I dream my painting, and then I paint my dreams. - Vincent van Gogh
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 221, Part II, 12 November 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 221, Part II, 12 November 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

* UKRAINE'S KUCHMA ENDS CAMPAIGN IN SYMONENKO STRONGHOLD

* MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT BIDS FAREWELL

* HEALTH OF CROATIA'S TUDJMAN 'HAS DETERIORATED'

End Note: EAST-WEST SPLIT IN UKRAINE HIGHLIGHTED BY
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES FREE PROMINENT AGRICULTURAL MANAGER.
The authorities on 11 November released 75-year-old Vasil
Staravoytau from a prison in Orsha, where he had served a
two-year sentence for embezzlement, attempted smuggling,
abuse of power, bribery, and illegal weapons possession.
Staravoytau had denied most of the charges, pleading guilty
only to minor offenses. A World War II veteran, he received
some of the Soviet Union's highest honors, including three
Orders of Lenin and two Hero of Socialist Labor awards, and
introduced free-market mechanisms on the collective farm he
managed in Mahileu Oblast. Some Belarusian independent media
had speculated that by jailing Staravoytau, President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, a former collective farm manager, took
revenge on his more successful rival in farming. Others had
asserted that the case of Staravoytau was intended to
intimidate other agricultural leaders and stifle trends for
reform in the countryside. "This is a disgrace for the
regime," Staravoytau told journalists after his release,
commenting on his imprisonment. JM

BELARUSIAN ARTIST TO BE TRIED FOR 'MALICIOUS HOOLIGANISM.'
Belarusian painter Ales Pushkin on 11 November was indicted
on charges of "malicious hooliganism with particular [degree
of] cynicism" and of "profaning state symbols," RFE/RL's
Belarusian Service reported. His trial will begin on 24
November. Pushkin was detained by police on 21 July when he
marked the end of President Lukashenka's legitimate term in
office by dumping a wheelbarrow of manure along with
Lukashenka's portrait, state symbols, and Belarusian
banknotes in front of the presidential office, saying his
action was intended to thank the president "for five years of
fruitful work." Pushkin says he is not guilty, arguing that
his action was an artistic performance. He told journalists
that he will request an expert evaluation of his performance
be included in the trial. JM

UKRAINE'S KUCHMA ENDS CAMPAIGN IN SYMONENKO STRONGHOLD.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 11 November wound up his
election campaign in Donetsk Oblast, the Russian-speaking
industrial homeland of his Communist challenger, Petro
Symonenko. Kuchma avoided direct attacks on Symonenko but
told voters at Yasynuvata near Donetsk that Symonenko's
victory would bring price hikes and cause foreign investors
to flee. Kuchma, speaking in Russian, stressed the importance
of the strategic partnership between Ukraine and Russia but
was also careful to underscore that Ukraine will remain an
independent state. The Ukrainian president admitted that his
relations with Belarus's Lukashenka have "somewhat worsened"
but predicted that "the situation will soon improve." Reuters
commented that Kuchma "hit the right chords" in Donetsk
Oblast and was met with applause and "audiences packed with
loyal supporters" (see also "End Note" below). JM

KUCHMA ADVISER UNEASY ABOUT RUNOFF TURNOUT. Kuchma's adviser
and leading campaigner Dmytro Tabachnyk told journalists on
11 November that if the 14 November runoff turnout exceeds 56
percent, Kuchma will win re-election. A lower turnout,
however, may spell victory for Symonenko, since communist
voters are seen as more disciplined than Kuchma's and
therefore more likely to come to the polls. Tabachnyk added
that such discipline can also be observed in Russia, Belarus,
and "other countries undergoing major transformations."
According to Tabachnyk, Kuchma's staff must ensure higher
turnout among "the young and middle-aged people who are quite
comfortably integrated into the new social processes and new
structures," Interfax reported. JM

MASSIVE FRAUD SCHEME LINKED TO LATVIA. Securities officials
from the U.S. state of Utah are probing a scheme that may
have funneled as much as $160 million from investors in 34
states to bank accounts in Latvia, the "Salt Lake Tribune"
reported on 10 November. Several people have been charged
with securities fraud for selling unregistered securities
issued by Castlerock Investment Group/IFR Trust; one has
since pleaded guilty. Investigators say that the scheme
promised that a $5,000 initial investment would yield $1
million in 4.5 years. Tennessee officials have frozen the
accounts of Castlerock, which at the time contained about
$1.2 million. LETA added that investigators say the FBI are
looking into who laundered the money to Latvia. The Interpol
bureau in Latvia has not yet been asked to assist in the
case. MH

NIGHT SALES OF ALCOHOL BANNED IN LATVIAN CITY. The central
Latvian city of Jelgava has banned alcohol sales at night,
taking advantage of a provision in the alcohol distribution
law that allows municipalities to regulate sales hours, BNS
reported. Between midnight and 7:00 a.m., no retail outlet
will be allowed to sell alcoholic drinks, Only bars, cafes,
and restaurants will be allowed to dispense such drinks.
Valmeira, a northeastern Latvian city, earlier introduced a
similar ban. MH

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT PROGRAM.
Lawmakers on 11 November voted 76 to 33 with three
abstentions to approve the program of the new government of
Andrius Kubilius (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 November 1999).
The program did not receive support from any of the
opposition parties, ELTA reported. Former Premier Gediminas
Vagnorius also did not support the plan, calling it
"financial stifling" and unacceptable. Immediately after the
vote, the new cabinet took its official oath of office. MH

RATING AGENCY WARNS LITHUANIA. Standard & Poor's has
maintained its BBB- rating for Lithuania but warned about the
growing fiscal gap, BNS reported. The agency's report said
that "continuous politicking would result in downward
pressures on Lithuania's ratings" if the country impedes
fiscal consolidation or derails further privatization and
restructuring of the industrial sector, "in particular, its
energy sector." The agency also criticized the deal that gave
majority ownership of Mazeikiai Oil to US-based Williams
International, saying the sale terms will "considerably
burden the country's already fragile budget situation." MH

POLISH PRESIDENT APPEALS TO NATION TO ENSURE ECONOMIC
PROGRESS. In an Independence Day address in Warsaw on 11
November, Aleksander Kwasniewski urged Poles not to let
"political divisions" prevent them from working together to
ensure Poland's economic development. Ex-communist
Kwasniewski stressed Solidarity's achievements in disengaging
Poland from the Soviet bloc. He also thanked former U.S.
President George Bush, who attended the ceremony, for his
"personal contribution to the construction of the democratic
world." Meanwhile, Poland's political divisions surfaced in
Krakow when members of the Independent Association of
Students, the Republican League, and the Anti-Communist Youth
attacked post-communist parliamentary deputy Andrzej
Urbanczyk. Urbanczyk had been trying to lay a wreath at the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. JM

POLAND'S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT? General
Tadeusz Wilecki intends to run in the November 2000
presidential elections, PAP reported on 11 November. An All-
Poland Committee for Wilecki's Presidency was set up the
previous day. Wilecki told journalists that he will offer a
"new vision" of the state and counts on the "common sense and
pragmatism of citizens [of] the silent majority, which is
frustrated and disgusted with what is happening on the
political scene." JM

POLISH RIGHTIST PARTY WANTS REFERENDUM ON DECOMMUNIZATION.
Marian Pilka, leader of the Christian National Union (a
component of the ruling Solidarity Electoral Action), said on
11 November that his party will collect signatures in support
of a referendum on decommunization in Poland. The party
proposes the following referendum question: "Are you in favor
of removing former Communists from power and abolishing all
communist symbols?" According to Pilka, the referendum should
be held at the same time as next year's presidential
elections in order to keep down costs. Under Polish
legislation, a referendum can be held as a civic initiative
if it is supported by at least 500,000 signatures. JM

CZECH PREMIER TAKES CRITICISM IN POSTPONING DECISION ON
HEALTH MINISTER. Milos Zeman said on 12 November that he will
leave it to the Chamber of Deputies to decide the fate of
Health Minister Ivan David, CTK reported. Zeman said that if
the lower house recommends that David be sacked, Zeman will
fire him and request that President Vaclav Havel entrust the
post to Labor and Social Affairs Minister Vladimir Spidla.
Stanislav Gross, the chairman of the Social Democratic
deputies in the lower house, said the issue should be
resolved immediately. He said David's resignation would be
the best solution to the situation. David's standing as
minister diminshed when his bill on public health insurance
was recently rejected by the parliament. PB

CZECH SPEAKER CALLS FOR 'MORE SOVEREIGN DIALOGUE' WITH EU.
Former Premier Vaclav Klaus said on 11 November that it is
necessary for the Czech Republic to initiate a "much more
sovereign and clearer dialogue" with the European Commission
over the country's admission to the union, CTK reported.
Klaus, after meeting with European Commissioner for
Enlargement Guenter Verheugen, said that in relations between
Prague and Brussels, the "lack of knowledge,
oversimplifications, [and] distorted opinions are still
huge." Klaus said the most important result of his meeting
with Verheugen was that the commissioner agreed to organize a
seminar in Brussels that would shed some light "on some of
these things." Klaus said he will attend any such seminar. PB

SLOVAK PRESIDENT MEETS WITH MECIAR. Rudolf Schuster met with
former Premier Vladimir Meciar on 11 November to discuss,
among other things, the appointment of Constitutional Court
judges, CTK reported. Schuster said that regarding the
selection of judges for the country's highest court, "I could
not satisfy Meciar's demands so I only listened to him." The
parliament has proposed 18 candidates for the court and
Schuster must choose nine to sit on the court. Meciar said he
asked Schuster to "take into consideration the fact that no
opposition proposal concerning Constitutional [Court] judges
had been accepted." Schuster said "I will not let anybody
influence me in my selection and I will make the choice
according to my best conscience." Later the same day at a
rally of Meciar's opposition Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia, Meciar exhorted Slovaks to initiate a referendum
that would call for early elections. PB

SLOVAK CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGE SAYS POLITICAL PRESSURE
BEING EXERTED. Milan Cic, the chairman of the Slovak
Constitutional Court, said on 12 November in Kosice that some
politicians are exerting pressure on Constitutional Court
judges in the case of the former deputy head of the
counterintelligence service, Jaroslav Svechota, CTK reported.
Cic said that some politicians expect the court to make a
decision that is in line with their written
"recommendations." Cic said that while everyone has a right
to express a view, politicians should not "make statements
that would endanger the objectivity of a decision." Svechota
claims that his constitutional rights were violated by
investigators. If the court decides in his favor, the
prosecution of everyone allegedly involved in the kidnapping
of former President Michal Kovac's son would likely be
halted. PB

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL PRAISES HUNGARY. George Robertson said
in Budapest on 11 November that Hungary is "a new ally, but a
good one," MTI reported. Robertson made his comments after
meeting separately with Prime Minister Viktor Orban and
President Arpad Goncz. Robertson praised the country's
reorganization of its military, which he said was an example
for other countries. He described the air campaign against
Yugoslavia as a "tough test" for Budapest and praised the
conduct of Hungarian officials during the conflict. Orban
said the goal of the military's reform is to significantly
increase the country's defense capabilities. Goncz asked
Robertson to take into account "the load capacity of
Hungarian society." Robertson met with Defense Minister Janos
Szabo and members of the parliamentary foreign affairs and
defense committees before proceeding to Prague. PB

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT BIDS FAREWELL. Kiro Gligorov gave his
farewell address in Skopje on 11 November. He urged a
"massive turnout" of members of all ethnic groups in the 14
November vote to elect his successor, AP reported. Gligorov
is the grand old man of Macedonian politics and has led his
country since the beginning of the decade. His remarks
reflect concerns that the number of voters will fall short of
50 percent of the country's 1.6 million voters. At least half
of the registered voters must cast their ballots for the
election to be valid. The Social Democrats' Tito Petkovski is
running against the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization's Boris Trajkovski. Vasil Tupurkovski, who
finished third in the first round, has called on his
supporters to boycott the second round. Observers note that
the vote is unlikely to be valid if the ethnic Albanian
minority, which makes up about 23 percent of the population,
does not go to the polls. If the vote is invalid, the speaker
of the parliament becomes president until new elections are
held. PM

HEALTH OF CROATIA'S TUDJMAN 'HAS DETERIORATED.' Ivica
Kostovic, who is a spokesman for Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman, told reporters in Zagreb on 12 November that "the
president's health has deteriorated. There has been no
substantial improvement since yesterday's report," Reuters
reported. This is the first official indication that the
president's health has taken a sharp turn for the worse. He
is suffering from internal bleeding following recent surgery
in a Zagreb hospital (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 November
1999). Croatian dailies on 12 November ran extensive coverage
on the uncertain political situation. PM

CROATIAN BISHOPS URGE FAITHFUL TO VOTE. Members of the
Bishops' Conference said in a statement on 11 November that
Roman Catholics should participate in the 22 December
parliamentary elections. The bishops added that Catholics
should vote for unnamed candidates and parties whose programs
are in keeping with "the ethical and moral principles of the
believers." Observers note that the Church is not closely
identified with any one political party. It has opposed
attempts by the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ)
to use the Church for political purposes. The Church is also
mistrustful of the many former Communists in the HDZ and
several other parties. And it opposed the government's
decision to call elections close to Christmas, namely on 22
December. Church officials noted recently that it is not the
practice in most Christian countries to vote at Christmas
time. PM

BOSNIAN PEACE IMPLEMENTATION TALKS OPEN. U.S. diplomats meet
with several Bosnian leaders on 12 and 13 November in Dayton,
Ohio, to mark the fourth anniversary of the talks that led to
the Bosnian peace agreement. Bosnian participants at Wright-
Patterson Air Force Base will include Muslim leader Alija
Izetbegovic and Republika Srpska Prime Minister Milorad
Dodik. U.S. envoy James Pardew told AP: "We're not going to
make promises before a meeting that you're going to have some
sort of breakthrough here. But we're going to work hard on
some key issues." Among those issues are economic
restructuring, the return of refugees, and the arrest of war
criminals. PM

PETRITSCH WARNS BOSNIANS ON FRONTIER LAW. A spokesman for the
international community's Wolfgang Petritsch said in Sarajevo
on 11 November that he is concerned about the fact that the
three members of the joint presidency have not endorsed
proposed legislation on controlling Bosnia's frontiers. The
spokesman stressed that Bosnia's frontiers must be manned by
representatives of the central government rather than by
representatives of either of the two entities, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from the Bosnian capital. PM

KOSOVA'S SERBS SAY PEACEKEEPERS DISTORT STATISTICS. Members
of the Serbian National Council said in a statement on 11
November that KFOR recently provided an artificially low
figure on the number of Serbs killed in the province since
peacekeepers arrived in June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11
November 1999). The statement charged that KFOR sought to
hide evidence of its failure to protect local minorities, AP
reported from Prishtina. Elsewhere, General Henry H. Shelton,
who heads the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told U.S. troops in
Kosova: "There is a void between what the military can
accomplish and what is needed for a sustainable peace." PM

SERBIA'S PARLIAMENT VOTES LIFE PRIVILEGES FOR MILOSEVIC. The
legislature passed a bill on 11 November that will give all
past Serbian presidents life-long rights to a car, driver,
home, secretaries, and security guards. The state will pay
all costs. Opposition Alliance for Change leader Vladan Batic
said in Belgrade that "this law is the climax of the regime's
hypocrisy. At a time when several million people are on the
brink of starvation and many are literally dying of hunger, a
president is given privileges parallel to that of Egyptian
Pharaohs of ancient times," AP reported. PM

ROMANIAN MINERS' LEADER SLAPPED WITH FINE FOR 1991 BUCHAREST
RAMPAGE. Miron Cozma, the jailed leader of Romanian miners,
was ordered to pay a 2 million lei ($165,000) fine by a Court
of Appeals on 11 November for damage caused when miners
rampaged downtown Bucharest in 1991, AP reported. Cozma is
serving an 18-year prison term for his role in the 1991
demonstrations, which resulted in three deaths and the fall
of the government. In other news, hundreds of steel workers
blocked a major road in northeastern Romania on 12 November
to protest a privatization deal they say will result in
layoffs. PB

ROMANIA REPORTS STEADY MONTHLY INFLATION RATE. The National
Statistics Board said on 10 November that inflation in
Romania in the first 10 months of this year totaled 44.7
percent or an average of 3.8 percent per month, Rompres
reported. The prices of foodstuffs were reported to be on
average 54 percent higher than a year ago and those of
services 95.9 percent higher. PB

ROMANIA CUTS ELECTRICITY TO MOLDOVA. Radu Berceanu, minister
of industry and trade, said on 10 November that electricity
supplies to Moldova will be cut immediately due to the
nonpayment of its bills, Rompres reported. Berceanu said
Moldova owes Bucharest some $16 million and that the
agreement regarding its repayment is no longer valid
following the fall of the Moldovan government (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 9 November 1999). An official with the Moldovan
power distributor Moldtranselectro said Chisinau should pay,
otherwise the country "would plunge into darkness." Romania
supplies 15 percent of Moldova's energy needs. PB

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT WORRIED ABOUT YEREVAN REPEAT? The
chairman of the Moldovan legislature, Dumitru Diacov, called
on deputies on 11 November not to bring their guns into the
parliament chambers, BASA-press reported. Diacov said that
taking into account the "tense state in the house, tragic and
regrettable occurences could occur" if guns are present in
the legislature. Diacov added that the Permanent Office of
the parliament had voted on the measure after the bloodshed
in the Armenian parliament last month. PB

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR GOVENMENT. Petar
Stoyanov said on 11 November in Plovdiv, his hometown, that
the government of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov should "stay at
the helm of the country after 2001" in order to "be able to
fulfill the tasks it set [for] itself," BTA reported.
Stoyanov said "Bulgaria's road to Europe passes through NATO
and it is impermissible to...try to deny it." He added that
Sofia's position on the conflict in Kosova "was a decisive
one in getting an invitation to accession talks with the
EU.... If we miss our chance this time...there will be no one
to be angry with but ourselves." PB

BULGARIAN DEPUTY GOES ON TRIAL. The trial of Tsvetelin
Kanchev, a parliamentary deputy from the Euroleft party,
began on 11 November. Kanchev, who has been under arrest
since his parliamentary immunity was lifted on 30 July, is
accused of kidnapping, beating, robbing, and blackmailing
people in his district of Zlatiza, about 100 kilometers east
of Sofia. Bulgarian newspapers describe Kanchev as having
acted like a mafia boss in his constituency, where he was
referred to as Don Tsetsi. Several people reported to have
been involved in beatings in which Kanchev took part are to
testify in the trial. PB

END NOTE

EAST-WEST SPLIT IN UKRAINE HIGHLIGHTED BY PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION

By Askold Krushelnycky

	With its cobbled streets and Austro-Hungarian-style
buildings, Lviv is the heartland of Ukrainian patriotism. It
was the center of Ukrainian national re-awakening in the 19th
century and the engine of the drive for national independence
in the Soviet era.
	For most of incumbent President Leonid Kuchma's term in
office, much of Lviv's and west Ukraine's population has been
fiercely critical of him. They complain he has not done
enough to nurture Ukraine's national identity or set it on a
pro-Western and market-reform path.
	Now, however, they are among his most avid supporters.
At a public meeting last weekend, speakers from more than 20
parties and community organizations urged voters to support
Kuchma in the 14 November runoff between him and Communist
leader Petro Symonenko.
	The elections have polarized the electorate between west
and east. In the first round, Kuchma and other pro-democracy
candidates gained more than 70 percent of the votes in the
west. But in the east, leftist candidates gained a similar
share.
	The voting differences reflect the different histories
of the two regions. West Ukraine was not incorporated into
the former Soviet Union until during World War Two. Until
then, it had been part of the Austro-Hungarian empire--except
for the inter-war years, when it was annexed by Poland.
	West Ukraine's population was fiercely pro-independence
minded and always regarded the Communists, who united them
with East Ukraine, as an alien occupation force. A Ukrainian
guerrilla army known as the UPA fought against the Nazis
during the war and continued battling against what it viewed
as Communist Russian imperialism until the early 1950s.
	One veteran UPA soldier who attended the Lviv rally last
week, 80-year-old Mykhailo Palyvko, echoed the beliefs of
many of the speakers at the rally, and of many ordinary West
Ukrainians, who believe a vote for Communists is tantamount
to being a traitor to Ukraine. Palyvko told RFE/RL that "we
veterans of the UPA can only vote for Kuchma because
Symonenko will bring us no good.... He wants the same thing
as [Belarus President Alyaksandr] Lukashenka--to form a new
Soviet Union. We did not fight for that, for a new Soviet
Union. We fought for an independent, sovereign Ukraine."
	In contrast to the west, central and east Ukraine had
been in the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union since
the 17th century and experienced intense Communist
repression. This included an artificially induced famine in
the 1930s that killed millions and mass executions of
nationally conscious Ukrainians.
	The region also experienced large-scale
industrialization under Soviet rule. That brought in millions
of Russian workers, thereby accelerating the region's
Russification. While Ukrainian is the language commonly
spoken throughout west and parts of central Ukraine, Russian
is the dominant tongue in the east.
	The area is also home to huge Soviet-era coal mines and
other heavy industries. Most are now semi-dormant because
they are no longer being subsidized by the state. That, in
turn, has led to millions of workers being paid meager wages
and in most cases having to wait months for even those
payments. Many--especially elderly people with unpaid
pensions--blame their plight on the disintegration of the
Soviet Union.
	In the west the main issue is independence. In the
country's central and east regions, what counts most is
obtaining a regular wage. Ukrainians in these regions have
been attracted by Symonenko's Soviet-era rhetoric, and the
ethnic Russians in the region approve of his promise to
reinstate Russian as a state language. Kuchma, for his part,
won the presidency five years ago with most of his support
from the east, having promised massive injections of cash for
the rust-belt industries there.
	In the coal mining region of Luhansk, nearly half voted
for Symonenko in the first round, and about a quarter cast
their ballot for other leftist candidates. The first
secretary of the Communist Party in the Luhansk region,
Vladimir Zemlyakov, told RFE/RL that people will vote for his
party because they are tired of living in poverty. He denied
his party would reinstate autocratic rule and said elements
of privatization might be retained.
	But by no means all workers want a return to communist
rule. Again, unlike West Ukraine, their considerations are
economic rather than nationalistic. Many, like coal miner
Yuriy Telnoy, fear a Communist return will cause yet more
disruption and increase poverty. "I personally will vote for
Kuchma," he told RFE/RL. "Because if the Communists return to
power they will begin changing things again. As in the past,
five or 10 people will have to share one meal. Therefore, I
will vote for Kuchma."
	Kuchma, meanwhile, hopes that desire for stability will
help sway enough of the eastern vote. But the elections have
once more demonstrated the profound differences between the
east and west of Ukraine--a divide that no politician has yet
been able to bridge.

The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Prague and
currently covering the Ukrainian presidential election from
Kyiv.
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