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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 114, Part II, 11 June 1999
________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 114, Part II, 11 June 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 * POPE MAKES HISTORIC SPEECH TO POLISH PARLIAMENT * BALKAN STABILITY PACT LAUNCHED * KOSOVA PEACE PROCESS ON TRACK End Note: THE APPROACHING END OF THE 'PARTY OF POWER' xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE LUKASHENKA SAYS 'ALL OF US LOST' IN BALKAN CRISIS. "Not only [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic, but all of us lost in the Balkans. We have suffered a crushing defeat and we will soon convince ourselves [of that]," Belapan quoted Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka as saying on 11 June. The Belarusian president also commented on the opposition presidential election initiative and on Russian State Duma deputy Viktor Ilyukhin's statement this week that U.S. special services and NATO are preparing an operation in Belarus to topple Lukashenka. "Those brainless people in the West who plan such operations...do not know our reality. There is no basis for shattering our society [to the extent of] removing Lukashenka," Belarusian Television quoted the president as saying. Lukashenka added that if Milosevic asked for political asylum, Belarus would granted it to him. JM SLAVIC LAWMAKERS MULL INTEGRATION IN KYIV... Addressing a forum of deputies from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine in Kyiv on 10 June, Ukrainian speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko said the breakup of the USSR has led to a significant decline in living standards in all three countries. He appealed to the three to work together to overcome the current crisis. Russian State Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev said the three post-Soviet countries and Yugoslavia should unite to form a union in the 21st century. Russian Federation Council speaker Yegor Stroev said Russia sees no contradiction between the Slavic states' belonging to a union and simultaneously maintaining their sovereignty. Stroev added that the key task today is "to remove barriers impeding the integration of the economies" of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. JM ...WHILE UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LOOKS WEST. Borys Tarasyuk on 10 June held a meeting with parliamentary deputies of the North-Atlantic Assembly, ITAR-TASS reported. Tarasyuk said the development of a "parliamentary dialogue with NATO has become an important lever for Ukraine to gain a foothold on the world arena." The minister stressed that "European and European-Atlantic integration" remains Ukraine's top priority. Referring to Kiev's bilateral ties with neighboring states, he emphasized that they are aimed at establishing a "safe zone of peace and stability" around Ukraine. JM UKRAINE SEEKS TO RESCHEDULE DEBT PAYMENT TO ING-BARINGS. The Ukrainian government failed to pay $163 million to the Dutch-based ING-Barings this week, but still hopes to persuade the lender to reschedule the payment, AP reported on 10 June. Ukraine has entered negotiations with the bank, proposing to pay off only 20 percent of the loan and convert the rest into state bonds. According to the agency, ING Barings is reluctant to accept the offer. Commenting on Ukraine's huge foreign debt (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1999), Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov said there is a "large difference between the obligations and means available to cover them." JM ESTONIAN PARLIAMENTARY MARATHON HALTED, TO RESUME NEXT WEEK. Following a session that exceeded 20 hours (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1999), lawmakers recessed for the weekend at midday on 10 June. The deputies had discussed 59 of some 550 amendments by the end of the extended session. The body will meet again on 15 July to resume the debate over the negative supplementary budget. Leaders from several opposition groups called for dialogue as they introduced packages calling for a drastically lower cut than the 1 billion kroons ($67 million) reduction proposed by the government. The coalition, however, affirmed its resolve to push through the necessary cuts and is investigating linking the budget with a confidence vote, thus bypassing the delay amendments process, according to Baltic news agencies. MH NO EVIDENCE TO CHARGE LATVIAN 'SPY.' The Prosecutor- General's Office has issued a statement on the "Daugavpils spy" case (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 June 1999) saying there is a lack of evidence to indict. The security police ordered further investigation into the case, as well as an examination of shortcomings during the initial parts of this investigation, according to BNS. LETA quoted "Chas" as saying that the alleged spy is journalist Pavels Korsenkovs, who at the time was conducting investigative journalism. MH NEW LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVED. The parliament on 10 June approved the government of Prime Minister Rolandas Paksas. The vote for the government program was 80 to 18 with 22 abstentions. Broad support came from the former ruling coalition of Conservatives and Christian Democrats, while the Centrists abstained. The leftist opposition mainly voted against the new government. MH POPE MAKES HISTORIC SPEECH TO POLISH PARLIAMENT. Pope John Paul II on 11 June addressed the Polish parliament in the first-ever speech by the head of the Roman Catholic Church to a national parliament. Even ex- communist deputies knelt and crossed themselves as the pope walked to a chair set up specially for him in the parliament, AP reported. He gave the Vatican's full approval Poland's efforts to join the EU, while stressing that politics and economic development must be based on ethical principles and spirituality. The packed chamber, including former communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, gave the pontiff lengthy standing ovations. It also sang the national anthem, followed by the traditional "Sto lat" or "May He Live 100 years." JM. POLAND WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION. Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek on 10 June said that the Balkans need a new Marshall plan to build democracy and stability in the region. Geremek stressed that the most urgent thing now is to assist the Albanian refugees and Serbs who suffered in the Kosova conflict. "Poverty in the Balkans should cease to be a source of destabilization for the entire continent," he told Polish Radio. Geremek added that Poland could help in the reconstruction of the Balkans, proposing that a government commission be set up to draw up a plan for such assistance. Geremek also announced that Poland and Ukraine are considering the participation of a joint battalion in the Kosova stabilization force. JM POLISH SENATOR ADMITS BEING LUSTRATED. Jerzy Mokrzycki, senator of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), said on 10 June that the Lustration Court has begun examining his lustration statement, PAP reported. Mokrzycki reconfirmed that he was never an employee of or collaborator for the communist-era secret services. The 10 June "Zycie" reported that the Lustration Court has also begun proceedings against a SLD parliamentary deputy from Olsztyn identified as Tadeusz M. Tadeusz Matyjak, an SLD deputy from that city, commented that he knows nothing about the court action and denied he was a secret service agent. JM CZECH GOVERNMENT RAISES MINIMUM WAGE. The cabinet on 9 June announced it will raise the minimum monthly wage to 3,600 crowns (nearly $ 1,000) from the current 3,250 crowns, CTK reported. Government spokesman Libor Roucek said the change will come into effect on 1 July. MS AUSTRIA TO BLOCK CZECH, SLOVAK EU ACCESSION? Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima on 10 June said he doubts whether the Czech Republic and Slovakia are "taking seriously the conditions for accession to the EU," CTK reported. At a meeting with Austrian federal officials, Klima said developments surrounding the Temelin nuclear power plant, in the Czech Republic, and the Rohumce nuclear facility, in Slovakia, are "worrying" and "a source of concern about our partners not taking the EU's conditions seriously enough." Nuclear power plant safety is "a prerequisite" to becoming an EU member, he stressed. Environment Minister Martin Bartenstein told the gathering that safety measures at Temelin are "a real obstacle" to Czech accession. Asked whether at the Helsinki summit in December Austria will vote against Slovakia's accession to the "fast-track" group, Austrian Nuclear Safety Minister Barbara Prammer said "anything is possible." MS HUNGARY OUTLINES AUTONOMY PLAN FOR VOJVODINA. Hungarian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Zsolt Nemeth on 10 June outlined a three-tier autonomy draft plan for Vojvodina. Nemeth told a regional stability conference in Cologne that Budapest supports the ethnic Hungarian proposal for the restoration of the autonomy the province enjoyed from 1974-1989. The plan grants ethnic Hungarians the right to elect their own representative bodies and provides for setting up an alliance representing settlements that have a Hungarian majority population. It thus resembles the "three-tier autonomy" demand of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania. In other news, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the cabinet demands that the peace plan drawn up by the international community contain a special chapter guaranteeing the protection of Serbia's 350,000-strong Hungarian minority. The plan should "once and for all rule out the possibility that the Hungarian community become the focus of ethnic conflict," Orban concluded. MSZ/MS SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BALKAN STABILITY PACT LAUNCHED. Foreign ministers of the G-8 countries and their counterparts from several southeastern European countries agreed in Cologne on 10 June to establish a long-term program to promote stability in the Balkans. Three "working tables" will deal with democracy and human rights, economic development, and security, respectively, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. German Foreign Minster Joschka Fischer stressed that the EU will play the key role in promoting regional stability, the "Berliner Zeitung" wrote. The EU will be the main source of funds for the project, the goal of which is to prevent conflicts and integrate southeastern Europe with the rest of the continent. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that the main task facing the region now is to provide "the people with bread and work," Deutsche Welle reported on 11 June. PM KOSOVA PEACE PROCESS ON TRACK. NATO supreme commander General Wesley Clark confirmed on 10 June in Brussels that Serbian forces have begun withdrawing from Kosova under the terms of the recent agreement between NATO and Belgrade (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1999). NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana then ordered a suspension of air strikes against Yugoslav targets. In New York, the UN Security Council passed a resolution that includes a peace plan for Kosova and provides a mandate for the KFOR peacekeeping force. That mandate will enable refugees and displaced persons to return safely to their homes. China abstained from voting. PM NATO BUILDUP IN MACEDONIA CONTINUES. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright arrived in Skopje on 11 June to meet with key NATO and Macedonian officials. Elsewhere, hundreds of U.S. troops continued to arrive in Macedonia from Albania (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1999). French and U.K. troops are expected to be the first NATO troops to enter Kosova, probably on 11 or 12 June. The U.K. will supply KFOR with some 12,000 troops based in Prishtina. Germany's contingent will be 8,500-strong and headquartered in Prizren. Some 7,000 French soldiers will be stationed in Kosovska Mitrovica in the north. A U.S. contingent of 7,000 will have its headquarters in Gjilan, near the Macedonian border. Some 2,000 Italians will be based in Peja. It is not yet clear what Russia's role will be in the peacekeeping operation (see Part I). PM MILOSEVIC CLAIMS VICTORY. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic began a televised address on 10 June with the words: "Happy peace to us all!" He maintained that "we never gave up" Kosova and that Serbian sovereignty over the province has been preserved. He added that "the people are the heroes." Milosevic argued that the UN ended the crisis and that troops stationed in Kosova will [be there] under a UN mandate. He added that "we have shown that our army is invincible. I am sure it is the best army in the world." PM ARTEMIJE TELLS SERBS TO STAY. Serbian Orthodox Archbishop Artemije, who is the leading Serbian cleric in Kosova and a critic of Milosevic, said in a statement to Orthodox priests on 10 June that they should tell their parishioners not to leave Kosova. He stressed that the Serbs can "lose" Kosova only if they themselves leave it, Vatican Radio reported. Momcilo Trajkovic, who is a political leader of Serbs in Kosova and an ally of Artemije, recently told a rally in Prishtina: "We ask for the protection of the international community so we can stay in our homes. Revenge is not a solution [to] the crisis." PM CLINTON PRAISES KOSOVA POLICY. U.S. President Bill Clinton said in a televised address on 10 June that NATO "did the right thing...the right way" in handling the crisis in Kosova. He noted that "aggression against an innocent people has been contained and is being turned back." The president stressed that NATO remained united throughout the crisis and that "we also preserved our critically important partnership with Russia." The president noted, as have several other Western leaders in recent days, that Serbia will receive no reconstruction aid as long as Milosevic remains in power. PM CHIRAC: FRANCE SAVED BELGRADE BRIDGES. French President Jacques Chirac said in a televised interview on 10 June that France had a veto power over "every single" NATO air strike against Yugoslav targets and that it often exercised that right over U.S. objections. He added that he and other unnamed French officials used their veto to prevent attacks on Belgrade's bridges and to limit the number of strikes against targets in Montenegro, particularly on the coast. Chirac argued that Milosevic "surrendered." The French president added: "It is very difficult to say why a tyrant gives in. It was very difficult for [Milosevic] to continue resistance.... [In the end he made] an unconditional capitulation. He clearly was banking on direct or indirect support from Russia, which he did not get," Chirac concluded. PM ALBANIA, SLOVENIA EXPRESS CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM. Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko said in Tirana on 10 June that "the deployment of NATO troops in Kosova is one of the most significant achievements in establishing [ethical] values in Europe since World War II." He added that "like everyone else, we are waiting to see developments. If Milosevic remains in power, anything is possible," he concluded. His visitor, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek, noted that the peace process will be complicated and problems will arise. He added: "We all hope today is the first day of a new era for this region and that the war now will really stop," Reuters reported. PM AUSTRALIAN DOCTOR SAYS UCK TROOPS WERE 'CANNON FODDER.' Dr. Craig Jurisevic, who is an Australian physician of Slovenian origin, told Reuters in Kukes on 11 June that the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) soldiers he has been treating in his emergency surgical station were "basically cannon fodder and they're fed up.... If this cease-fire doesn't hold, there will be many more avoidable deaths" among the Kosovar guerrillas. Jurisevic argued that the troops do not have a sufficient number of officers with them in the field. "They're sitting there being shelled daily. They have orders not to make an offensive and not to fire back so as not to annoy the Serbs," Jurisevic added. PM GERMANY PLEDGES AID TO ALBANIA. Heidemarie Wieczorek- Zeul, who is minister for development assistance, said in Bonn on 10 June that Germany will provide nearly $20 million in aid to Albania. She noted that Albania will play a key role in the Balkan stability pact. She made her remarks after meeting with Albanian Minister for Economic Cooperation and Trade Ermelinda Meksi. PM TWO KILLED IN ATTACK ON OSCE VEHICLE IN ALBANIA. Unknown persons fired on an OSCE security vehicle in the lawless Bajram Curri region on 10 June, killing the driver and a technician. A third man was wounded. All five occupants were Albanians. Daan Everts, who heads the OSCE mission in Tirana, condemned the attack as a "ruthless act of violence," Reuters reported. PM ARBOUR TO LEAVE HAGUE COURT. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on 10 June named Louise Arbour, who is the chief prosecutor at the Hague-based war crimes tribunal, to fill a vacancy on Canada's Supreme Court. She has served just over two years of a four-year term at The Hague. The UN Security Council will choose her successor. Observers noted that a change in leadership at the tribunal at a time of crisis in the Balkans could make it difficult for the court to assert its role in investigating war crimes and prosecuting those who committed them. PM SEPAROVIC RELEASED FROM CROATIAN POLICE DETENTION. Police in Zagreb released Miroslav Separovic from detention on 10 June after failing to find any evidence in a search of his flat to substantiate charges that he leaked confidential documents to the press (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 1999). A spokesman for the prosecutor's office of Zagreb county said, however, that his office will conduct its own investigation of the charges against Separovic, who is a former director of the Croatian Intelligence Service. PM ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES ACCESS TO COMMUNIST POLICE FILES. The Chamber of Deputies on 10 June voted by 244 to 13 to approve a law on access to the files of the former secret police. Senator Constantin Ticu- Dumitrescu, who initiated the law, said he is "profoundly disappointed" by the legislation because civil society representatives are not included on the body that will supervise such access and because the files will not be transferred to that body. He noted that many categories defining those obliged to declare links to the Securitate have been added to the law, making it "inoperable." Dumitrescu criticized the narrow definition of "informer" and the fact that active diplomats and those still employed by the Romanian intelligence service are exempt from having to reveal their links. He said he hopes the law will be improved by the commission that will mediate between its text and that approved by the Senate. MS WORLD BANK APPROVES ROMANIAN LOAN. The World Bank on 10 June approved a $300 million loan to promote the restructuring of the private sector and another $25 million loan for "technical assistance" in that reform. The same day, the government decided it will not extend beyond 30 June the validity period for the offer to Bell Helicopters Textron to take over the IAR aircraft company in Brasov. The cabinet said it cannot meet Bell's condition for governmental guarantees of $2 billion for the purchase of helicopters produced under license for the Romanian army. The cabinet also decided to accept the IMF- requested moratorium on the law offering incentives to investors. Finally, representatives of the government and teacher unions said they have reached an agreement that will end the ongoing teachers' strike. They said, however, that the agreement will be publicized only after approval by the unions' councils. MS MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS TRANSDNIESTER LEADER. Petru Lucinschi met in Chisinau on 10 June with the leader of the separatist breakaway region, Igor Smirnov, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau and Infotag reported. The two leaders first spoke alone and were later joined by Prime Minister Ion Sturza and Smirnov's deputy, Viktor Sinev. Lucinschi told journalists that the encounter was "fruitful and covered a broad scope of problems." In this context, he mentioned the implementation of earlier accords, speeding up the negotiation process on the breakaway region's status, the withdrawal of Russian forces and their weapons, and finding solutions to economic problems and energy problems. Also discussed was the case of the "Ilascu group," which is being detained in Tiraspol. Lucinschi said that ways to secure the group's liberation are being sought. Smirnov said he does not think Lucinschi "may order the bombing" of the Transdniester and that he backs his initiative to change the system of government to a presidential one. MS MOLDOVAN POLITICIAN SENTENCED FOR INSULTING OFFICIAL. Valeriu Matei, deputy chairman of the Moldovan parliament and leader of the Party of Democratic Forces (PFD), has been ordered to pay General Nicolae Alexe, chief of the government's Department for Fighting Organized crime, the equivalent of 100 minimum monthly wages. The Chisinau Municipal Tribunal found Matei guilty of having insulted Alexe during a search of the premises of a company with which the PFD has close links (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 March 1999), Flux reported on 9 June. MS BULGARIA NEGOTIATING LOGISTIC SUPPORT AGREEMENT WITH NATO. Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Dimitrov told BTA that Bulgaria is negotiating with NATO an agreement about extending logistic support to NATO peacekeepers transiting its territory, AP reported. Transportation Minister Wilhelm Kraus confirmed that NATO experts are in Bulgaria, studying the country's transport infrastructure (see also "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 June 1999). MS BULGARIA PRIVATIZES FOUNDRY FOR $1. The Kremikowzi foundry outside Sofia was privatized on 10 June for the symbolic sum of $1, dpa reported. The Bulgarian company Daru Metals and its Italian partner, Marccigalia, acquired a 71 percent stake in the foundry at that price. Daru metals is assuming 462 billion leva ( $247 million) of the foundry's debts, while the Bulgarian state will cover the remaining 183 billion leva. Under the deal, the buyers will also guarantee 8,708 jobs at the foundry. MS END NOTE THE APPROACHING END OF THE 'PARTY OF POWER' By Paul Goble Economic failures, geopolitical isolation, and electoral experience are combining to bring an end to the rule of the "party of power," one of the most characteristic features of the post-communist transition in the former Soviet republics. An amorphous and non-ideological group consisting of a non-party president, a politicized bureaucracy, and a depoliticized government closely linked to non- official groups, the party of power serves as a buffer between Communists on the left and nationalists on the right in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, and other post-Soviet states. At the present time, the party of power, both as a concept and a reality, still dominates the political landscape. But as Vladimir Bruger writes in the 26 May issue of the Moscow newspaper "Nezavisimaya gazeta- Sodruzhestvo," its days may be numbered because of forces beyond its control. He suggests that it is likely to be replaced by a politicized politics and a more pragmatic political style. The first such force working against the continued dominance of the "party of power" in these countries is the continuing if not accelerating collapse of their economies. Because the parties of power have justified their remaining in office by pointing to the evils that either the nationalists or Communists may bring, they have often escaped public attack even if they have not received much public support. But as the economic situation in these countries has deteriorated, the parties of power no longer can make that argument work to their advantage. "In contrast to ideology or PR," Bruger writes, "economics demands an accounting for everything that is done and not done." And ever more people and politicians are deciding that the alternatives denounced by the party of power may in fact not be worse than the incumbents. The second force undermining the continuation of this form of governance is the changing geopolitical position of these countries. Immediately after the collapse of communism, the first post-Soviet governments--which included second-level party nomenklatura officials as well as a thin stratum of reformers--expected that the West would not only provide substantial aid but would work to integrate these countries into Western organizations. Neither has happened, at least as far as the population can see, Bruger notes. As a result, ever more people in these countries are prepared to consider supporting parties of the left or the right advocating policies that can be variously described as committed to self-reliance or going it alone. And the third force is the growing electoral experience of both politicians and the population in these states. The parties of power were able to coopt many politicians, and these ideologically based leaders were all too willing to be coopted--because the party of power had all the power--and all too willing not to challenge the bases of the party of power because they hoped eventually to use its levers themselves. One distinguishing characteristic of this tendency, Bruger notes, is that in both Russia and Ukraine, the political parties that form the parliamentary majorities in parliament have accepted the designation of opposition and have behaved as such. But that pattern is beginning to change as a result of the pressures of electoral politics. Some of those now aspiring to office were earlier cast out of the party of power and have since changed their views. After being fired as Russian premier, Viktor Chernomyrdin's political party adopted a very different stand on the constitutional arrangements that have allowed the Russian party of power to control all decision-making. Even more important, as the populations of these countries gain experience with elections, those politicians who hope to win support are now being forced to distance themselves from the failings of those currently in power. Thus, as Bruger points out, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov immediately declared that his new party "cannot be held responsible for everything that was done before us." None of this necessarily sounds an immediate death knell for the parties of power. The authoritarian traditions of these countries mean that many leaders, even those who head more ideologically based parties, prefer the informal and backroom dealings that the parties of power have practiced over the last few years. And in the past, the parties of power have shown their ability to manipulate the media and the political system during elections and successfully maintain their positions of power by portraying their opponents as more dangerous than themselves. But economic collapse, international isolation, and experience with elections have fragmented the parties of power in all these countries, Bruger notes, thus reducing their ability to respond to challenges. That makes it ever more likely that over the next decade, the current "party of power" system will give way to a more ideologically and interest-based politics. That may produce bad things as well as good, Bruger concludes. But he adds that it will at least mean that the post-communist transition will enter a new phase, one that will put still more distance between where these countries will be and where they were in the communist past. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word subscribe as the subject of the message. 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