MASSIVE CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN CHECHNYA.
Up to 370 Chechens have been
killed and some 170 wounded in continuing Russian air and artillery attacks on
Gekhi and four other villages in southern Chechnya, AFP reported on 10 July,
quoting Chechen spokesman Movladi Udugov. Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin nonetheless said in Moscow that there has been no interruption in
the implementation of the president's plan for a peaceful settlement of the
Chechen conflict and that Russian forces "are simply bringing impudent rebels
to their senses," according to ITAR-TASS. AFP, citing Interfax, quoted Russian
military spokesman Igor Melnikov as saying that the Russian forces in Chechnya
had been ordered to locate and capture acting Chechen President Zelimkhan
Yandarbiev, but Melnikov subsequently denied this, telling ITAR-TASS that
Russian forces had been ordered only to pinpoint and cordon off the village of
Makhkati where Yandarbiev's headquarters is reportedly located, Reuters
reported. -- Liz Fuller
YELTSIN THANKS VOTERS, BACKS CHERNOMYRDIN . . .
In a televised speech 10
July, President Boris Yeltsin thanked voters for reelecting him, singling out
young people, the intelligentsia, and the media, according to a transcript in
Rossiiskaya gazeta on 11 July. The three major television networks gave
Yeltsin uncritical support during the campaign. He said that the economic
reforms would continue but with "serious corrections" and a focus on increasing
production and raising living standards. Yeltsin reaffirmed his support for
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and said that his new government could
include members from a variety of parties, as long as these individuals are
willing to set aside partisan interests. This formulation downplayed the
communist idea of a coalition government. He also said that he is planning to
make his administration "more compact and effective" while bringing in new
people. The speech did not mention the current fighting in Chechnya. The ailing
president looked stiff but spoke clearly, Reuters reported. -- Robert Orttung
. . . APPROVES LEBED'S SECURITY COUNCIL, CRIME-FIGHTING PLANS.
on 10 July approved Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed's plans to
strengthen the role of the Security Council, Russian Public TV reported. The
council is charged with defending Russia's vital interests in the social,
economic, military, and environmental spheres. Yeltsin also signed a decree on
fighting crime in Moscow and Moscow Oblast prepared by Lebed and Moscow Mayor
Yurii Luzhkov. Earlier reports said the decree focuses on measures to tackle
corruption and vagrancy. Over the past six months, more than 46,000 crimes were
registered in Moscow. The number of thefts declined in comparison with the
first half of 1995, but the incidence of murder--in particular contract
killings--and rape increased. Yeltsin's support for Lebed's initiatives clearly
pits the Security Council chief against Chernomyrdin, the other main aspirant
for power within the president's inner circle and a possible successor to
Yeltsin. -- Penny Morvant and Robert Orttung
NEW FSB HEAD OUTLINES PRIORITIES.
New Federal Security Service Director
Nikolai Kovalev said on 10 July that economic security and the fight against
corruption would be his main priorities, Russian and Western agencies reported.
He also said he would take steps to counter the activities of foreign secret
services in Russia, contending that they have recently become very active.
Economic security has also been singled out as a priority by Security Council
Secretary Lebed, while President Yeltsin said in his 10 July address that
fighting corruption at all levels of government would be a major focus of his
second term. -- Penny Morvant
ILYUSHIN ANNOUNCES POSSIBLE STRATEGIC PLANNING GROUP.
Aide Viktor Ilyushin announced the president's intention to establish a new
group within his administration, possibly called the Strategic Planning Group,
which would be staffed by his former campaign workers, NTV reported on 10 July.
At the same time, Ilyushin criticized the current administration for
disorganization, and said it would be streamlined. He denounced speculation
that Lebed is taking over presidential powers as "unfounded apprehensions." He
also did not rule out that Yeltsin's daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, would find a
spot in the administration or that former Presidential Security Service
Director Aleksandr Korzhakov would return. A group of U.S. consultants claim to
have fed Dyachenko campaign strategy advice in the months before the election,
while Ilyushin described her as a "political find," ITAR-TASS reported.
Ilyushin himself may join the government as first deputy prime minister. --
LAW ON HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER STALLS AGAIN.
The Duma on 10 July
failed to win the 300 votes necessary to pass the law on Russia's human rights
commissioner, Russian media reported. An earlier version of the bill was
rejected by the Federation Council on 15 May. The reworked version was
supported by only 248 deputies. Prior to the voting, President Yeltsin's
representative said that an article in the new text allowing regions to
establish the post of human rights commissioner is unconstitutional. The
Russian parliament has been debating the bill for three years. -- Penny
GOVERNMENT TO CRACKDOWN ON ALCOHOL, TOBACCO ADS.
The State Anti-Monopoly
Committee is planning to press charges against the three major television
networks for illegally showing advertisements promoting alcohol and tobacco
products, ITAR-TASS reported. The provision prohibiting such commercials came
into effect on 1 January in the advertising law but is constantly violated.
Punishment includes a maximum fine of approximately 350 million rubles
($68,000) and complaints to the body that issues broadcasting licenses. --
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MUST RETURN CAMPAIGN MONEY.
The Central Electoral
Commission (TsIK) has ruled that Aman Tuleev, a presidential candidate who
withdrew from the race on the eve of the first round, must pay back money he
received from the federal budget for his campaign, ITAR-TASS and NTV reported
on 10 July. The TsIK asked Tuleev to reimburse the commission for expenses
related to his home region during the campaign and the 313 million ruble
($61,000) cost of checking his list of nomination signatures. If he fails to
return this money, the commission will seize his assets. -- Anna Paretskaya
PROCURATOR TO EXAMINE ELECTION RESULTS IN TATARSTAN.
The Supreme Court
has asked the Procurator General's Office to investigate accusations of
falsification during the first round of the presidential election in the Tatar
capital, Kazan, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 10 July. The case was
initiated by the first secretary of the Communist Party in Tatarstan, Aleksandr
Salii (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 June 1996), who said the figures that
came to the Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) differed considerably from
those that went to the local electoral commissions. He claims that the results
were forged in Kazan's seven districts to produce an additional 60,000 votes in
favor of President Yeltsin. The preliminary results of the first round in
Tatarstan gave Zyuganov 40.5% of the vote to Yeltsin's 37%, while TsIK's final
report gives Yeltsin 38.34% and Zyuganov 38.10%. -- Anna Paretskaya
DISAGREEMENTS APPEAR WITHIN NEW OPPOSITION BLOC.
The leader of the
Russian National Union, Sergei Baburin, has suggested that the Communist
Party's high-profile role in the Popular-Patriotic Bloc that backed Gennadii
Zyuganov for president damaged his chances in the election. Baburin said the
party's visibility enabled President Yeltsin to successfully play the
anti-communist card. He also proposed that the new opposition movement, which
he is currently involved in setting up (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 July
1996), be "unconditionally dominated by popular-patriotic ideology," ITAR-TASS
reported on 10 July. He also questioned whether Zyuganov should assumed the
leading role in the new movement. -- Anna Paretskaya
YELTSIN PROMISES TO PROTECT RUSSIANS ABROAD.
In a message to Russians
living abroad issued on 10 July, President Yeltsin said he regards the
"protection of the rights and interests of Russian people, no matter where they
are," as one of his "main priorities," ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin pledged to
do everything possible to assure Russians living in other states that "Russia
cares about you and will support you." The president also thanked Russians
living abroad for their participation in the 3 July presidential run-off, for
which 397 polling stations were established in 146 foreign countries. -- Scott
RUSSIA FIRES WARNING SHOTS AT JAPANESE TRAWLERS.
In the latest in an
ongoing series of such incidents, a Russian patrol vessel on 10 July fired
warning shots at Japanese trawlers about to enter Russian territorial waters
near the disputed southern Kuril islands, AFP reported. On the same day,
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Panov told ITAR-TASS that Russia was
continuing to decrease its military presence on the islands, and hoped to
engage the Japanese in joint economic projects there. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime
Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who had earlier suggested that he might attend
President Yeltsin's inauguration, (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 July 1996)
backtracked further, saying he could not visit Russia on 9 August, now the
scheduled inaugural date, since the Soviet Union opened hostilities against
Japan on that day in 1945. -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIAN FIRM IN BID FOR DUTCH AIRCRAFT MAKER.
The Yakovlev Aircraft
Corporation announced on 10 July that it planned to buy the bankrupt Dutch
aircraft manufacturer Fokker for some $216 million, but Reuters indicated that
the Dutch firm denied that it is close to a deal with Yakovlev. Yakovlev's vice
president, Arkadii Gurtovoi, said that his company plans to pay for the
purchase by loans from Western banks that would be guaranteed by the Russian
government. ITAR-TASS reported that the government had approved Yakovlev's
proposal. Both firms have built popular short- and medium-range airliners in
the past. -- Doug Clarke
EXPLOSION ON MOSCOW TROLLEY BUS.
At least five people were injured when
an explosion ripped through the front of a Moscow trolley bus on 11 July,
Russian and Western agencies reported. The explosion occurred at around 9 a.m.
about 1 km from the Kremlin. A month ago four people were killed in an
explosion on the Moscow subway. -- Penny Morvant
TARPISCHEV DENIES CORRUPTION CHARGES.
Shamil Tarpishchev, chairman of
the State Committee on Sports and Tourism, has denied allegations by Aleksandr
Minkin in Novaya yezhednevnaya gazeta that he is involved in corruption
and linked with organized crime (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 July 1996).
Tarpishchev told ITAR-TASS on 10 July that he might sue the journalist and the
newspaper. Interviewed in Komsomolskaya pravda, former National Sports
Fund head Boris Fedorov, who features prominently in the controversial article,
said that he had been "set up" and that the conversation quoted in the piece
had been doctored. Meanwhile, the Duma called for an investigation of the case
and supported an appeal from a Yabloko deputy to Interior Minister Anatolii
Kulikov to assign bodyguards to Minkin. -- Penny Morvant
LEBED ON ECONOMICS.
Aleksandr Lebed met with 30 economists and
businessmen on 9 July and listened to them debate the problems facing the
Russian economy, Izvestiya reported on 11 July. Lebed's attitude towards
economic policy was laid out in a document which he circulated to journalists,
and which was analyzed in Delovoi mir on 9 July. In addition to a
crackdown on corruption and measures to improve the situation of current and
former soldiers, the main theme is the need to rein in Russia's energy barons.
Lebed argues that "natural resource capital felt itself independent from the
state, and began to pursue its own budgetary, financial, and regional policy.
This took place in the same way that military-industrial capital operated in
the USSR, with the same destructive results." -- Peter Rutland
BANK FAILURE SENDS SHOCK WAVES.
The Central Bank has been tightening its
control of the banking system in the wake of the suspension of operations at
Tveruniversalbank (TUB), one of the 20 biggest banks in Russia (see OMRI
Daily Digest , 9 July 1996). The Central Bank plans to set up a special
100-man OPERU-2 center to monitor the 27 leading banks, Izvestiya
reported on 10 July. Sergei Aleksashenko, deputy head of the Central Bank, sent
out a telegram to leading banks instructing them to report on all their bill of
exchange operations by 10 July. TUB had put an estimated 800 billion rubles
($156 million) of vekselya in circulation, or about 8% of the total
market. These bills are no longer being honored, and the impact on the banking
system is uncertain. TUB bills were accepted as tax payment by 15 federal
regions, for example. -- Peter Rutland
TURKMENISTAN, VATICAN ESTABLISH TIES.
The Vatican and Turkmenistan will
establish diplomatic ties at the level of nuncio and ambassador, respectively,
AFP reported on 10 July. Turkmenistan is the last of the five Central Asian
states to do so; Tajikistan established diplomatic relations with the Vatican
last month. -- Bhavna Dave
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN KYRGYZSTAN.
Yevgenii Primakov, on a tour of
Central Asia, held talks with Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev in Bishkek on 10
July, RFE/RL and ITAR-TASS reported. Akayev said his country has already "felt
the results" of economic integration among the CIS states, and vowed to expand
links with Russia. He also expressed satisfaction at the reelection of
President Yeltsin. Primakov, speaking at the Slavic University in Bishkek,
called for further integration among the CIS states but centered his speech on
the prospects for real peace in Tajikistan. A Kyrgyz battalion is serving with
the CIS border guards defending the Tajik-Afghan border. -- Bruce Pannier
OFFICIALS DISCUSS NATO EXPANSION.
Government officials and journalists
from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Slovenia, Austria,
Finland, NATO, the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, and France met to discuss the
future of European security and NATO enlargement on 10 July. The conference,
held near Prague, was organized by the Foundation for International Studies and
the Bohemiae Foundation. Czech, Hungarian, Slovenian, and Polish officials
reiterated their desire to join NATO as soon as possible, saying they hoped
NATO would formally approve enlargment in December. They dismissed Russian
objections, saying expansion is not directed against Russia, but rather is part
of a broader process of European integration. All participants wanted to build
a "strategic partnership" with Russia in parallel with NATO enlargement, but
some worried that Moscow's position could make it difficult to achieve both
goals simultaneously. -- Scott Parrish
Integration with Belarus should be a top
priority now that Russian presidential elections are over, said Russian State
Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 July. Seleznev, who
was in Minsk heading up a Duma delegation, met with Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka. He described Lukashenka as a "locomotive bringing our
two countries together." The same day, Lukashenka said opposition forces in
Belarus could not create "a quarrel between me and Boris Yeltsin, our Belarus
and Russia." He said the opposition also would not be able to isolate Belarus
from the West. A working group has been created to help synchronize economic
reform between Russia and Belarus, Belarusian TV reported on 9 July. The group
should complete its work by the end of 1997. -- Ustina Markus
U.S. TROOPS JOIN NATO-RUN BALTIC EXERCISE.
Some 700 soldiers from the
U.S. and the Baltic states are participating in a Partnership for Peace
exercise called Baltic Challenge in Latvia from 10-18 July, Reuters reported.
Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis was to attend the opening ceremony on 11 July.
The exercise, which will be an annual event rotated between the three Baltic
states, is aimed to improve cooperation among soldiers of different countries
in peacekeeping operations and to promote greater mutual military confidence.
The U.S. will pay most of the exercises' costs, projected at between $700,000
and $1 million. The Russian Liberal Democratic Party criticized the exercise:
"For the first time since 1918, American boots are trampling on Russian soil."
-- Saulius Girnius
ESTONIA-RUSSIA BORDER TALKS UNSUCCESSFUL.
Estonian and Russian
delegations made no progress in border talks in Tallinn on 9-10 July, BNS
reported. The main problem blocking the resolution of a treaty is that Russia
rejects Estonia's request to recognize the validity of the Tartu Treaty of
1920. Russia also refused to discuss a draft political declaration, presented
by Estonian delegation head Raul Malk, that affirms that recognition of the
1920 treaty does not mean that Estonia could reclaim land Russia later annexed.
However, an agreement on the sea border in the Gulf of Finland is almost ready
and might be initialed in St. Petersburg in mid-September, Malk said. The two
sides also agreed to swap small areas of water and land along the joint land
border. -- Saulius Girnius
LATVIA, ESTONIA SIGN TREATY ON BORDER POINTS.
Estonian Foreign Minister
Siim Kallas on a visit to Riga on 10 July signed an agreement defining crossing
points on highways and railways with his Latvian counterpart Valdis Birkavs,
BNS reported. Kallas and Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis agreed to draft
common policies for integration into the EU and NATO and for relations with
Russia. Kallas informed Prime Minister Andris Skele about the U.S. first lady's
visit, and they discussed implementation of a free-trade agreement for farm
products among the Baltic states. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH PRESIDENT RETURNS FROM U.S.
Aleksander Kwasniewski, ending his
five-day visit, said he is convinced the U.S. will help Poland become a member
of NATO by 2001, Polish and international media reported on 11 July.
Kwasniewski met with U.S. President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Warren
Christopher, and Defense Secretary William Perry. He met also with business
leaders, Polish-Americans, and Jewish leaders. Kwasniewski said the two
countries agree that NATO expansion is a logical step to overcome Cold War
divisions. During talks with Perry, Kwasniewski discussed Poland's interest in
purchasing U.S.-made F-16 and F-18 fighter jets. Poland is also looking at
aircraft from Britain, France, Russia and Sweden, he said. Polish Foreign
Minister Dariusz Rosati and Christopher signed on 10 July an agreement on
mutual legal support in penal matters and modified an extradition agreement
signed by the two countries before the World War II. -- Jakub Karpinski
POLISH WEAPONS FOR DEBT.
The Brazilian government is negotiating with
Poland to obtain $300 million in Polish military equipment as payment for part
of Poland's large debt to Brazil, South American Business News reported
on 9 July. In the deal, Brazil would receive military communications equipment,
bullet-proof vests, and military vehicles. -- Doug Clarke
SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS FALTER.
The Slovak cabinet on 10 July accused
Budapest of violating the bilateral treaty and of trying to destabilize the
region, Slovak media reported. At issue is a communique released after a
conference on Hungarian minorities that requests autonomy for Hungarians in
neighboring countries. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Jozef Sestak summoned
Hungarian ambassador to Slovakia, Jeno Boros, to explain the conference's
"motives and conclusions" and Hungary's views on the further development of
bilateral relations. Meanwhile, Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs met in
Budapest with Slovak Ambassador Eva Mitrova, who presented the Slovak
government's official stance. Kovacs said ethnic-based territorial autonomy was
out of the question and denied the communique violated the bilateral treaty.
Kovacs said the government's program declaration supports the autonomy
aspirations of ethnic Hungarians beyond the border in accordance with Western
European norms, and he rejected the view that ethnic autonomy automatically
leads to separatism, Hungarian media reported. -- Sharon Fisher and Zsofia
TRADE UNION UNREST IN SLOVAKIA.
Trade unionists from the
heavy-industrial firm ZTS Dubnica on 10 July rejected the government's
accusations that they are partially responsible for their firm's unsteady
TASR reported. On 9 July, they protested in front
of the Slovak government office, criticizing the cabinet's lack of interest in
their problems. Cabinet officials refused to meet with the trade unionists, and
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar canceled a visit to Dubnica scheduled for 11
July. The opposition Party of the Democratic Left on 10 July promised to
support the trade unions. Commenting on the situation of ZTS employees, many of
whom are threatened with unemployment and reportedly have not received their
wages for months, the party blamed the National Property Fund and the state. --
WHAT IS IFOR PLANNING FOR KARADZIC?
NATO peacekeepers are keeping a very
close watch on Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic,
effectively confining him to his headquarters in Pale, The Daily
Telegraph reported on 10 July. IFOR is still wary of attempting nab him
outright because of the memory of the bloody fiasco when U.S. troops tried to
grab Somali warlord Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed in 1993. The well-armed NATO
troops apparently fear Karadzic's body guards, possible reprisal attacks
elsewhere, and the loss of "a reasonable degree of cooperation between the
Bosnian Serbs and the peacekeepers," the paper reported. -- Patrick Moore
CONTROVERSY MOUNTING OVER BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.
"British sources" warned
against attempts to ban Karadzic's Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) from the 14
September elections, The Daily Telegraph reported on 10 July. OSCE
election commissioner Robert Frowick said he would prohibit participation of
the SDS because parties run by war criminals must be disqualified. The British
sources said that move would turn elections into "a farce" and "exceed the
restrictions placed on Dr. Karadzic by the Dayton accords." Russia also warns
against such a move. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, however, said Muslims
might boycott the vote if the SDS is allowed to participate with Karadzic as
its chairman, AFP reported. -- Patrick Moore
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF SREBRENICA.
On 11 July 1995, Bosnian
Serb forces overran the UN-declared "safe area" in eastern Bosnia while Dutch
UNPROFOR troops looked on, and NATO aircraft remained on the ground. The worst
atrocity in Europe since World War II followed. As many as 6,000 Muslim males
were gunned down after Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic allegedly
assured them safety and forced them to call down fighters from the hills. On 10
July 1996, investigators from the Hague-based war crimes tribunal continued
excavating mass graves; they have found 40 bodies so far, AFP reported. At
another location, Bosnian Serbs continued their cat-and-mouse game with Finnish
forensics experts who have dug out the remains of 25 Muslims. The Finns left
Bosnian Serb territory after Serb authorities hampered their work, Onasa
reported. In Sarajevo, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said Serbs are still
preventing refugees from going home and those responsible for the massacre are
still in power, Oslobodjenje reported on 11 July. -- Patrick Moore
MOSTAR COMMISSION'S CROATS THREATEN TO RESIGN.
The Croatian side of the
election commission will not accept the EU's final results of the Mostar
election, deputy western Mostar mayor and Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ)
president Mile Puljic said, Reuters reported on 10 July. The Croats said they
would resign if the EU publishes the results. They are demanding that the vote
in Bonn be repeated because of balloting irregularities. The HDZ also claims
there were 1,355 fewer ballots than actual voters in the Stari Grad
municipality in Mostar, and one person was registered to vote at two polling
stations. The HDZ won a majority in the elections in Mostar--but the foreign
returns put the Muslim-dominated List of Citizens for a United Mostar as the
winner. -- Fabian Schmidt
U.N. ENVOY FOR BOSNIA VISITS MOSTAR.
Iqbal Riza met with representatives
of the Muslim and Croat communities and EU officials to discuss Mostar's
post-election deadlock. He said the EU administration was acting impartially.
EU spokesman Dragan Gasic said the legal deadline for complaints is now over,
and the EU will sort out any difficulties, the AFP reported. So far, the EU has
released only unofficial results, and the HDZ's blockade of the election
results prevents the city council from holding its constituent meeting. --
BELGRADE, RED CROSS COOPERATE ON HUMANITARIAN LAW.
Rump Yugoslav Defense
Minister Pavle Bulatovic and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Belgrade representative, Francois Bellon, signed a five-year agreement that
will enable the ICRC to conduct courses in international humanitarian law for
civil and military authorities, AFP reported on 10 July. The report said the
courses are designed to instruct rump Yugoslav officials in "proper wartime
conduct," and the first class is scheduled for late 1996. -- Stan Markotich
BOSNIAN REFUGEES EVICTED IN SERBIA.
About 100 Muslim refugees were
evicted from their housing in the northern Serbian town of Crvenka and left to
"take care of themselves," Onasa reported on 10 July, citing Belgrade's weekly
Nedeljni Telegraf. Local police "took an old, blind woman to the village
of Lipovac and left her on the street." Her case was not an isolated one, Onasa
reported. -- Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN BANKING SCANDAL TURNS POLITICAL.
The potential bankruptcy of
two of Romania's largest private banks has provoked strong political dispute.
The banks--Dacia Felix and Credit Bank--recently reported losses totaling some
$1 billion. Romanian National Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu earlier this week
halted state financial support. But Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, whose government
appears to fear a backlash from some 800,000 people likely to lose their
savings, said he was surprised at Isarescu's decision, Radio Bucharest reported
on 10 July. That day, the extreme nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity,
which has four portfolios in the cabinet, called for an extraordinary session
of parliament to discuss the crisis. Leaders of the Liberal Party `93 said they
would not support a special parliamentary debate. -- Dan Ionescu
SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA.
Milan Kucan on 10 July started a two-day
official visit in Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. He discussed bilateral
relations and the Bosnian situation with his Romanian counterpart Ion Iliescu
and Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu. Kucan will also talk with Romanian Senate
Chairman Oliviu Gherman and other senior officials, and make a trip to the
former royal castle Peles at Sinaia in the Carpathians. Kucan is returning
Iliescu's 1993 visit to Slovenia. -- Dan Ionescu
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF INTERFERING IN MOLDOVA.
remarks about common language and ethnic identity during a 5-6 July official
visit to the Republic of Moldova sparked criticism, BASA-press and Infotag
reported on 10 July. The ultra-leftist Socialist Unity parliamentary faction
accused him of interfering in Moldova's domestic affairs. The faction's 28
members expressed "bewilderment" over "Iliescu's teachings," which they said
showed he was not prepared to treat Moldova as an equal partner and
independent, sovereign state. The naming of Moldova's official language has
been a major point of contention over the past several years. In the spring of
1995, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur asked the parliament to change the
language's name in the constitution from "Moldovan" to "Romanian." -- Dan
THREE BULGARIAN DEPUTIES DIE IN CAR CRASH.
Three parliamentary deputies
of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) died on 10 July when their car
crashed into another vehicle on a wet road, Duma reported. Emiliya
Tomova, Mariya Zaharieva, and Rumyana Nikolova were en route to Veliko Tarnovo,
where the BSP presidential candidate, Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, was to
kick off his election campaign at a rally celebrating the fifth anniversary of
the adoption of Bulgaria's constitution. The driver of the other car was
killed, and the deputies' driver was seriously injured. Pirinski, who had
followed in another car, canceled the rally. The parliament will pay tribute in
an extraordinary session on 11 July; all sessions for the week were canceled.
Meanwhile, Pirinski's election campaign press center was officially opened. --
BULGARIAN OPPOSITION NAMES CANDIDATE.
The united opposition on 10 July
formally endorsed Todor Kavaldzhiev as their vice presidential candidate,
Kontinent reported. Kavaldzhiev, of the Bulgarian Agrarian People's
Union (BZNS), will be the running mate of Petar Stoyanov of the Union of
Democratic Forces (SDS). That agreement was signed by the leader of the SDS and
the BZNS, the Democratic Party--which with the BZNS forms the People's
Union--and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom. Kavaldzhiev is
seen as a compromise candidate of BZNS factions. The BZNS had insisted on
providing Stoyanov's running mate. Meanwhile, accused criminal and head of the
Bulgarian Wrestling Federation Dimitar Dzhamov (see OMRI Daily Digest,
10 July 1996) was arrested on charges of stealing eight kilograms of gold and
four cars from a Roma family, Standart reported. -- Stefan Krause
ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER PUTS NEW GOVERNMENT TOGETHER.
was expected to announce his new government on 11 July, Albania
reported. Meksi reportedly will create a new privatization ministry, to be led
by current Finance Minister Dylber Vrioni, and Safet Zhulali will remain
defense minister. New government members are said to include Halit Shamata as
interior minister and former ambassador to Italy Pandeli Paskon as agriculture
minister. Democratic Party leader Tritan Shehu is to become deputy prime
minister and also will replace Alfred Serreqi as foreign minister. Serreqi's
deputy, Arian Starova, will maintain his post. Other new appointments
reportedly include Besnik Gjongecaj as education minister. -- Fabian Schmidt
ALBANIA STILL WRANGLING OVER COALITION.
Other parties likely will be
represented in the ruling coalition, Albania reported on 10 July. The
appointments have not been announced, but reports say the future general
secretary to Prime Minister Arjan Madhi will be a lawyer from the Republican
Party. Culture Minister Teodor Laco will represent the tiny Social Democratic
Union; Zef Bushati as secretary of state for sports will be a voice for the
Christian Democratic Party, which he leads. Those two parties did not gain a
single seat in parliament. The Balli Kombetar leadership, headed by party
deputy leader Hysen Selfo, on 9 July also decided to offer participation to
Meksi in defiance of party leader Abaz Ermenji. Ermenji has charged the ruling
Democrats with election fraud and called May's ballot a "coup d' etat." He
later resigned and returned to France, where he was in exile during communism.
-- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Maura Griffin Solovar