NEW FSB CHIEF APPOINTED.
President Boris Yeltsin on 9 July appointed
acting Federal Security Service Director Col. Gen. Nikolai Kovalev as the
service's new permanent head, Russian and Western agencies reported. Kovalev is
the seventh man to head the KGB's successor service since August 1991. He
succeeds Mikhail Barsukov, one of three hardliners sacked on 20 June. Kovalev
was born in Moscow in 1949. He graduated from the Moscow Electro-chemistry
Institute in 1972 and joined the KGB two years later. He served for two years
in Afghanistan and worked in the Moscow City and Oblast branches of the
security service. He became a deputy director in 1994 with responsibility for
economic counterintelligence, including industrial espionage and the theft of
Russian technology. According to NTV, Kovalev is a cautious man who shies away
from the media. -- Penny Morvant
GENERALS DENY ROKHLIN'S CHARGES.
Former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
on 9 July dismissed Lev Rokhlin's allegations of widespread military
corruption, telling Nezavisimaya gazeta that "Rokhlin has no hard facts,
only general phrases." He said he had always helped Rokhlin, even giving him an
apartment "illegally." Grachev contended that supporters of Aleksandr Lebed had
forced Rokhlin's hand to secure the appointment of Gen. Igor Rodionov as
defense minister. Gen. Konstantin Kobets, one of the men implicated by Rokhlin,
also denied the charges against him but said he did not believe Lebed was
behind the affair. He attacked Rokhlin for discrediting the Defense Ministry
and the army. Kobets said he will not sue Rokhlin, but some of the other
generals said they would. -- Penny Morvant
YELTSIN, CHERNOMYRDIN MEET TO DISCUSS NEW GOVERNMENT.
Yeltsin on 9 July announced that he will not take any vacation time in the near
future so that he can continue working with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
on the formation of the new cabinet, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. On the
same day, the two leaders discussed the basic principles for choosing new
cabinet members, ITAR-TASS reported. First Deputy State Duma Speaker Aleksandr
Shokhin said the government would be composed of "professionals" who would form
a united team and could include members of groups that did not support
Yeltsin's reelection, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 9 July. --
YABLOKO MAY JOIN GOVERNMENT.
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin met with
Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii for three hours on 9 July, NTV reported.
Yavlinskii said that it is likely that Duma Budget Committee Chairman Mikhail
Zadornov, a Yabloko faction member, would take one of the economic posts in the
new government. Chernomyrdin has been critical of the idea of Yavlinskii
himself joining the cabinet (see OMRI Special Report, 5 July 1996).
Yavlinskii said that negotiations over Yabloko's participation in the cabinet
would continue next week. -- Robert Orttung
THE COMMUNIST CLIP THAT WAS NOT SHOWN ON TV.
On 1 July, the last night
campaigning was allowed before the second round of the presidential election,
Russian Public TV (ORT) refused to air a Communist Party political
advertisement. Instead of a 10-minute video featuring filmmaker Stanislav
Govorukhin, the station aired a five-minute monologue by Gennadii Zyuganov that
had already been shown. ORT said Zyuganov's campaign had not paid for any
additional air time, a claim the Communist Party denied (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 2 and 3 July 1996). A copy of the video was obtained by OMRI and
the complete transcript will be published as an OMRI Special Report
later today. -- Laura Belin in Moscow
SELEZNEV: OPPOSITION READY TO COOPERATE.
Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev
said opposition Duma members are ready to cooperate constructively with the
president who he said has become more attentive to the opposition's concerns,
ITAR-TASS reported 9 July. Seleznev noted, however, that there are "forces that
are trying to artificially drive wedges" between the parliament and government.
Before the election, some observers had predicted increasing tension between
the president and Duma in the event of a Yeltsin victory. -- Robert Orttung
OPPOSITION ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITTEE FORMED.
Representatives of the
largest organizations from Gennadii Zyuganov's electoral "popular-patriotic
bloc" on 9 July agreed to set up an organizational committee for the Union of
Popular-Patriotic Forces of Russia (SNPSR), which will replace the electoral
bloc, NTV and Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. The committee will prepare
documents for the union's registration with the Justice Ministry. The SNPSR
plans to avoid extremism and none of the bloc's radical organizations, both
communist and nationalist, were invited to join the committee. -- Anna
DUMA COMMITTEE CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT MILITARY POLICE.
Citing the sharp
crime rate increase in the armed forces, the Duma Defense Committee has drafted
a bill calling for an independent military police force with broad powers,
according to an article by the committee's chairman, retired Lt. Gen. Lev
Rokhlin, in the 9 July issue of Rabochaya tribuna. The bill calls for
such a force to be "detached from the armed forces" and accountable to the
president and the Federal Assembly. It would investigate crimes committed by
service personnel and civilian employees while on duty or on a military
installation. The proposed legislation stipulates that the appointment of an
officer to the post of regimental commander or higher "should take into account
the opinion of the head of the corresponding military police structure." --
MORE FIGHTING IN CHECHNYA.
Six Russian soldiers and some 20 Chechen
civilians were killed on 9 July when Russian forces backed by air and artillery
power attacked the village of Gekhi in southern Chechnya, Western agencies
reported. Acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev demanded a formal
explanation from Russia for the renewal of hostilities. The spokesman for the
Russian state committee on Chechnya, Sergei Slipchenko, accused the Chechen
side of torpedoing the peace agreements and argued that Russia has the right
"to take the toughest measures" in response, according to AFP. In an interview
with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica cited by AFP, Russian Security
Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed said he is prepared to discuss Chechnya's
"possible secession" from Russia, but also said that he is "doubtful about the
viability of an independent Chechnya." Lebed met in Moscow on 9 July with
pro-Moscow head of state Doku Zavgaev, while Lebed's representative in
Chechnya, Sergei Drogush, met with Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov,
Russian TV (RTR) reported. -- Liz Fuller
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO INSPECT KALMYK LAWS.
President Yeltsin has asked
the Constitutional Court to examine two laws passed by the Kalmyk legislature,
ITAR-TASS reported on 10 July. The presidential press service announced that
two of the republic's laws are unconstitutional. One of the laws gives the
local legislature's edicts the highest juridical power on the territory of the
republic; federal law states that the Russian Constitution has priority over
all laws in the country. Another law in the republic enables presidential
candidates to run for office unopposed, which is prohibited by federal law. If
the court rules that the laws are unconstitutional, the legitimacy of the
current republican president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov--who won reelection unopposed
in November 1995--may be thrown into question. -- Anna Paretskaya
TALBOTT MEETS MAMEDOV.
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott met
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Mamedov in Washington on 9 July, in the
first high-level meeting since the Russian election, ITAR-TASS reported. At the
top of their agenda was the need to press ahead with a comprehensive nuclear
test ban treaty and the ratification of START II, which has been approved by
the U.S. Senate but not by the Russian Duma. -- Peter Rutland
DIVISIONS IN FOREIGN POLICY ELITE.
A survey of Russian foreign policy
experts by the Ebert Foundation found them to be divided over Russia's future
status, according to Ekspert no. 25. About one-third of them said they
see NATO expansion as a threat and favor tough responses, such as increased
troop deployments, work on new generation nuclear weapons, or a closer alliance
with China. Half the polled experts oppose such measures, however. Only 26%
think that Russia can regain superpower status, 57% think the most it can aim
for is to stay in the top five powers. -- Peter Rutland
RUSSIA CONCERNED OVER PRESSURE ON KARADZIC.
Foreign Affairs Ministry
spokesman Grigorii Karasin has expressed "serious concern" over the "so-called
Radovan Karadzic problem," ITAR-TASS reported on 9 July. He complained that
there are no "juridical or political grounds" for refusing to register Serbian
Democratic Party candidates for the 14 September Bosnia-Herzegovina election
simply because Karadzic remains the leader of the party. He also stressed that
making demands only against the Serbs was "hardly productive." The OSCE has
expressed its support for measures against Karadzic and his party. -- Robert
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Panov
dismissed speculation in the Japanese press that Russia has tightened its
stance with regard to signing a peace treaty with Japan, and stressed that
Russia remains committed to good relations with Tokyo, ITAR-TASS reported on 9
July. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said he will attend
Yeltsin's inauguration, but if the ceremony is held on 9 August, as now
planned, he would have to skip it to attend ceremonies marking the atomic
bombing of Nagasaki. In other news, the Japanese destroyer Kurama will
become the first warship from that country to visit a Russian port in 70 years
when it takes part in the Russian navy's 300th anniversary celebrations in
Vladivostok later this month, Reuters reported on 9 July. -- Robert Orttung and
RUSSIA TO OPEN UNOFFICIAL MISSION IN TAIWAN.
Deputy Foreign Minister
Aleksandr Panov said that the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic
and Cultural Cooperation will soon be able to open a permanent mission in
Taiwan, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 July. The Taiwanese unofficial mission opened
in Moscow in July 1993 in compliance with a September 1992 presidential decree.
According to this decree, Russia will not maintain official relations with
Taiwan since it considers Taiwan to be an inseparable part of China. -- Anna
GERMAN CHANCELLOR TO SEEK TALKS WITH YELTSIN OVER TROPHY ART LAW.
announced on 9 July that Helmut Kohl wants to discuss with President Yeltsin
the passage of a draft law making artworks seized from Germany by Soviet troops
during World War II the legal property of Russia, international agencies
reported. The bill, which the Duma approved last week by a vote of 303-0 with
two abstentions, still has to be confirmed by the Federation Council and the
president. Earlier this year, Yeltsin stressed his commitment to finding a
mutually acceptable solution to the trophy art issue. UNESCO has offered to
mediate in the dispute. -- Jan Cleave
YAPONCHIK FOUND GUILTY OF EXTORTION.
A New York court found Vyacheslav
Ivankov (nicknamed Yaponchik) and three other men guilty of attempting to
extort $3.5 million from an investment firm run by Russian emigres, ITAR-TASS
and Reuters reported on 9 July. Ivankov, a Russian "godfather," is facing up to
40 years in prison. His lawyers intend to appeal. Ivankov is believed to have
started his criminal group in Russia about 16 years ago. He served 10 years in
a Siberian prison. After his release in 1991 he reportedly moved his operations
to the U.S. -- Penny Morvant
NINE CANDIDATES TO CONTEST ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
Central Electoral Commission on 9 July formally registered nine candidates for
the 23 September presidential election, Noyan Tapan reported. One person was
refused registration for failing to submit the required minimum of 1,000
nomination signatures. Of the nine candidates, Rafael Hambartsoumian of the
Society for National Unity, and Paruir Hairikyan of the Union for National
Self-Determination have both said they doubt the election will be free and
fair. Hairikyan has called for an emergency parliament session to amend the
election law and may withdraw his candidacy if this is not done. -- Liz
TAJIK PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER TO MEET IN MOSCOW.
Minister Yevgenii Primakov on 9 July announced that Tajik President Imomali
Rakhmonov and opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri have accepted his proposal
that they meet face-to-face in Moscow, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported. The idea was
proposed at the Tajik peace talks, currently under way in Turkmenistan, but no
date has been set. One opposition leader at the talks, Ali Akbar Turajonzoda,
said the two sides need time to prepare for the meeting. The two leaders have
met twice before. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS DOUBT NEW CONSTITUTION'S VALIDITY.
sizable Communist caucus in parliament appealed to that body's ethics
commission to review their claims about voting violations during parliament's
adoption of the constitution on 28 June, Radio Ukraine reported on 9 July.
Communist chief Petro Symonenko said some 35 lawmakers, including 10 from his
caucus, were absent during voting on each article, but their votes were
included in final tallies. He said such violations cast doubt on the
constitution's legitimacy. He also said deputies were forced to vote under
duress during an all-night session after President Leonid Kuchma decreed a
referendum on an unamended draft that would have given him more powers. Petro
Sheyko, head of the ethics commission, said the voting was legitimate because
the draft as a whole garnered a solid absolute majority. Other lawmakers said
the Communists' actions reveal how difficult implementation of the new
constitution will be--it requires the adoption of 50 new laws. -- Chrystyna
UKRAINIAN-KAZAKH TALKS FOCUS ON TRADE.
Kuchma met with Kazakhstan's
first deputy prime minister, Nigmatzhan Isingarin, in Kyiv on 9 July, Ukrainian
radio reported. Talks focused on economic relations and the work of a
Ukrainian-Kazakh commission for economic cooperation. Both leaders noted a
mutual drop in trade. In 1992, trade with Kazakhstan made up 10 percent of
Ukraine's total trade. Last year, it accounted for only 2 percent, amounting to
$312 million. Kuchma proposed signing a free-trade agreement with Almaty and
lifting trade barriers. -- Ustina Markus
PAKISTAN TO BUY UKRAINIAN TANKS.
Pakistan's Defense Minister Aftab
Shahban Mirani said Islambalad is close to an agreement with Ukraine to
purchase 330 T-80 tanks, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 July. The deal is worth $650
million. Mirani said military cooperation with Ukraine is necessary for
Pakistan to ensure its security in its region. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIA EXTENDS VALIDITY OF SOVIET PASSPORTS.
The non-travel passports
of the former Soviet Union will remain valid for non-citizens until all
Estonian residence permits are issued--not the previously set 12 July
date--Prime Minister Tiit Vahi said on 9 July, BNS reported. He said all
eligible applicants should receive their residence permits by the end of the
year. Vahi said the Soviet passport loses its validity when a person obtains an
Estonian residence permit or leaves Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius
ZHIRINOVSKY VODKA TO BE BOTTLED IN LATVIA.
The Rubins distillery in
Bauska will bottle vodka named for Russian Liberal Democratic Party leader
Vladimir Zhirinovksy, said Rubins president Leon Osipov, BNS reported on 9
July. Osipov said Zhirinovsky extended the bottling license, and was motivated
by the need to refill his party's treasury, emptied during the election
campaign. Osipov said Zhirinovsky pledged to help Latvian businessmen expand to
the Russian market with the help of "his people" in parliamentary committees.
Zhirinovsky this spring had sent proposals to several distilleries in Latvia
and Lithuania, but Lithuanians showed no interest. -- Saulius Girnius
CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER IN POLAND.
Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa
met on 9 July with his Polish counterpart Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Polish and
international media reported. Cimoszewicz said Poland will help reconstruct
Croatian regions damaged by the war, and the two reaffirmed their wish to
expand economic relations. Matesa thanked Poland for contributing troops to
NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) troops in the former Yugoslavia. Poland
and Croatia last year traded goods worth $94 million. It was the first official
visit to Poland by a Croatian prime minister since the country broke away from
Yugoslavia five years ago. -- Jakub Karpinski
KWASNIEWSKI ON POLISH-JEWISH RELATIONS.
Polish President Aleksander
Kwasniewski, on a U.S. visit, presented on 9 July a plan to protect the site of
the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, international agencies reported. The
plan would organize zones--the camp itself would have no commercial activity,
but outside it there would be a zone for tourism and business. He also pointed
out that in the last presidential election in Poland the candidate that used
anti-Semitic slogans finished last with only 7,000 votes. "If in each country
in the world, there would be only 7,000 anti-Semites, we would be very
satisfied," he said. Kwasniewski also said the parliament soon will consider a
bill that would restore Jewish communal property to Jewish organizations. --
POLISH-UKRAINIAN MILITARY TALKS.
A Polish military delegation led by
Gen. Zenon Bryk arrived in Lviv for talks with the high command of the
Carpathian military district on the creation of a joint Ukrainian-Polish
peacekeeping battalion. The 600-strong combat unit will join peacekeeping
forces in the Middle East, Itar-Tass reported on 9 July. Ukrainian and Polish
troops trained together in last month's international military exercises "Peace
Shield-96" near Lviv. -- Jakub Karpinski
ACTIVISTS BLOCKADE CZECH NUCLEAR PLANT.
Environmental activists, who for
several days have been demonstrating at the Temelin nuclear power plant,
entered the plant on 9 July and smuggled out a copy of the plant's blueprint,
Czech media reported. That evening, they set off fireworks at the plant's
cooling tower. A spokesman for the activists said those actions were to prove
that the nuclear plant is insufficiently guarded. On 8 July, police arrested
about 40 activists who were blockading plant entrances. Various ecological
groups say the plant will soon become unsafe and should be closed down. -- Jiri
SLOVAK PRESIDENT ON WESTERN INTEGRATION.
Attending the first Central and
East European Economic Summit in Salzburg, Michal Kovac on 9 July said Slovakia
must make changes if it wants to gain NATO and EU membership, Slovak and
international media reported. Kovac said political infighting could have a
negative impact on Slovakia's integration efforts and on its economy. He said
if Slovakia falls from the first tier of East European countries in line for EU
membership, "the responsibility will lie with Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
and his government." Upon returning to Bratislava, Kovac said he might pardon
his son to enable him to travel to Munich and defend himself in the fraud case
involving the Slovak trade firm, Technopol. The president questioned whether
his son would receive a fair trial in Slovakia and noted that "in Munich, laws
and evidence apply." -- Sharon Fisher
SLOVAK GOVERNMENT ATTACKS HUNGARIAN DEMANDS...
Foreign Minister Juraj
Schenk on 9 July criticized the recent Hungarian minority summit on Slovak
Radio. Schenk expressed "surprise and concern" over the summit's communique,
which pushed for ethnic autonomy and self-government on the territory of other
states where Hungarians live. Schenk said the government regards it "a step
against the trend of positive development of mutual relations" marked by the
ratification of a bilateral treaty. The calls for autonomy have not been
adopted by the Slovak government or by international organizations, such as the
Council of Europe and the OSCE. Since there is no relevant international
document that codifies the idea of ethnic autonomy, it is misleading to talk
about "the spirit of international norms," Schenk said. The ruling Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia said the communique marked an effort to revive "Hungarian
nationalist revisionism and iredententism." -- Sharon Fisher
... WHILE HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT DEFENDS THEM.
The ethnic Hungarian
summit's final communique did not mention "collective rights"--a term that has
caused controversy in the past--only the term "autonomy," which is in accord
with Western European practice, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said on 9 July,
Hungarian media reported. The communique reads, "The establishment of local
governments and autonomy--in line with the current European practice and the
spirit of international norms--is vital to preserving the identity of
Hungarians beyond the borders, their survival and development..." The ministry
said the document has no legal basis and was not intended to cause friction
with neighboring countries. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
BOSNIAN SERBS AGAIN DEFY INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.
The Pale parliament on
9 July voted to set up a consultative senate after the 14 September elections.
It also elected indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic as president of that new
body, the BBC reported. The Dayton agreement bars those indicted from holding
public office, but Karadzic has resisted the international community's attempts
to force him out of public life. He has handed over his duties as president of
the Republika Srpska to his deputy, and he will not run for president in the
September elections. But he continues to lead his Serbian Democratic Party and
will hold government office as president of the senate. Meanwhile, the
international community's High Representative Carl Bildt dared Karadzic to
appear before the Hague-based war crimes tribunal, Onasa reported. -- Patrick
CLINTON LAUNCHES "EQUIP AND TRAIN" PROGRAM FOR BOSNIA.
The U.S. will
begin a $100 million military program to enable the Croat and Muslim federation
to defend itself, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced on 9 July. The Dayton
agreement calls for establishing a military balance in the region, but so far
the Serbs heavily outgun Bosnian government forces. Communications equipment,
small arms and ammunition, main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, light
anti-tank weapons, and utility helicopters will be provided, AFP reported.
Clinton said the program can begin in a few days, now that foreign Islamic
fighters have left the country and the Croats and Muslims have agreed on a
defense law setting up a joint defense ministry and joint command. American
mediator James Pardew clinched the agreement on 5 July and the parliament
passed it on 9 July. An additional $40 million will be provided by countries
such as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E. -- Patrick Moore
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has indirectly
criticized OSCE election commissioner Robert Frowick's plans to ban Karadzic's
party from the elections as long as the indicted war criminal remains its
leader. Milosevic said, "It is vital that all parties be able to compete
equally in the elections," Tanjug reported on 9 July. Meanwhile, near
Srebrenica, experts continued to exhume a mass grave believed to contain the
remains of Muslim males killed almost a year ago, international media reported.
In Split, a Croatian tribunal said Bosnian Croat Zlatko Aleksovski will be sent
to The Hague to answer charges of crimes against Muslims in the Lasva valley in
1993. The Muslims have meanwhile arrested five Bosnian Croats for alleged war
crimes; some Croats say this could be the start of a wave of arrests,
Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 10 July. -- Patrick Moore
SERBS AND CROATS STILL BLOCKING MOSTAR ELECTION COMMISSION.
president of the election commission on 9 July asked the EU administration to
announce the official election results, Onasa reported. The Croat and Serb
commission members continue to block the commission's work by filing complaints
about ballot irregularities in western European cities. The Muslim-dominated
List of Citizens for a United Mostar gained an overwhelming majority in ballots
in Bonn, Stockholm, Oslo, and Bern. The Croats criticized a decision by
ombudsman Konstantinos Zepos to declare the ballot valid despite discrepancies
in the Bonn ballot box. -- Fabian Schmidt
ACCUSED SERB WAR CRIMINAL HEADS "PEACE" PARTY.
Accused war criminal and
internationally wanted felon Zeljko Raznatovic, known as "Arkan," said his
political party is a "centrist" organization with "a European orientation,"
Onasa reported on 5 July. The news agency, citing Beta reports, quotes Arkan,
"We stand for peace because we know well what war is." His Party of Serbian
Unity (SSJ) plans to field candidates in Republika Srpska's September
elections. -- Stan Markotich
BELGRADE TO RESTORE PHONE LINKS WITH SARAJEVO.
The rump Yugoslav
telecommunications agency PTT is expected to restore phone links with Sarajevo,
severed by Bosnian Serb forces during the 43-month siege of the Bosnian
capital, SRNA reported on 9 July. PTT said the communications links could be
restored within a few days. Some diplomatic observers say "restoration of phone
links with Yugoslavia would be a small step toward reconciliation between
Serbs, Muslims, and Croats," Reuters reported. -- Stan Markotich
ROMANIA SEES "PLOT" IN U.S. CONGRESS DELAY.
The government newspaper
Vocea Romaniei on 10 July reported an "anti-Romanian plot" in the U.S.
Congress's decision to postpone discussions on granting Romania permanent
most-favored-nation status. The daily printed an article from the
Budapest-based Uj Magyarorszag that reported on a campaign allegedly
staged by the Hungarian lobby in the U.S. Vocea Romaniei said the "U.S.
Congress and America in general are the victims of a horrible anti-Romanian
informational war, conducted from Budapest with the direct help of the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania." Evenimentul zilei noted a
letter from 25 congressmen addressed on 26 June to the chairman of the House of
Representatives demanding that the MFN debate be delayed until after Romania's
presidential elections this fall. -- Dan Ionescu
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT PRAISES IFES WORK.
Mircea Snegur on 9 July said the
International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has helped the democratic
process in the Republic of Moldova, BASA-press and Infotag reported. Snegur
spoke with IFES Chairman Richard Soudriette, who is visiting Chisinau. Snegur
recalled IFES's assistance in the February 1994 parliamentary elections, the
country's first on a multi-party basis. Snegur also praised the organization's
contribution to preparations for the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled
for 17 November. Those elections will be a "political maturity test" for the
Moldovan electorate, he said. -- Dan Ionescu
INFLATION SOARS IN BULGARIA.
Consumer price inflation soared to 20.3% in
June, the second highest level since March 1991, Pari reported on 10
July. The inflationary burst is a result of the lev's collapse--the Bulgarian
National Bank's (BNB) fixing fell from 70.7/dollar at end-1995 to 181.36 on 10
July, a 61% decline. Some 5% of June's inflation is due to May's increase in
liquid fuel prices. The average monthly wage is now about $65, its lowest level
since October 1991, and the real value of personal savings has been halved in
the last three months. The immediate cause of the lev's decline is the BNB's
inability to intervene in the market to support it. The bank's foreign reserves
had dwindled to $600 million by 31 May, with large foreign debt service
payments looming, including $150 due on 17 July. -- Michael Wyzan
ALLEGED BULGARIAN CRIME BOSS ARRESTED.
Dimitar Dzhamov, head of the
"Zora nis" insurance company and "Zora" holding, was arrested on 9 July,
Kontinent and Standart reported. Dzhamov is considered one of the
founding fathers of crime rings controlled by "the wrestlers," mostly former
athletes and secret policemen. He worked with Ivan Iliev, who headed
"insurance" and "security" firms and was killed last year under unclear
circumstances. Zora holding controls two reservoirs leased from the state;
fishermen complain they are forced to pay "taxes" to wrestlers. Newspapers
connect Dzhamov's arrest to the seizure of six tons of marijuana in Varna on 7
July. Zora nis allegedly was hired to guard the drugs through Bulgarian
territory. Dzhamov's lawyer said his client was arrested for car theft, illegal
possession of firearms, and possession of a forged passport. -- Stefan Krause
SOUTH BALKAN COUNTRIES TRY TO CONTAIN HOOF-AND-MOUTH DISEASE.
authorities have slaughtered about 1,400 cattle to contain a further spread of
hoof-and-mouth disease, local and international media reported. Several hundred
animals will be killed this week. Meanwhile, Macedonia received some 240,000 EU
vaccines to protect cattle. In Albania, where the epidemic is believed to have
originated, several thousand cattle have been slaughtered and 130,000
vaccinated. Rump Yugoslavia has tightened its border controls for goods from
Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria. At the only one of three border-crossings
between Macedonia and rump Yugoslavia that remains open, all vehicles and
passengers coming from Macedonia are being disinfected. Macedonia has stepped
up security on its border with Albania. -- Stefan Krause
OSCE FAVORS NEW ALBANIAN ELECTIONS.
The OSCE parliamentary assembly on 9
July recommended that Albania consider new elections, "in better conditions and
in the presence of international observers." The suggestion was included in a
declaration on global security at the request of the U.S. and Sweden. The
Albanians opposed that and said the next elections will take place in 2000,
Rilindja Demokratike reported on 10 July. According to Koha Jone,
delegation head Genci Pollo said the U.S. delegation was linked to the "Greek
extremist lobby." OSCE parliamentary assembly president Javier Ruperez said he
would seek talks with the Albanian authorities to pursue the matter. -- Fabian
RUMP YUGOSLAV PRIME MINISTER CONSIDERS TALKS ON KOSOVO.
said his government should meet with Albanian representatives in Kosovo, but
ruled out a role for the Albanian government, Reuters reported on 9 July. He
reacted to Albanian President Sali Berisha's calls for three-party talks
between Serbia, Kosovo. and Albania. However, Kontic said Kosovo is an internal
matter, "a problem of separatism and not one of national minorities." -- Fabian
ALBANIAN SOCIALIST SPOKESMAN FACING GENOCIDE CHARGES?
was detained and interrogated by police on suspicion of participating in
"communist genocide," Albania reported on 10 July. Reportedly, the
charges are based on testimony from former president Ramiz Alia and deputy
Interior Minister Zylyftar Ramizi. After his release, Islami went to an embassy
of a "friendly country" and requested political asylum, the daily reported.
Border controls have been ordered to prevent him from leaving the country.
Meanwhile, the Socialist Party agreed to hold a party congress on 24 August. --
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Maura Griffin Solovar