Standing, as I do, in the view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone. - Edith Cavell 1865-1915 (Spoken to the chaplain who attended her before her execution by firing squad, 12 Oct. 1915.)
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 184, Part II, 21 September 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 184, Part II, 21 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

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES TO PROBE OPPOSITIONIST'S
DISAPPEARANCE

* KOSOVA LIBERATION ARMY ACCEPTS CIVILIAN ROLE

* PROTEST RALLIES PLANNED IN SERBIA, AS ACTIVISTS DETAINED IN
CENTRAL TOWN

End Note: MORALITY AND LOCAL POLITICS: THE CASE OF BULGARIA
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES TO PROBE OPPOSITIONIST'S
DISAPPEARANCE. The Minsk City Prosecutor's Office has
launched an investigation into the 16 September disappearance
of Viktar Hanchar, deputy speaker of the opposition Supreme
Soviet, and his friend Anatol Krasutski, Belarusian
Television reported on 20 September. The station echoed
allegations made by Ivan Pashkevich, deputy head of the
presidential staff, that Hanchar staged his own disappearance
to get more public attention. Earlier the same day, a group
of Supreme Soviet deputies marched to the presidential
administration building with a placard reading "Lukashenka!
Bring back Hanchar!" Amnesty International, meanwhile, issued
a statement saying that Hanchar and Krasutski "may be in
solitary confinement where they will be at risk of torture,
ill-treatment, or possible 'disappearance.'" JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS TO SEEK FAIR BALLOT. Nine
presidential candidates--Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr Moroz,
Oleksandr Tkachenko, Petro Symonenko, Volodymyr Oliynyk,
Oleksandr Rzhavskyy, Mykola Haber, Yuriy Karmazin, and
Oleksandr Bazylyuk--have signed an agreement on setting up an
independent center for counting votes in the 31 October
presidential elections. In a 20 September statement, the
signatories said they fear the current administration of
President Leonid Kuchma will rig the elections. Under the
agreement, a computer network will collect voting figures
from polling stations and compare it with official data
released by the Central Electoral Commission. JM

RUSSIAN EXTREMIST GROUP FOUNDED IN LATVIA. Some 20 people
attended the 19 September founding meeting of the
organization Limonka, named after leader of the Russian
National Bolsheviks Eduard Limonov. The organization aims to
assist the needy, arrange self-defense courses for its
members, and campaign against bankers, state officials, and
the U.S., according to LETA. The leader of the organization,
Konstantin Mauzer, estimates that the new part has 70-80
members throughout the country. Latvian officials are
currently considering the registration applications of
Limonka as well as Kolovrat, founded by alleged members of
the rival extremist Russian National Unity party (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 20 July 1999). MH

LITHUANIAN POLITICIANS ASSESS CABINET'S FIRST 100 DAYS.
Commenting on the first 100 days of Rolandas Paksas's
government, Deputy Chairwoman of the Conservative Party Rasa
Jukneviciene, of which Paksas is a member, described the
cabinet's achievements as "moderate," ELTA reported on 20
September. Parliamentary deputy Ceslovas Jursenas of the
opposition Democratic Labor Party (LDDP) criticized the
government for indecisiveness, while admitting that it
treated the country's problems "more soberly" than had
Gediminas Vagnorius's cabinet. Vagnorius, who is a member of
the Conservative Party, criticized Paksas's government for
"perilous financial populism," while President Valdas Adamkus
commented that "the government is realistic about the current
situation and looks for solutions." Paksas himself commented
that his government's goal is to promote a liberal business
environment and say "'no' to new taxes." MH

MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. During his visit to
Lithuania on 20-21 September, Ion Sturza met with President
Valdas Adamkus and discussed bilateral ties, especially
economic ones. Bilateral ties also featured prominently in
the meeting between Sturza and Prime Minister Paksas. The two
premiers signed an agreement on investment promotion and
protection, while the two countries' agricultural ministers
signed a cooperation agreement. Lithuanian exports to Moldova
in the first half of 1999 totaled 10 million litas ($2.5
million) and imports from that country 14 million litas. The
Moldovan delegation will continue its Baltic tour in Latvia
later this week. MH

POLISH OPPOSITION PARTY URGES COALITION TO RESIGN. Leszek
Miller, leader of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance
(SLD), has called on the ruling coalition of the Solidarity
Electoral Action (AWS) and the Freedom Union (UW) "to
acknowledge its incompetence and give up clinging to power at
any price," PAP reported on 21 September. Miller's appeal
came after a September poll showed a record 40 percent
backing for his party. Jacek Rybicki, deputy head of the AWS
caucus, commented that the "cynical methods of political
struggle demonstrated by Mr. Miller may turn against him." UW
Secretary Miroslaw Czech said the coalition will not give up
power, adding that the "SLD black propaganda" misrepresents
Poland's economic situation. JM

ANOTHER CZECH TOWN WANTS ANTI-ROMA WALL. The residents of an
apartment block in Vsetin, north Moravia, are considering
building a wall to separate them from a nearby block
inhabited by Roma, CTK reported on 19 September, citing Nova
television. The Roma oppose the move. Interior Minister
Vaclav Grulich said he would consider such a development
"unfortunate." He added that the planned wall in Usti nad
Labem has harmed Czech EU integration efforts. However,
unlike in Usti nad Labem, the Vsetin town council opposes
building the wall, CTK reported on 20 September. Also on 20
September, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Maurice Glele-
Ahanhanzo visited Usti nad Labem and talked to supporters and
opponents of the wall. He said that he will submit a report
to the UN Commission on Human Rights in March. MS

CZECH SOCIAL DEMOCRATS' REGIONAL BRANCH CALLS FOR MINISTER'S
RESIGNATION. The Central Bohemian Committee of the Social
Democratic Party (CSSD) on 20 September called for the
resignation of Deputy Premier Egon Lansky in connection with
his illegal bank account in Austria and his "inadequate
performance" in the cabinet, CTK reported. Prime Minister
Milos Zeman responded that the demand amounts to "criticism
from just one of the CSSD's many regional branches." He
stressed that he will take a decision after he sees the EU's
annual assessment of the Czech Republic's performance as well
as the report of the National Bank commission that is
investigating Lansky's illegal account. MS

CZECH GOVERNMENT APPROVES DEFICIT BUDGET. The cabinet on 20
September approved a second version of the 2000 draft budget,
which is based on a deficit of 39.8 billion crowns ($1.1
billion), revenues totaling 594 billion crowns, and
expenditures of 633.8 billion crowns. The draft foresees that
GDP will grow by 1.4 percent, compared with 1 percent in the
first version, CTK reported. MS

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT DECLINES TO RULE ON MECIAR'S SECRECY
OATH... The parliament's Constitutional Committee on 20
September turned down the request of chief police
investigator Jaroslav Ivor to relieve former Premier Vladimir
Meciar of his secrecy oath, SITA reported. Ivor wants Meciar
to testify about the 1995 abduction of former President
Michal Kovac's son and other infringements of the law by the
Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS). The committee ruled that
it is not within the parliament's prerogatives to relieve
Meciar of his oath; it proposed that the police apply to the
"relevant state authority." Ivor said he will turn to SIS
chief Vladimir Mitro. Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner
responded that "the hunger strike is under way," referring to
Meciar's 17 September threat to begin a hunger strike if
forced to testify. MS

...WHILE MECIAR SUPPORTERS APPEAL TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
OVER REFERENDUM. The organizers of the referendum drive
against the law on the use of minority languages in contacts
with the authorities and against the privatization of
"strategic enterprises" have asked the Constitutional Court
to overrule President Rudolf Schuster's decision not to call
a plebiscite on these laws, CTK reported. The Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia, the Slovak National Party, and the
Matica slovenska cultural organization accused Schuster of
having violated the basic rights and freedoms of the nearly
500,000 signatories in support of a referendum. MS

SLOVAK COALITION PARTNER WANTS NEW AGREEMENT. Deputy Premier
Pavol Hamzik said on Slovak Television on 19 September that
it is necessary to draw up a new coalition agreement and
replace some ministers, CTK reported. Hamzik, who heads the
Party of Slovak Understanding, said that the Slovak
Democratic Coalition (SDK) "no longer exists" and that SDK
chairman and Premier Mikulas Dzurinda cannot rely on any
parliamentary group for support. The next day, Hamzik joined
critics of Economy Minister Ludovit Cernak (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 10 and 14 September 1999). He told Radio Twist
that he intends to raise in the coalition council the issue
of Cernak's continued presence in the cabinet, which he
called "untenable." Also on 20 September, Democratic Party
Chairman Jan Langos commented that the time is "ripe" for
Cernak's dismissal. MS

HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS RECALL DEPUTY FROM COMMITTEE. The
parliamentary group of the opposition Socialist Party has
decided to recall Laszlo Paszternak as deputy chairman of the
parliament's Employment Committee because of involvement in
"unethical business deals," Hungarian media reported on 20
September The committee's Socialist chairman Laszlo Sandor,
who is also head of the National Trade Union Federation,
announced the same day that he will submit his resignation.
Paszternak bought land in his children's names at a resort
owned by the miners union, while Sandor was implicated in
Postabank's "VIP loans" scandal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10
August 1999). MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KOSOVA LIBERATION ARMY ACCEPTS CIVILIAN ROLE. Following tense
negotiations with UN and NATO officials in Prishtina on 20
September, leaders of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) agreed
to transform their force into a Kosova Protection Corps,
Reuters reported. NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark
flew to Kosova to help forge the deal, which had been held up
by disagreements over the role of the corps and the kind of
weapons to be kept by its members. UCK political leader
Hashim Thaci and UN Kosova chief Bernard Kouchner signed the
agreement, along with UCK Chief of Staff General Agim Ceku
and Kosova Force (KFOR) commander General Mike Jackson. Under
the agreement, the KLA will become the 5,000-member Kosovo
Protection Corps, and Ceku will be its commander. Only 200
members of the corps will be allowed to carry weapons. A new
insignia will also be worn on the uniforms of the corps,
replacing the UCK emblem. The corps will operate under the
supervision of the KFOR commander. PB

SOLANA HAILS AGREEMENT, MOSCOW FEELS IGNORED. NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana said in Toronto on 21 September that
the agreement marks "a milestone for the ongoing peace
implementation efforts" in Kosova, AP reported. He warned,
however, that anyone violating the weapons ban in the
province "willl be dealt with severely." Kouchner said "we
have to work all together to achieve not only the corps'
transformation but offering services to the people of
Kosovo." Belgrade strongly opposes the continued role of any
aspect of the UCK in Kosova. The Russian Foreign Ministry
said it has negative views on the "creation of paramilitary
or semi-military formations under any name on the basis of
the UCK," ITAR-TASS reported on 21 September. It added that
Moscow's position on the issue was "ignored." PB

SOME UN OFFICIALS SKEPTICAL OF NEW CORPS, AGREEMENT. While
many hailed the formal end of the UCK's existence as a
structured paramilitary organization, others voiced
skepticism. One unidentified UN official told AFP on 20
September that "we are satisfied that the UCK has handed in
10,000 arms even if we know they still have 100,000." There
were several reports of broken or very old weapons being
turned over to KFOR troops during the demilitarization.
Another UN source said "we know that some radical commanders
will not accept the new agreements." AFP also reported that
there is some friction between UCK political leader Thaci and
the head of the new corps, General Ceku. Thaci reportedly
opposed the idea of Ceku leading the civilian force. PB

PROTEST RALLIES PLANNED IN SERBIA, AS ACTIVISTS DETAINED IN
CENTRAL TOWN. Police arrested 12 members of the student
organization Otpor (Resistance) on 20 September in the town
of Kragujevac, Belgrade's Radio B2-92 reported. The students
were detained for organizing a protest against Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic and were later released. In Novi
Sad, Gordana Comic, leader of the Together caucus in the
Vojvodina parliamentary assembly, said a protest outside the
assembly building will be held on 21 September. She said the
people gathered there will "indict all those who have
mutilated Novi Sad and Vojvodina," BETA reported. In
Leskovac, the opposition coalition Alliance for Change said
it will begin daily protests on 21 September in the town's
main square. It added that the highlight of those protests
will be a mock trial of Milosevic and his wife, Mira
Markovic. Zoran Djindjic, a leader of the Alliance for
Change, said protests in 17 cities will be staggered and will
be aimed at reminding citizens of the damage Milosevic has
inflicted on the economy, the health care system, and
agriculture. PB

BOSNIAN SERB PREMIER MEETS WITH MILOSEVIC. Milorad Dodik, the
acting prime minister of the Republika Srpska, met with
Yugoslav President Milosevic in Belgrade on 20 September, the
Onasa news agency reported. No details of the meeting are
known. The meeting came a few days after Milosevic met with
ousted Srpska President Nikola Poplasen and the former
Serbian member of the Bosnian presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik.
PB

MONTENEGRO CHARGES YUGOSLAV PREMIER WITH PLANNING COUP.
Montenegrin Prosecutor-General Bozidar Vukcevic on 20
September filed criminal charges against Momir Bulatovic for
allegedly planning a military coup against Podgorica,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Vukcevic said in a
statement that the Yugoslav premier had proposed at an April
government meeting that the Yugoslav army "occupy" all media
institutions in Montenegro. Vukcevic said the idea had been
"tantamount to a putsch" and had jeopardized "state order"
and the constitution. Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic
has also said that Milosevic and his allies had planned a
coup in Montenegro. PB

SERBIAN BUSINESSES MOVING TO MONTENEGRO. Predrag Drecun,
Montenegro's labor minister, said on 20 September that more
than 1,000 Serbian businesses have relocated to his republic
in the last few months, Radio B2-92 reported, citing "Glas
Javnosti." Drecun said the companies moved because of "more
favorable trading conditions." He added that their total
value was some $70 million. PB

U.S. TEAM IN BOSNIA TO INVESTIGATE CORRUPTION. A delegation
from the U.S. arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina on 20 September
to investigate allegations of widespread corruption, AP
reported. Robert Frowick, one of the heads of the delegation,
met with Bosnian co-Premier Haris Siljdzic upon arriving in
Sarajevo. Frowick said the mission is a fact-finding trip on
behalf of the U.S. congress. He said the group would also
look into reports on the failure of the government to collect
taxes and customs revenues. In other news, 15 bodies were
exhumed from a mass grave near Sarajevo on 19 September. They
are believed to be Muslims killed by Serbian soldiers in June
1992. More than 24,000 people are still missing from the
Bosnian wars. PB

TUDJMAN DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM BOSNIAN CROAT WAR VETERANS.
The office of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman said on 20
September that the president was unaware that he was to be
awarded a medal from a Bosnian Croat army branch, AP
reported. The Association of Homeland War Volunteers and
Veterans issued "medals of gratitude" to Tudjman and late
Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak at a ceremony in Siroki
Brijeg on 18 September. Also given an award was Mladen "Tuta"
Naletilic, currently wanted by the war crimes tribunal in The
Hague. He is being held in Zagreb. Tudjman's office added
that no one was sent on the president's behalf to accept the
medal. PB

ISRAELI ARMS SMUGGLER INDICTED IN ROMANIA. The Prosecutor-
General's Office on 20 September said it is indicting Shimon
Naor for smuggling arms to two unnamed African countries that
are on the UN embargo list, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. Naor, who is of Romanian origin, had faked orders
from the Sudanese embassy in Bucharest. Naor's accomplices,
two Romanians and one Moldovan, will also be indicted. The
Burundi honorary consul in Romania is being investigated
under suspicion of involvement in the ring. MS

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE TO PREDOMINATE IN MOLDOVAN ELECTRONIC
MEDIA. As of 1 January 2000, 65 percent of all programs
broadcast by all Moldovan radio and television companies must
be in the official state language, Infotag reported on 20
September, quoting Alexei Chubashenko, chairman of the
National Board for the Electronic Media. Violators of that
regulation will receive punishments ranging from a warning to
loss of their broadcasting license. The regulations will not
apply to foreign broadcasters, cable and satellite
television, or media outlets in areas that have large ethnic
minorities. MS

END NOTE

MORALITY AND LOCAL POLITICS: THE CASE OF BULGARIA

By Michael Shafir

	With no fewer 96 parties competing in next month's local
elections, observers who are unfamiliar with politics in
Bulgaria might be misled into concluding that the ballot's
stakes are high. Those more familiar with Bulgarian reality
see it otherwise.
	 Take Prime Minister Ivan Kostov. Addressing journalists
in Pernik on 12 September, he described the upcoming
elections as "a political flea market." What Kostov "forgot"
to mention was that his Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), as
the strongest parliamentary group represented in the
legislature, is responsible for the abundance of parties.
Having postponed until this fall the passage of a new law on
political parties that might have cut the number of
formations eligible to compete to around 10, Kostov's party
unwittingly brought about the current state of affairs.
	Many see the current contest as one between the ruling
United Democratic Forces (ODS) and the opposition, among
which the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is the most
prominent formation. Apart from the SDS, the ODS includes the
Bulgarian Agrarian Union, the People's Union, and the
Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. This alliance won the 1997
parliamentary elections but has since been weakened by the
late 1998 split in the Social Democratic Party, a wing of
which--led by Petar Dertliev--left the ODS and joined the
opposition.
	That rift, however, is unlikely to play a major role in
the local elections, since Dertliev has almost no followers.
More significant was the departure from the ODS of the ethnic
Turkish Initiative Committee for Renewal, which was recently
renamed National Movements for Rights and Freedom (NDPS). But
the NDPS will mainly be competing against the rival Movement
for Rights of Freedom (DPS), headed by Ahmed Dogan, for the
Turkish vote. Furthermore, NDPS leader Gyuner Tahir has
already said that in those constituencies where his party is
not fielding candidates, it will support the ODS.
	The ODS's goal is clear: to repeat its success at the
1997 parliamentary ballot. Local elections were last held in
Bulgaria in 1995: at that time, the BSP won 194 mayoralties,
the DPS 26, independents 17, the ODS 15, and the Business
Bloc two. Viewed from this perspective, the slogan chosen by
the BSP for the local elections "It Is Our Turn [to Win]" is
undoubtedly misleading. In fact, the slogan makes sense only
if seen against the background of the BSP's defeat in the
1997 parliamentary elections.
	But local elections are never a mirror of general
elections; rather, they are often decided by strictly local
issues and by local politicians who opt to ignore the
interests of the "center" and to form alliances that may not
conform with what the "center" would like to see. Moreover,
local government is still weak in Bulgaria. Whatever the
outcome of the October contest, it will have virtually no
impact on the central government.
	According to a survey conducted by the MBDM polling
institute and published in the daily "24 Chasa" on 9
September, the ODS will gain 27 percent backing and the BSP
just 16 percent. Three days later, "Demokratsiya" published a
poll by the Alpha Research Institute suggesting that the ODS
will receive 32 percent of the vote and the BSP 17 percent.
	This is good news for the ruling alliance, although not
as good as it might have wished. The Alpha poll had the ODS
winning six out of the Bulgaria's 10 largest towns. SDS Chief
Secretary Hristo Bisserov, speaking to journalists on 7
September, said the BSP "stands no chance in any of the large
towns" and that the party will be "marginalized."
	Should that prove the case, the question would arise as
to what extent it reflects pre-electoral maneuvering. In
June, the ODS amended the law on local elections to stipulate
that in localities with a population of less than 500, mayors
will no longer be elected but appointed by the local district
council. Depriving some voters of the right to exercise their
democratic privilege is quite unacceptable, even if it is
justified by budgetary constraints, as the ODS claims. Even
Vice President Todor Kavaldjiev criticized the amendment. For
all its drawbacks, however, the measure cannot be viewed as
disadvantageous for the opposition.
	The BSP contested the amendment at the Constitutional
Court and lost. It also challenged the provision obliging
candidates to state whether they were informers for, or on
the payroll of, the communist secret police. That
requirement, the BSP claimed, infringes on constitutional
rights. But the court did not support that view, arguing that
the provision does not disqualify former informers or members
of the secret police from running and stating that its
"essence" was to be found its "moral character."
	Indeed, when it comes to morality, the BSP does have a
problem. Whether many Bulgarians care about morality
nowadays, having long suffered the economic hardships of a
legacy with which the BSP itself is identified, is another
question--one that for the time being remains unanswered.

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