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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 171, Part II, 2 September 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 171, Part II, 2 September 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 PREMIER SACKS DEPUTY OVER ALLEGED SECRET SERVICE TIES

* CROATIA TO EXTRADITE 'TUTA'

* U.K. POLICE FIND 50 BODIES IN GARBAGE DUMP

End Note: LENNART MERI: 'A LIFE FOR ESTONIA'
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

LUKASHENKA STRESSES ECONOMY IN BELARUS-RUSSIA UNION.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 1 September
admitted that the current draft treaty on a union with Russia
does not provide for a full union state, Reuters reported.
"There is no union state [in the draft], but this is what we,
or rather Russia, can afford today," he said. Lukashenka
stressed that economics rather than politics should form the
backbone of the future treaty. "Primarily, equal conditions
for companies and organizations must be put into practice,"
Interfax quoted Lukashenka as saying. The Belarusian
president added that a supplement of a "purely economic
nature" was drawn up for the treaty and that the supplement
"must be reflected in Russian law the way it was done in
Belarus." JM

BELARUS INTRODUCES 5 MILLION RUBLE NOTE. Beginning 6
September, Belarus's National Bank will put into circulation
a banknote worth 5 million Belarusian rubles or some $10,
according to the street exchange rate. Four months ago, the
bank introduced a banknote worth 1 million rubles. JM

KUCHMA URGES 'CENTRIST PARTY POLICY.' Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma told a 31 August meeting of the political bloc
Our Choice--Leonid Kuchma! that he advocates a "centrist
party policy," Interfax reported. "Establishing centrist
politics and a middle class will signify a breakthrough
toward a better life and pulling Ukraine out of the crisis,"
Kuchma noted. He said that Ukraine has 76 registered
political parties but most people do not want to join any of
them. In his opinion, Our Choice--Leonid Kuchma! could become
instrumental in forming a government coalition and a
parliamentary majority after the presidential elections.
According to Yevhen Kushnarov, coordinator of the pro-Kuchma
bloc, 19 parties with a combined membership of 800,000 belong
to the grouping. JM

UKRAINE, CZECH REPUBLIC SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION DEAL. On 1
September in Kyiv, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk
and his Czech counterpart, Vladimir Vetchy, signed a protocol
on cooperation in military aviation, CTK reported. Vetchy said
Ukraine could supply engines for the new Czech L-159 plane.
Vetchy added that Ukraine has a lot of experience in the
production of aviation engines. He noted that U.S.'s Boeing
company, the Czech Republic's strategic partner in the L-159
project, has been consulted about Ukraine's possible
cooperation. JM

ESTONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER PLANS SHAKE-UP. "Eesti Paevaleht"
on 2 September reported that Interior Minister Juri Mois is
planning a major reorganization at the Interior Ministry. The
daily said the plan entails halving the ministry's workforce,
curtailing the autonomy of the various departments under the
ministry, and abolishing three deputy under-secretary posts.
Stressing the need to move quickly due to a cut of 70 million
kroons ($4.7 million) in the ministry's 2000 budget, Mois
said he believes the move will double the efficiency of the
ministry's work. MH

ESTONIAN CHIEF-OF-STAFF RESIGNS. Major General Ants Laaneots
officially submitted his resignation on 31 August. Earlier the
same month, Laaneots had announced his intention to quit that
post, saying he had accepted a teaching post at the Baltic
Defense College in Tartu. MH

LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES NATO INTEGRATION PLAN. The
Lithuanian government on 1 September approved the country's
NATO Integration plan. Stating that the plan contains
specific measures aimed at securing Lithuania's NATO
membership, a high ranking Foreign Ministry official said
Lithuania will "act jointly with NATO in preparing Lithuania
for membership in the alliance," BNS reported. The document,
which is classified, covers various areas, including
military, political, legal, economic, and information
protection. MH

POLISH PREMIER SACKS DEPUTY OVER ALLEGED SECRET SERVICE TIES.
Jerzy Buzek has dismissed Deputy Premier and Interior
Minister Janusz Tomaszewski, PAP informed on 1 September.
Buzek said he lost trust in Tomaszewski after the latter
refused to confirm whether his lustration statement is
currently being examined by the Lustration Court. Polish
media recently alleged that Tomaszewski's statement denying
his collaboration with Communist-era secret services has been
queried and sent to the Lustration Court for examination (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 31 August 1999). Tomaszewski told TVN
Television the same day that he was never a Communist secret
service collaborator, otherwise he "would have [resigned]
much earlier or even refused to join the government
altogether." JM

EU COMMISSIONER-DESIGNATE SAYS CZECHS MUST ABOLISH BENES
DECREES... Guenter Verheugen, EU commissioner designate for
enlargement, told the European Parliament on 1 September that
the process of Czech integration into the union "could
benefit" if the Czech parliament were to declare that the
1945 Benes decrees on expelling Germans are "obsolete," CTK
reported. The Czech government has already made such a
declaration. Speaking at his confirmation hearings, Verheugen
warned against hastiness in admitting new members and against
"unfeasible promises." He said he considers the membership of
Slovakia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria to be conditional on the
closure of those country's obsolete nuclear plants. MS

...WHILE CZECH EU NEGOTIATOR FEARS DERAILING OF 'FAST-TRACK'
TALKS. In an interview with Reuters on 1 September, Deputy
Foreign Minister Pavel Telicka warned that unless the Czech
Republic continues the course it embarked on several months
ago, the EU's negotiations with the "fast track" countries
"could definitely become 4 plus 1, not 5 plus 1." Telicka,
who is the chief Czech negotiator with the EU, said that EU
warnings are "taken very seriously" and that "it would be
unfair to derail the Czech bid just now, as problems begin to
be resolved." He said the EU's dissatisfaction with the Czech
Republic's performance stemmed from "long delays in preparing
legislation, a deep recession that has thrown economic reform
into doubt while other candidates show growth, and a Czech
image problem in Brussels." MS

PRO-DZURINDA APPEAL LAUNCHED IN SLOVAKIA. Some 70 prominent
members of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) published
an appeal to the party's leadership on 1 September,
Slovakia's Constitution Day, demanding a halt to debates on
the future of the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), CTK
reported. The signatories, who are KDH mayors, managers, and
senior civil servants, said that the dispute on the SDK's
future weakens the coalition's position in the government at
a time when Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda is facing the
"historical task of coping with the transition from Meciarism
to democracy and prosperity." The premier, they said, should
not be "obstructed, but helped." The SDK has been torn by the
conflict between Dzurinda and KDH leader Jan Carnogursky, who
wants the SDK to return to being a loose alliance of its
individual components, of which the KDH is the strongest. MS

SLOVAK MONUMENT DEFACED BY HUNGARIAN GRAFFITI. Unknown
perpetrators in Bradlo, western Slovakia, have defaced a
memorial to Milan Rastislav Stefanik, co-founder of
Czechoslovakia, by writing anti-Slovak graffiti in Hungarian
on it, CTK reported on 31 August. The graffiti reads "The
Slovak is not a human being." The opposition Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia said the blame must be taken by the
Hungarian Coalition Party, whose "escalating demands," it
argued, demonstrate "racism, chauvinism, and provocation." MS

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS AMENDMENT TO PRIVATIZATION LAW.
Dzurinda's cabinet on 30 August withdrew from the
parliament's agenda an amendment to the Privatization Act
that would have allowed the privatization of large-scale
enterprises, SITA reported. The Party of the Democratic Left,
a member of the ruling coalition, insists that the state must
keep a 51 percent stake in those enterprises. Several rounds
of debate among cabinet members failed to achieve a
compromise. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CROATIA TO EXTRADITE 'TUTA.' The Zagreb County Court ruled on
2 September that there are no legal obstacles to sending
indicted war criminal Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic to The Hague
for trial (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 August 1999). The court
said in a statement that it has "decided to comply with the
International Criminal Tribunal's demand for the handover of
indicted...Tuta [because] legal conditions [for doing so]
have been fulfilled." Tuta told the court the previous day
that he is guilty of the charges "only if defending one's
homeland is a crime." The U.S. had threatened Croatia with
sanctions if it did not agree to extradite Tuta and provide
documents that the tribunal has requested. PM

HAGUE COURT: TUDJMAN NOT INDICTED. In The Hague, tribunal
spokesman Paul Risley said on 1 September that Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman is "not under a sealed indictment"
at present. The announcement came in response to repeated
speculation in the Croatian and international media that the
tribunal may have issued a secret indictment against Tudjman
in conjunction with Croatian policies in Bosnia during the
1992-1995 war (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 27 July 1999).
Observers note that it will nonetheless be interesting to see
whether Tudjman undertakes any foreign travel in the coming
weeks. PM

HOLBROOKE: UCK MUST DISARM BY 19 SEPTEMBER. U.S. Ambassador
to the UN Richard Holbrooke said in Sarajevo on 1 September
that he recently told ethnic Albanian leaders in Prishtina
that the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) must meet its 19
September disarmament deadline (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30
August 1999). Holbrooke added that he warned General Agim
Ceku, who heads the UCK's general staff, that KFOR commander
General Sir Michael Jackson has the legal right to "take all
necessary measures" if the UCK does not comply. In Prishtina,
Ceku told "Koha Ditore" that he will meet all his obligations
under the UCK's agreement with NATO. He asked, however, that
NATO give him a 10-day extension to complete the
"transformation" of the UCK from a fighting force to its
post-war role (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 August 1999). He
added that 5,000 out of the present 20,000 guerrillas will
enter a new Kosovar National Guard, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. PM

U.K. POLICE FIND 50 BODIES IN GARBAGE DUMP. British Foreign
Secretary Robin Cook told the UCK's Hashim Thaci in London on
2 September that the U.K. expects the UCK to meet its
disarmament deadline. Thaci replied: "There is nothing
perfect in this world. But I'm more than sure we will work in
accordance with the agreement we've signed," AP reported.
Cook also said that British KFOR police have found 50 bodies
in a garbage dump in Ljubidza and are investigating. Cook
promised to send all evidence to the Hague tribunal. The
latest discovery brings to a total of 200 the number of
bodies found by British KFOR in mass graves in their central
sector. PM

UCK MOVING TOWARD COMPROMISE ON RAHOVEC? On 1 September,
Thaci met with local ethnic Albanians in Rahovec, where
civilians have blocked the main road for more than one week
in an effort to prevent Russian peacekeepers from taking up
positions in the town. He expressed support for the roadblock
but also told his hosts: "In the town of Rahovec you won't
have Russian soldiers, but we can't guarantee that for the
whole municipality and the whole thing is not definite yet."
Local Albanians firmly oppose any Russian presence in the
area, including in Serb-inhabited communities. PM

TENSIONS MOUNT IN GRACANICA. A dozen or so Serbs set up a
roadblock in Gracanica near Prishtina on 1 September to
protest what they said was the recent kidnapping of a local
Serb by ethnic Albanians. An ethnic Albanian doctor said the
next day that an unspecified number of Serbs and Roma "beat
up" five ethnic Albanians and the Bulgarian wife of one of
the Albanians near the roadblock. The road-block protest
continued on 2 September. Gracanica has a Serbian majority
and is home to an important medieval Serbian Orthodox
monastery. Elsewhere, Reuters reported from Paris that Kosova
Serb leader Momcilo Trajkovic told "L'Humanite" that UN
administrator Bernard Kouchner "has failed" to protect Serbs
in Kosova. PM

NAUMANN: MILOSEVIC PLANNED TO EXPEL ALL ALBANIANS. German
General Klaus Naumann, who headed NATO's military affairs
committee until his retirement in May, said in Brussels on 1
September that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic told him
he planned to expel all ethnic Albanians from Kosova in his
recent Operation Horseshoe campaign, Belgrade's "Danas"
reported. Milosevic told Naumann and Supreme Commander Europe
General Wesley Clark in Belgrade before NATO's bombing
campaign began that he intended to "solve the Kosova problem
once and for all." Naumann said in Brussels that he realized
at that time that NATO could not sit by and watch the mass
expulsion of Kosovars, "much as we sat back during the [1991
Serbian] shelling of Dubrovnik." In Washington on 1
September, Clark said that Milosevic made peace in June
because his intelligence sources told him that a NATO ground
attack was imminent, AP reported. PM

MILOSEVIC FREES AUSTRIALIAN CARE WORKERS. Milosevic pardoned
two Australian employees of the international aid
organization CARE on 1 September. A Serbian spokesman said
that the release of the men, who have been held since late
March on charges of spying, came in response to appeals by
ethnic Serbs living in Australia. Former Australian Prime
Minister Malcolm Fraser and former South African President
Nelson Mandela have also appealed to Belgrade for their
release. In Atlanta in the U.S., a CARE spokesman said that
the organization will not resume its activities in Serbia
until Belgrade frees the two Australians' Serbian colleague,
who remains in prison. PM

CLINTON, HOLBROOKE HAIL BOSNIAN NATIONAL DAY. Holbrooke
announced in Sarajevo on 1 September that the three members
of the joint Bosnian presidency have agreed that 21 November
will be Bosnia's first national holiday. The date marks the
conclusion in 1995 of the Dayton peace agreement, of which
Holbrooke was the principal architect. In Auburn, N.Y., U.S.
President Bill Clinton congratulated Bosnia on its new
holiday. He added that the Dayton agreement is "the beginning
of a new country and a blueprint for its future." PM

NATO STARTS NEW MISSION IN ALBANIA. At Tirana airport on 1
September, NATO's General John Reith formally announced the
end of the Atlantic alliance's mission to help Albania cope
with the Kosovar refugee influx. AFOR, as the mission was
known, will be followed by a new Italian-led force, called
COMMZ W (Communication Zone West). Italy will contribute
1,400 soldiers to the 2,400-strong contingent under the
command of General Pietro Frisone. The purpose of the new
mission will be to provide support for KFOR and to show
NATO's commitment to securing social stability in Albania. PM

AIDE TO CHALLENGE ALBANIA'S BERISHA. Genc Pollo, who is a
long-time spokesman for the Democratic Party and its leader
Sali Berisha, said in Tirana on 1 September that he intends to
challenge Berisha for the party chair. Pollo said that he
wants to "present a serious and credible alternative" to
Berisha at home and abroad. The vote will take place at the
party congress on 30 September. Many observers regard Berisha
as combative and at least partly responsible for the high
degree of polarization that characterizes Albanian politics.
Both Berisha and Pollo have their roots in the former
communist-era nomenklatura and are highly educated. Pollo
studied in Austria and is fluent in English and German. PM

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY ON VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY. Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Simona Miculescu on 1 September warned
that the ministry might be forced to minimize its activities
unless its budget is supplemented by 187 billion lei (nearly
$10 million) in the immediate future. Miculescu said the
ministry might be forced to cut diplomatic representation by
25-30 percent, leaving only "skeleton staff" at
representations abroad, and officially notify international
organizations such as the UN and the Council of Europe that
it is unable to pay fees. MS

MAUSOLEUM DEMOLITION DOMINATES NEW SESSION OF BULGARIAN
PARLIAMENT. Opening the fall-winter session of the Bulgarian
parliament on 1 September, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov said
that immediate priorities of his cabinet are to ensure a
"low-key" and "correct" campaign for the October local
elections and to receive an invitation at the EU Helsinki
summit in December to open accession talks. Criticizing the
government, Socialist Party leader Georgi Parvanov said the
"new political season" is dominated by the "confrontation
policies" of the cabinet, which, he said, are reflected in
the amended local election law and the demolition of the
Dimitrov mausoleum. Alliance for National Salvation deputy
Kemal Eyup said "the Berlin wall was destroyed to unify
Germany, whereas the mausoleum was destroyed to divide
Bulgaria" because the government is "frightened by any
political situation other than a bipolar one," BTA reported.
MS

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY. The
parliament on 1 September ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test Ban Treaty, which Bulgaria signed in September 1996, BTA
reported. One day earlier, Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev
said that next week the government will debate the plan for
restructuring the country's defense forces. Under that plan,
those forces will be halved by 2004 to 45,000 troops. Ananiev
noted that by that date, Bulgaria will have 590 generals and
colonels, 1,250 lieutenant-colonels, 1,950 majors, and 4,500
officers of lower rank. A total of 62,120 personnel will be
discharged, including 10,620 officers, 12,530 sergeants,
18,630 soldiers, and 20,340 civilian employees. MS

END NOTE

LENNART MERI: 'A LIFE FOR ESTONIA'

By Jan Cleave

	In February 1991, Hungarian-born journalist Andreas
Oplatka visited Estonia to interview the then foreign
minister of that country. Returning there in July 1997 and
again in January 1998, Oplatka was granted permission to
record extended conversations with the same interlocutor, who
had since been elected and re-elected president. Out of those
conversations was born "Lennart Meri: Ein Leben fuer Estland"
[Lennart Meri: A Life for Estonia] (Verlag Neue Zuercher
Zeitung: Zuerich, 1999).
	As Oplatka explains in his introduction, the intention
of everyone involved in the book's publication was to render
not only Meri's life story but also the history of 20th
century Estonia. Consequently, "A Life for Estonia" is both
an autobiography and, to use Meri's own term, a chronology.
Reminiscences, anecdotes, and digressions are all on hand,
revealing the inner world of the memoirist. At the same time,
the chronology--the account of the world that the memoirist
inhabits--is faithfully adhered to, defining the book's
structure and, to a certain extent, its tenor.
	That Meri is supremely qualified to render this
"Estonian chronology" is beyond doubt. By his own admission,
he was "born into the history" of his country, and by
universal acknowledgment, he has played a major role in
shaping that history. His depiction of pre-World War II
Estonia is based to a large extent on the experiences of his
father, who fought against the Red Army in 1919 and later
became a high-ranking diplomat, holding posts in Berlin and
Paris in the 1930s before returning to Estonia shortly before
the outbreak of war. Through his father's first-hand
knowledge of events in Moscow and Tallinn during the summer
of 1939, when Lennart Meri was just 10 years old, the reader
is presented with a behind-the-scenes account of the futile
struggle of a small, inexperienced, and, in Lennart Meri's
own estimation, naive country about to be sacrificed to the
Soviet Union.
	Beginning with the year 1945, when the Meri family
returned to Estonia following four years of enforced exile in
Russia, Lennart Meri gives his own eye-witness account of
Estonian history. His student years at Tartu University
(where he proved masterful at passing exams in Marxist-
Leninism with minimal preparation), his early career as a
radio journalist and author of travelogues, his writings on
the origins of the Estonian people and his films on Finno-
Ugric communities (for which he came to be regarded as a
"bourgeois nationalist"), and his growing involvement in
politics in the late 1980s--all these are described within
the context of major developments in postwar Soviet Union and
their direct impact on Estonia.
	Meri is a gifted raconteur who tells his story, as well
as that of Estonia, in a matter-of-fact manner--one that
allows the autobiographical and the chronological to merge
effortlessly. Characteristically, his description of the
family's exile in Russia focuses on the Russian countryside,
its peoples, and the means of survival, rather than the
sufferings and deprivations that he and his family
experienced. By the same token, he often chooses to highlight
the absurdities of Soviet rule, rather than dwelling on its
gloomier manifestations, thereby revealing his renowned sense
of humor. Particularly memorable is Meri's discovery of his
own name on "ersatz" toilet paper in the "gentlemen's room"
at Estonian state radio; that paper turned out to be the
protocol of a Communist Party meeting at which Meri's
"nationalist" inclinations had been discussed at length.
	At the other end of the emotional spectrum, however,
Meri repeatedly sounds a somber note in recalling how the
"double standards" (Doppelmoral) of Western democracies led
to the acceptance of a divided Europe after World War II.
Implicit in those reminders is a warning about the possible
ramifications if the West again chooses not to defend the
principles that it espouses. Against the background of the
Baltic States' current bid to become members of NATO, Meri's
descriptions of how he and other Estonians viewed Western
inaction over the Soviet interventions in Budapest, Prague,
and Afghanistan are especially resonant.
	Indeed, were Estonian diplomats looking for a few brief
paragraphs to promote their country's bid to join the
Atlantic alliance, they would be hard pressed to find more
eloquent ones than those with which the book concludes: "If
one sacrifices even a small country against its will, then
one also sacrifices principles," Meri argues. "Now is not the
best time in Europe to talk about principles. Most people
would rather hear about material goods.... However, well-
being and harmony...are linked to principles that democracies
must never give up. That Europe will remain Europe only as
long this connection is understood and respected, that is our
common problem of the next century."
	Published to coincide with Meri's 70th birthday earlier
this year, "A Life for Estonia" is a fitting tribute to that
country's president as his second term in office begins to
near its end. Readers may regret that more space was not
devoted to Meri's experiences as head of state and to
Estonia's transition following the regaining of independence,
not least because of the obvious parallels--to which Meri
himself alludes--between this period and the interwar one.
Many will also regret, particularly in view of the book's
scope, that no index is provided. This latter omission could
easily be rectified, however, should the book appear in
translation, which it indisputably deserves to do.

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