The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. - Paul Vale´ry
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 227, Part II, 24 November 1998


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 227, Part II, 24 November 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

* CZECH, SLOVAK PREMIERS AGREE TO RESOLVE ASSETS DISPUTE

* GLIGOROV ASKS GEORGIEVSKI TO FORM GOVERNMENT

* OBSERVERS DECLARE ALBANIAN REFERENDUM VALID

End Note: BEREZOVSKII AS MR. FIX-IT
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

PUSTOVOYTENKO SEES KUCHMA AS ONLY CENTRIST PRESIDENTIAL
HOPEFUL. Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko
says that President Leonid Kuchma should run as "the
only candidate of the centrist forces" in the 1999
presidential polls, Interfax reported on 23 November.
Addressing a congress of the pro-presidential Popular
Democratic Party the previous day, Pustovoytenko said
Kuchma "is capable of uniting around him all moderate
political forces and of continuing the course of
socially oriented, consistent economic restructuring."
The premier urged the party to support Kuchma as its
presidential candidate and to initiate the signing of a
memorandum on uniting parties "that pursue stability and
socially oriented economic reforms." JM

UKRAINE, RUSSIA AGREE ON GAS SUPPLIES. Ukrainian First
Deputy Premier Anatoliy Holubchenko said on 23 November
that Ukraine and Russia have agreed on supplies of
Russian gas to Ukraine in 1999, AP reported. According
to Holubchenko, Russia will deliver 62 billion cubic
meters in 1999, covering most of Ukraine's gas needs. Of
that amount, 32 billion cubic meters will be supplied as
payment for the transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian
territory en route to Western Europe. Russian gas
supplies to Ukraine will cost $50 per 1,000 cubic
meters. JM

BELARUSIAN SPECIAL TASK UNIT REDEPLOYED TO BACKWOODS.
The Russian daily "Segodnya" reported on 20 November
that the Intelligence and Personal Security Unit, a
special purpose force set up by the Belarusian Interior
Ministry a few months ago, has been taken from its base
in Minsk and "hastily hidden in the Belarusian woods" in
Vitsebsk Oblast. Apart from dealing with terrorism, the
unit's aim is uncovering contacts between state
officials and senior officers in the Defense Ministry,
on the one hand, and opposition representatives, on the
other, according to "Segodnya," citing reports in the
Belarusian independent press. The unit's commander told
a "Segodnya" correspondent, however, that his force is
intended to "combat terrorists and drug traffickers in
marshland and woodland conditions." He stressed that the
special task force has had nothing to do with
"suppressing opposition mass protests or intimidating
opposition leaders." JM

ESTONIAN LANGUAGE LAW AMENDMENTS PASS IN FIRST READING.
Amendments to the state language law that provide for
language proficiency requirements for officials have
passed in the first reading, BNS reported on 23 October.
Under the amendments, civil servants and those who have
to communicate with the public through their work must
speak Estonian sufficiently well to be able to carry out
their duties. The bill specifies that the government is
authorized to define language proficiency levels. Those
who completed secondary school with instruction in
Estonian will not be required to take a test. Last year,
a similar bill passed by the parliament was deemed
unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court because
that legislation provided for delegating to the
government the authority to establish language
proficiency requirements for elected officials. The
court ruled that such requirements can be established
only by law, not by delegating such authority to the
executive. JC

LATVIA'S PRESIDENT URGES TALKS ON MAJORITY GOVERNMENT...
Speaking on state radio on 23 November, Guntis Ulmanis
called on leading political parties to resume talks on
forming a majority government, BNS reported. He said
that he believes a minority government is not the
"correct model" for Latvia, adding that it would find it
very difficult to tackle problems. Ulmanis also
expressed displeasure with the pace of forming the next
cabinet. Last week, Premier-designate Vilis Kristopans
announced he will form a minority government composed of
his Latvia's Way, the Fatherland and Freedom party, and
the New Party. The People's Party, which won last
month's elections, has declined Kristopans's offer of a
government post without being part of the ruling
coalition. JC

...WILL NOT APOLOGIZE TO ISRAEL OVER PUBLICATION. Also
on 23 November, Ulmanis's spokeswoman, Vita Savicka,
told BNS that the president does not intend to apologize
to the Simon Wiesenthal Center for not mentioning the
Holocaust in an article honoring Latvian Independence
Day (18 November) published in a Hebrew-language daily.
Savicka said the article was not aimed at expressing an
opinion on the Holocaust and she stressed that the
president is "not afraid to speak about [the Holocaust]
and has done so repeatedly." The Simon Wiesenthal Center
had issued a statement calling on Ulmanis to apologize
for not mentioning in the article either the Holocaust
or the involvement of Latvians in the genocide of Jews
during World War II. JC

LITHUANIANS COOL TO NATO MEMBERSHIP. According to a poll
conducted in early November by the Vilmorus agency, only
37.2 percent of Lithuanians would vote in favor of NATO
membership if a referendum were held on the issue,
Reuters reported. That figure represents a decrease of
some five percentage points on the previous month. Some
23.5 percent of respondents would oppose such
membership, while 13 percent would not vote and 26
percent were undecided. The news agency quoted analysts
as saying the October figure had showed the largest
support rate for NATO membership in the past year owing
to the Russian crisis. The European Commission's recent
decision not to recommend a start date for Lithuania's
EU accession talks, however, is believed to have
dampened enthusiasm for joining Western institutions.
Recently, several government officials have urged a more
pragmatic approach toward gaining EU entry (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 13 and 17 November 1998). JC

POLISH TRANSPORT MINISTER RESIGNS OVER RAILROAD REFORM.
Eugeniusz Morawski resigned his cabinet post on 23
November, saying he could not reform the Polish State
Railroad (PKP) because of strong trade union opposition,
Reuters reported. "Morawski said the government was
being held hostage by the unions," cabinet spokesman
Jaroslaw Sellin commented. Some government officials say
the PKP, which currently employs 218,000 people, needs
to slash 60,000 jobs and invest 3 billion zlotys ($860
million) to modernize its infrastructure. According to a
tentative government plan, the PKP is slated to be
privatized between 2000 and 2002 after it has been
divided into a railroad network and a shipment company.
Many trade unionists oppose the plan, fearing layoffs.
It is estimated that losses accumulated by the PKP this
year will reach 1 billion zlotys. JM

CZECH PARTY NOT INTERESTED IN RULING WITH COMMUNIST
SUPPORT. Jan Kasal, the acting chairman of the Christian
Democratic Union/Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU/CSL),
has rejected the possibility of forming a majority
government with the ruling Social Democrats and the
tacit support of the Communist Party, CTK reported on 23
November. Kasal said "this is not a cabinet the
Christian Democrats would like to enter." He added that
it would be "senseless to form another minority
cabinet." But KDU/CSL deputy Cyril Svoboda, considered a
candidate for chairman of the party, said in an
interview with the daily "Zemske noviny" that he
supports the idea. The KDU/CSL's strong showing in 20-21
November Senate elections has renewed speculation that
it will join with another party to form a government. PB

BRITAIN TO HELP CZECHS PREPARE FOR NATO. British Defense
Secretary George Robertson said in Prague on 24 November
that Britain will assist the Czech military in preparing
for NATO membership, AP reported. Robertson said his
country has prepared a program that will focus on
language instruction and training exercises. He said the
Czech military has made progress in upgrading to NATO
standards but still has a lot of work to do. Robertson
met with Czech Defense Minister Vladimir Vetchy. PB

CZECH, SLOVAK PREMIERS AGREE TO RESOLVE ASSETS DISPUTE.
Milos Zeman and his Slovak counterpart, Mikulas
Dzurinda, agreed on 23 November in Bratislava to a
process for settling a long-standing dispute over the
division of former Czechoslovak assets, AP reported.
Zeman said they agreed to appoint a commission composed
of six members from each country that will divide the
assets, which include art works and gold, within one
year. Zeman said the one-day visit to Bratislava was
aimed at renewing "the Czech-Slovak friendship, which
was strongly impaired by previous governments." Zeman
was accompanied by Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, Finance
Minister Ivo Svoboda, and Economy Minister Miroslav
Gregr. PB

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BRATISLAVA. Janos Martyoni
held talks in the Slovak capital with his Slovak
counterpart, Eduard Kukan, on 24 November, TASR
reported. The two signed an interministerial agreement
before Martyoni met with Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas
Dzurinda. PB

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT CRITICIZED FOR LACK OF DIALOGUE.
Leaders of national trade union federations complained
to the ambassadors of EU member states in Budapest on 23
November that the Hungarian government does not discuss
urgent labor issues with the trade unions, Hungarian
media reported. "Social dialogue in Hungary is at an
all-time low, and the government's plans for next year
are unacceptable to both employees and pensioners," read
a joint trade union statement. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

GLIGOROV ASKS GEORGIEVSKI TO FORM GOVERNMENT. Macedonian
President Kiro Gligorov on 23 November entrusted Ljubco
Georgievski with forming a government. The prime
minister-designate told reporters that he expects to
have his cabinet lineup completed by 27 November.
Georgievski heads a coalition consisting of his own
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization and Vasil
Tupurkovski's Democratic Alternative, which together
have 62 out of the 120 seats in the parliament.
Georgievski is conducting negotiations to bring Arben
Xhaferi's Democratic Party of the Albanians into the
coalition in order to broaden its base. The prime
minister-designate is 32 years old and gives his
occupation as "poet." His center-right coalition won the
recent elections on a platform that stressed ending
corruption and promoting economic development. One of
the government's first tasks will be to approve NATO's
request to use Macedonian territory as a base for its
rapid-reaction force for Kosova. PM

OBSERVERS DECLARE ALBANIAN REFERENDUM VALID...
International monitors said in a statement in Tirana on
23 November that the previous day's referendum on a new
constitution "was carried out in a correct manner, for
which voters and election officials should be
commended." The statement added that "the political
forces should now resume their dialogue and concentrate
on Albania's vital problems. This could be best achieved
through constructive cooperation between all parties,
including the Democratic Party," which opposed the draft
constitution and called for a boycott of the referendum
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 November 1998). The OSCE,
Council of Europe, and European Parliament provided the
monitors. In Vienna, Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang
Schuessel, speaking on behalf of the EU, said the vote
was evidence of Albania's "democratic maturity." PM

...BUT BERISHA REMAINS DEFIANT. Democratic Party leader
Sali Berisha told a rally in Tirana on 23 November that
the referendum is invalid because, he claimed, only 38
percent of the electorate cast their ballots. He also
urged "freedom fighters" to defy the Socialist-led
government. Berisha said: "Let's get rid of the filthy
animals. Whoever wants to violate our votes will have to
pass over our bodies." Berisha often uses fiery rhetoric
that his opponents say amounts to an incitement to
violence. For the first time, speakers and demonstrators
openly called for OSCE Ambassador to Albania Daan Everts
to leave the country, dpa reported. Everts received an
anonymous death threat shortly before the referendum. PM

UCK FREES SERBIAN POLICEMAN. Fighters belonging to the
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) freed a Serbian police
officer near Podujeva on 24 November. He told reporters
that the guerrillas "did not harass me. Probably they
had mixed me up with someone else.... I want to go home
as soon as possible. The war is no good for anyone and
it has to stop," he added. U.S. diplomat Shaun Byrnes
and UCK spokesman Adem Demaci helped arrange the
officer's release, AP reported. On 18 November, the UCK
captured the policeman and two ethnic Albanian
civilians, whom the guerrillas regard as pro-Serbian
collaborators. It is unclear what happened to the two
civilians. PM

KOSOVARS CHARGE BELGRADE WITH 'WASTING TIME.' Ethnic
Albanian spokesmen said in Prishtina on 23 November that
recent Serbian proposals on the political future of
Kosova amount to a rejection of the U.S. draft on the
subject and are an "exercise aimed at wasting time" (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 23 November 1998). In the federal
Yugoslav capital, a spokesman for U.S. envoy Chris Hill
said that Hill's talks with Serbian President Milan
Milutinovic are part of a "process" aimed at securing a
settlement before spring, when fighting is widely
expected to resume. The Kosovars want at the very least
broad autonomy on a provincial level as a prelude to a
referendum on independence in two to three years' time.
The Serbs seek to dilute potential ethnic Albanian
political power by stressing autonomy on a local level
and ensuring an equal voice for all the province's
ethnic groups as part of a permanent settlement. PM

MONTENEGRINS SAY MILOSEVIC RESPONSIBLE FOR 'CRISIS.'
Predrag Popovic and Rifat Rastoder, who are deputy
speakers of the Montenegrin parliament, told visiting
representatives of European local governments in
Podgorica on 23 November that the "regime of [Yugoslav
President] Slobodan Milosevic bears sole responsibility
for the crisis in relations" between Montenegro and
Serbia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 November 1998). The
two legislators added that Milosevic is blocking the
functioning of federal bodies in response to the ongoing
process of democratization and decentralization in
Montenegro, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

GREECE, CROATIA AGREE ON ADRIATIC ROAD. Greek Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos told his Croatian
counterpart Mate Granic in Athens on 24 November that a
proposed Adriatic highway "is a project of immense
importance for Greece. We are making efforts to include
it in trans-European networks." Another unnamed Greek
official said that Athens will seek EU funding for the
project, Reuters reported. The road would link Greece,
Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and
Italy and facilitate travel and shipping. The previous
day, President Franjo Tudjman told his Greek hosts that
"Croatian culture and history are based on those of
Greece, not only on Greek classical civilization but
also on the struggle of the Greek people in the last
century for freedom," "Jutarnji list" reported. PM

CROATIAN OPPOSITION URGES 'CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.' Liberal
Party leader Vlado Gotovac, in his capacity as spokesman
for a coalition of six opposition parties, said in
Zagreb on 23 November that Croats should respond with
"civil disobedience" when confronted with "activities
incompatible with morality" at their work place. His
remarks come several weeks after two bank clerks
revealed that Tudjman's wife has several hundred
thousand dollars in undeclared accounts. Gotovac added
that the opposition expresses solidarity with
journalists who seek to carry out their professional
responsibilities but are hindered by the government and
ruling party from doing so, "Vjesnik" reported. PM

CROATIA NOT TO ATTEND NATO EXERCISES. A spokesman for
the Foreign Ministry told the Hina news agency in Zagreb
on 23 November that Croatian representatives will not
accept Slovenia's invitation to observe NATO maneuvers
in Slovenia on 25 November. The spokesman said that
Croatia thanks Slovenia for the invitation but finds the
date "not appropriate." Observers suggested that Zagreb
had wanted a formal invitation from the Atlantic
alliance to attend the entire exercise and not just a
one-day segment that is also open to the public. PM

COOK SAYS SLOVENIA GOOD PROSPECT FOR NATO, EU. British
Foreign Minister Robin Cook said in Ljubljana on 23
November that "Slovenia is entitled to its place in the
front row of countries that are looking at the European
Union." He added that recent EU criticism of Slovenia
was "aimed at helping [it] find solutions" to several
problems. Cook also said that "Slovenia must be invited"
if NATO decides at its 50th anniversary conference in
Washington in 1999 to ask countries to participate in a
second round of eastward expansion. The minister added
that he is "sorry" that Ljubljana was not included in
the first round. PM

MOLDOVA SEEKS HELP TO FILL ENERGY VOID. Deputy Prime
Minister Valentin Dolganiuc flew to Bucharest on 23
November in an effort to secure emergency electricity
supplies for his country, Reuters reported. Dolganiuc is
reported to be offering Romania shares in companies soon
to be privatized in exchange for electricity. Moldova
produces less than one-third of the electricity it needs
and relies on Ukraine, Russia, and Romania for the rest.
Rompres reported that Ukraine recently reduced its
energy supplies to Moldova by some 50 percent. As a
result, residents of Chisinau are experiencing brownouts
for much of the day. PB

BULGARIAN PREMIER SAYS CORE REFORMS TO BE COMPLETED
SOON. Ivan Kostov said that the main elements of the
government's reform plan will be completed by July 1999,
BTA reported on 22 November. Kostov said on state radio
that reforms in the tax, administration, and social
service spheres will be completed by that date. He added
that the liquidation of insolvent companies should be
completed by that time as well. The following day, the
government began liquidating a debt-ridden mine in the
southeastern town of Zlatograd, where workers have been
striking in an effort to gain a pay raise (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 20 November 1998). PB

BULGARIA BANS YUGOSLAV AIRLINE FLIGHTS. The Bulgarian
government has joined an EU ban on Yugoslav airlines,
BTA reported. Transport Minister Wilhelm Kraus said the
move is in line with Sofia's obligations as an associate
member country of the EU. It is unclear when the ban
will begin. In other news, Standard & Poor's gave
Bulgaria a B+ credit rating, the Finance Ministry
reported. The agency said the improved macroeconomic and
financial stability of Bulgaria are the reasons for the
positive rating. PB

END NOTE

BEREZOVSKII AS MR. FIX-IT

by Liz Fuller

	CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii recently
unveiled his blueprint for reversing "seven years of
disintegration" and breathing new life into the moribund
Commonwealth of Independent States. The blueprint offers
a framework for mutually beneficial economic cooperation
among CIS members. Somewhat inauspiciously, perhaps, it
was published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on Friday, 13
November.
	Over the past 10 days, Berezovskii has been touring
the CIS states in an attempt to persuade their
presidents to endorse his plan. To date, the presidents
of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia,
Armenia, and Tajikistan have expressed cautious support,
while their Azerbaijani and Turkmen counterparts have
proven more skeptical. A discussion of Berezovskii's
proposals is on the agenda for the CIS summit scheduled
for 11-12 December, Russian President Boris Yeltsin's
health permitting.
	Berezovskii was appointed executive secretary of
the CIS in April 1998, when strains within the
commonwealth had reached such magnitude that many
observers were predicting its imminent demise. Those
tensions derived partly from the CIS's failure to
preserve a single, viable economic space composed of the
former Soviet republics and partly from President
Yeltsin's warning at the March 1997 CIS summit that
Russia is prepared to resort to subversion and sabotage
to weaken the Soviet successor states and keep them
within its sphere of influence.
	In the "Nezavisimaya gazeta" article, Berezovskii
expresses concern that widespread disenchantment with
the CIS could evolve into anti-Russian sentiment within
the non-Russian successor states and give rise to
centrifugal tendencies within Russia itself. Berezovskii
emphasizes that resurrecting the USSR is impossible,
given that the union was geared toward a planned, not a
market economy. At the same time, he argues that
voluntary economic integration is in the interest of all
CIS states, since it would expedite their integration
into the global economy. But given that the primary
reason for the demise of the USSR was the failure of its
Communist Party to address the grievances of the non-
Russian republics, any attempt to rebuild the political
foundations of the CIS should be undertaken with extreme
caution so as not to impinge on the desire of newly
independent states to protect their sovereignty and
independence, Berezovskii comments.
	As the first step toward reversing centrifugal
economic trends, Berezovskii proposes creating one or
several CIS free trade zones. (Among the hundreds of CIS
agreements signed but not implemented over the past
seven years is one, signed in April 1994, on setting up
such a zone. That accord, however, fails to provide
either clear guidelines or a timetable for doing so.)
The Special CIS Inter-State Forum, created after the CIS
Chisinau summit in October 1997, also considered the
possibility of free trade zones. It used the April 1994
agreement as a springboard but failed to make
recommendations on fundamental issues, including whether
such zones should encompass only the movement of goods
or also the service sector.
	In this context, Berezovskii warns that "palliative
measures" are dangerous. A flawed blueprint for economic
integration might temporarily create the illusion that
the CIS is functioning effectively as an economic
organization, but the inevitable disillusionment when
that proved not to be the case would be so profound as
to pose a real threat to the Commonwealth's survival.
	Berezovskii distinguishes two approaches to
economic integration: the "soft" approach, as epitomized
by the European Free Trade Association (created by
countries that did not meet the criteria for entry into
the EU), and the "hard" approach, as exemplified by the
EU, in which economic integration paves the way for the
creation of supranational structures, both economic and
political. (One CIS proponent of the "hard" approach is
the Kazakh economist Nigmatzhan Isingarin, who recently
included in a list of "urgent priorities" for CIS
integration the "gradual coordination [sblizhenie] of
foreign policy positions.")
	Berezovskii considers the "soft" approach more
appropriate for the CIS and proposes a CIS free trade
zone as a first step in that direction. But he also
predicts that the "soft" approach may acquire a momentum
of its own: reversing the decline in intra-CIS trade
would serve as the incentive for a CIS Customs Union,
which, in turn, would engender moves to coordinate
monetary policy and create a single market. Thus the
"soft" approach may eventually lead to its members'
accepting the "hard" approach. In this context,
Berezovskii cites the fusion of the European Free Trade
Association into the European Community. The (possibly
fatal) difference between the EU and Berezovskii's
blueprint is, of course, that the EU was not built from
the remnants of a former empire.
	Moreover, Berezovskii's envisaged transition from a
"soft" to a "hard" approach toward economic integration
may cause an acute allergic reaction among those non-
Russians who are inclined to see ulterior neo-
imperialist motives behind any Russian advocacy of
supra-national structures, thus jeopardizing the free
trade zone from the outset. Berezovskii himself concedes
that "introducing supra-national elements into the CIS
at the present stage would not correspond to the
strategic interests of its members." But he adds that
"without a certain degree of coordination, it will be
impossible to proceed further than creating a free trade
zone."
	Berezovskii's success in selling his blueprint to
the skeptics among the CIS presidents will depend on his
ability to persuade them that the document is not
intended ultimately to undermine their sovereignty and
that the momentum can be halted before economic
integration expands into the political sphere.

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