YAVLINSKII PROPOSES ALLIANCE WITH LEBED.
In accepting Yabloko's
nomination as its presidential candidate on 27 January, Grigorii Yavlinskii
said that coalition negotiations were currently under way with Yegor Gaidar's
Russia's Democratic Choice and the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO),
Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. KRO leader Aleksandr Lebed, who is already
running for president, told Ekho Moskvy on 27 January, "I am a friend of all
professionals. Yavlinskii is a professional." Human rights activist Sergei
Kovalev called Yavlinskii's proposal to work with the nationalist KRO "a very
risky step" and predicted that a coalition would not materialize.
Nezavisimaya gazeta warned on 26 January that if Yabloko and Our Home Is
Russia do not form a coalition, the Communists could win the presidency.
Meanwhile, on 27 January, former Federation Council Deputy Aleksei Manannikov
set up a committee to nominate former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for
president. -- Robert Orttung
POLL SHOWS ZYUGANOV LEADS PRESIDENTIAL RACE.
The latest poll conducted
by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (VTsIOM) shows Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov topping a list of possible presidential
candidates, with 11.3%, NTV reported on 28 January. NTV did not reveal the
poll's margin of error, but several candidates appear to be in a statistical
dead heat for second place: Grigorii Yavlinskii was supported by 7.7% of
respondents, Vladimir Zhirinovsky 7.1%, Aleksandr Lebed 5.5%, and Boris Yeltsin
5.4%. Public opinion can shift rapidly in Russia and most polls failed to
predict accurately the results of the December parliamentary elections. --
EXTREME COMMUNISTS TO SUPPORT KPRF.
The fifth congress of Viktor
Anpilov's extreme communist Workers' Russia decided to support the candidate of
the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) in the presidential
elections, NTV reported 28 January. Anpilov's bloc won more than 3 million
votes in the December Duma elections, but fell just short of the 5% barrier.
The decision to support Gennadii Zyuganov's more moderate party is a major
change of course for the Anpilovites and demonstrates increasing unity among
the leftist bloc while the pro-reform parties remain divided. -- Robert
KOKOSHIN GETS NEW TITLE. . .
First Deputy Minister of Defense Andrei
Kokoshin--the only civilian in the ministry's top echelons--has been appointed
to the post of state secretary as well, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 January. The
ministry explained that the new position will give him "broader leeway" in
doing business with the State Duma and the Federation Council. Defense
officials said they hope Kokoshin's higher profile will give him more influence
over the military budget process, the development of military technology, and
international military cooperation. -- Doug Clarke
. . . AND PRESENTS ARMS PROGRAM.
Kokoshin presented the 1996 arms
program to Yeltsin on 27 January, although the financing has yet to be worked
out, ITAR-TASS reported. The program specifies what each defense plant should
produce, but Yeltsin said the government must now figure out how to pay for the
orders within the existing budget. The president had described the absence of
such a program as "outrageous," but it is not clear whether the current draft
is workable. -- Robert Orttung
YELTSIN: NO MORE BIG CHANGES IN GOVERNMENT.
President Yeltsin announced
on 26 January that "major changes" in the cabinet are finished, Russian and
Western agencies reported. During the last month, Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai, Agriculture Minister Aleksandr
Nazarchuk, State Property Committee Chairman Sergei Belyaev, and First Deputy
Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais have either left the government or been fired.
According to the 27 January issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta, the recent
appointment of Vladimir Kadannikov to replace Chubais marks a change from a
policy of "liberal, speculative capitalism" to a "state-paternalistic" market
model. -- Laura Belin
YELTSIN PLEDGES TO PUSH FOR START II RATIFICATION.
On 26 January, the
U.S. Senate ratified the START II nuclear-weapons reduction treaty by an 84-7
vote, Russian and Western agencies reported. In a subsequent hour-long
telephone conversation with U.S. President Bill Clinton, President Yeltsin
pledged to push the Russian parliament to ratify the treaty before the April
G-7 Moscow summit on nuclear security. Under the Russian constitution, treaties
must be ratified by a majority of both houses in the Federal Assembly. Many
analysts doubt that the Duma will ratify START II, which its critics view as
requiring Russia to make lopsided cuts in its nuclear forces. The treaty would
require both Russia and the U.S. to reduce their strategic arsenals to 3,500
warheads within seven years. -- Doug Clarke and Scott Parrish
YELTSIN MEETS KINKEL.
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel met with
President Yeltsin in Moscow on 27 January to discuss bilateral relations and
European security, Russian and Western agencies reported. Earlier, Yeltsin told
journalists that Russia and Germany had no disagreements, except on NATO
expansion. He urged Kinkel to change his mind about NATO expansion, saying "It
would be a good thing if Russia found an ally in Germany" against NATO
expansion. Kinkel, however, reiterated the German view that NATO expansion
would not harm Russian interests. Kinkel later met with Russian Foreign
Minister Yevgenii Primakov, and both complimented each other afterwards.
Commenting on the warm atmosphere of the visit, NTV noted that Kinkel had
refrained from publicly criticizing Russian policy in Chechnya. -- Scott
BALTIN STILL HEADS BLACK SEA FLEET.
Despite several high-level
statements that he had been fired, Admiral Eduard Baltin continues to command
the Black Sea Fleet, UNIAN reported on 27 January. Two days before Baltin had
chaired a meeting of the fleet's military council. A fleet spokesman told the
agency that neither the Russian Defense Ministry nor main navy headquarters had
received any documents calling for Baltin's dismissal. -- Doug Clarke
RUSSIA UNABLE TO MEET SOME COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONDITIONS.
Russia said on
26 January that it is unwilling or unable to meet some of the conditions
attached to its admission to the Council of Europe, AFP reported. A senior
Interior Ministry official said that it would be "premature" to ban the death
penalty--one of the council's stipulations--and that "two thirds of society
agree with this view." In an interview with Ekho Moskvy, Duma Security
Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin said Russia would be unable to end the death
penalty in the near future as its prisons do not have the capacity to keep
large numbers of prisoners serving life sentences. (In 1994, 154 people
received the death penalty, but only two sentences were carried out.) AFP also
quoted presidential representatives as saying there are no plans to abolish
Yeltsin's 1994 anti-organized crime decree, which permits the detention of
suspects for up to 30 days before charges are brought. Human rights activists
have derided the council's decision to admit Russia as a mockery of its own
ideals. -- Penny Morvant
YELTSIN SIGNS SECOND PART OF CIVIL CODE.
Part II of the Russian
Federation Civil Code will come into force on 1 March, Russian agencies
reported. The code was passed by the Duma on 22 December and signed by
President Yeltsin on 26 January. It has been called the country's "economic
constitution" and covers obligations in transactions such as buying and
selling, donating, leasing, and concluding contracts, loans, and credit deals.
It does not, however, deal with land transactions. Much of the code is devoted
to bank operations and settlements. The first part of the Civil Code came into
effect on 1 January 1995, while the third part, which will regulate industrial
ownership and the application of international law in civil cases, is being
drafted. -- Penny Morvant
MINERS, TEACHERS TO STRIKE.
Following three days of picketing the
Russian government building in Moscow, the Coal Industry Workers' Union said it
would go ahead with a national strike on 1 February, international agencies
reported. The union said that attempts at solving the industry's problems in
talks with the government had failed and that dialogue had to be conducted
"from a position of strength." Russian teachers are also planning to go on
strike on 30 January to demand the payment of overdue wages, despite a
government promise on 28 January to pay all wage arrears "soon." In a bid to
win the support of workers ahead of the presidential elections, Yeltsin
promised on 26 January to create a special presidential social fund with enough
money to pay a month's wages for everyone in Russia. Yeltsin did not say how
the fund would work or where the money would come from. -- Penny Morvant
BANK CRISIS LOOMING?
In a speech to a reform club, Central Bank Chairman
Sergei Dubinin said that he expects a serious bank crisis to occur in 1996,
Vek reported in issue no. 8. He pointed out that government budget
accounts make up a large proportion of bank assets and the near-bankruptcy of
many industrial firms means that many loans are non-performing. His fears are
shared by the bankers themselves. In a recent survey of 1,300 bankers, 45% said
a crisis is "very likely," 44% said "likely," and only 11% said "not likely,"
Finansovye izvestiya reported on 26 January. The last major bank scare
was in August 1995. -- Peter Rutland
EXPENSIVE TAX WAIVERS.
Mikhail Delyagin, the head of the economics
section of the presidential analytic center, complained that the granting of
tax waivers to selected firms cost the budget 50 trillion rubles ($10.6
billion) in lost revenue in 1995, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 January. Delyagin
said total tax revenues in the consolidated budget (federal and local combined)
were 350 trillion rubles ($74 billion) in 1995, or about 29% of GDP. -- Peter
RUSSIA AND KAZAKHSTAN SIGN 16 DEFENSE AGREEMENTS.
Minister Pavel Grachev and his Kazakhstani counterpart, Alibek Kasymov, signed
16 agreements on military cooperation after two days of talks in Almaty,
Western and Russian agencies reported on 26 January. One of the agreements
committed Russia to transfer five coast guard cutters to Kazakhstan for use in
the Caspian Sea. Others involved continued Russian use of the Baikonur
cosmodrome, joint air defense operations, and assistance in training the
Kazakhstani armed forces. Russia will also provide Kazakhstan with "several
dozen" Su-25s, Su-27s, and MiG-29s. Reuters quoted Grachev as ruling out the
creation of a joint CIS armed forces. He said that Russia would instead
concentrate on building bilateral military ties with its neighbors. -- Doug
FORMER ALLIES ATTACK TAJIK CITIES.
Warlords who were formerly loyal to
the Tajik government have attacked the Tajik cities of Tursun Zade, west of
Dushanbe, and Kurgan-Tyube, in the south, Russian and Western media reported.
Former Tursun Zade Mayor Ibod Boimatov, supported by 300 cadres, two tanks, and
two armored personnel carriers, entered Tajikistan from neighboring Uzbekistan
and captured the aluminum factory in the city on 26 January. There are
unconfirmed reports that he also took some Tajik soldiers hostage. In the
south, the commander of the first brigade, Mahmud Khudaberdiyev, took control
of the police station and government buildings in Kurgan-Tyube on 27 January.
In September, the first brigade and a rival unit of the Tajik army, the
eleventh brigade, fought several battles. Negotiations are under way, but both
men are demanding that the government step down. -- Bruce Pannier
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS TAJIKISTAN, UZBEKISTAN.
Minister Yevgenii Primakov arrived in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, on 28
January, to reassure Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov of Moscow's commitment
to the Central Asian republic, Russian and Western sources reported. Primakov's
visit comes less than a week after the murder of the country's leading Muslim
cleric. Primakov and Rakhmonov discussed the inter-Tajik peace talks scheduled
to resume this week in Ashgabat, and Primakov reportedly urged the president to
find a peaceful solution to the conflict, already in its fourth year. The
Russian delegation departed the same night for Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where
Primakov met with Uzbek President Islam Karimov to discuss regional security
and Russo-Uzbek relations. -- Bruce Pannier
ARRESTED COSSACK LEADER RELEASED.
Nikolai Gunkin, the head of the
Semirechie Cossack organization, was released from prison on 27 January after
completing a three-month sentence in Almaty, Russian media reported on 28
January. Gunkin was arrested in October last year while seeking to register as
a candidate in the December parliamentary election and was convicted by an
Almaty district court of organizing unauthorized political rallies. The
Semirechie Cossack organization is seeking registration with the Kazakhstani
Justice Ministry. -- Bhavna Dave
NEW ACTING CRIMEAN PREMIER APPOINTED.
Arkadii Demydenko, Crimean deputy
prime minister for industry, has been appointed acting premier by the speaker
of the regional parliament, Yevhen Supruniuk, UNIAN reported on 27 January.
Demydenko will serve until a new prime minister is approved by both the
Ukrainian government and Crimean legislature. Crimean deputies dismissed former
Premier Anatolii Franchuk in December. Supruniuk was instructed by lawmakers to
make a temporary appointment and propose candidates for the post. Demydenko is
among the four candidates so far named. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
BELARUSIAN COAL MINISTER DISMISSED.
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has
fired Uladzimir Kudenkau because of the continued decline in the country's coal
sector, Radio Rossii reported on 28 January. Enterprise output fell an average
of 11% in 1995, but that of the coal industry declined by 21%. Lukashenka said
Kudenkau's poor performance practically bankrupted Minsk's autoworks and
tractor and television plants. Lukashenka sought to encourage visiting German
businessmen to invest in Belarus, but the Germans expressed concern over the
lack of legislation guaranteeing investments and private property in the
country. After the U.S., Germany is Belarus's second largest foreign investor,
with $120 million invested in 1995. -- Ustina Markus
NO PROGRESS IN ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS.
Talks on the
Estonian-Russian border ended in Tallinn on 26 January without any concrete
results, ETA and Interfax reported. The two sides were unable to resolve the
issue of the validity of the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty, which has hindered the
signing of a border treaty. Meanwhile, progress was made on resolving the sea
border issue, although Finland has still to be consulted about the exact
location where the three countries' territorial waters converge. The next round
of meetings will take place in Moscow on 28-29 February. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIAN PREMIER RECEIVES PARTY BACKING.
The council of the Lithuanian
Democratic Labor Party (LDDP) on 28 January voted by 89 to three with 11
abstentions in favor of LDDP Chairman Adolfas Slezevicius not accepting
President Algirdas Brazauskas's recommendation to resign as prime minister,
Radio Lithuania reported. It argued that a change in government would not serve
the interests of the state. LDDP deputy chairman Justinas Karosas said the
party did not want to fight with Brazauskas, its former chairman, and hoped to
reach a compromise. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIA, WORLD BANK SIGN AGREEMENT ON MERGING PROBLEM BANKS.
the World Bank mission to Lithuania Marcelo Giugale and Lithuanian officials on
26 January signed an agreement on merging the Joint-Stock Innovative (LAIB),
Litimpeks, and Vakaru banks into a United Bank by 1 July, Radio Lithuania
reported. The new bank will initially be state-owned but is to be privatized by
the end of 1997. Aurabankas, the fourth bank whose activities have been
suspended, is to be declared bankrupt. Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius on 28
January said that the LAIB and Litimpeks would begin in February to pay all
their depositors up to 1,000 litai ($250) in compensation. -- Saulius
POLISH PRESIDENT ACCEPTS PRIME MINISTER'S RESIGNATION.
informed the government on 26 January that his resignation has been accepted by
President Aleksander Kwasniewski. The president asked Oleksy to stay on as
interim prime minister until a new government is formed. The president has 14
days to appoint a new prime minister, who must be approved by the Sejm.
Meanwhile, the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (SdRP) has elected
Oleksy as its leader. Oleksy replaces Kwasniewski, who resigned in November
following his election as president. The SdRP issued a statement saying Oleksy
"ceased to be prime minister not because his party lost the electorate's
support. He resigned as a result of unprecedented accusations by the internal
affairs minister and because of the campaign launched against him." -- Jakub
CZECH PRESIDENT'S WIFE DIES.
Olga Havlova died of cancer on 27 January,
aged 62. She met Vaclav Havel while working as an usherette at the Prague
theater where he began his career as a dramatist, and the couple married in
1964. Havlova shunned the limelight but became publicly known through Havel's
"Letters to Olga," musings on philosophy and other subjects written while he
was in jail for dissident activities. When her husband became Czechoslovak
president at the end of 1989, Havlova founded the Goodwill Committee, a charity
she worked actively for until her illness and which has distributed around 450
million koruny ($16.5 million), much of it to benefit handicapped children. --
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar told Slovak Radio on 26
January that the Slovak-Hungarian treaty will be ratified by the parliament in
March, but he warned that ratification "does not mean that Hungarian
nationalism will disappear from the scene." With regard to the decision to move
the central post office and bank to Banska Bystrica, Meciar told Slovenska
Republika on 27 January that "we all like [having] Bratislava as our
capital" but that cooperation with the opposition city authorities has been
unsuccessful. In other news, parliamentary Foreign Committee chairman Dusan
Slobodnik praised Russia's admission to the Council of Europe, saying "only
Russia respects freedom of the press as much as Slovakia does," TASR reported
on 26 January. -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARY WELCOMES RUSSIA TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE.
Hungarian Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs told Magyar Hirlap on 27 January that Hungary welcomes the
admission of Russia to the Council of Europe, since the key precondition to
European security and stability are the strongest possible ties between Moscow
and European institutions. He added that Council of Europe deputies believe
that in order to neutralize Russia's fear of isolation, it is better to have
the country admitted than excluded. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARY GRANTS FREQUENCIES TO U.S. FORCES.
The Hungarian cabinet has
issued a decree granting two radio and one television frequencies to U.S.
forces temporarily stationed in Hungary, Magyar Nemzet reported on 27
January. The American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service submitted an
application to the Ministry of Culture last December. The frequencies are to be
granted by the end of the year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
PRISONER EXCHANGE CONTINUES IN BOSNIA.
International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC) spokesman Pierre Gauthier said on 28 January that a total of
460 prisoners have been released since the exchange began the previous day.
Under the Dayton peace accords, all prisoners held by the warring factions in
Bosnia were to have been released by 19 January. The EU and the United States
have threatened to withhold aid if the prisoner exchange is not completed.
Gauthier said the Bosnian government has handed over 241 prisoners and the
Croats 127. The Bosnian Serbs set 82 prisoners free, but the release of another
70 in northern Bosnia was unconfirmed. The ICRC expects the release of all
registered prisoners to be completed on 29 January but acknowledges that many
unregistered prisoners remain in the hands of the Bosnian factions. -- Michael
BOSNIAN FACTIONS AGREE TO CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES.
factions on 26 January agreed on confidence-building measures by the deadline
stipulated in the Dayton peace accords, international media reported. Measures
include prior notice of large troop movements and verification of troop and
heavy weapons strength. AFP reported that the Serbs objected to the fact that
the OSCE has named half the inspectors on teams that are to consist of four
members from the Bosnian factions and four from the international community.
Meanwhile, separate talks on arms control continue under OSCE auspices in
Vienna. -- Michael Mihalka
IFOR CASUALTIES INCREASE, AMERICAN WOUNDED.
Three British soldiers
belonging to IFOR forces were killed on 28 January when their armored vehicle
hit a mine in central Bosnia, and a Swedish soldier died when the vehicle in
which he was riding ran off the road, international media reported. The same
day, an American soldier was wounded by suspected sniper fire in Sarajevo. He
received first aid treatment. -- Michael Mihalka
U.S. ARMY RELUCTANT TO HELP INVESTIGATE MASS GRAVE SITES?
in its reluctant agreement to protect war crimes investigators if asked but
still does not seem eager to look for evidence of atrocities. This was what
Reuters suggested on 28 January in reference to U.S. troops in the area of
Vlasenica in eastern Bosnia. Reporters followed up on the testimony of
survivors of a massacre of Muslim civilians by Serbs in 1992. Up to 8,000
Muslims had been held earlier at a nearby Serbian camp, where they were grossly
mistreated. The Serbian commander is wanted for war crimes as a result. Reuters
described witness accounts of the now familiar sequence of butchery, the
stacking of corpses, and the digging of mass graves. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN SERB OFFICER TO GIVE EVIDENCE ON MASS GRAVES?
A Bosnian Serb
colonel, reported to have been a close associate of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic, is ready to confirm the existence of mass graves in Bosnia and to
indicate where Serbs carried out massacres, AFP reported on 27 January, citing
Der Spiegel. The German weekly quoted an anonymous source as saying that
the officer was from the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Banja Luka and that
thousands of Croat and Muslim victims had been buried in mass graves near the
city. The officer is reportedly in The Hague, where he will testify before the
international war crimes tribunal. -- Daria Sito Sucic
FEDERATION OFFICIALS VISIT PALE.
Kresimir Zubak and Izudin Kapetanovic,
leaders of Bosnian Muslim-Croatian Federation, on 26 January visited the
Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale for the first time since the outbreak of the
war, AFP reported the same day. Bosnian Serb parliament speaker Momcilo
Krajisnik said that the two sides agreed that all prisoners must be released,
while Zubak called on the governments of Croatia and rump Yugoslavia to
immediately release all prisoners from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The two sides also
discussed Serbian-held Sarajevo. Meanwhile, representatives of associations of
independent intellectuals from Sarajevo and Tuzla are expected to visit rump
Yugoslavia early next month to meet with Serbian and Montenegrin counterparts
as well as non-governmental organizations, Nasa Borba reported on 29
January. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SLOVENIAN LEFT LEAVES GOVERNMENT COALITION.
The United List of Social
Democrats (ZLSD) on 26 January quit Slovenia's governing coalition, following a
dispute with Premier Janez Drnovsek, international media reported. The ZLSD
objected to the fact that Drnovsek had called for the resignation of Economic
Minister Maks Tajnikar of the ZLSD without consulting the party. According to
the premier, Tajnikar violated his authority by pledging the TAM bus company
that the government would guarantee its debts. The social democrats also vowed
to leave the coalition. Drnovsek responded by saying there was no need for
early elections as the Christian Democrats and Liberal Democrats could continue
to govern until the end of the year. -- Stan Markotich
WORLD BANK CONFERENCE OUTLINES MACEDONIA'S PRIORITIES.
At a conference
in Ohrid from 26-28 January sponsored by the World Bank and Switzerland,
Macedonia's economic priorities for 2010 were established, Nova
Makedonija reported. Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski was
present at the meeting. Goals include a per capita GDP of $3,000 (as opposed to
the current $690), export-oriented industry, a fully privatized and efficient
economy, high-quality public services, a lower technological gap relative to
developed countries, agriculture dominated by private farmers, a strong banking
system capable of financing investment, an inflow of direct or portfolio
investment of $80-100 million annually, and at least 5.5% annual growth of
social product. A World Bank official noted that a good start has been made in
achieving macroeconomic stability and cited the importance of deregulation,
especially in labor relations. -- Michael Wyzan
ROMANIAN EXTREMIST LEADER ATTACKS PRESIDENT AGAIN.
leader of the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), has renewed
his attacks against Ion Iliescu. Cronica romana on 29 January published
a letter in which Funar complains that Iliescu has not given a satisfactory
answer to an earlier message dealing with the prospects for a "historic
reconciliation" with neighboring Hungary. Funar accused Iliescu of trying to
"hide" from political parties and public opinion in Romania following
Budapest's official reaction to his August reconciliation proposal. He urged
the president to enter a dialogue only with his Hungarian counterpart and not
with the Hungarian premier. -- Dan Ionescu
MOLDOVA URGES CE TO HAVE RUSSIA RATIFY TROOP WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT.
Moldova has asked the Council of Europe to include Moscow's ratification of the
troop withdrawal agreement with Chisinau as one of the conditions for Russia's
admission to the council, Infotag reported on 26 January. Dumitru Diacov, head
of the Moldovan delegation at the current session of the council's
Parliamentary Assembly, said the proposal found broad support among delegates.
The amendment urges Russia to ratify the October 1994 agreement within six
months. Diacov also revealed that two members of the Moldovan delegation voted
against Russia's admission to the CE. -- Dan Ionescu
RUSSIAN MILITARY TRANSPORT LEAVES MOLDOVA.
BASA-press on 26 January
reported that a train carrying military equipment belonging to Russian troops
based in eastern Moldova left Tiraspol for Russia. The transport is the first
of 20 to be carried out by 1 June. Mainly antiquated engineering equipment,
including pontoon bridges, was included in the transport. Gen. Stefan Kitsak,
head of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Dniester republic, said no
combat weapons were withdrawn. Kitsak stressed that the Dniester authorities
resolutely oppose the evacuation of any combat technique from the region. He
noted that part of the equipment to be withdrawn will be handed over to the
Dniester army. -- Dan Ionescu
BULGARIAN INDUSTRY CONTINUED TO STRENGTHEN IN 1995.
industrial production grew by a robust 7% in 1995, up from 4.5% in 1994,
Bulgarian newspapers reported on 26 January, citing the National Statistical
Institute. Private sector industrial production experienced 25% growth, with
private producers now accounting for 12% of industrial production (up from 8%
in 1994). Dynamic branches included chemicals and petrochemicals, which grew by
16.1%, and paper (14.7%). The only three branches suffering production declines
were printing, non-ferrous metals, and light industry. -- Michael Wyzan
ALBANIAN POLICE BLOCKS DELIVERY OF INDEPENDENT DAILY.
Armed police on 26
January blocked and searched six vans carrying 37,000 copies of Koha
Jone, international agencies reported. The vans also contained 33,000
copies of another 11 newspapers, which were being delivered by Koha
Jone's transport agency. Police said they would impound the vans for at
least five days, thus preventing the distribution of opposition media outside
Tirana. Koha Jone Chief Editor Nikolla Lesi called the incident "yet
another attack against the free press in Albania." He added that the police
action followed his refusal to back the Democratic Party during the election
campaign. The Interior Ministry denied political motivation, saying that four
of the six vans either lacked papers or had technical defects. Meanwhile, the
Association of Independent Journalists has protested the police actions as a
deliberate attack before the elections. -- Fabian Schmidt
ALBANIAN PRESIDENT IS POOR.
Sali Berisha has declared assets of 360,000
lek (less than $ 4,000) and a small three-room apartment in central Tirana as
his only property, international agencies reported on 27 January. The
declaration followed the passage earlier this month of an anti-corruption law
ordering all state officials to declare property exceeding 1 million lek ($
10,000) and its origin. After becoming president, Berisha remained in his 72
square meter apartment in Tirana. He is the first person to declare his assets
under the new law, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 27 January. -- Fabian
GREEK, RUMP YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET.
Greek Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos and his rump Yugoslav counterpart, Milan Milutinovic, met in
Athens on 28 January to discuss Belgrade's imminent recognition of Macedonia
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 January 1996), AFP reported the following
day. Greek newspapers say that Belgrade is prepared to recognize the former
Yugoslav republic under the name Macedonia, which Greece continues to oppose.
Meanwhile, Greek Interior Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos has urged the
international recognition of rump Yugoslavia, Beta reported on 28 January. He
said "the peace process in Bosnia-Herzegovina could be seriously crippled if
all sides do not recognize [rump Yugoslavia] as a state." -- Stefan Krause
GREECE, TURKEY DISPUTE DESERTED ISLAND.
Tension has risen between Greece
and Turkey over sovereignty of the uninhabited island of Imia, Western agencies
reported on 28 January. Athens claims it was given the island when Italy ceded
the Dodecannese to Greece in 1947, while Ankara claims it is Turkish. The mayor
of the Greek island of Kalymnos raised the Greek flag on Imia last week when a
Turkish captain refused Greek assistance after his vessel ran aground, saying
the island is Turkish. A group of Turkish journalists responded by traveling to
Imia, taking down the Greek flag, and raising the Turkish one. The next day, a
Greek navy vessel rehoisted the Greek flag. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos has protested the incident to the Turkish ambassador. -- Stefan
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave