Конечная цель красноречия - убеждать людей. - Ф. Д. Честерфилд
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 124, Part II, 25 June 1999


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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 124, Part II, 25 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

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Headlines, Part II

* POLISH POLICE CLASHES WITH ARMAMENT WORKERS

* ETHNIC ALBANIANS LOOT SERBIAN PROPERTIES IN PRISHTINA

* U.S. PUTS PRICE ON MILOSEVIC'S HEAD

END NOTE: A Kosova Balance Sheet
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

CEI SAYS YUGOSLAV DEMOCRATIZATION ESSENTIAL FOR
BALKANS... Officials from the 16 member-states of the
Central European Initiative (CEI) agreed at a 24 June
meeting in Karlovy Vary, the Czech Republic, that the
full democratization of Yugoslavia is essential for
securing peace and stability in the Balkans, AP and CTK
reported. The officials said they support the Stability
Pact for Southeastern Europe, which was drafted earlier
this month by the EU, the G-8, and countries in the
Balkans that backed NATO's air campaign against
Yugoslavia. The CEI officials said they want to
"actively participate" in the pact's implementation.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said the CEI could
establish working groups to deal with the region's
economic revival. However, he added that the CEI's
participation would not be extensive because the member-
states lack funds and "the main financing will come from
the EU." MS

...AND CALLS FOR RESPECTING RIGHTS OF VOJVODINA
HUNGARIANS. The conference's closing documents also
stress the importance of respecting the rights of the
Hungarian ethnic minority in Vojvodina. Kavan also said
the CEI will send a special mission to Moldova, due to
the "continuous controversial presence of Russian units
in the country." The CEI was formed in 1989 to boost
political, economic, and cultural cooperation among its
members, most of which are former communist countries.
MS

BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN CONFEDERATION TO BE LAUNCHED ON 20
JULY? Mikalay Syarheyeu, leader of the pro-Russian
organization "Belaya Rus," said in Minsk on 22 June
that Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka are preparing to sign a
treaty on the creation of a confederation called the
Union of Sovereign Republics (SSR) of Russia and
Belarus, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported on 24
June. According to Syarheyeu, the confederation will be
headed by a president and two vice-presidents - one
from Russia, the other from Belarus. The alleged
signing ceremony is to take place in Moscow on 20 July,
the last day of Lukashenka's presidency according to
the 1994 constitution he abolished in 1996 following a
controversial constitutional referendum. Meanwhile, the
Russian media have abounded with speculations that
Yeltsin may take advantage of the creation of a new
Russian-Belarusian state to prolong his presidency. JM

UKRAINIAN CABINET REMOVES FOOD PRICE CONTROLS. The
Ukrainian government on 24 June canceled last week's
order to impose rigid controls on the price of bread,
wheat and rye flour, sugar, cereals, and vegetable oil.
"Prices remain liberalized, depending only on demand and
supply. We think there is no need to regulate food
prices," First Deputy Economy Minister Viktor Kalnyk
commented. He added that Ukraine's food market is
saturated with staples and prices have now stabilized
following a recent jump. JM

COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELAYS DECISION ON UKRAINE. The
Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly voted on 24
June to put off until January a decision on whether to
suspend Ukraine's membership because of the country's
poor human rights record. The Council of Europe put off
the decision in order to recognize the country's recent
reforms aimed at improving its judicial and political
systems. JM

UKRAINIAN MOGUL BANNED FROM ENTERING COUNTRY. The
Ukrainian State Security Service on 24 June prohibited
Vadym Rabynovych, a Ukrainian-Israeli business tycoon
whose assets are estimated at $1 billion, from entering
the country for five years. The Security Service said
that Rabynovych, an Israeli citizen and a leader of the
Jewish community in Ukraine, was banned for causing
"considerable damage to Ukraine's economy" through his
business activities. JM

BALTIC POLITICIANS CONCERNED OVER RUSSIAN EXERCISES.
Politicians from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania voiced
concerns over the 21-26 June Russian military exercises
in western Russia along the border with the three Baltic
states. Lithuanian parliament Chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis called the exercises "a gesture of
psychological cold war" against the Baltic states, ELTA
reported. Estonian parliamentarian Mart Nutt told "Eesti
Paevaleht" that the exercises "demonstrate a change in
(the) Russian attitude." He said the Russians have
recognized that they "are not able to hinder the Baltic
states from joining NATO." MH

NEW LITHUANIAN MILITARY HEAD APPROVED. The Lithuanian
parliament on 24 June voted 75-3 to name Colonel Jonas
Kronkaitis the new commander of the Lithuanian military.
Kronkaitis is a dual Lithuanian-U.S. citizen who served
for 27 years in the U.S. army. Earlier this year, U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright consented to the
appointment, BNS reported. Before his confirmation,
Kronkaitis pointed out that the training of officers and
NCOs would be a "priority task," ELTA reported. MH

POLISH POLICE CLASHES WITH ARMAMENT WORKERS. The police
on 24 June clashed with some 1,000 workers of the
Lucznik armament plant in Radom, who were demonstrating
outside the Defense Ministry in Warsaw. The police used
tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets, while the
protesters attacked the police with fire crackers,
stones, and metal signs ripped from the roadside. Polish
Radio reported that several dozen people were injured in
the battle, including a journalist who lost one eye. The
Lucznik workers, who have staged many protests in recent
months, are demanding that the government buy armaments
for the Polish army from their plant. They are also
demanding the dismissal of Defense Minister Janusz
Onyszkiewicz who they say is responsible for the decline
of Poland's defense industry. JM

HAVEL EXPLAINS PLANNED VISIT TO KOSOVA. President Vaclav
Havel on 24 June responded to criticism of his planned
visit to Kosova by saying that "most foreign visits are
working visits" and that heads of state seldom go abroad
on official state visits. Critics of the planned visit
pointed out that Havel has not been invited to Kosova by
Yugoslav officials nor will he be visiting the region as
supreme commander of the Czech army's KFOR contingent,
which is to arrive a few days later. He said he does not
yet know for sure whether he will go to Kosova but added
that he wanted to find out "whether the [NATO] action
has fulfilled its goal ... [which was] to create the
conditions for the coexistence of various ethnic groups
[...] and what is necessary to be done for [the goal's]
early and genuine implementation." MS

CZECH 'GRAND COALITION' IN OFFING? In an interview with
"Mlada fronta Dnes" on 24 June, Civic Democratic Party
(ODS) deputy chairwoman Libuse Benesova said the chances
for a coalition between the CSSD and the ODS are greater
than those of a coalition between the ODS and other
right-wing parties. She also praised the "nearly
problem-free" nature of her party's agreement with the
ruling Social Democratic Party (CSSD). Benesova said
that some Freedom Union members have shown a willingness
to cooperate with the ODS but that this could not be
said of the Union as a whole. On the other hand, she
said the "personal communication" between the ODS and
the CSSD extends beyond individuals to the party level.
MS

CZECH ILLEGAL ARMS TRADERS PROSECUTED IN ABSENTIA. Two
men from the Liberec district are being prosecuted in
absentia for illegal arms trading, a police investigator
told CTK on 24 June. The investigator refused to reveal
their identity and would not confirm or refute reports
that they are the director and the chairman of the board
of the Liberec-based Agroplast company. The investigator
said international arrest warrants might be issued. The
two suspects allegedly violated arms-trade regulations
by trading disassembled MiG-21 fighter jets with a
Kazakh company without a license from the Industry and
Trade Ministry. CTK reported that customs officers
discovered the disassembled MiGs at Baku airport last
March and that Azerbaijan returned the aircraft to
Kazakhstan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 March and 21 April
1999). The MiGs were being shipped to North Korea, which
is subject to an international arms embargo, according
to the report. MS

CZECH MAJORITY OPPOSED TO RAPID SETTLEMENT OF FEDERAL
PROPERTY DISPUTE. About 65 percent of the Czechs say
they are opposed to the rapid settlement of the former
federal property dispute with Slovakia, CTK reported on
24 June, citing the STEM institute. The dispute concerns
Slovakia's outstanding 29 billion crown (some $815
million) debt to the Czech Republic, which resulted from
the division of the former Czechoslovak National Bank,
and the Czech National Bank's block on 4.5 metric tons
of Slovak gold. Another key issue in the dispute relates
to Ceskoslovenska obchodni banka, in which Slovakia
holds a 25 percent stake and which owes Slovakia 17
billion crowns. In May, Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas
Dzurinda and his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, agreed
on an exchange of stakes between the Slovak Vseobecna
uverova banka and the Czech Komercni banka. Meanwhile,
an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported on 25
June that the International Finance Corporation will
acquire a 4.3 percent stake in Ceskoslovenska obchodni
banka by investing $75 million in the financial
institution. MS

HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS RESIGN IN "VIP LOAN" AFFAIR.
Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) deputy chairman Sandor
Nagy and MSZP official Judit Csiha on 24 June announced
their resignations in response to reports last week that
they had received preferential "VIP loans" from
Postabank (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 June 1999). Nagy
said he had not broken the law by accepting the loan but
chose to resign in order to prevent any further attacks
on the party and himself. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's
advisor, Antal Rogan, said he is "pleased that a process
of purification has begun within the MSZP." Orban
recently said that no members of FIDESZ, the leading
member of the governing coalition, are implicated in
those irregular loans. MSZ

GROUND INVASION OF YUGOSLAVIA HALTED BY ORBAN? According
to a report confirmed by several independent sources, a
NATO plan to invade Yugoslavia may have been abandoned
due to the personal intervention of Orban with U.S.
President Bill Clinton, the Budapest daily
"Vilaggazdasag" reported on 24 June. The report says a
senior NATO figure gave Orban access to a plan requiring
that Hungarian territory be used to launch a ground
operation in April. According to the plan, only Western
military units were to take part in the invasion. The
timing of the ground attack was planned so tightly that
the Hungarian parliament would not have had time to
debate the issue before making a decision, the paper
concluded. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ETHNIC ALBANIANS LOOT SERBIAN PROPERTIES IN PRISHTINA.
Crowds of ethnic Albanians, many of whom are recently
returned refugees, broke into and looted Serbian-owned
shops in Prishtina, the BBC reported on 25 June. The
broadcast quoted NATO peacekeepers as saying that they
are "unable to stop" the plundering. It is not clear why
this is the case. Elsewhere in Prishtina, local Serbs
"are in panic" following the killing of three Serbs at
Prishtina University, the broadcast continued (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 24 June 1999). They fear that
returning refugees will seek revenge on the city's
remaining Serbs. PM

VIOLENCE AGAINST SERBS IN THE PROVINCES. In Prizren,
"The Daily Telegraph" of 25 June reported the violent
deaths in their homes of several elderly Serbs. In Peja,
some local Serbs told AP on 24 June that members of the
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) ordered them to leave their
homes and the province. The news agency also reported
that unidentified Kosovars recently burned down an
unspecified number of homes owned by Serbs and Roma.
"The Guardian" wrote on 25 June that many Serbs and
Albanians alike blame Roma "for many of the crimes of
the past few months." In Belgrade, the daily "Danas"
described as "meager" the results of government efforts
to persuade Serbs to return to Kosova. PM

SERBIAN RESERVISTS BLOCK ROADS. Some 200 army reservists
blocked several roads in central Serbia for the second
day in a row, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on
24 June. They demand back pay for their recent tours of
duty in Kosova. Protests took place in Kraljevo,
Kragujevac, and Trstenik. In Belgrade, unnamed sources
told "The Daily Telegraph" of 25 June that many
reservists are refusing to be demobilized until they are
paid. The army has offered them credits toward paying
their utility bills or for shopping in army stores. PM

SERBIAN CHURCH TO ADMIT ATROCITIES. "The Guardian"
reported on 25 June that the Serbian Orthodox Church
will soon announce to its members that Serbian forces
committed atrocities in Kosova. Patriarch Pavle
reportedly made the decision because he was "shocked" at
the evidence of Serbian war crimes he recently saw in
Kosova. A Church spokesman said in Belgrade that "it is
important for a country to know the truth. It has to
know, otherwise it will just continue on, without
confessing. Denying it is not going to save souls." The
government denies that atrocities took place. PM

U.S. PUTS PRICE ON MILOSEVIC'S HEAD. State Department
spokesman James Rubin said on 24 June that "the United
States is offering a reward of up to $5 million for
information leading to the arrest or conviction in any
country of persons indicted for serious violations of
international humanitarian law by the International
Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia or for information
leading to their transfer to or conviction by the
Tribunal... [Persons with information should] call 1-
800-HEROES, or they may contact the Department of State
web site at www.heroes.net. We strongly encourage all
suspects still at large to surrender themselves
voluntarily to competent local authorities or to the
NATO-led stabilization force in Bosnia." He mentioned
that the reward applies to the arrest of Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic, four other Belgrade
leaders recently indicted with him, and Bosnian war
criminals still at large. PM

TOP NATO LEADERS VISIT PRISHTINA. NATO Secretary-General
Javier Solana, Supreme Commander for Europe General
Wesley Clark, and spokesman Jamie Shea visited Prishtina
on 24 June, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent
reported. The three met with KFOR commander General Sir
Michael Jackson, with the provisional government Prime
Minister Hashim Thaci, and Bishop Artemije Radosavljevic
of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Solana said that Thaci
and Artemije met, shook hands, and pledged to meet
again. FS

UCK DEFECTOR CHARGES THACI WITH KILLING RIVALS. The
"New York Times" of 25 June quoted Rifat Haxhijaj, a
former Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) member, as saying
that UCK leader Hashim Thaci and two of his
lieutenants, Azem Syla and Xhavit Haliti, ordered the
shooting of up to six fellow rebel leaders in purges.
Haxhijaj told the daily that "when the war started,
everyone wanted to be the chief." He added that "for
the leadership, this was never just a war against
Serbs...it was also a struggle for power." A spokesman
for Thaci denied responsibility for any such killings,
AFP reported. U.S. State Department spokesman James
Rubin told the "New York Times": "We simply don't have
information to substantiate allegations that there was
a [UCK] leadership-directed program of assassinations
or executions." FS

COOK WANTS KOSOVARS TO FORM REPRESENTATIVE WORKING
GROUP. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told an
RFE/RL correspondent in Tirana on 24 June that he
urged Kosovar leaders the previous day in Prishtina to
jointly form a representative group of Kosovar
politicians who can serve as a partner for the UN
Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and help in rebuilding the
local administration and public services. Meanwhile,
moderate Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova, who is
currently in Geneva, has delayed his return to
Prishtina for fear of his security, according to
unnamed Western diplomats in Prishtina, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported on 24 June. The diplomats
expected Rugova to wait at least until the end of the
month before returning, despite calls by several
European leaders for him to return earlier. FS

EVERTS TO HEAD OSCE IN KOSOVA. OSCE Chairman Knut
Vollebaek told Reuters in Oslo on 24 June that he has
appointed Daan Everts as head of the OSCE mission in
Kosova. The Dutch diplomat thus will become one of the
four deputy special representatives of UNMIK. He will
be responsible for rebuilding civilian institutions,
promoting democracy, monitoring human rights,
organizing free elections, and training police and
justice officials. Everts has been OSCE ambassador in
Albania since 1997. Vollebaek also announced that the
OSCE plans to send 400 to 600 people into Kosova. FS

FBI FORENSIC TEAM STARTS WORK IN KOSOVA. Fifty-nine
FBI investigators arrived in Kosova, the first case
ever of FBI agents investigating war crimes against
civilians who are not U.S. citizens, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported on 24 June. FBI Director Louis
Freeh said that "we have here alleged crimes against
humanity on the gravest scale, and the victims that we
know about were murdered principally...because of
their ethnicity, because of their religion, and in
many cases for no reason at all except an ethnic
cleansing plan which was dictated from the very
highest levels of government." FS

AT LEAST 40 MASS GRAVES IN SOUTHERN KOSOVA. German
Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said in Bonn on 25
June that "it can be estimated that at least 40 mass
graves are in the German military-controlled sector." He
added that it is too early to provide more definite
figures for either the number of graves or the number of
people in them. The German forces are based in Prizren.
PM

WHAT HAPPENED TO 700 PEOPLE FROM GJAKOVA? A
spokeswoman for the Kosovar provisional government
told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service on 24 June that
"according to sources in the UCK's secret service...in
the plain of Dukagjin...717 people from that region
are missing. There are 860 burned houses. We have to
say that these figures are not final and that every
day we have new reports about missing people and
burned houses." The "New York Times" reported some of
the inhabitants of Gjakova believe that the missing
Albanians are imprisoned in Serbia. FS

500 HOSTAGES FROM SMREKONICA MISSING. An RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the prison of Smrekonica
on 24 June that at least 350 of the hostages held
there by Serbian forces have disappeared. According to
six ethnic Albanian prison guards, 500 to 650 Kosovar
hostages were transferred to prisons in Nis,
Mitrovica, and Pozarevac. One of the prison guards
said he suspected that the missing 350 were killed and
cremated in a crematorium near Trepca, but he was
unable to confirm this. He added that from 3 May to 12
June there were 4,300 prisoners in Smrekonica. The
correspondent added that KFOR soldiers have blocked
access to the Trepca mine, a suspected massacre site.
Currently the prison of Smrekonica is under the
control of the UCK. The six Albanian prison guards who
served there during the bombing are currently trying
to identify the missing prisoners. FS

MACEDONIAN OPPOSITION PROTESTS RAPPROCHEMENT WITH THACI.
More than 15,000 Macedonian opposition supporters
protested in central Skopje on 24 June against the
rapprochement between Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco
Georgievski and Kosova's Thaci, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported. The organizer was the largest opposition
party, the Social Democratic Union. They were joined by
the smaller Serbian and Roma parties, the Communists,
and an organization of pensioners. The opposition
accused the government of endangering Macedonian
national interests by working with NATO during its
campaign against Serbia. Georgievski also recently
indicated that his government will approve Albanian-
language education at the university level by this fall.
FS

BOSNIAN ELECTIONS POSTPONED. Ambassador Robert Barry,
who heads the OSCE's mission to Bosnia, said in Sarajevo
on 24 June that the next round of local elections will
be postponed from September 1999 until April 2000. He
cited "tensions" in neighboring Yugoslavia following the
Kosova crisis as part of the reason for the
postponement. He also noted that there are "practical
difficulties particularly at this time" in registering
voters there. PM

WESTENDORP THREATENS MUSLIM PARTY WITH SANCTIONS. The
office of the international community's Carlos
Westendorp announced in Sarajevo on 24 June that he will
impose economic sanctions on areas governed by the
Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) unless the SDA
implements a local power-sharing agreement in Zepce,
which is northwest of Sarajevo. PM

DEMOCRATIC PARTY ATTACKS PRESIDENT CONSTANTINESCU.
Democratic Party spokeswoman Paula Ivanescu on 24 June
accused President Emil Constantinescu of "waging war"
against her party and its president, Senate Chairman
Petre Roman. Ivanescu said the president's alleged
attacks were aimed at "tarnishing" the party's image,
preventing the party from taking part in any future
government, and "doing away" with a possible rival in
the next presidential elections. Presidential spokesman
Razvan Popescu rejected the accusations, saying
Constantinescu has "never initiated" such an attack on a
political party, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The
media recently reported that prominent Democratic Party
leaders are linked to a Ploiesti-based oil import-export
firm with a dubious record. Also, the Brasov prefect, a
member of the party, was recently arrested for having
illegally mortgaged the assets of a local enterprise.
The government on 24 June named a new prefect, who is
also a Democratic Party member. MS

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS LAND RESTITUTION LAW. The
Chamber of Deputies on 24 June passed an amendment to
the land restitution law, raising the maximum amount of
land that can be restituted to any one applicant to 50
hectares, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported.
Previously, the law had set the maximum limit at 10
hectares. In other news, the Bucharest Municipal
Tribunal on 24 June ruled that Creditbank, one of
Romania's largest financial institutions, is incapable
of meeting payments to depositors and placed the bank
under the control of the tribunal. MS

ROMANIA'S IRON GUARD ANNOUNCES COMEBACK. The deputy
chairman of the National Union for Christian Revival
(UNRC), Nicador Zelea Codreanu, on 24 June said the UNRC
wants to relaunch Romania's interwar fascist Legionary
movement. Codreanu is a nephew of Corneliu Zelea
Codreanu, the Legionary movement's leader in the 1920s
and 1930s. He made the announcement on the 72nd
anniversary of his uncle's establishment of the League
of the Archangel Michael, a precursor of the movement.
Codreanu said the revived movement must acknowledge its
"past mistakes," including its anti-Semitism and racism,
and must "distance itself" from the acts committed under
Corneliu Zelea's successor, Horia Sima. The UNRC has
about 300 members. Romanian law requires that a
political party have 10,000 members in order to
register. Codreanu said the movement would seek to merge
with other formations that have similar roots, Mediafax
reported. MS

MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTER ON THE CHISINAU RIOTS. Prime
Minister Ion Sturza on 24 June said that the riots in
the capital the day before may have been the work of
"provocateurs." He said the government had received
information on the "provocateurs" in advance and had
warned the trade unions about them. The warnings, he
said, were ignored. Sturza also said his cabinet, in
contrast to its predecessors, will only make promises it
can fulfill. He said the government is ready to
negotiate with the unions but only from a "realistic
position" that takes into account the state of the
Moldovan economy. He said that the leaders of the
Federation of Trade Unions (FGSM) "panicked" when the
government pointed out that the federation is in
possession of assets of "dubious" origin. He also said
the union leaders' salaries are 10 times higher than the
average wage in the country. MS

MOLDOVAN TRADE UNIONS ACCUSE CABINET OF BLACKMAIL. FGSM
leader Ion Godonoga on 24 June said the government is
trying to "blackmail" the unions in order to make them
renounce their demands for the payment of wage arrears.
Godonoga said that he "challenges the cabinet to prove
in court" that the FGSM's assets do not belong to the
unions. He added that if the arrears are not paid by 31
December, the unions will launch a general strike,
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Cabinet members
walked out of the negotiations, saying they cannot meet
the demands of the unions, according to a 24 June BBC
report cited by Radio Bucharest. MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT POSTPONES NUCLEAR FUEL TRANSITING
RATIFICATION. The parliament on 24 June postponed a vote
on ratifying the 1997 agreement on the transit of
nuclear fuel from the Bulgarian Kozloduy nuclear plant.
This is the second time that the legislature has refused
to ratify the agreement, which was signed by Moldova,
Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine in 1997. The decision was
taken at the initiative of deputies representing the
Christian Democratic Popular Front and the Party of
Moldovan Communists, Infotag reported. Several Moldovan
NGOs on the same day appealed to the parliament to
reject the government's request for ratification, saying
Moldova must remain an "environmentally clean island" in
an otherwise contaminated Europe. MS

BULGARIA TO SEND INVESTIGATORS TO KOSOVA. Bulgarian
Transportation Minister Wilhelm Kraus on 24 June said
the government has approved an Interpol request to send
experts to Kosova who will participate in the
investigations into the mass killings of Kosovar
Albanians in the region, BTA reported. MS

BULGARIAN MINIMUM WAGE RAISED, ENERGY PRICES HIKED. The
cabinet on 24 June decided to raise the minimum monthly
wage by 9.8 percent, BTA reported. The government also
hiked energy prices. Prices for electricity went up 10
percent for domestic consumption and 1.1 percent for
industrial consumption. Heating prices were raised by 12
percent and the price of briquettes for household use by
30 percent. MS

END NOTE

A Kosova Balance Sheet

by Patrick Moore

	"That's what you get when you treat a third-rate
power like a first-rate one--and it decides to act
accordingly." Such was the comment of one Western
observer of the Moscow scene, reacting to Russia's
recent move to occupy Prishtina airport before NATO
could get its troops into Kosova. At the airport, one
man identified only as "General Igor" gleefully told
London's "The Independent on Sunday": "I'll be here for
years."
	An agreement regulating Russia's role came later,
after days of painstaking negotiations. One suspects
that it could have been reached a lot sooner were it not
for Moscow's desire to savor its coup-on-the-ground and
drag the talks out accordingly.
	The Russian troops arrived from Bosnia-Herzegovina,
where they were part of SFOR, formerly known as IFOR or
UNPROFOR. They were there partly because of Russia's
longstanding desire to serve notice that it remains a
great power, at least as far as the Balkans are
concerned. But they were also there partly because of a
Western desire to involve Russian troops in the
peacekeeping effort.
	Part of the irony in this is that the cornerstone
of Western policy for decades had been to keep Soviet or
Russian ground troops out of the Balkans. Now, 200
paratroopers left their NATO-supervised peacekeeping
posts in Bosnia to elbow in on Kosova.
	Whatever happens, General Igor and his friends will
not have their own zone of occupation, at least under
the current arrangements. Many observers had feared that
any Russian zone would turn into a local version of the
ethnically-cleansed Republika Srpska, which would
attract the province's Serbs to settle but would not
welcome ethnic Albanians.
	Meanwhile, the Kosovars have been coming home in
droves despite the dangers of landmines (see "RFE/RL
Balkan Report," No. 24). On the military side, NATO now
has a document from the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) in
which the guerrillas pledge to demilitarize and
partially disarm according to a fixed time table.
	It is too early to tell whether the UCK will stick
to its word. But perhaps the most disturbing phenomenon
on the ground involves continuing reports from various
parts of Kosova regarding attacks on Serbian civilians,
abandoned Serbian property, and Serbian cultural
monuments, including historic churches. The big question
is whether these are isolated acts of revenge or
something more sinister.
	On the diplomatic front, three young prime
ministers have shown a willingness to look forward and
stress reconstruction and regional cooperation.
Macedonia's Ljubco Georgievski, Albania's Pandeli Majko,
and Hashim Thaci of the UCK's provisional government are
political products of the 1990s. (And when considering
those who belong to the new generation of Balkan
leaders, one might also add Montenegrin President Milo
Djukanovic and Macedonian Albanian leader Arben
Xhaferi.)
	Their taking office marks the end of an era in
which the political leadership rested--and that seems
truly the right word--with persons whose politically
formative years were under communism. Macedonia's
President Kiro Gligorov and the Kosovar shadow-state
leader Ibrahim Rugova have both made their marks on the
region's history, but time now seems to have passed them
by, along with their Tito-era styles.
	The main issue on the horizon, however, remains the
democratization of Serbia. The Serbs are the numerically
largest people of the former Yugoslavia and live at the
very center of the Balkans. They also have a stronger
democratic tradition than most of their neighbors. They
therefore cannot be "written off" as inherent
warmongers, any more than the Germans could after having
started and lost two World Wars. It is precisely the
example of post-1945 Germany that suggests that there is
ample time and opportunity for Serbia to reclaim its
democratic heritage and take its place politically as
well as geographically at the center of the Balkans.
	But NATO ended the war with a "Saddam Hussein
peace" that left in office a dictator who first came to
power by manipulating nationalist sentiments and after
10 years of economic downturn. Many Western leaders are
now predicting Milosevic's eventual demise, but not
necessarily in the coming weeks.
	Part of the reason for this is that the domestic
opposition presents no readily identifiable alternative
to Milosevic. Some opposition leaders have no large
followings, while others are tainted by a history of
opportunism or mercurial behavior. Still others are
extreme nationalists who might have no qualms about
launching new wars or waves of ethnic cleansing.
	Perhaps the most serious threat to Milosevic could
come from below, including from Serbs who lost their
homes as a result of his wars. That sort of discontent
could, however, as easily be harnessed by the extreme
nationalists as by democrats.
	In order to help promote a non-nationalist
alternative to Milosevic, some Western governments and
NGOs have actively begun to promote the democratization
of Serbia. This involves support for democratic
political forces and the independent media. It also
means launching the German-sponsored Balkan stability
pact for regional peace and development, which Serbia
will be welcome to join once it has rid itself of
Milosevic.
	A tantalizing prospect would be for the
international community to use its de facto protectorate
over Kosova to promote democracy in Serbia as a whole.
The province could become a center for a free and
vibrant Serbian press and independent electronic media.
NGO's and the opposition could also operate freely
there. Kosova could once again become a "cradle of
Serbian civilization."

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