OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 119, 20 June 1995
BUDENNOVSK HOSTAGES RELEASED, GUNMEN DEPART FOR CHECHNYA.
afternoon of 19 June, after two days of intense negotiations, Chechen fighters
led by Shamil Basaev left the Budennovsk hospital and departed for Chechnya in
a convoy of buses, Western and Russian agencies reported. Over 764 hostages
were simultaneously freed by the Chechen gunmen. Under the agreement reached
between Basaev and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, the gunmen are
guaranteed safe passage back to Chechnya. As "insurance," about 150 volunteers
including eight parliamentary deputies, are accompanying Basaev and his 73
fighters. Basaev has promised that the volunteers will be released upon arrival
in Chechnya. While en route, the convoy was denied entry to North Ossetia, and
re-routed through Dagestan, delaying its arrival, ITAR-TASS reported on 20
June. * Scott Parrish
RUSSIAN-CHECHEN NEGOTIATIONS OPEN.
As Basaev's convoy headed for
Chechnya, Russian-Chechen talks began in Grozny, international and Russian
agencies reported on 19 June. OSCE official Szandar Mezaros, acting as a
mediator in the talks, told Russian television the talks had touched on various
"military issues" related to a ceasefire. Mezaros added that he was "very
pleased" with the course of the talks, an opinion echoed by Usman Imaev, former
Procurator-General in the Dudaev government and head of the Chechen delegation.
Commenting on the talks in Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
told Russian TV that it was very important to keep the negotiation process
going in order to "end hostilities," and allow a "return to normalcy" in
Chechnya. However, Chernomyrdin did not promise to withdraw federal troops from
the breakaway republic, and emphasized that any settlement must fit "within the
framework of the constitution." * Scott Parrish
DUMA CONSIDERS NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE.
The outcome of the Duma's 21 June
vote of no confidence in the government depends on the actions of Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Radio Rossii reported 19 June. "The chances of
passing a vote of no confidence in the government are highest since the
election of this parliament," because the authorities cannot ensure citizens'
security, Boris Fedorov, leader of Forward, Russia! said. Fedorov believes that
such a vote would weaken Chernomyrdin's Our Home is Russia bloc. However,
Viktor Ilyukhin, chairman of the Security Committee, said many factions of the
Duma might not demand the removal of the entire government, but just some of
the key ministers. The Duma's first no-confidence vote does not obligate the
president to act. But if it repeats the vote within three months, the president
must either sack his government or dissolve the parliament. * Robert Orttung
CHERNOMYRDIN'S ROLE IN HOSTAGE CRISIS PRAISED . . .
responsibility for the fate of Russian hostages in Budennovsk and apparently
securing their release, Chernomyrdin has supplanted Yeltsin as the central
figure during the crisis, Russian and Western media reported on 19 June.
Chernomyrdin kept his composure during a series of telephone conversations with
Chechen leader Shamil Basaev, some of them broadcast on national television. A
commentator for Ekho Moskvy praised Chernomyrdin's "decisive, public and moral"
actions, arguing that the prime minister's skill contrasted with Yeltsin's poor
handling of the crisis. Meanwhile, Yeltsin's chief of staff Sergei Filatov
emphasized that the president authorized Chernomyrdin's negotiations. * Laura
. . . AND CRITICIZED.
Minister of Internal Affairs Viktor Yerin is to
blame for allowing Basaev and his troops to get out of Chechnya and into
Budennovsk, according to Izvestiya on 20 June. The newspaper also
accuses the government of storming and shelling the hospital despite the fact
that hundreds of innocent people were inside. The storming of the hospital
echoed the government's methods in Chechnya where it "shoots first and asks
questions later" and pays the price in human lives, according to the newspaper.
It also criticized the "crude demagoguery" of Chernomyrdin's conversations with
Basaev, which were broadcast on Russian television. It concluded that "the
Russian state demonstrates impotence when it thoughtlessly uses force to
destroy its own citizens." Meanwhile, Boris Fedorov, the leader of Forward,
Russia!, accused the prime minister of using the crisis to improve the
electoral prospects of his bloc Our Home Is Russia. * Robert Orttung
CHARGES TO BE FILED IN JOURNALIST'S DEATH IN BUDENNOVSK.
prosecutors in Pyatigorsk will charge one soldier with violating regulations on
handling firearms in the 17 June shooting death of Russian journalist Natalya
Alyakina in Budennovsk, Russian and Western agencies reported on 19 June.
Alyakina, a correspondent for the German magazine Focus, was shot in her
car shortly after Interior Ministry soldiers checked and approved her
documents. * Laura Belin
SECURITY IN MOSCOW TIGHTENED.
Security at the Russian government
building in Moscow has been tightened due to the terrorist act in Budennovsk,
Interfax reported on 19 June. The reinforced militia cordons surrounding the
government building have been strengthened with a fully armed combat vehicle
located behind the fence of the cabinet's residence. Meanwhile, all traffic
police posts on the highway encircling Moscow have been reinforced by special
purpose police armed with automatic rifles. Interfax reported that practically
all trucks with non-Moscow license plates are being checked, especially those
from the North Caucasus. * Thomas Sigel
RUSSIAN APPRAISAL OF G-7 MEETING.
Russia "fully participated" in
economic discussions that concerned it at the G-7 summit in Halifax, a
high-ranking Russian diplomat told Interfax on 19 June. Pavel Smirnov, director
of the Economic Cooperation Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, added
that the Halifax meeting made progress on several issues important to Russia.
In their final communiqué, the G-7 leaders supported the idea of
restructuring Russian debt, which Smirnov said will facilitate negotiations on
a detailed accord this fall. On 20 June, Izvestiya criticized President
Yeltsin for choosing to go to Halifax during the Budennovsk crisis, and derided
claims by the presidential administration that the "Seven" had been transformed
into "Seven and a Half" as humiliating. * Scott Parrish
FOREST FIRES BLAZE IN RUSSIAN FAR EAST.
Fires have been blazing over
more than 15,000 hectares of Siberian taiga in 63 separate parts of the
Khabarovsk oblast on 19 June,
Itar-Tass reported. More than 1,000
firefighters are battling the fires. The cause of the fires is unknown. *
RUBLE CONTINUES RISE AGAINST DOLLAR.
The Russian ruble surged another 75
points against the U.S. dollar, despite the hostage crisis in Budennovsk,
closing at 4,590 rubles to $1 on 19 June MICEX trading, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Dealers said they expected the ruble to keep rising as banks
dump dollars to cash in profits and invest in high-yielding domestic
securities. Meanwhile, in a 18 June interview with Segodnya, Foreign
Economic Relations Minister Oleg Davydov said the ruble, which began rising in
May, cannot continue its present course as long as inflation remains high.
Inflation was at 7.9% a month in May and is not expected to fall significantly
in June. Davydov warned that rising production costs will price Russian exports
out of international markets. He also said the government and Central Bank
should be more active in stopping the dollar's fall. * Thomas Sigel
INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTRY GAS STATION BLOWN UP.
A gas station belonging
to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs was blown up in Moscow on 19 June,
Radio Moscow reported. Sources do not rule out the possibility of a terrorist
act. * Thomas Sigel
UNEMPLOYMENT EXCEEDS 2 MILLION IN MAY.
There were more than 2 million
registered unemployed in Russia last month according to the Labor Ministry.
This is a 70% increase compared to May 1994 and equals 2.4% of the labor force,
Russian Radio reported on 19 June. Meanwhile, the June issue of Delovoi
Express reported that the areas with the highest unemployment rates are in
the Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Pskov, Kostroma, and Vladimir oblasts, where the
figures ranges from 6% to 9.5% of the labor force. Moscow still has the lowest
at 0.5%. * Thomas Sigel
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 119, 20 June 1995
OPPOSITION DEMANDS POSTPONEMENT OF ARMENIAN ELECTIONS.
people attended a 16 June demonstration in Erevan organized by 10 Armenian
opposition parties to demand the immediate registration of political parties
and candidates who have been refused permission to run in the parliamentary
elections on 5 July, Noyan Tapan reported on 19 June. The demonstrators
also demanded that the elections be postponed in order to enable those
candidates to organize pre-election campaigns. Another demonstration was
scheduled for 20 June to call for the resignation of Armenian President Levon
Ter-Petrossyan if the demands are not met. * Liz Fuller
SHODMON YUSUF COMEBACK IN TAJIKISTAN?
The chairman of the coordinating
center of the opposition Democratic Party of Tajikistan in CIS states, Azam
Afzali, told Interfax on 19 June the party may soon be registered in Tajikistan
and expects to hold a founding conference in Dushanbe in the near future.
According to Afzali, Shodmon Yusuf is expected to attend, having been
personally invited back to Tajikistan by President Imomali Rakhmonov. However,
Yusuf was reportedly relieved of his duties as party chairman at a June
members' meeting in Almaty after he welcomed Rakhmonov's election as president
in November 1994. It is unclear whether this development means the party has
split into two separate factions operating under the same name. * Lowell
Bezanis and Liz Fuller
Aliyev FIRES ADVISER FOR DUPLICITY.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev
has sacked state councilor Gabil Guseinli for alleged duplicity and grave
errors, Interfax reported on 19 June. Hitherto one of Aliev's staunchest
supporters, Guseinli, whose Democratic Independence Party had intended to form
a coalition for the November elections with Aliev's Yeni Azerbaycan party,
reportedly rejected Aliev's rationale for dismissing him and accused the
president of establishing "a regime of political hypocrisy." * Liz Fuller
SHEVARDNADZE IN ISRAEL.
On 19 June, the second day of his three-day
state visit to Israel, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze held
talks with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and signed a series of cooperation
agreements on telecommunication, postal services, agriculture, and cultural
affairs, AFP reported. Shevardnadze also announced that Georgia will open an
embassy in Tel Aviv by the end of 1995. Relations between the two countries
cooled in 1993 after Israel rejected Shevardnadze's request to purchase arms
for use in the Abkhaz conflict. * Liz Fuller
RUSSIAN-TURKMEN ACCORDS RATIFIED.
The Turkmen parliament ratified 12
bilateral treaties signed in mid-May by Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov
and his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, Interfax reported on 16 June. The
Russian State Duma has frequently lagged behind the Turkmen parliament in
ratifying such agreements. Meanwhile, parliament passed a law which bans the
employment of close relatives as direct subordinates, Interfax reported the
same day. Niyazov is reported to have repeatedly criticized officials for
practicing nepotism. * Lowell Bezanis
LUKASHENKA IN ST. PETERSBURG.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
arrived in St. Petersburg on 19 June at the invitation of Mayor Anatoly Sobchak
to sign agreements on trade and economic cooperation, Radio Rossii and
Belarusian radio reported. The agreements are of considerable importance for
Belarus as the country has received some 45 vital industrial components from
the Russian city but since 1992, the supply has almost dried up. * Ustina
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 119, 20 June 1995
GONCZ REELECTED HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT.
The Hungarian parliament on 19 June
elected 73-year-old Arpad Goncz to a second five-year term as president,
international media reported. Backed by the ruling socialist-liberal coalition,
Goncz won the necessary two-thirds majority, receiving 259 votes, compared with
only 76 for his challenger, Ferenc Madl. Goncz is not a member of a political
party. * Sharon Fisher
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ON CRIMEA.
Leonid Kuchma, during a visit to the
Black Sea peninsula, said the statement he with Russian President Boris Yeltsin
at the recent Sochi summit, has ended any disputes between the two countries
over the status of Crimea, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 19 June. He said now
that Russia has reaffirmed its respect for Ukraine's territorial integrity, the
Crimean legislature should turn its attention to establishing a legislative
framework for economic reforms. The Ukrainian leader met with Crimean Tatar
leaders to discuss ways to increase financing for their repatriation from other
CIS countries. In other news, Kuchma announced that Ukraine has begun to
develop its gold deposits, Reuters reported on 19 June. Geologists have claimed
that the deposits, located near Kirovohrad, could yield 15 tons of gold
annually. * Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINE REDUCES DEBT TO GAZPROM.
Ukrainian Radio on 19 June reported
that in the first two weeks of June, Ukraine succeeded in reducing its 1995 gas
debt to Russia to $405 million. Ukrhazprom paid $65.9 million in hard currency,
built housing units for Russian workers, sent goods to Russia, and provided
various services, Interfax reported. Since the beginning of the year, Ukraine
has paid Russia $280 million in currency for gas supplies and provided goods
and services totaling $330 million. The payments were made possible in part
because Ukrainians have reduced their gas consumption. * Ustina Markus
UKRAINE'S DEFENSE MINISTRY ON TROOPS FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.
Radio on 19 June reported that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, responding to
a UN request for additional support in the former Yugoslavia, has said it is
prepared to send an engineering battalion in March 1996 to the region. Ukraine
plans to send an additional 120 troops to Zagreb from a helicopter unit and
three MI-8 and two MI-26 helicopters at the end of this month. Hryhorii
Telnyuk, deputy head of the training department, said the number of draft
evasions was down 21% this year, compared with the same period in 1995, while
accidents in the armed forces were down 37%. He added that the armed forces
have been unable to resolve the problem of maintaining servicemen's living
standards, which continue to decline. * Ustina Markus
NEW CITIZENS' GROUP MONITORS UKRAINIAN MEDIA.
A citizens' group has been
set up in Kiev to monitor the Ukrainian media, UNIAR reported on 19 June.
Leaders of the new group-- including Vitalii Karpenko, editor of Vechirnyi
Kyiv, and Pavlo Movchan, head of the Prosvita cultural association--have
accused Ukrainian Television and Radio of politically motivated censorship and
unfair distribution of air time. They have also said there is a lack of quality
Ukrainian-language programming and print media. The group has set up an
analytical center to follow trends and collect information and make
recommendations to the president, Ukrainian Radio and TV, and the ministries of
information, culture, and education. * Chrystyna Lapychak
GENOCIDE TRIAL BEGINS IN LATVIA.
Former Latvian NKVD chief Alfons Noviks
went on trial in Riga on 20 June on charges of "genocide and crimes against
humanity," Reuters reported. The 87-year old Noviks is accused of organizing
mass killings and the deportation of more than 100,000 Latvians to Siberia. The
trial is the first genocide case in the Baltic States. If convicted, Noviks
could be sentenced to life imprisonment. * Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIA HOSTS JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES.
Military exercises, called
Amber Hope 95 and involving soldiers from Lithuania, Poland, and Denmark, were
held at the Rukla military base from 14-18 June, BNS reported on 19 June. The
main purpose of the exercises was to train troops for UN peacekeeping
operations. Participants were instructed in manning observation and control
posts, checking the flow of refugees, passing mine fields, and shooting
exercises. The exercises were part of Lithuania's individual plan for the NATO
Partnership for Peace program. They will be followed up with other military
exercises in the fall with US troops. * Saulius Girnius
POLISH PRESIDENT DEFENDS PRIEST ACCUSED OF ANTI-SEMITISM.
in an interview with Polish Television on 19 June, said the press
misinterpreted a comment made by a priest during a sermon at St. Brigida's
Church in Gdansk. The priest had said that Poles "can no longer tolerate
governments made up of people who have not declared whether they come from
Moscow or from Israel." The The press has accused him of anti-Semitism. Walesa,
who was present at the sermon, said "many things can be interpreted
maliciously." The secretary of the Roman Catholic Episcopate apologized to
those whom the priest's remarks had offended. Meanwhile, the Jewish Student
Union in Wroclaw has filed a complaint with the Gdansk Prosecutor's Office
about the priest's inciting ethnic hatred, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on
20 June. * Jakub Karpinski
PEPSICO INCREASES INVESTMENT IN POLAND.
PepsiCo Executive Vice President
Robert Dettmer on 19 June said his company intends to double its investment in
Poland to $500 million by the year 2000. PepsiCo, which began operating in
Poland in 1992, employs a work force of some 5,500. Overall U.S. investment in
Poland amounts to $1.7 billion, with the U.S. first on the list of foreign
investors, Western agencies reported on 19 June. * Jakub Karpinski
CZECH OPPOSITION PARTY CONTINUES RISE IN POLLS.
More than one-fifth of
Czechs would vote for the Social Democrats (CSSD) if elections were held now,
according to an opinion poll conducted by the Institute for Public Opinion
Research and published on 20 June. The poll put support for the CSSD at 22%, a
rise of 3.5% over the past month. The gap between the CSSD and the dominant
ruling party, the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), closed further to 5%. The ODS
received 27%, an increase of 2% since May. Another governing party, the Civic
Democratic Alliance (ODA), for the first time fell below the 5% barrier needed
for parliamentary representation, dropping to 4.5% from 6.5%. The CSSD has
almost doubled its support this year, benefiting from a rash of labor and
social disputes. Czech railworkers are due to strike on 21 June, after rail
unions and Transport Minister Jan Strasky on 19 June failed to reach agreement
on pay demands. * Steve Kettle
SLOVAK PREMIER MEETS WITH ETHNIC HUNGARIANS.
Vladimir Meciar met with
the chairmen of the three Hungarian parties represented in the Slovak
parliament on 19 June, Slovak media reported. The meeting, the first between
Meciar and the Hungarian parties since 1992, focused on issues involving the
Hungarian minority in Slovakia, internal political developments, and
preparations for the ratification of the framework agreement on the protection
of minority rights and of the Slovak-Hungarian basic treaty. Hungarian Civic
Party Chairman Laszlo Nagy said the Hungarian deputies supported the
ratification of both documents, while Meciar said he is convinced the basic
treaty will be ratified "even if no one from the opposition supports it." Areas
of continued dispute include the question of "alternative" (bilingual)
education, financing minority culture, and a draft law on state language.
Meciar argued that the language law is about the Slovak language and therefore
"interferes neither with the rights to use minority languages nor with
constitutional rights." But Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement Chairman
Bela Bugar dismissed the need for the law. * Sharon Fisher
BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN SLOVAKIA.
Dimitar Pavlov arrived in
Slovakia on 19 June for a three-day official visit, TASR reported. He met with
his Slovak counterpart, Jan Sitek. The two ministers signed an agreement on
cooperation in the areas of military reform, research, and legislation. Pavlov
is also scheduled to meet with Slovak President Michal Kovac, Premier Vladimir
Meciar, and other top officials. * Sharon Fisher
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 119, 20 June 1995
SERBS REJECT SARAJEVO'S CEASE-FIRE OFFER.
The Bosnian Serbs have turned
down an offer by President Alija Izetbegovic on 18 June to end the government's
current offensive. The condition was that the Serbs respect the 20-km-wide
heavy weapons exclusion zone around Sarajevo, the BBC and Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung said on 20 June. The International Herald Tribune
added that UN sources have confirmed Serbian claims that the strategic
Pale-Lukavica road remains in Serbian hands. The Serbs have launched a
counter-offensive and announced that victory would be theirs. * Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN CROATS BACK ALLIANCE WITH MUSLIMS.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung on 20 June quotes Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak as saying his
side will back the government forces and continue the offensive to stop the
blockade of Sarajevo "to the end." A top Bosnian Croat defense official told
Vecernji list that the two sides will continue to stage coordinated
actions to defeat the common Serbian enemy. Meanwhile in northern Bosnia, the
Serbs have stepped up artillery pressure on the Croat-held territories on the
Bosnian side of the Sava River. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, for his
part, has begun a visit to Australia, which has large émigré
communities from throughout the former Yugoslavia. Nasa Borba reported
his arrival touched off noisy protests by the local Serbs, but the Zagreb
dailies note that Australian Croats gave him a rousing welcome. * Patrick
RUSSIAN EMISSARY MAKES LOW-KEY VISIT TO BELGRADE AND PALE.
Russian special envoy Vitaly Churkin has visited Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in a previously unannounced
visit. Western and Serbian media on 20 June noted that the official purpose of
the trip was simply to "exchange ideas" and that Churkin brought along no new
proposals. France, meanwhile, has urged the new EU negotiator, former Swedish
Prime Minister Karl Bildt, to make fresh efforts to relaunch the peace process.
It said the release of the last hostages provides a good opportunity for such
an initiative. The International Herald Tribune notes that the Bosnian
government suspects the West of wanting to make a quick peace deal with the
Serbs that would give the Serbs far more than offered by the existing peace
plan. * Patrick Moore
BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE.
Georgi Pirinski on 19 June met
with his rump Yugoslav counterpart, Vladislav Jovanovic, and Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic, Demokratsiya reported the following day. After the
meetings, Pirinski confirmed the Bulgarian government's position that a
peaceful solution to the Yugoslav crisis can be reached only by political means
and a gradual lifting of UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. While he
stressed that Bulgaria is not violating the embargo, he said he agrees with
Milosevic on strengthening "bilateral political and economic relations."
Pirinski is slated to meet with other ranking officials on 20 June, including
rump Yugoslav Premier Radoje Kontic. * Stefan Krause and Stan Markotich
SERBIAN GUARD SHOOTS ALBANIAN CHILD IN KOSOVO.
A Serbian guard shot and
killed a 10-year-old ethnic Albanian in Hani i Elezit, near the Macedonian
border, while he was herding sheep, Kosova Daily Report said on 19 June.
The child reportedly walked into the courtyard of the army barracks, about 70
meters from his home, to round up a stray sheep. The army has not officially
admitted any involvement in the incident but informed the boy's family that his
body is in Pristina's main hospital. The incident brings the number of
Albanians killed in Kosovo by Serbian police and military in 1995 to 17. More
than 100 Albanians have been killed in Kosovo since the abolition of Kosovar
autonomy in 1989. * Fabian Schmidt
MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT IN PARIS.
Nasa Borba on 20 June reported
that Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov is in Paris together with an official
Macedonian delegation. Gligorov is slated to address a plenary session of the
Western European Union, meeting from 19-22 June in the French capital.
Observers believe this is a sign that Macedonia may soon be granted associate
membership in the European defense body. Meanwhile, Macedonian Premier Branko
Crvenkovski returned from a state visit to Turkey, where he met with Premier
Tansu Ciller and President Suleyman Demirel. * Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN U.S.
Gheorghe Tinca on 19 June started a
four-day visit to the United States, Radio Bucharest reports. Tinca is
scheduled to meet with U.S. Defense Department Secretary William Perry and
other officials. He is expected to sign a confidentiality agreement, which is
seen as an important step in developing bilateral military ties, especially in
the technological field. In an interview with Radio Bucharest before leaving
for Washington, Tinca said his agenda included contacts with big firms in the
defense industry. He mentioned Bell Helicopter, which plans to assemble some
100 Cobra attack helicopters in Romania. Bell and Romania on 15 June signed a
letter of intent at the Paris air show. The deal will help Romania acquire
modern military technology and thus pave the way for integration into NATO. *
ROMANIAN TRADE UNIONS RESUME TALKS WITH RULING COALITION.
Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions-The Brotherhood, the National
Labor Bloc, and the Alfa Cartel on 19 June resumed talks with the four parties
backing the current left-wing cabinet over a future social pact. Radio
Bucharest reported that no agreement was reached. A new round of talks,
scheduled for 21 June, is expected to pave the way for the signing of the
accord the next day. * Dan Ionescu
RUSSIAN GENERAL ON HUNGER STRIKE IN SUPPORT OF LEBED.
Maj. Gen. Yury
Popov on 19 June started a hunger strike to protest the departure of Lt. Gen.
Alexander Lebed as commander of the 14th Russian Army based in Tiraspol,
Interfax reported. Popov--who is the head of the 59th Division, a leading unit
within the 14th Army--said he wanted the law to be observed in connection with
Lebed's replacement. He also said he feared that the changes at the top will be
followed by purges among the 14th Army officer corps. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin on 16 June reiterated Moscow's intention to downgrade the 14th Army,
citing financial reasons and a new defense doctrine. * Dan Ionescu
BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REJECTS LAND LAW.
Court on 19 June rejected an amendment to the land restitution law as
unconstitutional, Bulgarian Radio reported the same day. The law, which
restricts the rights of land owners to freely sell their plots and favors the
establishment of agricultural cooperatives, was adopted by the Socialist
majority on 14 April and vetoed by President Zhelyu Zhelev two weeks later.
After parliament overruled his veto on 10 May, Zhelev asked the Constitutional
Court to rule on the constitutionality of the amendment. Constitutional Court
Judge Georgi Markov said the law contradicts the inviolability of property
guaranteed by the constitution. * Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER IN ATHENS.
Zhan Videnov arrived in Athens on 19
June on a two-day official visit, international agencies reported the same day.
He met with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou,
and Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias to discuss the planned trans-Balkan oil
pipeline. Also on the agenda were the opening of new border checkpoints, the
easing of visa requirements for Bulgarians, and increased Greek investment in
Bulgaria. Both premiers stressed that relations between the two countries were
good. Papandreou said the planned pipeline is of greatest strategic economic
importance for Greece. An agreement between Russia, Bulgaria, and Greece to
construct a pipeline from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis, in
Greece, was signed in Moscow on 15 June. The pipeline, which will have a daily
capacity of 600,000 barrels, will give Russia access to Western markets without
having to ship its oil through the Bosporus. * Stefan Krause
ALBANIAN COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY SOCIALIST LEADER.
A court in Tepelena
on 19 June rejected an appeal by Socialist Party leader and former Prime
Minister Fatos Nano to review his trial. Nano was sentenced to 12 years in
prison in April 1994 on charges of misappropriating state funds and forging
documents. His sentence has been reduced in various amnesties and under the new
penal code, which took effect on 1 June. Defense lawyers argued that Nano
should receive a milder sentence under the new penal code and be freed until
then. Nano has claimed that the trial is politically motivated, Populli
PO reported on 20 June. * Fabian Schmidt
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave
Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights