We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 30, Part II, 12 February 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 30, Part II, 12 February 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

* EU REJECTS WARSAW CALL FOR END TO SUBSIDIZED EXPORTS

* RAMBOUILLET TALKS TO GO INTO SECOND WEEK

* KOSOVARS BURY RECAK VICTIMS

End Note: COUNTING TROUBLE IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

NATO OFFICIALS EYEING UKRAINIAN TRAINING GROUND.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk gave a NATO
delegation a tour of the Yavorovsky military training
ground near Lvov on 12 February, ITAR-TASS reported. The
delegation is from the alliance's Political Committee
and is studying the use of the complex as a NATO
Partnership for Peace training base. Yavorovsky is 50
kilometers west of Lvov and just 20 miles from the
Polish border. Covering 42,000 hectares, it is
reportedly the largest military training ground in
Europe. A NATO spokesman said the base would be used
strictly for the training of peace-keeping troops. He
added that NATO is also considering sites in Slovenia
and Macedonia. PB

COAL MINERS PROTEST IN UKRAINE. Workers from at least 78
coal mines have protested to demand back wages for
several months, dpa reported on 11 February. Miners
threatened blockades and mass demonstrations in Kyiv if
their demands are not met. Timur Litovchenko, an analyst
for the coal ministry, said "the coffers are empty. What
we could give to the miners, we would have to take away
from teachers and pensioners." The Independent Miners'
Union said the same day that two miners were killed in
Horlivka and Donetsk, bringing the total number of
Ukrainian miners killed this year to 28. PB

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON FASCIST ATTACK... Alyaksandr
Lukashenka issued a threat to fascist groups in Belarus
in the wake of an attack on three opposition members,
Belapan reported on 10 February. Lukashenka said "We
will pull out the legs of all those who walk around
Minsk with the fascist swastika. Fascism will not [be
allowed] in Belarus!" He then criticized reporters for
allegedly supporting the three opposition officials
injured in the attack (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 February
1999). "You should not defend the other fascists. Those
whom you are defending are arrant nationalists...who
reject everything Russian. This is extreme nationalism,"
he argued. PB

...PRAISES INTEGRATION WITH RUSSIA. President Lukashenka
said during a trip to Russia's Komi Republic that
Belarus and Russia need political and economic
integration, Belapan reported on 11 February. Lukashenka
said that "fortunately, some of the Russian politicians,
as well as we [ourselves], had enough...common sense to
try to change the radical situation" that occurred after
the break-up of the Soviet Union. While in Komi's
capital, Syktyvkar, Lukashenka agreed to a barter deal
in which Minsk is to receive 1 million tons of oil in
exchange for household appliances and machine-building
tools. He said both sides will be able to eliminate
barter trade within three years. PB

ESTONIAN LAWMAKERS REJECT 'ONE LIST, ONE CAUCUS.' The
parliament has narrowly rejected a draft amendment that
would have prevented deputies elected on one list from
forming more than one caucus, ETA reported on 11
February. The vote was 50 in favor and two against, but
amendments to house regulations require an absolute
majority (at least 51 votes) to pass. The Center and
Reform Parties had both proposed introducing the
principle of "one list, one caucus." Had the motion
passed, the Moderates and the People's Parties, which
will run on a joint list in the 7 March elections, would
have been unable to set up separate caucuses (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 21 January 1999). JC

LUKOIL PRESIDENT IN TALLINN. Continuing his tour of the
Baltic States to study potential investments in oil
transit projects, Vagit Alekperov met with Estonian
Roads and Communications Minister Raivo Vare in Tallinn
on 11 February to discuss the possible launching of a
shuttle train from Perm to Estonia's ports, ETA
reported. Oil transit through Estonia is dependent on
the railways, and according to the news agency, some 1.2
million tons a year would be transported via the Perm-
Estonia shuttle. Also on 11 February, the Road and
Communications Ministry announced that final results of
the Eesti Telekom tender show that shares were
oversubscribed by 18 times. On the first day of trading
on the Tallinn stock exchange, the value of the shares
increased by one-third, from 85 kroons (some $6.5) to
115 kroons. JC

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT TO DISCUSS 16 MARCH COMMEMORATION.
Prime Minister Vilis Kristopans told Latvian Radio on 11
February that the government will discuss how to
commemorate 16 March, which last summer was officially
declared Latvian Soldiers Day, BNS reported. He referred
to the 16 March as the "day of alien uniforms." The
government said earlier that it will hold no special
ceremony to commemorate the day. Also on 11 February,
Commander of the National Armed Forces Raimonds Graube,
addressing the forces' annual meeting, said Latvia
should explain the "particular status" of Latvian
soldiers during World War II to avoid a
"misunderstanding of their role in the war." Graube's
predecessor, Juris Dalbins, was forced to resign over
his participation in a service commemorating Latvian
Waffen-SS soldiers who fell during the war. JC

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT AGAIN REJECTS OMBUDSMAN. Lawmakers
on 11 February voted by 69 to 64 to reject for a second
time Kestutis Lapinskas as ombudsman, ELTA reported. As
in the earlier vote, the ruling Conservatives strongly
opposed the appointment of Lapinskas, who, in accordance
with the constitution, was nominated by the president
and must be endorsed by the parliament. According to the
news agency, "Lietuvos Aidas" quoted President Valdas
Adamkus, who is currently vacationing in Mexico, as
saying he does not yet know how he will respond to the
vote (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January 1999). JC

LITHUANIA TO HALT ELECTRICITY SUPPLIES TO BELARUS? The
Lithuanian Economy Ministry will propose halting
electricity supplies to Belarus if Minsk fails to make a
decision over how to pay for deliveries, ELTA reported
on 12 February. Under a 1998 agreement, Lietuvos
Energija supplied electricity worth some $89 million to
Belenergo, with the Lithuanian-registered company Baltic
Schem acting as intermediary in the deal. However,
according to company records, Lietuvos Energija received
only some $2 million from Baltic Schem. Lietuvos
Energija is now being sued for large-scale embezzlement
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 February 1999). JC

EU REJECTS WARSAW CALL FOR END TO SUBSIDIZED EXPORTS.
The EU rejected a request on 11 February for an end to
subisidized EU agricultural exports to Eastern Europe,
Reuters reported. The EU's Executive Commission in
Brussels said it will not change its farm export policy
to suit Poland. Polish Finance Minister Leszek
Balcerowicz made a call the previous day on behalf of
four other East European finance ministers for the
exports to stop (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 February
1999). The commission said agricultural trade between
the EU and Poland is regulated in a bilateral trade
accord. In Warsaw, Polish Agriculture Minister Jacek
Janiszewski blamed subsidized imports for the recent
farmers' protests in Poland. Janiszewski said Poland may
subsidize farm exports to Russia in an effort to help
farmers. PB

END OF YALTA FOR POLAND. Foreign Minister Bronislaw
Geremek will hand over documents to U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright on 12 March ratifying Poland's
entry into NATO, AP reported. Government spokesman
Jaroslaw Sellin said that day will mark "the final
cancellation of the Yalta agreements." PB

CZECH REPUBLIC READY TO JOIN NATO NEXT MONTH. General
Klaus Naumann, head of NATO's Military Committee, told
journalists in Prague on 11 February that by early
March, Prague will fulfill all conditions for joining
NATO, AP reported. He was speaking after meeting with
Defense Minister Vladimir Vetchy. Naumann warned against
hasty investments in weaponry, saying that new NATO
members should first invest "in areas where
interoperability must be achieved, such as
communications and intelligence." He also said the Czech
air force will have to modernize its obsolete Soviet-
made jets. CTK quoted Vetchy as assuring Naumann that by
the end of February, enough personnel will have
undergone the required security vetting. Naumann also
met with Premier Milos Zeman, who said NATO must
consider purchasing some high-quality Czech-made
military equipment. Parliamentary chairman Vaclav Klaus
assured him that the legislature will approve all
legislation related to the country's obligations on
joining NATO. MS

GRAVES OPENED AS PART OF DUCKY MURDER INVESTIGATION.
Slovak police are opening up six graves in connection
with the investigation of the murder of former Economy
Minister Jan Ducky last month, Interior Minister
Ladislav Pittner said on 11 February. Pittner said that
the move was prompted by clues included in the letter he
received from a person claiming to have been contracted
to murder Ducky (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 February
1999). He said the author of the letter set six
conditions for revealing his own identity, and one of
those conditions made the police decide to uncover the
graves, CTK reported. MS

SLOVAK DEPUTIES REJOIN CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Four
deputies elected to the parliament on the list of the
Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK) on 11 February were
officially re-admitted to the Christian Democratic Party
(KDH). KDH chairman and Justice Minister Jan Carnogursky
told CTK that the four had joined the SDK to circumvent
the law passed by the previous parliament that increased
the vote percentage required to overcome the electoral
hurdle for party alliances and prompted a five-party
coalition to set up the SDK. Carnogursky said the
deputies' return to the KDH is accordance with an
agreement reached before the elections, but he added
that discussions are currently under way within the SDK
to preserve the party as a unified group and that
Premier Mikulas Dzurinda supports this option. MS

HUNGARIAN INFLATION DROPS TO LOWEST RATE IN OVER A
DECADE. For the first time in 11 years, Hungary's annual
inflation rate has fallen below 10 percent, the Central
Statistics Office reported on 11 February. The inflation
rate was 9.8 percent in January 1999, compared with 10.3
percent in December 1998. Analysts expect inflation to
continue to decrease over the next few months. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

RAMBOUILLET TALKS TO GO INTO SECOND WEEK. British
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said in Rambouillet on 11
February that the talks aimed at reaching a political
settlement for Kosova will continue for another week.
Cook charged that the Serbs are "blocking progress" by
insisting that the Kosovars formally sign a 10-point
statement of basic principles, according to which Kosova
would remain part of Yugoslavia, the "Financial Times"
reported. Cook wants both sides to concentrate on
discussion of a 24-page draft plan for an overall
settlement. The Serbs signed the declaration on 11
February. The Kosovars fear that signing the document at
this stage could prejudice the outcome of the final
settlement, particularly regarding eventual independence
for the province, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. PM

SERBS REMAIN FIRM... Serbian President Milan Milutinovic
said in Paris on 12 February that the 10-point
declaration represents a "minimum" acceptable program
for Belgrade. He denied Cook's assertion that the
Serbian side is holding up the talks. Milutinovic blamed
the Albanians' refusal to sign the declaration for the
lack of progress. PM

...WHILE BUILDING UP THEIR FORCES? Xhemail Mustafa, who
is a spokesman for shadow-state President Ibrahim
Rugova, said in Prishtina on 12 February that the
Serbian authorities have been bringing in additional
security forces to the province during the Rambouillet
talks. The previous day, the Kosovars' KIC news agency
reported that 18 busses carrying paramilitary police
arrived in the province. There has been no independent
confirmation of the alleged buildup. PM

KOSOVARS BURY RECAK VICTIMS. Some 10,000 Kosovars
attended the funeral in Recak of some 40 ethnic
Albanians killed by Serbian forces in January. Spokesmen
for the local Kosovars, who fled the village after the
massacre, said that they came home only for the funeral
and left again afterward because Serbian forces are
stationed nearby. PM

U.S. MARINES TO KOSOVA? The "Washington Post" reported
on 12 February that about 2,200 marines from the 24th
Marine Expeditionary Unit, who are now on ships in the
Mediterranean, will be the advance party for a larger
U.S. contingent of ground troops to help enforce any
settlement in Kosova that emerges from the Rambouillet
talks. In London, British Secretary of State for Defense
George Robertson told parliament that an unspecified
number of tanks and other armored vehicles, as well as
up to 8,000 troops, "have been put on alert" for
possible rapid deployment to Kosova, "The Independent"
reported. Robertson said the move reflects "prudent
military contingency planning and in no way does it
prejudge any decision" to send a force to the province.
Observers note that the force is expected to be mainly
European and under a European commander. PM

ITALIAN POLICE SEIZE ARMS BOUND FOR ALBANIA. Police in
Trieste found around 50 weapons--including guns, rifles,
a mortar, and a crossbow--and 5,000 rounds of ammunition
hidden in a truck from Switzerland that was waiting for
a ferry bound for Albania, AP reported on 11 February.
Police investigators said that they believe that the
arms were ultimately destined for Kosova. Most observers
believe that the headquarters of the Kosova Liberation
Army is located in Switzerland. PM

DRASKOVIC CHARGES KOSOVARS WITH 'NAZI' PROGRAM. Yugoslav
Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic said in Paris on 11
February that "in Rambouillet, [the Serbian delegation
is] fighting for the concept of a multi-ethnic,
democratic [Kosova]. The Albanian delegation represents
the concept of an ethnically pure, ethnically clean
Albanian...[province that will become] part of greater
Albania tomorrow. That's a concept very close to the
Nazi concept." The following day, he charged that "some
hope for a failure of the conference. I am not thinking
of the Europeans. Some oppose a favorable outcome in
order to impose their own solution," he added. Draskovic
accused the U.S. and NATO of supporting ethnic Albanian
"terrorists." Draskovic is a long-standing nationalist
opposition leader who recently joined the government of
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. PM

MILO DENIES 'GREATER ALBANIAN' AGENDA. Albanian Foreign
Minister Paskal Milo said in Warsaw on 11 February that
there is no "greater Albanian" political program that
aims at uniting all Balkan territories where Albanians
form a large part of the population. He added that the
concept of a greater Albania "comes from Serb propaganda
and is not our political idea." Observers note that many
Albanian nationalists have espoused a greater Albanian
political program since the mid-19th century. A greater
Albanian state existed briefly under Italian occupation
during World War II. Establishing a greater Albania is
not a primary goal of any mainstream party in Kosova,
Macedonia or Albania. PM

MACEDONIA SAYS CHINA WILL NOT BLOCK UN MANDATE.
Macedonian Information Minister Rexhep Zlatku said in
Taipei on 12 February that his country's decision to
recognize Taiwan "was the result of a long period of
study" (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report, 3 February 1999). He
added that China will not demean itself by blocking the
renewal of the mandate of UN peacekeepers in Macedonia
because "China is big and we are small" (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 4 February 1999). Zlatku heads a large
Macedonian delegation visiting Taiwan. PM

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON STATE SECRETS.
Legislators on 11 February passed a law classifying
various state documents as secret. The act is based on
U.S. legislation. The final version does not include a
paragraph from an earlier draft banning the press from
publishing secret documents. In deleting that paragraph,
legislators argued that it is the sole responsibility of
state officials to ensure state secrets are not leaked,
"Shekulli" reported. The penal code of 1995 includes two
paragraphs specifying penalties for breach of state
secrets but does not specify what a state secret is. FS

ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF PHONE
TAPPING. Pandeli Majko said on 11 February in Tirana
that he knows nothing about the tapping of Democratic
Party leader Sali Berisha's telephone (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 11 February 1999). Majko stressed that under
the new constitution, the Prosecutor-General's Office,
which has bugged Berisha's phone, is no longer
subordinated to him. He has nonetheless asked Justice
Minister Thimio Kondi to explain to him the procedure
that led to a court decision to tap Berisha's telephone.
Kondi told "Shekulli" that the tapping is legal and
denied that the authorities have political motives for
taking that action. Kondi said that unnamed judges have
violated the new law on state secrets by leaking the
story about the tapping to the press. Democratic Party
Secretary Fatos Beja responded that the parliament
adopted the law on state secrets only after the story
about the tapping broke. FS

EXTREMIST ROMANIAN SENATOR TO LOSE PARLIAMENTARY
IMMUNITY? The Senate's Judicial Commission on 11
February voted to allow the lifting of parliamentary
immunity by a simple majority of Senate members instead
of the two-thirds majority required until now, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. The opposition boycotted the
meeting. The Senate must now approve the change, which
is aimed mainly at lifting the immunity of Greater
Romania Party leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor. On 10
February, the Chamber of Deputies' Judiciary Commission
adopted a similar decision, paving the way for lifting
the immunity of Gabriel Bivolaru, a deputy of the Party
of Social Democracy in Romania who is accused of forgery
and fraud. MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN SAYS MOSCOW VISIT
'PRODUCTIVE.' Dumitru Diacov, returning from Moscow on
11 February, told journalists that an agreement has been
reached whereby Moldova will deliver goods worth $70
million in partial payment of its debt to Gazprom,
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Agreement has also
been reached on convening a meeting in Odessa in April
or May to discuss the Transdniester conflict.
Representatives of Chisinau, Tiraspol, the Russian State
Duma, the Ukrainian parliament, and the OSCE will attend
the meeting. Diacov said his hosts assured him that a
new version of the Russian-Moldovan basic treaty is
currently being drafted to replace the 1990 treaty,
which President Boris Yeltsin withdrew from the Duma. He
added that the new version will be ready for signing in
1999, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. But he added
that meetings with members of Duma committees were
"tense" and revealed support for "Transdniester
separatism." MS

FURTHER PROGRESS IN NEGOTIATIONS ON NEW MOLDOVAN
CABINET. Following the latest round of negotiations
between the ruling Alliance for Democracy and Reforms
leaders and Premier-designate Serafim Urecheanu, Diacov
told journalists that another "step forward" has been
taken and that the names of the new ministers will be
made public within the next few days. He said some
differences of opinion still exist, which, he added, is
"normal when negotiations are on-going." Diacov also
said that Urecheanu is no longer considering the
participation of the Party of Moldovan Communists in the
new cabinet, but he noted that the participation of
extra-parliamentary formations in the government is
possible, "provided the legislature agrees to it,"
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. MS

COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICIAL URGES BULGARIANS TO FORGET
'PAST DIVISIONS.' David Atkinson, a British lawmaker who
is a member of a Council of Europe team monitoring
Bulgaria's democratic progress, has urged Bulgarians to
ignore political divisions stemming from the communist
past in order to make quicker progress toward democracy,
AP reported on 10 February. Responding to a journalist's
allegation that the opposition Socialist Party has not
yet broken with its Stalinist past, Atkinson said
countries such as Cyprus, Yugoslavia, and the Caucasus
states fail "to move forward" because they "continue to
recall the past, and this condemns the future." MS

END NOTE

COUNTING TROUBLE IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION

By Paul Goble

	The population census just completed in Azerbaijan
and the one about to held in Kazakhstan open a new era
for the post-Soviet states, one in which they are likely
to discover just how political population statistics
inevitably are.
	Yuri Shokamanov, the deputy chairman of
Kazakhstan's statistical administration, announced
earlier this week that on 25 February, his agency will
conduct its first census since the 1989 USSR count.
Azerbaijan has just completed taking its first post-
Soviet population census, and several other former
Soviet republics will follow suit over the next two
years. (Armenia and Kyrgyzstan intended to conduct
censuses this year but have postponed them for financial
reasons.)
	But in making this announcement, Shokamanov did not
call attention to just how dramatic a step his
government's action really is or just how much
controversy such undertaking are almost certain to
generate.
	For three reasons, these first post-Soviet censuses
are likely to be especially controversial. First, there
will be heated debates over just which questions to ask
and equally which questions not to ask. Should the
census-takers ask questions about ethnicity and
nationality or only about citizenship? If they ask about
ethnicity, the censuses in several of these countries
are likely to reveal major shifts in the percentage of
various national groups.
	In Ukraine, for example, surveys suggest that the
percentage of the population that will declare itself
ethnically Russian is likely to be far smaller than the
percentage that identified itself that way in the last
Soviet census of 1989.
	Such shifts would almost certainly have major and
immediate political consequences, and thus there will be
some who are likely to advocate that the census-takers
avoid such questions. But if the census does not ask
questions about ethnicity, there will similarly be
consequences. Some ethnic minorities will undoubtedly
conclude that they are going to be "swallowed up" or at
least ignored by the dominant group. Thus, these
minorities almost certainly will fight to include
questions about ethnicity as a way to help preserve
their status in the post-Soviet states.
	Second, there are going to be political battles
over which information to release and when. Because many
people in the post-Soviet states retain their Soviet-era
reluctance to provide full and accurate information to
officials who ask for it, at least some of them are
going to be concerned about the release of any
information from the census. Some will undoubtedly argue
that census data should be kept extremely confidential,
lest their declarations come back to haunt them.
	But at the same time, any efforts by officialdom to
impose controls over the release of information from the
census almost certainly will increase suspicions that
the results have been distorted to benefit officials at
the expense of the citizenry as a whole.
	And third, there are going to be even more intense
struggles over how the information gathered is used for
political redistricting or for budgetary allocations.
These last struggles are likely to continue well after
the censuses are completed.
	If the data gathered are used to change the size of
electoral districts or to change the allocation of
funds, those who would benefit will press for its
release, while those who would lose will almost
certainly oppose it. And if, as seems certain, these
censuses prove to be incomplete--journalists can be
counted on to highlight cases where the census-takers
have missed someone--then many people in this region are
likely to look at any use of the numbers gathered as a
political plot.
	None of these fights is unusual. In the U.S., for
example, questions about how to conduct the census in
the year 2000 have already divided the Congress and
sparked a series of closely-contested court cases--just
as they did before earlier counts.
	But because the post-Soviet states will be
conducting these surveys for the first time and will
almost certainly want to establish precedents that break
from past and not always satisfactory Soviet practice,
all these controversies are likely to be even greater.
And thus something that on the face of it seems quite
neutral--the counting of the population--could become
one of the most contentious political issues across this
region over the next two years.

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