civilians from
their homes [in a way] reminiscent of the tactic of 'ethnic
cleansing'...in Bosnia and Croatia earlier this decade." A
correspondent for Deutsche Welle's German service reported
from Prishtina on 3 August that the Serbian authorities are
keeping journalists out of the conflict area so that they do
not witness "the plundering of villages and mistreatment of
civilians." The London "Daily Telegraph" wrote on 3 August
that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's statement to
foreign diplomats the on 30 July that the offensive has
ended is a "lie." PM

PLIGHT OF REFUGEES WORSENS. The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug
reported from Prishtina on 2 August that the "efficient
action" of Serbian forces has "almost entirely broken [up]
terrorist gangs" of the UCK. Elsewhere, Western and Kosovar
sources noted over the weekend of 31 July-2 August that the
continuing Serbian offensive has uprooted "thousands" of
civilians and forced additional thousands of refugees from
previous attacks to flee again. Many, including women and
young children, slept in the forests and on hillsides in the
midst of a heat wave and with few provisions. Meanwhile on 1
August, representatives of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees delivered to homeless civilians in
the Malisheva area food parcels designed to supply up to
1,000 people for three weeks. Officials said the area is
"simply filled with people...living rough," Reuters
reported. PM

NUMBER OF REFUGEES GROWS. A spokesman for the UNHCR said in
Prishtina on 3 August that the total number of displaced
people from Kosova in 1998 is about 180,000, both inside and
outside the province. This includes 30,000 forced to flee
during the current Serbian offensive, which began just over
a week ago. The spokesman added that Serbian police have
generally made it difficult for the UNHCR to obtain accurate
figures by making on-the-spot tallies within Kosova. He
noted that some 25,000 refugees have gone to Montenegro, at
least 10,000 to Albania, and smaller numbers to Serbia.
Albanian sources put the number in that country closer to
20,000. It is unclear how many Kosovars have fled to
Macedonia, where many have close personal ties dating from
when both Kosova and Macedonia were part of the former
Yugoslavia. PM

SERBIAN, MACEDONIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. Macedonia's
Blagoj Handziski visited Zivadin Jovanovic, his Serbian
counterpart, in Bujanovac in southern Serbia on 2 August.
Tanjug issued a brief report quoting Jovanovic as saying
that his country seeks a peaceful and constructive solution
to the Kosovar problem. Handziski stressed that Macedonia
insists that the solution in Kosova be peaceful. Reuters
noted the previous day that Tanjug has recently quoted
statements by some Macedonian opposition parties criticizing
the present government for continuing to include cabinet
ministers from ethnic Albanian parties, which the opposition
calls "separatist." Macedonia's population is about one-
quarter ethnic Albanian. PM

RELIEF WORKER CLAIMS ABUSE. Serbian authorities released
British humanitarian aid worker Sally Becker from prison in
Prishtina on 1 August. She later told the BBC that her
captors denied her sleep and that "more than 100 policemen"
were allowed to spit on her. "I have never known such
hatred," she added (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 July 1998).
Meanwhile in The Hague, Milan Kovacevic, who is a Bosnian
Serb facing charges of genocide, died of a heart attack. The
next day, the authorities of the war crimes tribunal
promised a full investigation. Kovacevic is the second war
crimes suspect to die in detention in just over a month,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

DRNOVSEK PLEDGES EFFORTS ON KOSOVA. Slovenian Prime Minister
Janez Drnovsek told a press conference at RFE/RL
headquarters in Prague on 1 August that "Slovenia will try
to have a very active role and to intensify activities to
find a solution" to the Kosovar problem. The same day,
Slovenia assumed the rotating presidency of the UN Security
Council in New York. PM

MONTENEGRO CUTS BACK TIES TO BELGRADE. The Montenegrin
government issued a statement in Podgorica on 31 July saying
that it will no longer maintain relations with the Yugoslav
federal authorities at the ministerial level. Podgorica
added that it will restore full ties only when the
composition of the federal government changes. By this, the
Montenegrin government presumably meant that Federal Prime
Minister Momir Bulatovic, who is the arch-rival of
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, must step down first.
In the meantime, Podgorica will limit its contacts to
Belgrade only to lower levels and only when Montenegro deems
it in its interest to do so, the independent BETA news
agency reported. PM

FIRE HITS ALBANIA'S SECOND LARGEST HYDROELECTRIC POWER
PLANT. One of four 150-megawatt generators at the
hydroelectric power plant in the northern city of Fierza
caught fire on 1 August. Fire-fighters, supported by Italian
fire-fighting experts, had the fire under control after five
hours. A spokesman for the Electric Energy Company told
"Koha Jone" in Tirana the same day that the repair work will
take at least one month and that the company will have to
reduce supplies to customers in the meantime. Albania's
power grid has been strained by a sharp increase in
consumption since the end of communism in 1991. A prolonged
lack of rainfall this summer has already forced the company
to make power cuts. FS

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION LEGISLATOR CLAIMS VIOLATION OF
PRIVILEGE. Democratic Party legislator Shaban Memia said on
31 July that customs officials and police in Durres violated
his rights as a member of the parliament the same day by
stopping him and examining goods he brought with him from a
trip to Italy, "Rilindja Demokratike" reported. Customs
officials accused him of "smuggling" photo and video
equipment worth $14,000. Memia declared that the equipment
was a personal gift from friends in Italy and is tax-exempt.
Later at a checkpoint in Ndroq on the road to Tirana, police
found a document in Memia's baggage saying that the
equipment was a gift to the party. Customs officials told
"Shekulli" that the equipment must be taxed and that they
will ask the parliament to lift Memia's immunity so that
they can bring charges against him for smuggling. FS

ROMANIAN FINANCE MINISTER CRITICIZES WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR.
Daniel Daianu on 1 August said it is "immoral" for the U.S.
executive branch to "promote" the sale of the Bell
helicopters to "a country whose economic situation is
difficult." He was responding to an interview given by White
House presidential counselor Steve Flangan to VOA three days
earlier, Rompres reported. On 31 July, Prime Minister Radu
Vasile met in Bucharest with Bell Helicopter Textron
chairman Webb Joiner. At the start of his four-day visit to
Israel on 2 August, Vasile said the deal with Bell
helicopters is "not final," AP reported. Accompanied by
Daianu and Defense Minister Victor Babiuc, Vasile visited
the Israel Aircraft Industries and confirmed that Bucharest
is examining the possibility of modernizing Cobra
helicopters in Israel instead of pursuing the deal with Bell
Textron. MS

MOLDOVAN COALITION CRISIS IN OFFING? The parliament on 31
July approved the transit of nuclear waste from the
Bulgarian Kozloduy plant to Russia. It also appointed
Valeriu Catana as the country's new prosecutor-general. Both
resolutions were proposed by the ruling For a Democratic and
Prosperous Moldovan Bloc (PMPD) and supported by the
opposition Party of Moldovan Communists. The Democratic
Convention of Moldova (CDM) and the Party of Democratic
Forces, both of which are the PMPD's allies in the Alliance
for Democratic Reforms (APRD), opposed the resolutions.
Mircea Snegur, CDM co-chairman, said that the PMPD has
broken an agreement to postpone the vote and that this may
lead to the break-up of the APRD, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau
reported. MS

BULGARIA TO RECEIVE $800 MILLION IMF LOAN. Chief IMF
negotiator for Bulgaria, Anne McGuirk, said on 1 August that
Bulgaria will receive a $800 million three-year loan,
subject to its approval by the IMF board in September,
Reuters reported. McGuirk said that overall foreign funding
for that period will total $1.6 billion, half of which will
come from the IMF. Finance Minister Muravei Radev said the
other lenders include the World Bank, the EU, and various
countries. The amount is roughly equivalent to Bulgaria's
foreign debt obligations for the same period, according to
Reuters. In other news, Kostov on 31 July said that some $30
million will be invested in the country's defense industry
by the end of 2001 and that the government's program
provides for joint military production with Russia, China,
and Ukraine. MS

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES TURKISH-LANGUAGE BROADCASTS.
The parliament on 30 July added a provision to the new media
law allowing for broadcasts in foreign languages aired for
"Bulgarian citizens whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian,"
Reuters reported. Miroslava Belcheva, spokeswoman for the
ruling Union of Democratic Forces, which initiated the bill,
said the main purpose of the provision is to "allow
broadcasts in Turkish in regions populated by ethnic Turks."
Osman Otkai, a prominent member of the ethnic Turkish
Movement of Rights and Freedoms, welcomed the decision,
saying it demonstrates that "delicate problems of the
minorities can be solved without drama." MS

END NOTE

PRIMAKOV'S 19TH CENTURY MODEL

by Paul Goble

	Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov has
identified his 19th century predecessor Aleksandr Gorchakov
as a model for Moscow's approach following the collapse of
the Soviet Union. In a speech on the 200th anniversary of
Gorchakov's birth, published in the current issue of the
Russian foreign-policy journal "International Affairs,"
Primakov notes that Gorchakov was able to rebuild Russia's
power and influence after its defeat in the Crimean War.
	When Gorchakov assumed office after that defeat, in
1856, many people "thought that they were present at a
funeral for the Russian Empire or at any rate witnessing its
turning into a second-rate power," Primakov argues. Such a
conclusion seemed reasonable, according to the current
foreign minister. The Crimean War had demonstrated a variety
of internal weaknesses in the Russian Empire. Most of the
important powers were "rallied against Russia." And the
North Caucasian leader Shamil was able to stage a daring
raid into Russia itself.
	Given these obstacles, Primakov points out, many in
the Russian Empire argued that it had to turn inward,
"resign its great power status," and accept the leadership
of others. That had been the policy of Gorchakov's
predecessor, Count Nesselrode, who went so far as to propose
abolishing the Foreign Ministry altogether. But Gorchakov
urged "a different course of action." Primakov not only
approves of that course but argues it should be a model for
Russian actions in the future.
	According to Primakov, Gorchakov believed that "a
vigorous foreign policy" was essential for creating the
conditions that would allow Russia to renew itself at home
and regain influence abroad. Over the next 30 years,
Primakov says, Gorchakov did just that, far more
successfully than many of his contemporaries assumed he
could.
	Primakov draws five lessons from Gorchakov's approach.
Those lessons, he argues, should guide Moscow's actions
today.
	First, Primakov says, Gorchakov demonstrated that
Russia, even when weakened by defeat, can pursue an active
foreign policy. Indeed, Primakov insists that his
predecessor showed that it has no other choice.
	Second, Gorchakov insisted that Russian foreign policy
must not be limited to a single direction or area of
concern. Instead, it must seek to be active in all areas.
	Third, as Primakov notes with approval, Gorchakov had
no doubt that Russia at all times has "enough strength" to
play a leading role in the world.
	Fourth, Gorchakov understood that Russia could always
exploit the resentment many smaller powers inevitably feel
vis-a-vis larger ones. In this way, Russia can rebuild and
then expand its own influence.
	Fifth, Gorchakov's actions provide one negative
lesson. According to Primakov, Gorchakov's maneuvering among
the great powers of Europe is now "out of date." Instead,
Primakov notes, Moscow must seek constructive partnerships
with all countries rather than seeking some "mobile" or
permanent coalition.
	Together, these five principles show that Gorchakov
understood what Primakov argues is the fundamental basis of
Russian foreign policy: "There are no constant enemies, but
there are constant national interests." According to
Primakov, that principle means that Russian foreign policy
must adopt a balanced approach--neither advancing "excessive
claims" that fail to recognize what has happened in the last
decade nor setting "deliberately low standards" that ignore
Moscow's continuing possibilities. And it also means,
Primakov continues, that Russia will not seek improved
relations with "the 'civilized West' at any cost."
	In his concluding remarks, Primakov focuses on one
foreign-policy area where Gorchakov's approach seems not to
apply but in fact does. As Primakov points out, his 19th
century predecessor was "striving to consolidate the Russian
Empire's territorial integrity." Now, Primakov acknowledges,
the situation has changed: Both the Empire and the Soviet
Union are "gone" and he argues that "the present reality is
such that sovereignty of the ex-USSR republics should not be
subject to any doubt."
	But at the same time, Primakov concludes, Moscow must
do everything it can to bring "the states formed on the
territory of the former Soviet Union" closer together
through economic integration and "the creation of a single
economic area." Many people, in both these countries and the
West, are likely to see such a proposal as anything but
reassuring, particularly since Primakov advances it even as
he praises one of 19th-century Russia's most passionate
defenders of empire.

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