OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995
PRESIDENT, DUMA SEEK TO END PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS.
Yeltsin has begun meeting with the leaders of Duma factions to resolve the
current crisis in executive-legislative relations. On 26 June, he received
Yegor Gaidar, leader of the Russia's Choice faction. Gaidar said the
president's decision to resolve the Chechen crisis through negotiations
"significantly changed the situation in Russia," Ekho Moskvy reported.
Presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev said the president believes that the
time for compromise has not passed and that it is possible "to find a way to
work normally and fruitfully with the State Duma," Russian Public Television
reported. The president will meet with State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin and the
heads of the parliamentary factions on 27 June. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
PRAVDA: DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT WOULD RUIN CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC.
Dissolving parliament in early July would ruin the electoral prospects of
Chernomyrdin's bloc, according to Pravda on 27 June. Under the
constitution, if the president dissolves parliament, new elections must be held
within three months. But Pravda noted that the electoral law only allows
parties and movements registered six months before parliamentary elections to
enter the campaign. Since Our Home Is Russia was legally registered in May, it
could be barred from participating in any elections held before December. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC CONTINUES TO ORGANIZE IN THE REGIONS.
chairman of the executive committee of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's
electoral bloc Our Home Is Russia, said branches of the bloc would be created
in all of Russia's 89 regions by 20 July, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on
27 June. The article noted that the bloc's 126-member political council decided
on 24 June to hold a second congress from 26 August to 3 September. In July and
August, regional organizations will be charged with recruiting prominent local
figures to run for parliament and help the bloc during the campaign. Our Home
Is Russia is expected to meet with limited success in the party list vote for
the Duma, but with the support of local elites, the prime minister's bloc could
win many seats in single-member constituencies outside Moscow. -- Laura Belin,
ZHIRINOVSKY ON THE ELECTIONS.
In an interview published in Pravda
on 27 June, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said close
cooperation among all opposition forces would be possible only if the Communist
Party "forgets the word communism" and Derzhava leader Alexander Rutskoi stops
pretending to be a "special figure" in Russian politics. Zhirinovsky also
predicted that the authorities will cancel parliamentary elections scheduled
for December, although he said the Liberal Democratic Party is proceeding with
the establishment of city and district branches in all regions of Russia. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS FAIL TO UNITE.
The Communist Party of the Russian
Federation decided to campaign independently in the December parliamentary
elections at its 24 June Central Committee plenum, Ekho Moskvy reported. In an
earlier decision, the more hard-line Russian Communist Workers' Party, led by
Viktor Anpilov and Viktor Tyulkin, had also decided not to join any blocs. In a
27 June commentary, Pravda complained that the participation of two
Communist parties in the elections would confuse voters. -- Robert Orttung,
BASAEV PREPARED TO STRIKE AGAIN.
In an exclusive interview with AFP on
26 June, Chechen separatist leader Shamil Basaev threatened to launch
additional attacks into Russian territory if peace negotiations fail. "If the
war must go on, it will be over there," he said. Basaev expressed some regret
for his attack on Budennovsk, saying his men "turned into beasts" during the
fighting. He objected, however, to labeling his actions as "terrorist," because
the carnage in Budennovsk was "only a pale copy of what has been going on in
Chechnya for six months." Confirming earlier reports, Basaev stated that he had
bribed his way past checkpoints on the road from Chechnya to Budennovsk, at the
cost of $7,000. The Chechen fighter said he believes Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin is "sincere" in his desire to resolve the Chechen crisis through
negotiations, which are scheduled to resume today. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
PARLIAMENT EVACUATED AFTER BOMB THREAT.
The central Moscow building
housing Russia's State Duma was evacuated on 26 June after an anonymous
telephone caller said explosives were planted inside, Western agencies reported
on 26 June. This was the second bomb threat within a week. On 20 June, the
government building in Moscow was evacuated after a telephoned bomb threat
proved false. Russian security officials are on alert and have strengthened
security following the seizure of hostages earlier this month in Budennovsk by
Chechen rebels. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
DRUG-RELATED CRIME RISES.
Drug-related crime rose sharply last year in
Russia, where more than 1.5 million people use narcotics, ITAR-TASS reported on
26 June. Alexander Sergeev, an Interior Ministry department head in charge of
drug-trafficking problems, told the agency that there were 74,000 drug-related
crimes in 1994, an increase of more than 60% over 1993. Since the collapse of
the Soviet Union, drug usage has surged. Most drugs smuggled into Russia come
from traditional former Soviet suppliers in Central Asia, Ukraine, and
Lithuania where crime organizations are involved in refining locally grown
drugs. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF UNEMPLOYED ARE YOUNG PEOPLE.
More than one third
of the unemployed people in Russia are young people, Russian Radio reported on
25 June. According to the Federal Employment Service, graduates from higher
educational institutions and colleges tend to go into teaching, engineering,
and other skilled professions, because of the low salaries. More than 60% of
the young people who are unemployed have asked the Federal Employment Service
to help them find jobs in more lucrative professions such as accounting,
banking, and tutoring. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA AND IRAQ SIGN OIL DEAL.
Russia and Iraq have signed an agreement
that gives Russia the right to develop two oil fields in Iraq, Western agencies
reported on 26 June. Iraqi Oil Minister Safa Hadi Jawad said the agreement
called for the Russian oil company Lukoil to develop parts of the West Qurna
and North Rumaila fields in southern Iraq, with a production capacity of 1
million barrels per day. The deal will be implemented after UN economic
sanctions against Iraq are lifted. Jawad said the sanctions had caused Iraq to
seek deals "with companies that can influence decision-makers in their
country," which is why a Russian company had been chosen for the contract, even
though two American firms had submitted offers. "We feel in Iraq that Russia is
closer to us than any other country," Jawad added. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
RUSSIA AND CHINA ASSERT AUTONOMY.
At a 26 June news conference, Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin and his Chinese counterpart Li Peng criticized foreign
interference in their internal development, Russian and international agencies
reported. "Russia and China...will not allow anyone to teach us how to live and
work," Li told journalists, in a thinly veiled criticism of Western policies.
Chernomyrdin seconded this sentiment, saying, "we will decide for ourselves how
to live." The Russian prime minister also pointedly declared that Russia
regards the People's Republic of China as "the only legitimate government for
all China," a reference to recent Chinese criticism of the Taiwanese
president's visit to the U.S. Chernomyrdin expressed hope that an agreement
signed yesterday to build a bridge over the Amur river would stimulate
Russian-Chinese trade, which declined by 34% in 1994. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995
SHOOT FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER IN TAJIKISTAN?
The military command in
Dushanbe has granted the peacekeepers in Tajikistan the right to shoot without
giving a warning, Western sources reported. However, the statement did not
specify what types of situations would be considered acceptable for the use of
such deadly force. The change comes in light of the recent killings of
servicemen near the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. Two Russian officers were killed
last week while returning to their base and on 26 June two members of the Tajik
National Guard were killed. The Russian command has been critical of Tajiks for
failing to make arrests in the majority of crimes against members of the CIS
force. This year alone 28 members of the force have been killed in non-combat
related incidents, according to Interfax and Western sources. Arrests have been
made in connection with only three of the 21 crimes committed against Russian
servicemen in 1994, Interfax reported on 27 January. The statement issued by
the military command in Dushanbe said, "To achieve personal security we must
take harsh and decisive measures." -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
KAZAKH PRESIDENT CONCLUDES VISIT TO INDONESIA.
Nursultan Nazarbaev finished his four-day visit to Indonesia on 26 June.
Indonesian President Suharto had visited Kazakhstan in April and the two
presidents had agreed to strengthen ties between their two countries.
Negotiations centered on increasing trade with Indonesia which amounted to a
mere $864,000 in 1994, the bulk of it being tea, according to Interfax. In
comparison, trade between Uzbekistan and Indonesia totals $100 million
annually, AFP reported. Kazakhstan is looking to increase imports of Indonesian
textiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, while Indonesia is interested in
metals, wool, and leather from Kazakhstan. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
TURKS FIND MANAS UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.
A Turkish Education Ministry
committee has found the 1 million line-long, 1,000-year-old Kyrgyz epic trilogy
Manas unsuitable for children, saying it contains "orthographic errors and
immoral language," according to the 23-29 June edition of Cumhuriyet.
The ministerial committee is responsible for recommending what should be read
by students. The Manas epic, which chronicles the history of the Kyrgyz people,
will celebrate its 1,000 year anniversary this August in Bishkek with support
from UNESCO. It was recently translated into Turkish. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI,
RECONSTRUCTION OF UZBEK AIRPORT.
Germany is to provide DM 240 million
for the renovation of the Tashkent airport, Segodnya reported on 22
June. The funds for the project, which will permit the airport to handle all
classes of airliners, 2.5 million passengers, and 20,500 tons of goods
annually, will come from a long-term credit agreement reached by Bonn and
Tashkent in 1994. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
HIGH MARKS FOR UZBEK BANK.
The British auditors Ernst and Young gave
high marks to the Uzbekistan National Bank for Foreign Economic Relations,
Business World reported on 16 June. After examining financial reports
and banking transactions, the auditors concluded the balance and credit
portfolios of the bank--one of the four largest in the CIS with a balance of
$1.4 billion--are highly reliable. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
GERMAN SUPPORT FOR ETHNIC GERMANS.
A delegation from Bonn toured ethnic
German settlements in Kyrgyzstan and announced that the German government plans
to give DM 25-30 million to Kyrgyzstan to provide employment for ethnic Germans
living there, RFE/RL sources in Bishkek reported on 23 June. -- Lowell Bezanis,
JOVANOVIC IN GEORGIA.
Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic
met with his Georgian counterpart Alexander Cikvaidze in Tbilisi, the Serbian
independent paper Nasa Borba reported on 27 June. The two ministers signed an
accord paving the way for the establishment of full diplomatic relations
between the rump Yugoslavia and Georgia. Jovanovic used the opportunity to
repeat Belgrade's oft-stated positon that the resolution of conflict in the
Balkan region is tied to the lifting of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia,
which was an interpretation of events that reportedly received Tbilisi's
backing. For its part, the Georgian side voiced its interest in possible
Serbian contributions to the modernization and upgrading of its industrial
sector. -- Stan Marktoich and Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC GROUPS PICKET UKRAINIAN TV AND RADIO.
Members of a
new media monitoring group and national democratic forces picketed the offices
of Ukrainian TV and Radio in Kiev on 26 June to protest what they called its
anti-Ukrainian programming, UNIAR and Radio Ukraine reported the same day.
Speakers at the rally complained about a lack of quality Ukrainian-language
programming and a proliferation of broadcasts from neighboring Russia. They
said the Ukrainian press is dying out, while cheaper newspapers from Russia are
dominating the Ukrainian market. Information Minister Mykhailo Onufriichuk said
recently that 25% of the country's national publications are published in the
Ukrainian language. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
CULT FOLLOWERS CLAIM DISCRIMINATION.
More than 50 followers of the
so-called White Brotherhood doomsday cult complained to the general
prosecutor's office alleging unfair treatment by judges and the media of three
cult leaders currently on trial in Kiev after clashing with militia in November
1993, Radio Ukraine and UNIAR reported on 26 June. They complained that judges
and the media have treated the cult leaders as guilty before the charges have
been proven and said they have been barred from the courtroom even though the
trial is open to the public. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
CRIMEAN TATARS CLASH WITH CRIMINAL GANGS.
Crimean Tatar merchants on 24
June clashed in a village near the town of Feodosia with alleged members of a
criminal gang who demanded protection money, UNIAR and Radio Ukraine reported
on 26 June. Two Tatars died in the scuffle. When the local militia arrived,
members of the gang disappeared. Later that day, the angered Tatars stormed and
destroyed several shops run by the alleged criminal group, set fire to
automobiles and kidnapped the head of the Feodosia militia. Outside the town of
Sudak, assailants dressed in camouflage uniforms, as described by UNIAR, fired
shots at Tatars, killing two and wounding seven. Ukrainian radio reported the
shots were fired by local militia. Tatar leaders, who for months have been
demanding protection from growing crime in the region and accused local law
enforcement of ties with organized crime, met with Crimean Prime Minister
Anatolii Franchuk on 25 June. The Crimean government and parliamentary
presidium met in emergency sessions on 25 and 26 June and formed a special
commission to deal with the crisis. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
RATIFICATION OF ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT.
Minister Tiit Vahi in an article in Postimees of 26 June suggested that
Russia should ratify the free trade agreement it signed with Estonia nearly
three years ago along with the agreements on Russian troop withdrawal and
social guarantees for military retirees that were signed by Presidents Lennart
Meri and Boris Yeltsin in July 1994, BNS reported. Vahi noted that even though
Estonia had also not ratified the free trade agreement, it was acting as if it
were in force with no trade barriers while Russia had imposed high custom
duties on Estonian exports. Vahi added that he expected to discuss these issues
as well as that of the Treaty of Tartu and the border demarcation with senior
Russian officials. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
AMENDMENTS TO LATVIAN CONSTITUTION.
Latvia's Farmers' Union has decided
to submit to the Central Election Committee (CEC) in July draft amendments to
the constitution for which it has been gathering signatures since 11 April, BNS
reported on 26 June. The amendments provide for the direct election of the
president rather than by the Saeima and an increase in his political
responsibility. The terms of office for the president and Saeima would also be
increased from three to four years. After more than 10,000 signatures are
verified, the CEC submits the amendments to the president who will pass them on
to the Saeima for consideration. If the Saeima rejects the amendments or
approves them with "considerable corrections," a national referendum can be
held. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LITHUANIA, RUSSIA PARTLY CHANGE VISA RULES.
Lithuanian-Russian agreement partially changing the rules for citizens crossing
the border went into force on 26 June, BNS reported. The requirement of having
an invitation to apply for a visa was temporarily abolished for people
travelling on trips certified by Russian or Lithuanian tourist agencies or
having an accommodation voucher for a holiday home, sanatorium, or other
recreational institution in either country. Lithuanian and Russian citizens who
are permanent residents of the other country will also be able to travel in
both countries without visas. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
BELARUSIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL ON APRIL HUNGER STRIKE.
television reported on 23 June that Prosecutor General Vasil Kapitan has
received a film of the events from the night of 11-12 April when 19 deputies
were removed from the parliament by force while they staged a hunger strike.
The opposition charged that the deputies were manhandled during their removal,
which was ordered by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Kapitan received the film
in May, but the evacuation of the deputies was not on the reel even though two
cameras had been filming the event. An assistant of Lukashenka had promised to
deliver the entire film on 22 June. Lukashenka himself said that if the matter
had been left to rest it would have been forgotten by now. The film will now be
classified as material evidence. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
Poland's Foreign Ministry summoned German
ambassador Johannes Bauch on 26 June to protest the expulsion of 300
job-seeking Poles on 24 June. The Poles, from the border town of Slubice,
responded to a notice offering 100 marks a day for distributing newspapers and
handbills in Frankfurt-an-der-Oder on the German side of the frontier. The
Polish press said that the Poles were accused of seeking work without permits
and were expelled by police carrying batons and accompanied by unmuzzled dogs.
Ambassador Bauch said that the incident was serious and should not have
happened. The incident threatens to cast a shadow over Chancellor Helmut Kohl's
6-8 July visit to Poland, Polish and international agencies reported. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH, AMERICAN PRESIDENTS MEET.
Polish President Lech Walesa, who took
part in ceremonies in San Francisco marking the 50th anniversary of the signing
of the UN Charter, on 26 June met US President Bill Clinton. Walesa said they
discussed Poland's admission to NATO and the European Union and Polish-Jewish
relations, Polish and international media reported on 27 June. -- Jakub
Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH TRADE DEFICIT CONTINUES TO GROW.
The Czech Republic's foreign
trade deficit grew in May to reach 38.8 billion koruny for the first five
months of 1995, according to figures published by the Statistics Office on 26
June. Compared with the same period last year, when a surplus of 13 billion
koruny was recorded, imports grew by 36.4% and exports by only 3.1%. Government
ministers have said they are not worried by the rising deficit but the Trade
and Industry Ministry spokesman said the situation will be reviewed when
figures for the first half of the year are available, Mlada fronta dnes
reported. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus has denied the need for a policy to
encourage exporters but the spokesmen said the topic needs to be discussed
further. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
EXPLOSION IN SEMTEX MAKERS' FACTORY KILLS WORKER.
One man died in a
gunpowder explosion at the Explozia factory in East Bohemia on 26 June, Czech
media report. A resulting fire was quickly extinguished. The factory is part of
the complex of the Synthesia company, makers of Semtex. It was the second fatal
accident at the plant in the last two years. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT ON SECRET SERVICE.
During its session on 26 June, the
parliament made changes to the Separate Control Organ (OKO) which oversees the
activities of the Slovak Information Service (SIS). Igor Urban of the ruling
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia was appointed OKO chairman, replacing Ivan
Lexa, who in April was named SIS director. Proposals to widen the membership of
the OKO and include representatives of the opposition were rejected, and the
organ continues to have four members and a chairman, all of whom represent the
coalition parties. Urban told Narodna obroda that he was against
opposition proposals to give each parliamentary caucus representation because
he has "reservations" about having representatives of the Hungarian coalition
serve on the OKO. In May the presentation of a report by OKO, accusing the
president and opposition of using the SIS for their own benefit, led to a
non-binding vote of no-confidence in President Michal Kovac. -- Sharon Fisher,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995
EUROPEAN UNION LEADERS ON BOSNIA.
The BBC on 27 June reported that
European Union leaders meeting in the French resort city of Cannes have reached
consensus on a new five-point "action plan" for Bosnia which recognizes an
ostensibly beefed-up role for the rapid reaction force that consists largely of
French and British peacekeepers. According to Reuters, the European leaders
have, among other things, called for the immediate lifting of the siege of
Sarajevo and the opening of a land corridor to the Adriatic. French President
Jacques Chirac maintained that the peacekeepers will have greater leeway in
confronting force, the BBC reported. Nevertheless, newly appointed EU mediator
Carl Bildt has been mandated to press ahead with diplomatic efforts to resolve
the conflicts in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina. When queried as to how the latest
plan, with its emphasis on diplomatic solutions, differs from previous efforts,
Chirac, harkening back to the UN peacekeepers taken hostage by Bosnian Serb
forces in the wake of the 25-26 May NATO airstrikes on Bosnian Serb targets,
stressed that the new initiative is buttressed by a new European resolve to
avoid being compromised and humiliated. "Military firmness must be accompanied
by firmness on the diplomatic level," he was quoted by Reuters as saying. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
BOSNIAN SERBS STEP UP VIOLENCE.
Reuters on 27 June also reported that
Bosnian Serb forces launched several mortar attacks in and around Sarajevo the
previous day, resulting in at least one death and eight people wounded. Two
French peacekeepers were among the casualties. On 26 June, AFP reported that
Bosnian Serb troops had fired rounds at a UN convoy using the Mount Igman route
into Sarajevo. French peacekeepers reportedly fired warning shots in response
to continuing Serb attacks. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
GERMANY POISED TO SEND TROOPS TO BOSNIA.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung and other leading German dailies report on 27 June on the cabinet
decision to send some 1, 500 German troops and fighter planes as support for
the international peacekeeping effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to the
accounts, the parliament is slated to vote on the cabinet's resolution on 30
June, and despite anticipated opposition from left-wing members, the plan is
expected to pass. On 26 June the rump Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported that
news of Germany's expected contribution to peacekeeping is being greeted
negatively in Belgrade, which has condemned the German initiative. -- Stan
Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIA ACCUSES HUNGARY OF RESURRECTING "HISTORICAL DISPUTE."
Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a declaration issued on 26 June and
carried by Radio Bucharest, accused the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of sponsoring and circulating translations of a tract that resurrects the
"historical dispute" over which nation first settled in Transylvania. The
declaration says the tract revives the claim that Romanians settled in the
region only in the 16th century and adds that the sponsorship "complicates even
more the process of negotiating a bilateral treaty." The Romanian side has
demanded that the Hungarians withdraw the tract from circulation and places the
"whole responsibility" for "tainting the political climate" between the two
countries on the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hungary rejected the
accusation as "exaggerated, groundless and senseless," pointing out that the
four-page tract is used by Romania as an excuse to attack Budapest. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
RIS SUSPENDS AGENTS INVOLVED IN ILIESCU KGB SCANDAL.
Intelligence Service on 26 June announced that it had suspended the two agents
involved in trailing the journalist who first alleged President Ion Iliescu's
past links with the KGB (See OMRI Daily Digest, 26 June), Radio
Bucharest reported on the same day. The two were said to have "gravely
infringed professional rules." The opposition Liberal Party `93 demanded the
dismissal of the RIS chief, Virgil Magureanu, and added that the "guilt of the
former [communist party] secretary Ion Iliescu in the affair was more than
evident." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIA SETS VALUE OF PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS.
Minister of State in
Charge of Economic Reform Mircea Cosea told Radio Bucharest on 26 June that the
value of the privatization vouchers which each citizen aged 18 and over will
receive has been set at about one million lei (about $485). The vouchers cannot
be sold but can be traded for stocks. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
SNEGUR LEAVES RULING PARTY.
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur on 26 June
announced he was leaving the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova
(PDAM). In a press release carried by Infotag, Snegur said that, "under the
influence of extremist forces," the PDAM leadership has recently been
displaying "a radical anti-presidential and anti-national policy" which
amounted to an attempt to "establish a one-party dictatorship." He said the
hostile attitude towards himself had intensified after he proposed to the
parliament on 27 April to change the name of the official language back to
"Romanian," and added that the intention of some PDAM leaders to organize a
referendum on this question was an aberration. Snegur attacked attempts to
reduce presidential powers by the majority faction and said some members of the
PDAM leadership were voicing doubts about economic reform policies and the
intention to integrate Moldova into Western economies, hinting that the country
cannot exist and develop outside the CIS framework. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
GRACHEV AND SNEGUR REACH AGREEMENT.
Citing Interfax, Radio Bucharest
reported on 26 June that Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev has reached an
agreement with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur concerning the withdrawal of
the 14th Army. The radio also cited AFP, according to which Grachev proposed a
pullback of the army in three stages: the first two will involve the withdrawal
of equipment and munitions and in the last stage the 10,000 Russian soldiers
stationed in the Transdniester region will pull out. The withdrawal will take
place within the framework of the agreement reached by Russia and Moldova last
October, which the Duma has still to ratify. Grachev also said his visit to
Moldova prepared Snegur's meeting with president Boris Yeltsin in Moscow on 28
June. Snegur said the talks with Grachev were "constructive and positive." --
Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
OPPOSITION SAYS BULGARIA TURNS INTO POLICE STATE.
Vasil Gotsev, deputy
chairman of the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), on 26 June distributed a
memorandum accusing the government of turning Bulgaria into a police state,
Demokratsiya reported the following day. The memorandum was handed to
deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg
and was signed by SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov and caucus leader Yordan Sokolov.
The document focuses on recent amendments to the criminal law and the Code of
Criminal Procedures, which allow wiretapping and "other forms of secret control
of the citizens' private life." According to Duma, the memorandum also
accuses the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) of stopping the transition to
democracy and of subjugating the country's economy to economic groups close to
the BSP. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN SKINHEAD FINED FOR DESECRATING SOVIET GRAVES.
A court in Ruse
on 23 June found Anton Rachev, a local skinhead leader, guilty of disseminating
fascist propaganda by inciting teenage followers to paint swastikas and Nazi
slogans on Soviet military graves in the local cemetery in April, international
agencies reported on the same day. Rachev was fined 25,000 leva ($380), while
the teenagers were not tried because they are minors. On 10 June, a dormitory
for ethnic Turkish students in Ruse was attacked, apparently in an attempt to
stop the trial of Rachev. Rachev's prosecutor and local media had received
letters threatening new attacks if he was convicted. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
DID THE ALBANIAN COMMUNISTS DRAW UP "DEATH LISTS" IN 1990?
Demokratike on 23 June carried a story that the ruling Communists drew up death
lists of political opponents as late as 1990, a few months before the collapse
of the old system. According to the report, up to 80,000 people rated as
"dangerous elements" were to be executed without trial. The newspaper accused
Secretary General of the Socialist Party Gramoz Ruci of having approved the
plans. Ruci, who at that time was interior minister, did not comment on the
accusations. Meanwhile, Albanian television reported that only a small portion
of the files still exists, and that Ruci had ordered their destruction in early
1991. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle