Issue No. 165. - March 13, 2000.
1. FRY/ Montenegro: SERBIA THREATENS, THE WEST BLACKMAILS!
By Slobodan Rackovic
2. Estonia: ENCOURAGING MONOPOLISM
By Valeri Kalabugin
3. The Czech Republic: A LAW TO BE USED ONCE ONLY
By Petruska Sustrova
FRY/ Montenegro: SERBIA THREATENS, THE WEST BLACKMAILS!
By Slobodan Rackovic
Montenegro, the oldest state among South Slavs, found itself in the worst and most complicated situation of all ex-Yugoslav
republics; one hand Serbia is more and more brutally threatening to attack her with arms, and the international community is trying to dissuade Podgorica from the only way out - declaring independence.
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the unnatural rest of the great Tito's
Yugoslavia, is kept clinically alive by the only institution left - Yugoslav
army. Of course, in an artificial and forceful manner The only members
of this federation made during war, on 27th April of 1992, Serbia and Montenegro
are in a state of neither war nor peace, the border between them is shut
tightly, finances and exchange of goods is completely blocked, customs
divided. Also, the two countries use different currency - Montenegro is
using German Mark, Serbia Yugoslav dinar): Cultural and sport cooperation
have been downgraded to pure form and all
federal institutions ceased functioning long ago - except very active "Yugoslav" army. Its generals, blindly loyal to FRY president Slobodan Milosevic, have been mounting an unduringpressure on authorities in Podgorica during last several months. They are openly threatening that they will attack Montenegro if continues to distance itself from backward and autistic Belgrade regime, showing clear aspirations to proclaim independence.
Demonstrating open intention to influence political events in FRY and Montenegro, Yugoslav Army has been demonstrating brutal force in minor federation unit - recently the army has occupied all approaches to then-just opened Montenegrin-Albanian border, driven armed troop carriers, tanks and transport trucks carrying armed soldiers through streets of Podgorica and other cities, has occupied flight control at an international airport of Montenegrin capital... Milosevic's aggressive army, which has left not one Montenegrin in a general's position, is clearly tightening its grip on Montenegro just when more and more agile Motenegrin diplomacy makes an economical or political success in the world. The day president of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic got German credit of 20 million German marks in Bonn, heavily armed special forces of the Yugoslav Army occupied flight control tower of Podgorica airport, maybe with the intent of arresting Djukanovic or at least preventing him from returning home! In the nick of time, top state officials decided to radio Montenegrin president to avoid airport in Podgorica, and that was what Djukanovic later did. Yugoslav army joined unmasked media attacks on Montenegro directed from Serbia by giving its powerful system of relay transmitters to leading political Serbian parties (Socialist party of Yugoslavia, Yugoslav United Left, Serbian Radical Party) and their radio and TV station. The whole republic of Montenegro is now covered by
signal of the station called "Yugoslav radio and television". It is, in truth, powerful weapon of militant Milosevic's regime. The
station, which is also covering parts of Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is to have a logistic role before the planned
military aggression on Montenegro, in order to prepare local population for it with propaganda. The government of Montenegro, the only institution which can approve broadcast of a program or not, took decisive steps against those intimidation from Belgrade, but is helpless to impose administrative orders because transmitters of the "Yugoslav television" (called here Mira's television because of Mira Markovic, Slobod an Milosevic's wife and head of united left in FRY) are located in military buildings. Removal of those transmitters would automatically mean armed conflict with the Yugoslav Army, which is unfavorable for Montenegro at this moment . Not only is the YA superior to Montenegrin police forces (although estimates say there are approx. 20 thousand well-armed and trained persons in the police), but also western forces dissuade Montenegro from challenging "wounded lion from Belgrade", and want to keep alive already clinically dead FR Yugoslavia.
It is exactly such decisive attitude taken by USA, EU and NATO, promoted by western politicians in every convenient moment
and during meetings with Montenegrin officials, that causes great incredulity in the country, and even displeasure among the people, who for the most part realized that the only good future of this small country lies in its independence and leaving Yugoslav ship that is sinking. Displeasure is the greater the more western institutions and capitals justify their withholding of extremely necessary financial aid for impoverished Montenegrin economy with the fact that Montenegro is not internationally recognized state, and is formally part of isolated FR Yugoslavia!? Nobody here can explain such a hypocrisy to the public, and improvised measures like the temporary financial support in the form of humanitarian aid cannot divert Montenegrin public which has decided to make Montenegro an independent state. Statement of High UN representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Wolfgang Petritsch that "Montenegro should not be helped on its road to independence" was met with grave disappointment and condemnation in the country. Condemnation was bigger than usual since Petritsch has been giving
such statements often, and he hasn't done it while other republic were gaining their independence. That is why words of the
president of British parliamentary council for foreign policy Donald Anderson that only Montenegrin people can decide on their
own constitutional and political future were met with applause and as a remedy in Podgorica, where he said it few days ago. However, immediately afterwards, at the meeting with Milo Djukanovic in Sarajevo, Madeleine Albright disappointed the same public saying decisively that Montenegro belongs to FRY!
In such situation, when the international community is holding back Montenegro on its road to independence, and is at the same
time providing it a symbolic financial aid, for allegedly "institutional reasons" (already mentioned German credit could well prove to be a turning point), Montenegrins are faced with the abyss of hunger and poverty. On the other hand, Serbia has blocked
exports of all food and medicines to Montenegro, so there is a real threat of a social catastrophe. Alternative markets of
Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Spain are so expensive for Montenegro that people can only
wishfully look at the nicely packaged and wrapped meat, cheese, milk, oil and medicines in the shop windows.. If the situation is prolonged, there could be a change in political climate and eruption of social rebellion, a fact which might force the West to
use the same painful and expensive measures as, for example, in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The fear that the world could also act post festum here, instead of taking preventive action, is very great and this warning is to be taken very seriously.
The editor promised to publish the article some days before the President
takes his decision. So I sent a copy to President
Lennart Meri. I never hoped, though, that he would react directly.
The results were quite opposite. I received a letter saying that the President considered the writing before taking his
decision (the law was signed). The editor, on the contrary, failed to keep his word. If he said no, I might publish it elsewhere; but he was silent until the 'deadline' was over and only then rejected it. Thus the article had only one reader -- Lennart Meri -- and at least he did react. But how about a 'public discussion' when the press silences the issue? Looks like the Estonian media, too, is interested in monopolism in fishing quotas.
The debate of the law took place precisely during a visit by the us
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the US was onitoring developments
in Iran closely and was interested in a joint government dialogue. But
Teheran must not be permitted to acquired weapons of mass destruction and
to back terrorist groups. The US Secretary of State, who originally comes
from Bohemia a
came to thit country to attend the 150th anniversary of the birth of the founder and first President of pre-war Czechoslovakia, T. G. Masaryk, welcomed the law, now under preparation.
The debate of the law by the deputies was most interesting:many declared that the law would indirectly interfere with the
commercial laws of a private company, in other words, with private property. ZVVZ Milevsko which in the past had sold power station wquipments for incinerating plants or boiler houses to the Soviet Union and East bloc countries, had been privatized a very long time ago. Consequently, the demand was voiced in Parliament on several occasions that the government should offer compensation in one way or another to private firms (not only ZVVZ but also to others which were to act as sub-contractors for the deal) to make up for their lost earnings.
Although these demands were not accepted, the government nevertheless considers the possibility of offering a governmnent
tender to firms which have been damaged by the law. ZVVZ is among the not very large number of Czech firms with a large number of employees who do not have to grapple with economic problems, regularly pay their staff and pay taxes as well as other mandatory levies to the state.
Considerations concenrning financial compensations to be paid to ZVVZ Milevsko have somewhat scandalous ramifications. Roughly two weeks before the government proposal of the law in question reached Parliament, the former Premier Vaclav Klaus, Speaker of Parliament and chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, came out in defence of the interest of ZVVZ Milevsko. He declared: "If there is anything that is being done in the public interest, then this public interest must pay onehundred percent compensation to this private company."
Klaus's statement was sharply criticised by the press which pointed out that Klaus's wife, Livia, has for several years been
the Vice-Chairman of the ZVVZ Milevsko Board of Supervisors. And since the so-called German model is applied in the firm, where company is run by a Boerd of Supervisors, the wife o Vaclav Klaus is, so to speak, the "number two in the firm. A fiasco of ZVVZ in Iran and huge losses would certainly affect her severely as she is virtually the top manager of the company, and this, to say the least, would be especially when it came to paying out bonuses. It, therefore, appears that "in the case of Busehr Klaus is far more worried about the revenue to the family coffers than about principles of a liberal economy and elementary justice. It is evident that even for an admirer of Milton Friedman, Margaret Thatcher and Friedrich August von Hayek, financial charity begins at home rather than ideology," Petr Fischer wrote in Lidove noviny.
Fischer, like other commentators, pointed out that Klaus's wife Livia was and still is a member of many other Boards of
Supervisors of state owned or semi-state owned firms (for example, the monpoly CEZ electricity company, or one of Czech Savings Banks where the majority od Czeh citizens keep their savings).
The Speaker of the Lower House of the Czech Parliament reacted to this critical accusation in a rather strange manner in one of
the television newscasts: he said that a journalist who writes such things deserves a slap in the face.