Accessibility links

Newsline - September 16, 1996


OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 179, Part I, 16 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

RUSSIA

YELTSIN HOSPITALIZED FOR TESTS. President Boris Yeltsin was hospitalized
on 14 September for tests before his heart operation, setting off
speculation that his condition may be worsening. He accepted the offer
of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to use the advice of two top German
surgeons, Russian TV reported on 15 September. Yeltsin will hand over
control of Russia's nuclear weapons only during the time that he is
unconscious for the operation, NTV reported the same day. Also on 15
September, U.S. President Bill Clinton phoned Yeltsin to wish him well.
Nezavisimaya gazeta noted on 14 September that Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin is already de facto running the country. -- Robert Orttung

FIGHTING BREAKS OUT IN GROZNY . . . Fighting involving automatic
weapons, grenade launchers, and mortars broke out near Grozny airport
around 9 p.m. local time on 15 September, AFP reported, citing Chechen
rebel spokesman Movladi Udugov. The fighting might be an attempt to
seize the airport where Russian troops and pro-Russian Chechens are
stationed. The rebels had earlier warned the Russians to leave the area
within two days. Chechen rebels and Russian soldiers from a joint force
later quelled the fighting. The identity of the assailants remained
unknown, but ITAR-TASS speculated that they belonged to extremist groups
that want to upset the peace process. No one was killed. -- Robert
Orttung

. . . LEBED TO RETURN TO CHECHNYA. Security Council Secretary Aleksandr
Lebed will return to Chechnya on 17 September to address the problems
preventing the implementation of the 31 August peace treaty, ITAR-TASS
reported on 16 September. With the attack in Grozny and rumors of more
fighting, the situation in Chechnya is becoming increasingly unstable.
Federal troops claimed that about 200 Chechen separatist fighters are
concentrating to the east of Grozny and are preparing to attack Argun,
NTV reported on 15 September. Udugov denied this claim, ITAR-TASS
reported the same day. Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov claimed
that pro-Moscow Chechen leader Doku Zavgaev was preparing to launch an
assault to retake Grozny. Zavgaev has 7,000-8,000 troops but denied that
they were preparing for further fighting in the republic, Radio Rossii
reported on 15 September. Maskhadov told NTV's Itogi that he was ready
to fight again if the peace process collapsed. -- Robert Orttung

RUSSIAN POLICY MAKERS MEET ON CHECHNYA, REDUCE LEBED'S ROLE . . . All
the major players involved in defining Moscow's Chechen policy,
including Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed, Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin, and Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais,
met on 14 September behind closed doors. The group will meet under
Chernomyrdin's chairmanship every Saturday, ITAR-TASS reported on 16
September. The meeting supported the Lebed-Maskhadov agreements as the
basis for resolving the conflict and appointed Lebed the head of a
united commission, formed apparently by representatives from the federal
government and the separatist fighters. The commission's membership has
not yet been announced, but it will define the Kremlin's "general
political strategy in the negotiations." Lebed's responsibilities in
Chechnya will be reduced so that he can concentrate on other issues,
such as military aspects of Russia's relationship with Ukraine and
Belarus. The move to reduce Lebed's control over the resolution of the
Chechen conflict addresses the fears of Kremlin insiders that he was
playing too visible a role, giving him a platform for a future
presidential campaign. -- Robert Orttung

. . . AND EXPRESS CONCERN OVER CHECHEN GOVERNMENT FORMATION.
Participants in the 14 September meeting expressed concern that the
Chechen separatists were acting unilaterally to form the Grozny
government. They called for letting both Chernomyrdin and Chechen
opposition leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiev approve the membership of the
government. Zavgaev moderated his demands regarding the government's
formation on 15 September as he continues to lose influence in Moscow
(he was not invited to the meeting). Sources in the White House said
that Moscow would not recognize a government formed mostly of
Yandarbiev's fighters. -- Robert Orttung

SEPARATISTS HOPE TO ATTEND COUNCIL OF EUROPE'S HEARINGS ON CHECHNYA.
Ruslan Chimaev, foreign minister of the self-proclaimed Republic of
Ichkeriya, said a Chechen delegation including Chief of Staff Maskhadov
plans to attend hearings scheduled for 23 September at the Council of
Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, Ekho Moskvy reported on
14 September. The council's decision to invite Maskhadov but not pro-
Moscow Chechen head of state Zavgaev has met with sharp criticism in
Russia, and State Duma deputies have threatened to boycott the hearings.
The Chechen delegation may be blocked if, as is expected, the Russian
Foreign Ministry refuses to grant Maskhadov an exit visa. Maskhadov
could travel on a Chechen passport, but France would be unlikely to
grant him an entry visa, since it does not recognize Chechnya as an
independent state. -- Laura Belin

TURKEY BARS RUSSIAN WARSHIP FROM EXERCISE. The Turkish government barred
a Russian warship from the Black Sea Fleet from participating in a NATO-
led exercise in Turkish waters because the ship was flying the old
Soviet naval ensign, NTV reported on 14 September. On 10 September,
Defense Minister Igor Rodionov had said that the fleet would not take
part in exercise Black Sea Partnership-96 because the status of the
fleet remained "undecided" and its ships still fly the flag of a
"nonexistent state, the USSR" while the fleet is being divided between
Russia and Ukraine. Admiral Petr Svyatashov, the deputy commander of the
fleet, said that the ships were ready to "raise the [Russian St.
Andrew's naval] flag at any time to ensure that Russia, Russia's navy,
is not disgraced like that again in future." -- Doug Clarke

PRIMAKOV STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF RUSSO-JAPANESE RELATIONS. Russian
Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov said on 13 September that Russia
attaches great importance to ties with Japan and gave an "on the whole
positive" appraisal of the state of relations between the two countries,
ITAR-TASS and RFE/RL reported. Speaking at a Moscow symposium marking
the 40th anniversary of the normalization of the two countries'
diplomatic relations, Primakov suggested that increased Japanese-Russian
cooperation could help stabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula
and aid the economic development of the Russian Far East. He also sought
Tokyo's support for efforts to counter "trends toward a unipolar world"
-- a reference to what Russia views as U.S. efforts at domination.
Primakov added that Russia is still committed to settling the dispute
with Japan over the Kuril Islands, despite the recent lack of progress
on the issue. -- Penny Morvant

RUTSKOI LOSES COURT APPEAL IN KURSK. The Kursk Oblast Court refused to
overturn the decision by the Kursk electoral commission not to register
former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi as a gubernatorial candidate,
Radio Rossii reported on 14 September. Rutskoi was denied registration
because of a regional law requiring all candidates to have lived in
Kursk for the past year. However, he argued that under federal law he is
entitled to run for governor, and NTV reported that the Central
Electoral Commission has asked the Kursk authorities to repeal the
residency requirement, which it said violated the rights of voters.
Rutskoi, considered the favorite to win the election if he is
registered, will now appeal to the Supreme Court. -- Laura Belin

ENERGY WORKERS STRIKE BEGINS IN PRIMORE . . . The 16,000-strong
workforce of the Far Eastern power company Dalenergo began an indefinite
strike on 16 September to protest wage arrears and the continuing crisis
in Primorskii Krai's fuel and energy sector, ITAR-TASS reported, citing
a representative of the strike committee. About 500 workers attended a
demonstration in Vladivostok in support of the strike, but the rally was
disrupted by a market organized on the same square at the last minute.
Workers from a number of other sectors, including some defense industry
enterprises, said earlier that they would also strike. Transport
workers, however, agreed to postpone protest actions following a promise
by the krai administration to eliminate wage arrears totaling 13 billion
rubles ($2.4 million) within two months. -- Penny Morvant

. . . PRIMORSKII GOVERNOR MEETS FUEL MINISTER, CALLS FOR MORE POWERS.
Primorskii Krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko and newly appointed Fuel
and Energy Minister Petr Rodionov have worked out a series of measures
to deal with the energy crisis in Primore, ITAR-TASS reported on 16
September, citing the krai administration's press service. In mid-August
President Yeltsin gave Nazdratenko a month to resolve the problems
facing the krai's energy sector. The agreement has been presented to
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin for approval. Speaking on Russian TV on 13
September, Nazdratenko argued that the powers of regional governors
should be extended, saying that one of the problems he encountered was
being responsible for what goes on in the krai without having the
authority to intervene in the financial transactions of local state
companies. He also rejected media reports that he supports the
Primorskii Krai Duma's initiative to hold a referendum on confidence in
his policies on 22 September. -- Penny Morvant

DUBININ ON CURRENCY REFORM, EXCHANGE RATE. Central Bank (TsB) Chairman
Sergei Dubinin has rejected rumors that there will be a currency reform
in Russia in the near future, ITAR-TASS and Izvestiya reported on 13-14
September. He said that carrying out a currency reform will be possible
only when economic reforms have attained a critical mass and economic
growth begins. Dubinin also noted that there will be no immediate
changes in the exchange rate mechanism, and the sliding ruble corridor
will remain in place until the end of 1996. The choice of next year's
exchange rate mechanism will depend on the priorities in fiscal and
monetary policy. It is likely to be a compromise between the need to
keep inflation low and protecting the interests of exporters. -- Natalia
Gurushina

NEW HEAD OF STATE PROPERTY COMMITTEE. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
has appointed 35-year-old Alfred Kokh as chairman of the State Property
Committee, Reuters, ITAR-TASS and Segodnya reported on 13-14 September.
As a deputy chairman of the committee, Kokh played a pivotal role in
holding the controversial loans-for-shares auctions at the end of 1995.
He is considered to be a member of the so-called Chubais team and
describes his economic beliefs as radical. Hitherto, the committee has
been headed by Yeltsin's Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais and the first
deputy head of the presidential administration, Aleksandr Kazakov.
Meanwhile, Yeltsin has appointed Deputy Economy Minister Sergei Ignatev,
another member of the Chubais team, as presidential economic aide. --
Natalia Gurushina

MOSCOW BECOMES OWNER OF ZIL. The Moscow government has acquired a
controlling interest in Zil, thus becoming the owner of one of the
largest automobile manufacturers in Russia, Russian TV reported on 14
September. Zil's production fell last year from 200,000 vehicles to only
17,000. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that mistakes made during the
privatization of Zil should be corrected, ITAR-TASS reported on 12
September. The mayor appealed to Moscow citizens to buy Zil products and
support the development of the automobile giant. -- Ritsuko Sasaki



OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 179, Part I, 16 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

DATE SET FOR PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IN SOUTH OSSETIA. The South Ossetian
parliament on 13 September decided to hold a presidential election on 10
November, Russian and Western agencies reported. The Georgian government
earlier stated its opposition to a presidency being established in South
Ossetia, and Russian presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais also
expressed concern over South Ossetia's decision. -- Elin Suleymanov

DUMA COMMITTEE ON SIDOROVA CASE. The Russian State Duma's Council of
Compatriots issued a statement on the continued detention of Nina
Sidorova, president of the Russian Center in Kazakstan, ITAR-TASS
reported on 14 September. The statement claimed she was detained without
due cause and has been battered in prison. It also charged the Kazak
authorities with willful and intentional harassment of the leaders of
Kazakstan's Russian communities, and called on Moscow to link loans to
Kazakstan and the writing off of its debts to Almaty's human rights
record. -- Lowell Bezanis

THREAT OF FAMINE IN KAZAKSTAN? Leonid Solomin, head of the confederation
of independent trade unions in Kazakstan, said more than 400,000
residents of industrial towns are facing famine, AFP reported on 13
September. Solomin, like some Kazak papers recently, pointed to early
signs of famine such as the consumption of animal feed and even
fertilizer by desperate people. He identified those most stricken with
hunger as residents of Karaganda in northern Kazakstan, and the towns of
Janatas, Kentau and Tekeli in the country's south. -- Lowell Bezanis

SACKINGS FOR CORRUPTION IN KYRGYZSTAN. President Askar Akaev dismissed
the head of the state customs inspectorate and the governors of Naryn
and Issyk-Kul provinces on 12 September, Reuters reported the next day.
The three were sacked for what was termed "serious violations of
financial discipline." At the same time, Akaev dismissed the heads of
three regional administrations and severely reprimanded First Deputy
Prime Minister Abdyjapar Tagaev and Deputy Prime Minister Bekbolat
Talgarbekov. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
To unsubscribe, write:
UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/Index.html

FTP
ftp://194.108.1.176/Pub/DailyDigest/

E-Mail
Send the words "index daily-digest" to MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ


REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For subscription
information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit the Transition
Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/TransitionInfo.html


ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region. There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write to ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


OMRI RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The OMRI Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published
every Wednesday) on initially focusing on the local elections taking
place throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election
season is over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to
broader social, political and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
SUBSCRIBE REGIONS YourName
Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace focuses on the implementation of the Dayton
Accords in the former Yugoslavia. This weekly publication, published
every Tuesday, contains both brief news summaries and longer essays on
specific events or issues facing the people of the region. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE YourName
Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
SUBSCRIBE OMRI YourName
Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 179, Part II, 16 September 1996

This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and
Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of
the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html



OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 179, Part I, 16 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PARLIAMENT IN FRESH DISPUTE OVER CONSTITUTION. The
president and legislature have accused each other of violating the new
Ukrainian constitution, Ukrainian agencies reported on 12-14 September.
President Leonid Kuchma's press service charged lawmakers with violating
the new basic law when they ordered the government to pay for live TV
and radio transmission of parliamentary sessions and when they voted to
establish a new Central Electoral Commission. The press service
statement said legislators have no authority to allocate funds through a
separate resolution without amending the state budget and can only form
a new electoral commission at the president's request. The parliamentary
press office reacted by accusing the president of assuming the powers of
the yet-unformed constitutional court. It claimed the constitution
states the parliament has the authority to determine the
constitutionality of legislation until such a court is established. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS TO RETURN MISSILES TO RUSSIA THIS YEAR. Belarus will return the
last 18 SS-25 Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles to Russia by
the end of the year, UPI reported on 13 September following a meeting in
Minsk between Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed and his
Belarusian counterpart, Viktor Sheiman. The missiles are the last of the
81 ICBMs once based in what is now Belarus. Belarus has balked at
several earlier withdrawal deadlines, citing financial problems or
concern over the possible eastward expansion of NATO. Lebed's spokesman,
Alexander Barkhatov, said that no documents had been signed but there
were "no serious obstacles that could hinder" the transfer of the
remaining missiles. Lebed then traveled to Viskuli in the Brest region
for a meeting of the heads of security agencies of Commonwealth of
Independent States countries where he also had a meeting with Belarusian
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. -- Doug Clarke and Saulius Girnius

ESTONIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. Incumbent President Lennart Meri
and Deputy Parliament Chairman Arnold Ruutel are so far the only
candidates in the presidential elections on 20 September. Four other
persons--Narva Mayor Raivo Murd, computer specialist Enn Tougu, Siiri
Ovir of the Center Party, and Tunne Kellam of the Homeland Union--have
been mentioned as possible candidates, but none has yet formally
announced candidacy. The electoral college that is to elect the
president will consist of 101 parliament deputies and 273
representatives of local councils. Although the councils were required
to choose their representatives by 13 September, there is no deadline
for reporting the decisions and only 170 of the 257 had informed the
electoral committee of their choices, BNS reported that day. -- Saulius
Girnius

PARTY EXPELS LATVIAN FINANCE MINISTER. The council of the Democratic
Party Saimnieks on 13 September voted 56 to 2 to expel Aivars Kreituss
from the party and to recommend his dismissal as finance minister, BNS
reported. The main charges against Kreituss were that he had sidestepped
the party's program and tarnished its image by failing to support a
proposal to increase wages for teachers and by favoring plans to impose
taxes on pensions. His establishment of a presidential campaign fund for
his wife, Saeima Chairwoman Ilga Kreituse, was also seen as incompatible
with his ministerial post. Saimnieks Chairman Ziedonis Cevers said he
will inform Prime Minister Andris Skele of the decision but did not say
whether the party will propose a no-confidence vote against Kreituss. --
Saulius Girnius

SLOVAKIA HOSTS CEFTA MEETING. The prime ministers of the five countries
of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia,
Slovenia, and the Czech Republic) met in the mountain resort of Jasna,
Slovakia, on 13 and 14 September, Slovak media reported. Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar said that the liberalization of trade among
CEFTA members has slowed down, noting that "not all member countries are
willing to move forward." The prime ministers agreed that CEFTA should
expand; Bulgaria, Romania, and Lithuania have officially applied for
admission. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin sent the summit a
letter proposing closer cooperation between the CEFTA states and Russia,
but Meciar said that the letter "was not a topic of our discussions." --
Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PREMIER ACCUSES PRAGUE OF ANTI-SLOVAK CAMPAIGN. Vladimir Meciar
told Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus during their meeting in Jasna on
13 September that some Czech politicians and media have engaged in an
anti-Slovak campaign, Czech and Slovak media reported. The Slovak
premier said that anti-Slovak campaigns in the Czech Republic seem to be
orchestrated. In particular, Meciar criticized Czech Parliament Chairman
Milos Zeman, who recently said that Bratislava, "with its current notion
of democracy, cannot expect to be admitted into the European Union and
NATO." Klaus rejected Meciar's criticism, noting that his government
cannot interfere with the work of the media and that each country's
image abroad is formed by domestic developments. The Czech premier
expressed support for Slovakia's efforts to join NATO and the EU at the
same time as the other Visegrad countries. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SAYS HE PRAYS FOR MECIAR. Michal Kovac said in a
statement released on 13 September that he is sorry for Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar and prays for him. Kovac reacted to Meciar's
recent statements at a rally of the premier's Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia, where Meciar said that Kovac was "linked with criminal
elements." According to Meciar, "all the frauds who want to steal can
steal with the president's son, because they will be pardoned." In his
statement, Kovac said that Meciar has been so full of hatred that "he no
longer has full control over what he says and does. The hatred is so
great that it has caused him to break laws and take part in crimes." --
Jiri Pehe

CZECH POLICE CHARGE SUSPECTS IN BANK COLLAPSE. Czech police on 13
September charged five people with crimes related to the recent collapse
of Kreditni banka, Czech media reported. Several more of the bank's
officials were charged on 14 September. Some 12 billion crowns ($450
million) have been lost in the bank's collapse. Two of the accused, Jan
Dienstl and David Knop-Kostka, are officials of the financial group
Motoinvest, which recently acquired large holdings in several Czech
companies. Investigators said they have seized documents that prove
illegal money transfers and fraud took place. The opposition Social
Democrats have demanded that a special parliamentary committee be named
to investigate the scandal. The parliament's bank committee, however,
decided on 13 September that the parliament will wait for the results of
the police investigation before deciding whether to set up a special
committee. -- Jiri Pehe

RESULTS OF CHIRAC'S VISIT IN POLAND. French President Jacques Chirac,
who ended his three-day visit to Poland on 13 September, mentioned 2000
as a possible year for Poland's entry into the EU. The date was welcomed
by Polish politicians and the media, but Nico Wegter, a spokesman for
the EU Commission, said Chirac's vision is too optimistic and 2002 is
more realistic. Chirac's views were criticized by French National Front
leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who said integration with Europe would bring
serious harm to Poland as well as to France. In the last day of his
trip, Chirac visited Krakow and Auschwitz. -- Jakub Karpinski

DOCTORS PROTEST IN POLAND. Around 10,000 doctors on 13 September took
part in a silent march and demonstration in front of the parliament
building in Warsaw to demand health care reform and pay raises. Every
tenth Polish doctor took part in the demonstration, Polish media
reported. The doctors want an increase in the health care budget from
4.6% of GDP to at least 6%. They demand that their overdue wages in
1991-1992 be paid, pay be raised to 5.5% above inflation, and the Sejm
pass a law regulating the state's obligations to doctors. Health
Minister Jacek Zochowski said that next year medical professions will be
considered a budget priority. -- Jakub Karpinski

HUNGARIAN REACTION TO BASIC TREATY WITH ROMANIA. Hungarian Prime
Minister Gyula Horn left for Timisoara on 16 September to sign the
Hungarian-Romanian basic treaty, Hungarian and international media
reported. In addition to Horn and Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae
Vacaroiu, Romanian President Ion Iliescu and other Hungarian and
Romanian politicians were scheduled to be present at the signing. The
Hungarian political opposition, particularly the Democratic Forum and
the Christian Democratic parties, continued to voice opposition to the
treaty and called on the Hungarian cabinet not to sign the document.
Opposition from the Hungarian minority in Romania was also registered,
as Protestant pastor Laszlo Tokes called on his congregation in
Timisoara to protest against the treaty. Still, the Democratic
Federation of Hungarians in Romania decided to send a representative to
the signing ceremony. -- Ben Slay



OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 179, Part I, 16 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN ELECTIONS END. Voting took place across Bosnia-Herzegovina on 14
September for six categories of offices, international media reported
the next day. OSCE monitors called the election one of the most
complicated in history but also described the vote in glowing terms as a
virtually flawless success. Estimates of the turnout ranged from 65% to
80% of the electorate. The BBC pointed out that despite stringent
security measures taken by IFOR and the UN police, only about 15% of the
refugee voters made use of bus transportation to cross the former front
lines and vote in their old homes. Preliminary results are expected on
16 September, with more complete tallies due later. Parties have already
begun exchanging charges of vote-rigging. In particular, the Muslim
Party of Democratic Action and the Serbian opposition Alliance for Peace
and Progress have slammed the behavior of the Serbian Democratic Party.
-- Patrick Moore

THE BOSNIAN VOTE: A TURNAROUND OR A CONTINUATION? OMRI special
correspondents in Sarajevo witnessed numerous irregularities or
provocations, such as incomplete voting lists, voters being given
pencils instead of pens to mark their ballots, refugees not being
provided with bus transportation, and refugee polling places being set
up not in normal buildings but in a mine. The correspondents gained the
impression that the international community is determined to call the
vote a success and will ignore any irregularities. Analysts suggest that
the three nationalist parties--which control the bulk of the media and
other resources, including the local police--will take the most votes
among Muslims, Serbs, and Croats, respectively. If so, the vote is
unlikely to mark Bosnia's return to being a single multi-ethnic state
but will instead be one more step toward ethnic partition. -- Jan Urban
and Yvonne Badal in Sarajevo, and Patrick Moore

KARADZIC VOTES IN PALE. Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic
voted in the Bosnian elections in a polling station outside Pale on 14
September, AFP reported. His voting has embarrassed the UN and IFOR,
whose commander Adm. Joseph Lopez said he did not know of any reports
that any IFOR soldiers had seen Karadzic. Lt. Gen. Michael Walker, the
commander of the NATO ground troops, said the IFOR mandate is not to
seek out war criminals. -- Daria Sito Sucic

PLAVSIC APOLOGIZES FOR SECESSIONIST RHETORIC. The OSCE on 13 September
ordered acting Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic to apologize on
Serbian television for making repeated calls for the breakup of Bosnia
in violation of the OSCE ban on such comments, Onasa reported. Plavsic,
a hardline nationalist, read the apology three times that day. But
Momcilo Krajisnik, Bosnian Serb candidate for Bosnia's rotating
presidency, said the following day that Plavsic's statement was given
under pressure and "we will quickly forget it and move forward." --
Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIA PROTESTS HAGUE TRIBUNAL'S ALLEGATIONS. Croatia protested on 14
September against allegations by the UN International Criminal Tribunal
for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that regular Croatian troops were directly
involved in fighting in Bosnia during the Muslim-Croat war in 1993,
local and international agencies reported. Foreign Minister Mate Granic
warned in his letter to ICTY Chairman Antonio Cassese that allegations
of Croatia's direct involvement in the Bosnia's conflict are untrue and
could have far-reaching consequences for the peace process, Vjesnik
reported the next day. The ICTY on 13 September confirmed its indictment
of Ivica Rajic, a former Bosnian Croat general who later became a
general in the Croatian Army, and issued an international warrant for
his arrest. The tribunal warned that it would report Croatia to the UN
Security Council if Croatia failed to hand Rajic over to The Hague. --
Daria Sito Sucic

WAR WOUNDED PROTEST CROATIAN STATE SOCIAL POLICY. Some 4,000 veterans
wounded in Croatia's 1991 war demonstrated peacefully on 14 September
against the government's policy toward them, international and local
media reported. Of 120,000 soldiers demobilized in 1995, 18,000 are now
invalids, and they demand higher wages, better social care, and decent
housing, as well as jobs for those able to work. Originally, the rally
was designed to highlight the veterans' complaints about being abandoned
by the government. But the protest rally was attended by high government
officials, including President Franjo Tudjman himself, while state-run
radio informed veterans throughout the country that attendance at the
rally was limited. Thus, it appeared that the demonstration against the
government was organized by the government itself, Novi List reported on
16 September. -- Daria Sito Sucic

RUMP YUGOSLAV OFFICIALS ON SANCTIONS LIFTING. Federal Trade Minister
Djordje Siradovic said on 13 September that the last layer of
international sanctions against rump Yugoslavia should be lifted 10 days
after the 14 September Bosnian elections, Reuters reported. Siradovic
said Belgrade "considers that to be absolutely the moment for the
definite removal of sanctions, since it has done everything in its power
to implement the Dayton and Paris accords." But Montenegrin President
Momir Bulatovic, speaking on a visit to the United States, said that
sanctions against trade and travel should be lifted by 24 September but
added that "the important changes will come only when [Belgrade's]
membership in the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International
Monetary Fund are reactivated," Nasa Borba reported on 16 September. --
Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN TRADE MISSION IN U.S. Bulatovic on 12 September presided
over the opening of a Montenegrin trade mission in the U.S. with offices
in Washington, Montena-fax reported the next day. The Montenegrin
president said the opening of the office was of vital importance for the
rump Yugoslav republic and would serve in part to "rectify the negative
image Montenegro has [in the West]." Bulatovic also said: "This is the
first time in history that Montenegro is opening a trade mission in the
desire both to contribute to relations between America and [rump]
Yugoslavia and to pursue its [Montenegro's] own separate interests." --
Stan Markotich

MORE CONTROVERSY IN ROMANIA OVER TREATY WITH HUNGARY. The signing of a
Romanian-Hungarian basic treaty, scheduled for 16 September, has
continued to stir controversy in Romania. The nationalistic Party of
Romanian National Unity (PUNR) called upon the participants in a
ceremony to honor Avram Iancu, a 19th-century hero of the anti-Hungarian
resistance in Transylvania, to give President Ion Iliescu and senior
government officials "the reception they deserve for having negotiated
the treaty." The ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania accused the
PUNR of "inciting violence against the president, the prime minister,
and the foreign minister." In another development, Adrian Paunescu,
deputy chairman of the leftist Socialist Labor Party and a presidential
candidate, called Iliescu "Hungary's new foreign minister." -- Dan
Ionescu

MENINGITIS POSTPONES SCHOOL YEAR IN ROMANIA. The Education Ministry on
13 September announced that the beginning of the school year would be
delayed in Bucharest and in five counties because of an epidemic of
viral meningitis, Radio Bucharest reported. The authorities initially
played down the threat and criticized a decision by Bucharest Mayor
Victor Ciorbea, a member of the opposition Democratic Convention of
Romania (CDR), to postpone the new school year because of the appalling
hygiene conditions in many schools. According to the latest data, almost
450 cases of viral meningitis were registered since the beginning of
August; 30 were fatal. Meanwhile, the political row over the epidemic
continues. The ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania accused the
CDR of having exaggerated the outbreak's magnitude in order to create
panic and force the postponement of the presidential and general
elections, scheduled for 3 November. -- Dan Ionescu

DISPUTE CONTINUES OVER ALBANIAN ELECTIONS . . . Albanian President Sali
Berisha on 13 September rejected a call by seven opposition parties to
postpone 20 October's local elections, saying it was unconstitutional,
Reuters reported. The dispute comes after a 4 September agreement
between the opposition and the Social Democrats on changes in the
electoral law and other laws and procedures. Social Democratic leader
Gaqo Apostoli, however, expressed doubts whether the agreement would
work out and said the elections should be postponed "until democratic
standards are guaranteed." He also criticized a new law providing that
members of local electoral commissions who boycott the polls can be
sentenced to up to three years in jail. The Albanian branch of the U.S.
Republican Institute, however, welcomed the recent "progress on
electoral reform," Rilindja Demokratike reported on 15 September. --
Fabian Schmidt

. . . AND WHO WILL MONITOR THEM. The OSCE's Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which gave a strongly critical
report after the 26 May parliamentary elections, will not monitor
Albania's local elections, an ODIHR official told OMRI on 16 September.
Instead the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly will send a monitoring
mission. Poli i Qendres on 16 September alleged that Berisha told ODIHR
head Audrey Glover during a recent visit that the organization was not
invited to monitor the ballot. The ODIHR did not confirm the report,
indicating that monitoring local elections was not its priority. The EU
Parliamentary Assembly issued a much weaker and less detailed report
after the ballot, and most of the international criticism of
irregularities was based on the final ODIHR report. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
To unsubscribe, write:
UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/Index.html

FTP
ftp://194.108.1.176/Pub/DailyDigest/

E-Mail
Send the words "index daily-digest" to MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ


REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For subscription
information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit the Transition
Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/TransitionInfo.html


ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region. There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write to ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


OMRI RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The OMRI Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published
every Wednesday) on initially focusing on the local elections taking
place throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election
season is over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to
broader social, political and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
SUBSCRIBE REGIONS YourName
Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace focuses on the implementation of the Dayton
Accords in the former Yugoslavia. This weekly publication, published
every Tuesday, contains both brief news summaries and longer essays on
specific events or issues facing the people of the region. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE YourName
Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
SUBSCRIBE OMRI YourName
Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message

XS
SM
MD
LG