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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 233, 99-12-02

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 3, No. 233, 2 December 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER DID NOT COMMIT ARMENIA TO MEMBERSHIP OF

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [02] MACEDONIAN COALITION TO SURVIVE AFTER ALL?
  • [03] DJUKANOVIC SAYS MILOSEVIC SHOULD GO TO HAGUE
  • [04] THOUSANDS MASS FOR PRISHTINA FUNERAL
  • [05] RUSSIA ANGRY WITH KFOR
  • [06] BELGRADE CONTINUES TO BLOCK OIL DELIVERIES
  • [07] SREBRENICA SURVIVORS TO SUE TOP UN OFFICIALS
  • [08] CROATIAN OPPOSITION DRAFTS JOINT PROGRAM
  • [09] RETAIL SALES PEOPLE PROTEST IN ZAGREB
  • [10] SLOVENIA TIGHTENS VISA REQUIREMENTS
  • [11] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT BOOED ON NATIONAL DAY...
  • [12] ...WHILE GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION TRADE ACCUSATIONS
  • [13] FORMER ROMANIAN PREMIER RE-NOMINATED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
  • [14] VORONIN SAYS MOLDOVA WON'T RUSH TO BUILD SOCIALISM
  • [15] TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADER VETOES OSCE DECISIONS
  • [16] CIS TO PARTICIPATE IN MOLDOVAN CONFLICT SETTLEMENT
  • [17] BULGARIAN ARMS PLANT WORKERS PROTEST LAYOFFS

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [18] RUSSIA'S GROWING NETWORK OF PRIVATE ASSOCIATIONS

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER DID NOT COMMIT ARMENIA TO MEMBERSHIP OF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [02] MACEDONIAN COALITION TO SURVIVE AFTER ALL?

    Speaking in Skopje

    on 1 December, leaders of the small Democratic Alternative

    distanced themselves from their previous threats to leave the

    governing coalition (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 December 1999).

    Party leader Vasil Tupurkovski said "we don't want to burden

    the already complicated political and economic situation in

    the country. The talks about the survival of the coalition

    will continue after the elections" on 5 December, Reuters

    reported. Party spokesman Ljuben Paunovski told reporters

    that he sees "no reason" for the coalition to collapse,

    adding that there "is room for everyone in the government."

    PM

    [03] DJUKANOVIC SAYS MILOSEVIC SHOULD GO TO HAGUE

    Montenegrin

    President Milo Djukanovic said in Danilovgrad on 1 December

    that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic should appear

    before the Hague-based war crimes tribunal, which indicted

    him in May for crimes against humanity. The Montenegrin

    leader stressed that "Milosevic should go to the Hague

    tribunal and try to remove a burden from his nation's back.

    People [in Serbia] are suffering bitterly [under sanctions]

    because of his irresponsibility." Djukanovic repeated his

    charges that Milosevic has carried out unspecified

    "subversive activities against Montenegrin democratic and

    economic reforms." He added that "the Montenegrin government

    will be exceptionally cautious in its future policy towards

    Serbia. However, Montenegro's future is in its citizens'

    hands," AP reported. PM

    [04] THOUSANDS MASS FOR PRISHTINA FUNERAL

    Several thousand people

    filled the streets of Prishtina on 2 December for the

    reburial of 19 local ethnic Albanian men killed by the

    Serbian forces during the fighting earlier this year.

    "Dozens" of uniformed members of the new Kosova Protection

    Force provided an honor guard, Reuters reported. The dead men

    were fighters in the former Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) and

    had previously been buried at various sites elsewhere in

    Kosova. PM

    [05] RUSSIA ANGRY WITH KFOR

    Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei

    Ordzhonikidze said in Moscow on 2 December that the UN's

    Bernard Kouchner and NATO's General Klaus Reinhardt are

    responsible for continuing violence in Kosova, AP reported.

    Referring to the violence that accompanied recent Albanian

    Flag Day celebrations in Prishtina, Ordzhonikidze accused

    KFOR of "inaction [that] bordered on connivance" with the

    ethnic Albanians who attacked innocent Serbian civilians (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 November 1999). He added that that

    Russia will raise the issue at the next meeting of the UN

    Security Council and wants a "clear explanation." PM

    [06] BELGRADE CONTINUES TO BLOCK OIL DELIVERIES

    Serbian customs

    officials said that they are continuing to deny entry to 14

    trucks carrying EU heating oil for Nis and Pirot on the

    grounds that the truck drivers do not have documents to prove

    that the shipment is one of humanitarian aid, RFE/RL's South

    Slavic Service reported on 2 December (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    1 December 1999). The mayors of the two opposition-run cities

    denied the charge, saying that the truck drivers presented

    customs officials with the necessary documentation several

    days earlier. In Nis, some 10,000 people protested on 1

    December to demand that the authorities allow the trucks to

    deliver the oil. PM

    [07] SREBRENICA SURVIVORS TO SUE TOP UN OFFICIALS

    The pressure

    group Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinje has hired a U.S.-

    based lawyer to bring charges in The Hague against several

    persons who were top UN officials at the time of the 1995

    Srebrenica massacre, a spokesman said in Sarajevo on 1

    December. He added that the officials knew that the Serbian

    forces under General Ratko Mladic planned to kill the town's

    male population but did nothing to stop the Serbs. Those on

    the list include former Secretary-General Butros Butros

    Ghali, his successor Kofi Annan, special envoy Yasushi

    Akashi, and others, "Oslobodjenje" reported. The association

    also demands an investigation to determine the responsibility

    for the fall of Srebrenica of Bosnian President Alija

    Izetbegovic and army commander General Rasim Delic. PM

    [08] CROATIAN OPPOSITION DRAFTS JOINT PROGRAM

    Representatives of

    the coalition of six opposition parties agreed in Zagreb on 1

    December that their parties will form a parliamentary

    coalition and government should they win the 3 January

    parliamentary elections. The six parties also agreed on a

    program of reforms they will enact soon after forming a

    government. Measures include a reform and review of the

    privatization process carried out by the Croatian Democratic

    Community (HDZ), which has held power since 1990. The

    privatization process is widely regarded as having enriched

    hundreds of people close to the HDZ. PM

    [09] RETAIL SALES PEOPLE PROTEST IN ZAGREB

    More than 1,000

    employees of the large Nama department store chain

    demonstrated in Zagreb on 2 December to demand payment of

    back wages. Officials of the Croatian Privatization Fund said

    the previous day that they can pay only half of the sum due

    to some 2,000 Nama employees. PM

    [10] SLOVENIA TIGHTENS VISA REQUIREMENTS

    A spokesman for the

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in Ljubljana on 1 December

    that Slovenia will require entry visas for citizens of

    Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey in the near future.

    He added that Slovenia will require visas for Russian

    citizens, effective immediately. The new regulations are part

    of Slovenia's efforts to bring its regulations into line with

    those of the EU in order to speed up its entry into that

    organization. In Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in

    a statement on 2 December that Russia will require visas of

    Slovenian citizens traveling to Russia, effective

    immediately, AP reported. PM

    [11] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT BOOED ON NATIONAL DAY...

    Several hundred

    people carrying banners of the opposition Party of Social

    Democracy in Romania (PDSR) booed President Emil

    Constantinescu in Alba Iulia on 1 December during ceremonies

    marking Romania's national day, an RFE/RL correspondent in

    the town reported. Constantinescu was forced to abandon the

    stage. He later said that the incident "once more proves that

    instead of unity and tolerance, we are ruled by hatred and

    violence." He added that it is "regrettable" that in a

    country where unlimited freedom of expression exists, those

    who booed him chose to do so at a ceremony that was primarily

    a religious and military one, thus offending both the Church

    and the army. MS

    [12] ...WHILE GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION TRADE ACCUSATIONS

    The ruling

    National Peasant Party Christian Democratic accused the PDSR

    of displaying "communist-like intolerance," while the Defense

    and Interior Ministries similarly denounced the incident.

    PDSR Deputy Chairman Adrian Nastase said the protest was

    prompted by "exaggerated security measures" and that "those

    who jeered Constantinescu are the same people who cheered him

    three years earlier" and are now protesting declining living

    standards. He also said Constantinescu "offended" the

    Romanian people by claiming that the jeering was directed at

    the Church and the army. MS

    [13] FORMER ROMANIAN PREMIER RE-NOMINATED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

    The opposition National Christian Democratic Alliance on 28

    November re-nominated former Premier Victor Ciorbea as its

    candidate in the 2000 presidential elections, Mediafax

    reported. On 22 October, Ciorbea said he did not intend to

    run for that post but appears to have since accepted the

    nomination. MS

    [14] VORONIN SAYS MOLDOVA WON'T RUSH TO BUILD SOCIALISM

    Speaking

    in the parliament after his appointment as premier-designate,

    Party of Moldovan Communists leader Vladimir Voronin said his

    new cabinet "will not be rushing into building socialism on

    the morrow of its approval by the parliament." He said that

    he does not intend to change the present international image

    of the country and that his cabinet will continue the "path

    of democratic development and [promoting] market economic

    conditions." The cabinet's lineup will not reflect the

    political strength of parties represented in the parliament,

    he stressed, but he added that he will "insist that it

    include a significant number of Communist Party members."

    Voronin also commented that the priorities of the government

    will be economic development, the struggle against organized

    crime and "protectionism," and cooperation with international

    financial institutions, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. MS

    [15] TRANSDNIESTRIAN LEADER VETOES OSCE DECISIONS

    Separatist

    leader Igor Smirnov on 1 December said the recent OSCE

    summit's decisions on Russia's withdrawal from the

    Transdniester were taken without consulting representatives

    of the breakaway region and are therefore "invalid." In a

    telegram to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Smirnov

    said that in Istanbul, Russia assumed obligations that are

    "contrary to its previous statements on the importance of

    synchronizing the troop withdrawal with the settlement of the

    Transdniester problem." Smirnov is asking Putin to conduct

    joint consultations before implementing the obligations

    undertaken in Turkey, ITAR-TASS reported. In a telegram to

    Russian contingent commander Valerii Yevnevich, Smirnov said

    the destruction of Russian military arsenal stationed in the

    Transdniester has been "resolutely halted." MS

    [16] CIS TO PARTICIPATE IN MOLDOVAN CONFLICT SETTLEMENT

    Foreign

    Ministry official Iurie Bodrug told journalists on 1 December

    that for the first time, the CIS has expressed the intention

    to participate in the settlement of the Transdniester

    conflict, Infotag reported. Bodrug said that a delegation led

    by CIS Executive Committee chairman Simion Cherkezishvili has

    arrived in Chisinau to familiarize itself with the

    negotiation progress and discuss the CIS's possible

    involvement in the mediating structures. MS

    [17] BULGARIAN ARMS PLANT WORKERS PROTEST LAYOFFS

    For the second

    day in a row, workers from the VMZ arms manufacturer in

    Sopot, central Bulgaria, blocked the road between Sofia and

    Bourgas to protest wage arrears and the management's

    intention to lay off workers, AP reported. The company owes

    58 million leva ($38 million) in taxes and for electricity

    supplies. Its chief executive said at least one third of the

    9,500 jobs must be cut. Wages have not been paid since

    September. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [18] RUSSIA'S GROWING NETWORK OF PRIVATE ASSOCIATIONS

    By Sophie Lambroschini

    There is a widespread belief in Russia that the rigors

    of post-communist life--including the non-payment of salaries

    and pensions, inadequate social care, sluggish courts, and

    corrupt police--have taught Russians to rely only on

    themselves. But some Russians say the idea that Russians

    reject all community action is no longer true.

    Ella Pamfilova is a former Russian minister of health

    and social affairs. She acknowledges that after communism

    collapsed in 1991, most Russians felt themselves to be on

    their own. But she told RFE/RL that the rejection of

    collective action is fading: "I think that period is coming

    to an end. There has always been our tradition, our

    mentality, pulling us toward compassion and sympathy. [We

    Russians] remain drawn to the idea of overcoming a difficult

    situation together. And this mentality is now breaking

    through." Many analysts believe that, traditionally, a

    Russian will rely first on pulling strings or giving bribes

    to overcome a bureaucratic hurdle. They say Russians will

    turn to public initiatives--through courts or an association-

    -only as a last resort. But for Pamfilova, the key question

    is understanding that in the long run collective action can

    be more effective than individual solutions.

    Pamfilova thinks that positive models for action, such

    as the success of the Soldiers' Mothers Committee, have

    encouraged Russians to turn to collective solutions. That

    group first successfully lobbied then Soviet President

    Mikhail Gorbachev to exempt students from the obligatory two

    years of military service. Then, under Russian President

    Boris Yeltsin, the committee campaigned against the first war

    in Chechnya (1994-1996) and acted as a mediator for the

    exchange of Russian and Chechen prisoners of war. It also

    denounced Russia's drug- and violence-ridden armed forces,

    counseling 18-year-olds on how to dodge the draft.

    Valentina Melnikova, one of the committee's leaders,

    says that over the years "the Mothers"--as the group is often

    called in Russia--won support even inside the army. She says

    that some officers came to understand that the committee was

    not set on working against the military but rather pursued a

    cooperative effort to turn the Russian army into a "real army

    that does not murder its own soldiers."

    Pamfilova points out, however, that--unlike the Mothers-

    -most Russian collective initiatives today play a local or

    regional role, not a national one. "I know of a lot of

    examples of [collective] influence on local authorities in

    sectors like [social] rehabilitation or the environment. So

    there is some effect on a local level. But nationwide,

    [collective initiatives are] not significant. For the moment,

    our authorities, our elite neglect public opinion."

    In Moscow, non-governmental organizations greatly

    contributed to breaking the Soviet mindset on ostracizing

    mentally and physically disabled youngsters. The communist

    system rejected such children, who were often locked away at

    home or in far-away institutions.

    One parent, Galina Khokhlova, has a 21-year-old

    daughter, Sveta, who has severe motor deficiencies. Before

    perestroika, Khokhlova told our correspondent, many parents

    did not know what to do with their disabled children and

    simply kept them locked up at home. She says it is thanks to

    non-governmental organizations that many parents have learned

    that their disabled children can still learn, develop, and

    enjoy life.

    In Moscow, one of the first such organizations for

    disabled children was The Circle, which is run by Nataliya

    Popova. Ten years ago, dissatisfied with the rehabilitation

    and education that state institutions offered such children,

    Popova began her own classes. Today, she teaches music,

    dance, and theater to some 110 disabled children. She says

    there are more than 30 organizations doing the same kind of

    work in the Russian capital.

    Popova is convinced that non-governmental organizations

    have a real impact on Russian society. "NGOs have the

    advantage of being more flexible, more adaptable, and more

    sensitive to people's needs than the state," she commented.

    "They manage to slip by bureaucratic hurdles and can

    establish contact more easily with the West." She also

    believes that some official Russian bodies have ceased to

    regard NGOs as an enemy that exists to expose the state's

    failings. "The authorities take us into account," Popova

    says. "They even send us specialists for training."

    Former Health Minister Pamfilova feels that achieving

    such cooperation between individuals and government is the

    most difficult hurdle to overcome because of Russia's long

    history as a state conceived to use, but not to serve, its

    citizens: "From a state that is an enemy, we have to make a

    state that is a friend. It's not so easy, you have to

    understand that--getting rid of the fear inside us. Because

    for many years, the state nourished this fear by its

    harshness. It wasn't only in Soviet times. Things were the

    same before the [1917] revolution and probably go back to the

    time of serfdom."

    Pamfilova stresses that her organization's objective is

    to revive a desire for civic dignity. She concludes that "one

    person's efforts are fine, but they're not enough."

    The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Moscow.

    02-12-99


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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