YELTSIN CANCELS ALL MEETINGS.
In order to undergo a series of tests in
preparation for his heart surgery, President Boris Yeltsin has canceled all
meetings for the coming week, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 29 October,
citing presidential spokesman Sergeii Yastrzhembskii. A date has not yet been
set for the surgery, though Sergei Mironov, one of Yeltsin's main doctors, told
Komsomolskaya pravda on 29 October that it could be anytime from
mid-November to early-December. -- Robert Orttung
YELTSIN ORDERS DOCUMENTS PREPARED FOR KORZHAKOV DISMISSAL.
Yeltsin instructed the head of the Federal Protection Service to prepare
documents for the dismissal from the armed forces of former top presidential
bodyguard Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Korzhakov, Russian and Western media reported on
28 October. According to spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii, Korzhakov slandered
the president and his family and disclosed confidential information he acquired
as Yeltsin's bodyguard. Korzhakov has recently threatened to release
compromising material on his opponents and has accused Chief of Staff Anatolii
Chubais of seizing power with the help of Yeltsin's daughter. Citing military
legal experts, Izvestiya reported on 29 October that stripping Korzhakov
of his military rank in the security service "will not be easy." -- Laura
KORZHAKOV KEEPS UP ATTACK.
In an interview published in the German
weekly Der Spiegel on 28 October, Korzhakov repeated his allegations
that Yeltsin's doctors warned as early as May that the president should not
work more than a few hours each day and might not survive the presidential
campaign, Reuters reported. He also accused the president's daughter, Tatyana
Dyachenko, of controlling the flow of information to the president. Dyachenko
reportedly advised her father to fire Korzhakov. -- Laura Belin
PREMIER MAKES UNUSUAL TV APPEARANCE.
Viktor Chernomyrdin discussed his
personal life in an NTV interview on 28 October, ITAR-TASS reported. The
usually dour prime minister was shown relaxing with his family and driving his
car, Reuters reported. The prime minister played a Russian folk song on the
accordion and said he "noticed beautiful women" but lacked time for anything
else. The robust Chernomyrdin seems to be presenting a new side of himself to
Russian voters as Yeltsin's ability to carry out his duties remains uncertain.
-- Robert Orttung
CHUBAIS CALLS FOR DISCIPLINE.
Presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii
Chubais called for the establishment of a "dictatorship inside the government"
to facilitate democracy in society, Radio Mayak reported on 27 October. Chubais
claimed that Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed was fired because he
had spoken out about disagreements within Russia's leadership, Russian Public
TV (ORT) reported. On 26 October, Chubais tried to show solidarity with his
former foe, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, a crucial member of Yeltsin's team, by
jointly attending a ceremony marking the construction of a new advanced
submarine in Severodvinsk, but neither could land at the airport due to heavy
fog, Izvestiya reported on 29 October. -- Robert Orttung
RYBKIN MEETS CHECHEN LEADERS . . .
Russian Security Council Secretary
Ivan Rybkin met acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev and Chechen Chief
of Staff Aslan Maskhadov on 27 October in Nazran, Ingushetiya and held
"fruitful" talks on the withdrawal of the remaining Russian forces from
Chechnya and an exchange of prisoners, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Rybkin also gave the Chechens draft Duma decrees on conditions for an amnesty
for Chechen fighters and for the creation of a special economic zone in
Chechnya, according to ITAR-TASS. After returning to Moscow on 28 October and
discussing the Chechen situation with Viktor Chernomyrdin, Rybkin stated that
elections could be held in Chechnya in January 1997 only if the
demilitarization process is completed. -- Liz Fuller
. . . WHILE CHECHEN CONGRESS GATHERS.
1,500 delegates gathered in Grozny
for the All-National Congress of the Chechen People on 27 October to discuss
the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for January 1997, but
then adjourned to Urus Martan after a bomb scare. Zelimkhan Yandarbiev told
delegates that Chechnya's independence is non-negotiable, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, the Russian State Duma expressed concern on 25 October at the
ongoing violations of the Chechen demilitarization agreements by illegal armed
groups and at the failure to create a Chechen coalition government representing
all political factions, NTV reported. Deputy Prime Minister Ruslan Khutaev,
however, told Radio Rossii that his talks on the coalition government with
Rybkin on 25 October "reached complete agreement." -- Liz Fuller
DUMA BLASTS NATO ENLARGEMENT.
The State Duma adopted a resolution by a
307-0 vote warning that enlargement of NATO could trigger a "serious crisis"
resembling the dispute between NATO and the Warsaw Pact over intermediate-range
nuclear missiles in the 1980s, Russian and Western agencies reported on 25
October. The resolution argued that "competition" between prospective NATO
members in Eastern Europe could have unpredictable consequences, and claimed
that Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia would face
"catastrophic" military expenditures of some $100 billion by 2010 if they join
the alliance. -- Scott Parrish
GENERAL STAFF OFFICERS PROTEST WAGE ARREARS.
Although the mass action
threatened in an anonymous 17 October protest letter did not materialize
(see OMRI Daily Digest , 18 October 1996), some 30 senior officers
protested wage arrears in the parking lot of the General Staff building in
Moscow, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 26 October. The paper said the
Defense Ministry now owes 25 trillion rubles ($4.6 billion) in back wages,
while ITAR-TASS reported that payment of August salaries began last week.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Igor Rodionov renewed on 25 October his warnings
that these financial problems could lead to "uncontrollable developments." He
said the military needs an extra 20 trillion rubles for 1996, and that the
latest draft 1997 budget was insufficient. -- Scott Parrish
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CONFIRMS PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.
Constitutional Court ruled on 28 October that if a criminal case is closed
before going to court, the accused cannot be presumed guilty, ITAR-TASS
reported. In addition, criminal proceedings cannot be terminated at the
investigation stage without the consent of a defendant, who has the right to go
to court to vindicate himself if he so desires. Formerly, investigators and
procurators had the right to close a criminal case because of "a change in
situation," leaving the guilt of the accused an open question. -- Nikolai
THE PERILS OF DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA . . .
Two Russian officials, who
were detained in China for seven months after a business row, were released on
29 October following an appeal by Federation Council speaker Yegor Stroev,
ITAR-TASS reported. The two men, Vasilii Chalikov and Aleksander Silchenko, had
traveled to Weifang, Shandong province, to try to regain a $1.3 million debt
owed to a joint venture set up by Irkutsk Oblast to import food and clothing.
Chalikov is the director of the firm and Silchenko is deputy governor of
Irkutsk. -- Peter Rutland
. . . AND RUSSIA.
Vladimir Strelikov, the deputy president of Russia's
Bank for Reconstruction and Development, was shot several times on 28 October
by assassins dressed as police who flagged down his car near his home in
Moscow, AFP reported. His driver was shot dead. Izvestiya reported on 15
October that there have been 450 contract murders in Russia this year. -- Peter
TWO INCUMBENTS REELECTED . .
Incumbent governors Ravil Geniatulin of
Chita Oblast and Aleksandr Filippenko of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug were
reelected, receiving 31% and 72% of the vote, respectively, according to
preliminary results of the 27 October elections, Russian TV (RTR) and NTV
reported the next day. A runoff will be held in Kaluga Oblast and Stavropol
Krai where no candidate received a majority. In both regions, the opposition
candidates, Kaluga Oblast Legislative Assembly Chairman Valerii Sudarenkov and
former Stavropol Komsomol leader Aleksandr Chernogorov, each received about
47%, leading the incumbents, Oleg Savchenko and Petr Marchenko, by
approximately 10%. No governor was elected in Agin Buryat Autonomous Okrug
since both candidates, the incumbent Bolot Ayushev and his rival Yurii Donkov,
failed to win a majority, taking about 49% each. Under the okrug law, the
gubernatorial race will have to be repeated with new candidates. -- Anna
Paretskaya in Moscow
. . . WHILE OPPOSITION CANDIDATE SCORES CONTROVERSIAL VICTORY.
turnout lower than required by the krai's electoral law (43% instead of 50%),
the Krasnodar Krai legislature has ruled that Nikolai Kondratenko was elected
governor in the 27 October election, NTV reported the next day. Kondratenko,
supported by the united opposition, outpolled the incumbent Nikolai Yegorov by
57% to about 25%. Constitutional Court member Valerii Zorkin said the decision
by the krai legislature on elections was illegal and that the voting will be
ruled invalid. Yeltsin reappointed Yegorov as the krai's governor after
replacing him with Anatolii Chubais as presidential chief of staff. -- Anna
Paretskaya in Moscow
KAMAZ TAKEN OFF BANKRUPTCY LIST.
The emergency tax commission (VChK) may
reconsider its decision to start a bankruptcy procedure against the Tatarstan
truck manufacturer KamAZ, Kommersant-Daily reported on 29 October. The
head of the Federal Bankruptcy Administration, Petr Mostovoi, said that the
company has submitted documents proving that KamAZ had been granted a tax
deferment (as an investment credit) in May 1996. Tatarstan President Mintimer
Shaimiev, who has strongly criticized the threat to bankrupt KamAZ and the oil
company Tatneft, met with Viktor Chernomyrdin on 28 October, ITAR-TASS
reported. -- Natalia Gurushina
MASS RALLY IN YEREVAN.
The opposition National Accord bloc (AHD) held a
rally in Yerevan on 25 October, the first since the government lifted a ban on
public gatherings in the capital, Armenian and Western media reported on 25
October. An estimated 40,000 people participated in the sanctioned
demonstration. Vazgen Manukyan, the defeated presidential candidate and leader
of the opposition, reiterated charges that the 22 September election results
were falsified and said the opposition "will continue to struggle to replace
the current government" through legal means. Manukyan called for a boycott of
the local elections scheduled for 10 November. -- Emil Danielyan
DIVERGING VIEWS OF GEORGIAN ECONOMY.
Economics Minister Lado Papava
predicted on 27 October that the country would experience an "economic
miracle," with an annual increase in output of over 12%, ITAR-TASS reported.
Papava added that some 110,000 jobs had been created since the beginning of
1996 and that it was hoped that unemployment would be reduced to 5-6% by 2000.
The leader of the United Georgian Communist Party, Panteleimon Giorgadze, told
delegates to the party's fourth congress on 27 October that the economic
situation is catastrophic and that some 775,000 people are unemployed (from a
population of some 5 million), according to BGI and ITAR-TASS. -- Liz Fuller
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SLAMS PLANNED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN
The Russian Foreign Ministry has condemned as "a
challenge to the international community" the decision by the parliament of the
self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh to hold presidential elections on
24 November while "up to one third of the enclave's population are living as
refugees beyond its borders", Radio Mayak reported on 26 October quoting
ITAR-TASS. The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan discussed the Karabakh
peace process during the Black Sea Economic Cooperation heads of state summit
in Moscow on 25 October. A further round of talks on the Karabakh conflict
under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk group opened in Moscow on 28 October. -- Liz
TURKMENISTAN CELEBRATES FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE.
parade highlighted the 27 October ceremonies commemorating the fifth
anniversary of Turkmenistan's independence, Russian and Turkmen sources
reported. According to ITAR-TASS, Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov met with
Russian and Iranian officials in the days leading up to the celebration,
concluding a series of bilateral accords with both states that underscore the
country's "permanent neutrality." The Turkmen Press Agency reported on 23
October that in the week before the anniversary a monument to
Gurbansoltan-edzhe, Niyazov's mother, was unveiled in Chardjui. -- Roger
POLITICAL HEADS ROLL IN UZBEKISTAN.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov
dismissed the Hokim (Governor) of Syrdarya region on 28 October, Uzbek TV
reported. Ghulomqodir Khasanov was officially relieved of his duties because of
his failure to meet grain and cotton harvest targets. He will be replaced by
Deputy Prime Minister Utkam Ismailov. Karimov dismissed the Hokim of Jizzak
region, Alisher Toshkenboev, on 25 October for the same reason. The firings
follow a pattern of Hokim replacements that began after last fall's poor grain
harvest. -- Roger Kangas
TAJIK POLICEMEN TAKEN HOSTAGE.
Forces of Tajik opposition field
commander Mullo Abdullo surprised two busloads of Tajik policemen on 24 October
taking all 37 of them hostage near the town of Komsomolabad, Russian and
Western sources reported. The captors demand the dismantling of all checkpoints
along roads in the Karateginskaya valley because, according to the opposition,
they are a violation of the truce signed by opposition and government
commanders on 17 September. -- Bruce Pannier
PAKISTANI PRESIDENT IN KYRGYZSTAN, KAZAKSTAN.
Pakistani President Farooq
Leghari made a three-day stop in Kyrgyzstan to hold talks with Kyrgyz President
Askar Akayev, RFE/RL reported. During the 25-27 October visit agreements were
signed on cooperation between interior ministries and fighting drug
trafficking. Leghari left on 27 October for the Kazakstani capital Almaty to
meet President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The two presidents discussed Afghanistan
but found little common ground. Leghari did find Nazarbayev supportive on the
issue of Kashmir. -- Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov
UKRAINE APPOINTS NEW NAVAL COMMANDER.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
on 28 October appointed Rear Admiral Mykhailo Yezhel as commander of Ukraine's
navy and deputy Defense Minister, and Rear Admiral Viktor Fomin as first deputy
navy commander, UNIAN reported. Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk denied that
former navy commander Volodymyr Bezkorovainy was being cast off politically. He
said Bezkorovainy was offered the job of defense minister's aide in charge of
Black Sea Fleet talks. Russian Public Television reported Kuchma denied the
command changes were a concession to Russia. He also confirmed that the lease
offered to the Russian Black Sea Fleet for Sevastopol would be long enough to
enable Moscow to build a new base over that period. Russian Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin said the term of the lease would be 20 years. -- Ustina
UKRAINE VOWS TO SHUT DOWN ONE OF THE CHORNOBYL REACTORS.
Reactor No. 1
will be stopped completely on 30 November, international news agencies reported
on 28 October. Ukraine had promised to close the reactor in November, but
Environment and Nuclear Safety Minister Yurii Kostenko said two weeks ago that
stopping it as planned could generate problems. The decision is in line with
the schedule, according to which Kyiv has agreed to shut down Chornobyl by 2000
in return for $3 billion in grants and funding from the Group of Seven. The
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is expected to grant money to
build two reactors in western Ukraine to replace electricity lost by
Chornobyl's closure. The United States would give $27 million to strengthen the
concrete sarcophagus over Reactor No. 4, that was destroyed in 1986, Kostenko
said. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev
In a published appeal to the people, President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka insisted he would hold his constitutional referendum,
ITAR-TASS reported on 29 October. The same day, he signed a decree on
preparations for the referendum. The previous day, the Foreign Ministry
announced it was unhappy with the European Parliament's resolution on the
situation in Belarus. The European Parliament found the country's regime to be
authoritarian. Belarus's Foreign Ministry responded that the country had been a
"pioneer" in nuclear disarmament, and the European parliament's resolution was
"incorrect, out of place, and regrettable." The resolution will hinder
ratification of an agreement on partnership and cooperation between Belarus and
the Council of Europe and also implementation of a trade accord. -- Ustina
RUSSIAN STRATEGIC TROOPS ARE TO LEAVE BELARUS BY 1997.
Defense Minister Leanid Maltseu denied any breach of accord on withdrawal of
remaining Russian strategic troops, Belapan reported on 29 October. There are
currently 18 ICBM Topol (SS-25) mobile systems with 18 warheads left on
Belarusian territory. He said that under the agreement the troops were to leave
by 31 December 1996, although several issues remain before the troops can
leave. Meanwhile, an army truck crashed into a ditch 80 km east from Minsk on
28 October. Seven conscripts were killed and two were injured by the scattered
timber, which the truck was transporting. -- Sergei Solodovnikov
ESTONIAN RULING COALITION NOT TO SPLIT.
After more than three and half
hours of talks on 25 October, leaders of the Coalition Party and the Reform
Party decided to continue the government coalition. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi
said that the rift had been emotional, and that the decision to keep the
coalition was made at the beginning of the meeting; the remaining time was
spent on finding a compromise, BNS reported. Reform Party Chairman Siim Kallas
said that the coalition's break up would have made it more difficult to reach
an agreement with Russia. The two parties, however, have been unable to agree
on cooperation in the recently elected Tallinn and Tartu city councils. --
LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT PROPOSES SEIMAS SET NORTHERN SEA BORDER.
Brazauskas on 25 October submitted to the parliament for "immediate discussion"
a draft law unilaterally setting the sea border with Latvia, Radio Lithuania
reported. His action was prompted by the Latvian parliament's ratification the
previous day of an oil exploration license with two oil companies in sea
territory claimed by both countries. The Seimas is expected to adopt the law at
its next session on 5 November. The law will be in effect until a bilateral
treaty on sea borders with Latvia is signed. -- Saulius Girnius
CZECH PREMIER'S HOLIDAY SPEECH PROMPTS CRITICISM.
Vaclav Klaus's speech
made on October 28--commemorating the 78th anniversary of the founding of an
independent Czechoslovakia--was criticized by Social Democratic party leader
Milos Zeman as "preelection propaganda," Czech media reported. Klaus said
mistakes were made during the reform process, but that there is no reason for
the country to be swept by "a wave of negativism." Klaus warned against
populist promises that, in his opinion, are being made by the opposition. Zeman
said Klaus had "abused his post" to make a preelection speech. He said it is
"disgusting" that Klaus used for his speech the holiday of the founding of the
very same state "he helped to destroy." -- Jiri Pehe
CONGRESS OF HUNGARIAN CIVIC PARTY IN SLOVAKIA.
Laszlo Nagy was reelected
chairman of the Hungarian Civic Party (MOS) at its congress, held on 27
October, Slovak press reported. The MOS is a member of the coalition of ethnic
Hungarian parties in the Slovak parliament. Nagy told the congress that the
government of Vladimir Meciar has introduced a parliamentary dictatorship in
Slovakia, the daily SME reported. Nagy said that the southern part of
Slovakia, where most Hungarians live, is a disaster compared to the other parts
of the country. -- Anna Siskova
HUNGARY'S RADICAL RIGHT-WING HOLDS DEMONSTRATION IN BUDAPEST.
thousands of demonstrators called for radical moves and unity among "national"
forces at an anti-government rally outside parliament on 27 October, Hungarian
media reported. The rally was organized by the far-right extra-parliamentary
Hungarian Justice and Life Party. The crowd called for the resignation of top
government politicians. Several foreigners were invited as guest speakers,
among them Jean-Marie Le Pen, president of France's far-right National Front.
Le Pen firmly rejected the idea of European unity. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
NATO TO TRY TO COUNTER BOSNIAN BOMBINGS, ARSON.
IFOR commander Adm.
Joseph Lopez met on 26 October with the Bosnian Serb member of the collective
presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik. On 28 October, Lopez also spoke to the Croatian
representative Kresimir Zubak and with the Muslim Alija Izetbegovic, news
agencies reported. The purpose of the discussions was to end a recent spate of
attacks on buildings, which are apparently aimed at intimidating refugees from
returning to areas from which they have been "ethnically cleansed." At issue
especially were the systematic blasting of more than 90 Muslim homes and two
mosques near Serb-held Prijedor, as well as the torching of 65 Serbian houses
in Croat-held Drvar. The Dayton agreement guarantees refugees the right to go
home, and since August, groups of Muslims have been trying to return to their
villages just inside the Serbian side of the inter-entity frontier in northeast
Bosnia. -- Patrick Moore
HAGUE BOSNIAN TRIBUNAL UNDER A CLOUD?
Dusan Tadic, a Bosnian Serb on
trial in The Hague for war crimes, denied that he was ever in two of the three
concentration camps where he is accused of abusing and murdering Muslim or
Croatian prisoners, the VOA reported on 28 October. The case of Tadic was
weakened considerably on 25 October when the judge told the tribunal to
disregard testimony from the Serb who had been the main witness against the
indicted man. Dragan Opacic admitted that he had been forced into taking the
stand against Tadic by the Bosnian authorities, who coached him daily on how to
testify. -- Patrick Moore
IFOR opened a rebuilt railway bridge at Bosansko Petrovo
Selo near Doboj on 28 October to reconnect Bosnian lines with Western Europe,
the VOA reported. It is now possible to travel by train from Zagreb to
Belgrade, too, Onasa added. Meanwhile at Ploce on the Adriatic, the U.S. ship
bringing arms for the Bosnian army has left its moorings and headed out to sea
to await further instructions from Washington, Nasa Borba and
Oslobodjenje wrote on 28 October. The Americans are making delivery
contingent on the sacking of a top Bosnian Muslim commander, whom Washington
feels is the main obstacle to integrating the Muslim and Croat armies (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 25 October 1996). -- Patrick Moore
SERBS THREATEN TO BAN FEDERATION PARTIES FROM MUNICIPAL POLLS.
Kalinic, head of the Bosnian Serb parliament, threatened on 26 October to ban
parties from the Muslim-Croat Federation from taking part in municipal
elections in the Republika Srpska (RS), AFP quoted BETA reports. Kalinic said
the Federation parties must be registered according to the RS laws defining the
rights of national minorities, which include Muslims and Croats. Kalinic
criticized the new electoral registration rules for the municipal elections,
saying they disqualify over 300,000 Serbs living abroad or in Serbia-Montenegro
as refugees. The OSCE recently announced that refugees could no longer register
to vote in places they "intended" to live, owing mainly to the Bosnian Serb
registration manipulations during Bosnia's general elections. -- Daria Sito
BOSNIAN SERBS ACCUSED OF INTIMIDATING INDEPENDENT MEDIA.
The OSCE has
started an investigation into Bosnian Serb authorities' intimidating the
independent media in the Republika Srpska, AFP reported on 28 October. Several
independent papers have stopped publishing after being denied access to the
Glas Srpski printing house controlled by the ruling Serbian Democratic Party
(SDS). Two reporters of the weekly Alternativa are being sued by senior
SDS journalists over an article that linked the two men to attempts during
recent elections to prevent meeting of opposition parties. OMRI reported
Alternativa's editor was told that the Glas Srpski's printing ban was
for publishing a protest to a similar ban imposed on the only independent
daily, Nezavisne Novine. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SERBIAN OPPOSITION OFFICIALS STAGE HUNGER STRIKE.
Three members of the
Zajedno or Together coalition (consisting of the Serbian Renewal Movement, the
Democratic Party, the Democratic party of Serbia, and the Serbian Civic League)
competing in the upcoming 3 November elections staged a hunger strike and
demanded that they be permitted to monitor election returns, Belgrade's Radio B
92 reported on 28 October. One of the protesters vowed that "we will stay until
our demands are met, or until the police [forcibly] evict us." The three
reportedly locked themselves in at election headquarters in Nis in order to
protest a decision by the ruling authorities barring them from monitoring
returns. Earlier, on 25 October, the coalition said it might boycott the
elections if independent monitors were not allowed to observe on polling day.
-- Stan Markotich
BELGRADE TRANSIT WORKERS STRIKE.
Bus and tram drivers in Belgrade nearly
halted commuter traffic in that city on the morning of 28 October before the
transit authorities could muster more vehicles, local and international media
reported. Slobodan Vucenovic, a local dispatcher told Reuters "there [were]
only 483 vehicles on the street...out of 1,009 scheduled." Two of six transport
unions staged the strike, demanding unpaid back wages. -- Stan Markotich
POLICE ARRESTS 30 KOSOVO ALBANIANS AFTER KILLING OF TWO SERBS.
police arrested 30 ethnic Albanians in Surkis near Podujevo after a police
officer and a civil servant were killed there in an ambush with automatic
weapons on 25 October, Reuters reported. Funerals for the victims were held on
27 October in Surkis and Velika Reka with a heavy Serbian police presence, AFP
reported. Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nikola
Sainovic and Serbian Interior Minister Zoran Sokolovic visited representatives
of the Serb community in Podujevo the previous evening. Sokolovic promised that
a police intervention unit be stationed in the town, and said he would ask the
federal government to set up a Yugoslav army garrison in Podujevo. -- Fabian
CROATIA BURIES WW2 FASCISTS AND COMMUNISTS TOGETHER.
authorities on 27 October in the Adriatic town of Omis reburied together the
bodies of World War II fascist soldiers and the remains of communist partisans
they had fought, AFP reported. Of 112 bodies, 104 were remains of soldiers from
marionette fascist Independent State of Croatia, six were former Ustashi
troops--equivalent of the Nazi SS--and two were the bodies of partisans. Vice
Vukojevic of the ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) said the ceremony
was "a symbol of the reconciliation of the Croat people," AFP quoted him as
saying. Jewish communities in Croatia and abroad and former partisans protested
the ceremony. -- Daria Sito Sucic
RUSSIA WANTS LARGE CUT IN MACEDONIAN PEACE KEEPING.
representative Sergei Lavrov on 28 October stated in Skopje that "Russia
believes the [UNPREDEP] mandate should stay the same but with a major reduction
in troops," AFP reported. Lavrov met with President Kiro Gligorov and Foreign
Minister Ljubomir Frckovski. The mandate of the 1,100 troops runs out on 30
November, but Skopje has asked for an extension because of the weakness of its
own army. Meanwhile, the defense ministry said it will buy arms for $200
million over the next five years. NATO had asked that the weapons comply with
Western standards but Skopje made it clear that Macedonia was under no
obligation to buy Western-made weapons. -- Fabian Schmidt
ROMANIAN JOURNALISTS SENTENCED FOR LIBEL.
A Bucharest court sentenced
two journalists on 25 October for "offending the authorities," Romanian media
reported. Sorin Rosca Stanescu, editor of the daily Ziua and Tana
Ardeleanu, a Ziua reporter, were handed down prison sentences of one
year and 14 months respectively for a series of articles suggesting that
President Ion Iliescu had been recruited by the KGB in his youth. The
prosecution requested a minimum 6-month suspended sentence, but the court
ignored the request and also banned the two to work as journalists in the
future. The journalists will appeal the decision. The timing of the
verdict--just one week before general and presidential elections--has been
interpreted by the independent media as a warning addressed to journalists
criticizing Iliescu. -- Zsolt Mato
SNEGUR URGES RUSSIA TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM MOLDOVA.
Mircea Snegur on 25 October told journalists in Moscow that, if he is
reelected, he would insist that Russian troops be withdrawn from eastern
Moldova by late 1997, Infotag reported on 28 October. Snegur made the statement
after meeting Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin during a Black Sea
Economic Cooperation summit. He further reiterated earlier statements that
Moldova, whose constitution provides for neutrality, does not plan to join any
military alliance, including NATO. -- Dan Ionescu
UNITED OPPOSITION CANDIDATES WIN FIRST ROUND OF BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL
Petar Stoyanov and his running mate, Todor Kavaldzhiev
received 44.09% of the vote in the first round of the Bulgarian presidential
elections on 27 October, 24 chasa reported, based on preliminary figures
released by the Central Electoral Commission. The candidates of the ruling
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy
Foreign Minister Irina Bokova, trailed with 26.98%, followed by Bulgarian
Business Bloc leader Georges Ganchev and Arlin Antonov with 21.86%. Aleksandar
Tomov and Gen. Lyudmil Marinchevski received 3.18%, and the comedians Hristo
Boychev and Ivan Kulekov, 1.34%. Other candidates received less than 1
percentage point. Voter turnout was 62.7%, or 12-15 points less than at the
previous presidential and parliamentary elections. A runoff between the top two
will take place on 3 November. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia
...CASTING DOUBTS ON PRIME MINISTER'S FUTURE.
Meanwhile, Marazov's and
Bokova's poor showing prompted speculation about the future of Prime Minister
and BSP Chairman Zhan Videnov. During a BSP plenary meeting on 28 October,
leading BSP members demanded Videnov resign as premier and party leader,
Kontinent and Standart reported. Sociologist Andrey Raychev, a leading
member of the Alliance for a Social Democracy, the most important reformist
faction within the BSP, did not rule out a party split. Union of Democratic
Forces Chairman Ivan Kostov, Ganchev, and the leader of the mainly ethnic
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom, Ahmed Dogan, ruled out a coalition
with the BSP in the present parliament, in which the BSP holds an outright
majority. Meanwhile, Ganchev's driver was killed and his bodyguard seriously
injured in a road accident on 28 October. Ganchev, who was not in the car, said
the crash "was not an accident." -- Stefan Krause in Sofia
ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS CLAIM VICTORY IN LOCAL ELECTION SECOND ROUND.
Minister and party leader Tritan Shehu said the Democrats won 21 out of 22 town
halls and 73 out of 96 communes in the second round of local elections on 27
October. That would give the Democrats 90.6% of town halls and 86.7% of
communes all over the country. The opposition Socialists reportedly gained only
6.25% of the city halls and 4.5% of the communes, down from 51% and 59.8%
respectively in 1992, Reuters reported. Official results are expected later.
Council of Europe observers said they noted "serious deficiencies" in the
second round "caused by individual errors and ... the consequence of certain
traditions," AFP reported. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Pete Baumgartner and Valentina Huber