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Issue No. 170. - April 18, 2000
    Contents :
1. Bosnia and Hercegovina :CHANGES OF VARIOUS SCOPE:
       By Radenko Udovicic
       By Slobodan Rackovic
       By Farhad Mammadov
4. Special addition : NEW AT TOL


Bosnia and Herzegovina :CHANGES OF VARIOUS SCOPE
    By Radenko Udovicic
Results of the local election in Bosnia and Herzegovina showed that most successful  were Socialdemocrat party in Federation B-H (SDP) and Serbian democratic party (SDS) in the Serb Republic.

SDP won majority of votes in Tuzla, Zivinice, Lukavac, Serbrenik, Gracanica and Sarajevo districts of Center, New city, New Sarajevo and Old City. Individually, SDP has the strongest support in Zenica, Gorazde, Breza...Also in other municipalities SDP won more votes than at the elections two years ago. Compared with past elections, when SDP had won only in Tuzla, success was complete  Although the counting of the votes from abroad is still not finished, according to current results in Federation B-H, SDP leads in 18 municipalities, Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in 28, while the recently ruling Bosniak Party of Democratic action won in 24 municipalities.
The number of municipalities can be confusing and cause casual observer to think that the winners of local elections are SDA and HDZ. However, if one takes into account that SDP is the winner in most populated and urbane municipalities, it is clear that majority of persons living in Federation voted for socialdemocrats. For example, SDA won in Trnovo with only 800 voters, while SDP won as much as 62 per cent votes in Tuzla, the electorate of which has almost 100 000 persons. That situation caused SDP president Zlatko Lagumdzija to ask for immediate general elections, eager to turn present voters' sentiment into political capital and change the entity, even state government. However, OSCE, which organized the elections, rejected such notion explaining that currently there is not enough  money to organize them. According to reliable information from OSCE, general elections should be held in the second half of October at earliest. It is interesting that formerly ruling Party of democratic action had good results only in the communities with strong ethnic tensions between Bosniaks and Croats like Mostar, Bugojno, Travnik...
On the territory where Croats form a majority, HDZ achieved expected victory. The party didn't have serious election competitors since opposition Croatian parties didn't become a relevant political force. Most Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina view HDZ as a supranational movement, which makes possible for them to remain present in the country where Croats are the least numerous of three constituent nations. Croatian opposition parties have minimized the fear of Bosniak domination, which was sometimes justified, and offered no convincing alternative, which disastrously affected their election results.
SDP is a leftist party and is a successor to the former communist party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two year ago, two socialdemocrat parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina united into one - SDP headed by Zlatko Lagumdzija, whose deputy is Selim Beslagic. They are two charismatic leaders who enjoy great popularity in Federation B-H. Lagumdzija is a professor of information sciences at the University of Sarajevo and a fluent speaker of English. He belongs to an old intellectual family and is a member of the reformist pro-Western generation of Bosnian intellectuals. On the other hand, Selim Beslagic, who has been Tuzlan mayor for the last ten years, belongs to the so-called persons of the people. He is an engineer of technology gifted with exceptional ability to get near ordinary people and win their trust. Practically, mixture of personal capabilities of these two politicians has secured their party a success with all classes. However, well-run election campaign and competence of the leaders are not the only reasons behind success of SDP.
The ruling SDA has been in power since 1990. That was the period of hardest years for Bosnia and Herzegovina with war, radical social changes in the country, huge decline of the standard of living. SDA simply wasn't up to the burden of extremely complex political and social events in the country. Shaken  by numerous corruption scandals and tolerating crime in the county, after ten years the party had to lose the trust of the Bosniak voters.
In the Serb Republic, SDS won in as much as 52 municipalities. SDS is a party of nationalist hard-liners. It was founded by Radovan Karadzic, prime suspect of Hague Tribunal, and Momcilo Krajisnik, who was arrested few days ago and brought before the Hague court. One of the reasons behind the success of this party which was removed from power in 1997 is Krajisnik's arrest. Many Serbs supported SDS out of, for international community unexplainable, protest due to arrest of a Serb. Also, some supporters of the Serb radical party, which was disqualified from the election race by the OSCE mission, gave their votes to SDS.
Still , the main reason for SDS' success is the fact that it remained a strong opposition which criticized reformationist government headed by Milorad Dodik, tainted by numerous smuggling and corruption scandals. SDS used all negative aspects of the government and obtained, besides votes of traditional hard-liners, also those of disappointed voters who had formerly supported now dissipated Unity Coalition. Party of independent socialdemocrats headed by prime minister Dodik had a good election success. Once minor, that party became second political force in RS when it came to power thanks to alliance with others. In some municipalities solid results were achieved by newly founded Party of democratic progress led by Mladen Ivanic, who was once favored by international community as a candidate for prime minister in the Serb Republic. Socialist party of Serbian Republic and Serbian national alliance have suffered a great decline in popularity. It is supposed that their former supporters now voted for SDS and Ivanic's party. However, SDS today is not similar to the party which, together with Radovan Karadzic, became a personification of all evil in Balkans. The party managed to adjust to new peaceful progress. Backed by young intellectual members from Banja Luka and Sarajevo, it even became a partner of international community. Just after announcement of election results, its president Dragan Kalinic said priorities of his party were economic progress, cooperation with international community and direct implementation of the Dayton Accord. Due to such statements, its former coalition partner Serbian Radical Party has already labeled them as "quislings".
There is now a new question in Sarajevo - will only partial changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, within only one nation  - Bosniaks, be enough to start prosperity of the country and normalization of its national antagonisms? Defeated Party of Democratic Action is already warning - Serbs voted for SDS, Croats voted for HDZ, what about us? Although SDS rejected such statements as excuse of the losers, many Bosniaks paused for a moment over the fact. There are already speculations that at general elections SDA could be resurrected as a balance over Croatian  and Serbian hard liners. However, such thoughts should be taken with great caution.
When it comes to global political interests of Bosniak nation and future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is almost no  difference between SDP and SDA. Both parties think that primary interest of Bosniaks is to form a united Bosnia and Herzegovina.They also think that Bosnia and Herzegovina was attacked by Yugoslavia, backed by Bosnian Serbs. They therefore reject the notion of civil war. Both parties constantly criticize Dayton Accord and secretly hope for its revision. The biggest difference between the two parties is how to establish relationships within Bosniak nation.
SDA has national-religious frame which took conservative Islamic customs and introduced line of thoughts that were unusual in pre-war Bosnia. That is why the leadership of SDA, therefore government, tolerated various extremist groups which often created conflicts in Bosnian-USA relations. On the other hand, SDP insists on complete secularization of the state and fitting Bosnia and Herzegovina (ad Bosniaks) into modern European trends. That is why this party has significant supporters among Serbs who remained to live in Federation B-H, and even some Croats, which partly gives her characteristic of multi-ethnic party.
However, leaders of HDZ and SDS have already stated that they consider SDP primarily a Bosniak party and that they would not accept it as an all-Bosnian party. Lagundzija's laconic answer was that he wasn't interested in opinions of those two parties and that his partner was Europe. There is no doubt that SDP will be welcomed by all relevant European institutions, but it will also have to create relationship with nationalist parties, despite the denial of its president. One of the most interesting situations will be how will SDP behave in those municipalities where it won't be able to establish a solitary rule. Main Lagumdzija's motto during election campaig n was :"No coalition with the national parties"! Literal adoption of the motto could leave SDP in opposition in many municipalities where it achieved a marginal election victory. Finally, success of SDP in Federation B-H could be commented as a great success for Bosnia and Herzegovina
SDP's president Zlatko Lagumdzija said his party will soon have twenty mayors, the fact he judged as very significant. "Where we have established our government we will allow unconditional return of refugees, fight corruption and try to create economic progress" - said Lagumdzija. If SDP maintains this promise, it will present a "lighthouse of hope" and roadsign to other municipalities on how to solve refugee tragedy and secure prosperity. For as long as there is a part in the country, even small, where nationality and religion aren't primary values, there is yet hope for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    By Slobodan Rackovic
Long war of nerves between Podgorica and Belgrade related to possibility of Montenegro leaving Yugoslav federation, in which indirectly participate also western countries with their pressure on Montenegro to "keep it cool" - is creating a constant tension in the whole region and doesn't contribute to the stabilization of the situation in the Balkans. On the contrary!
Powder keg known as Montenegro is constantly worrying the world community as the greatest dormant danger in the region for new war in the Balkans. Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and the president of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic exchange threats, while two numerous and well-armed military formations - Yugoslav army and Montenegrin police - have been on alert for a long time now. Between them is the international community which uses amateur and easily discernible status quo tactics in the name of alleged peace in the Balkans. Such tactics is only postponing the final resolution of the conflict between Montenegro and Serbia and is fruitlessly trying to revive the dead FR Yugoslavia.
Everybody is suffering from such pat position, especially people of Montenegro and Serbia (two republics which formed FR Yugoslavia on the ruins of former Tito's Yugoslavia which contained 6 republics and 2 autonomous provinces). Unresolved constitutional and political issue about the future of FR Yugoslavia long ago caused complete boycott of all federal institutions, including the Yugoslav Army, as well as rejection of all kinds of ties between the two federal units, even the economic. That is best illustrated by the situation on erbian-Montenegrin administrative borders - it has become completely closed for all kinds of goods, even medicines, while money transfers ceased at the beginning of last November, when Montenegro introduced German mark as a new currency. Thus Serbia lost the only market for its rather cheap products, especially agricultural. At the same time, Montenegro which doesn't have a large food industry, had to start  importing those necessary goods from far more expensive markets of Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Italy. The consequence is very low standard of living among Serbs and barely better life of Montenegrins. It was a hard additional problem for the international community, since it constantly has to maintain fragile peace between Serbs and Montenegrins and, at the same time, every now and then quiet down nervous Montenegrins who want to restore their state with financial aid. Montenegrins were the first Southern Slavs to found their state which they lost with the forced entrance into Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918.
In such situation, nobody is neither content nor at ease, and Montenegro has become a double hostage - both of Slobodan Milosevic who will use every method to keep another piece of Yugoslavia (which, besides, has one of the most beautiful coasts in Europe), and of western community, who is artificially trying to save FRY to prevent yet another (5th) war in the region of former Yugoslavia. Instead of providing military aid to Montenegro, which it verbally supports wholeheartedly, and giving credits for Montenegrin troubled economy, degraded during almost ten years of international sanctions against FR Yugoslavia, international community is undertaking short-term measures and plays very ungrateful role of fireman between Podgorica and Belgrade. In this situation, when it is forced to keep almost 20  thousand armed policemen and when its main branches of economy - tourism and maritime affairs  - are confronted with complete collapse (not to speak of other economy, especially industry), Montenegro has decided to - wait. Otherwise, without clear support from the west (not to speak of Peking and Moscow), this republic of 700,000 could hardly dare to wage open war against Serbia with the population of ten million persons and its formidable army without re-living what happens to the Chechnyans in their confrontation with Russia. Besides, using tactics of waiting, prolonging and avoiding conflict with Second army of YA, located on its territory, Podgorica has already made some incredible success on its road to full political and economic independence, a goal shared by the majority of Montenegrins. Thus Montenegro effectively restored all attributes of state that were ceded to federal state on 27th April 1992 when it hurriedly decided to unite with Serbia into a joint state. That move automatically gave her more trouble and indirectly dragged Montenegro into war with almost all other ex-Yugoslav states, now internationally recognized countries, which decided to go away from Serbian hegemony and Milosevic's terror. Today, Montenegro has fully autonomous foreign policy and trade, establishes representative offices (future embassies) all over the world, builds huge complex of residential objects for foreign diplomats in Podgorica, signs international contracts and joins international institutions (Pact for stability in South-Eastern Europe...), runs independent import-export policy, has its own customs organization, financial and monetary system, judicial system, information outlets, airports and an air company, and many other things which make a state independent.  Parliament passed Law on Montenegrin citizenship, but the less patient independence supporters are still unhappy since the country doesn't have its own pa ssport, state hymn and a flag, although everybody is proud of the fact that this republic cancelled visas for citizens of all countries which enter Montenegro directly. Montenegrin Orthodox Church has finally been made official (long rejected by the regime), as one of the pillars of Montenegrin society, and the newly formed Duklja's Academy of Arts and Science, authentic Montenegrin institutions, is more and  more overriding pro-Serbian Montenegrin Academy of Arts and Science in cultural and social life. Monetary council of Montenegro, which has been in charge of monetary politics in the country    since last autumn, said few days ago that last nominations of the Yugoslav dinar will be revoked from circulation, which will make German Mark its substitution. Montenegrin authorities didn't use administrative measures to send this weak currency to history,  but have wisely decided to leave it for the market to decide about the survival of either currency. As expected, in short time German mark swept dinar from streets, and now dinar has value only in Serbia. "Yugoslav dinar will remain in Montenegro as any other foreign currency!" - bluntly stated president of the Monetary council of Montenegro Bozidar Gazivoda. At the same time, Montenegrin Chamber of Commerce explained such move was necessary since Yugoslav dinar "disturbed monetary system in the republic". It was explained that the German mark will be only a step towards introduction of European currency Euro in Montenegro which in this way once again stresses its pro-European, democratic orientation. However, instead of Currency Board with international control and headquarters in Geneva, as asked by opposition parties and foreign financial experts, Montenegro will establish its Central bank which will govern monetary policy in the country, but will not have authority to add new money, so all hyperinflation trends will be stopped at the beginning.
Belgrade is not sympathetic to such a fast trend towards full statehood of Montenegro and gradual removal of Podgorica from Belgrade and is therefore exerting additional pressure on president Djukanovic and his colleagues, using economic and also military measures. Within Second army a new battalion was formed - Seventh battalion of the military police, which answers only to the commander of  the Army. In case of civil war in Montenegro (which would also be incited from Belgrade), that battalion would do the primary, but also the most dirty job for Slobodan Milosevic, similar to what we have already seen in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Also, Milosevic has already fired all Montenegrins from commanding posts in the Yugoslav Army, which became practically army of a single nation and religion, politically belonging to pro-Serbian parties and JUL of Milosevic' s wife Mirjana Markovic. Milosevic went one step further and, overnight, brought many completely loyal Serbian soldiers and of s into Montenegro so that, in case of war, he would have no problems with those who have settled down in Montenegro. However, that also had its counter-effect, so that recently about 200 Montenegrin officers and generals asked transfer into Montenegrin police. Among others, in police forces there is now former chief of Counterintelligence service in the Yugoslav Army general Nedjeljko Boskovic, who is now transferring his huge experience to officers of Montenegrin ministry of internal affairs. It is expected that his example could be followed by former commander of Second Yugoslav army general Radomir Martinovic who was relieved of his duty because of good cooperation with civil institutions in Montenegro. As a consequence, ranks of Yugoslav Army are weakened while those of Montenegrin police gain new recruits.
However, neither party shows will to fight, so that the silent war of nerves continues indefinitely. Will Montenegrin powder keg explode one day depends on one man only - on Slobodan Milosevic! If he estimates that conflict with Montenegro could help him to retain his more and more insecure position in Serbia - then he certainly won't wait to start yet another war, in this republic.If, on the other hand, he thinks that Serbian opposition cannot influence his plans to stay in power forever, this time in separate state of Serbia - then Montenegrins will be spared of the horrors of war!
Milosevic is truly unpredictable, but it is a real miracle that the modern world, with all of its powerful mechanisms, accepts the role of passive observer of Milosevic's whimsicality, whose innocent victim could this time easily be - Montenegro?!
    By Farhad Mammadov
The parliamentary elections, which are scheduled to be held in the fall of this year in Azerbaijan, has stimulated on the beginning of active discussions in the political life of the country. The Azeri opposition that lost all the elections held in the country until now under the un-equal competition conditions is intending to gain maximum result from these elections. The oppositional parties of Azerbaijan have already begun activity for providing fair election conditions for this purpose.
The current laws on the parliamentary elections and Central Election Commission have faced with the strong pretensions of the opposition, as well as the international organizations. That is why, the government has stated on changing these laws. The laws on parliamentary elections and CEC are being prepared at the presidential office and will, recently, be presented to the parliament for discussions, according to the official statements.
But there is no information about the essence of those laws and whether the suggestions of the opposition are attracted there or not. Let`s note that the current CEC is under the complete control of the government and the opposition has shown it as the main reason of falsifying the elections until now. The Azerbaijani government does not want to agree with the re-formalization of the CEC regardless of demands of such organizations as the European Council, OSCE, US Department of State, and others. Perhaps, in case the government loses the control over CEC, the ruling party headed by the current Azeri president Heidar Aliev could face with serious defeat at the up-coming elections.
The Azeri opposition having no information about the essence of the new laws prepared by the government has prepared its own draft laws and presented them to the parliament. But these drafts have not been discussed at the parliament, yet. The opposition insists on being discussed the laws on the parliamentary elections and CEC at the parliament no later than April. Because the Azerbaijani parliament goes for a summer holiday in May, and the holiday of parliamentarians will last till September. And the parliament that begins its autumn session could separate very little time for the discussion of these laws by showing the lack of time as a pretext (because the parliamentary elections should be held at the beginning of November, according to the law).
In that case, it will not be difficult for the members of the ruling party that takes the majority at the parliament to pass a law, which will be useful for themselves. That is why, the opposition is stating beginning mass protest actions in case of not discussing those laws till the end of April at the parliament. And the demands are the same. The main demands of the oppositional forces will be on forming normal election conditions in the country.
Abulfaz Elchibey, presently being in a visit in Turkey, one of the leaders of the Azeri opposition, former Azeri president, has also noted the necessity of "holding protest actions". Mr.  Elchibey said he supports speaking the oppositional parties from a single conception at the parliamentary elections.
As the up-coming parliamentary elections is considered an important factor for the membership of Azerbaijan to the European Council, the opposition hopes that the government will not dare to falsify these elections. But it is also less believable that Heidar Aliev will easily give the control on election mechanism that is considered one of the important government key factors.
Special addition : NEW AT TOL
    Transitions Online (TOL) ( is the leading Internet magazine covering Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. If you aren't already a member, fill out our registration form at <> to receive your free two-month trial membership. If you'd like to become a TOL member right away, go to <http://member.html>. And if you're a citizen of a post-communist country, go to <> to sign up for a FREE annual
    The debut of our redesign! Visitors will find a much more user-friendly look, with easier navigation, clearer page layout, and faster downloading. Please let us know what you think and any other suggestions you might have.
    First up this week is a new addition to the current "In Focus" package: Lingua Fracas. One of our best so far, the package's articles prove, once again, that language is one of the most fundamental instruments of power.
    IN FOCUS: Separate and Still Unequal
    by Azam Dauti
    With classes held in living rooms and private buildings since its inception five years ago, the Albanian-language Tetovo University in Macedonia has led an illegitimate existence. Though its student body is constantly growing, the university's funding -- mostly from the ethnic Albanian diaspora -- is wearing thin. The previous government decried it as unconstitutional; the current government, more sympathetic toward ethnic Albanians, has made overtures to address the problem, but the university's future is far from certain.
   In other "In Focus" <> articles,
Tim Judah documents the extinction of Serbian in much of Kosovo and the discomforting questions raised by the now-dominant Albanian language; renowned fiction writer Vasil Bykau speaks with TOL about the repression of the Belarusian tongue, in which he has always written at great risk to his career; Donald Kenrick maps the many faces of the Romani language; Sophia Kornienko examines Vladimir Putin's efforts to cleanse the Russian language; Polia Tchakarova demonstrates how Turkish-language programming on state media could make Bulgaria a much-needed model for Balkan tolerance; and Alisher Khamidov and Makhamadjan Khamidov chart the obstacles to constructing a state language in Kyrgyzstan.
    OPINIONS: Dog Tired
    by Deyan Kyuchoukov
    Forget ethnic tensions, a struggling economy, and environmental damage: the problem that won't go away in Bulgaria is stray dogs. Roaming in packs or solo, terrorizing Sofia citizens with their late-night howling, homeless canines are one of the real drains on Bulgarian society. If something is not done, argues Kyuchoukov, the abundance of dogs may well trigger the next Balkan refugee crisis.
    OPINIONS: Blame it on the Diaspora
    by Tomas Miglierina
    Why would those who have fled the chaos and corruption in the former Yugoslavia still vote for autocratic and nationalistic leaders? Tomas Miglierina blasts the blinded sympathies of  "expatriates who sit in good, clean Western restaurants, and at the same time perpetuate a system that cuts their home countries off from all the amenities of the West."
    NATO critical of Hungary ... Havel decries mafia capitalism
... Croatian war criminals, beware ... Now showing in Serbia: pirate films ... Stoyanov questions a bill condemning the communist regime ... Romanian king gets his castle back ... Belarusian public enterprises operating at a loss ... Moldovan van drivers back on the road ... Council of Europe wary of Ukrainian referendum ... Tuberculosis plagues Lithuania ... Stalin's former  bodyguard finds his voice ... Russia can't keep up the PACE ... Shevardnadze's sweeping victory ... Uzbek customs officers discover material too hot to handle