OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 151, 4 August 1995
YELTSIN DELIVERS SPEECH FROM HOSPITAL ON CHECHEN ACCORD.
In a speech
broadcast by Russian Public TV (ORT) on the evening of 3 August, President
Boris Yeltsin praised the military agreement recently signed in Grozny, saying
it provides "a real chance of completely ending the fighting and bringing peace
to Chechnya." He added that talks on the still unresolved issue of Chechnya's
political status "must continue" but reiterated that Chechnya must remain
within the Russian Federation. The president also defended his decision to send
troops into Chechnya last December. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
REACTION TO YELTSIN SPEECH.
President Yeltsin's speech, taped in an
office at the sanitarium where he is recovering from a heart ailment, was only
Yeltsin's second public appearance since his hospitalization in July. The tape
also left an impression that Yeltsin might not be strong enough to deliver a
ten-minute speech without interruption. Lev Ponomarev, a leader of the
Democratic Russia movement, which has harshly criticized Yeltsin's policy in
Chechnya, said the speech was "Orwellian." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
SUPPORTERS ANNOUNCE PLANS TO RE-ELECT YELTSIN.
Russian organizations announced their plans to support President Yeltsin's
candidacy for a second term on 3 August, ITAR-TASS reported. The organizers are
the Moscow Regional Fund for the Support of the First Russian President, the
United Democratic Center, and the Russian Energy and Technology Congress. The
groups plan to set up a regional network to collect the one million signatures
necessary to register a presidential candidate. Yeltsin has yet to announce his
intentions. Vladimir Komchatov, the president's representative in the city of
Moscow, told the news conference that if Yeltsin did not seek a second term,
the groups would support whomever he nominates instead. -- Robert Orttung,
SIGNATURES COLLECTED TO CALL SPECIAL DUMA SESSION.
Duma member Aleksandr
Yegorov announced that the necessary 90 deputies had signed a demand for a
special Duma session to approve the district boundaries for the 225
single-mandate seats in the December elections, Ekho Moskvy reported on 3
August. The session is needed to overcome the veto passed by the Federation
Council just before the Duma began its summer vacation. -- Robert Orttung,
NEW ADVERTISING COMPANY AT RUSSIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION.
director-general of the partly-private Russian Public TV company (ORT),
announced that the network has created the company ORT-Reklama to sell
advertising time on Channel 1, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 August. When ORT took
over Channel 1 broadcasting privileges from Ostankino on 1 April, it suspended
advertising until 1 August. ORT reaches an estimated audience of 200 million
viewers in the former Soviet Union, and depending on the time of day, a
one-minute advertisement on the network will now cost between $1,500 and
$28,000. Sergei Lisovskii, the chairman of the large advertising agency
Premier-SV, was hired to head ORT-Reklama, even though ORT's new advertising
rules, announced by then-director general Vladislav Listev before he was
assassinated on 1 March, were ostensibly designed to reduce the influence of
large private agencies on Channel 1 advertising. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
LAPTEV ON THE PRESS AND THE CAMPAIGN.
State Press Committee Chairman
Ivan Laptev warned that if steps are not taken quickly to support the printing
industry, candidates might not be able to have campaign literature printed in
time for the December parliamentary elections, Russian Public TV reported on 3
August. Laptev added that since there is no clear legal definition of
"state-owned" versus "private" newspapers, radio, and television companies, the
Central Electoral Commission's proposal to allow political advertising and
certain types of campaign coverage only in the state-owned mass media could
cause "very big problems," Russian TV reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
IRKUTSK CONSIDERS ITS RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW.
The Irkutsk Oblast
administration is developing a treaty and more than 30 other documents to
regulate its relationship with Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 August. The main
issues addressed include the ownership of natural resources, social benefits,
health care, crime prevention, science, and culture. Six republics, Tatarstan,
Bashkortostan, Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, Kabardino-Balkariya, Yakutiya (Sakha),
and Buryatiya, have already signed treaties with Moscow, but no oblasts have
done so. Irkutsk Governor Yurii Nozhikov said, "It is time to stop the practice
of dividing the members of the federation into first class republics and second
class krais and oblasts." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
TWO VIEWS ON ROLE OF REGIONS IN SVERDLOVSK GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS.
Voters' views on the proper level of autonomy for Russian Federation subjects
will decide the outcome of gubernatorial elections to be held in Sverdlovsk
Oblast on 6 August, according to Izvestiya on 4 August. Nine candidates
are registered in the race, but Sverdlovsk administrative head Aleksei Strakhov
and regional Duma Chairman Eduard Rossel are the clear front-runners. Strakhov
heads the regional branch of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc, Our
Home is Russia. Rossel, who was Strakhov's predecessor as administrative head,
once proposed creating an independent Urals Republic and is a vigorous advocate
of greater regional autonomy. It was Rossel who pressed for the holding of
direct gubernatorial elections in the province. Rossiiskie vesti
reported on 4 August that Strakhov had accumulated a campaign war chest of 793
million rubles ($180,000) from private contributions. Rossel is estimated to
have about 250 million rubles ($57,000) in his campaign fund. -- Laura Belin,
BELGOROD OBLAST ADMINISTRATION TAXES FOREIGN LANGUAGE NAMES.
effort to "preserve the purity of the Russian language," Belgorod Oblast
administration officials have started levying a special tax on companies that
use foreign letters in their names, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 August. Companies
using non-Russian letters will be taxed the equivalent of more than $6,000.
Foreign names written in Russian letters will cost companies the equivalent of
more than $3,000. There are also regulations in Moscow on the use of foreign
letters by companies. Foreign-language inscriptions in advertisements must be
explained in Russian. Companies are also required to transliterate their names
into Russian on store signs or billboards. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
MAYOR OF MOSCOW AGREES TO AMEND POLICY TOWARDS CHECHENS.
Yurii Luzhkov said he considers Chechens to be Russians, ITAR-TASS reported on
2 August. Luzhkov made the statement when he met with representatives of the
Chechen diaspora in Moscow on 2 August, the second such meeting in the last six
months. The representatives had asked Luzhkov to consider repealing the
obligatory registration of Chechens as foreigners and the mayor promised to do
so as soon as negotiations in Chechnya are successful. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI,
RESIDENTS LEFT UNAWARE OF MERCURY SPILL IN RIVER.
An increase in the
amount of mercury has been discovered in the Severnaya Dvina River,
Izvestiya reported on 4 August. The mercury was traced to the Kotlasskii
pulp and paper complex in Arkhangelsk. It is the second time this year mercury
has been spilled into the river, the first was in January when several tons
polluted the waters. For five days, residents were not told that the water was
unsafe to drink. A commission was created by the Ministry of Environment and
Natural Resources to investigate the January accident. Although a group of
academics disputed the commission's statement that the water was safe, the
officials who initially hid the accident were not punished, and so for a second
time residents found themselves drinking and bathing in mercury-laden waters,
unaware that a spill had occurred. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.
KOZYREV: RUSSIA WILL HELP KUWAIT STRENGTHEN DEFENSES.
Speaking in Kuwait
City at the end of an official visit, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told
journalists that Russia is ready to help Kuwait "strengthen its defense
capabilities," agencies reported. Kozyrev, who persuaded Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein to recognize Kuwait last November, also offered to mediate a dispute
between Kuwait and Iraq over missing Kuwaiti prisoners. The visit is the latest
step the ongoing Russian diplomatic effort to gain international support for
the gradual lifting of UN economic sanctions on Iraq, with which Russia had
extensive economic ties prior to the UN embargo. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH SATELLITE LAUNCHED FROM PLESETSK.
Dusting off a work-horse space
booster that has been in use since 1960, Russian Space Forces on 3 August
placed two satellites in orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, ITAR-TASS
reported. The main payload was a Russian Interbol-1 satellite but it in turn
carried a Czech-made space research module called Magion-4 which will be
ejected on the seventh or eighth day of the flight. The satellites were placed
into orbit by a four-stage Molniya booster rocket, which is a direct descendant
of the world's first ICBM, the Soviet SS-6 Sapwood. The commander of the Space
Forces, General Vladimir Ivanov, told ITAR-TASS that his troops would place the
first Chilean-designed spacecraft into orbit from Plesetsk on 28 August. --
Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
GERMANS TURN MORE HOUSING OVER TO RUSSIAN MILITARY.
German officials in
Bonn announced on 3 August that the German-financed housing construction
program for Russian forces that withdrew from former East Germany is nearly
complete, ITAR-TASS reported. Altogether, 38,000 of the planned 45,000 flats in
42 cantonments have been built. According to the report, program will cost
Germany DM 8 billion. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
GOVERNMENT APPROVES 1996 DRAFT BUDGET.
The Russian government announced
the 1996 draft federal budget on 3 August, Russian and Western agencies
reported the same day. Aiming to reduce monthly inflation to 1.2% and lower the
budget deficit to 3.9% of GDP, the plan calls for 411 trillion rubles ($75
billion) in spending and 329 trillion rubles ($60 billion) in revenues, leaving
a deficit of 82 trillion rubles ($15 billion). The biggest budget item remains
defense at 79 trillion rubles ($14 billion), up from 51 trillion rubles this
year, taking up 19.2% of the federal budget, slightly less than last year's
figure of 20.9%. The budget allocates 15 trillion rubles to education ($2.7
billion). The government plans to borrow $9 billion from foreign creditors,
down from $12 billion this year. Privatization is projected to bring in 11
trillion rubles ($2 billion), compared to 9 trillion rubles ($1.6 billion) this
year. The State Duma will examine the budget when it convenes in September.
Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov said he expects a difficult battle ahead as
virtually every cabinet minister is unhappy with his allocation. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
ROSEKSPORTLES SEEKS INVESTMENTS.
Russia's leading supplier of wood and
timber, the Roseksportles, has launched a program designed to attract medium
and long-term investments from Russian and foreign banks in the domestic wood
and timber industry, Segodnya reported on 2 August. The joint-stock
company plans to raise $1.5 billion. Roseksportles Director Valerii Kaikaev
said the company's turnover was about $230 million during the first half of
1995 and is expected to hit $550-600 million by the end of the year. -- Thomas
Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 151, 4 August 1995
AZERBAIJAN POPULAR FRONT TO BE BARRED FROM PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS?
direct contravention of a pledge by Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev last
month that all political parties would be allowed to field candidates in the 12
November parliamentary elections, on 2 August the Azerbaijan Popular Front was
refused registration by the Ministry of Justice. The ministry said the party
had allegedly "been involved in illegal and anti-state activities," Reuters
reported on 3 August, quoting AzPF leader Gulamhussein Aliev. -- Liz Fuller,
THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF KAZAKHSTAN.
Under the new constitution,
which will be voted on at the end of August, Kazakhstan's Constitutional Court
will be replaced by a Constitutional Council. According to Izvestiya on
3 August, six of the 11 members of the court published an open letter in the
local press disagreeing with changes to the republic's system of government and
the expanded powers of the president. The court ceased to function when the
rest of the judges declined to continue working with those who signed the
letter, saying their colleagues had violated the principle of noninterference
in politics. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev claims the scandal had no
effect on the decision to remove the term "Constitutional Court" from the new
constitution. However, the draft presented in July still contained the term. --
Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
BLACK SEA FLEET SAYS UKRAINIAN NAVY MISINFORMS KIEV.
The Black Sea
Fleet's press center rejected Ukrainian accusations that its commander is
undermining the negotiations on dividing the fleet, ITAR-TASS reported on 3
August. The statement disputed the Ukrainian accusation that Ukrainian navy
chief Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy had been denied a seat on the honor
stand at the Navy Day celebrations, claiming he had stayed away to attend a
joint U.S.-Ukrainian exercise. The press center said a number of Ukrainian
senior officials attended the celebration, including the interior minister, the
security service chief, and the Ground Forces commander. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 151, 4 August 1995
SLOVAK PRESIDENT IN U.S.
Michal Kovac on 3 August left for a 12-day
visit to the U.S. He will receive on 5 August an award from the American Bar
Association in Chicago for his role in promoting democracy since Slovakia's
independence. Kovac is also expected to meet with U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
His visit takes place amid a continuing conflict with Premier and Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) Chairman Vladimir Meciar, whose party has several
times called on Kovac to resign. According to an opinion poll carried out by
the Slovak Statistical Office in late May and early June, 42% of the
respondents said Kovac should remain president, 36% said he should resign, and
22% were uncertain. Only 15% said Kovac is "always apolitical," while 26% said
he is "mostly apolitical," Sme reported on 3 August. -- Sharon Fisher,
CONTINUED CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK MEDIA.
Anti-Monopoly Office Chairman
Pavel Frano on 3 August dismissed Imrich Juhar as department director,
Narodna obroda reported. Juhar the previous day requested that the
Ministry of Culture stop giving state funds to the pro-government dailies
Slovenska Republika and Hlas ludu to publish supplements for
national minorities, arguing that the subsidies limit economic competition.
Also on 3 August, the Slovak opposition criticized Premier and HZDS Chairman
Meciar for giving prizes to controversial publications and journalists the
previous day. The awards, named after 19th-century Slovak linguist Ludovit
Stur, went to journalists and newspapers nominated by the pro-HZDS Association
of Slovak Journalists (ZSN). Winners included ZSN Chairman and Slovak TV
director Jozef Darmo, HZDS deputies Roman Hofbauer and Dusan Slobodnik,
Slovenska Republika, and the weeklies Extra and Zmena.
Democratic Union Deputy Chairman Jan Budaj called it "scandalous" that Meciar
awarded a prize to Zmena, which has been accused of anti-Semitism. This
week's issue features a number of attacks on U.S. financier George Soros,
Reuters reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
TOP REFORMER RE-APPOINTED TO UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT.
Kuchma has re-appointed the country's top reformer, Viktor Pynzenyk, as deputy
prime minister for economic reforms, Reuters and UNIAR reported 2 August. The
decision was made during the visit by IMF officials for talks on the next
installment of a $1.5 billion loan granted to Ukraine earlier this year. Kuchma
initially did not include Pynzenyk in his government after announcing he would
ease up on tight fiscal policy in favor of support for the ailing industrial
sector. Roman Shpek, a more moderate reformer, will remain deputy prime
minister in overall charge of the economy. Pynzenyk will focus on macroeconomic
issues. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS OVERTURN NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE.
The Crimean legislature
on 2 August voted to overturn its 22 March vote of no confidence in Anatolii
Franchuk, the Kiev-backed prime minister, Ukrainian TV reported the same day.
Deputies made the move as a step toward regaining control over the region's
government, which was placed under Kiev's jurisdiction by President Kuchma on
31 March. Kuchma said he would consider an appeal from the Crimean Assembly to
rescind his decree if Crimean legislators overturned their no-confidence vote
in Franchuk. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN ENERGY NEWS.
Belarusian Radio on 2 August reported that Rem
Vyakhirev, chairman of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, arrived in Minsk to
discuss building a pipeline through Belarus to the West. The pipeline would
stretch from Yamal, in Siberia, to the Polish border, with 209 km passing
through Belarus. If it were built, it would give Belarus additional transit
fees, making it easier to pay for the country's gas supplies. Meanwhile, Anton
Loika, president of the gasoline concern Belnaftapradukt, told a press
conference that despite the Russian-Belarusian customs union, the discrepancy
in gasoline prices between the two countries will continue, Belarusian Radio
reported on 2 August. Gasoline now costs around 2,000 rubles (45 cents) per
liter in Russia and 2,500-3,000 Belarusian rubles (24 cents) in Belarus. Since
Belarus is resisting price rises, gasoline vendors cannot increase their prices
to match those in Russia. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ESTONIA.
Lawrence Taylor presented his
credentials to Estonian President Lennart Meri on 2 August, BNS reported. He
also discussed with Foreign Minister Riivo Sinijarv the possibility of U.S.
economic and military aid. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and Taylor on 3 August
discussed relations between Russia and Estonia and border issues. Vahi received
assurances that the U.S. will back Estonia in questions of vital importance. --
Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIAN SAEIMA REJECTS DISMISSING CHIEF BANKERS.
The proposal by
deputies of the Popular Concord Party, the Political Association of Economists,
and the Democratic Party Saimnieks to dismiss Bank of Latvia President Einars
Repse and his deputy, Ilmars Rimsevics, was rejected by the Saeima on 3 August,
BNS reported. Deputy Igors Burkovskis blamed the bank for the unstable
financial situation in the country and predicted that the economy will collapse
in three months. Repse called his prediction "totally groundless," but he
admitted that he had chosen wrong strategies for supervising commercial banks,
since he had not taken into account the high level of corruption and crime
among bankers. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIA DEPORTS ALL ASIAN REFUGEES.
Lithuania on 3 August deported
about 30 refugees from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, leaving no
officially registered Asian asylum seekers in the country, BNS reported.
Fourteen refugees from Bangladesh with Russian visas were detained on 30 July
near the seaside resort of Palanga, while 12 from India were captured on the
Polish-Lithuanian border two days later. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
SUPPORT FOR CZECH OPPOSITION CONTINUES TO GROW.
The ruling Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) now has less than a 3 percentage point lead over the
opposition Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), according to an opinion poll
taken by the Factum agency in late July. The ODS won 22.8% support, compared
with 20.2% for the CSSD. The Communist Party came third with 9.3%, followed by
the Civic Democratic Alliance with 7.7%, the Czech People's Party with 7.1%,
and Pensioners for Life Security with 5.1%, Prace reported on 4 August.
ODS supporters tend to be university graduates, businessmen, and those who earn
over 5,000 koruny ($200) a month. In other news, Rude pravo reported on
4 August that CSSD Chairman Milos Zeman has offered former Czechoslovak Premier
Marian Calfa, an ethnic Slovak, membership in the CSSD. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI,
HUNGARY TO OPEN NEW CAMPS FOR REFUGEES FROM EX-YUGOSLAVIA.
AFP on 3
August reported that Hungary will open more camps to deal with the latest wave
of refugees from the former Yugoslavia. A new camp housing some 2,000 refugees
will be opened soon in Debrecen in former Soviet Army barracks. Hungary's main
refugee camp in Nagyatad is now full with 2,000 people, of whom half arrived in
July. Philippe Labreveux of the UNHCR said that so far this year, a total of
2,000 refugees have arrived in Hungary from the former Yugoslavia, mainly from
the Croatian region of Slavonia and the Serbian province of Kosovo. Hungary has
allocated $7.87 million for refugees from its state budget. -- Jan Cleave,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 151, 4 August 1995
"BATTLE FOR KRAJINA HAS BEGUN."
This is what a UN spokesman told the BBC
just after dawn on 4 August. At 3:00 a.m., the Croatian authorities informed
the UN that military action was imminent; at 4:00 a.m., the peacekeepers went
on "red alert"; and one hour later, the Croatian offensive began. Hundreds of
shells fell on Knin, while others hit Slunj, Gracac, Petrinja, Glina, and
Udbina with its major air base. Some 20 tanks sped out of Gospic and into the
Medak pocket just 65 km from Knin. Croatian media said that the Serbs in return
shelled Sibenik, Sisak, Karlovac, Gospic, Ogulin, Otocac, Sunja, Novska,
Topusko, and Dubrovnik. They had already blasted the Dubrovnik area the
previous day. Reuters reported that the Croatian army wanted to quickly take
out the Serbian missile batteries trained on Zagreb. The BBC quoted UN
spokesmen in Knin as saying that the streets there were deserted and the
atmosphere "grim" and that the center of the city is on fire. Early and
unconfirmed reports suggest that the Croats are making rapid progress,
especially in the north. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
TUDJMAN PROMISES SERBS FAIR TREATMENT.
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman
issued a statement to the Krajina Serbs urging them to lay down their arms. He
said that all will be treated fairly, that innocent civilians have nothing to
fear, and that war criminals will be given a fair trial. He added that "we were
forced to make such a decision in order to put an end to the four-year long
deception of the Croatian and international public and ensure the beginning of
a return of [250,000 Croat] refugees." International media on 4 August noted,
however, that the Serbs are likely to flee like the Serbs in western Slavonia,
which the Croats retook in May. The Krajina Serbs have been fed a steady diet
of nationalist and anti-Croatian propaganda by their media for years, and their
ranks contain more than a few war criminals who may be skeptical of Tudjman's
words. Some 3,000 new Serbian refugees were reported headed for Banja Luka on 3
August in what the BBC called one of the largest migrations of Serbian
civilians since 1991. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
"KRAJINA SERBS ARE ON THEIR OWN, AND THEY KNOW IT."
This is how the BBC
on 3 August described the fate of the Croatian Serb rebels after Bosnian Serb
commander General Ratko Mladic made it clear that he will stay out of any
conflict in Krajina. The broadcast added that "he takes his orders from Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic." Things have come a long way since 1990, when
Milosevic's media and agents promoted Serbian nationalism and fear of the
Croats among ordinary Serbs in Krajina. Their chetnik militias sang in return:
"Slobo, Slobo send us salad, because we'll soon have much Croatian meat." But
now many Krajina Serbs believe that Milosevic and his followers have decided to
abandon the Croatian Serbs, except for those in the prosperous eastern
Slavonia, which many expect Serbia to annex formally. Rumors are also rife of a
deal between Zagreb and Belgrade to this effect. Few observers believe Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's pledge to reverse recent Croatian territorial
gains. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
UN SAYS "PEACE PROCESS SHOULD TAKE ITS COURSE."
International media on 4
August reported that the talks in Geneva headed by UN mediator Thorvald
Stoltenberg the previous day came to nothing. A Croatian spokesman said that
the Serbs refused to budge on the key issue of their political reintegration
into Croatia. Stoltenberg, however, felt that more progress has been made than
he had hoped. Meanwhile in Belgrade, the influential U.S. ambassador to
Croatia, Peter Galbraith, met with Krajina Serb "Prime Minister" Milan Babic,
who agreed to the principle of a political settlement. Babic promised to reopen
the oil pipeline immediately and launch talks on political and economic issues.
Galbraith said that the Serb concessions based on the so-called Z-4 plan
provided an opportunity to end the war. A UN spokesman, however, told the BBC
that the Croats were "cynical and skeptical" about Babic's pledges. The UN
expressed regret that the Croats will not "allow the peace process to take its
course." The Security Council passed a resolution warning that "there can be no
military solution." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
BELGRADE MEDIA SHARPLY CRITICIZES KRAJINA, BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS.
on 3 August reported that the rump Yugoslav state-run media have attacked
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and particularly rebel Krajina Serb leader
Milan Martic for their militarism. A Politika editorial, reported by
Belgrade TV, blamed Karadzic and Martic for provoking war with Croatia. The
editorial, written by Dragan Hadzi Antic, the daily's political editor and a
close ally of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, appeared in print on 4
August. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
LYNCH JUSTICE IN MOLDOVA'S BREAKAWAY DNIESTER REGION.
A 15-year-old boy
was killed and a woman badly beaten after stealing potatoes in Caragas, a
village in the self-proclaimed Dniester region, BASA-press reported on 3
August. The teenager was thrown into a canal by furious villagers who tied a
bag of potatoes around his neck. The beaten woman was paraded through the
village and tied to a pole. The incidents occurred amid serious food shortages
in the Dniester region. Bread is currently available only through a ration-card
system. The average salary in the region is $5-10 a month, making staples a
luxury for most inhabitants. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
HEAD OF BULGARIAN PRIVATIZATION CENTER REPLACED.
Yosif Iliev, director
of the Center for Mass Privatization, was replaced by Kalin Mitrev on 3 August,
Demokratsiya reported the following day. A government statement said
Iliev asked to be removed from office and will be assigned to a new post. The
newspaper reported that Iliev and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Economic Development Rumen Gechev disagreed over how mass privatization should
be carried out. According to Pari, the appointment of Mitrev in effect
puts Prime Minister Zhan Videnov in control of privatization. Standart
reported that Mitrev has asked for guarantees that Gechev will not interfere in
his work. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT EVICTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
The cabinet on 3
August decided to move the Constitutional Court from its present offices in the
government building, 24 chasa reported the following day. The measure
was described as "temporary" and was explained by the need to house the Central
Electoral Commission in the building. The Constitutional Court was advised to
ask the parliament for new offices in the former Communist Party headquarters.
Members of the commission said the decision was a "purely political act," since
they do not need that much office space. Constitutional Court Judge Georgi
Markov commented that if there is not enough space in the building, the
government should move out, because "it is lower in the state hierarchy."
Markov also remarked that the government has "declared war on the
Constitutional Court, which will have serious consequences." -- Stefan Krause,
ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS HOLD PROTEST RALLY.
The opposition Socialist Party
on 2 August held a protest meeting to demand the release of their party leader,
Fatos Nano, Gazeta Shqiptare reported the following day. Nano has been
in prison since 1993 for misappropriating Italian humanitarian aid. He is
expected to be released by the Supreme Court in September. Some 3,000-4,000
people participated in the rally. The demonstrators also demanded the
reinstatement of professors from Tirana University's economics faculty who were
sacked for what the Socialists claimed are political reasons. -- Fabian
Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
TWO NEW FUNDS FOR ALBANIAN ENTERPRISES.
The German Bank for
Reconstruction has opened a development fund in Tirana and the
Albanian-American Investment Fund opened an office in Tirana, BETA reported.
Both funds are designed to offer help to small and medium-size enterprises and
to support the privatization process. They will give credits and technical
assistance to firms in construction and tourism. President Sali Berisha said
the funds will "improve economic cooperation among private businesses and the
general level of investment in the Albanian economy." He added that the rapid
privatization of Albanian banks is one of his priorities. -- Fabian Schmidt,
28 ALBANIANS ARRESTED IN FIGHT OVER DAM.
The Albanian police arrested 28
peasants who threatened to place explosives under the dam of a water reservoir
in construction in the village of Bovila near Tirana, BETA reported on 3
August. The reservoir is to provide Tirana with water but will flood the
peasants' land (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 August 1995). The peasants have
been offered land in compensation but they say that the earth quality is lower
than what they have now. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER CRITICIZED FOR PLANNED INTERVIEW.
Arsenis has been strongly criticized by the opposition for his decision to give
an interview on the Greek army to the Macedonian daily Nova Makedonija,
the newspaper reported on 4 August. Announcing his decision, Arsenis indicated
that Greece may lift its embargo on Macedonia if the country changes its flag
and constitution. He also said that Greece wants good relations with Macedonia.
Vasilis Manginas, spokesman of the conservative main opposition party New
Democracy, called the decision "a grave mistake and incomprehensible move." The
nationalistic Political Spring party said such an interview would be an
"unprecedented action" and constitute "de facto recognition" of Macedonia. --
Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
TURKISH PREMIER APPEALS TO GREECE FOR "OPEN TALKS."
Tansu Ciller, in an
interview with the Turkish daily Hurriyet on 3 August, has appealed to
Greece to "overcome its fears" and open talks with Ankara, AFP reported the
same day. With regard to Greece's recent decision not to veto an European
Union-Turkey customs deal, she expressed her hope that Greece will "continue
its new stand." Greek government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos the same day
hailed the conciliatory tone of the interview but objected to Ciller's allusion
to Athens's alleged support for the Kurdish rebels in Turkey, complaining that
Ciller was repeating a well-known Turkish position. He noted that Turkish-EU
relations depended on Turkey's compliance with international law, respect for
human rights, and "more generally what you call European culture." -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave