We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 152 Part II, 10 August 1998


________________________________________________________

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 152 Part II, 10 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SPECIAL REPORT: TURKEY AT A CROSSROADS
A veteran RFE/RL correspondent reports from Turkey on
politics and religion, minorities, economics and foreign
relations.
http://www.rferl.org/nca/special/turkey

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* ZEMAN CABINET PUBLISHES PROGRAM

* WEU CALLS FOR INTERVENTION IN KOSOVA

* ALBANIA TO SCREEN ARABS

End Note: LANGUAGE ON TRIAL

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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

PUSTOVOYTENKO THREATENS TO SEND TAX DEBTORS TO TENT
CAMP. In order to force tax debtors to pay, Ukrainian
Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko has threatened to bring
managers and top regional executives to a tent camp for
civil defense training, Ukrainian News reported on 8 August.
Pustovoytenko, who is head of Ukraine's Civil Defense,
told a 7 August cabinet session that 3,000 tents have been
prepared at Pereyeslav Khmelnytskyy near Kyiv. "We will train by
manuring gardens," the agency quoted him as saying.
Pustovoytenko's threat follows his 5 August attempt to
force unpaid taxes from some 2,000 managers by locking then up
in the Ukrayina palace in Kyiv (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6
August 1998). The managers have paid only 81 million hryvni
($40 million), leaving Pustovoytenko, according to Ukrainian
News, "dissatisfied." The total tax and pension fund arrears
in Ukraine in July reached 8.9 billion hryvni. JM

KUCHMA REDUCES 1998 BUDGET DEFICIT, TAX BURDEN.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has signed a decree
reducing the 1998 budget deficit from 3.3 to 2.5 percent
of GDP, Ukrainian Television reported on 7 August. The
decision meets the IMF's main requirement for providing Ukraine
with a $2.2 billion loan, which was agreed last month. The
budget spending in 1998 will be reduced by 4.7 billion hryvni
($2.2 billion). By another decree Kuchma has abolished
obligatory payments to the state-run Chornobyl Fund, which amounted
to 5 percent of the wages paid by each enterprise. The
president also reduced mandatory payments to the Social Security
Fund from 4 to 3 percent of the wage fund. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT HONORED BY CIS LEADERS ON 60TH
BIRTHDAY. Leonid Kuchma on 9 August welcomed high
ranking-officials from the former Soviet republics who came to
his 60th birthday party at his summer residence in Crimea.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev and Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze, Russia's Deputy Premier Ivan
Rybkin, CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii, and former
Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin paid their respect in
person. Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent a congratulatory
telegram to Kuchma. Shevardnadze termed bilateral relations
with Ukraine "verging on the ideal," while Aliev assured
Kuchma that Ukraine "is assuredly part of the program"
for the export of Azerbaijan's Caspian oil. JM/LF

FOOD TO BE RATIONED IN HOMEL THROUGHOUT 1998. The Homel
City Executive Committee has introduced new norms for
the sale of foodstuffs at city shops until the end of 1998,
Belapan reported on 8 August. The former restrictions on
food sales were set in February. According to the new
directive, individuals are allowed to buy no more than 3 liters of
milk, 0.5 kg of cheese, O.4 kg of butter, and two items of
canned products at any one time. JM

BALTIC COUNTRIES TO PARTICIPATE IN NATO EXERCISES.
Lithuania is sending troops to a NATO exercise in
Albania that will take place August 16-22, BNS reported on 7
August. Estonia and Latvia are sending troops and Lithuania is
sending observers to a NATO exercise in Macedonia scheduled
to occur September 10-18.  PG

LATVIAN PREMIER MARKS FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE. On the
first anniversary of his election, Latvian Prime
Minister Guntars Krasts said that he and his government have
succeeded in providing a "period of stability" despite efforts by
"malevolent persons abroad" to undermine the country's
development, BNS reported on 7 August. In other remarks,
Krasts said that he hopes to develop better relations
with Moscow in the future.  PG

RUSSIAN RADAR SITE IN LATVIA TO CLOSE ON SCHEDULE. On
7 August, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Valerii
Nesterushkin said that Moscow will abide by to its
commitments and shut down the Skrunda radar site as
required by the 1994 accords, BNS reported. (On 6 August,
Nesterushkin had suggested that Moscow might drop its most-favoured-
nation approach to Latvian trade unless Riga agreed to extend
Skrunda's operational life.) The radar site will now
cease operations on 31 August and be completely dismantled by
September 29, 2000.  PG

LATVIAN REFERENDUM PETITION DRIVE GAINS MOMENTUM.  As
of 6 August, some 36,000 people had signed a petition
calling for a referendum on recent changes in the country's
citizenship legislation, BNS reported on 7 August.
Organizers need to collect approximately 97,000 more signatures by
the 18 August deadline. In a related development, Latvian
citizens living abroad have asked Riga to increase the
number of polling places where they can vote in this fall's
general elections, a request the Central Election Commission has
referred to the foreign ministry for review. In the last
round of voting, there were 28 such polling places in
foreign countries.  PG

LITHUANIAN MP ASKS FOR IMPEACHMENT BEFORE TRIAL.  A
Lithuanian legislator charged with corruption has asked
his colleagues to conduct an impeachment investigation
before he is brought to trial, BNS reported on 7 August. Only if
he is convicted, something that would require a three-fifths
vote, and loses his parliamentary immunity would Audrius
Butkevicius be tried as an ordinary citizen. The Center
Union, which earlier expelled Butkevicius from its
ranks, has agreed to act as his lawyer in any parliamentary
proceedings. PG

POLAND CALLS FOR COMPROMISE IN DISPUTE OVER AUSCHWITZ
CROSSES. The Polish Foreign Ministry has told the
Israeli ambassador to Poland that the Polish authorities are in
favor of a compromise solution to the Polish-Israeli dispute
over the Catholic crosses erected near the former Auschwitz
death camp (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 and 7 August 1998), PAP
reported on 7 August. According to the ministry, the
compromise should be worked out by representatives of
the Polish government, the Polish Catholic Church, and
"interested organizations and institutions on the Jewish
side." The appeal follows a 6 August open letter sent to
PAP by Jan Nowak-Jezioranski, former director of the RFE/RL
Polish Service. Nowak-Jezioranski urges a quick solution
to the cross controversy in order to prevent "extreme
elements active on both sides" from harming Poland's
international interests and rising a wave of "anti-Jewish and anti-
American moods in Poland." JM

POLISH GOVERNMENT BACKS OFF IN ROW WITH FOOTBALL
ASSOCIATION. Just minutes before midnight on 7 August,
Jacek Debski, chairman of the Office of Physical Culture
and Tourism, withdrew his earlier decision suspending the
members of the Polish Soccer Association (PZPN) board. The
International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA)
had set a deadline for the government's withdrawal at
midnight of that day, threatening to exclude Poland's national and
club teams from international soccer events (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 24 July 1998). FIFA rules say that national
soccer associations must be independent of governments. Debski
suspended the PZPN leadership in May, accusing it of
incompetence in managing Polish soccer. JM

ZEMAN CABINET PUBLISHES PROGRAM. The Czech cabinet
headed by Milos Zeman on 7 August officially released its
political and economic program, which will be submitted to the
Chamber of Deputies on 18 August. The program emphasizes the
need to fight economic-related crime, to revive economic growth,
to support Czech exports and to complete bank
privatizations by 2000. It also calls for swift integration into the
European Union and NATO in cooperation with Hungary and Poland,
but also calls for a referendum on EU entry before the
country is admitted, Reuters and dpa reported. On ties with
neighboring Germany, the program states that these must be "forward-
looking". On 8 August, Reuters reported that German
Finance Minister Theo Waigel, addressing a meeting of the
organization representing the Sudeten Germans, called on
Zeman to officially apologize for his remarks on the
organization. MS

HAVEL'S HEALTH IMPROVING, DANGERS NOT YET BEHIND.
President Vaclav Havel's condition improved on 9 August,
but doctors said he is to remain in intensive care for
another week. Havel's personal physician, Ilja Kotik, said that
the president is still breathing with the occasional aid of
a respirator and that "the time to celebrate victory has
not yet come." He said that laboratory findings "are not
normal yet," Reuters reported. Havel's wife Dagmar said the
president is watching movies, reads newspapers and
communicates through written notes. MS

ORBAN COOLS ON WESTERN LIBERALISM. Prime Minister Victor
Orban, in an interview with the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung", said certain elements of west European
liberalism can not be "simply transferred" to Central Europe, and
such attempts might "do often more harm than good," Hungarian
media reported. He said some "stringent measures"
envisaged by the government are viewed with concern in the West,
but do not worry Hungary's own liberals, who understand that
the country's high crime rate and public concern over it
means that "tough action" will have to be taken this year.
Orban also said that his own ruling Federation of Young
Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party is now "much more than a liberal
party," as it includes Christian Democratic elements and
it is "just a matter of time" before closer links with the
Democratic Forum coalition partner are forged. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

WEU CALLS FOR INTERVENTION IN KOSOVA. Fighting continued
in western Kosova during the 7-9 August weekend,
particularly along the Decan-Gjakova road. In Paris, the Western
European Union's Presidency on 7 August called on NATO to
intervene "immediately" to prevent the war from spreading
throughout the region, Reuters reported. WEU president Luis Maria
de Puig said in a statement headlined "Enough is Enough"
that "it is now clear that the use of force is the only means
of bringing about a political agreement, with which the
parties must be forced to comply...The limits of what the
international community can tolerate without intervening
have been reached. We are in the midst of a catastrophe with
more than 600 dead, over 5,000 taken prisoner, 200,000
refugees and 300 villages destroyed: This is Bosnia all over
again...The international community has yet again been
deceived by [Yugoslav President Slobodan]
Milosevic...The time has come for military action." PM

COOK: NO MILITARY VICTORY. British Foreign Secretary
Robin Cook said that the plans for Kosova that British
Ambassador Brian Donnelly gave to the Serbian and Kosovar
leaderships over the weekend are aimed at establishing a wide
autonomy for the Kosovars within Yugoslavia, the "Guardian" wrote
on 10 August. Cook added that the international Contact
Group's proposal would give the people of Kosova "control of
their own internal affairs, control over their own security
and real autonomy....We are making it plain to both sides
that this is not a war that either side can win." The
Kosovars have repeatedly made it plain that, in the wake of the
crackdown Milosevic launched in February, the only
options are full independence or an international protectorate.
Meanwhile in Tirana, a Kosovar shadow-state spokesman
told an RFE/RL correspondent on 7 August that the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK) is prepared to be a part of the Kosovar
delegation in any future talks with the Belgrade authorities. PM

RUSSIAN VETO ON KOSOVA? "NATO has completed preparations
for military intervention [in Kosova], but this seems
increasingly likely to remain a paper exercise," the
"Guardian" wrote on 10 August. The London daily noted
that U.S. President Bill Clinton and France's Jacques Chirac
agreed in a telephone call on 7 August that they will
not undertake any action in Kosova without Russian approval.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Afanasevskii
said in Belgrade on 8 August after several days of shuttle
diplomacy in the region that "no one has yet explained what any
foreign military interference would bring to [Kosova] and the
people there."  He added that the solution lies in preserving
the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia while ensuring "a
high degree of autonomy" for Kosova, the Belgrade daily
"Danas" reported. PM

EXIT GELBARD? The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" wrote
on 7 August that U.S. special envoy Robert Gelbard will no
longer deal directly with the Kosova issue, at least not
in Belgrade. U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Christopher Hill,
who has been active in Kosovar diplomacy in recent weeks,
will now handle the issue on Washington's behalf. The German
daily reported that Gelbard had made some unspecified remarks
that offended Milosevic, who declined to deal with him any
further. PM

DEADLY DANCING WITH WOLVES. Serbian police in Kragujevac
arrested an unnamed member of the State Security Service
on 8 August after the man opened fire on the cafe "Kod
Gileta," killing three people, the Belgrade daily "Danas" wrote.
There was no apparent motive for the gunman's action, RFE/RL's
South Slavic Service reported. Among the dead was
Slobodan Miljkovic "Lugar," whom the Hague-based war crimes
tribunal wants in conjunction with deaths of at least 19 persons
in Bosnia, where he was an officer in the paramilitary Gray
Wolves. Meanwhile in Pale, unidentified masked gunmen
killed Srdjan Knezevic in front of his home. Knezevic headed
the paramilitary White Wolves during the Bosnian conflict
but subsequently became deputy chief of police for the
Serbian part of the Sarajevo area. He was a supporter of
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic, who said in Banja Luka
that Knezevic was "a hero" and a victim of mafia violence. PM

JOINT RETURN OF REFUGEES. SFOR peacekeepers accompanied
700 Muslims who returned to their villages of Sovici and
Doljani in Croatian-controlled Herzegovina on 8 August
after an absence of five years. At the same time, an
unspecified number of Croats returned to their homes in nearby
Jablanica. The Croatian news agency HINA reported that five Muslims
beat up two Croats, who are members of the Bosnian federal
army, on the road linking Jablanica and Doljani. PM

FIRES SWEEP DALMATIAN ISLANDS. Croatian Prime Minister
Zlatko Matesa visited the island of Korcula on 9 August,
where a fire destroyed large tracts of forests and olive
groves in the course of the previous four days.
Firefighters meanwhile succeeded in containing the blaze. Another
fire engulfed about one-third of the surface of the
neighboring island of  Lastovo, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
from Korcula.  PM

ALBANIA TO SCREEN ARABS. In the wake of the bombings of
the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on 7 August,
Deputy Minister for Public Order Ilir Cano told "Zeri i
Popullit" of 9 August that the Office of Foreigners' Control has
already begun to screen "all" Arabs living and working in
Albania. Cano noted that there has been a large influx of Arabs
in recent years but that the authorities have not checked
on each individual's background or activities.
Parliamentary speaker Skender Gjinushi said, however,
that "there are no Islamic fundamentalists in Albania." The governing
Socialists recently criticized former President Sali Berisha for
joining the Organization of the Islamic Conference and for
inviting in Islamic charities during his presidency from 1992-
1997, dpa wrote. Many Arabs and Iranians work with charities
or businesses in Albania. While a majority of Albanians are
of Islamic heritage, religious life is only slowly
reemerging. Prominent is the moderate Bektashi sect. PM

POLL SHOWS ALBANIAN CORRUPTION WIDESPREAD. Almost 90
percent of those questioned in an opinion poll said that
they believe there is massive corruption, ATSH news agency
reported on 8 August. Some 45.7 percent said they feel
that corruption has spread  throughout the civil service.
Some 21 percent identified the state administration as
particularly corrupt, while 17.7 percent said that the judiciary is
the worst. Furthermore, many respondents said that they had
paid bribes to employees in the health system. According to a
report by the Albanian Consumer Association (SHKSH) that
included the poll results, a doctor's house visit costs
between $1 and $2, while operations can run up to $70,
which is the equivalent of one month's salary. An average
citizen may pay about $1 as a bribe to obtain a birth
certificate and between $50 and $200 to receive a business license. FS

ALBANIA TO PRODUCE AMMUNITION FOR TURKEY. Albanian and
Turkish defense ministry officials signed an agreement
in Ankara on 3 August providing for the production of
ammunition for Turkey in a factory in Polican. Turkey will assist
the company by upgrading its machinery and technology. The
deal will allow the metallurgical factory there to increase
its number of employees from the current 300 to 800. Most
Albanian factories of all sorts are have been gutted by
looters or lie idle.  FS

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ATTACKS PARTY COLLEAGUES.
Defense Minister Victor Babiuc on 7 August said that
those who suggest that "Romania should buy second-hand
reconditioned helicopters are persuaded that a modern
army can be equipped with weapons bought at the flea market."
He reacted to declarations by fellow Democratic Party
Transportation Minister Radu Berceanu and party vice
chairman Bogdan Niculescu Duvaz, who said the deal with Bell
Helicopters Textron for purchasing 96 helicopters under
license with the US firm acquiring a 70 percent stake in
the Gimbav Brasov factory that would produce the helicopters
must be reviewed. Berceanu spoke after returning from Israel,
where he accompanied premier Radu Vasile and where the
hosts suggested that Romania might cut a better deal by buying
U.S. helicopters reconditioned in Romania in a joint venture
with Israel, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT WILL NOT INTERVENE OVER DISPUTED
HUNGARIAN STATE UNIVERSITY. Presidential counselor Petru
Berteanu on 7 August said President Emil Constantinescu
will not attempt to "in any way influence" the decision on
setting up a Hungarian state university, RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. He said the decision belonged to the
parliament and the government. Berteanu also denied that
Constantinescu supports the dismissal of Education Minister
Andrei Marga, as demanded by the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania (UDMR) because of his opposition to the Hungarian state
university. Spokesmen representing all of UDMR's
partners in the ruling coalition said they oppose the project.
Meanwhile, on 8 August, UDMR chairman Bela Marko again said that
Marga's opposition makes his presence in the government
"incompatible" with the agreement signed by UDMR's
partners in the coalition. MS

MOLDOVAN-GAZPROM TALKS END IN CHISINAU. Moldova's debt
for Russian gas deliveries will be paid mostly in cash,
with barter payments being reduced to a minimum, ITAR-TASS
reported on 7 August at the end of talks conducted in
Chisinau by Vasilii Fadeev, a member of Gazprom Board of
Directors. Moldova will transfer to Gazprom government
bonds to the value of $90 million with an annual interest rate
of 7.5 percent, as well as a controlling block of shares in
the Gazsnabtransit joint enterprise, which will be set up
with the participation of Russian gas producers. An agreement
is to be signed in September. RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau
reported the same day that Moldova pledged to pay $25 million by
the end of the year, in monthly $5 million installments. The
total Moldovan debt to Gazprom is $214 million, while
the Transdniester, whose representatives attended the talks,
owes $380 million. MS

ZHIVKOV FUNERAL ATTENDED BY SOME 10,000 IN SOFIA.
Todor Zhivkov was buried in Sofia on 9 August, with some
10,000 mourners attending the obsequies organized by the
Socialist Party, Reuters and AFP reported. The ceremony
was held in Sofia's main square and a smaller crowd followed
the coffin to the cemetery, where the former communist
dictator was buried near the grave of his wife, who died in 1972.
Meanwhile, the Socialist Party's daily "Duma"  on 8
August reappeared in tabloid format after failing to be
published for four days.  An editorial on the same day said the
government has ordered the Rodina printing company to
stop the publication of "Duma," and claimed that other
periodicals with large debts to Rodina were not subjected to the
same treatment. MS

BULGARIA TO SLASH THREE ZEROS FROM CURRENCY. The
government and the Currency Board on 6 August decided to
drop three zeros from the Bulgarian national currency, the
lev, as of 1 July 1999, BTA reported. National Bank governor
Svetoslav Gavriiski said that as of that date, the lev
will equal one German mark and that this will simplify
financial transactions and reduced expenses for banks. Prime
Minister Ivan Kostov said the decision had been taken in
coordination with the IMF and the World Bank and it symbolized the
stability of the Bulgarian currency and financial
system. MS

END NOTE

LANGUAGE ON TRIAL

by Jan Maksymiuk

	In 1997, the Belarusian National Assembly passed a
law "On the Press and Other Media," which allowed the
government in May 1998 to issue a warning against the biweekly
"Nasha Niva." An independent newspaper published entirely in
Belarusian and with a circulation of some 5,000, "Nasha
Niva" was launched by its chief editor, Syarhey Dubavets, in
Vilnius in 1991. The newspaper is printed in Minsk and
distributed by the state network of kiosks and, to a
lesser extent, by the editorial staff. It uses the traditional
Belarusian orthography, which was changed by decree
under Joseph Stalin's regime in 1933. The media law, passed by
the National Assembly in 1997 and amended in January 1998,
explicitly prohibits the press from "distorting the
generally accepted norms" of the language in which it publishes.
	In  a bid to forestall what seemed like
preparations to close down his newspaper, Dubavets filed a lawsuit
against the State Press Committee in June, demanding the warning
be revoked as "groundless." He argued that the term
"generally accepted norms" is void since there is no legally
binding standards for spelling in Belarus. The case is to be
heard at the Higher Economic Court on 12 August. If the newspaper
loses the case and persists in using the pre-1933
spelling, it can be banned after receiving another two warnings,
according to the amended media law.
	The "Nasha Niva" case, which in most countries
would doubtless be regarded as a bizarre example of
overregulation by the state, strikes a very tragic note in today's
Belarus. Belarusians are gradually losing their  language and
cultural identity. The number of Belarusian-language books and
periodicals has plummeted to a very low level since the
May 1995 referendum, which granted Russian the status of an
official language, along with Belarusian. The state,
which from 1991 to 1994 did a great deal to promote both the
formerly neglected Belarusian culture and education in
the Belarusian language, has practically ceased to support
either under Lukashenka.
	For example, in 1994 there were 220 schools in
Minsk whose language of instruction was Belarusian. Two years
later, their number had shrunk to fewer than 20. Those
students who want to receive a higher education in
Belarusian will be hard put to achieve that aim, since Russian is
the language of instruction in virtually all university
departments in Belarus.
	Lukashenka has made a point of ostentatiously
promoting Russian-language and  Soviet culture in Belarus. In a
widely quoted statement, he once asserted that "one cannot
express anything deep in Belarusian." Non-Sovietized Belarusian
culture and the Belarusian language are developed and
supported mainly by non-governmental organizations and
an ever dwindling number of intellectuals. "Nasha Niva" is
one of the champions of that movement.
	Speaking Belarusian in Belarus is not only a means
of communication but also a political declaration of
loyalty to the country's indigenous cultural and historical
heritage in defiance of the ruling regime. The fundamental dividing
line in Belarus is not between "democrats in general" and the
Lukashenka regime; rather, it is between democracy-
supporting "Belarusian nationalists" and the Sovietized and
Russianized segment of society led by former Communist Party
functionaries.
	"Having forced the national symbols--the coat of
arms [knight-in-pursuit] and the [white-red-white] flag--to
go underground, the government of the Republic of Belarus
has now declared war against the non-Soviet Belarusian
orthography," Dubavets wrote in the 15 June 1998 issue
of "Nasha Niva." He also expressed bitterness toward those
Belarusian intellectuals who "have voluntarily remained
in the Belarusian SSR in terms of spelling." The pre-1933
orthography was used at schools among some 2 million
Belarusians in pre-war Poland and has never been
abandoned by the Belarusian Diaspora.
	Dubavets is not the only one to oppose the 1933
orthography reform. The "Belarusian Language
Encyclopedia," published in Minsk in 1994, states that the 1933 reform
focused "not so much on reflecting the specifically
national character of the Belarusian language as on bringing its
orthography in line with the Russian orthographic
tradition." In a wider sense, the 1933 ban on the traditional
Belarusian spelling reflected Stalin's idea of merging the globe's
cultures into one with a single language. Presumably,
that culture was to be Soviet and the language Russian. In
this way, the Belarusian language became a victim of Stalin's
futuristic vision.
	Some of the best-known Belarusian linguists have
come out in support of the spelling used by "Nasha Niva."
International human right organizations have protested,
pointing that the State Press Committee's warning
violates international law--in particular, the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Belarus is a
signatory. But such protests are unlikely to  carry
much weight with the court. Most "Nasha Niva" supporters fear
that, as one columnist put it, "no linguistic or even
legal arguments are of any importance" in this case. It is the
language that is on trial, not the spelling.

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