Miracles are natural. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong. - A Course in Miracles
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 17, Part II, 26 January 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 17, Part II, 26 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* POLISH POLICE CLASH WITH PROTESTING FARMERS

* FIVE MORE BODIES FOUND IN KOSOVA

* ANOTHER ROMANIAN OFFICIAL RESIGNS IN WAKE OF MINERS'
STRIKE

End Note: PEACE OR TRUCE IN ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT'S
CONFLICT WITH MINERS?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE STARTS REPAYING DEBT TO GAZPROM. Gazprom
Executive Board Chairman Igor Bakai told journalists on
25 January that Ukraine has begun repaying its gas debt
to Russia, Interfax reported. Bakai said that last
month, Ukraine paid $7 million in cash to Gazprom and
shipped $28 million worth of commodities in payment for
gas supplies. Ukraine's state-run and private companies
owe Gazprom some $1 billion for last year's gas
supplies. JM

GERMAN FIRMS TO JOIN UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN MILITARY CARGO
PLANE PROJECT. Seven German firms, including BMW-Rolls
Royce and Fairchild Dornie, have agreed to join a
Ukrainian-Russian project to construct a military cargo
plane based on the Ukrainian-Russian An-70 aircraft,
Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported on 25 January. Eight
European countries are planning to announce an
international tender on 29 January to choose a new cargo
plane for their military forces. German firms decided to
join the Ukrainian-Russian bid, which is an updated
version of the military cargo plane constructed by the
Ukrainian-Russian venture. The new plane is adjusted to
NATO standards and can carry cargoes up to 35 tons for a
distance of 3,800 kilometers at a speed of 750
kilometers per hour. JM

OSCE CRITICIZES BELARUS'S LOCAL ELECTION LAW. The OSCE
consultative and monitoring group in Minsk has
negatively assessed the local election law, RFE/RL's
Belarusian Service reported on 25 January. The group
said the law "cannot secure a free and fair election
process" because it does not provide for the "free
nomination" of candidates, prohibits those convicted of
minor administrative offenses from running in the
elections, and does not foresee election observers
during early voting. Moreover, the OSCE believes that
the Central Electoral Commission is not pluralistic and
that the current situation in Belarus does not guarantee
free access to the media. The law contravenes not only
OSCE standards but also Belarus's 1996 "working
constitution," according to the OSCE. Local elections
are due in Belarus on 4 April. JM

BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN INTEGRATION 'LOCOMOTIVE' DISABLED. At
its Minsk session last week, the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Belarusian-Russian Union omitted to include in
the union's budget the joint project of the Minsk
Automotive Plant and the Yaroslavl Motor Plant, RFE/RL's
Belarusian Service reported on 25 January. Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his Russian
counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, earlier called the Minsk-
Yaroslavl project the "locomotive of economic
cooperation" between the two countries. According to an
RFE/RL correspondent, the approved union budget draft
has disappointed Belarusian deputies. Council of the
Republic Chairman Pavel Shypuk called it a "conglomerate
of random items." Budget expenditures amount to 586
million Russian rubles ($26 million). Russia is to
contribute 65 percent and Belarus 35 percent. JM

BELARUS'S GDP GREW 8 PERCENT IN 1998. Belarusian Prime
Minister Syarhey Linh said on 25 January that last year
Belarus's GDP increased by 8 percent, compared with
1997, Interfax reported. Industrial output grew by 11
percent, he added. He also said that "Belarus has
sufficient stocks of food and hydrocarbons for the
winter." Linh admitted that inflation in 1998 exceeded
the projected level by 400 percent. He promised that the
cabinet "will sort out last year's ambiguous results."
JM

ESTONIAN MILITARY CHIEF SAYS MOSCOW NOT A THREAT...
Speaking at the start of a three-day visit to Moscow,
Estonian armed forces head Johannes Kert said that
Russia and its armed forces are not perceived as a
threat by Tallinn because relations between the two
countries have "normalized," ETA and ITAR-TASS reported.
At the same time, Kert stressed that Estonia seeks full
membership in NATO and does not see "any danger for
anyone" in the alliance's expansion. Kert met with his
Russian counterpart and deputy defense minister,
Anatolii Kvashnin, and Russian Defense Minister Igor
Sergeev, who commented that Russia and Estonia "are
destined to enter the 21st century as good neighbors."
The last time an Estonian armed forces commander visited
Moscow was in April 1994, when Aleksandr Einseln met
with then Russian chief of staff Mikhail Kolesnikov to
discuss the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia,
according to BNS. JC

...WHILE ESTONIAN PRESIDENT URGES JOINT EFFORTS ON NATO.
Receiving Latvian parliamentary speaker Janis Straume in
Tallinn on 25 January, Lennart Meri said it is important
that the Baltic States make a joint effort at NATO's
Washington summit this spring, BNS reported, citing the
president's spokesperson. The meeting between the two
leaders focused on issues related to NATO enlargement.
Straume expressed the hope that despite a very tight
budget and pressure by "extremist groups in the Latvian
press," Latvia's defense budget for 1999 will remain at
least at 0.9 percent of GDP. Estonia's 1999 budget
foresees defense expenditures at some 1.6 percent of
GDP. JC

LATVIA'S SOCIAL DEMOCRATS READY TO MAKE CONCESSIONS ON
DEFENSE BUDGET. Egils Baldzens, head of the Social
Democrats' parliamentary group, told reporters on 25
January that his party is ready to agree to "increasing
the defense budget" if the government can find the
necessary funds without reducing financing for other
institutions, LETA reported. Also on 25 January,
Baldzens received a draft agreement on cooperation with
Prime Minister Vilis Kristopans's government. Kristopans
stressed the same day that the agreement must be signed
before voting can take place on the candidacy of Social
Democrat Peteris Salkazanovs as agriculture minister. JC

LATVIAN PRESIDENT URGES NATION TO MARK SOLDIERS DAY.
Speaking on Latvian Radio on 25 January, Guntis Ulmanis
urged the nation to mark Latvian Soldiers Day on 16
March to "show respect to Latvians who were killed
during the war," BNS reported. He called on Latvians not
to turn this day into an "ideological war" but to
commemorate those "who will never return." He also said
that any "restrictions or strict orders concerning
participation in ceremonies on that day" would be
"incorrect." Later this week, Ulmanis is to meet with
representatives of various army organizations. Also on
25 January, Premier Kristopans told journalists that the
government has planned no special ceremonies for 16
March, which he described as only one of the many
commemorative days declared by the state. Last year, a
march by veterans of the Latvian SS Legion provoked a
heated debate in Latvia and strong criticism from Moscow
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 March 1998). JC

ADAMKUS SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL LAW ON PARTY FUNDING.
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus on 21 January signed
the law on funding political parties, which provoked a
heated debate following its passage last week, BNS
reported on 25 January. The presidential spokeswoman
said the signing follows an agreement with
representatives of parliamentary parties whereby they
will receive no state funds this year until all
amendments related to parties' funding have been
drafted. Under the law, political parties and
organizations that have at least 3 percent backing in
parliamentary and local elections will be granted state
funding. The total amount of such funding cannot exceed
0.1 percent of budget expenditures, which this year
would amount to some 7 million litas ($1.75 million). JC

POLISH POLICE CLASH WITH PROTESTING FARMERS. Some 4,000
farmers blocked roads at 90 locations throughout Poland
on 25 January to protest cheap food imports and the
government's inability to improve the situation in
agriculture, according to Polish media, citing police
reports. Severe clashes occurred at Lubliniec, in
Silesia Province, where police used water cannons and
tear gas to break up the road block but were forced to
retreat under jets of liquid manure fired by the
farmers. Injuries were reported at Nowy Dwor Gdanski, in
Pomeranian Province, where farmers threw gasoline bombs
at the police with water cannons. Andrzej Lepper, leader
of the radical Self-Defense farmers' trade union, said
he will "call upon peasants to stir up a rebellion," and
he demanded a meeting with the premier. "Mr. Lepper is
facing a meeting with the prosecutor-general, not with
the prime minister," a government spokesman responded.
JM

POLISH HEALTH WORKERS THREATEN NATIONWIDE PROTEST. The
Federation of Health Care Trade Unions, which represents
some 150,000 doctors and medical workers, threatened on
25 January to launch a nationwide strike unless the
government meets its demands, PAP reported. The
federation wants the government to increase health
insurance contributions from 7.5 percent to 11 percent
of wages and to offer a social security program for
laid-off medical workers. The federation gave no
deadline for the government's response. Meanwhile, the
government is seeking to resolve the ongoing
anesthetists' strike as well as a protest by nurses and
midwives, who are demanding their wages be increased to
one-and-a-half times the national average. JM

POLAND, CANADA PLEDGE SUPPORT TO UKRAINE. Visiting
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien praised Poland for
its political and economic reforms, adding that the
country can serve as a "bridge between the EU and the
rest of Europe," AP reported on 25 January. Chretien
joined Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek in calling for
both countries to help Ukraine pursue reform. "Once you
show trust in Ukraine, market reforms and democratic
reforms will be moving forward quite quickly," Buzek
said. Chretien admitted that "two middle powers like
Poland and Canada" can combine efforts to assist
Ukraine's development. JM

CZECH 'OPPOSITION AGREEMENT' TO BE RENEWED? Czech
Premier Milos Zeman said on 24 January that he favors
prolonging the opposition agreement with Vaclav Klaus's
Civic Democratic Party (ODS), CTK reported. Zeman,
speaking on TV Nova, said he envisages an agreement
whereby the ODS would also support legislation initiated
by his Social Democratic party. Klaus responded that he
is willing to listen to Zeman about an extension but
will never consider an agreement in which the ODS was
required to support "government policy and socialist
proposals." Freedom Union chairman Jan Ruml said he
believes the Socialists and the ODS will either form a
coalition or abrogate the opposition agreement that
allows the Socialist minority to hold power. A poll
released on 25 January showed that 41 percent are
against the opposition agreement. Some 15 percent
supported it, and 16 percent said it is the best
solution currently available. PB

AMBASSADOR SAYS CZECHS MUST ACCELERATE REFORMS TO ENTER
NATO. John Shattuck, the U.S. ambassador to Prague, said
on 25 January that the Czech government must speed up
reforms that are necessary to join NATO, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported. Shattuck said the government
must quickly pass defense reform legislation drafted in
1997. He added that the country's commitment to NATO
will not be complete unless it fully protects the rights
of minorities. In other news, a poll taken in early
January showed that confidence in President Vaclav Havel
has fallen to 46 percent, the first time it has slipped
below 50 percent. PB

REPORT ON SLOVAK INTERIOR MINISTRY MADE PUBLIC. Interior
Minister Ladislav Pittner said on 25 January that the
Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) had influence over the
Interior Ministry under former Prime Minister Vladimir
Meciar, TASR reported. Presenting a "black paper" on the
state of the Interior Ministry under Meciar, Pittner
said the SIS's sway on the ministry led to the
postponement of some investigations and the unfair
dismissal of some detectives. Pittner said the SIS was
particularly influential within the investigative and
the criminal police sections of the ministry. The report
did not directly accuse the SIS of involvement in the
abduction of Michal Kovac Jr., the son of former
President Michal Kovac, or in the murder of Robert
Remias, a key witness in the case. PB

FISCHER IMPRESSED BY NEW SLOVAK GOVERNMENT. Leni
Fischer, the chairwoman of the Council of Europe's
Parliamentary Assembly, said on 25 January that she is
pleased by the "first steps" taken by the Slovak
government, TASR reported. Fischer said, however, that
Council of Europe deputies "cannot be satisfied" with
these initial actions and that time is needed to
stabilize the situation in Slovakia. In other news, a
delegation of Slovak politicians and military officers
began a five-day working visit to the U.S. Defense
Ministry headquarters at the Pentagon. The group is led
by Defense and Security Committee Chairman Vladimir
Palko. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FIVE MORE BODIES FOUND IN KOSOVA. OSCE monitors on 25
January found the bullet-ridden bodies of five ethnic
Albanians--a married couple and a father and his two
sons--on a tractor near Rakovina, on the Gjakova-Klina
road. All five were wearing civilian clothes. The faces
of the father and his two sons, who were aged 10 and 12,
were "disfigured," AP reported. Monitors said that all
five were shot at close range. Kosovar spokesmen said
that the five were victims of Serbian security forces.
Serbian officials argued that the killings took place in
an area that is firmly under the control of the Kosova
Liberation Army (UCK). Observers noted that the murders
are likely to further complicate efforts by the
international community directed at finding an interim
political solution (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January
1999). Meanwhile in Prishtina, U.S. special envoy Chris
Hill discussed possible political formulas with shadow-
state President Ibrahim Rugova. PM

NATO READY TO ACT... General Klaus Naumann, the head of
NATO's military committee, told Germany's ZDF television
on 26 January that the Atlantic alliance has completed
its military preparations for possible intervention in
the Kosova crisis. He stressed that both sides must
understand that NATO's patience with the continued
violence has reached its limits and that the alliance
will launch "military action" if the violence continues.
In Moenchengladbach, a spokesman for the U.K.'s Royal
Air Force said that four Harrier vertical take-off
planes have flown from their air base in Germany to one
in southern Italy in conjunction with NATO preparations
for possible air strikes in the Balkans. PM

...AGAINST EITHER SIDE. Officials of the Atlantic
alliance agreed in Brussels on 25 January that NATO
"cannot put physical pressure on one side [the Serbs]
and just rhetorical pressure on the other [the UCK]," AP
quoted an unnamed alliance official as saying. Reuters
quoted another official as noting that NATO is "looking
at various possible ways of restraining" the UCK. He did
not provide details but added that "we certainly want to
do something to clearly demonstrate that we recognize
that the problem is not uniquely on one side." The
official also noted that the alliance seeks "to work as
long and as far as possible with the Russians on this."
Unnamed Western diplomats said in London on 26 January
that NATO ground troops will occupy ports and airports
in Albania to stem the flow of weapons to the UCK if the
guerrillas do not support peace efforts. NATO ground
troops will be sent to Kosova to guarantee any agreement
on autonomy, the diplomats added. PM

EU SEEKS 'POLITICAL PLAN.' EU foreign ministers decided
in Brussels on 25 January to increase diplomatic
pressure on Belgrade, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung" reported. The ministers demanded that Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic work with Kosovar leaders
to find a political settlement for the troubled province
and that he enable the OSCE monitors to carry out their
duties unhindered. The ministers also called on
Milosevic to allow the Hague tribunal's Chief Prosecutor
Louise Arbour to investigate the recent massacre at
Recak and to bring to justice those responsible for the
killings. The ministers recommended that the EU tighten
economic sanctions if Milosevic does not comply.
Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jacques Poos said that
possible NATO "military action needs a political plan,
and it's up to the EU together with others to find the
political plan." British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
said that the compromise plan will offer the Kosovars
autonomy and the Serbs an opportunity to end
international isolation. PM

CONTACT GROUP TO ISSUE ULTIMATUM? Unnamed Western
diplomats told Reuters in London on 26 January that the
international Contact Group will meet in Paris on 29
January to demand that the Serbs and Kosovars attend
peace talks within 10 days or face NATO military action.
The diplomats added that the U.S., however, wants NATO
to take the lead by issuing a declaration on Kosova
before the meeting of the Contact Group, which includes
Russia. State Department spokesman James Rubin said in
Washington on 25 January that Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright feels that any meeting of foreign
ministers of the Contact Group would require "careful
preparation" and that this week would be "too early" for
such a gathering (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January
1999). PM

KOSOVAR LEGISLATORS IN TIRANA. A delegation of Kosovar
shadow-state legislators met with representatives of the
Albanian parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and with
Foreign Minister Paskal Milo on 25 January. The
delegation is headed by Fehmi Agani, who is a senior
leader of Rugova's Democratic League of Kosova. The
Albanian government regards the visit as a first step
toward coordinating the policies of rival political
groups inside Kosova among themselves and with the
policies of Albania (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 19 January
1999). On 26 January, the legislators are scheduled to
meet with Prime Minister Pandeli Majko and President
Rexhep Meidani, "Albanian Daily News" reported.
Observers have suggested that Agani is also likely to
meet with representatives of the UCK during his visit to
Tirana. FS

U.S. HAILS CROATIAN-MONTENEGRIN AGREEMENT. The State
Department said in a statement on 25 January that the
recent agreement by Croatia and Montenegro to reopen the
border crossings at Debeli Brijeg and Vitaljina
"represents an important confidence-building measure"
and will help restore "economic and cultural ties that
were broken by the disintegration of the former
Yugoslavia." Belgrade has opposed reopening the border,
which has been closed since 1991, except for some brief
openings at the time of religious holidays. PM

CROATIA ARRESTS THREE SERBS FOR WAR CRIMES. Police in
Dalj recently arrested three members of a 20-strong
Serbian paramilitary group that allegedly attacked a
police station and committed crimes against Croatian
civilians during the 1991 war, a police spokesman said
in Zagreb on 25 January. The other members of the group
remain at large. In Sarajevo, a court sentenced a
Bosnian Serb to 13 years in prison for allegedly
torturing Muslim civilians in Pale in 1992. Five of his
victims eventually died from their injuries. PM

MILJUS FAILS TO WIN LEGISLATIVE BACKING. The Bosnian
Serb parliament on 25 January voted 46 to 29 against the
election as prime minister of Brano Miljus, who had been
nominated by nationalist President Nikola Poplasen.
Miljus is the second of Poplasen's candidates to fail to
win sufficient backing of legislators, gaining support
primarily from hard-line Serbs. Muslim, Croatian, and
most moderate Serbian legislators continue to support
incumbent Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, who enjoys the
support of the international community. PM

ITALIAN POLICE CATCH 88 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM
ALBANIA... Italian police detained 88 illegal immigrants
from Albania on 25 January, including three suspected
smugglers, AP reported. The arrests reflect an increase
in smuggling only two days after smugglers forced Vlora
police to return impounded speedboats by kidnapping the
local police chief (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 January
1999). FS

...WHILE ALBANIAN PROSECUTOR PLEDGES ANTI MAFIA LAW.
Senior prosecutor Bujar Himci told "Gazeta Shqiptare" of
23 January that the government is preparing a draft
anti-mafia law in a renewed effort to combat organized
crime. The law will provide for setting up a special
team of anti-mafia prosecutors. The government had
planned to present the draft to the parliament in fall
1998, but legislators were too busy at the time debating
the new draft constitution, "Albanian Daily News"
reported. The draft was approved in a referendum last
November. FS

ANOTHER ROMANIAN OFFICIAL RESIGNS IN WAKE OF MINERS'
STRIKE. General Teodor Zaharia resigned as deputy
interior minister on 25 January as criticism mounted
over the failure of the police to contain striking
miners marching on Bucharest, Reuters reported. Zaharia
said poor communications and bad equipment were to blame
for the failure to halt the miners. Interior Minister
Gavril Dejeu resigned on 21 January and three Interior
Ministry generals were sacked later. President Emil
Constantinescu ordered the Supreme Defense Council,
which is made up of top ministers and security chiefs,
to submit a preliminary report on the crisis by 26
January. Roman Petre, the chairman of the Democratic
Party, said that shortcomings in the social provisions
of the government's reform program are to blame for the
miners' strike. PB

MINERS' LEADER CONFIDENT GOVERNMENT WILL ABIDE BY DEAL.
Miron Cozma, the head of the striking miners, said on 25
January in Petrosani that the strike and protest march
achieved their goals, Radio Timosoara reported. Cozma,
who received a hero's welcome upon returning to the Jiu
Valley, said he believes Premier Radu Vasile will not
break the agreement ending the strike (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 January 1999 and "End Note" below). He
said if the government does not abide by the agreement,
the miners "are ready to start all over again." He said
the violence was a result of the government's refusal to
conduct a dialogue with the miners. PB

BULGARIANS IN MOLDOVA HOLD PROTEST POLL. The Bulgarian
community in Moldova voted in an illegal referendum to
express their opposition to a proposed administrative
reform that they fear will dilute their identity, AP
reported on 24 January. Community leader Chiril
Darmanchev said Bulgarians will lose subsidies for
Bulgarian-language schools under the proposed nationwide
consolidation of counties. Some 48,000 ethnic Bulgarians
live in the Moldovan county of Taraclia, which is to be
incorporated into another county. Bulgarians currently
make up some two-thirds of the county's population but
will constitute just 16 percent in the new entity. PB

BULGARIA LAUNCHES SECOND WAVE OF PRIVATIZATION.
Bulgarians began using vouchers on 25 January to buy
shares in 31 companies included in the country's second
wave of mass privatization, BTA reported. Some 560,000
people with voucher books valued at 250,000 leva ($148)
each are able to participate in the purchase of shares.
The assets of more than 1,000 firms were sold in the
first wave of privatization in 1996-1997. PB

PEACE OR TRUCE IN ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT'S CONFLICT WITH
MINERS?

by Michael Shafir

	In many ways, the agreement reached by Prime
Minister Radu Vasile and the leader of the striking
miners, Miron Cozma, at the Cozia monastery on 22
January is as mysterious as the shrine in the village
where the two sides met. Only the participants in the
discussions seem to have seen the document, which
government sources claim exists "in a single copy." With
no duplicates available, both sides can for the time
being offer their own version of the accord. It is
encouraging that after reaching an agreement, the two
sides prayed together and lit candles. Everything else
about that document, however, is less heartening.
	According to Cozma, the government has agreed to a
10 percent wage hike. He claims the government has
agreed to revoke the planned closure of two loss-making
pits and to channel $200 million to the valley from EU
funds allocated to help Romania cover the social costs
of reform. He also says that a joint commission is to
study ways of canceling over five years all losses of
the state company managing the valley's mines. That
commission is to reach an agreement by 15 February.
	"Not so," Nicole Stoiculescu, deputy industry and
trade minister and a leading participant in the talks
with the miners, told RFE/RL the next day. Wage
increases will paid for by the company, not from the
state budget--an assertion that would make sense if a
profit-making enterprise, rather than one that is
supposed to cut losses, were involved. Furthermore,
while Cozma claims the cabinet has agreed to increase
the amount paid for coal extracted by the company,
Stoiculescu's version of "zero-costs" to the budget
again contradicts Cozma's. And these are not the only
discrepancies. According to Stoiculescu, the closure of
the two loss-making pits has not been revoked; rather,
it has been postponed and is to be discussed by the
joint commission.
	Stoiculescu is clearly not telling the whole truth.
The government concessions must be larger than he
claims, since he admits that the "cost of saved lives"
is smaller than the financial cost forced on the
cabinet. Just what those concessions are, however,
unclear. At least one was, above all, symbolic. Having
refused to meet with Cozma either in Bucharest or in the
Jiu Valley, the premier was finally compelled to do so
in Cozia. This, in itself, speaks volumes about the
cabinet's crisis management: if such a meeting could
have averted the clashes in the valley and at the
village of Costesti, it should have taken place sooner,
rather than later.
	But the cabinet in general and the Ministry of
Interior in particular seemed unaware of either the
miners' strategy or their logistic capability to deal
with the police forces sent to oppose them. The miners
outwitted police officers by using such medieval tactics
as rolling down huge stones from the surrounding hills,
which inexplicably had been ignored by those responsible
for police deployment. In a country where conspiracy
theories are one of the media's favorite past time, this
has led to speculation that the forces of law and order
were "betrayed from within."
	But on this occasion, there seems to have been at
least a grain of truth to such speculation. Deputy
Interior Minister Viorel Oancea confirmed that the
miners appeared to have inside information. Two
officials at the ministry, both with the rank of
general, have been dismissed, and, according to some
press reports, at least one is related to a leader of
the Greater Romania Party. Oancea also noted that some
high-ranking Interior Ministry officials were known to
harbor sympathies for Corneliu Vadim Tudor's party,
which had co-opted Cozma when he was serving a prison
sentence for his role in the miners' descent on
Bucharest in September 1991 and which was the only
political formation that openly incited the miners in
their latest protest action. Interior Minister Gavril
Dejeu had to pay the price for the failings within his
ministry: he tendered his resignation and was replaced
by Constantin Dudu Ionescu on the eve of the Cozia
agreement.
	But does that document constitute a genuine
agreement or merely a truce intended to give both sides
a breathing space? Unless some serious questions are
asked in the Ministry of Interior by 15 February, the
answer to that question may come too late. Furthermore,
if the miners prove to have had the upper hand in the
parleys, other trade unions are likely to be encouraged
to follow their example. The Fratia trade union
confederation, for example, has already announced its
plans to go on strike next month, and the National
Syndicate Bloc has said it may follow suit.
	This is hardly a good omen for the forthcoming
talks with the IMF, which were postponed--apparently at
the government's request--from 25 January to 10
February. Romania's ability to service its foreign debt
is dependent on the results of those talks, and the
government would have to convince the fund that it can
reduce its deficit from 3.6 percent of GDP in 1998 to 2
percent this year. That will be a difficult task, not
only because of the concessions to the miners and other
strata of the population affected by the reform but also
because of the worrying signs that the authority of the
state is about to collapse, as witnessed by the way
police behaved when they came face to face with the
miners.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
               Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc.
                     All rights reserved.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word subscribe as the subject of the message.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with
the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message.

For subscription problems or inquiries, please email
listmanager@list.rferl.org
________________________________________________
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest
are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/
_________________________________________________
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 23 COUNTRIES
RFE/RL programs are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour
LIVE Broadcast Studio.
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html
_________________________________________________
REPRINT POLICY
To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble
via email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 202-457-6992
_________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org
* Bruce Pannier, PannierB@rferl.org
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org

FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS
* Pete Baumgartner, Jolyon Naegele, Fabian Schmidt,
Matyas Szabo, Anthony Wesolowsky

RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
_________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole