FIGHTING IN CHECHNYA CONTINUES . . .
On 11 July, Russian forces launched
new air and artillery attacks around Vedeno and Elistanzhi in southeast
Chechnya, while the blockade of Gekhi and Makhety continued, Russian and
Western media reported. Lyudmila Radimushkina, the head administrator of the
central district in Grozny who was kidnapped on 7 July, was found shot dead on
11 July. The same day, rebel commander Doku Makhaev was killed while attempting
to flee Gekhi. Also near that town, Maj. Gen. Nikolai Skripnik, deputy
commander of Interior Ministry troops in the North Caucasus, died after his
vehicle hit a mine. Ekho Moskvy reported on 10 July that a group of fighters
left Makhety intent on killing 27 relatives or clan members of pro-Moscow
Chechen leader Doku Zavgaev in revenge for the 27 people killed in the 9 July
bombardment of the town. -- Peter Rutland
. . . WHILE LEBED BACKTRACKS ON ENDING THE WAR.
Speaking in Moscow on 11
July, Aleksandr Lebed condoned the current offensive, saying that federal
commander Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov is "taking appropriate measures" and that
Russia will "fight until victory," AFP reported. Lebed continued: "If Chechnya
became independent, the republic of Dagestan would be cut off. The situation
then would not be simpler, and there would be a major war in the Caucasus." --
U.S. BLAMES MOSCOW FOR FIGHTING IN CHECHNYA.
U.S. State Department
spokesman Nicholas Burns on 11 July blamed the renewed fighting in Chechnya on
a decision by the Yeltsin administration to "take a different tack" now that
the presidential election is over, Western agencies reported. Burns said the
U.S. deplores the "excessive and inappropriate" use of force against civilians
by Russian units. On the same day, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott,
often criticized for having an overly rosy view of Russia, said any attempt to
impose a military solution in Chechnya would result in "disaster." He said Vice
President Al Gore would raise the issue during his scheduled 14-16 July visit
to Moscow. Western governments had soft-pedaled criticism of Russian policy in
Chechnya during the presidential election campaign in order to avoid harming
Yeltsin's prospects, a decision which was harshly criticized by international
human rights groups. -- Scott Parrish
LEBED DEFINES NEW SECURITY COUNCIL POWERS.
President Boris Yeltsin's 10
July decree on the Security Council gives its secretary, Aleksandr Lebed,
wide-ranging powers, NTV reported on 11 July. Lebed defined his duties as
covering four main types of security: defense, societal, economic, and
informational, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. He now has the authority to
oversee the activities of Russia's security agencies, recommend punishments for
bureaucrats not fulfilling their duties, and supply information to the
president on all individuals being considered for high government posts. The
council will oversee Russia's domestic and foreign security, defense readiness,
military cooperation, and the development of a global information system,
ITAR-TASS reported. Lebed will also oversee security within Russia's regions.
He wants to appoint Inkombank's Vladimir Groshev as his deputy,
Izvestiya reported on 12 July. Groshev has prepared a plan for
stabilizing Russia's market economy and the paper considers him capable of
putting together a good team of economic advisers. -- Robert Orttung
MORE ON FIGHTING CRIME IN MOSCOW.
Commenting on President Yeltsin's 10
July decree on tackling crime in Moscow, Lebed said the capital was chosen as a
testing-ground because of the large number of banks there and the links between
state bodies and criminal groups. The decree focuses on organized crime and the
black economy, giving Moscow's police, tax police, and customs officials the
power to confiscate assets that do not figure in companies records. It also
envisages increasing the number of Interior Troops in the capital by 10,000 and
reinforcing the police, tax police, procuracy, and the courts. It allows
homeless people suspected of crimes to be held for up to 30 days and in certain
cases expelled from Moscow, Segodnya and AFP reported. Asked about the
allegations in Novaya gazeta (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 and 11
July 1996) concerning three men in Yeltsin's inner circle, Lebed said the
Procurator-General's Office is investigating the case. -- Penny Morvant
JUDICIAL CHAMBER REPRIMANDS JOURNALIST, ORT OVER CHECHNYA REPORTS. . .
The president's Judicial Chamber on Information Disputes reprimanded
controversial journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov and ORT for two reports broadcast
on 11 May and 2 June, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 July. Russian soldiers were
shown on Nevzorov's show "Dni" (Days) carrying the ears of Chechen rebel
fighters as trophies. During the hearings, the deputy head of the pro-Moscow
Chechen mission argued that the programs had inspired hundreds of new
volunteers to join the rebels, while the deputy commander of Russian forces in
the breakaway republic complained that the show portrayed his soldiers as
"monsters." The chamber has no power to implement its decisions, but it asked
the Procurator-General's Office to investigate the broadcasts. Last year, it
reprimanded Nevzorov for a report he filmed in a women's prison (see OMRI
Daily Digest, 27 October 1995) -- Laura Belin
. . . AND RECOMMENDS BAN ON RIGHT-WING WEEKLY.
The Judicial Chamber on
Information Disputes also recommended that the State Press Committee ban the
far-right weekly Pressa Rossii for stirring up social and ethnic strife,
ITAR-TASS reported on 11 July. The case was inspired by a recent
Izvestiya article entitled "Fascist propaganda in Muscovites'
mailboxes." Hearings revealed that the paper also printed erroneous information
regarding its founder and the address of its editorial board. The chamber asked
the Procurator-General's Office to investigate the paper. -- Laura Belin
ANPILOV WANTS TO START NEW TV STATION.
Working Russia leader Viktor
Anpilov announced that he wants to launch a new television station in Russia to
be called People's Television of Russia (NTR), ORT reported on 11 July. Anpilov
denounced Russia's current media as an "empire of lies" and called for resuming
the "siege" of Ostankino. Ostankino is the location of Russia's first channel
ORT and was the scene of violent clashes in October 1993 following President
Yeltsin's decision to shut down the Supreme Soviet. Anpilov hopes to collect
the $50 million necessary to start broadcasts from individual contributions.
The Working Russia leader said he would join a union with Gennadii Zyuganov's
Communist Party, if it did not join Yeltsin's cabinet, ITAR-TASS reported. --
CHUVASH PRESIDENT READY TO QUIT.
The president of Chuvashiya, Nikolai
Fedorov, has offered his resignation to President Yeltsin following Zyuganov's
strong showing in the second round of the election in his republic,
Obshchaya gazeta (No.27) reported. Fedorov campaigned for Yeltsin in
Chuvashiya, despite the fact that the Communist Party is strong in the
republic. Gennadii Zyuganov received 62.6% of the vote to Yeltsin's 31.8%.
Although Yeltsin's administration has said that leaders of regions that
supported Zyuganov will not be fired, the newspaper suggested that they may be
punished indirectly; for example, Chuvashiya did not receive any subsidies
after it was hit by a hurricane in late June, although neighboring regions were
allotted federal budget money for reconstruction -- Anna Paretskaya
FORMER ST. PETERSBURG MAYOR GUILTY FOR FINANCIAL PROBLEMS.
commission looking into St. Petersburg's financial situation has blamed former
Mayor Anatolii Sobchak for the city's current problems, Radio Rossii reported
on 11 July. The commission, established by incoming Governor Vladimir Yakovlev,
has determined that the municipal budget fell by half over the last three years
and the local debt has doubled over the last five months to reach 2.5 trillion
rubles ($500 million). The commission also accused Sobchak of inefficiently
managing the state's shares in privatized enterprises. The materials gathered
during the inspection were sent to the Procurator-General's Office, the tax
inspectorate, and the Federal Security Service. However, the radio station
questioned the commission's objectivity, since it was formed by Sobchak's
rivals in the gubernatorial race. -- Anna Paretskaya
ZHIRINOVSKY LIKENS NATO EXPANSION TO "BLOCKADE" OF RUSSIA.
report to the Duma on the recent fifth annual session of the OSCE parliamentary
assembly in Stockholm, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky
said plans to enlarge NATO to include former Soviet republics "suggest a
geopolitical and economic blockade of Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 July.
During the OSCE parliamentary assembly session, which ended on 9 July, the
Russian delegation voted against adopting the Stockholm Declaration, a document
outlining a future European security system. Delegation head Ivan Rybkin said
the Russian deputies objected to a clause in the declaration which referred to
an enlarged NATO as one pillar of a new security order in Europe. The assembly
approved the original wording on a second vote despite Russian objections. --
SECOND BOMB BLAST ON MOSCOW TROLLEY BUS.
A bomb ripped through a trolley
bus in central Moscow on 12 July injuring at least 20 people, ITAR-TASS
reported. It was the second such blast in two days. Security Council Secretary
Aleksandr Lebed, who has just been given a mandate to tackle crime in the
Russian capital, described the 11 July explosion as "an insane terrorist act,"
contending that it was meant to "cause fear and fatigue." Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov said he could not rule out a Chechen link, while Duma Security
Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin suggested that the explosion might have been
the criminal world's answer to the decree drafted by Lebed and Luzhkov on
fighting crime in the Moscow area. Speaking after the second explosion, Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that he has decided to monitor the
investigations personally. -- Penny Morvant
ENERGY CRISES IN PRIMORE AND KOMI.
Many homes and enterprises in
Vladivostok and other parts of Primorskii Krai have been suffering severe power
cuts for three days because of a payments crisis in the area's fuel and energy
sector, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 July. The power company Dalenergo is owed
almost 1.5 trillion rubles by customers and cannot pay for fuel supplies. As a
temporary measure, emergency stocks of fuel oil from the Pacific Fleet are
being transferred to the krai. In early July, some coal companies stopped
delivering supplies to debtor customers. Meanwhile, the Komienergo power
company in the northern republic of Komi on 10 July cut or restricted power
supplies to 150 consumers who have not paid their bills, Radio Rossii reported.
Komienergo is owed 1.1 trillion rubles and has not paid its workers since
February. -- Penny Morvant
GOVERNMENT TRIES TO PRUNE SUPPORT FOR REGIONS.
Chairing a meeting of the
government on 11 July, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Kadannikov said the
federal budget will allot 55 trillion rubles ($10.7 billion) in 1996 to support
for the regions, ITAR-TASS reported. This amounts to 13% of the budget;
Kadannikov rejected proposals to increase the share 25%. Presidential adviser
Aleksandr Livshits was quoted in Delovoi mir on 10 July as saying that
the office for making payments to the regions will shortly be "closed for
accounting." -- Peter Rutland
BANKING CONFERENCE OPENS IN MOSCOW.
Irina Sedova, deputy director of the
bank supervision department at the Central Bank (TsB), told a banking
conference on 11 July that the TsB withdrew the licenses from 145 commercial
banks in the first half of this year, ITAR-TASS reported. There were 2,605
banks in Russia as of 1 July 1996; 463 banks have been closed since 1991.
Sedova said that while around 30% of the banks are still not in compliance with
new, stricter TsB regulations, bank profits in the first five months of 1996
totaled 10 trillion rubles ($2 billion). Aleksandr Khandruev, the first deputy
chairman of the TsB, evaluated their balance sheet more negatively. He said
that over the past year their total revenue was 18 trillion rubles and outlays
20 trillion rubles, meaning a loss of 2 trillion rubles. Earlier this week, the
TsB began temporary administration of Tveruniversalbank, Russia's 17th largest
bank, and are still administering Unikombank, the 12th biggest, which they took
over earlier this year. -- Peter Rutland
AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION FIGURE RELEASED FROM PRISON.
The deputy leader of
the Azerbaijani Popular Front, Arif Pashayev, was released from prison on 11
July, international media reported. Pashayev was initially jailed for his role
as a military unit commander in the surrender of the town of Lachin to Armenian
forces in May 1992. A September 1994 prison escape and subsequent recapture
resulted in a five-year sentence. An amnesty signed by President Heidar Aliev
combined with the president's personal meetings with Pashayev's family members
are cited as the reasons for the release. Pashayev, though, still believes that
he could be imprisoned again, noting that certain members of the government
"want him out of the way." -- Roger Kangas
FATAL SHOOTING ON ABKHAZ-RUSSIAN BORDER.
One of a group of four Abkhaz
was shot dead by Russian border guards during the night of 11-12 July while
attempting to cross illegally from Abkhazia into the Russian Federation,
ITAR-TASS reported. Russia closed its border with Abkhazia at the time of the
Russian military intervention in Chechnya in December 1994 in order to preclude
the channelling of weapons and mercenaries to fight on the Chechen side. -- Liz
CHINESE AUTHORITIES DENY MASS ARRESTS IN XINJIANG.
the exiled leader of the Uighur separatist group United National Revolutionary
Front (UNRF) based in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, told AFP on
11 July that Chinese authorities have arrested 10,000 people in the village of
Aqsu, near the Kyrgyz border and another 8,000 in the capital Urumqi. A Chinese
government spokesman denied these claims as "mere rumors," and said that there
were only "several thousand" arrests, AFP reported on 12 July. Kazakhstan and
Kyrgyzstan have consistently pledged support for China's efforts to control
cross-border separatist activities. Kazakhstani authorities prevented Uighur
leaders from staging a public protest during the Chinese President Jiang
Zemin's visit to Almaty last week. -- Bhavna Dave
KYRGYZ JOURNALIST SENTENCED.
Another journalist from the Kyrgyz
independent weekly newspaper Res Publica has been jailed, Radio Mayak
reported on 11 July. Yrysbek Omurzakov was sentenced to two years in a penal
colony for slandering President Akayev, though the report did not mention what
was said or written about Akayev. Omurzakov, who is appealing the decision, has
already spent two months in solitary confinement. -- Bruce Pannier
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT TO DISCUSS ROMA.
The European Parliament in
Strasbourg is holding a special session on 12 July to discuss the plight of
Roma in CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE, the BBC reported. The region is home to an
estimated 8-10 million Roma, who have often borne the brunt of economic
transition in terms of unemployment and cuts in social services. -- Peter
LAZARENKO RE-APPOINTED UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER.
parliament approved President Leonid Kuchma's nomination of Pavlo Lazarenko as
premier, Ukrainian agencies reported on 10 July. Lazarenko, whose cabinet
resigned on 5 July after the parliament adopted a new Ukrainian constitution,
is required to present a program to lawmakers in September. The new prime
minister said his main policy objectives include support for domestic industry
and agriculture, energy conservation, creating a favorable climate for
investment, meeting budget revenue targets, easing budgetary pressures, and
protecting the poor. Lazarenko said he will attempt to combat the rampant crime
and corruption; at least 50% of national income is generated in the gray
market. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW KEY MINISTERS.
Leonid Kuchma on 12 July
appointed Gen. Oleksander Kuzmuk as defense minister, Volodymyr Radchenko as
head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Yurii Kravchenko as interior minister,
Viktor Bannykh as commander of the border guards, Ihor Valkiv as commander of
the National Guard of Ukraine, Leonid Derkach as chairman of the State Customs
Committee, and Hennadii Udovenko as foreign minister, RFE/RL and Ukrainian
agencies reported. Ukraine's newly adopted constitution gives the president
authority to fill those positions without parliamentary approval. Lawmakers
must consent to all other portfolios. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
FRANCE SIGNS FRIENDSHIP TREATY WITH BELARUS.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed a treaty on friendship and cooperation with his
French counterpart Jacques Chirac on 11 July in Paris, international agencies
reported. Lukashenka was in France for a three-day official visit. Several
human rights organizations during Lukashenka's visit protested censorship and
strong-arm tactics used against the opposition in Belarus. Lukashenka said
there was a distorted image of Belarus in the West, and assured Chirac that his
country was democratic. Chirac raised the issue of civil liberties and lack of
economic reform in Belarus. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIAN CABINET DELAYS DECISION ON RESIDENCE PERMITS.
put off a final decision on granting residence permits to 4,077 retired Soviet
military officers and their families by giving them six-month residence
permits, BNS reported on 11 July. Regional Affairs Minister Tiit Kubri said
most would receive permits soon. A total of 19,340 retirees have applied for
residence, of which 14,392 received five-year permits, and 331 two-to-four year
permits. The Citizenship and Migration Department has received 345,474
residence permit applications and has granted permits to almost 333,000. --
TWO LATVIAN PARTIES TO MERGE.
The boards of the Democratic Party
Saimnieks (DPS) and Latvia's Unity Party (LVP) on 11 July confirmed that the
two parties will merge, BNS reported. The merger first must be ratified by
party congresses. DPS Chairman Ziedonis Cevers predicted the merger would occur
before local elections in the spring. Winning 18 of the 100 seats in the fall
Saeima elections, the DPS faction recently increased to 20 deputies when two
Popular Concord Party members defected. LVP Chairman Alberts Kauls said that
five of his seven deputies support the merger and if the others agree, the new
party would have 27 deputies. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIA'S TOP TAX INSPECTOR TO CHANGE APPROACH.
Antanas Nesteckas, the
recently appointed head of the State Tax Inspectorate, said he will change the
focus of his bureau's work, Radio Lithuania reported on July 11. He said tax
inspectors should help taxpayers, not only penalize them. In other news,
Nesteckas said that the 173.6 million litai ($43.4 million) deficit in
anticipated revenues as of 9 July was due to the banking crisis and changes in
tax laws. For example, the VAT tax on agricultural producers was reduced from
the 18% foreseen in the budget to 9%, resulting in a shortfall of 400 million
litai. He said the budget problems should be solved--not by raising taxes or
increasing late fines--but by collecting unpaid taxes, especially on illegal
oil and alcohol. -- Saulius Girnius
POLAND JOINS OECD.
Poland on 11 July joined the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of the world's richest
nations, Polish and international media reported. Deputy Prime Minister and
Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko, who signed the agreement, said Poland will
press forward with plans to join the EU by 2000. Poland will become the OECD's
28th member after the Sejm ratifies the accession treaty, probably in the early
fall. To meet the OECD's criteria for membership, Poland agreed to free up the
flow of capital and loosen restrictions on foreign ownership of land. -- Jakub
POLISH INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER ON ARCHIVES.
Polish historians will be
able to view older Internal Ministry files dating until 1966, Polish Internal
Affairs Minister Zbigniew Siemiatkowski said on 11 July, Polish dailies
reported. More recent material will be available only after 30 years, released
year by year. The exception to the open files are the secretly collected
"operational" data and material concerning secret service agents, which would
be released only to the prosecutor's office or to courts in cases of grave
crimes. Siemiatkowski said there are files so secret that they will be never
put in the archives in the ministry's basement--they will remain forever in a
safe in the minister's office. If released, those files would be a "political
bomb," he said. -- Jakub Karpinski
U.S. SENATORS BACK POLISH, CZECH, HUNGARIAN NATO MEMBERSHIP.
Poland, and the Czech Republic have made the most progress toward NATO
membership, members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on 10
July, Magyar Hirlap reported. They told visiting Hungarian Foreign
Ministry State Secretary Istvan Szent-Ivanyi that the three countries could be
entitled to $60 million in military aid; the Senate has yet to approve that
package. Szentivanyi also conferred with deputy Secretary of State Strobe
Talbott on NATO expansion. Talbott said Hungary's hopes of joining NATO by 1999
are "realistic." Szent-Ivanyi said he got the impression Slovenia could be next
on the US's NATO list. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
CZECH GROUP DISTRIBUTES ANTI-SEMITIC LEAFLETS.
A group calling itself
The Patriotic Front claimed responsibility for distributing leaflets that
protest an exhibit in Brno honoring the recently murdered Israeli Prime
Minister Itzak Rabin, Czech media reported on 12 July. The leaflets claim,
among other things, that the influence of Jews in Czech politics is too strong.
Tomas Kraus, the secretary of the Federation of Czech Jewish Communities, said
the leaflets are of marginal importance and the public has either ignored or
condemned them. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAK PRESIDENT CRITICIZES HUNGARIAN CALLS FOR AUTONOMY.
said the declaration adopted at the recent Hungarian summit that called for
autonomy for ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries "rouses
mistrust" between Slovaks and Hungarians, he told Slovak TV on 11 July. He
expressed particular concern over the connection made between Hungarian
minorities' identity and survival on non-Hungarian territory with autonomy and
a special legal position. He said the development of identity is closely linked
with "the development of democracy and the safeguarding of individual rights."
Also on 11 July, Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee chairman Dusan
Slobodnik said the declaration violates Slovakia's constitutional order, and he
added that the parliamentary Mandate and Immunity Committee will take measures
against the five ethnic Hungarian deputies from Slovakia who attended the
conference. -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARIAN WRITER TO RECEIVE LEGION D'HONNEUR AWARD.
Hungarian writer and
former dissident Gyorgy Konrad will receive the Legion d'honneur, France's
highest award for foreigners, Magyar Hirlap reported on 11 July. Konrad
was nominated for the award by French President Jacques Chirac for his work as
a writer and as a promoter of French-Hungarian cultural relations. Konrad has
published four novels and two lengthy essays in French, and several of his
articles have appeared in the French daily Le Monde. -- Zsofia
KARADZIC'S PARTY ALLOWED TO RUN IN ELECTIONS?
The Serbian Democratic
Party (SDS) can stand in the vote, said the OSCE's supervisor of the Bosnian
elections, Nasa Borba reported on 12 July. Superivisor Robert Frowick
said Serbs should be able to vote on 14 September for whomever they want,
including the SDS, Onasa reported on 11 July. An OSCE spokesman in Sarajevo
told OMRI, however, that Frowick still believes that the SDS should not run if
headed by indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. The international community's
High Representative Carl Bildt again said the SDS should be allowed to run even
if Karadzic is still in charge. The U.S. and its allies appear to be content
simply with Karadzic's "marginalization," Nasa Borba reported. In
Sarajevo, however, Haris Silajdzic of the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina said
his group probably will boycott the elections unless war criminals such as
Karadzic are out of public office, Onasa reported on 10 July. -- Patrick
HAGUE TRIBUNAL ISSUES ARREST WARRANTS FOR KARADZIC, MLADIC.
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia put out international
arrest warrants for Karadzic and his military counterpart, Gen. Ratko Mladic,
Nasa Borba and Oslobodjenje reported on 12 July. The move is
expected to have few practical consequences and is largely a political and
psychological attempt to keep up pressure on the Serbs and on the international
community. The two men have already been indicted twice for war crimes and have
publicly visited Serbia, although existing warrants are theoretically valid
there. Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic said Karadzic and Mladic are
still free on Bosnian Serb territory despite the presence in Bosnia of 60,000
NATO troops. He said the two men's freedom shows a "lack of determination of
the international community," AFP reported on 11 July. -- Patrick Moore
SREBRENICA SURVIVORS MARK ANNIVERSARY.
Some 5,000 Muslim former
inhabitants of Srebrenica rallied in Tuzla on the first anniversary of the
town's capture by Gen. Mladic's forces, Oslobodjenje reported on 12
July. The meeting was intended as a gathering of women, with foreign guests,
but some of the few hundred males who escaped the massacres also showed up,
turning it into what the BBC called "a gathering of the survivors." The Serbs,
meanwhile, held a rally in Srebrenica to mark its "liberation." -- Patrick
IT WILL NOW COST MORE TO LEAVE RUMP YUGOSLAVIA...
The federal government
on 11 July hiked its departure tax, Tanjug reported. The new rates are slated
to come into effect on 20 July. Individual citizens crossing the border must
then pay 100 dinars (about $20) instead of 60, and cars will be obliged to hand
over 200 dinars, up from 150. The move is intended to stem the outflow of hard
currency. -- Stan Markotich
...AND TO BUY A LOAF OF BREAD.
The price for basic bread will rise an
average of 30%, said Serbia's Trade Minister Srdjan Nikolic on 10 July, Nasa
Borba reported. The increases, expected on or shortly after 13 July, will
up the price of a loaf of "prime-grade" white bread to about 2.4 dinars or 50
cents; "second-grade" bread will retail for about 1.8 dinars or 35 cents.
Nikolic said the government will require bakeries to produce at least 30% of
their bread output as "second-grade," in order to cushion the poorest segments
of the population. -- Stan Markotich
KOSOVAR LEADER MEETS GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER.
Ibrahim Rugova met Klaus
Kinkel in Bonn on 11 July and said he was ready for talks with Belgrade,
Nasa Borba and AFP reported. Kinkel said Serbia's ties with the EU
depended on settling the Kosovo issue, Reuters reported. The German foreign
ministry said the situation in Kosovo is marked by fear and discrimination
against the Albanian majority there, adding that Germany's ties with Belgrade
would be affected by how fully Belgrade respects human and minority rights in
the region. Rugova repeated the Kosovars' demand for independence. Meanwhile, a
Serbian policeman was injured in a shootout in Podujevo, Tanjug reported. --
ROMANIAN COALITION WILL NOT BE DISMEMBERED.
The Party of Social
Democracy in Romania (PDSR) and its extremist anti-Hungarian coalition ally,
the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), agreed to continue their
partnership in the government coalition, Romanian media reported on 11-12 July.
In May, the PDSR had announced it intended to end the cooperation. Observers
attribute the reversal to the PUNR's electoral success in June's local
elections and to the PDSR's apprehension that it might be left without
potential allies after the general elections scheduled for early November. The
two sides agreed to draft "a non-aggression pact" for the electoral contest. --
ROMANIAN JOURNALISTS SENTENCED FOR LIBEL.
Two journalists from the
Constanta daily Telegraf were sentenced for libel to seven months in
prison, local and international media reported on 11-12 July. That was the
first such conviction in the post-communist era. In 1993, the two reported on
corruption cases in the Constanta city council. The city's deputy mayor was
dismissed, but a council official on whom they had reported was made a judge.
The Supreme Court on 11 July ruled against the journalists' appeal and ordered
them to pay 25 million lei ($8,200) in damages. President Ion Iliescu said he
cannot intervene in the case. -- Michael Shafir
TINCA ON ROMANIAN EFFORTS TO JOIN NATO.
Romania hopes its new military
reforms will boost its chances of NATO membership, said Defense Minister
Gheorghe Tinca, local and international agencies reported on 11-12 July. Tinca
was speaking in advance of Romania's second round of individual talks with NATO
in Brussels, due to be held on 15 July. He said his country was aiming to
create a core of 20,000 army professionals by the end of the year 2000. He said
dropping compulsory military conscription was not yet possible, but the army
now has 17,000 professionals. Romania has pledged to cut its 230,000-strong
force to 190,000 over the next four years. Tinca denied local media reports of
a rise in the number of suicides and desertions among the conscripts. --
GENERAL LEBED SUMMONS COLONEL FROM MOLDOVA.
Colonel Mikhail Bergman,
former Tiraspol military commander, left for Moscow on 11 July, where he was
convoked by Russian Security Council Secretary Gen. Alexandr Lebed. Bergman
will likelybe re-appointed to the post from which he was dismissed eight months
ago by Gen. Valerii Yevnevich, commander of the Transdniester-based Russian
troops, at the order of former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, BASA-press
reported. In an interview with BASA-press, Bergman said Yevnevich will be
transferred to China as military attache. -- Michael Shafir
BULGARIA PROMISES IMPROVED ECONOMY.
In an economic policy memorandum to
the IMF, the Bulgarian government pledged that all enterprises not privatized
by September 1997 will be included in mass privatization, Sega reported on 11
July. It also said foreign reserves--currently $600 million--will rise to $1.3
billion by end-1996 and $1.7 billion by end-1997. The lev is to stabilize at
150/dollar in the second half of 1996, (though it is already at 184.6.)
Inflation will be reduced to 2.5% monthly by December 1996 (vs. 20.3% in June)
and 1.5% by December 1997. The budget deficit will be 3.1% of GDP in 1997,
falling from 5.4% this year. However, by 3 July, that deficit was already 66.7%
of the planned annual figure. The IMF's Executive Board will consider the memo
on 19 July. -- Michael Wyzan
ALBANIAN PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES NEW GOVERNMENT.
Sali Berisha on 11 July
officially announced Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi's new government, Reuters
reported. The Democratic Party (PD) holds 22 of 25 posts in the new cabinet,
with the remainder going to small coalition partners. Democratic Party Leader
Tritan Shehu was named deputy premier and foreign minister, Dylber Vrioni heads
the new privatization ministry, Ridvan Bode is the new finance minister, and
Halit Shamata is new interior minister. Safet Zhulali kept the defense
portfolio. Teodor Laco of the Social Democratic Union stays on a culture
minister, Arjan Madhi of the Republican Party was appointed secretary general
of the council of ministers, and Arben Babameto is state secretary for
transport. Bamir Topl became agricultural minister, and Kristofor Peci is
justice minister. The PD-dominated parliament is expected to approve the new
government next week. -- Stefan Krause and Fabian Schmidt
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Maura Griffin Solovar