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Newsline - November 30, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 232, 30 November 1995
TOP POLICE OFFICIALS FALL VICTIM TO "CLEAN HANDS" CAMPAIGN.
As part of the "clean hands" anti-corruption campaign, Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov said on 29 November that he had sacked a string of senior officials, including four generals, Russian and Western agencies reported. Those dismissed included Moscow's deputy police chief, Valerii Aksakov, who reportedly gave classified information on a witness to a criminal group. Back in August, Kulikov said he was horrified by the level of police corruption, noting that his own agents had been asked for bribes at all but two of 24 checkpoints they had encountered while driving a truckload of vodka across southern Russia, Reuters reported. -- Penny Morvant

SHUMEIKO MOVEMENT TO SUPPORT PRESIDENCY, NOT PRESIDENT.
At an organizing conference of his new movement, Reforms-New Course, Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko said that the group is seeking to "unite all Russia and become a bulwark of presidential power," Russian TV reported on 29 November. The bloc plans to support an as yet unnamed candidate in the June 1996 presidential election. Shumeiko said his movement rejects the government's policies but will not call for personnel changes. He also announced that Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel will remain in the bloc despite Rossel's 27 November announcement to the contrary, after President Boris Yeltsin told him the bloc is "no good," ITAR-TASS reported. Shumeiko refused to comment on the president's remarks, but said that the head of state does not have the power to stop social movements from forming. The founding congress is scheduled to take place on 21 December. -- Robert Orttung

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA: YELTSIN BUILDING LUXURY DACHA WITH FEDERAL FUNDS.
President Boris Yeltsin is using the taxpayers' money to build a luxury dacha in Kareliya, about 860 km north of Moscow, that will include a helicopter pad, sauna, elevator, and tennis courts, according to Komsomolskaya pravda on 29 November. Viktor Savchenko, a member of the president's administration, admitted the building is nearly complete but denied that it is exclusively for Yeltsin, saying that any top leaders visiting Kareliya will be able to use it. -- Robert Orttung

KRO LEADER WANTS TO LIMIT VOTING RIGHTS.
Sergei Pykhtin, deputy chairman of the Congress of Russian Communities' Executive Committee, believes that voting should be compulsory in Russia. However, he said he would take away the right to vote from "approximately 10-12 million foreigners" who lived in Russia when the USSR disintegrated but belong to ethnic groups from the other 14 former Soviet republics. He clarified the statement by saying, "I mean Georgians, Armenians, Tajiks, Uzbeks, the Balts, and so forth." Pykhtin is running for the Duma on the KRO ticket in Moscow, Moskovskie novosti reported on 26 November. -- Robert Orttung

GRACHEV HAILS AGREEMENT WITH NATO . . .
At a 29 November press conference in Brussels, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev hailed the Russia-NATO agreement on political control of the Bosnian peace implementation force (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 November 1995) as a "model" for cooperation between Russia and NATO, international agencies reported. Grachev rebuffed critical questions from Russian journalists who wondered whether the agreement, that grants Russia a consultative voice but no veto, actually gives Russia any influence over the peacekeeping operation. Grachev also rejected suggestions that the agreement indicated Russia had accepted a subordinate role in its relationship with NATO. "This is only the first step," he added, noting that the agreement allows Russia to engage NATO in an ongoing political dialogue. -- Scott Parrish

. . . WHILE OTHERS ARE MORE SKEPTICAL.
Some commentators in Moscow shared Grachev's enthusiasm for the agreement with NATO, but others did not. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told Moscow TV on 29 November that cooperation with the alliance could be used to counteract its plans for expansion by allowing Russia a greater voice in NATO decisions. Duma Defense Committee Chairman Sergei Yushenkov (Russia's Democratic Choice) said Russia should use the agreement to become an associate member of NATO. However, the deputy chairman of the same committee, Nikolai Bezborodov, said that the "16 + 1" formula used in the agreement does not allow Russia to actually participate in the control of the operation but only to acquire information about decisions that will be made by NATO. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA SENDS AMBASSADOR TO BOSNIA.
Following the conclusion of the Dayton agreement, Russia has dispatched its first ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. Yakov Gerasimov, a 49-year-old career diplomat, will present his credentials to the Bosnian government later this week, fulfilling a February 1995 agreement on establishing full diplomatic relations between the two countries. An anonymous Russian diplomat told Interfax that full diplomatic ties were not established earlier "exclusively" as a result of Russian financial difficulties. A Bosnian representative, Ibrahim Dzikic, has been working in Moscow since 1992. -- Scott Parrish

MORE MONEY FOR THE COAL INDUSTRY.
After President Yeltsin ordered the government to take urgent measures to pay overdue wages to miners, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais announced the allocation of an additional 500 billion rubles ($110 million) to the coal industry by the end of the year, Public Russian TV (ORT) reported on 29 November. The government will also take 1.5 trillion rubles' ($330 million) worth of coal in exchange for canceling tax debts, postpone tax payments, and allow the mines to continue withholding some tax payments in order to pay wages. The government has also recently allocated more money to pensioners as part of a campaign to boost living standards and prevent industrial unrest before the December elections. Miners in Vorkuta had threatened to strike on 1 December, and their action was supported by miners elsewhere in the country. -- Penny Morvant

NO GERMAN OR SWISS NUCLEAR WASTE TO KRASNOYARSK-26.
Germany and Switzerland have decided not to send spent nuclear fuel to Krasnoyarsk-26 for processing, Krasnoyarsk Krai Deputy Governor Sergei Arinchin was quoted as saying in Izvestiya on 30 November. The waste would have been processed at the RT-2 plant--still under construction--in the formerly secret nuclear center in Siberia. The Russian authorities had hoped to finance the project by accepting foreign waste, enabling them to process their own stocks. The Swiss and German pullout will deal a major blow to the project. The decision is likely to be hailed by environmental groups, which have strongly opposed the importation of nuclear materials, arguing that Russia's waste storage sites are already overflowing. -- Penny Morvant

WORKERS THREATEN TO SHUT DOWN NUCLEAR PLANTS.
Workers at nuclear power plants have threatened to shut down the facilities unless they receive overdue wage payments, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. Union officials say they have scheduled warning protests, but it is not clear what form they will take. Energy consumers owe nuclear power plants about 2.5 trillion rubles ($555 million), and on average workers have not been paid for three months, according to the deputy head of Rosenergoatom. -- Penny Morvant

UP TO 5 MILLION PEOPLE EXPECTED TO MIGRATE TO RUSSIA.
The director of the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS), Tatyana Regent, said at a conference held by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva that between 2 and 5 million refugees and forced migrants may move to Russia from the CIS states and the Baltics due to military conflicts, economic dislocation, and social difficulties, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. The FMS is also concerned with the large number of African and Asian illegal migrants who are attempting to reach the West through Russia, she added. -- Constantine Dmitriev

RUSSIAN BORDER HAS "MASSIVE HOLES."
A letter signed by 12 generals complaining that the Border Guards are underfunded and unable to perform their duties was published in Pravda on 29 November. The letter, addressed to the Communist faction in the Duma, claims that the external Russian borders are about 40% undermanned, and the situation on the CIS external borders (such as Turkmenistan) is even worse. As a result, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have allegedly managed to penetrate Russia, and 20% of the country's oil and minerals is illegally exported. Pravda bemoans the fact that the "Iron Curtain" is no longer there "to stop those who would steal our natural riches." Although the Border Guards requested 12 trillion rubles ($2.7 billion), the 1996 budget allocates them 4 trillion rubles ($875 million). The letter claims that guards have died because they lacked bulletproof vests (the force has only 10% of what it needs). -- Peter Rutland

BANK WAR INTENSIFIES . . .
Menatep bank will file a libel suit against the three banks that accused it of having an unfair advantage in the government's loan/share auctions (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 November 1995), ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November. It has emerged that the guarantee letter from the Bank of Tokyo which Euroresursy used on 17 November to obtain 15% of shares in Nafta-Moskvy was a forgery, and the auction has been annulled, Kommersant-Daily reported on 28 November. Mounting political pressure led to the cancellation of the sale of federal shares in three defense plants (Sukhoi Design Bureau, Arsenevsk Aviation Plant, and Ulan Ude Aviation Plant) planned for 7 December, according to Finansovye izvestiya on 30 November. -- Peter Rutland

. . . BUT SOME AUCTIONS WILL CONTINUE.
Despite those problems, the government intends to press on with the loan auctions, since it needs the money to cover the budget deficit. The acting chairman of the State Property Committee, Alfred Kokh, told Russian Public TV (ORT) on 29 November that auctions have raised 2 trillion rubles so far and another 1.5 trillion rubles is expected by the end of the year. In one week, 78% of the shares in the second-largest oil company, YUKOS, will be go on the block--in an auction organized by Menatep on behalf of the State Property Committee. The three protesting banks announced that they will lodge a deposit of $350 million in order to bid for YUKOS shares. -- Natalia Gurushina and Peter Rutland



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 232, 30 November 1995
AZERBAIJANI ELECTED PRESIDENT OF BLACK SEA ASSEMBLY.
Rasul Guliev, who was reappointed to the post of Azerbaijani parliament speaker on 24 November, was elected to the rotating presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) at that body's sixth plenary session in Istanbul on 29 November, Turan reported. Guliev has reportedly been under a cloud of suspicion for his alleged involvement in violations of voting procedure during the 12 November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. On 28 November, Guliev met in Baku with the UN Development Program representative, Paolo Lembo, to discuss the creation of a free economic zone in Sumgait. -- Liz Fuller

GEORGIAN OPPOSITION MEETS TO DISCUSS COALITION.
Members of approximately 15 opposition parties and organizations that did not win seats in the new Georgian parliament met at the headquarters of National Independence Party on 28 November to discuss possible unification, Iprinda news agency reported the same day. At a post-meeting press conference, representatives said consultations would continue in the future and that 99% of those assembled agreed to unite in one coalition of national forces. -- Irakli Tsereteli

AKAYEV LEADING POLLS IN KYRGYZSTAN.
With the presidential election less than a month away in Kyrgyzstan, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Bishkek has released the results of a recent poll in which President Askar Akayev received the support of 76.5% of the respondents, Svobodnye gory reported on 25 November. None of the other potential candidates, who have yet to be registered, received more than 4.4% in the poll. They are: Omurbek Tekebayev from the Ata Meken (Fatherland) Party (4.4%), Bekmamat Osmonov, parliament deputy and chairman of Osh Regional Council (3.9%), Medetken Sherimkulov, former speaker of parliament, (3.5%), Jumgalbek Amanbayev, former first secretary under Akayev in 1990-91 (1.9%), Absamat Masaliev, former first secretary of Kirghiziya and current head of Communist Party (1.3%), and Yuruslan Toychubekov from the Adilet Movement (1.1%). The opposition claims that the media has a pro-Akayev bias. -- Bruce Pannier



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 232, 30 November 1995
BELARUSIANS FAIL TO ELECT NEW PARLIAMENT.
Belarusian Central Election Commission Head Alyaksandr Abramovich on 30 November announced that 20 new deputies were elected to the parliament the previous day, Western agencies reported. This raises the number of deputies to 139--35 short of the two-thirds needed for the 260-member parliament to be valid. Over 60% of eligible voters cast ballots for 865 candidates in 141 districts where deputies were not elected in May. Runoff elections will be held on 10 December. -- Saulius Girnius

UKRAINE SEEKS COMPENSATION FOR TRADE LOSSES DUE TO SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBIA.
Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk told visiting Bulgarian parliament speaker Blagovest Sendor that Ukraine, like Bulgaria, hopes to win major contracts for Ukrainian enterprises to participate in the rebuilding of Bosnia as compensation for the $4 billion trade losses incurred as a result of the UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, Eastern Economist Daily reported on 29 November. Marchuk said his government is seeking international recognition that Ukraine was one of the countries that financially suffered the most from lost trade along the Danube River. Otherwise, he said, it will be difficult for Ukrainian enterprises to compete with large Western companies for Bosnian contracts. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BALTIC MILITARY LEADERS SUPPORT DEFENSE UNION.
Following two days of talks in Jurmala, the heads of the Baltic armed forces on 29 November said they supported establishing a defense union to support one other if attacked, Reuters reported. It is unclear, however, whether the governments are ready to sign such an agreement. The commanders issued a joint statement saying that the meeting had "mirrored steadily improving relations." They agreed that soldiers should receive part of their training in Western countries and that joint maneuvers would be held next year, some of which would take place within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. -- Saulius Girnius

CEVERS IS NEW CANDIDATE FOR LATVIAN PREMIER.
President Guntis Ulmanis on 29 November asked Democratic Party Saimnieks Chairman Ziedonis Cevers to try to form a new government, Reuters reported. Cevers, born in 1960, is the prime minister candidate of the National Conciliation Bloc--a coalition of three leftist parties and the Popular Movement for Latvia, led by right extremist Joachim Siegerist. Even though the NCB has a majority in the Saeima, Ulmanis did not nominate Cevers earlier since Siegerist was the economics minister candidate. Cevers said he dropped Siegerist for health reasons, but Latvian newspapers said reports of the latter's injury in a car accident in Italy were but a ruse to explain his withdrawal. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH FINANCE MINISTER IN PARIS.
Grzegorz Kolodko on 29 November headed a visiting Polish delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, international media reported. Kolodko noted that OECD membership is crucial if Poland wants to enter the EU by the year 2000. OECD Secretary-General Jean-Claude Paye said he expected Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and South Korea to join the organization by the end of 1996. -- Jakub Karpinski

DEBATE ON POLISH ARMY BUDGET.
Deputies from the Democratic Left Alliance and the Freedom Union have criticized the draft of the Ministry of National Defense's 1996 budget. They argue that the salaries of senior officers are too high and that the personnel structure has not changed since the demise of the Warsaw Treaty. They also point out that the large number of senior officers (34,100) is one of the reasons why 64.7% of the budget is destined for salaries in the army, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 30 November. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH TRADE UNIONS SELL DAILY.
Controversial businessman Vladimir Stehlik has bought control of the Czech trade unions' daily newspaper Prace, Czech media reported on 29 November. It was not until 28 November that union leaders became aware of the sale, which took place last week and was negotiated by the company that administers union property, according to Prace. The daily, which was founded 51 years ago, has been losing money and circulation but is still among the 10 best-selling Czech national dailies. Lidove noviny reported that Stehlik has paid a 10 million koruny ($385,000) deposit on the purchase of 51% of Prace, which he intends to rename Ceska prace. Stehlik is head of a steelworks that has debts totaling hundreds of millions of koruny. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK COURT DISSOLVES TWO COMMISSIONS.
The Constitutional Court on 29 November ruled that the parliament's creation of investigative commissions is unconstitutional, Sme and Pravda reported. Christian Democratic Movement Deputy Chairman Ivan Simko, who represents the 42 opposition deputies who appealed to the court over the issue, said at least two commissions will have to stop working immediately--the one investigating the March 1994 "constitutional crisis," which marked the fall of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's previous government, and the one investigating the death of Prague Spring leader Alexander Dubcek. The former is especially controversial since its purpose is to gather evidence to dismiss President Michal Kovac from office. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKIA TO ACQUIRE MORE MIGS FROM RUSSIA.
As part of Russia's repayment of its debt, Slovakia will acquire seven Russian MiG 29 fighter planes and one MiG 29 UB, which is designed for training, Pravda reported on 29 November. According to Slovak Defense Ministry State Secretary Jozef Gajdos, the total value of the eight jets is $200 million. Slovakia received six MiG-29s worth $180 million from Russia in 1993. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY RESPONDS TO SIGNING OF SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs has described Slovak President Kovac's signing of the language law as "regrettable," saying the goal of the Hungarian government remains ensuring that minorities have unrestricted use of their native language. Matyas Eorsi, chairman of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed his disappointment and said the signing would sour relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, Victor Orban, chairman of the parliamentary committee on European integration consulted EU Commissioner for External Affairs Hans van den Broek. Orban said he thinks that the European Commission sees no problem with the language law, adding that Brussels' position testifies to an "erroneous assessment" of the situation. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 232, 30 November 1995
MORE THAN 5,000 STILL "MISSING" FROM SREBRENICA.
UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali has written in a report that as many as 5,500 people remain unaccounted for in the wake of the Serbian conquest of Srebrenica and Zepa in July, international media reported on 30 November. Investigations by the Christian Science Monitor's David Rohde and other journalists suggest that thousands of Muslim male civilians were massacred by indicted war criminal General Ratko Mladic's troops. Boutros Ghali wrote that his own latest study "and other reports provide undeniable evidence of a consistent pattern of summary executions, rape, mass expulsions, arbitrary detentions, forced labor and large scale disappearances." German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel told the Bundestag that the top Bosnian Serb leaders must be tried as war criminals. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the UN warned the Serbs that they face action by the Rapid Reaction Force if they do not stop blocking relief convoys bound for Gorazde. -- Patrick Moore

CHIRAC CALLS FOR CHANGES IN DAYTON AGREEMENT.
International media on 28 November reported that French President Jacques Chirac has called for greater security guarantees for Sarajevo's Serbs. The U.S., however, said that the agreement initialed in Dayton is the one that will be signed in Paris on 14 December. Washington fears that tampering with any one part of the patiently assembled package could cause the whole thing to come undone. It is unclear what prompted Chirac's statements. Elsewhere, Hina reported on 29 November that Franjo Komarica, the Croatian bishop of Banja Luka, has called on Croatian troops to respect Serbs and their property in the areas of western Bosnia to be returned to Serbian control. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 27 November reported that uniformed Croats were looting and burning Serbian property. -- Patrick Moore

FINAL DETAILS OF NATO DEPLOYMENT PLAN HAMMERED OUT.
NATO defense ministers, meeting on 29 November in Brussels, resolved the remaining questions about the alliance's deployment plan for Bosnia, Western agencies reported. The "enabling" force, which will to clear airfields and set up headquarters, is expected to begin arriving in Bosnia on 1 December. Most of the 60,000 troops should be deployed within 30 days of the signing of the peace treaty, expected to take place in Paris on 14 December. However, questions remain about disarmament and reconstruction. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry said the U.S. will arm the Bosnian army within six months if talks prove unsuccessful on arms reduction. Austria on 28 November made a formal offer of 300 troops for Bosnia. The Czech government followed suit the next day by announcing it would send up to 1,000 men. -- Michael Mihalka

UPDATE ON PURGE OF SERBIAN SOCIALISTS.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 30 November reports on the continuing purge of nationalist hardliners in Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia. In addition to prominent national figures such as Mihailo Markovic, chief party ideologist, several lesser-known personalities have also been removed, including Radovan Pankov, a party leader in Vojvodina, and Tanjug chief Slobodan Jovanovic. There is speculation among the Western media that Milosevic is trying to distance himself from the nationalists in the wake of the Dayton peace talks. Meanwhile, RFE/RL on 29 November reported that one of the ousted, Borisav Jovic, who is a long-time Milosevic ally and among the party founders, recently published a manuscript implicating Milosevic in instigating and waging war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. -- Stan Markotich

UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNED ABOUT KOSOVO.
Elizabeth Rehn, following a two-day visit to Kosovo, has expressed concern about the effects of ethnic tensions in Kosovo, AFP reported on 28 November. She said that "quite obvious very serious...incidents have happened." She added that she was "very concerned about the terribly big difference in opinion and views between Serb authorities and Albanians, especially regarding the very important questions of education and health care." Shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova, meanwhile, repeated demands for an international conference on Kosovo and the southern Balkans. According to AFP, "tens of thousands of police are deployed in the region to cool interethnic tension." -- Fabian Schmidt

BIG SHAKEUP DUE IN CROATIAN MILITARY?
Nedjeljna Dalmacija on 29 November wrote that it has an unconfirmed scoop on an impending complete overhaul of the army, navy, and air force to bring them into line with NATO standards. Once the arms embargo is lifted, equipment will be modernized and improved, but there will be big problems in replacing large numbers of trucks and other Warsaw Pact materiel "of dubious quality." There will be a wholesale retirement of officers with a background in the former Yugoslav army, because their outlook is too rooted in its doctrine and thinking. Two generals who might succeed Zvonimir Cervenko as chief of staff are Ante Gotovina or Ante Roso, both of whom received their training in the French Foreign Legion. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIA, IRAN DISCUSS COOPERATION.
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman met with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati in Zagreb on 29 November to discuss "trilateral cooperation between Bosnia, Croatia, and Iran," AFP reported. Valayati pledged Iran would help Bosnia and Croatia reconstruct their countries, while Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak said Croatia and Iran are expected to sign a military cooperation agreement before Christmas, HINA reported the same day. Valayati said that once the arms embargo against Croatia is lifted, Iran has no reservations about military cooperation. This view was also expressed by representatives at a two-day meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Tehran, which ended on 29 November. The delegates pledged "military, economic, humanitarian, and judicial aid" to Bosnia and stressed the need for a military balance between Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVENIAN, CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET.
Slovenian Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler met with his Croatian counterpart, Mate Granic, at Bezanec Castle, just north of Zagreb, on 29 November, Hina reported. Both ministers agreed the meeting was "successful and useful," noting they had discussed plans for talks between the Slovenian and Croatian prime ministers for January 1996. Thaler said Ljubljana supported Croatia's efforts to achieve EU membership. For his part, Granic reportedly briefed Thaler on developments at the recently concluded Dayton peace talks. Both ministers indicated that bilateral cooperation was a priority and raised the issue of Belgrade's attempts to seize control over overseas hard currency assets of the former Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT RESISTS CALLS FOR EARLY ELECTIONS.
STA on 28 November reported that the cabinet of Janez Drnovsek will not agree to holding elections in the spring of 1996, some six months before they are slated. The announcement came in the wake of recent pressure by Christian Democratic Party (SKD) members who had proposed early polling as means of reactivating foreign policy and domestic economic reform. The governing coalition is made up of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS), the United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD), and the SKD. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION ATTACKS CABINET OVER ECONOMIC POLICIES.
Romania's main opposition bloc on 28 November threatened to initiate a vote of no confidence in the government over its economic and social policies, Reuters reported. A spokeswoman for the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) was quoted as saying the motion was necessary because of "the government's poor economic performance." The CDR blamed Nicolae Vacaroiu's left-wing cabinet for the depreciation of the national currency and for plunging living standards. It added that it would table a no-confidence motion if the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania supported the government's austerity draft budget for 1996. The CDR recently issued a political program pledging to radically improve the country's economic situation within 200 days if it won the 1996 elections. -- Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN SECRET SERVICE WORRIED ABOUT COMPUTER USERS.
A report on the Romanian Intelligence Service's activities from October 1994 to September 1995, published earlier this month, has provoked heated parliamentary debates, Radio Bucharest reported on 28 November. The report claims, among other things, that foreign secret services are increasingly using computer techniques to collect data on Romania's economic, social, and political situation. Niculae Ionescu-Galbeni, a deputy for the opposition National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic, warned against extending the concept of "threats to national security" to the economic and social sectors. -- Dan Ionescu

HEALTH CARE WORKERS DEMONSTRATE IN BUCHAREST.
Trade unions from the Romanian health care sector on 29 November protested in downtown Bucharest over low pay and budget cuts in the sector, Romanian media reported. Union representatives from 40 regional branches took part in the meeting. The demonstrators were joined by other professional groups, including teachers and workers from the timber industry. Marius Petcu, leader of the health care workers' trade union, said if the government does not meet the protesters' demands, they will appeal to international organizations. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN AIRLINES IN DIRE STRAITS.
State-owned Balkan Bulgarian Airlines on 29 November announced that it risks losing its three leased Airbus planes if the government does not offer financial assistance, Western agencies reported. Balkan owes $8.5 million in leasing fees to the Dublin-based Japanese company Orix. Two planes are impounded in Amsterdam and London, and the third is grounded in Sofia. Balkan is facing severe financial problems which forced it to suspend a number of international flights in October (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 October 1995). So far, there has been a marked lack of interest in Balkan's privatization. -- Stefan Krause

TWO BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS FIRED FOR SUPPORTING DISSENTING COLLEAGUES.
Bulgarian National Radio Director-General Vecheslav Tunev on 29 November dismissed two journalists working on BNR's "Hristo Botev" program, Kontinent reported the following day. Georgi Vasilksi and Petar Kolev on 28 November broadcast a statement supporting journalists from Radio Horizont (BNR's other channel) who had recently issued a declaration accusing BNR's management of censorship (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 November 1995). According to other Bulgarian media, journalists from the private Radio Darik also came out in support of their colleagues at Radio Horizont. -- Stefan Krause

AMERICAN MARINES START TRAINING IN ALBANIA.
Some 350 U.S. marines from the Sixth Fleet Expeditionary Force on 29 November began a six-day cold weather training in the northern Albanian Lure Mountain region, Koha Jone reported. Reuters the previous day quoted Albanian Defense Ministry sources as saying the training was likely to have been organized to accustom U.S. troops to Bosnia's climate and terrain for later deployment there. U.S. military attache Lt.-Col. Steven Bucci did not confirm future deployment in Bosnia but said the troops would "train to use equipment they do not usually use." Albanian President Sali Berisha has repeatedly offered air and port facilities to the United States and to NATO troops. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]


Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave





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