If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery. - Michael Harrington
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 3, Part II, 6 January 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 3, Part II, 6 January 1999

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

* KLAUS WANTS DIALOGUE WITH HAVEL

* VIOLENCE BREAKS OUT IN PRISHTINA

* ABDIC BALKS AT MOVE TO TRY HIM FOR WAR CRIMES
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

INFLATION IN UKRAINE REACHED 20 PERCENT LAST YEAR.
Presidential aide Valeriy Lytvytskyy said on 5 January
that inflation in Ukraine reached 20 percent last year,
AP reported. Inflation in September was 3.8 percent and
rose to 6.8 percent in October in the wake of Russia's
financial crisis, sinking to 3 percent in November and
3.3 percent in December. The previous year, inflation
stood at 10 percent. Lytvytskyy commented that the 20
percent inflation rate in 1998 was "a relatively
acceptable price to pay for the regional crisis,
considering its depth and comparing Ukraine's inflation
figure to those of neighboring countries." JM

UKRAINIAN SECURITY SERVICE SAYS 12 SPIES CAUGHT IN 1998.
The Security Service reported on 5 January that last
year it caught 12 agents from foreign intelligence
services and thwarted 14 attempts to pass sensitive data
to foreign diplomats. It added that a total of 19
foreigners were expelled from Ukraine in 1998 for their
involvement in espionage. JM

PROTESTING REPAIRMEN SHUT OFF ELEVATORS IN SEVASTOPOL.
Workers of a company maintaining and repairing elevators
in Sevastopol have closed down all elevators in the
city, except those serving hospitals, to protest unpaid
wages, AP reported on 5 January. The protesters say the
repairmen are owed more than 300,000 hryvni ($87,500) in
back wages and have not been paid for more than seven
months. JM

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION NEWSPAPER'S CHIEF EDITOR SACKED.
Ihar Hermyanchuk, chief editor of Belarus's main
opposition newspaper "Naviny," was dismissed on 4
January, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported the next day.
Pavel Zhuk, the founder of the newspaper, who decided on
Hermyanchuk's ouster, told RFE/RL that "the newspaper
should be changed" but gave no details. Since 1991,
Hermyanchuk has been chief editor of the opposition
newspaper "Svaboda," which was banned by the authorities
in late 1997 and resumed its publication under the name
of "Naviny" early last year. Hermyanchuk told RFE/RL
that this spring, he intends to launch an information
and analytical weekly, "something like Moscow 'Itogi,'
which has so far had no analogs in Belarus." JM

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES RAILWAYS PRIVATIZATION. The
cabinet on 5 January approved the principles of the
concession agreement for privatizing Estonia's railways
network, ETA reported. Under that agreement, the highest
bidder for the railways will sign a deal on improving
the sector's infrastructure. It is estimated that an
initial investment of 5.9 billion kroons (some $454
million) is needed to improve tracks and to update
signal equipment. Economy minister Jaak Leimann said
that by the end of the month a tender for the railways
may be announced. JC

IVANGOROD EMPTYING SEWAGE INTO NARVA RIVER. BNS reported
on 5 January that Ivangorod has been releasing some
1,700 cubic meters of sewage into the Narva River since
the Estonian water company Narva Vesi stopped treating
its waste water (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 1999).
An Ivangorod official told the news agency that 90
percent of the sewage is domestic and some 10 percent
industrial waste. He added that industrial production in
Ivangorod has declined considerably and thus no heavy
metals waste is among the sewage. Ivangorod's sewage
outlet is some 6 kilometers from the Gulf of Finland.
Estonian environmental experts say that Ivangorod's
untreated waste spells catastrophe neither for the Narva
River nor for the Gulf of Finland but may affect their
fauna and flora. JC

FORMER CHIEF OF LATVIAN POLICE DECLINES TO BE
REINSTATED. General Aldis Lieljuksis, who was dismissed
as head of police following the April 1998 bombing of
the Riga synagogue, has declined to return to his former
post following a court ruling that he be reinstated, BNS
reported on 5 January, citing the Interior Ministry. The
ministry said that it has revoked a statement released
on 6 April 1998 giving "tendentious and exaggerated
information about Lieljuksis" and has apologized for the
"moral damage" he sustained as a result of that
statement. Interior Minister Roberts Jurdzs told
journalists that last spring, all the blame for the
bombing of the synagogue had been wrongly placed on one
person, namely Lieljuksis. JC

GIMZAUSKAS FAILS TO SHOW UP FOR TRIAL. Suspected World
War II criminal Kazys Gimzauskas failed to attend the
opening of his trial on 5 January. His lawyer told the
court that the 90-year-old Gimzauskas is seriously ill
and confined to bed, to which the judge responded that
he will resume the trial the next day to decide whether
to call for a medical examination of the defendant.
Gimzauskas is charged with handing over Jews to Nazi
execution squads in his war-time capacity as deputy
Vilnius police chief. His superior at that time, 91-
year-old Aleksandras Lileikis, is also charged with such
crimes. Lileikis's trial has been repeatedly postponed
owing to poor health. JC

GEREMEK SAYS POLAND WILL BE READY FOR EU IN 2002-2003.
Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek told the radio
station RTL on 6 January that Poland will be ready to
join the EU in 2002 or 2003 and wants to sign up for the
single currency, the euro, in 2006. "The problem is
whether the EU will be ready," he added. Geremek said
Poland is "frustrated" that its original EU entry date
of 2000, backed by former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
and French President Jacques Chirac, has been pushed
back. JM

POLISH CABINET REJECTS DEMANDS OF STRIKING ANESTHETISTS.
The government on 5 January said that it cannot meet the
demands of striking anesthetists (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
5 January 1999) because those demands "distort the
essence of the [health care] reform," Reuters reported.
According to the Health Ministry, some 60 percent of the
742 anesthetists who handed in their resignation failed
to show up for work on 5 January. Anesthetists say some
1,500 of the country's 2,700 practicing anesthetists
have resigned. Meanwhile, Polish Radio reported the same
day that anesthetists from the Baltics and Sweden have
begun appearing in Polish hospitals to replace their
protesting Polish colleagues. JM

KLAUS WANTS DIALOGUE WITH HAVEL. In an open letter,
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) Chairman Vaclav Klaus has
called on President Vaclav Havel to meet with him to
discuss the Czech Republic's "serious social and
economic problems," CTK and AP reported on 5 January.
Klaus said that "a dialogue...must replace monologues"
and that Havel must help reach consensus. He also
expressed the hope that the "walls" about which Havel
spoke in his New Year speech "will be destroyed this
year" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 1999).
Presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek said Havel "has
never been opposed to a dialogue," adding that the
president has "repeatedly emphasized that political
parties and politicians should not put personal
interests and group interests above those of the state
and the citizens." Havel, Spacek said, "welcomes any
effort to reach a consensus and solutions that would
help the country." MS

DUTCH COMPANY DENIES CZECH BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS. A
spokesman for the Dutch KPN company on 5 January denied
that in 1995 KPN bribed Czech politicians from the ODS
and the Civic Democratic Alliance in order to gain a
stake in the privatization of the Czech SPT Telecom
company, CTK reported. In Prague, a group of deputies
from the Social Democratic Party announced they will
propose setting up a special parliamentary commission to
investigate the allegations. The daily "Pravo" commented
on 6 January that the Dutch authorities want to send an
investigation team to Prague to clarify the allegations
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 1999). MS

SLOVAK OPPOSITION LEADER EXPLAINS MECIAR'S EXIT FROM
POLITICS. Augustin Marian Huska, deputy chairman of the
opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS),
said on 5 January that party chairman Vladimir Meciar
has decided to withdraw from politics in order to
undermine the only tie that binds the parties of the
ruling coalition, CTK reported. Huska said that only
"anti-Meciarism" is uniting these parties, whose
political programs otherwise differ widely, and "we
really do not want to help them put this conglomerate
together." Meciar last appeared in public at the end of
September 1998, after his electoral defeat. Later, he
said he would not run for president and was planning to
withdraw from politics "at an appropriate date." Huska
also said the most important task facing the HZDS is
that of attracting new members who will realize that the
country must have a strong opposition party. MS

NATO FRONT-RUNNERS PLEDGE SUPPORT FOR SLOVAK MEMBERSHIP.
Deputy defense ministers from the three front-runners
for NATO membership, meeting in Bratislava on 5 January,
pledged to help Slovakia join the alliance, Reuters and
CTK reported. Slovak Ministry of Defense State Secretary
Jozef Pivarci told journalists that, "Our colleagues
from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland told us,
'If you do not come to NATO, we will bring NATO to
you.'" MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

VIOLENCE BREAKS OUT IN PRISHTINA. Unknown persons tossed
a hand grenade at a Serbian café in central Prishtina on
5 January. Angry Serbs then attacked nearby Albanian
cafes with rocks and broken glass. Three Serbs and four
Kosovars were injured. Until now, the Kosovar capital
had remained largely unaffected by the previous 10
months of violence. Meanwhile in the Rahovec area, south
of Prishtina, international monitors began an
investigation of a purported mass grave of Kosovars
killed in August by Serbian security forces. PM

NATO COMMANDER BLAMES SERBS FOR KOSOVA CRISIS. General
Wesley Clark, who is the supreme allied commander in
Europe, told the "International Herald Tribune" of 6
January in a telephone interview from Paris that
Belgrade's termination of Kosova's autonomy in 1989
"plunged [Kosova] into a cycle of repression, [which led
to Kosovar] resistance andŠvastly excessive reaction" by
Serbian forces. He stressed that the Kosovars "have to
continue to struggle because they can't risk another
catastrophe of falling under political repression from
Belgrade." The Serbian authorities, Clark added, "are
violating their commitments to NATO" under the October
agreement between Belgrade and the Atlantic alliance. He
noted that the Serbs have broken their promises by
deploying additional troops and giving heavy weapons to
the paramilitary police. Clark told his French hosts
that he disagrees with Defense Minister Alain Richard,
who recently blamed the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) for
the continuing crisis (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January
1999). PM

UCK WARNS THAT 'TIME IS RUNNING OUT.' Adem Demaci, who
is the UCK's chief political spokesman, said in Tirana
on 5 January that the Serbs "should realize that this is
the last moment for them to lay down their arms, give up
their terror and killings, and join the civilized
world." He said of his talks with President Rexhep
Meidani, Prime Minister Pandeli Majko and Foreign
Minister Paskal Milo that "we understood each other very
well" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 1999). Demaci
appealed to Albanian politicians to end their squabbles
because "a strong, stable Albania is a great source of
support for [ethnic] Albanians in Kosova," dpa quoted
him as saying. Demaci and Milo agreed on the need for
regular contacts between Tirana and the UCK. Demaci's
visit was the first in which a leader of the UCK was
officially received by the top Albanian political
figures, who favor a negotiated solution to the crisis.
PM

HILL RESUMES DIPLOMATIC MISSION. Christopher Hill, who
is Washington's chief negotiator in the Kosova crisis,
resumed his shuttle diplomacy on 5 January by meeting
with shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova in Prishtina.
Hill said that he came "to review the situation,"
including the "serious deterioration on the ground." He
stressed that "we need to make sure that the cease-fire
holds. The cease-fire is critical to getting a political
settlement." Jacques Huntzinger, who is France's chief
envoy in the crisis, has taken on an increasingly active
role in recent weeks, which led some observers to
suggest that Paris would like to replace Washington as
the key sponsor of a negotiated settlement (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 5 January 1999). PM

GLIGOROV STALLS ON AMNESTY. Macedonian President Kiro
Gligorov on 5 January returned to the parliament a
proposed amnesty law that would end the jail terms of
some 800 people found guilty of violating the 1997 law
on the public display of national symbols (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 30 December 1998). Most of the 800 are ethnic
Albanians. It is unclear what changes Gligorov would
like to be made. Some observers suggested that he may be
testing the political determination of the new
government of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, which
sponsored the amnesty in order to defuse ethnic tensions
and concentrate its energies on the economy. The VOA's
Albanian Service reported that Georgievski may push
through the amnesty without Gligorov's signature if the
prime minister feels that the president is deliberately
obstructing the measure. PM/FS

OSCE BACKS DODIK. U.S. diplomat Robert Berry, who heads
the OSCE's mission in Bosnia, said in Banja Luka on 5
January that "on behalf of the international community,
we continue to support the [bid] of Milorad Dodik [to
remain the Republika Srpska's] prime minister." Berry's
visit to Dodik came in the wake of hard-line President
Nikola Poplasen's nomination of Brane Miljus to succeed
Dodik (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 January 1999).
Elsewhere, Miljus told Belgrade's Radio B-92 that Dodik
should be jailed for his business activities during the
1992-1995 war and that former President Biljana Plavsic
should be tried for war crimes. Spokesmen for the
international community have repeatedly said that the
Republika Srpska will continue to receive reconstruction
and other aid only if the Bosnian Serbs choose a
moderate government. Poplasen defeated the moderate
Plavsic for the presidency in the 1998 elections. PM

ABDIC BALKS AT MOVE TO TRY HIM FOR WAR CRIMES. Fikret
Abdic, the former kingpin of the Bihac pocket in
northwestern Bosnia, told journalists in several
telephone interviews from Rijeka on 5 January that the
Bosnian government's recent moves to have him extradited
from Croatia for war crimes are politically motivated
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 January 1999). Abdic charged
that Sarajevo Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic wants "to
see me deadŠ[or] at least in jail" lest Abdic defeat
Izetbegovic's allies in a future electoral contest to
succeed the elderly Izetbegovic. In the 1998 elections
for the Muslim seat on the joint presidency, Abdic won
36,000 votes, compared with Izetbegovic's 511,000, AP
noted. Abdic's popularity is largely limited to the
northwest, where many regard him as a champion of local
interests. His detractors consider him a crook and a war
criminal. PM

WOULD CROATIA EXTRADITE ABDIC? Spokesmen for the Justice
Ministry said in Zagreb on 5 January that the
authorities have not received a formal request from
Sarajevo for Abdic's extradition, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. The spokesmen added that the
constitution prohibits the extradition of Croatian
citizens. This could prove the deciding factor in
Abdic's case, since he holds Croatian as well as Bosnian
citizenship. The Croatian independent media have
repeatedly suggested that Zagreb may be "holding Abdic
in reserve" for a possible role in an unspecified future
partition of Bosnia. PM

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION SIDES WITH STRIKING MINERS. Former
President and Party of Social Democracy in Romania
Chairman Ion Iliescu has said the Jiu Valley striking
miners' demands are "justified" and the causes of the
labor conflict are "more complex" than presented by the
government. He called on President Emil Constantinescu
to mediate the conflict, adding that the miners' planned
visit to Bucharest to stage a protest is "no solution."
Greater Romania Party Chairman Corneliu Vadim Tudor
called on the population to organize a general strike to
end "Constantinescu's anti-popular and anti-national
regime." He added that the parliament must meet in an
extraordinary session to debate the strike. Valeriu
Tabara, chairman of the Party of Romanian National
Unity, said his party is backing the miners' demands,
"except some exaggerated ones," RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. MS

ROMANIAN RULING PARTY APPOINTS NEW OFFICIALS. The
leadership of the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic, meeting in Bucharest on 5 January, appointed
Constantin Dudu Ionescu as acting secretary-general of
the party and Remus Opris as its acting spokesman. Both
positions were held by Premier Radu Vasile until his
appointment as head of government. Ionescu and Opris are
to fill the posts during Vasile's tenure as premier,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

ROMANIA INTRODUCES MANDATORY HOLOCAUST STUDIES. History
textbooks are to be revised to correct "errors and
omissions" on the inter-war and communist period, a
spokesman for the Ministry of Education announced on 5
January. Particular attention will be paid to the "apex
of modern world barbarity," the Holocaust. The ministry
will cooperate with specialists on the Holocaust from
Israel and other countries in revising the textbooks. MS

MOLDOVA THREATENS TO LEAVE CIS INTER-PARLIAMENTARY
ASSEMBLY. Moldovan parliamentary chairman Dumitru
Diacov, in a letter to Russian State Duma chairman
Gennadii Seleznev, said Moldova will be "forced to
examine the possibility of taking adequate measures,
including quitting the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly"
if the Duma does not strike from its agenda a planned
debate on recognizing the Transdniester as an
independent state, BASA-press reported on 5 January.
Diacov said that the separatist region is an
"indivisible part of the Republic of Moldova" and that
the "whole international community" acknowledges this.
He added that "some forces in the Russian Federation"
play "a negative role" in seeking to "exploit the
Transdniester problem for purposes that have nothing in
common with the fundamental interests of our [two]
peoples." MS

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