PAPER WARNS OF ATTEMPTS TO CO-OPT COMMUNISTS.
The authorities hope to
trick the leadership of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF)
into supporting the government of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, according
to the latest edition of the nationalist weekly Zavtra, which has backed
KPRF leader Gennadii Zyuganov and his coalition of communist and patriotic
movements. The State Duma, which is dominated by left-wing deputies, will be
under pressure to confirm Chernomyrdin in early August, since Yeltsin could
dissolve the Duma if it refuses to confirm his nominee for prime minister three
times. The authorities know that if KPRF deputies vote confidence in
Chernomyrdin, they will be discredited in the eyes of their grass-roots
followers, the paper asserted. Furthermore, the patriotic movements that
supported Zyuganov for president may switch their allegiance to Security
Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed, one of Chernomyrdin's main rivals in the
Yeltsin camp. -- Laura Belin
SHOKHIN DESCRIBES POSSIBLE GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS.
Viktor Ilyushin is likely to become first deputy prime minister for social
issues, according to First Deputy Duma Speaker Aleksandr Shokhin,
Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 27 July. He also said that Presidential
Economic Advisor Aleksandr Livshits was qualified to serve as first deputy
prime minister for economic and financial issues. From Yabloko, Shokhin
believes that Duma Member Tatyana Yarygina could lead a ministry dealing with
social issues. Shokhin said that he would probably remain in the Duma rather
than take a government post. -- Robert Orttung
RODIONOV ON MILITARY REFORM, NATO.
In his first major televised
interview since his appointment as Defense Minister, Igor Rodionov told NTV's
Itogi on 28 July that it will be "difficult, but possible" to transform
the Russian military into an all-professional force by 2000, as President
Yeltsin has ordered. He added, however, that the "necessary economic
preconditions" would have to be created for such a professional military, which
he suggested could remain at the current level of about 1.5 million troops,
although he did not rule out further reductions. Currently only 50% of military
personnel serve on a professional basis, while the rest are conscripts.
Rodionov also reiterated his opposition to NATO enlargement, to which he said,
"for some reason, colossal forces are being devoted." He dismissed as "just
words" Western assurances that NATO enlargement does not threaten Russia,
arguing that "we must draw conclusions from history." -- Scott Parrish
TsIK CHANGES RUNOFF RESULTS YET AGAIN.
The Central Electoral Commission
(TsIK) of Mordoviya has corrected the presidential runoff results in one of the
republican constituencies, Ekho Moskvy reported on 26 July. An investigation
conducted by the commission revealed that 702 votes (less than 0.001% of those
who voted in the second round) were incorrectly counted as "against both
candidates" while they were in fact cast for Gennadii Zyuganov. A TsIK
representative, Nikolai Fadeev, acknowledged that it was a "technical mistake"
but ruled out any possibility of deliberate forgery. A Communist Party Duma
expert Vadim Solovev, who initiated the investigation, claims that at least in
five other voting districts the runoff results were incorrectly counted. Last
week, TsIK updated figures received in Dagestan (see OMRI Daily Digest,
23 July 1996). -- Anna Paretskaya
EDITORIAL SHAKE-UP AT PRAVDA.
The pro-communist newspaper
Pravda, which suspended publication on 24 July (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 25 July 1996), may reappear soon, according to its weekly
supplement Pravda-5 on 26 July. Pravda-5 also has a left-wing
orientation, but its flashy format and subject matter appeal to a more youthful
audience. Its circulation is about 270,000, while Pravda's has fallen to
200,000 in recent years. Pravda-5's top editor Vladimir Ryashin will
reportedly replace Pravda's editor-in-chief Aleksandr Ilin, who was very
close to Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov. Theodoros Giannikos, the
Greek financial director of the joint stock company that publishes
Pravda and Pravda-5, told Moskovskii komsomolets on 27
July that financial, not political concerns lay behind the decision to replace
Ilin with a "more competent" editor. -- Laura Belin
REACTION TO ILYUKHIN ALLEGATIONS OF CIA PLOT.
Most Russian media
ridiculed the allegations by Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukin
that the CIA is plotting to overthrow Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 July 1996). NTV commented on 28
July that Ilyukin's remarks showed that "all is not in order with the heads" of
leading Russian leftists, while Izvestiya dismissed Ilyukin's
allegations as "ravings." Deputy Duma Speaker Aleksandr Shokhin also rejected
Ilyukin's charges, and addressed an official apology to the Belarusian Supreme
Soviet, while Economics Minister Yevgenii Yasin said Ilyukhin should see a
pschyotherapist, and accused him of deliberately fostering xenophobia.
Nezavisimaya gazeta, however, published on 27 July a series of articles
arguing that Ilyukin's allegations contain a grain of truth, contending that
American policy in Belarus, Ukraine, and the rest of the CIS deliberately aims
to undermine Russian influence there. -- Scott Parrish
DUMA DELEGATION IN CUBA.
A Duma delegation led by speaker Gennadii
Seleznev visited Cuba on 25-28 July, ITAR-TASS reported. The delegation met
Cuban leader Fidel Castro on 26 July, and while Castro said that "the Cuban
people love Russians," he added that Cuban industry urgently needs Russian
spare parts for its Soviet-era equipment. Seleznev said the issue should be
resolved through intergovernmental talks. The Duma speaker expressed support
for plans to complete the controversial unfinished Soviet-era nuclear plant at
Juragua, but admitted that financing for the estimated $750 million project
remains a problem. The delegation wraps up its Latin American tour, which began
in Mexico, with a three-day visit to Venezuela. -- Scott Parrish
ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN GROZNY.
Some 200 people staged an
unsanctioned demonstration in Grozny on 26 July to demand the resignation of
the pro-Moscow Chechen government and the withdrawal of Russian troops from
Chechnya, AFP reported. Three of the organizers were detained, according to
ITAR-TASS. Also on 26 July, the head of the OSCE mission in Chechnya, Tim
Guldimann, met with pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev who has
repeatedly criticized his mediation efforts, Reuters reported. Guldimann said
he was in telephone contact with Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov and is
confident that the planned meeting between Maskhadov and the head of the North
Caucasus Military District, Lt.-Gen. Anatolii Kvashnin, will take place soon.
Guldimann also denied Russian media reports that the OSCE had helped President
Dzhokhar Dudaev to escape from Chechnya to Turkey via Azerbaijan. On 27 July
Chechen and Russian representatives met to discuss arrangements for an exchange
of prisoners, Reuters reported. -- Liz Fuller
SOLDIERS BITTER ABOUT STAYING IN CHECHNYA.
Young conscripts who believed
president Boris Yeltsin had promised they would be sent home from Chechnya have
found out they were wrong, Reuters reported on 28 July. On 31 May, the
president issued a decree saying that all those who had served in the combat
zone for six months would be sent home. Some 20 conscripts told the agency that
they found out after the election that the decree would apply only to those who
had served this time before it was issued. -- Doug
MORE BOMBS DISCOVERED.
A bomb was discovered on railway tracks near the
city of Smolensk on 27 July, ITAR-TASS reported. It was defused without
incident. The previous day another bomb was found in a room reserved for the
military at a railway terminal in Astrakhan in the Volga region. The device was
later destroyed by security forces. On 25 July a bomb exploded in a railway
carriage in Volgograd. Last week a man claiming to be Chechen leader Salman
Raduev threatened to conduct a bombing campaign against Russia's railways on
the grounds that they constitute a military target. -- Penny Morvant
UNEMPLOYED DIE OF MALNUTRITION IN ARKHANGELSK.
A number of unemployed
people and members of their families have died of malnutrition in Arkhangelsk
Oblast, according to an official letter from the regional employment center to
the Federal Employment Service, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 July citing Pravda
severa. The letter said unemployment benefit payments are delayed for as
long as seven months because of lack of funds. The region has a high
unemployment rate: 8.5% compared with a national figure of 3.6% (in June). --
ANGRY WIVES GROUND AIR FORCE REGIMENT.
The wives of pilots in an air
force regiment near Kursk have been forming human chains on the runway to
protest the state's failure to pay their husbands' wages, Russian TV (RTR)
reported on 26 July. The men are owed about 6 billion rubles ($1.2 million).
One woman said a divisional commander had told them that criminal charges would
be brought against them, AFP reported. Pilots' wives have also been picketing a
landing strip in Murmansk. Their husbands have not been paid since May,
according to RTR on 28 July. -- Penny Morvant
STRIKES, HUNGER STRIKES GATHER MOMENTUM IN FAR EAST.
About 300 workers
are on hunger strike at a power station in Primore to protest wage arrears
dating back to February, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 July. The protest, initially
involving 50 workers, began on 26 July after representatives of a commission
from the national energy company refused to meet with the workforce. Meanwhile,
about 10,000 of Primore's miners are also on strike. The protest began with a
hunger strike by five miners two weeks ago. The national coal company Rosugol
transferred 7.5 billion rubles ($1.45 million) to Primorskugol on 26 July to
help with the problem of wage arrears, but union leader Petr Kiryasov said the
money was only a drop in the ocean. He said some miners are so desperate they
have threatened to throw themselves down mine shafts and block the
Trans-Siberian Railway. -- Penny Morvant
GEORGIA AND RUSSIA SIGN MILITARY TREATY.
Georgia's defense ministry on
28 July revealed that Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. Vardiko Nadibaidze signed a
military cooperation treaty with his Russian counterpart during his visit to
Moscow the previous week, ITAR-TASS reported. The statement emphasized that
Nadibaidze had been the first foreign military official to be received by newly
appointed Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov. On 27 July, a Russian
military spokesman had said the two would discuss the operation of Russian
military bases in Georgia and the "flanks" restrictions of the Conventional
Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. Georgia has agreed to "loan" Russia some of its
entitlements. -- Doug Clarke
AZERBAIJANI TRADERS BEATEN.
Some 40 Azerbaijani traders were beaten by
police during a 26 July raid on the Krasnogvardeiskii market in southern
Moscow, RTR reported. One man was hospitalized. The ostensible purpose of the
raid was to check the traders' residence papers, but witnesses reported that
the police tore up the men's passports and registration documents. The
Azerbaijani ambassador lodged a protest, and a Ministry of Interior
investigation into the police action is under way. -- Peter Rutland
UZBEK ECONOMIC FIGURES RELEASED.
A government report summarizing
Uzbekistan's economic development for the first half of 1996 highlights several
positive trends, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 July. According to the report, the
budget deficit is currently 2.1% of GNP, compared to 3.5% in the same period
last year. The inflation rate dropped by over half from last year (now at 4-5%
per month), real income rose by 16% comapred to the first half of 1995, and
only 80 businesses are listed as in debt, compared to 630 last year. President
Islam Karimov was reported as saying that the private sector now accounts for
over 50% of industrial output and 95% of agricultural output, and that "the
current year will become the year of economic growth for Uzbekistan." -- Roger
TAJIK CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT NEAR TOTAL COLLAPSE.
With fighting continuing
in the Tavil-Dara region despite the Ashgabat ceasefire agreement signed on 20
July, the Tajik Defense Ministry says it will no longer hold back its forces in
central Tajikistan, Russian Independent Television (NTV) reported on 27 July.
Tajik Radio reported that two government soldiers were killed and five wounded
in the Tavil-Dara region since the ceasefire came into effect. Hostilities
continue to spread in the region with the town of Jirgatal being the latest
area to report fighting. Opposition forces shelled the town for two hours on 25
July, according to ITAR-TASS. -- Bruce Pannier
OSH OBLAST GOVERNOR SACKED.
During President Askar Akayev's visit to the
Osh Oblast of southern Kyrgyzstan on 27 July, the Osh "Kenesh" (regional
council) voted to sack Governor Janysh Rustenbekov, Vechernii Bishkek
reported on 29 July. Rustenbekov was critical of the results tallied from his
oblast during the December 1995 presidential elections. Akayev reportedly won
more than 50% of the vote from the Osh Oblast, where he is rumored to be
unpopular. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER WRAPS UP U.S. VISIT.
Pavlo Lazarenko ended a
two-day working visit to the U.S. on 27 July, Ukrainian radio reported.
Lazarenko met there with IMF representatives to discuss the organization's
stand-by credit program for Ukraine and the release of a $1.5 billion
stabilization loan at the end of the year to support the introduction of
Ukraine's national currency, the hryvna. They discussed another credit program
whereby some $3 billion would be released to Ukraine over the next three years.
Lazarenko also met with World Bank President James Wolfenson. The two men
agreed that further economic reforms in Ukraine would be possible only through
macroeconomic stabilization and that such stabilization could be achieved only
with international financing. -- Ustina Markus
INDEPENDENCE DAY ANNIVERSARY IN BELARUS.
Some 15,000 peopled rallied on
27 July to mark the fifth anniversary of Belarus's declaration of independence,
Russian and international agencies reported. The authorized rally ended
peacefully, despite the presence of some 10,000 fully armed security troops.
Demonstrators shouted slogans against President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and
carried the former national red-and-white flags, instead of the new
Soviet-style flags, as a sign of protest against the president's policies.
Lukashenka the previous day said that Belarus was building an independent state
"while preserving valuable links." He said the "Community of Russia and
Belarus" was an expression of the people's protest "against the artificial
break-up of a great country." -- Ustina Markus
BELARUSIAN DEPUTIES CALL FOR IMPEACHING PRESIDENT.
At the Independence
Day rally, representatives of the United Civic Party, the Social-Democratic
Hramada, the Belarusian Popular Front, and other liberal parties called
for a campaign to collect the signatures of those deputies in favor of
impeaching President Lukashenka, ITAR-TASS reported. Article 104 of the
Belarusian Constitution, adopted in March 1994, states that the president can
be impeached for violating the constitution by a vote of at least two-thirds of
the parliament. The issue of impeachment can be raised if at least 70 deputies
sign a petition to that effect. -- Ustina Markus
FORMER ESTONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER NOT TO BE STRIPPED OF IMMUNITY.
Prosecutor Indrek Meelak on 26 July said he was closing the case the security
police had opened against Edgar Savisaar because he find nothing criminal in
his conduct, ETA reported. Meelak added he would not try to strip him of
immunity as a parliament deputy. Savisaar was forced to resign as interior
minister and Center Party chairman last fall in a scandal over the illegal
taping of private conversations with other Estonian politicians. Savisaar
subsequently regained the leadership of the Center Party, but some members
withdrew from it in protest and formed the Progress Party. -- Saulius Girnius
LATVIA'S REPUBLICAN PARTY TO MERGE WITH DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Democratic Party Saimnieks (DPS) Chairman Ziedonis
Cevers and Republican Party head Andris Plotnieks on 26 July signed an
agreement whereby their parties will merge, BNS reported. The parties also
issued a joint statement stating that they "both represent centrist views" and
that they believe their merger will help create a stable and transparent
political party system. Republican Party members are to be registered as DPS
members by 1 September, and the party will cease to exist after the next DPS
congress amends its statutes and adopts a new party program. -- Saulius
LITHUANIA, GERMANY AGREE ON NAZI COMPENSATION.
The German Foreign
Ministry on 26 July announced that Germany will pay 2 million German marks
($1.5 million) in compensation to Lithuania for atrocities committed during the
Nazi occupation, BNS reported. The money will be used to fund an old people's
home, a nursing home, and two hospitals for surviving Nazi victims. Lithuania,
in turn, agreed not to demand further compensation from Germany. Ignatz Bubis,
head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the compensation was
"peanuts" and "extremely unsatisfactory for the roughly 300 survivors in
Lithuania." Germany has reached a similar accord with Estonia and is
negotiating one with Latvia. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH "WHITE BOOK" FOR EU MEMBERSHIP SUBMITTED TO BRUSSELS.
Minister Dariusz Rosati has handed over Poland's "white book" on full EU
membership to EU Ambassador in Warsaw Rolf Timmans, Zycie Warszawy
reported on 29 July. The white book is Poland's answer to the questionnaire
submitted by the European Commission to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic,
and Slovakia. It consists of 2,664 pages and provides concrete details of
Poland's application for full membership. According to Rosati, the material
submitted by Poland will allow the Commission to assess Poland's progress in
the protection of minority and civil rights, the development of a market
economy, and the harmonization of Polish law with the EU's legal and regulatory
framework. Poland is the last of the four Central European countries to hand in
its "white book." -- Ben Slay
POLISH JUSTICE MINISTER REFUSES TO RULE ON POST-COMMUNIST PARTY'S DEBTS.
Polish Justice Minister Leszek Kubicki has refused to rule on the issue of 20
million zloty ($7.4 million) in communist-era debts that judicial officials
claim are the responsibility of the Social Democracy of the Polish Republic
(SdRP), Gazeta wyborcza reported 27-28 July. The SdRP--which forms the
core of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the senior partner in Poland's
coalition government--is the legal successor of the Communist Party (PZPR),
which ruled Poland for 40 years. A number of criminal and civil claims against
the PZPR's assets have been made since the party's liquidation in 1990.
However, the SdRP, the largest inheritor of the PZPR's assets, has managed to
avoid making payments by arguing that its coffers are empty--despite the fact
that the SLD is widely thought to have the best-developed infrastructure of
Poland's political parties. -- Ben Slay
CZECH PARLIAMENT ON CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS.
By a margin of one vote, the
parliament on 26 July rejected a proposal by the Czech Social Democratic Party
(CSSD) that a special law on the restitution of Catholic Church property be
passed, Czech media reported. The CSSD objects to government plans to issue
decrees on returning a large amount of former Church property, thereby
circumventing the parliament. The minority government coalition, however,
suffered a defeat the same day when a Communist Party proposal was approved
according to which the government is to submit to the parliament a plan for
separating Church and state and a blueprint for financing Churches before the
restitution of Church property begins. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER ACCUSES U.S. OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.
told Slovak Radio on 26 July that the U.S. Congress is "wrong" to leave his
country off the list of financial assistance recipients for NATO integration.
"If Hungary, with its government's nationalistic policies [and] interference in
the internal affairs [of neighboring countries]...becomes a NATO member, then a
strategy of double standards is more than obvious," Meciar said. He commented
that Slovakia's omission from the list is partly in reaction to internal
political developments and geopolitical relations, stressing that "many
untruths are said about us abroad." Nonetheless, he insisted that Slovakia's
interest in NATO membership has not declined. Meanwhile, Peter Weiss, deputy
chairman of the opposition Party of the Democratic Left, accused the ruling
coalition of failing to take the U.S. Congress's decision seriously. -- Sharon
SLOVAK, HUNGARIAN DEPUTIES DISCUSS AUTONOMY.
Slovak and Hungarian
deputies met in Bratislava on 26 July to discuss a declaration issued in
Budapest earlier this month calling for autonomy for Hungarians living in
neighboring countries, Slovak media reported. The Bratislava meeting--initiated
by Slovak Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dusan Slobodnik--focused on
explaining the meaning of the word "autonomy," which was not defined in the
Hungarian declaration. Slobodnik's Hungarian counterpart, Matyas Eorsi, said
the Hungarians called for "neither territorial nor ethnic autonomy" in their
declaration. Slobodnik told CTK that he "can imagine" discussions of
educational and cultural autonomy for Slovakia's Hungarians; however, Hungarian
politicians in Slovakia would first have to "change their behavior." The
committee members agreed to continue discussions this fall. -- Sharon Fisher
TRIAL DATE SET FOR SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN DAM CONTROVERSY.
dispute between Slovakia and Hungary over the Gabcikovo hydroelectric power
plant could be settled by next spring, Hungarian media reported on 26 July. The
International Court of Justice in The Hague will begin considering the two
sides' positions on 17 February 1997. Hungarian Foreign Ministry official
Gyorgy Szenasi said the court will pass a ruling of principle and that the two
sides will have to reach an agreement on its implementation within six months.
Szenasi noted that experts representing Hungary are optimistic about that
country's position. -- Sharon Fisher
EU WARNS CROATIA OVER MOSTAR BOYCOTT.
The EU on 26 July warned Croatia
that it will be responsible if Mostar's Croats continue to boycott the Mostar
City Council, AFP reported. The city council was elected last month in Bosnia's
first post-war poll. Dutch ambassador Jozef Scheffers informed the Croatian
Foreign Ministry that Croatia will face consequences in its relations with the
EU if it does not convince the Bosnian Croats to accept the election results.
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman said he will "seriously consider" the EU
ultimatum but stressed he will not accept "solutions that are degrading or
unjust for the Croatian people," Vecernji list reported on 29 July. But
Croatia's hard-line defense minister, Gojko Susak, said he backed the Croatian
boycott because "the Bosnian Croats would have no chance in the [September]
general elections" if they accepted the results of the Mostar poll. -- Daria
SERBS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA RALLY FOR AUTONOMY.
An estimated several
thousand Serbs rallied in the town of Vukovar on 28 July, demanding autonomy
and the extension of the one-year mandate for the U.N. Transitional Authority
in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) before the Serb-held enclave comes under Croatia's
jurisdiction in January 1997, Reuters reported. Rally organizers also demanded
"civil rights guarantees for Serbs and political and economic autonomy from the
central government in Zagreb." The news agency observed that the Serbs' demands
for autonomy may be "unrealistic," particularly at this stage and particularly
since rump Yugoslavia has agreed to the Croatian army's jurisdiction over its
internationally recognized borders. -- Stan Markotich
CROATIAN SERBS BRING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST BELGRADE.
refugees from Croatia are to bring legal action against Belgrade on charges of
knowingly violating and ignoring internationally recognized regulations and
conventions on the treatment of refugees, Onasa reported. Natasa Kandic, head
of the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Foundation, said the thirty are among
the some 40,000 ethnic Serbian refugees from Croatia's Krajina region who were
systematically press-ganged by Belgrade authorities and forced to fight in
front-line combat units. According to Onasa, an estimated 4,000-6,000 ethnic
Serbs from Croatia who were forcibly conscripted by Belgrade continue to be
listed as killed, wounded, captured, or missing. -- Stan Markotich
EXPLOSIONS AT CROATIAN ARMS FACTORY INJURE 18.
Two major explosions and
six minor ones rocked the arms factory in Slavonski Brod, 250 kilometers east
of Zagreb, injuring 18 people, AFP reported on 26 July, citing Croatian radio.
The factory, which produced weapons for the Croatian army during the 1991-1992
war against the rebel Croatian Serbs, was razed to the ground. -- Daria Sito
BOSNIA, IRAN SIGN MEMORANDUM ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION.
Minister Hasan Muratovic and First Iranian Vice President Hasan Habibi, meeting
in Sarajevo on 27 July, signed a memorandum on trade and economic cooperation,
Onasa reported. The two countries will also cooperate in civilian air traffic.
The officials discussed the reconstruction of the Zenica steel works, with the
Iranian side agreeing to release this year a fifth of the $50 million credit
pledged to Bosnia-Herzegovina for setting up small companies and for
reconstruction. -- Daria Sito Sucic
RUMP YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT ON UPCOMING BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.
relations between Belgrade and the current Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale are
under strain, Zoran Lilic has said that the 14 September elections in Bosnia
will "eliminate from power the illegal regimes...[whose mandates] ran out a
long time ago." He added that the elections will pave the way for the
consolidation of democratic institutions, AFP reported on 28 July, citing local
Belgrade media reports. Lilic also praised the international community's peace
efforts in Bosnia, noting that the normalization of relations with the other
republics of the former Yugoslavia was one of Belgrade's priority. -- Stan
MONTENEGRIN ELECTIONS SCHEDULED.
Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic
on 27 July announced that republican parliamentary elections will be held on 3
November, Tanjug reported. Balloting is expected to take place in accordance
with recent controversial legislation dividing Montenegro into 14 electoral
districts and stipulating a proportional representation system of voting (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 19 July 1996). It is speculated that parliamentary
elections in Serbia will be held on or around the same day. -- Stan Markotich
ILIESCU NOMINATED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
The Party of Social Democracy
in Romania (PDSR) on 26 July nominated Ion Iliescu as its candidate in the fall
presidential elections, Romanian and Western media reported. PDSR Executive
Chairman Adrian Nastase made the announcement at a nationwide convention.
Iliescu, 66, was elected Romania's first post-communist president in 1990 and
re-elected in 1992. The PDSR fared poorly in the June local elections, and its
image has been seriously damaged by accusations of corruption. Opinion polls
suggest that Iliescu may retain his post but is unlikely to win an outright
majority in the first round of voting, scheduled for 3 November. His main
rivals are Emil Constantinescu, leader of the Democratic Convention of Romania,
and Petre Roman, former prime minister under Iliescu and chairman of the
Democratic Party--National Salvation Front. -- Dan Ionescu
UPDATE ON BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz
Fischler on 27 July announced that the EU will help Bulgaria to deal with its
grain shortage, Reuters reported. He said specialists will visit Bulgaria in
September to help analyze its agricultural problems, adding that the EU is
ready to provide assistance but needs a clear picture of the country's grain
and land market to plan investment credits. He urged the government to speed up
agricultural reforms in order to raise productivity. Bulgarian farmers are
reluctant to undertake extensive planting because the state-run grain
purchasing agency pays only a fraction of world market prices. Prime Minister
Zhan Videnov on 26 July told the parliament that Bulgaria must import 1.5
million metric tons of grain to secure sufficient supplies. Demokratsiya
on 27 July reported that Videnov has unblocked the military and state grain
reserves and that the opposition may ask the prosecutor-general to investigate
the case. -- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN CHURCH TO ANATHEMATIZE ANOTHER CHURCH'S HEAD.
Bulgarian Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Maksim, on 26 July announced it
will anathematize Metropolitan Pimen, Reuters reported. Pimen heads clergymen
who oppose Maksim and accuse him of collaborating with the former communist
regime. Pimen's followers also claim that Maksim was appointed rather than
properly elected patriarch when he took office in 1971. Their election of Pimen
as the new patriarch on 3 July has not been recognized by the state or the
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The anathematizing is expected to be
carried out in March 1997, a priest said. Declaring someone anathema is a final
and irrevocable act formally severing that person from the Church. So far, the
Holy Synod has expelled all rebel bishops from it ranks but has not
anathematized them. -- Stefan Krause
U.S. URGE NEW ELECTIONS IN ALBANIA.
U.S. State Department spokesman
Nicholas Burns on 27 July demanded that new elections be held in Albania,
Reuters and Gazeta Shqiptare reported. Burns said Tirana did not respond
satisfactorily to foreign observers' complaints about the recent parliamentary
elections. He also noted that re-runs in 17 constituencies in mid-June were
also unsatisfactory. Until now, the U.S. had only asked for a partial re-run to
correct obvious irregularities. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rudolf
Perina said the U.S. is reviewing its ties with Albania, including financial
aid. Meanwhile in Tirana, the ruling Democratic Party blamed the Greek lobby in
the U.S. for the change in the American position. Visiting EU Commissioner for
External Affairs Hans van den Broek the previous day said the local elections
in October will be a test influencing Albania's future ties with the EU. --
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Steve Kettle and Jan Cleave