Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced. - Henry David Thoreau
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 196, Part II, 7 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 196, Part II, 7 October 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

* BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES CONTINUE TO PUT PRESSURE ON
INDEPENDENT MEDIA

* LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES PARTIAL IGNALINA SHUTDOWN

* VOJVODINA MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF 'YOGURT REVOLUTION'

End Note: A TIME FOR SERGEANTS
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES CONTINUE TO PUT PRESSURE ON
INDEPENDENT MEDIA. Minsk tax inspectors have requested that
the State Press Committee close the independent weekly
"Belaruskaya maladzyozhnaya," Belapan and RFE/RL's Belarusian
Service reported on 6 October. According to those inspectors,
the weekly's editorial office is not located at the official
address that it registered with the committee, which, they
said, violates the press law. Tatsyana Melnichuk, chief
editor of "Belaruskaya maladzyozhnaya," said she was told in
a private conversation with a tax inspector that there is "an
instruction from the top" to close down the weekly.
"Belaruskaya maladzyozhnaya" appeared in 1994 and was run by
radio journalists after the authorities closed down the radio
station of the same name. JM

PACE LAYS DOWN CONDITIONS FOR READMISSION OF BELARUS.
Wolfgang Behrendt, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe for Belarus, said in Minsk on 6
October that Belarus can regain its special guest status in
the PACE only after fulfilling three conditions. According to
Behrendt, Belarus must hold free and democratic parliamentary
elections in 2000, increase the powers of the parliament, and
improve its human rights record. Behrendt said the election
code currently discussed in Belarus's National Assembly must
be improved, and he offered help from Strasbourg experts.
Behrendt also expressed concern over the disappearance of
prominent oppositionists in Belarus. "How was this possible
in a country where state control over all the spheres of
public life is so extremely strong?" RFE/RL's Belarusian
Service quoted him as saying. JM

UKRAINE'S VITRENKO CONFIDENT SHE'LL REACH RUNOFF AGAINST
KUCHMA. In her first news conference since the 2 October
grenade attack, presidential candidate Natalya Vitrenko said
in Kyiv on 6 October that she hopes to defeat President
Leonid Kuchma in the second round of the presidential
elections, scheduled for 14 November. "I know that in the
final stage I will have a fierce fight with Leonid Kuchma,"
she noted, having dismissed the other candidates as "weak
politicians." Vitrenko said she does not accuse anybody of
staging the attempt on her life, but she added that
"practically" all other candidates are interested in removing
her from the political arena. JM

PACE SAYS UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE 'NOT FULLY OPEN OR
FAIR.' Anne Severinsen, PACE rapporteur for Ukraine, said at
a meeting with parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko in
Kyiv on 6 October that the presidential campaign in Ukraine
"has so far not been fully open or fair," Interfax reported.
Severinsen cited threats to presidential candidates and
journalists, administration interference in the election
campaign, and unequal media access for candidates. She asked
President Kuchma "to guarantee freedom of the press" in
Ukraine and, in particular, to ban tax inspectors from
investigating media outlets until after the presidential
ballot. Kuchma's spokesman Oleksandr Martynenko said the
PACE's recommendation will be carefully studied, but he
dismissed the monitor's conclusions as superficial, Reuters
reported. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ASKS VOTERS TO MAKE 'ONLY RIGHT CHOICE'
ON 31 OCTOBER. The Supreme Council on 6 October appealed to
the Ukrainian people to make the "only right choice" in the
31 October presidential ballot. That choice, they said, is
one of "your conscience and reason." The appeal accused
Kuchma and his entourage of violating the principle of equal
possibilities for all candidates in the campaign and of
monopolizing the state-controlled media. Ukraine's economy is
"a ruin on which only a handful of oligarchs and state
officials flourish...thanks to preferences granted to them by
the president," it added. JM

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES PARTIAL IGNALINA SHUTDOWN. The
Lithuanian parliament on 5 October approved the government's
energy strategy for 2000-2005, which calls for the closure of
the first unit at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant by 2005.
The measure, which passed by a 63 to 31 vote, is conditional
on foreign assistance, Reuters reported. During the heated
session, former Premier Gediminas Vagnorius called for the
document to be further revised to ensure foreign funding
support for the shutdown before setting a timetable, but the
measure was defeated. The next energy strategy, due in 2004,
will deal with the fate of the second unit at Ignalina. The
implementation plan for the 2000-2005 strategy will be
submitted in March 2000, according to BNS. MH

LITHUANIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER EXPLAINS IRANIAN OIL STORY.
Under pressure from the media, the parliament, and the
government, Eugenijus Maldeikis explained on 6 October that
his comments about purchasing Iranian crude oil have been
"blown out of proportion," BNS reported. Maldeikis had
suggested that Lithuania will discuss crude purchases from
Iran(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 October 1999). He explained
that there have been no negotiations, just an "elementary
general discussion." Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas,
apparently caught off guard by the comments on Iran, stressed
that Lithuania has not held and will not be holding talks
with Iran over crude purchases. The parliamentary Foreign
Affairs Committee is also calling for an inquiry into
Maldeikis's comments. MH

POLISH COALITION CONTINUE TO DISCUSS CABINET CHANGES. The
Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) and the Freedom Union are
continuing talks on the restructuring of Jerzy Buzek's
cabinet, PAP reported on 6 October. AWS leader Marian
Krzaklewski said the coalition will continue in office until
its term ends in 2001 and added he does not believe there
will be early parliamentary elections. Krzaklewski also said
the coalition has considered several options for a cabinet
reshuffle but did not discuss a change of the prime minister.
Meanwhile, a September survey by the OBOP polling agency
showed that 68 percent of respondents believe Poland has
taken a "wrong turn." A late September survey by the CBOS
polling agency said Jerzy Buzek's cabinet has only 16 percent
support, down from 24 percent in July. JM

CZECH ROMA CONTINUE PROTEST IN USTI NAD LABEM. Romany
protesters from Usti nad Labem and other Czech towns
continued their protest on 6 October against the construction
of the wall that would separate Roma from other residents,
CTK reported. Ondrej Gina, spokesman for the association of
Romany regional representatives, said the Roma intend to take
their case to the Constitutional Court. He also said that
they are advised on legal matters by the Budapest-based
Center for Romany Rights. Gina said he has received a fax
from former South African President Nelson Mandela, which he
considers to be "great encouragement." The Novy Bor Cultural
Union of Roma issued a statement demanding that the
parliament use "all constitutional means" to stop the
construction of the fence. Otherwise, the statement said,
"hundreds of Roma" will travel to the site and "violate the
law." MS

CZECH PRESIDENT ADDRESSES HOLOCAUST CONFERENCE. "Czech
skinheads who shout Nazi slogans do not realize that if
Nazism had prevailed, they would not exist," Vaclav Havel
told a conference on the Jewish and Romany Holocaust in
Prague on 6 October. Havel said that "whoever denies the past
or casts doubt on it, be it an American neo-Nazi, a member of
the German Witiko-Bund, or a Czech skinhead, is equally
dangerous to democracy." Karel Holomek, chairman of the
Association of Moravian Roma, said the Romany Holocaust
remains "relatively unknown" both because the communist
regime's policy was assimilationist and because of a "deep-
rooted aversion toward Roma in Czech society, which refuses
to admit that Roma suffered owing to their cultural
difference during World War II." MS

U.S. FIRST LADY IN SLOVAKIA. Hillary Rodham Clinton met with
President Rudolf Schuster and Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda
in Bratislava on 6 October, AP reported. Clinton encouraged
the government to continue to work for the improvement of the
situation of the country's national minorities. She said that
by signing an agreement with Hungary on reconstructing the
bridge linking the two countries over the River Danube, "you
are making a statement about the world Slovakia wants to be
part of." MS

SLOVAKIA APPROVES PLAN FOR JOINING NATO. The government on 6
October approved the National Program for NATO Accession,
which is based on the Membership Action Plan approved by NATO
at its summit in Washington earlier this year. Foreign
Minister Eduard Kukan told journalists that Slovakia "is
interested in becoming a NATO member as soon as possible." He
added that U.S. President Bill Clinton promised Dzurinda that
Slovakia's accession could take place by 2001. Jan Figel and
Jozef Pivarci, state secretaries in the Foreign and Defense
Ministries, are to submit the plan to NATO headquarters in
Brussels on 11 October and NATO is to assess it by March, CTK
reported. MS

HUNGARIAN PARTIES WITHDRAW FROM BY-ELECTIONS. Istvan Csurka,
chairman of the extreme-right Hungarian Justice and Life
Party (MIEP), announced on 6 October that his party is
withdrawing its candidates for the local by-elections in
Szekesfehervar and Siofok in order to benefit the "national
side." MIEP spokesman Bela Gyori said the party had not
received a request for support from the governing coalition,
but he added that MIEP supporters "will know for whom to vote
on 10 October." Prime Minister Viktor Orban, chairman of
FIDESZ, and Ibolya David, chairwoman of the Democratic Forum
(MDF), have agreed that the MDF-People's Party candidate in
Szekesfehervar will step down in order to benefit the FIDESZ-
Smallholders' candidate. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

VOJVODINA MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF 'YOGURT REVOLUTION.' As many
as 8,000 protesters gathered in Novi Sad on 6 October to mark
the 11th anniversary of the seizure of power in Vojvodina by
supporters of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. In 1988,
pro-Milosevic demonstrators threw pots of yogurt at
government buildings, but 11 years later protesters lit
candles to honor victims of Milosevic's rule. Vojvodina
opposition leader Nenad Canak told the crowd: "We cannot
escape from Milosevic because he is not human, he is
pollution," Reuters reported. Elsewhere, some 5,000 anti-
Milosevic demonstrators turned out in Belgrade, as did a few
hundred people in Cacak and Pancevo. PM

DRASKOVIC BLASTS MILOSEVIC'S 'EVIL EMPIRE.' The Serbian
Renewal Movement's (SPO) leader Vuk Draskovic said in
Belgrade on 6 October that Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic's rule is "an empire of evil, which causes only
death and has destroyed everything," AP reported. The SPO
leader spoke at the funeral of three of his aides, who died
recently in a mysterious traffic accident. Draskovic has
called the accident an "assassination attempt" against him
that was organized by the authorities (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
6 October 1999). Elsewhere, SPO officials said the police are
planning to issue a report saying that the unidentified
driver of the truck that caused the accident did so in an
attempt to pass another vehicle. Draskovic has charged that
the driver deliberately swerved into his lane for no apparent
reason. Finally, the state-run Tanjug news agency reported
that police have detained Draskovic aide Vladimir Nikolic in
custody on charges of "revealing official secrets." Nikolic
is a former employee of the secret service. PM

DJUKANOVIC: 'NO ORDINARY ACCIDENT.' Montenegrin President
Milo Djukanovic said he does "not want to add to the
tensions" in Serbia by commenting on Draskovic's accident,
London's "The Independent" reported on 7 October. He stressed
nonetheless that it "was no ordinary traffic accident if the
leader of the most important opposition party...barely
survives a car crash at this very sensitive political
moment." PM

DRASKOVIC KEY TO OPPOSITION SUCCESS? Many observers in
Belgrade believe that opposition protests are unlikely to
become large enough to threaten Milosevic's hold on power
unless Draskovic joins them, VOA's Serbian Service reported
on 7 October. The previous day, Social Democratic leader Vuk
Obradovic appealed to Draskovic to take part in the protests
and thereby help transform them into an expression of the
will "of the entire nation." The SPO leader had previously
criticized the demonstrations as ineffective. VOA added that
some observers expect former General Momcilo Perisic, who
heads the Movement for Democratic Serbia, to soon join the
opposition's protests (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 10 August
1999). PM

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER HOPES FOR FUEL DELIVERIES. Mladjan
Dinkic, who is a spokesman for the opposition G-17 group of
economists, said in Belgrade on 6 October that foreign
ministers of Finland, France, and Germany support his call
for winter fuel deliveries to Serbia. The G-17's "energy for
democracy" program calls for private firms to deliver fuel to
Serbian cities and towns under independent supervision. The
program would involve all municipalities, regardless of
whether they are controlled by the opposition or by
Milosevic. EU foreign ministers are slated to vote on 11
October on a Greek and Dutch proposal to provide winter fuel
to Serbia. PM

VOLLEBAEK CONDEMNS ETHNIC CLASHES IN MITROVICA... OSCE
Chairman Knut Vollebaek, speaking to students at the Vushtrri
police academy on 6 October, condemned an incident the
previous day near Mitrovica in which ethnic Albanians
attacked Serbs (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 October 1999).
Vollebaek stressed that "security for each and every citizen
is basic if we want to rebuild society.... I'm also happy
that we have some representatives of minorities [in the
police force]," AP reported. There are about a dozen Serbs
among the 176 police students. Vollebaek added that he will
urge ethnic Albanian political leaders "to have a very clear
stand when it comes to the atrocities now committed against
Serbs. I think that is unacceptable." At least one Serb was
killed and 26 people injured in the violence, including 15
peacekeepers and 11 Serbs. The private Serbian news agency
Beta noted that three Serbs are still reported missing since
the incident. FS

...AS DOES JACKSON. KFOR commander General Sir Mike Jackson
told Reuters on 6 October that the Mitrovica violence "was an
appalling incident.... As far as I can work out, a group of
civilians attacked another group of civilians, completely
unprovoked, which ended in a very ugly scene." He concluded:
"It does tell me that, I'm afraid, ethnic hatred is still
just below the surface, which is a shame. But it's a fact."
Meanwhile, an unidentified man threw a hand grenade into a
shop in Vitina, injuring two Serbs, according to Beta. And
KFOR arrested three uniformed members of the Kosova
Protection Corps on 5 October, who "threatened" unspecified
people in the Prishtina hospital, AP reported. FS

BOSNIAN MILITARY COMMITTEE NAMES REPRESENTATIVES. Members of
the Standing Committee for Military Questions agreed in
Sarajevo on 6 October that a Muslim will be Bosnia's military
attache in Washington. They also decided that a Serb will be
the chief military representative to NATO and a Croat will
hold a similar position at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna.
The committee also agreed to set up an unspecified number of
working groups to draw up by the end of October concrete
plans on security and on demilitarization, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service Reported. PM

BAN ON HARD-LINE BOSNIAN SERB PARTY IN THE OFFING? The OSCE
and the office of the international community's Wolfgang
Petritsch issued a joint statement in Sarajevo on 6 October
threatening to bar the Bosnian branch of Vojislav Seselj's
Serbian Radical Party (SRS) from taking part in local
elections in 2000. The statement said the ban will come into
effect unless the SRS drops three prominent hard-liners from
its leadership. They are Nikola Poplasen, Mirko Blagojevic,
and Ognjen Tadic. In response, the SRS issued a statement,
signed by Poplasen, calling the decision "fascist." PM

KLEIN PLANS JOINT BORDER POLICE. Jacques Klein, who is the
UN's chief representative in Bosnia, spoke with Bosnian Serb
leaders in Banja Luka on 6 October about establishing a joint
border police force. That body would include police from both
the Republika Srpska and the mainly Croatian and Muslim
federation. Its first task would be to take charge of police
work at Sarajevo airport, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reported. It is unclear when the force would begin work. PM

CROATIAN WEEKLY SUES NATIONALIST LEADER. Ivo Pukanic, who is
editor-in-chief of the independent weekly "Nacional," told
Reuters in Zagreb on 6 October that his newspaper is suing
right-wing politician Anto Djapic (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8
September 1999). Pukanic charged that Djapic has threatened
his publication and other independent media with physical
violence. PM

ALBANIA'S MAJKO REJECTS CRITICISM BY PREDECESSOR. Prime
Minister Pandeli Majko, speaking at a Socialist Party
gathering in Tirana on 5 October, dismissed party leader
Fatos Nano's recent criticism of his efforts to achieve a
reconciliation with the opposition. Majko argued that "it was
necessary to reach out [to the opposition] at a time when the
Serbs were preparing the massacre [of the Kosovar
Albanians]," the "Albanian Daily News" reported on 7 October.
He argued that the Socialists must be open to contacts with
"a constructive opposition that knows and respects state
institutions and constitutional laws." And he added that
Nano's "accusations create a spiral of uncertainty, verbal
violence, lack of confidence, and suspicion that
targets...solidarity" within the Socialist Party. Majko will
challenge Nano for the party leadership at the party's 9
October congress. FS

ALBANIA, ITALY PLEDGE BETTER COOPERATION. Albanian Foreign
Minister Paskal Milo and his Italian counterpart, Lamberto
Dini, pledged in Rome on 5 October to launch several joint
regional projects within the framework of the Balkan
Stability Pact, the "Albanian Daily News" reported on 7
October. Both countries will present proposals for those
projects at an upcoming donors conference in Bari. One key
proposal will be the construction of an east-west "corridor"
linking the port of Durres via Macedonia with Bulgarian Black
Sea ports and Istanbul. The corridor includes improved
telecommunications, road and railway links, and oil and gas
pipelines. The ministers also agreed to create a permanent
working group to coordinate their efforts in promoting
political, economic, and social development and strengthening
public order. FS

NO FOUNDATION STONE LAID AT 'RECONCILIATION PARK' IN ROMANIA.
The 6 October ceremony at which the foundation stone of the
Romanian-Hungarian reconciliation park was to have been laid
was cancelled without explanation. The same day, a Hungarian
delegation headed by Justice Minister Ibolya David attended a
Mass in memory of the 13 generals executed by Austria in
1848; later, they laid wreaths at an obelisk commemorating
the generals. The delegation was heckled by some 100 Greater
Romania Party sympathizers, who shouted obscenities and
called for the death of Reformed Bishop Laszlo Toekes, an
RFE/RL correspondent in Arad reported. Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Simona Miculescu said the ministry considers "the
manipulation of national sentiment for the purpose of
building political capital irresponsible." She said relations
between the two countries are "irreversibly good" and must
not be influenced by "fear of historical shadows or the
shadows [cast by] statues." MS

ROMANIA SLAMS ABKHAZIA 'ELECTIONS.' Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Miculescu said on 6 October that Romania is
"worried" about the recent presdidential elections and
referendum in "the separatist province of Abkhazia, [which
is] an integral part of Georgia, a sovereign and independent
state with which Romania has friendly and good neighborly
relations," Mediafax reported (see also Part 1). Miculescu
said Romania is joining "the international community in
refusing to recognize the independence of the so-called
Abkhaz Republic." MS

ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN FRANCE. Victor Babiuc met in
Paris on 6 October with his French counterpart, Alain
Richard, and with representatives of the French military
industries, Mediafax reported. Richard noted that France's
Thomson company is collaborating with Romania's Aerostar
aircraft company in the production of military and civilian
planes and that the Eurocopter firm is interested in the
privatization of the Brasov-based IAR-Ghimbav aircraft
company A deal with Bell Helicopter Textron on privatizing
IAR-Ghimbav was called off earlier this year. Also on 6
October, Chief of Staff General Constantin Degeratu and
British Ambassador to Bucharest Richard Ralph signed a
military agreement for the year 2000, which Degeratu called
"the most comprehensive military program Romania shares with
a NATO member country," AP reported. MS

FORMER BULGARIAN KING DONATES PART OF RETURNED PROPERTY.
Former King Simeon II on 6 October donated a park on the
outskirts of Sofia to the city's municipality in a "sign of
appreciation for the [recent] restitution of property
nationalized by the communists," AP reported, citing BTA. The
former monarch asked that the park, which includes a small
castle, be named after his grandfather, King Ferdinand, who
ruled from 1896 to 1918. MS

END NOTE

A TIME FOR SERGEANTS

By Paul Goble

	A new and important figure is appearing in the armies of
the three Baltic States, one who is likely to prove more
important for those countries' integration into NATO and the
West than any of the declarations by political figures east
or west.
	That figure is the professional non-commissioned
officer, the well-trained and career sergeant or corporal, on
whom Western militaries have long depended but who seldom
existed in the militaries of the former Warsaw Pact.
	And nowhere is the rise of this new class of leaders
anymore obvious or impressive than at the Rukla Training Area
of the Lithuanian defense forces.
	Located approximately 100 kilometers west of Vilnius,
Rukla now serves as the headquarters both for the training of
new soldiers and for the seasoning of non-commissioned
officers prepared by the Non-Commissioned Officer School in
the nearby city of Kaunas.
	Operating in accordance with Western standards in terms
of facilities and of training and doctrine, the Rukla
Training Area prepared more than 1,000 new Lithuanian
soldiers during the past year and is scheduled to expand to
train up to 4,000 a year in the future.
	No one can visit the site without being struck by the
quality of the facilities themselves--many of the buildings
and much of the equipment surpass what is found in countries
that have been members of NATO for many years.
	But even more important is the shift in attitudes
between officers and soldiers, a change that commanders there
and in Vilnius suggest reflect the ever-expanding role of
sergeants in this training enterprise and throughout the
Lithuanian army.
	In the view of these commanders, the professional
sergeants and other non-commissioned officers, many of whom
are competing for permanent positions and a large percentage
of whom are women, play three key roles. Each of those roles
is more important than pay grades might suggest.
	First, they perform many of the jobs that junior
officers had to do in Soviet-style armies, thereby allowing
the latter to be leaders rather than operators.
	Second, these sergeants and corporals represent an
element of continuity, passing on military traditions to
soldiers even as officers are shifted from one billet to
another. They thus promote the professionalization of both
the soldiers under them and the officers under whom they
serve.
	And third, the sergeants help transform the image of
soldiers among officers and of officers among soldiers, thus
serving as a brake against the kind of hazing that was all
too common in Soviet-era armies. This is almost certainly
their most important contribution.
	Precisely because they are professionals, well-trained
and often better paid than some junior officers, the non-
commissioned officers enjoy remarkable respect from the men
and women they lead and thus guarantee that officers respect
not only themselves but the soldiers.
	That shift in attitudes has had a profound impact on the
nature of the Lithuanian defense forces. In the past, few
Lithuanians saw the military as a profession to be pursued
and military rank as a status to be envied.
	Instead, in a hangover from the Soviet period, until
relatively recently many people saw military service as
something to be avoided precisely because officers could be
counted on to make life miserable for conscripts.
Now these attitudes have changed, less because of
declarations by senior government officials and military
commanders than because of the day-to-day work of sergeants
and corporals.
	Consequently, it may well be the sergeants rather than
the generals who will improve the prospects for the inclusion
of Lithuania and its Baltic neighbors not only into the world
of modern Western militaries but into NATO as well.

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