Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. - Henry Ward Beecher
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 177, Part II, 14 September 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 177, Part II, 14 September 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

* LUKASHENKA DECREES SALES LIMITS

* SITUATION IN TIRANA SPINS 'OUT OF CONTROL'

* BOSNIA VOTES WITHOUT SERIOUS INCIDENTS

End Note: THE PASSING OF A GIANT
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

KUCHMA WELCOMES PRIMAKOV'S APPOINTMENT. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma has welcomed the appointment of Yevgenii
Primakov as Russian prime minister, Interfax reported on 12
September. Kuchma said at a meeting with the Luhansk Oblast
administration that he has already congratulated Primalov on
his confirmation by the State Duma and wished him "success
and robust health." Kuchma also confirmed that his meeting
with Russian President Boris Yeltsin will go ahead on 18-19
September but will take place in Moscow, not in Kharkiv, as
planned. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT BANS PRIVATIZATION OF DISTILLERIES. The
Ukrainian Supreme Council on 11 September banned the
privatization of distilleries by vetoing a corresponding
decree signed by President Kuchma earlier this year, AP
reported. The veto, supported by 236 deputies in the 450-seat
legislature, will frustrate the government's hopes to raise
300 million hryvni ($120 million) from the privatization of
73 out of a total of 168 distilleries still not privatized.
JM

LUKASHENKA DECREES SALES LIMITS. Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has issued a decree authorizing
official limits on the sale of staple food and consumer
products, ITAR-TASS and AP reported on 12 September. Under
the decree, the oblast authorities may set sales limits and
impose fines of up to 100 minimum wages (some $450) on
traders who violate those limits. The decree also provides
for the confiscation of goods exported to Russia in
"violation of the established procedure." The presidential
administration commented that the decree is temporary and
aims at stopping the current run on shops. In the wake of
Russia's market, collapse the Belarusian ruble has plunged
and consumers have emptied store shelves in anticipation of
further price rises. JM

BELARUS WANTS UNION WITH RUSSIA, DESPITE CRISIS. Mikhail
Myasnikovich, Lukashenka's chief of staff, said on 11
September that Belarus's policy of unification with Russia
has justified itself "both economically and politically,"
Interfax reported on 11 September. Myasnikovich added that
the current crisis will not slow down unification but may
"even speed it up." In Myasnikovich's opinion, the main
issues needing urgent consideration are Belarus-Russia union
citizenship and a directly elected joint parliament. JM

BELARUSIAN LEFT-WING PARTIES FORM UNION. Some 30 Belarusian
left-wing parties and public organizations formed the Popular
Patriotic Union at a congress in Minsk on 12 September, ITAR-
TASS reported. The leading members of the new union are the
pro-Lukashenka Communist Party of Belarus, the Liberal
Democratic Party of Belarus, the Slavic Assembly "Belaya
Rus," and the Union of Reserve Officers. Communist Party
leader Viktar Chykin told the agency that the union will
support Lukashenka in the next presidential elections. The
congress adopted an appeal to the Belarusian authorities to
hold a nationwide referendum in June 1999 on confidence in
President Lukashenka and leaders of the opposition. JM

FITCH IBCA SAYS LATVIA CAN WITHSTAND RUSSIAN CRISIS. The
Fitch IBCA international rating agency believes that Latvia
is strong enough to withstand the Russian financial crisis
but that its economic growth could be 2 percentage points
lower than the 6 percent projected in June, BNS reported. The
agency said that while Latvian banks face heavy losses owing
to their exposure to Russia, they are "sufficiently well
capitalized and liquid" to absorb losses on their Russian
assets. It also pointed out that prudent fiscal and monetary
policies since 1995 provide "the flexibility to cope with
such external shocks." Fitch IBCA gave Latvia a BBB long-term
foreign currency rating in June. JC

LITHUANIA FORMS TEAM TO MONITOR KALININGRAD SITUATION.
Vilnius has set up a team to monitor the situation in
neighboring Kaliningrad Oblast amid the ongoing economic
crisis in Russia, BNS reported on 11 September. According to
the Lithuanian President's Office, the team will receive
information from the Lithuanian consulate in Kaliningrad "and
other sources." While the Kaliningrad authorities have not
appealed for assistance, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas
Saudargas said "appeals have been received at other levels
regarding aid to hospitals and other institutions." The
Lithuanian government recently announced it has put aside
possible humanitarian aid to Kaliningrad worth 5 million
litas ($1.25 million). JC

POLAND TO OFFER FOOD AID TO RUSSIA. A Polish government
spokesman on 11 September said that Poland is ready to offer
food aid to crisis-stricken Russia, Reuters reported on 11
September. Polish Interior Minister Janusz Tomaszewski plans
to discuss the issue during his visit to Moscow on 14
September. The spokesman added that if accepted, the aid
would most likely be directed to neighboring Kaliningrad
Oblast. ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September that Tomaszewski
is to seek to "trade" food aid for access to Russian archival
materials in order to determine the fate of Poles repressed
on Soviet territory. According to the agency, the goods
Poland proposes to dispatch to Russia include meat, grain,
potatoes, and honey. JM

KINKEL PLAYS DOWN EXPELLEES' CLAIMS AGAINST POLAND. German
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said in Krakow on 11 September
that Poland can still count on Germany as an advocate on the
road to European structures, PAP reported on 11 September.
Referring to the suggestions of Germany's Union of Expellees
that Poland's EU membership should be conditional on Warsaw's
meeting their claims (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 and 9
September 1998), Kinkel said Germany does not intend to
burden negotiations with issues of the past. He stressed that
the majority of the expellees distance themselves from
radical factions and support the policy of reconciliation and
good-neighborly relations between Germany and Poland. JM

CEFTA MEMBERS MEET IN PRAGUE. The heads of government of
member countries of the Central European Free Trade Agreement
met in Prague on 11 September and agreed to set up a sub-
committee on agricultural trade to help solve trade disputes.
Poland and Romania recently imposed taxes on agricultural
imports from Hungary, and Slovakia announced at the meeting
that it will impose a 70 percent levy on grain imports from
Hungary. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban responded that
this "far exceeded" CEFTA norms and that Hungary will
complain to the World Trade Organization. Orban expressed
support for a Czech initiative to give CEFTA a "political
dimension" along the line of the Visegrad accords, but
Romanian Prime Minister Radu Vasile opposed such a move.
Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar said he would oppose any move
to have CEFTA discuss political matters in 1999, when the
organization's presidency is taken over by Hungary. MS

ZEMAN MEETS WITH MECIAR. Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and
his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, briefly met on 12
September and agreed that a joint committee aimed at settling
differences between their countries will start working this
week. Meciar said that settling "political and economic
differences" with the Czech Republic is a "priority" for
Slovakia, TASR reported. In an interview with TASR on 11
September, Zeman said that the premiers of the two countries
should meet at least twice a year and that "if we want to
achieve 'above-average relations' we should first strive to
establish 'standard relations.'" He said he will make his
first visit to Bratislava after the Slovak parliamentary
elections. MS

CZECH GOVERNMENT APPROVES 1999 DEFICIT BUDGET. For the first
time since 1989, the Czech government on 13 September
approved a deficit budget. Premier Zeman said the 26.8
billion crowns ($878.7 million) deficit is aimed at
stimulating economic growth in a situation of "economic
crisis." It is unclear whether the parliament, where the
government is in the minority, will approve the budget.
According to the law, the draft must be submitted to the
legislature by the end of this month. MS

MECIAR PROMISES 'HIGHEST STANDARDS OF DEMOCRACY' IN
ELECTIONS. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, speaking at a
rally in eastern Slovakia on 13 September, said the general
elections on 25-26 September will be "free and fair" and that
he will "respect" their results. Meciar said that the "talk
in Europe about Slovak lack of democracy will definitely come
to an end" after the poll, Reuters reported. On 11 September,
the Electoral Commission rejected applications by the Slovak
Association for Just Elections, the U.S. National Democratic
Institute, and the International Republican Institute for
their observers to be accredited. OSCE mission head in
Slovakia Kare Vollan told RFE/RL that the decision was
"unwise" and that the OSCE regrets that Slovakia is refusing
to "enhance the transparency" of the ballot. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

GUNMEN KILL ALBANIAN OPPOSITION LEGISLATOR. Unidentified
gunmen shot and killed Democratic Party legislator Azem
Hajdari and his bodyguard in front of the party's Tirana
headquarters on 12 September. Interior Minister Perikli Teta
told state television the next day that the authorities
consider the killing to be either a political assassination
or connected with a blood feud. The government posted a
reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the
arrest of the killers. The BBC reported that the murder may
have been linked to Hajdari's possible involvement in arms
trafficking to Kosova. On 3 June, Hajdari escaped an
assassination attempt in his hometown of Bajram Curri, which
is near the border with Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 June
1998). FS

OPPOSITION DEMANDS GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION. Democratic Party
leader Sali Berisha in Tirana on 13 September blamed
Hajdari's killing on Prime Minister Fatos Nano and gave the
government an ultimatum to resign within 24 hours or face
"catastrophic consequences." Berisha said Nano "committed a
historical mistake by organizing such a murder," adding that
"this is a direct criminal act of the government." Former
parliamentary speaker Pjeter Arbnori called for the
government to be overthrown, saying "dumping Nano would be
the best revenge for the assassination of Hajdari." The
government issued a statement denouncing the killing and
saying Hajdari's murder is "a great loss for democracy." It
called on all political parties to refrain from violence. FS

PROTESTERS SET PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE ABLAZE. Some 2,000
Democratic Party supporters stormed the government's offices
in Tirana on 13 September and set fire to the ground floor
and nearby cars. Nano and several other ministers fled their
offices amid a hail of gunfire. One protester was killed and
four guards were wounded in the shoot-out. After the riots,
Berisha appealed for calm in the runup to the funeral of
Hajdari the following day. Some 2,000 Democrats held a
peaceful mourning ceremony in central Skanderbeg Square at
which the bodies of Hajdari and his bodyguard were displayed.
Near the Democratic stronghold of Kavaja, protesters blocked
Albania's main north-south road and stormed the local police
station. FS

SITUATION IN TIRANA SPINS 'OUT OF CONTROL.' Nano appealed to
Albanians in a state television interview on 14 September to
reject "attempts [by the Democrats] to seize power by force."
Later that morning, shooting broke out between protesters
outside Nano's offices and persons inside after the
protesters had tried to bring Hajdari's coffin into the
building. Guards sent Democratic supporters fleeing amid a
hail of bullets, wounding at least three demonstrators.
Protesters then threw several grenades into the building,
causing explosions. Democratic supporters seized a tank and
drove it toward Skanderbeg Square. AP wrote that the
situation in Tirana is "spinning out of control." A local
journalist told RFE/RL that opposition forces have seized the
state television building. FS

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CALLS FOR CALM. OSCE Ambassador to
Albania Daan Everts called Hajdari's killing "atrocious" but
added that "there is no excuse to react with violence."
Everts stressed that "the government should be allowed to
pursue the case with vigor," adding that Berisha "cannot make
ultimatums, this is [a] democracy." The U.S. embassy in
Tirana, the EU Presidency, and the Italian government issued
separate statements urging Albanians to cease threatening
violence and calling on the authorities to bring Hajdari's
killers to justice. FS

UN APPEALS TO MONTENEGRO NOT TO DEPORT YUGOSLAV FELLOW
CITIZENS. A spokesman for the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees said in Geneva on 14 September that
the UNHCR has "appealed to Montenegro to keep its borders
open" lest the refugee problem become worse, AP reported. The
previous day, Montenegrin authorities deported to Albania
some 3,200 Kosovars who had arrived in the Plav area on 11
September. Montenegrin authorities said in Podgorica on 12
September that the republic cannot afford to take in
additional refugees from Kosova, who already make up more
than 11 percent of Montenegro's population, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. A spokesman for the UNHCR said in
Prishtina on 13 September that an additional 3,000 Kosovars
are waiting near the Montenegrin border to cross into that
republic but that the Montenegrins have closed the frontier.
On 11 September, Serbian troops and paramilitary police
dispersed some 40,000 Kosovars from their makeshift camp near
Decan. PM

NATO LAUNCHES MANEUVERS IN MACEDONIA. Troops from 26
countries began exercises under NATO leadership in Macedonia
on 12 September. U.S. General Wesley Clark, who is the
Atlantic alliance's supreme commander in Europe, said in
Krivolak, Macedonia, that the purpose of the maneuvers is to
"demonstrate NATO's capabilities" by simulating the
evacuation of Western diplomats and civilians under wartime
conditions. Clark added: "The whole world is watching [the
developments in Kosova] and it is inevitable that some
conclusions can be made, but this exercise has nothing to do"
with the crisis in Kosova. Macedonian Prime Minister Branko
Crvenkovski said that the maneuvers "demonstrate [NATO's]
clear interest in maintaining peace in a region that is of
extreme interest today." PM

BOSNIA VOTES WITHOUT SERIOUS INCIDENTS... More than 70
percent of Bosnia-Herzegovina's registered voters cast their
ballots on 12-13 September at polling stations in the
Republika Srpska, the mainly Croatian and Muslim federation,
and at special refugee voting centers in Croatia and federal
Yugoslavia, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The OSCE,
which supervised the election, also allowed Bosnian refugees
in other countries to cast absentee votes by mail. Some
polling stations in Bosnia failed to open on time on 12
September owing to computer problems or because complete
voting lists had not arrived. The OSCE and local authorities
quickly overcame the problems, and voting proceeded smoothly
the following day. In contrast to the 1996 general elections,
voting took place without any reports of violence.
Inconclusive first results have begun to trickle in. OSCE
officials expect the final tally to be available around 23
September. PM

...AMID PRAISE FROM INTERNATIONAL C0MMUNITY. In Banja Luka on
13 September, Bosnian Serb authorities detained a Sarajevo-
based television crew for two hours for filming the office of
Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic without
permission. Robert Barry, who is the OSCE's chief official
supervising the vote, called the detention of the journalists
"outrageous" and promised to investigate the incident, AP
reported. Barry added, however, that the voting was "the most
successful" election in Bosnia since the Dayton agreement was
signed at the end of 1995. Carlos Westendorp, who is the
international community's chief representative in Bosnia,
called the election "a great day for democracy." Robert
Gelbard, who is President Bill Clinton's special envoy to the
former Yugoslavia, said that the voting was "free and fair,"
adding that "no election process is perfect." He expressed
concern, however, that posters depicting indicted war
criminals appeared in some Croatian or Serbian areas,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

CROATIA SUSPENDS POLICE OFFICIALS. Interior Minister Ivan
Penic said in Zagreb on 11 September that he has suspended
Sibenik's chief of police and two deputy chiefs following the
death of an Italian tourist in that Adriatic city on 6
September. Seven policemen, who have since been arrested, had
badly beaten the tourist, whom they said "disturbed the peace
and interfered with traffic." AP wrote on 11 September that
the incident was "the worst case of police violence" in
Croatia in recent memory. Foreign Minister Mate Granic
telephoned his Italian counterpart, Lamberto Dini, to discuss
the incident. PM

RADICAL WING OF HUNGARIAN ETHNIC PARTY DEMANDS 'DUAL
CITIZENSHIP'... The Szeklers' Forum, convened in Cernatul de
Jos on 12 September by Laszlo Tokes, honorary chairman of the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), criticized
the performance of the UDMR leadership and demanded the right
to "dual citizenship" for members of the Hungarian ethnic
minority. The forum also passed a resolution that the
Romanian-language media described as a demand for the
territorial autonomy of the Szekler counties. The resolution,
however, makes no mention of those counties and speaks of
autonomy in line with "the subsidiary principles" of "Western
practice on local autonomy and self-government." The forum
also demanded the return to the Hungarian community of
confiscated Church property and the "reinstitution" of a
Hungarian state university in Cluj. And it protested attempts
to "militarize" counties inhabited by ethnic Hungarians and
"change their population structure." MS

...AS UDMR LEADER DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM RESOLUTIONS. UDMR
chairman Marko Bela has said that the Cernatul de Jos
gathering was " not statutory" and that the relatively low
attendance shows that the bulk of UDMR members do not
identify with criticism by Tokes's wing. Marko said it is "up
to the Hungarian government" to discuss the "dual
citizenship" proposal, adding that he himself would not ask
for that status. He added that some of the forum's demands
already figure in the UDMR's program and Tokes's wing must
"show how to implement them more specifically." On 11
September, European Commissioner Hans van den Broek, said in
a statement that he has "encouraged" the Romanian government
to find "alternative means" to satisfy the Hungarians'
demands. He also denied that he views "muliculturalism" as
the only way to meet those demands. MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT URGES QUICKER PACE OF REFORM. The
parliament on 12 September passed a resolution saying that
the speeding up of reforms in the economic sector and in
public administration is "the only way out" of the present
economic and social crisis. The resolution added that Moldova
abides by "democratic values" and that its objective is to
"achieve integration into European and international
structures." The legislature empowered the government to take
measures in coordination with the National Bank to ensure the
country's "financial and economic stability." It also said
that the government must speed up the privatization of state
enterprises and of the energy sector, balance the budget by
"renouncing the harmful practice of increasing the public
debt," and restructure the state administration. On 11
September, Deputy Premier Ion Sturdza told the legislature
that the budget can no longer withstand the effects the
Russian economic crisis, estimating lost revenues at 300
million lei ($60 million). MS

END NOTE

THE PASSING OF A GIANT

by Paul Goble

	Estonian Ambassador Ernst Jaakson will be buried in New
York today in a ceremony certain to be like the man himself:
modest, dignified, and symbolic of issues larger than any
individual.
	Following his death on 5 September, Mr. Jaakson--as he
was universally known--garnered tributes from around the
world focusing on his remarkable diplomatic career, which
extended from 1919 until his death.
	That record of unbroken service--first as a translator
for Estonia's ambassador in Riga, then as an Estonian consul
in the U.S. before and during the Soviet occupation, and
finally as Estonian ambassador to Washington and the United
Nations--will never be equaled.
	But in many ways, Mr. Jaakson's length of service--some
79 years--is far less significant than the way in which he
filled it. A man of genuine modesty, Mr. Jaakson never
confused himself with the cause he represented, nor did he
place his own interests above those of his country.
	Indeed, when he published his memoirs a few years ago,
many readers were disappointed that he had included so few
details about himself, focusing instead on the great events
through which he lived.
	But as Mr. Jaakson would have told them, that was
precisely the point of his life. He represented Estonia when
it was a small country far away from the United States. He
represented it during the long years when it was occupied by
the Soviet Union and when few thought it would ever be free
again. And Mr. Jaakson lived to represent it once Estonia
recovered its independence in 1991.
	Consequently, for many in both Estonia and the West, to
an important degree Mr. Jaakson was Estonia precisely because
he invariably subordinated himself to its cause.
	A man of enormous dignity, Mr. Jaakson performed all the
duties he was given with integrity, good manners, and charm.
During the long years of the Soviet occupation when Baltic
representatives in the West were often the object of
curiosity or humorous dismissal, Mr. Jaakson commanded
universal respect. And he did so not peremptorily but by his
personal authority.
	Even those inclined to dismiss the Baltic cause often
went away from meetings with him convinced that indeed
Estonia and her Baltic neighbors would be free again. And
when Estonia and her neighbors were working together to
recover their independence, Mr. Jaakson's personal authority
was such that presidents, prime ministers, and secretaries of
state always listened to him.
	Compared with his two Baltic colleagues in Washington,
Mr. Jaakson said relatively little in public or private. But
when he spoke, often after all the others, his interlocutors
knew that they had heard the voice of someone special.
	Mr. Jaakson helped guide the Estonian people and their
leaders toward regaining independence, and he helped to
provide them--always gently but firmly--in learning how to
interact with the rest of the world once they achieved it.
 	Finally, Mr. Jaakson was a symbol. Throughout his career
and especially during the darkest days of Soviet occupation,
he was called Mr. Estonia. More recently, as Estonia moved to
recover its independence, many referred to him as "the
conscience of Estonia," the man who kept the Estonian dream
alive at a time when so many gave up.
	Indeed, and in recognition of this special status, he is
the only Estonian official other than the pre-war presidents
to have a bust in the Estonian presidential palace at
Kadriorg. And most recently, he has been characterized as the
"legendary" diplomat because of his unparalleled length of
service.
	But Mr. Jaakson was more than that.
	He was a symbol of another age, a time when personal
integrity was paramount, when self-sacrifice to a greater
cause was the ideal, and when diplomats made their mark by
long years of work, rather than by flashy media plays.
	As all those who knew him will confirm, Mr. Jaakson was
a giant not only among diplomats or among Estonians. He was a
giant among human beings.
	Those who knew him were privileged; they know how rare a
man Mr. Jaakson was.

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