The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore, brothers. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 201, Part II, 16 October 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 201, Part II, 16 October 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

* HALF OF UKRAINE'S BUSINESSES NOT PAYING TAXES

* ANOTHER REPRIEVE FOR MILOSEVIC?

* KOSOVARS BLAME U.S. FOR 'SELL-OUT'

End Note: MACEDONIA TO ELECT NEW PARLIAMENT
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

HALF OF UKRAINE'S BUSINESSES NOT PAYING TAXES. The
Ukrainian Economic Ministry has said half of Ukraine's
businesses have paid no taxes so far this year, Ukrainian
Television reported on 15 October. To prevent such losses
in the future, the ministry proposes to lower tax rates in
a tax reform that is to be debated by the Ukrainian
parliament during its current session, dpa reported. The
ministry urges lawmakers to decrease value-added tax from
20 to 15 percent and cut taxes on company profits from 30
to 20 percent. JM

UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS WANT PARLIAMENT TO FORM GOVERNMENT.
Communist leader Petro Symonenko told journalists on 15
October that the Communists are ready to enter the
government and "shoulder all the responsibility" provided
that the parliament rather than the president forms the
cabinet, Interfax reported. Symonenko said the
constitution must be amended so that the government
reports to the parliament. He added that the Communist
caucus has enough members for two cabinets. Symonenko's
remarks follow Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko's proposal to
lawmakers to form an "intercaucus" cabinet (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 15 October 1998). Pustovoytenko's proposal did
not extend to the Communist caucus. JM

KUCHMA IN AUSTRIA. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma held
talks with his Austrian counterpart, Thomas Klestil, in
Vienna on 15 October. "We note with great joy that
Austria...supports our efforts to be integrated in
Europe," Reuters quoted Kuchma as saying after the
meeting. Klestil, whose country holds the rotating EU
presidency, told journalists that "there is a long-term
European prospect also for Ukraine." Ukraine is seeking EU
associate membership as the first step toward integration
into European structures. JM

BELARUSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST FACES LOSS OF LICENSE.
The Belarusian Justice Ministry has told Vera
Stremkouskaya, a prominent lawyer and human rights
activist, that she is to be reprimanded and her license to
practice law revoked, according to the International
League for Human Rights in New York on 15 October. Last
month, Stremkouskaya and Mikhail Pastukhou, former judge
of the Belarusian Constitutional Court, had briefed the
league on the human rights situation in Belarus. The
ministry accuses Stremkouskaya of violating legal ethics
by presenting a distorted view of the situation in
Belarus. Two members of the Belarusian mission to the UN
who attended the briefing in New York notified the
Belarusian authorities about Stremkouskaya's statements.
According to Stremkouskaya, the Justice Ministry proposed
that she formally denounce Pastukhou to avoid reprisals
against herself but she declined that proposal. JM

BELARUS, YUGOSLAVIA DISCUSS JOINT SECURITY MEASURES.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Yugoslav
Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Lilic met in Minsk on 15
October to discuss joint measures to ensure the security
of their countries, Interfax reported. Lilic later told
the agency that he informed the Belarusian president about
the situation in Yugoslavia and discussed "a wide spectrum
of issues related to the economy, the international
situation, and security." Lilic added that he expressed
"profound gratitude to the Belarusian president for his
statement on support to Yugoslavia." Commenting on the
possibility of creating a union between Yugoslavia,
Belarus, and Russia, Lilic said it would be "premature" to
discuss Yugoslavia's integration into the Russian-
Belarusian Union. JM

TURKISH PRESIDENT SUPPORTS ESTONIA'S NATO ASPIRATIONS.
Suleyman Demirel told his visiting Estonian counterpart,
Lennart Meri, on 15 October that he supports Estonia's
aspirations to join NATO, ETA reported. "Despite Russia's
statements that NATO cannot expand to the territory of the
former Soviet Union, I have supported Estonia's wish to
become a full member of NATO," he said, adding that he
intends to support Estonia's NATO aspiration at the
alliance's 1999 Washington summit. The two presidents also
discussed regional cooperation as well as bilateral and
trade relations. JC

LATVIAN PRESIDENT PUTS PRESSURE ON LEADING PARTIES. Guntis
Ulmanis has said he will stick to plans to name a
candidate for prime minister by 3 November, regardless of
whether the deadlock between leading parties over that
post has been resolved, Reuters reported on 15 October.
Latvia's Way wants Transport Minister Vilis Kristopans to
be the next premier, while the People's Party, which won
the elections, favors its leader, Andris Skele, in that
post. A statement issued by Ulmanis's office said that
"the president urges parties to be more active to come to
terms about the new head of government." Also on 15
October, Ulmanis met with leaders of the Social Democratic
Alliance, who expressed their support for Kristopans to
take over the premiership. At the same time, they made
clear their support is conditional on receiving cabinet
posts proportional to their party's showing in the 3
October elections, according to BNS. JC

DISMISSED LITHUANIAN OFFICIAL REJECTS BLACKMAIL CHARGES.
J. Gaudutis, the former chief of the Lithuanian Special
Investigation Service has rejected charges of blackmail
made by Internal Affairs Minister Stasys Sedbaras, BNS
reported on 15 October. In an interview with the newspaper
"Respublika" the previous day, Sedbaras claimed that on
being dismissed, Gaudutis demanded unusually high
severance pay and threatened to publicize compromising
information against Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius.
Gaudutis, in an interview with "Respublika" on 15 October,
rejected those claims and said he had collected no
information on the Lithuanian leadership. According to
BNS, the 52-year-old Gaudutis's dismissal has prompted
widespread speculation within some political circles.
Initially, the ministry cited Gaudutis's age as the reason
for his dismissal. Later, it mentioned "errors in
selecting subordinates" as additional grounds for
relieving him of his duties. JC

POLAND SEES NO NEED TO RESTRICT LABOR FLOW AFTER JOINING
EU. Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek said in Brussels on
15 October that Poland's economic reform may prevent the
need for restrictions on the movement of Polish workers
after the country joins the EU, Reuters reported. Buzek
added that his government's policy will lead to "a strong
and stable economy" that will reduce unemployment and
remove the need for Polish workers to seek work in EU
countries. European Commission Jacques Santer said after
meeting Buzek that the Polish government has carried out
"remarkable work" in its EU membership preparations. The
European Commission pledged 30 million ecus ($27 million)
to help Poland restructure its coal and steel sector. JM

CZECHS INITIAL GAS DEAL WITH GAZPROM. Czech natural gas
importer Transgas signed a long-term contract with Russian
gas giant Gazprom on 15 October, CTK reported. Transgas
Director Miroslav Grec said the state-owned company will
import some 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas from
Russia every year for the next 15 years. Russia was the
primary supplier of natural gas to the Czech Republic
until last year, when the Czech government signed an
extensive contract to import natural gas from Norway. Some
30 billion cubic meters of natural gas transit the Czech
Republic every year en route to Western Europe. PB

CZECHS MAY ALSO NEED VISAS FOR BRITAIN. British officials
say that a further increase in the number of Czech Roma
applying for asylum in Great Britain could lead to the
imposition of a visa regime for Czech citizens, CTK
reported. London reimposed visa regulations for Slovak
citizens last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 October 1998)
because of the high number of Roma from Slovakia
requesting asylum in Britain in August and September. The
British Home Office said on 14 October that in those two
months, 1,611 Slovak Roma and 460 Czech Roma requested
asylum. The issue is expected to be a major topic of
discussion when President Vaclav Havel, Foreign Minister
Jan Kavan, and Human Rights Commissioner Petr Uhl make an
official visit to London next week. The British ambassador
to Prague, David Broucher, was recently quoted on Czech
television as saying that Roma have no reason to leave the
Czech Republic. PB

HUNGARY, ROMANIA SET UP MORE JOINT COMMITTEES. A
Hungarian-Romanian governmental committee, chaired by
Hungarian Foreign Ministry state secretary Zsolt Nemeth
and his visiting Romanian counterpart, Mihnea
Constantinescu, have decided to set up another two
"expert" groups, Hungarian media reported on 15 October.
One of the committees will deal with Church and religious
affairs and the other with health and social affairs. A
protocol passed by the committee proposed seeking a
resolution to the financial problems of schools for ethnic
Romanians in Hungary, restoring Orthodox churches, and
ensuring parliamentary representation for minorities. The
protocol also urges Romania to ratify the language charter
of the Council of Europe, enact a minority law, approve a
government decree on language and education, and resolve
the issue of the restitution of Hungarian Church property.
MSZ

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES ABOUND IN HUNGARIAN LOCAL
ELECTIONS. Of the 101,633 candidates running in the 18
October local elections, some 48,000 are independents.
Nearly 40 parties, some 600 public organizations, and 160
ethnic organizations are fielding candidates for 41,000
posts in municipal, county, and minority local
governments, Hungarian media reported on 16 October. The
opposition Socialists have some 5,700 candidates, followed
by the coalition Independent Smallholders with nearly
4,300. The major coalition party, the Federation of Young
Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party, has 2,600 candidates. The
campaign media blackout starts on 16 October. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ANOTHER REPRIEVE FOR MILOSEVIC? An unnamed NATO diplomat
told Reuters on 16 October that alliance ambassadors will
agree later that day to extend by 10 days the deadline for
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to comply with
international demands that he withdraw his forces from
Kosova and let refugees go home (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13
October 1998). Originally, 17 October was the deadline for
Milosevic to show that he had seriously begun to meet the
demands. Other ambassadors told Reuters that it is unclear
whether Milosevic will get the10-day reprieve, which some
unnamed smaller member states have reportedly requested.
PM

SOLANA SAYS MILOSEVIC NOT COMPLYING. NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana told Milosevic in Belgrade on 16
October that the alliance knows he is not complying with
international demands and warned him to do so lest he face
air strikes. Solana said that NATO knows of "many army and
special police units that...remain in [the province] even
though their barracks are outside [it]..., these units
must be withdrawn immediately." He also warned the
Yugoslav leader that "any attack with hostile intent
against NATO verification aircraft will have the greatest
consequence." Solana signed an agreement allowing NATO to
overfly Yugoslav territory as part of the package
Milosevic agreed with U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke
earlier this week. Yugoslav Army Chief-of-Staff General
Momcilo Perisic, NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley
Clark, and General Klaus Naumann, the chairman of NATO's
military committee, signed the overflight agreement. PM

PLANS TAKE SHAPE FOR VERIFICATION MISSION. Polish
Ambassador to the OSCE Adam Kobieracki, whose country
holds the rotating chair of that organization, told
Reuters in Vienna on 15 October that the first of 2,000
civilian verification experts should have arrived in
Kosova by 24 October. He did not say how large that
initial contingent will be. In related news in New York, a
spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that a
"mission" of unspecified size will arrive in Kosova on 17
or 18 October to be able to inform Annan firsthand of
conditions on the ground there. Annan had recently
complained that he could not evaluate the situation in
Kosova because he does not have his own sources of
information in the region (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6
October 1998). PM

KOSOVARS BLAME U.S. FOR 'SELL-OUT.' Several Kosovar
spokesmen said in Prishtina on 14-15 October that
Holbrooke knowingly sold out Kosovar interests in order to
reach an agreement with Milosevic. One spokesman referred
to the Milosevic-Holbrooke pact as "peace in our time" in
a reference to the 1938 Munich Agreement. Bardhyl Mahmuti,
a spokesman for the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), told
Reuters in Geneva on 15 October that "certain elements in
the U.S. administration are lying. They are hiding the
facts on the ground to pretend the peace deal is working.
But there's no progress.... There is no sign of a
withdrawal by Serb forces. The truth is there's shelling
every day. U.S. satellite pictures would easily confirm
that.... The Americans know what's going on. The Serbs are
setting up new positions.... Milosevic is continuing his
policy of ethnic cleansing, shelling and barbarism. But
there is deafening silence" from the West, he concluded.
PM

SURROI WARNS OF BANNING. The Serbian Information Ministry
on 15 October banned the independent daily "Nasa Borba."
This is the third daily to be shut down this week under a
decree forbidding the dissemination of "fear, defeatism,
and panic" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 October 1998). In
Prishtina, Veton Surroi, the editor in chief of the
leading Kosovar daily "Koha Ditore," wrote on 16 October
that he expects his newspaper will also be banned. He
added: "I would not be surprised if the regime would torch
this office. A regime that eliminates women and children--
victims of a war against the civilians--knows no shame and
does not have scruples or conscience." Surroi concluded:
"If they ban us...this will pass. If they ban us, we will
try to get around it. This is a law of struggle against
censorship.... Those who will ban us today will be in a
rubbish basket tomorrow. And we will call in our newspaper
for a ban on allowing them entry into Kosova, even with
passports." PM

ANOTHER TUDJMAN AIDE QUITS. Franjo Greguric on 15 October
submitted his resignation to President Franjo Tudjman as
the representative of the governing Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ) to the mainly Muslim and Croatian
Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. He is the third leading representative
of the HDZ's moderate faction to quit a top post recently
in the wake of an apparent victory of the Herzegovinian
hard-liners over the moderates (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15
October 1998). PM

UN ENDS MISSION IN EASTERN SLAVONIA. UN officials formally
ended the world organization's civilian police mission in
eastern Slavonia on 15 October. The OSCE will now assume
responsibility for the international police presence in
the region, which the local Serbs consider essential to
ensure their safety from ethnically motivated incidents.
The UN completed its temporary administration of eastern
Slavonia on 15 January, when Croatia reasserted control.
Many remaining Serbian civilians now fear that Croats will
take revenge on them for destruction, ethnic cleansing,
and atrocities that Croats suffered during the 1991-1995
conflict. PM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT WELCOMES PARLIAMENT DECISION ON NATO
REQUEST. Emil Constantinescu praised the Romanian
parliament's approval on 14 October of a NATO request to
have access to the country's air space in case of military
intervention in Yugoslavia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15
October 1998), Rompres reported. Constantinescu said the
vote is proof of parliament's ability to overcome
political disputes and biases out of concern for national
interests. In other news, a 31-year-old woman was in
critical condition after attempting self-immolation in
front of the city hall in the southern town of Pitesti on
16 October. A crowd of several dozen people witnessed the
event. The woman was protesting the failure of the state
to provide her family with an apartment. PB

ROMANIAN TRADE MINISTER ON GAS PRICE HIKES. Radu Berceanu
said on 14 October that the government-imposed increase on
gas prices is needed to prevent the Romanian National Oil
Corporation from sustaining huge losses, Rompres reported.
The Trade Ministry announced the previous day that a
nearly 5 percent increase in the price of gasoline would
go into effect on 15 October. Berceanu said taxes and
duties make up 70 percent of the price of a liter of
gasoline, which now costs 4,600 lei (about $.50). PB

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SENDS BACK LAW ON JUDICIARY. Petar
Stoyanov vetoed a proposed law on reforming Bulgaria's
judiciary on 15 October, AP reported. Stoyanov said the
legislation would give the government too much power over
judicial officials and would fail to promote greater
efficiency in fighting organized crime and corruption.
Stoyanov said he particularly objected to the provision
that would allow the justice minister to discipline
judiciary officials as well as approve the judiciary's
budget. Currently those rights are held by a 25-member
Higher Judicial Council. PB

BULGARIAN PREMIER UPBEAT ON COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC FUTURE.
Ivan Kostov predicted on 14 October in Sofia that Bulgaria
will enjoy economic growth for the next several years, BTA
reported. Kostov, speaking at the closing of the Bulgaria
Investment Forum, said he forecast that the country's
economy will grow by 4.5-5.5 percent annually over the
next two years. Kostov said an increase in consumption,
already noticeable, along with an increase in the
percentage of private business in the Bulgarian economy,
are the main factors behind the projected economic growth.
Kostov added that far from suffering from the economic
crisis in Russia, Bulgaria could benefit by regaining a
market share there with such goods as tobacco and
foodstuffs. PB

CORRECTION: In "RFE/RL Newsline" of 15 October, it was
incorrectly reported that Bulgaria had acceded to the
International Monetary Fund's Article 4. It had, in fact,
acceded to the IMF's Article 8.

END NOTE

MACEDONIA TO ELECT NEW PARLIAMENT

by Patrick Moore

	Macedonian voters go to the polls on 18 October to
elect a 120-seat parliament. The main issues are whether
the present coalition, led by the Social Democrats, will
continue in office and what the impact of the vote will be
on Macedonia's future as a multiethnic state.
	Voters in this country of just over 2 million people
opted for independence in September 1991 under President
Kiro Gligorov, who spent long years in Belgrade and would
have preferred to have kept the former Yugoslavia in tact
had that option been realistic. The last Yugoslav troops
left in spring 1992, but real possibilities to enjoy the
fruits of independence began to emerge only in the fall of
1995, after Greece agreed to end the blockade it had
imposed in 1993 during an acrimonious dispute over
Macedonia's official name and national symbols.
	The first free vote for a legislature in the history
of Macedonia took place at the end of 1990 and the second
in October 1994. Most of the many political parties were
established in 1990 and are rooted in the former League of
Communists of Yugoslavia, because communist Macedonia did
not have a significant dissident movement. The country is
multiethnic, and most parties target their appeal
primarily to one ethnic group, particularly to the
Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, or Roma.
	The leading Macedonian parties include the Social
Democratic League of Macedonia, which is led by Prime
Minister Branko Crvenkovski and which has held power in
coalition with various smaller parties throughout most of
this decade. It currently holds office with the
Socialists, whose political platform is very similar to
that of the Social Democrats.
	Their main competitor for the vote of ethnic
Macedonians is the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization (VMRO-DPMNE) of Ljubco Georgievski. His party
claims to be the successor of the VMRO that dominated much
of Macedonian politics at the beginning of the century
and, like its predecessor organization, has focused on
appealing to nationalist sentiments since it was founded
in 1990.
	But Georgievski's main appeal now is economic. He
charges that the Social Democrats and their allies are
holding back economic development through over-regulation
and corruption. He told "RFE/RL Newsline" recently that he
will do away with both burdens, as well as cut taxes and
customs rates. He also pledges to encourage foreign
investment and set up three free-trade zones.
	To underscore this change in approach, Georgievski
has formed an electoral coalition with Vasil Tupurkovski's
small Democratic Alternative, which is committed to the
principles of a civil society. The Democratic
Alternative's membership includes persons of many ethnic
backgrounds including prominent Albanian intellectuals.
Tupurkovski, who first made his name in Belgrade during
the last years of the former Yugoslavia, is widely
regarded as a possible successor to Gligorov in next
year's presidential vote. Some observers suggest that
Tupurkovski made his current electoral pact with
Georgievski in order to secure the VMRO's backing for
Tupurkovski's 1999 presidential bid.
	But the key to political stability are the ethnic
Albanian parties. The Albanians constitute about 23
percent of the total population and live mainly in western
Macedonia in areas bordering Albania. The Albanians claim
that they are grossly underrepresented in state
institutions and demand a greater share of political and
economic power.
	They also want an Albanian-language university and
possibly the transformation of the present unitary state
into a federal one. Many Macedonians, however, suspect
that such claims are really a prelude to a demand for full
independence. Consequently, mutual mistrust is widespread,
ethnic tension frequently high, and political and social
life highly polarized.
	The more moderate major Albanian political group is
the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD), which
participates in Crvenkovski's coalition government.
Georgievski charges that the PPD has become part of the
corrupt establishment. The PPD's hard-line rival is the
Democratic Party of the Albanians (PDSH). Arben Xhaferi,
leader of the PDSH, frequently uses militant rhetoric but
at other times adopts a conciliatory tone. Few observers
in Skopje are willing to predict what course he might take
after the election.
	Polls suggest that no party has a clear majority
among either main ethnic group and that as much as 40
percent of the electorate remains undecided. This will be
the first election according to rules that allow for only
85 of the 120 seats (instead of all 120, as was previously
the case) to be elected on the majority principle. The
remaining 35 will be selected by proportional
representation following a concession by the government to
the smaller parties.
	The PPD and PDSH have formed an electoral pact to
field joint candidates in some districts to ensure that
competition between them does not lead to the election of
a non-Albanian. A spokesman for Xhaferi told "RFE/RL
Newsline," however, that the pact will expire after
election day and has no bearing on future coalition talks.
	Regardless of the composition of the new government,
the ruling parties will face the daunting tasks of
overcoming high unemployment and attracting foreign
investment. Many observers have long noted that prosperity
is the key to peace and stability in the Balkans--
demagogues and war came to the former Yugoslavia only
after a decade of economic decline. The key challenge to
the next government will be to boost Macedonia's standard
of living so that all its citizens can feel they have a
stake in both that state and its future.

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