LEBED RENEWS WARNINGS OF MUTINY.
At a press conference marking his 100th
day as Security Council secretary, Aleksandr Lebed again warned that the
Russian military "is practically on the brink of mutiny" because of severe
financial problems, Russian and Western media reported on 26 September. He
declared that "it requires a huge effort for [the army] to restrain itself." He
ruled out a military coup attempt, however, adding that "we are not Argentina,
thank God." This comment provoked the Argentine Foreign Ministry to call in a
Russian diplomat in Buenos Aires and express its "displeasure." Meanwhile, the
executive committee of the Federation of Trade Unions of Employees and
Servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces issued a strike warning effective from 1
October. Spartak Arzhavkin, the union's chairman, said the Defense Ministry now
owes some 10 trillion rubles ($1.9 billion) in back wages to servicemen and
employees. In an interview published in Krasnaya zvezda on 27 September,
Finance Minister Aleksandr Livshits said that as an emergency measure one
trillion rubles is being released to the Defense Ministry. -- Scott Parrish
CABINET DISCUSSES BUDGET, ARMY FINANCING.
Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin told a cabinet meeting on 26 September that ministers should not
lobby in the Duma for extra funds, but should present a united front in support
of the 1997 budget draft, Russian Television (RTR) reported. He said a special
government commission will be created to deal with financing the Defense
Ministry and other power ministries in 1996 and 1997, chaired by First Deputy
Prime Minister Vladimir Potanin. The commission will negotiate the level of
financing for the armed forces in the 1997 budget and address the problems of
indebtedness and non-payments. Chernomyrdin accused some regional authorities
of charging defense ministry installations energy and transport fees higher
than the Russian average, according to Kommersant-Daily. On the other
hand, the Defense Ministry itself owes some 5 trillion rubles to companies from
which they ordered equipment. -- Natalia Gurushina and Peter Rutland
MASKHADOV, BASAEV AIM TO MAINTAIN ORDER IN CHECHNYA.
field commanders during the night of 25-26 September, Chief of Staff Aslan
Maskhadov identified as his most important tasks the disarmament of all clan
formations in order to preclude intra-Chechen clashes, the neutralization of
armed robbers posing as resistance fighters who discredit the Chechen side, and
assisting the smooth withdrawal from Chechnya of Russian federal troops,
ITAR-TASS and Radio Rossii reported. Speaking on Grozny TV on 26 September,
field commander Shamil Basaev accused the Russian security services of trying
to sow dissent among the various Chechen factions. Russian Security Council
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed on 27 September flew from Moscow to the Ingush
capital, Nazran, where he will meet with the leaders of the North Caucasus
republics. According to NTV, Maskhadov and acting Chechen president Zelimkhan
Yandarbiev will represent Chechnya at this meeting; pro-Moscow Chechen head of
state Doku Zavgaev is not invited. -- Liz Fuller
SUPREME COURT DENIES RUTSKOI REGISTRATION APPEAL.
The Supreme Court on
26 September rejected former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi's appeal to allow
him to register as a candidate for the 20 October Kursk Oblast gubernatorial
elections, NTV reported. Rutskoi plans to appeal to the Supreme Court's
presidium. The local electoral commission rejected his registration on the
grounds that he has not been a resident of the oblast for the past year.
Rutskoi, who has the support of the Communist Party, blamed his failure on the
incumbent governor's efforts to keep him out of the race and his belief that
the "law does not function" in Russia today. -- Robert Orttung
KHANTY-MANSI WITHDRAWS FROM TYUMEN OBLAST.
The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous
Okrug Duma voted on 25 September to ignore a presidential decree ordering it to
hold elections for the Tyumen Oblast governor simultaneously with the election
of the Khanty-Mansi governor, RIA-Novosti, as monitored by the BBC, reported.
The problem arises from the fact that both the Khanty-Mansi and Yamal-Nenets
autonomous okrugs are within the territory of Tyumen Oblast even though they
all have equal status as units of the Russian Federation (See OMRI Russian
Regional Report, 25 September 1996). All three units should vote for the
Tyumen Oblast governor, but the Khanty-Mansi decision, combined with a similar
action by Yamal-Nenets on 19 September, means that the two areas, rich in oil
and gas, have effectively withdrawn from Tyumen Oblast and declared themselves
independent. The Tyumen elections are set for 27 October. -- Robert Orttung
NAZDRATENKO REINSTATES OUSTED VLADIVOSTOK MAYOR.
Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko on 26 September removed Vladivostok Mayor
Konstantin Tolstoshein from office, in accordance with a presidential decree
reinstating his predecessor Viktor Cherepkov, ORT and ITAR-TASS reported.
Tolstoshein accused presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais and Russia's
Democratic Choice (DVR) leader Yegor Gaidar of using the conflict in
Vladivostok to further their own political aims. Chubais and Nazdratenko have
long been at odds, and Cherepkov is a high-ranking member of Gaidar's party.
The presidential representative in Primore, Vladimir Ignatenko, said he also
did not agree with the decision to reinstate Cherepkov, Kommersant-Daily
reported on 27 September. Meanwhile, workers at the Primorskii power plant at
Luchegorsk were expected to end their 24-day-old hunger strike on 27 September
after 180 billion rubles ($33 million) arrived in the krai to pay back wages to
workers in the Dalenergo power company, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Laura Belin
KUZBASS FORMS PUBLIC SALVATION COMMITTEES.
Public Salvation Committees
are being set up on a voluntary basis to deal with the economic emergency
caused by payments arrears in mining towns of Kemerovo Oblast, ITAR-TASS
reported on 27 September. The first committee appeared in Prokopevsk, whose
300,000 residents are mainly dependent on the coal industry. The debts of the
coal company Rosugol have devastated the local budget, which cannot afford to
pay public employees such as doctors and teachers. The city's Salvation
Committee has sent a telegram to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin asking him
to resolve the situation. Earlier this week, Kemerovo Oblast officials and
union leaders said the area had yet to receive its share of the first half of a
$500 million World Bank loan to the coal industry, contending that the Finance
Ministry had spent it on other needs. -- Penny Morvant and Ritsuko Sasaki
NOVODVORSKAYA TRIAL BEGINS.
Valeriya Novodvorskaya, leader of the
radical Democratic Union, went on trial in Moscow for allegedly spreading
hatred towards people of Russian nationality, Russian media reported on 26
September. The case against Novodvorskaya (see OMRI Daily Digest, 15
April 1996) consists of an interview with Estonian television, in which she
ascribed "laziness, poverty, spinelessness, and slavery" to the Russian
mentality, and articles she wrote in Novyi vzglyad in 1993 and 1994,
which suggested that a "manic-depressive psychosis" is a typical Russian trait.
Her defenders claim the articles were merely political satire and that her
accusers, including a 20-year veteran of the KGB, have a score to settle with
the longtime dissident. The Russian PEN center issued a statement comparing the
"fabricated" case against Novodvorskaya to political trials of the Soviet
period, Ekspress-khronika reported. -- Laura Belin
RODIONOV: NO STRATEGIC NECESSITY FOR NATO EXPANSION.
Minister Igor Rodionov met with his NATO counterparts in Bergen, Norway on 26
September to discuss the alliance's proposed enlargement and the future of the
Bosnian peace implementation force (IFOR), Russian and Western media reported.
While NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana described the talks as "very
positive," little apparent progress was made on the NATO expansion issue.
Rodionov argued that, since the West acknowledges that Russia now presents no
military threat, there is no "strategic necessity" for the alliance to expand.
He reiterated that "despite all attempts to justify NATO expansion, our public
opposes this idea." Departing from some earlier Russian statements, however,
Rodionov said Moscow would continue to cooperate with NATO, even if it
expanded. He added that Russia will participate in a follow-on force to IFOR if
the UN Security Council extends its mandate. -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIA, U.S., NORWAY SIGN ARCTIC ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT.
Bergen, Rodionov and his American and Norwegian counterparts, William Perry and
Jorgen Kosmo, signed an agreement creating a $2 million Arctic Military
Environmental Cooperation program to deal with radioactive waste from
decommissioned Russian naval nuclear reactors, Russian and Western agencies
reported on 26 September. Norway and Russian environmentalists have long
expressed concern about the safety of decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines
based in Murmansk Oblast. On the same day, Lebed said two-thirds of these
submarines were in "dangerous condition," and that three of them were leaking
radioactivity. -- Scott Parrish
ZAVERYUKHA SUGGESTS NEW MEASURES TO SUPPORT AGRICULTURE.
Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha has suggested the creation of a new fund to
support the agro-industrial complex, RTR reported on 25 September. To raise
money for farm credits, Zaveryukha proposed increasing customs duties on all
imported foodstuffs by 20%, introducing a tax on operations with foreign
currency, and increasing excise taxes on domestic consumer goods. He also
supported the government's 21 September decision to introduce quotas on vodka
imports in 1997. -- Natalia Gurushina
CONFUSION, CRACKDOWN IN YEREVAN.
The situation in Yerevan on 26-27
September remained tense and confused: tanks were deployed in the city center
and troops dispersed groups of bystanders, according to The New York
Times of 27 September. RFE/RL reported that main roads into Yerevan are
blocked and that some classes at Yerevan State University have been suspended.
It is not clear whether criminal charges have been formally filed against the
eight opposition deputies whose immunity was lifted by an almost unanimous
parliamentary vote on 26 September. Also unclear is the fate of opposition
presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan: reports of his arrest on 26 September
were based on a case of mistaken identity, according to RFE/RL, and an Interior
Ministry spokesman claimed that he is in hiding. Reuters quoted Central
Electoral Commission Chairman Khachatour Bezirjian as stating that Manukyan, as
a presidential candidate, has immunity from arrest until 29 September. The CEC
is investigating claims of malpractice during the vote count at 20 precincts,
according to RFE/RL. The presidents of Russia, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan,
and Turkmenistan have all congratulated President Levon Ter-Petrossyan on his
reelection, RTR reported. -- Liz Fuller
SHEVARDNADZE CANCELS TRIP TO UN.
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze
will not after all travel to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, his
press spokesman Vakhtang Abashidze told ITAR-TASS on 26 September. Abashidze
attributed Shevardnadze's decision to internal tensions arising from the
decisions of the South Ossetiyan and Abkhaz parliaments to hold presidential
and parliamentary elections respectively. Also on 26 September, the
Tbilisi-based Abkhaz parliament- in-exile voted for the withdrawal of Russian
peacekeeping forces from Abkhazia and against any further Georgian
participation in Russian-mediated negotiations on solving the Abkhaz problem
unless a breakthrough is achieved in the near future, Radio Mayak reported. --
RUSSIAN DUMA DELEGATION IN BAKU.
Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev
told a Russian State Duma delegation on 26 September that he favors closer
cooperation in all spheres on a mutually favorable basis, Turan
reported. Aliyev accused the Russian leadership of double standards in insisting
that Chechnya is a constituent part of the Russian Federation but allegedly not
adhering to the same argument with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh; he said that
Russia is uniquely placed to effect a solution of the Karabakh conflict but is
not yet using all the means at its disposal to do so. -- Liz Fuller
DEMONSTRATION IN ALMATY.
Between 60 and 70 scholars, writers and members
of political movements staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the
Kazakstani parliament building on 26 September, RFE/RL reported. The rally was
organized by the Azamat and Kazak Tili (Kazak language) movements and
demonstrators demanded that a draft law giving the Russian language equal
status to Kazak not be adopted. Karavan Blitz reported on 24 September
that Russian nationalists claim that adopting the law still does not go far
enough to prevent discrimination against the Russian population, while Kazak
national movements say the law goes too far. Under the present constitution,
Kazak is the only official language. -- Bruce Pannier and Merhat Sharipzhan
MOSCOW, DUSHANBE ON FALL OF KABUL.
Taliban fighters took control of
Kabul on 26 September, causing immediate anxiety in Moscow and Dushanbe. Moscow
registered its serious concern and called for a cessation of hostilities,
Russian media reported. Dushanbe and the Russian border guards in Tajikistan
made it clear they still support the government of Afghan President Burhanuddin
Rabbani, RTR reported the same day. Moscow has widely been viewed as a
supporter of Rabbani and the forces allied to him -- who were Moscow's
staunchest opponents during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The latest
developments represent a blow to Moscow and Dushanbe's efforts to neutralize
the Tajik opposition based in Afghanistan. -- Lowell Bezanis and Bruce
UPDATE ON CHORNOBYL NEUTRON LEAKS.
A Ukrainian government commission has
concluded that the three recorded increases in neutron emissions at Chornobyl's
fourth nuclear reactor this month caused no rise in radiation levels, ITAR-TASS
reported on 26 September. Committee Chairman Viktor Chebrov said the incidents
have posed "neither a nuclear threat nor a threat of sarcophagus destruction,"
as claimed recently by Ukrainian Environment Minister Yurii Kostenko. Ukrainian
and Western agencies reported that President Leonid Kuchma has admonished
Kostenko for trying to "intimidate people" with his warnings of a possible
steam explosion at the reactor. But he added that the uncertainty over the
condition of the concrete-encased reactor will prompt him to press the G-7
powers at a meeting next month in Paris to help construct a new covering.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian press has published numerous articles skeptical of
government reassurances that there is no danger at Chornobyl. Russian media
have claimed Kyiv wanted to "blackmail" the West into providing more money with
unsubstantiated claims of an imminent nuclear threat. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINE REASSURES CHINA OVER TAIWAN.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii
Udovenko, meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen, in New York, has
said Ukraine supports the "one China" policy and regards Taiwan as a province
of China, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 September. He added that Ukraine attaches
great importance to its relations with Beijing and will not be establishing
official contacts with Taipei. Qian responded that both China and Ukraine have
the same problems in safeguarding their territorial integrity.
Ukrainian-Chinese relations suffered a setback last month when Taiwanese Prime
Minister Lien Chan paid a private visit to Ukraine, which was depicted as an
official visit by the Taiwanese media. Beijing retaliated by canceling an
official visit to Kyiv by a high-ranking Chinese delegation. The affair was
smoothed over following assurances from Kyiv that it upheld China's position on
Taiwan. -- Ustina Markus
FINANCING BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL REFERENDUM.
Lukashenka has refused to sign amendments to the law on elections and
referendums, Belapan reported on 24 September. He disagreed with the deletion
of a provision allowing donations from citizens, enterprises, and organizations
to be used for holding a referendum. Chairman of the Central Electoral
Commission Viktar Hanchar revealed that an account at the National Bank of
Belarus (NBB) for holding a referendum had been opened as long ago as 1
January, before there was any mention of a referendum. Hanchar said his
information came from NBB chairwoman Tamara Vinnikau. He also said funds from
state budget revenues have been transferred to the account. Lukashenka had
promised he would not use money from the state budget for the referendum and
that it would be funded by voluntary contributions. Hanchar said the account
was a disgrace, adding that only the Central Electoral Commission had the right
to open accounts to finance referendums. -- Ustina Markus
OTHER REFERENDUM NEWS FROM BELARUS.
The president's administration has
refused the 'zero option" whereby the presidential referendum will be canceled
if parliament refrains from holding its proposed ballot. The option was
proposed as a compromise to avert conflict, ITAR-TASS reported. Deputy head of
the administration Alyaksandr Abramovich said it was not a constructive
solution. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Belarusian deputy parliamentary speaker Hendz
Karpenka said Belarus will not be able to improve its economy without
integration with Russia. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said he foresaw more
interference from the West in Belarus's political affairs. He also said the
right road for Belarus was to be a presidential republic like Russia, not a
parliamentary one. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIAN PRESIDENT'S OATH OF CONSCIENCE QUESTIONED.
Juri Estam, editor
of Kultuur ja Elu, has filed an appeal to the Tallinn Regional Court
protesting the Tallinn City Court's 19 September ruling on President Lennart
Meri's oath of conscience, BNS reported on 26 September. Estam, together with
parliamentary deputies Villu Muuripeal and Eldur Parder, had asked the regional
court to rule on whether Meri violated the oath of conscience he took in 1992.
Estam alleges that Meri actively cooperated with the Society for Cultural
Relations with Estonians Abroad (VEKSA), which was subordinated to the KGB, and
thus falsely claimed not to have collaborated with organizations involved in
persecuting people. Tallinn City Court judge Tiiu Hiuvain threw out the case,
arguing that it did not fall under the city court's jurisdiction. Under the
1992 oath of conscience law, any individual can file a court case alleging the
validity of the oath taken. The burden of proof, however, lies with the
contestant. -- Saulius Girnius
LATVIA DISMISSES PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN.
The Saeima on 26 September
dismissed Ilga Kreituse as its head, BNS reported. The vote had been expected
since Kreituse quit the Democratic Party Saimnieks on learning she was
about to be expelled (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 September 1996). Saeima
Deputy Chairman Alfreds Cepanis of Saimnieks, the only candidate
proposed as her replacement, was elected in a secret ballot. Aigars Jirgens, a
deputy of For the Fatherland and Freedom, was elected deputy chairman. --
POLISH RULING COALITION AGREES ON GOVERNMENT REFORM.
Leaders of the
co-ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL),
meeting on 25-26 September after a weeks-long controversy, have settled a
dispute over proposed government reform. The PSL wanted the current government
to be dismissed and a new one formed, while the SLD wanted ministers to be
gradually replaced by the president on the premier's initiative. The PSL argued
that such an approach would introduce a presidential system through the back
door. Both parties are close to agreement on the division of portfolios in the
restructured government. Tensions between the SLD and the PSL have recently
been exacerbated over the dismissal of Foreign Trade Minister Jacek Buchacz
(PSL) on the initiative of Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz of the SLD
(OMRI Daily Digest, 5 September 1996). The Sejm on 26 September approved
both Cimoszewicz's explanation on
government reform and Buchacz's
dismissal. -- Jakub Karpinski
POLISH PRIVATIZATION MINISTRY ABOUT TO BE CLOSED.
privatization minister for almost the past three years, has assessed the
ministry's work prior to its closure on 1 October and it replacement by the
Treasury Ministry. Among the ministry's biggest successes, Kaczmarek said, were
launching the restructure of 1,322 companies, an increase in foreign
investment, and the introduction of new privatization schemes, such as the
National Investment Funds. He criticized the idea of nominating a provisional
head for the Treasury instead of a minister, which, he said, may slow down
privatization. Kaczmarek is a candidate for the Treasury portfolio, but his
candidacy is opposed by the PSL. -- Jakub Karpinski and Beata Pasek
CZECH ELECTION COMMITTEE REJECTS CANDIDATES FOR SENATE BALLOT.
Central Election Committee has rejected the applications of more than 80
candidates (out of a total of 574) for the fall elections to the Senate, Czech
media reported. The reasons for the rejections are mostly mistakes or omissions
in filling out the application forms. Former Czech Prime Minister Petr Pithart,
Trade Union Leader Richard Falbr, Czech Ambassador to Germany Jiri Grusa, and
former Communist leader Jiri Svoboda are among those whose applications have
been turned down by the committee. Unsuccessful applicants can appeal to the
Supreme Court. Leading Czech politicians have criticized the committee's
decision, arguing that candidates could have been asked to correct the mistakes
rather than being disqualified. -- Jiri Pehe
CZECH COALITION PARTIES AT ODDS OVER RESTITUTION OF CHURCH PROPERTY.
Josef Lux, chairman of the coalition People's Party-Christian and
Democratic Union, on 26 September said the government's decision to return some
Church property was "insufficient," Czech media reported. Lux criticized the
government for not including forests among those assets to be returned. He
added that although the government's decision is "a step in the right
direction," it fails to observe fully coalition agreements, concluded in June,
specifying that forests would be returned. Meanwhile, Jan Kalvoda, chairman of
the Civic Democratic Alliance, told journalists on 26 September that "it is
premature to talk about violating the coalition agreements." -- Jiri Pehe
ANOTHER PRIVATE NATIONWIDE TV STATION PLANNED IN SLOVAKIA.
parliament on 26 September announced that Slovak TV's second channel will begin
broadcasting via satellite from 1 January 1997, Slovak media reported. This
step will free many terrestrial frequencies currently used by Slovak TV. The
Board for Television and Radio Broadcasting is expected soon to grant a license
to a new nationwide private TV station, TV Koliba, which will use the
frequencies freed by Slovak TV's second channel. TV Koliba is reportedly backed
by leaders of Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. Another
nationwide private TV station. Markiza, began broadcasting in August. -- Jiri
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT RULES ON UNIVERSITIES.
The Slovak parliament has
approved an amendment to the law on higher education increasing the Education
Ministry's competence in allotting subsidies, Slovak media reported. Almost 100
changes were proposed during the discussion of the bill. The most controversial
amendment gives the Education Ministry the right to veto appointments of
professors and assistant professors, which are to be left to the university
councils. The original version of the law empowered the ministry to make those
appointments, causing a stir within the academic community. The Universities
Council and Rectors' Conference described the plan as the "liquidation of
centuries-old academic rights and freedoms." Education Minister Eva Slavkovska
expressed satisfaction with the "compromise" amendment. The opposition,
however, reacted by proposing a vote of no-confidence in Slavkovska, which will
be taken during the parliament's October session. -- Jiri Pehe
EX-JUDGE: TOP HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST LEADERS WERE FORMER "AGENTS."
Eigner, in a recent interview with the daily Uj Magyarorszag, has
accused Prime Minister Gyula Horn, Speaker of Parliament Zoltan Gal, and deputy
Matyas Szuros of working as secret service agents under the communist regime.
All three rejected his allegations, Hungarian dailies reported on 27 September.
Eigner formerly served on a committee established by the previous government to
check the backgrounds of key public figures and root out those who had been
secret agents. He was eventually removed from the committee after it was
alleged that while serving as a judge in the 1950s, he had passed some
sentences of a political nature. The committee was subsequently abolished, and
its successor set up only recently following amendments to its mandate.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office, the allegation
is "groundless" and is clearly aimed at trouble-making, slander, and
discrediting the prime minister. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY TO MEET?
President Alija Izetbegovic has said that
the new three-man presidency will meet in Sarajevo on 30 September, AFP
reported on 26 September. He noted that failure to hold the session will signal
"the division of Bosnia" and that he is sure the Serbian representative,
Momcilo Krajisnik, will attend. Krajisnik, who has said he does not feel safe
in Sarajevo, argued that the meeting should be held on the border between the
Croatian-Muslim Federation and the Republika Srpska. Izetbegovic accused the
Serbs of "coming up with reasons" to prevent the meeting taking place, such as
insisting that the Muslims release some 30 remaining Serbian prisoners.
Meanwhile in Pale, Bosnian Serb Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha slammed
Izetbegovic, who had spoken at the UN. Buha said that Izetbegovic's remarks
revealed his "Islamic fundamentalism" and that he is consequently incapable of
leading a Bosnia that includes Serbs and Croats as well. ^ Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN JAILS "WORSE THAN UGANDA."
Federal ombudsmen have accused the
police of violating human rights in every canton, Onasa reported on 26
September. The ombudsmen said the police hold prisoners for longer than the
legal limit without telling their families. The police also drag out
investigations for up to three years, and still make charges against people who
served in the Serbian or Croatian armies despite the amnesty, the ombudsmen
added. People have been denied passports and have been intimidated from
visiting the ombudsmen's office in Mostar. -- Patrick Moore
CALL FOR LOYALIST BOSNIAN SERBS TO ORGANIZE.
Gen. Jovan Divjak has
appealed to Serbs living on federal territory to form their own political party
and seek their own voice in Bosnian politics. Divjak is a Bosnian Serb who
remained loyal to the Bosnian government and held a command throughout the war.
But he was cashiered when the Muslim Party of Democratic Action consolidated
its control over the military. He pointed out that the Serbs make up "10% to
15% of the population on the territory controlled by the government but on the
list of candidates [there] they were not even 1%." Divjak said that the
existing Serbian Civic Council is not enough and that the loyalist Serbs need a
real political party, Oslobodjenje reported on 27 September. -- Patrick
MAJOR POWERS AGREE TO LIFT SANCTIONS AGAINST BELGRADE.
of the International Contact Group on 26 September said that UN sanctions
against rump Yugoslavia will shortly be lifted, Reuters reported. A statement
on the meeting said the ministers "looked forward to early certification of the
[14 September] Bosnian elections and to the lifting of sanctions by the UN
Security Council soon thereafter." British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind
commented that "it's days we're talking about, not weeks." Robert Frowick, head
of the OSCE mission in Bosnia, told the meeting he expected to announce final
election results within 48 hours. The ministers were meeting to discuss how to
shore up peace following the ballot and get the joint presidency of
Bosnia-Herzegovina to start working. That body is scheduled to meet next week.
-- Fabian Schmidt
AVRAMOVIC ADDRESSES MORE THAN 10,000 PROTESTERS IN KRAGUJEVAC.
Yugoslav Central Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic on 26 September addressed a
demonstration of more than 10,000 in Kragujevac, where workers at the local
arms and automobile plants have been on strike for 30 days, Nasa Borba
reported. Avramovic--who was sacked on 15 May after publicly falling out of
favor with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic over his economic reform
program--attacked the Serbian authorities. He is quoted as saying that "one
should make those cadres who do not leave the [comfort of] their cars use tram
No. 2 so that they see in what miserable conditions [the rest of] the world
lives. They have no clue how it is to live with a salary of 300 to 400 dinar. I
was thunderstruck when I learned that you are fighting for 230 dinars." He also
criticized the "old bureaucratic leadership of the trade unions." -- Fabian
ROMANIAN SENATE RATIFIES TREATY WITH HUNGARY.
The Romanian Senate on 26
September ratified the basic bilateral treaty with Hungary, Radio Bucharest and
Western media reported. The treaty was signed 10 days ago in Timisoara by the
prime ministers of the two countries. Senators representing the
ultra-nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity voted against ratification
of the treaty. They were joined by several senators from the Socialist Labor
Party, the Greater Romanian Party, and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania, the main political organization representing Romania's Hungarian
minority. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu attended the session. The treaty,
which is expected to end the long-standing rivalry over Transylvania and help
improve the situation of the 1.5 million-strong Hungarian minority in Romania,
is considered vital for the two countries' aspirations to join the EU and NATO.
-- Dan Ionescu
CEAUSESCU'S YOUNGEST SON DIES IN VIENNA.
Nicu Ceausescu, the youngest
son of late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, died on 26 September in a
Vienna hospital from the effects of cirrhosis of the liver, Western agencies
reported. Nicu (45), who had the reputation of a hard-drinking playboy, was
generally seen in the 1980s as his father's heir apparent. A communist party
boss in Sibiu County, Nicu was sentenced in 1990 to five years in jail for his
alleged role in the slaying of 91 persons during the December 1989 revolt,
which toppled his father. His parents were executed on Christmas Day 1989. Nicu
was freed in November 1992 for medical reasons. Earlier this month, he was
flown to Vienna, where he was on the waiting list for a liver transplant. --
DNIESTER REGION TO ELECT PRESIDENT IN DECEMBER.
The Supreme Soviet
(parliament) of the self-declared Dniester Moldovan Republic has scheduled the
presidential elections for 22 December, Infotag reported on 26 September. At
the same time, it adopted the law on presidential elections following stormy
debates in which demands were made to postpone the elections because of the
dire economic and social situation in the region. Some deputies said the
existing rivalry between the self-styled president of the region, Igor Smirnov,
and parliamentary chairman Grigorii Marakutsa may lead to further
de-stabilization. With a population of some 720,000, the Dniester region broke
away from Moldova in 1990. The Republic of Moldova, which has not recognized
Dniester independence, sees elections there as illegal. -- Dan Ionescu
BULGARIA FACING HYPERINFLATION?
Leading Bulgarian economist Georgi
Petrov on 26 September said that hyperinflation is inevitable unless
money-losing enterprises are rapidly privatized, international media reported.
Even though the Central Bank hiked the base interest to 300% this week (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 25 September 1996), people continue to cash their
leva for dollars in non-stop exchange offices in Sofia, Reuters reported. In an
effort to rescue their money, more than 150 Sofia citizens stood in line on 26
September outside the National bank to obtain treasury bonds, which could yield
an annual interest rate of about 450%. -- Maria Koinova
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Steve Kettle and Jan Cleave