|Odno iz prekrasnejshih uteshenij, kotorye predlagaet nam zhizn', - to, chto chelovek ne mozhet iskrenne pytat'sya pomoch' drugomu, ne pomogaya samomu sebe. - U. SHekspir|
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 208, Part II, 25 October 1999
___________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 208, Part II, 25 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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II * U.S. ENVOY SAYS U.S.-BELARUS RELATIONS 'VERY STRAINED' * KOSOVA'S SERBS SET UP POLITICAL BODY * PANIC TELLS WASHINGTON TO USE 'NORIEGA OPTION.' End Note: LITHUANIAN CRISIS REFLECTS EAST EUROPEAN SKEPTICISM xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE U.S. ENVOY SAYS U.S.-BELARUS RELATIONS 'VERY STRAINED.' U.S. Ambassador to Minsk Daniel Speckhard told Belapan on 22 October that relations between the U.S. and Belarus have deteriorated in recent months and are now "very strained." Speckhard said the U.S. had hoped in late summer that Belarus would take steps toward respecting human rights and returning to democratic institutions but in fact, he commented, Minsk took "several steps back." According to Speckhard, the Belarusian government is not ready to follow the OSCE Minsk mission's advice on how to ensure a successful dialogue with the opposition. Moreover, Speckhard dismissed as "absolute nonsense" statements by Belarusian officials that the West financed the 17 October "freedom march," which ended in clashes with the police. JM HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDOG CALLS ON OSCE TO WITHDRAW INVITATION TO LUKASHENKA. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) on 24 October said the state of human rights and democratic institutions in Belarus is "worsening by the day." The IHF called on the OSCE chairmanship to withdraw its invitation to Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to participate in the upcoming OSCE summit in Istanbul. It appealed to the OSCE to invite Syamyon Sharetski, chairman of the opposition Supreme Soviet, to represent Belarus at the summit. And it urged the OSCE "to review the legitimacy and constitutionality of the current government of Belarus" at the upcoming summit. JM UKRAINE'S KANIV FOUR AGREES TO FIELD MARCHUK AGAINST KUCHMA. The so-called Kaniv Four election alliance of Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr Moroz, Volodymyr Oliynyk, and Oleksandr Tkachenko have agreed to throw their support behind Marchuk as the challenger to incumbent President Leonid Kuchma in the 31 October presidential ballot, AP and Reuters reported on 25 October. "We have agreed on the candidacy of Yevhen Marchuk. The date for the others to withdraw their candidacies will be announced later," Tkachenko commented. Press spokesmen for Marchuk and Moroz also confirmed that the four had agreed on Marchuk's candidacy. However, Moroz's spokesman said that for now the deal is "just a declaration" and that the other candidates do not need to formally pull out until 27 October. JM UKRAINE CRITICIZES RUSSIA'S 'INDISCRIMINATE' ATTACKS IN CHECHNYA. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk on 22 October said Ukraine "unambiguously condemns the terrorism that has caused the escalation of tension in Russia's south," Interfax reported. However, Tarasyuk added that Ukraine "cannot welcome the indiscriminate character of military actions in Chechnya, as a result of which the peaceful population is also suffering." JM KUCHMA VOICES CONCERN ABOUT ISLAMIC EXTREMISM THREAT IN UKRAINE... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said in Crimea on 23 October that Ukraine is facing a threat of Islamic extremism and called on security officials to protect the country. "It's a fact that this problem exists today, the question is only--to what extent," AP quoted Kuchma as saying. Kuchma's remarks followed an unconfirmed press report that Chechen militants are trying to establish themselves in Crimea (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 1999). Meanwhile, a congress of Chechens living in Ukraine on 24 October condemned the Russian military campaign in Chechnya and called for international intervention "to stop the Russian aggressor." JM ...OBTAINS TITLE OF 'HONORED CRIMEAN.' The Presidium of the Crimean parliament has conferred the title of "Honored Crimean" on President Kuchma for his services to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Kuchma received this news on 23 October as he was opening a 236-kilometer pipeline in southern Crimea, which will provide gas to some 30 percent of the peninsula's population. "We have shown that we can keep our word," Kuchma commented on the construction of the pipeline, which was completed in one year under Kuchma's personal supervision. JM RUSSIAN PARTY ENSURES RULING ESTONIAN COALITION LOCAL VICTORY. The ruling coalition of Pro Patria, the Reform Party, and the Moderates, which together won 28 seats in the recent elections to the Tallinn City Council, has signed a preliminary agreement with the Peoples' Trust, a Russian electoral union, ETA reported on 25 October. The four seats won by the Peoples' Trust ensure a ruling majority in the Estonian capital's 64-seat city council. The three-year agreement calls for the post of mayor to be given to a Pro Patria member, while the position of deputy mayor will go to a member of the Peoples' Trust. The unlikely coalition of nationalist Estonian parties and ethnic Russian organizations is reportedly based on the mutual desire to fight corruption in the local city administration, which grew during the leadership of the Center Party. AB RULING COALITION WINS LOCAL SEATS THROUGHOUT ESTONIA. Prime Minister Mart Laar told ETA on 23 October that the three parties belonging to the ruling coalition will form 13 of 15 local government councils following the recent local elections. Laar noted that this was the most successful election to date for his party, Pro Patria. AB LATVIAN PRESIDENT VETOES LAW RAISING PARTY MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS. Vaira Vike-Freiberga has returned to the parliament amendments to the law on public organizations that would raise the required minimum number of members for a party from 200 to 1,000, BNS reported on 23 October. The president said the amendments would restrict the legal rights of citizens by imposing groundless restrictions. The parliament adopted the amendments on 21 October, despite objections by Latvia's Way, the only ruling coalition party that has fewer than 1000 members. The National Human Rights Office had also objected to the amendments. AB ANTI-WILLIAMS DEMONSTRATION TAPS STUDENTS AND PENSIONERS... ELTA reported on 22 October that 1,500-3,000 students and pensioners gathered not far from the Lithuanian parliament building to protest the impending deal between the U.S.-based Williams International and the Lithuanian government over the sale of a one-third stake in the country's oil refinery complex. Former President Algirdas Brazauskas and Chairman of the Social Democratic Party Vytenis Andriukaitis were joined on stage by poet laureate Justinas Marcinkevicius and philosopher Arvydas Juozaitis (both founding members of Sajudis) as well as Vilnius University Rector Rolandas Pavilionis and former Energy Minister Leonas Asmantas. The speakers denounced the agreement as "shameful" and "humiliating." Pavilionis charged that the deal would sacrifice education, particularly higher education, by diverting critical financial resources to a foreign corporation. AB ...WHILE U.S.-LITHUANIA DEAL MOVES FORWARD. Sigitas Kaktys, minister for government reform and local government affairs, has initialed the agreements on shareholding and management of Mazeikiu Nafta on behalf of the Lithuanian government, BNS reported on 22 October. The final agreement with the U.S.- based Williams International is expected to be concluded on 29 October. ELTA reported that Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus issued a statement acknowledging the risk of the Williams deal but reminding his countrymen that they will have to pay the debts of the failing industrial complex if the U.S. investment project failed. He blamed the former Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius who was toppled in June for failing to design an overall energy strategy and neglecting a transparent privatization model for Mazeikiu Nafta (see also "End Note" below). AB POLISH GOVERNMENT AGREES WITH MINERS ON RESTRUCTURING. Miners lifted the blockade of two rail junctions (see RFE/RL Newsline," 22 October 1999) after the government had invited them for talks in Warsaw. On 23 October, representatives of Solidarity signed an agreement with the Economy Ministry on the future of the restructuring program in the coal mining sector. The cabinet pledged to make the pace of restructuring dependent on the money allocated in the budget for this purpose. "The most important thing is that the specter of 10,000 redundancies next year without social cushions has disappeared from before my eyes," miners' leader Henryk Nakonieczny was quoted by Polish Radio as saying. JM POLISH POLICE SMASH ARMS SMUGGLING GANG. Police squad in Rzeszow, southeastern Poland, have arrested six Moldovans and one Ukrainian in a crackdown on an arms smuggling gang, Polish Television reported on 24 October. The police said they seized 120 hand grenades, 5 kilograms of plastic explosives, 100 meters of fuse wire, and an anti-tank rocket launcher with a "super-modern armor-piercing missile." The police suspect the weapons were ordered by Warsaw gangs. JM 'NO BUDGET BEFORE CABINET RESHUFFLE,' SAYS CZECH REPUBLIC'S KLAUS. Civic Democratic Party leader Vaclav Klaus told Prima television on 24 October that he doubts the parliament will approve a budget for 2000 before the question of the cabinet's lineup has been solved, CTK reported. Klaus said he does not expect the budget to be approved before 31 December, saying that apart from the minority ruling Social Democratic Party (CSSD), "nobody will raise their hand" to approve a budget "in whose making they have not participated." On 20 October, the Chamber of Deputies rejected the government- proposed budget (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 October 1999). Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Pavel Rychetsky told journalists on 24 October that the CSSD would rather go into opposition than rule in a coalition that would impose "unacceptable positions" on it, CTK reported. MS SLOVAK COALITION CANDIDATE WINS KOSICE MAYOR RACE. Party of Democratic Left (SDL) candidate Zdenko Trebula has been elected Kosice mayor, beating out five other candidates, SITA reported, Trebula was the candidate of the ruling coalition in Bratislava. He replaces Rudolf Schuster, who was elected president earlier this year. At 18 percent, turnout was the lowest ever in local elections in that city. Trebula received 11 percent of the 185,267 registered voters, SITA reported on 24 October. Also on 24 October, the SDL National Committee said it has "fundamental legal and political objections" to the proposed agreement between the Slovak government and the Vatican. The SDL says an agreement with the Holy See is "necessary" but that it must be preceded by the passage of a law regulating Church-State relations and guaranteeing equal rights to all Churches in Slovakia. MS HUNGARY'S EARLY EU ACCESSION HOPES DASHED. "Accession talks with Hungary cannot be completed in 2001," Franz Fischler, a member of the European Commission responsible for agriculture, told the 24 October "Nepszabadsag." The Austrian EU commissioner said the EU will have to carry out its own reforms before it wraps up admission talks with the best-prepared candidates in 2002. MSZ SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE KOSOVA'S SERBS SET UP POLITICAL BODY. Meeting in Gracanica on 24 October, the 49-strong Serbian National Council elected Serbian Orthodox Archbishop Artemije president (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 October 1999). The representatives of Kosova's approximately 100,000 remaining Serbs also chose Momcilo Trajkovic to head the Executive Board. The council seeks to act as a government body for the Serbian minority and to establish five cantons in which the Serbs make up the majority. The council did not vote to set up a Serbian militia, which representatives of the international community had earlier said would be unacceptable. It is unclear how the international community will react to the council's plans to function as a government body. Executive authority in Kosova rests with Bernard Kouchner and his UN mission. Artemije and Trajkovic are veteran leaders of their people and oppose the policies of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. PM ETHNIC ALBANIANS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST RUSSIAN PRESENCE. Some 4,000 ethnic Albanians gathered in Rahovec on 24 October to reaffirm their opposition to stationing Russian peacekeepers in the town. Since 23 August, ethnic Albanians have blocked the main road into Rahovec to prevent Russians from entering (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 August 1999). The first anti- Russian protests took place on 7 July. Local Albanians say that unidentified Russians joined Serbs in committing atrocities in the area in the spring and that Russians are not welcome there. PM NATO ARRESTS TWO SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINALS. KFOR troops have begun screening Serbian refugee columns in the hope of finding persons believed to have committed atrocities in the province earlier this year. A KFOR spokesman said in Rahovec on 23 October that his soldiers arrested two Serbs who were part of a convoy seeking to leave Kosova under KFOR protection. The spokesman added that peacekeepers will screen only those convoys that have requested a KFOR escort. PM SERBIAN OPPOSITION MEETS DOBBINS IN BUDAPEST. U.S. special envoy for the former Yugoslavia James Dobbins met in Budapest on 24 October with several leaders of the Serbian opposition Alliance for Change. Alliance spokesman Veran Batic told the private Beta news agency that Dobbins said that Washington is against a complete lifting of sanctions against Serbia. The U.S. diplomat added, however, that Washington will coordinate its sanctions policy more closely with that of the EU and that the number of Yugoslav officials barred from entering the U.S. or EU will be doubled to more than 600. The opposition has long argued that economic sanctions hurt mainly average Serbs and that it is better to have punitive measures targeted directly at the elite. On 22 October, the parties represented in the Alliance agreed to form a coalition in the next elections. PM PANIC TELLS WASHINGTON TO USE 'NORIEGA OPTION.' Earlier on 24 October, Alliance for Change leaders met in Budapest with millionaire businessman and former Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panic, who told AP that the opposition lacks funds. The next day, Panic called on the U.S. to intervene militarily against Milosevic, as it did against Panamanian President Manuel Noriega in 1990. Panic said: "We have a dictator called Milosevic who is a threat not only to poor Serbs, [who are] the true victims of all this. We have an economy that has truly collapsed...and the major issue we are discussing is how to stop the suffering of people.... American troops are closer to Milosevic's home than they were to Noriega's home," Panic added. He argued that if the Americans want Milosevic out of power, "then [they should] get him.... This is a Serb speaking.... I know this is internationally unacceptable, but if you want him so bad, don't punish [average Serbs but] take him out, get him out, force him out, do something," Panic concluded. PM YUGOSLAV MINISTER LAUDS U.S. MEDIA. Information Minister Goran Matic said that "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," and CNN provide better coverage of Yugoslav affairs than do the independent Belgrade periodicals "Blic," "Danas," "Glas javnosti," and "Vreme," Beta reported on 25 October. PM SESELJ WARNS OF 'BLOODY WAR' IN MONTENEGRO. Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj told a Montenegrin radio station on 24 October that any move by Montenegro to secede from Yugoslavia could result in a "bloody war" and NATO intervention, AP reported. His statement came the day before officials of his Radical Party started talks with representatives of Montenegro's governing Democratic Party of Socialists on the future of relations between Serbia and Montenegro. Also on 24 October, Montenegrin Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic said that Belgrade's attitudes toward Montenegro have changed recently. He did not elaborate. PM DJUKANOVIC PLEDGES 'MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY.' Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said in Herceg Novi that his republic will soon introduce "monetary sovereignty," Belgrade's "Danas" wrote on 25 October. The daily added that Montenegrin officials are well advanced in preparations to introduce the German mark as legal tender along with the Yugoslav dinar. Djukanovic and members of his government have frequently spoken about planning to take steps toward greater sovereignty for their republic but have not said when they will do so. PM INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE LEAVES SREBRENICA POST. The international community's Wolfgang Petritsch replaced Danish diplomat Bent Jensen as his representative in Srebrenica, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 23 October. Muslim leaders have complained that Jensen is pro-Serbian. Petritsch's office said in a statement that Jensen was replaced as part of a restructuring of the international community's operation in Bosnia. The statement criticized what it referred to as verbal attacks on individuals, "Oslobodjenje" reported on 25 October. PM JELAVIC CALLS FOR NEW DEAL FOR CROATS. Ante Jelavic, who is the ethnic Croatian representative on the joint Bosnian presidency, said in Mostar that the present federation between Croats and Muslims must be scrapped. He stressed that the Croats are junior partners in the current arrangement and that the international community regularly interferes in its affairs to the detriment of the Croats, "Oslobodjenje" reported on 25 October. Jelavic said that the terms governing the federation must be renegotiated. If the international community refuses to do this, then it should openly declare Bosnia an international protectorate and dispense with any pretense that there is self-government in Bosnia. PM CROATIA'S MUSLIMS FORM JOINT ORGANIZATION. Representatives of several organizations of Bosnian Muslims living in Croatia agreed in Pula on 23 October to form the League of Bosnjaks (Muslims) of Croatia as an umbrella organization. Member groups include the political Party of Democratic Action, the religious Islamic Community, the cultural society Preporod, and the charitable organization Merhamet. PM FRANCE CONTINUES TO BLOCK CROATIAN, ALBANIAN MEMBERSHIP IN WTO. At the urging of France, the EU remains at loggerheads with Washington over the terms of admission of Croatia and Albania to the WTO, London's "Financial Times" reported on 25 October. Paris insists that Zagreb and Tirana place legal restrictions on the import of U.S. films and television programs. France refused to accept a recent compromise between its EU partners and Washington. PM ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS OPT FOR DIVIDED LEADERSHIP. At a 22 October Socialist party congress in Tirana, delegates approved the controversial election of 36 members of the 116- strong steering committee. Party leader Fatos Nano had challenged the election of the 36 because they received less than 50 percent of votes cast at a similar gathering two weeks earlier. Party statutes require Steering Committee members to win more than 50 percent of the vote. Observers note that Nano's apparent climb-down means that supporters of Nano's rival, Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, will continue to play a large role in governing the party (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 19 October 1999). Nano's supporters are more numerous than Majko's within the party, but Majko has a stronger appeal to the public than does the combative Nano. PM DEMOCRATS CALL FOR NEW ELECTIONS IN ALBANIA. Opposition leader Sali Berisha told several thousand supporters in Tirana on 23 October that in-fighting within the Socialist Party shows that the Socialists have lost their mandate to govern. He repeated his frequent call for the Socialists to resign and hold new elections. Berisha promised to hold a series of protests in coming weeks until the governing coalition agrees to a new ballot. PM ROMANIAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOR EXPERTS' CABINET, EARLY ELECTIONS. Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) leader Ion Iliescu told journalists after a 22 October meeting of the PDSR's Executive Bureau that his party is demanding the dismissal of the cabinet, its replacement by one composed of "apolitical experts," and early elections, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Iliescu said Radu Vasile's cabinet has displayed "a lack of interest" vis-a- vis the population and the "inability" to ensure minimum living standards. MS FORMER ROMANIAN PREMIER DROPS OUT OF PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Victor Ciorbea on 22 October told a forum of his Christian- Democrat National Alliance that he has decided to withdraw from the 2000 presidential elections. He gave no reason for that decision, Romanian Radio reported on 22 October. MS MOLDOVAN DEPUTY PREMIER UNDER FIRE. Andrei Strimbeanu, a member of the Moldovan Party of Rebirth and Conciliation (PRCM), said on 23 October that he will demand that Deputy Premier Nicolae Andronic be expelled from the PRCM for having voted the same day in the parliament in favor of setting up the new Taraclia county, BASA Press reported. But PRCM Chairman Mircea Snegur said Andronic cast his vote as a member of the cabinet, not as a PRCM deputy. Also on 23 October, Andronic denied allegations by General Nicolae Alexe, former head of the Department for Combating Organized Crime, that he is a member of a Russian mafia group with branches in Moldova. The same day, Tiraspol's Russian-language "Pridnestvoe" wrote that Andronic may have been behind the killing of a police major, who lost his life in a bomb explosion in Chisinau earlier this month. MS BULGARIAN PREMIER CONCEDES LOCAL ELECTIONS RESULT ARE 'WARNING'... Prime Minister Ivan Kostov on 24 October said that the results of the local elections are a "serious warning for the ruling coalition" but that the course of reform will not be changed, BTA reported. Run-offs in the local elections took place one day earlier, on 23 October. The Central Electoral Commission announced that the ruling United Democratic Forces alliance (ODS) and the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) have approximately the same level of support after the two rounds of voting. The ODS won 101 local councils and the BSP 94. The ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom came third and lost the municipality of Kurdjali to the ODS. It has accused the ODS of having rigged the elections. MS ...SAYS MIGHT RESHUFFLE CABINET. Kostov, in an interview with the BBC to be aired on 25 October, said he will reshuffle his cabinet if Bulgaria receives a formal invitation to join the EU, Reuters reported on 23 October, citing the daily "Sega." He said the cabinet is "structurally not suitable" for the expected accession talks. Several opposition leaders said the real reason for the reshuffle is the ODS's poor showing in the local elections. On 24 October, Kostov suggested that the talks with the EU may encounter difficulties because of the union's insistence on closing down the Kozloduy nuclear plant, AP reported. He said the EU invitation to accession talks is "not so unconditional" as it might have looked and that "national consensus [over Kozloduy] is a very high price and I do not know who is going to pay it, even if it would speed up the accession talks." MS END NOTE LITHUANIAN CRISIS REFLECTS EAST EUROPEAN SKEPTICISM By Joel Blocker Lithuania's government crisis over the impending sale of one-third of its state-owned Mazeikiai oil refinery to a U.S. company broke into public view last week during a nationwide television address by Prime Minister Rolandas Paksas. Paksas--himself only five months in office-- said on 18 October that 18 months of negotiations with the Oklahoma- based Williams International Company has ended in a deal decidedly disadvantageous to Lithuania. That, he said, is largely because the final accord, due to be signed on 29 October, requires Vilnius to pay up to $400 million to Williams to cover both debts and a shortfall in Mazeikiai's working capital. The day after Paksas's speech, the crisis intensified with the announcement of the resignations of Lithuania's finance and economics ministers, both of whom said they agree with Paksas's objections to the deal. But the rest of Paksas's 15-member coalition cabinet support the idea, and President Valdas Adamkus-- a former U.S. citizen--strongly backs the deal. After the cabinet approved the deal in the evening of 18 October and Adamkus had accepted the two ministers' resignations, the president said he is not necessarily for Williams but for what he called terms "beneficial" to Lithuania. Speaking for Premier Paksas, economics adviser Eduardas Vilkas saw the matter very differently. He called the Williams agreement "completely foolish," saying, "We must finance $400 million dollars [in payments to Williams] immediately, while the Americans stagger their payments. It isn't right." Williams' payments are to total some $150 million. According to Kestutis Girnius, director of RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service, the Williams crisis has important implications for changing East European attitudes toward Western investment. He suggests that there is a general tendency in Central and Eastern Europe "to look askance at certain Western investments." He also says that the small degree of "anti-Western skepticism about the West" is growing. Major projects, such as Mazeikiai, are considered to be the pride of local industry, and giving them up is seen as a "sign of defeat," he argues. Girnius believes this new tendency also reflects a change in attitude toward Russia. He says there is a much greater willingness in Lithuania today to accept Russian oil as the country's principle source of energy. That, too, could play a role in the evolution of the Williams crisis, because Russia's oil giant LUKoil has cut off supplies of crude to Lithuania in protest over the sale to Williams. LUKoil itself had hoped to purchase a controlling share in Mazeikiai. According to Girnius, the Williams accord could easily bring down the Paksas government on or soon after 29 October, when the deal is due to be signed. He thinks the government's biggest mistake in the affair was not setting up a public tender for Mazeikiai, which created the impression the government was in effect giving away the huge refinery. As for the immediate future, he say he believes nothing will be done until 29 October. "After the deal is signed, then I think there is a great possibility that pressure will increase for Paksas' resignation. But in the long run, [it will turn out that] his popularity has soared." Paksas, according to Girnius, is already seen by the public as "a defender of the little man, a folk hero." That, he adds, may turn out to be the most important domestic consequence of the Williams affair. As for the international implications, it is clear that the government crisis and public concern over the Williams deal is a sign of rapidly changing attitudes in Eastern Europe toward Western investment. How small or big a sign it is will be known only over the weeks and months to come. But the Williams affair strongly suggests that the change is already well under way. The author is a RFE/RL correspondent based in Prague. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Send an email to email@example.com with the word subscribe as the subject of the message. HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message. 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