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Issue No. 182. - July 18, 2000.
Contents :
      By Slobodan Rackovic
2.Bosnia and Herzegovina: BACK TO PRE-WAR RIGHTS
      By Radenko Udovicic
      By Ylber Emra
4.Special addition : NEW AT TOL

    By Slobodan Rackovic
    The talks between the Montenegrin authorities and the Serbian opposition
in St. Stefan were like tragicomical tries to resurrect the dead
personified as FR Yugoslavia and endless defamation of the
untouchable and insensitive Slobodan Milosevic.
    Last weekend there was a huge meeting between Montenegrin
ruling parties - Democratic Socialists' Party and People's Party -
and all Serbian opposition parties in the extremely luxurious
hotel-island "St. Stefan" on the picturesque Adriatic coast. The
parties were to analyse the current political and security situation
in their joint state, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in the light of
recent illegitimate constitutional changes, nearing federal
elections and passage of the "antiterrorist law" by Slobodan Milosevic's
administration. While the guests from Serbia, disunited and
powerless to oppose all-mighty Milosevic in his own field, they
arrived at this meeting with great illusions about the possible
survival of Yugoslavia and organising united front with the hosts
for life and death battle against current president of the state.
Montenegrin side wasn't hiding that it expected only benefit for
its independent inclination and support of Serbian opposition
(better: Serbian citizens) for the foreboded exit from FRY and
international independence.
    "We are mostly interested in whether Serbian opposition
supports us in our efforts to realise our civil and national
interests as an independent state" - said at the eve of meeting
Miodrag Vukovic, president of the Executive council of the ruling
Democratic Socialists' Party and advisor to Montenegrin president
Milo Djukanovic. Well-informed independent daily from Podgorica
"Vijesti" wrote that the whole meeting will only be "discussion
for discussion's sake" which greatly offended guests from Serbia
who came without Vuk Draskovic, wounded in a recent assassination
attempt (he was replaced by his closest co-worker Milan Komnenic)
. However, that didn't annihilate their hopes of forming united
Montenegrin -Serbian front against Milosevic. It was, of course,
not so since it wasn't the least interesting to Montenegrin part,
but the guests still left "St. Stefan" with a kind of pleasure,
since they adopted joint Declaration about political aims of two
sides on democratisation and change of situation in the country.
When they better analyse the document, Serbian politicians will in
fact realise that their hosts really used them to place
Montenegrin and international public what they wanted them to
know. In that way, Declaration or better Statement has, at first
place, expression of urgent need for redefining joint country on
completely new basis (Community of independent states of
Montenegro and Serbia) which Montenegro has been asking for quite
some time. It is the system of the loosest possible confederation
which would not even be named Yugoslavia and in which even
defence, foreign and monetary policy would be separate for each
state. Montenegrin government put forth such proposal on 2nd
August last year, but Slobodan Mi losevic refused it with
indignation. By insisting on this kind of state system, Montenegro
is in fact additionally irritating Milosevic since Podgorica is
more than sure he would never accept the proposal, like he didn't
accept more compact confederation model laid out by former
Yugoslavian states, now internationally recognised countries, in
1991. However, in this way Montenegro is making sure to have an
excuse before FRY citizens and international community for the
decisive step that is now, after St. Stefan, seems more closer and
imminent - referendum on independence. That it is the case was
confirmed by a statement made by Filip Vujanovic, Montenegrin
prime minister and vice-president of the ruling Democratic
Socialists' Party who participated at the talks. He said for
Vjesnik, daily newspapers from Zagreb that "the only link between
Montenegro and Serbia today is the army, but Montenegrins are less
likely every day to regard it as their own, since it is being used
in political pur poses by the regime in Belgrade". Similarly,
another Djukanovic's colleague and vice-president of the
Montenegrin parliament Svetozar Markovic, although he belongs
among supporters of joint state with Serbia, said after the
meeting with Serbian opposition that his country has the
possibility of independence up its sleeve, adding that for
official Podgorica talks with Montenegrin opposition were much
more important than talks with the Serbian one!
    Then what are political effects of this enthusiastically
proclaimed and huge meeting in St. Stefan? We could say rather
modest, not to say something more adequate but at the same time
more impolite, because the statement coming out of it will not
change the situation in the two federal units nor will dissuade
Slobodan Milosevic from his intentions to continue with disturbing
security in FR Yugoslavia and the region as a whole. He will be
even less distracted from his wish to rule for life and not allow
the barest minimum of democratic reforms. While meeting in St.
Stefan was lasting (and attracting undeserved attention of much
international democratic public), Milosevic met with delegation of
militant and pro-Serbian Montenegrins in Dedinje and was making  a
plan to topple legal and legitimate government in Podgorica, at
any cost (even civil war!), to prevent Yugoslavia or integral
Milosevic's empire from falling apart. In order to further
increase his already unbearable pressure ontenegro, Milosevic sent
his "private general" Nebojsa Pavkovic there during the meeting in
St. Stefan. Pavkovic is head of Yugoslav Army headquarters and he
went to Montenegro to issue commands to his subordinate commanders
about what to do in case of Montenegro proclaiming independence.
In Niksic, second largest Montenegrin city, the local military
outfit has been harassing local population for days, erecting
barricades on the roads and provoking an armed conflict which
would immediately spread to the whole of Montenegro. In Berane, a
city at the north of the country, military police almost caused
direct conflict with the local policemen about a bizarre case,
with only reserved attitude of the Montenegrin police preventing
major incident. However, the minister of Montenegrin police
Vukasin Muras said that his forces (Montenegrin police has about
20,000) were at the brink of losing patience and that the civil
war was very close!
    Also politicians, like policemen, make many near escapes to
prevent creating a situation which would give Milosevic a motive
to start new (fifth) war in the former Tito's Yugoslavia. On the
other hand, official Belgrade is tirelessly creating new and new
situations. In such light should be viewed recent changes of the
Yugoslav constitution which downgraded Montenegro, the oldest
country among the Southern Slavs, to a status of Serbian province.
They were to provoke radical political moves in Podgorica, perhaps
even unilateral separation from Yugoslavia. Podgorica, however,
didn't enter the trap and passed somewhat gentler Resolution which
declined to accept the constitutional changes, as well as any
other decisions from Belgrade, and in that way didn't provide
Milosevic with a direct motive to attack Montenegro. The
Resolution also bared his militant efforts to the whole world and
Montenegro scored big on international scene. The international
community is less and less insisting oint state between Montenegro
and Serbia, which is illustrated with UN Security Council giving
equal treatment to Montenegrin and Yugoslav delegations.
    Next direct challenge to Podgorica, which could endanger peace
in this region, are the announced federal elections and passing of
the so-called antiterrorist law since Montenegro will decline to
admit either one of the two. But if Milosevic tries to enforce
elections anyhow, in military barracks on Montenegrin territory,
then the peace will be in grave danger. Draskovic's Serbian
Reformation Movement don't even think about participating at the
elections (saying that Milosevic has already set up his victory),
but all other Serbian opposition politicians in St. Stefan tried
to persuade Montenegrin authorities into making a joint front
against current FRY president, offering Djukanovic to lead the
election lists. However, the host declined it. "Only annulment of
new FRY Constitution and creating a democratic atmosphere could
influence our position" - Montenegrin politicians were saying,
confident that such turn of the events was impossible and that
they have a door wide open for lea FR Yugoslavia.
    So, meeting between the Montenegrin parties in power and their
Serbian counterparts in opposition, on 14th June in St. Stefan was
in fact "talks for talking sake" although the host, who was the
only who profited from the meeting since he gave proof of his
inclination towards democracy and openness, made positive comments
on the meeting's result out of pure good manners. Serbian
opposition is where it was before the meeting - on the margins of
Serbian and Yugoslav political scene, while Montenegro is at least
a step closer to proclaiming independence. The authorities wait
for pro-independence sentiment to rise, but also for the
aggressive pro-Serbian minority to accept such results of the
Bosnia and Herzegovina: BACK TO PRE-WAR RIGHTS
    By Radenko Udovicic
    The constitutional court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has rejected
certain parts of the entities' constitutions which reject the
constitutional status of the three ethnic groups living in every
part of the country.
    The Constitution of the Serbian Republic stated that the entity
was "the state of the Serbian nation" while Federation constitution
said that constitutional nations there were Bosniaks and Croats.
Such formulation has been for a long time criticised by civilly
oriented organisations and opposition parties in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The main criticism was that these formulations were
contrary to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina which in its
introductory paragraphs states that Bosnia and Herzegovina is
equally constituted of three nations - Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.
    So it is obvious that entities' constitutions reduce rights of
other nations on their respectable territories, downgraded the Bosnian
constitution and put Serbs into the position of an ethnic minority in
the Federation B-H as was also the case with Croats and Bosniaks in
the Serb Republic. However, the ruling of the Constitutional court
was also marred by many political elements, which show all the
complexity and sensibility of the present political situation in the
country, as well as the monstrosity of constitutional and legal
construction of Bosnia and Herzegovina which was laid out in
Dayton at peace talks that ended three and a half years of war.
One shouldn't therefore be taken aback by diametrically opposed
attitudes about the issue of nations' constitutional statuses.
Representatives of each of the nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina take
that issue in a different way and view it through political eyes,
thus minimizing the real importance of nations' equality as one of the
basic elements of a democratic society.
    Ruling of the constitutional court was not brought
unanonymously. Out of nine members, five voted in favour of such
decision, while four were against. In sport terms, tight victory.
But what has heated discussion in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the
fact that three of those five judges were from the international
community, and two were Bosniaks/Moslems. Both two Serbs and two
Croats voted against. This outcome served to representatives of
the Serbian Republic to inflame political tensions in the country
with their protests. They accused international community of
working in favour of the Bosniak side and trying to revise Dayton
Accord with decisions like this. There was also resurfacing of old
Serbian and Croatian accusations that Bosniaks want united Bosnia
and Herzegovina in order to gain the upper hand over two other
nations. President of the B-H Parliament Mirko Banjac and former
president of the Serb Republic raised most critical voices. Banjac
characterised the ruling as a motive for another war in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. He says that clashes in Bosnia in 1992 were caused by
overruling of Serbian representatives in the institutions of
government. Since Croats were also overruled now, Banjac thinks
that peace process could come to an end. Biljana Plavsic had
identical thoughts. She said that this decision represents a
significant revision of the  Dayton Accord and could be the basis
for cancelling Serb Republic, which could mean new war. All other
representatives of the Serb Republic - from politically moderate
Milorad Dodik to hard-liners in Serbian radical party are of the
like opinion, without mentioning the war, though.
    On the other hand, all political parties dominated by Bosniaks
support proclamation of the full constitutionality in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. They stress that the verdict cancelled discrimination
present in the entities' constitutions which put individual
nations on half of the state territory in a position of national
minorities. Presiding of the B-H presidency Alija Izetbegovic even
called this decision "the most important since establishment of
the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina". Opposition Social-democrat
party labelled decision as "victory of the ideals socialdemocrats
have always striven for, since there is no true civil society
without the equality of nations". President of the party Zlatko
Lagumdzija accused Izetbegovic for hypocrisy since "it was
Izetbegovic and his SDA that have been encouraging transformation
of once fully equal nations into national minorities".
    It is interesting that although the Croatian judges voted
against the decision, there have been no special reactions from
Croatian side. Even the ruling HDZ only supported the court
expressing hope that it would lead to democratisation of the
country. Yet six years ago, just after constituting Federation
B-H, Croatian representatives in the parliament prevented it from
giving constitutional rights to Serbs living in Federation.
Throughout all these years, HDZ was on the frontline of such
resistance. This, only superficially anti-Serbian attitude, was
extremely useful to authorities in the Serb Republic who were very
satisfied with Croatian opposition since they had the same
constitution in their entity. Bosniak were for quite some time
expressing readiness to proclaim three nations constitutional on
all B-H territory. However, one gets the impression, especially
with SDA, that was more of a wish to incorporate exiled Bosniaks
into structures of the Serb Republic than true speaki ng in favour
of national rights. That was illustrated by numerous obstructions
Bosniak authorities used to slow down return of Serbs in
Federation, especially in Sarajevo.
    Immediately after publication of Constitutional Court's ruling
began uncertainties over when and how will this decision become
valid. There were two different opinions - one said that the
Constitutional court would set the date for entities' parliaments
to change their respectable constitutions while another supposed
that controversial parts of entities' constitutions would be
deleted automatically. Few days after bringing the ruling,
president of the Constitutional court Kasim Begic informed the
public about the decision on constitutions. He said that the court
decision becomes valid immediately and that it automatically
cancelled all controversial elements in the entities'
constitutions. So, the elements that put Serbs into position of a
national minority in Federation and Bosniaks and Croats in the
same situation in Serb Republic are now nullified and legally
completely non-existent, even if their parliaments refused to pass
necessary changes. Since this solution was presented afterwards,
several days after the decision, it was probably waited for the
opinion of the international community without which such a
solution would be impossible. The most dominant attitude was that
it was the best immediately declare void contradictory provisions.
It is only logical, since for decision to be valid it needed to be
accepted by the entities' parliaments, which could have prolonged
the process for months, maybe even years.
    Kasim Begic also reflected on Serbian criticism of the way in
which the verdict was brought. He said that the court makes
decision with the majority of the votes and that it was irrelevant
who was which nationality. However, that is only partially true.
It is true that Constitutional court brings verdicts by majority
of votes, but it was created according to strict national division
- two judges from each Bosnian nation plus three foreigners. Were
it the case that Begic classified himself as a Greek or Czech, he
could never enter that institution, despite his expertise. Such
basis caused limited structure of the Bosnia as state and also
made questionable all decisions which should annul its strictly
national framework.
    In 1943, when the foundations of the Yugoslav federation were
laid out, Bosnia and Herzegovina was defined as a country of three
nations equal in their rights. Since then the seats in government
institutions were always given according to nationality and the
power was equally wielded by Moslems (now Bosniaks), Serbs and
Croats. Bosnia and Herzegovina was then a united country, three
nations living in it were mixed in many places and, most
important, they had full constituency on all of Bosnia's
territory. Since war in Bosnia was mostly a national one, all
peace talks came to giving formal blessing to the national
division. Dayton accord, which created two entities in the country
was also based on such foundation. Although nowhere in the
agreement was explicitly said that it created entities as national
countries, everything that followed negotiations pointed at such
conclusion. Even the name of one entity has a clear meaning - the
Serb Republic. It was only logical that the Serbian entity will be
defined in its constitution as the part of Bosnia belonging to
Serbs. Consequently, it was clear that Federation B-H will be the
entity of Serbs and Croats. It was even called "Bosniak-Croat
federation" for years in a colloquial speech. Situation in the
field met all these terms since war caused great migrations and
national persecutions, so the entities became nationally pure.
    However, as war became a thing of past, there was more and
more of those who claimed that denying full constituency to
individual nations was an undemocratic fact which inhibited the
return of refugees and generally posed an impediment to
normalisation of national relationships in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Opposition parties in Federation B-H and then also the ruling SDA
put constituency for all nations in both entities as one of their
top priorities. International community provided only verbal
support to these demands, so that for the last few months most
discussions in Constitutional court came to a standstill since
international judges didn't have a clear standpoint. However,
centres of international power eventually decided to support
radical constitutional change in the country so that at the last
voting they supported Bosniak judges. The motives behind the
decision were only good since the international community wants to
loose strong national divisions that are now prevailing in Bosnia
and to, in such manner, encourage free flow of people between two
entities. Yet, it is not easy to tell how much this decision will
really affect the issue of equality of all nations in every part
of the country. It is hard to believe that due to this ruling of
the Constitutional court the problems of those rare Bosniaks that
are returning to Serbian Republic will be solved overnight or that
return of the Serbs to many parts of Federation will be greeted
with enthusiasm. Such scepticism is further justified by the fact
that Bosniaks don't have all their rights in places where Croats
form a majority and vice versa, on a Federation territory, the
entity where they are formally equal in rights. It seems that
national inequality, harassment and degradment is not coming from
constitution, but from whole situation in Bosnia where all parties
in power have not been committed enough in suppressing
nationalistic extremism. However, the decision of Constitutional
Court still carries much importance. Bosnian nations are given
back the pre-war right to be constitutional and equal in every
part of the country. In a future when social circumstances in
Bosnia and Herzegovina are changed and when more flexible and
democratic parties come to power, such legal framework will show
its full sense.
    Ylber Emra
    After the end of almost fifty years of communist dictatorship, at
the beginning of the last decade Albania gained the reputation of
an Eldorado for foreign investments, but due to general insecurity in
the "land of the eagle" many countries gave up investments into
the Albanian economy. Lately investment activity was given a slight
boost, and among the countries that return to the Albanian market is
    In 1991 a roaring horde pulled down with their bodies the
monument to late communist dictator Enver Hoxha (died in 1986),
which  was dominating the Skender beg Square in Tirana. Already in
March of 1992 democrat Sali Berisha took over power from the
former communists, and the the civilised world thought it meant the
end to a decades-long isolation of Albania and always ready
investors were lured to go to Albania on a massive scale. The
quickest and the most numerous were, of course, Italians, who
always considered Albania to be a zone of the utmost national
importance, and Germans, but there were also Slovenians, Croats,
Americans, Englishmen... Especially popular were joint venture
companies, because such manner of business evaded complicated
system barriers when it came to foreign owners and investors, so
in short time as much as 2000 new Albanian-Italian firms were
founded! They were small to medium-sized businesses, mostly
producing clothes, shoes and non-alcoholic drinks. First Coca-Cola
factory was built in the vicinity of Tirana in 1993, with mostly
Italian capital. There were other manufacturing firms, and Italian
money went also into media, initiating a daily in two languages
("Gazeta Shqiptare"). Italians heavily invested into sea traffic
lines, so that there was a real boom of marine transports at
routes Durres-Bari and Vlora-Brindisi. Many typical Italian
restaurants, taverns and pizzerias were opened in Tirana and towns
at the Adriatic Coast, but also in the north-west places like
Skhodra. There are also English pubs, and Arabs began constructing
"Sheraton" hotel. In the capital's centre there is a luxury (but
too much costly) hotel "Europark". Italians transformed the
existing hotel "Tirana" on Skender Beg Square into "Tirana
International" and there are many new private accommodations of
the high category. Italians invested their money into private
banks (the so-called pyramidal schemes) which resulted in a
disaster when in 1997 there were wide-spread armed unrest... Most
small Italian entrepreneurs came from Puglia, Calabria, Sicily,
Napoli and other parts of the southern Italy, but together with
them came  the Mafia which pushed Albanian crime rate into the
European top!
    Different from Italians who saw Albania as a suitable
opportunity for quick profit, Germans were more cautious and
donated aid in money and material more than investing into their
own firms, counting that by long-term economic and investment
policy they would slowly but inevitably transform Albania into a
zone of German influence which would provide them with a jumpboard
to other Balkan countries, especially Macedonia and Greece.
Germans mostly invested in mainland objects, such as ironworks in
Elbasan, exploitation of gas and oil, agriculture and
infrastructure. In that way was reconstructed "Rinasi" airport,
ten kilometres from Tirana. It is the only airport in the country
where Slovenian airline company "Adria Airways", after losing
former Yugoslavian air space, transferred most of its fleet,
introducing many routes to Mediterranean, European and
intercontinental destinations. Private entrepreneurs from Slovenia
also built large marketplace in Tirana, while Croatian investors
ht it sufficient to adapt and reconstruct many damaged buildings
and transform them into tourist objects. Most Croatian investments
were pumped into sea traffic, mostly building free port space in
the harbour of Durres and introducing sea lines to Dubrovnik,
Ploce, Split and Rijeka.
    Albania was quickly becoming one of the most attractive places
in south-eastern Europe and Mediterranean to investors. It
promptly adapted its legislature to accept foreign money, but
education of the people, who were under long brainwashing during
the communist dictatorship, was coming slow, or not at all. Work
culture was zero, productivity rate was very low, and foreign
bosses were viewed as merciless exploiters and enemies of the
state, that were to be brutally looted. On the other hand, foreign
investors were also brutal to work force, which is illustrated by
the fact that average wages in mixed companies amounted to 50
dollars a month, although a piece of bread cost almost a dollar
during the mid-nineties! And when on 28th February 1997 erupted
numerous armed rebellions throughout the country (direct motive
was theft of a billion dollars to those that were involved with
"pyramidal schemes"), Albanian workers and bureaucrats in mixed
and foreign companies used that opportuni get even with their
foreign bosses. There was an unprecedented loot of their property,
some were even killed, and most of them barely came out alive.
More intelligent hired Albanian armed guards, so there were real
small wars between looters and them, often with big human
    It was only the tardy international action called "Areobaleno"
(Rainbow) with soldiers from ten countries although Italians were
the most numerous and had a commanding role, that prevented this
bloody and mass theft after a couple of months. Yet there were
remaining million pieces of stolen weapon, distributed among the
citizens. Socialists led by university professor and old communist
leader Fatos Nano came to power after early elections in 31st June
1997 and relatively pacified the situation, but armed groups,
especially in the north and east of the country (near Kosovo and
Macedonia), were still endangering lives and property of Albanian
as well as foreign citizens. Even today, three years after
insurgency and many police action to disarm the people, there is
still more than half a million weapon pieces in the wild. Such
ambient is hardly attractive to potential foreign investors.
    Favorable condition is that the government led by Ilir Meta, a
young and energetic politician which came after Pandelli Majka,
brought a set of laws last year which favour all foreign
investments. Taxes were drastically reduced, and law on foreign
investments was completely inclined towards potential investors.
Foreigners practically became equal to local entrepreneurs, and
the Ministry of Interior guarantees personal and property safety.
Liberalisation of foreign trade immediately had effect, so
investment activity once again stepped up. Yet it was constructive
and very active Albanian diplomacy which gave a decisive impetus
to such trends.
    At least verbal decision to stop patronising Albanians in
Kosovo and restraining from direct involvement into the internal
affairs of that part of Yugoslavia, establishment of excellent
relations with the neighbouring Greece, Macedonia, Italy and
Montenegro, decisive abandoning of the "greater Albania" project
and a very active role in the Pact for stability of the
south-eastern  Europe made Albania important factor in the foreign
affairs of the Balkans. Renewed interest for investment came as a
logical consequence of such behaviour. Although Italian,
traditionally oriented to this zone, don't euphoristically
recommend Albania as a promised country - other neighbours,
especially Greece and Albanian old ally Turkey, are ready to give
money, as well as Slovenia and Croatia. In short time Tirana was
visited by many foreign statesman, including Croatian president
Stipe Mesic, who expressed great interest in investments into
Albanian economy. It is natural for Croatia to, via national
industry INA, find special interest in exploiting rich oil fields
and co-operate with Albania in energy sector, as well as merchant
fleet, reconstruction of the ports of Durres, Valona and Volipoje
and opening shopping centres and tourist objects. Albanian economy
just now initiated the process of privatisation, so big Croatian
firms have ideal opportunity to buy or lease many booming objects,
especially on the beautiful Adriatic coast.
    Road network is in puny state, especially in the north and
east of the country. Vital road line Tirana - Skadar, 170
kilometres long, will be built by international tenders, while
part from Skadar to Montenegrin border is being quickly
reconstructed and expanded as it is the easiest way to Europe.
Adriatic - Ionian highway, which will be built under Pact for
stability and in great part passes through Albanian territory, is
a good opportunity for Croatian firms to take part in this
colossal undertaking, as well as reconstruction of railroad Skadar
- Montenegrin border which connects Albania with the European
railroad network. Adding the fact that plans have been drawn for
building "dream highway" from Durres to Skopje (and then the road
leads to Sofia and Constantinople) which will bring Macedonia to
Adriatic sea - it is clear that Albania should soon become a
gigantic construction site with niches for all who express
interest in it, especially for those who early stand in the lin
investment into Albanian market.
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 And if you're a
citizen of a post-communist country, FREE annual memberships are
still available at<br>
    In an ongoing effort to bring our readers the best and most
significant news from the region, we have revamped our Week in
Review section to include the TOP 10 stories from the 28 countries
TOL covers. Fewer in number but more in-depth, these stories will
offer readers a sharper, filtered look at post-communist countries
in transition.
    1. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Srebrenica remembered
    2. Tajikistan: UN observers agree to stay
    3. Russia: No holidays for oligarchs
    4. Yugoslavia: Federal crisis still rumbling
    5. Czech Republic: New election law threatens small parties
    6. Latvia: Soviet-era war criminal convicted
    7. Bulgaria: Libya criticizes Bulgarian press coverage
    8. Kazakhstan: Former PM arrested in Rome
    9. Estonia: Local businessmen plan to buy railway
   10. Hungary: US wants Budapest to buy American
    Two more articles from our July series on Internet development
across the region:
    IN FOCUS: Very Remote Connection
    by Shukhrat Khurramov
    Some Uzbeks claim to have heard about it. Others have had the
rare chance to browse its borderless wonders. Many still don't
know what it is. As a word, "Internet" has only very recently
entered the lexicon of a small group of Uzbeks. As a concept to
put to practical use, it remains relatively obscure and
distant--but shouldn't remain so remote for much longer.
    IN FOCUS: Estonia's E-King
    by Kristjan Kaljund
    Rain Lohmus smiles a lot. Casually dressed in jeans and a
sports vest, he looks much younger than his 33 years. Nothing
reveals that he is one of Estonia's richest and most talked-about
businessmen. After Lohmus rose to success in 1991 by starting up a
private bank, he shifted his energies toward the Internet,
starting Estonia's first online auction site. And now Estonia's
e-pioneer is branching out--again.
    OPINION: No Special Treatment
    by Peter Schutz
    Immediately after the perforation of Slovak President Rudolf
Schuster's large intestine and his subsequent operation, doctors
gave him a 1 percent chance of survival. Further developments
disproved that gloomy prognosis, not however, to the credit of
Slovak doctors and Slovak health care. After 10 years without
reform, the failure of the health system finally came into focus,
but so did the reality that political squabbles could derail any
hope of improvement.
    OPINION: Death of a Rebel
    by Cory Welt
    On 9 July, Georgian special forces shot and killed former
Lieutenant-Colonel Akaki Eliava, the amnestied ringleader of a
1998 failed coup attempt. Government officials claim that Eliava
was shot after his men initiated a gunfight with special forces
officers, while attempting to leave the police station. But many
suspect the entire scene was staged to eliminate Eliava, a likely
participant in any future efforts to destabilize the present
    OPINION: Musing over Disappointments
    by Oleg Varfolomeyev
    Ukraine's bonhomie with the West is long gone. Rather than
seeing the West as a democratic protector and patron, Ukrainians
are more likely to bemoan the West's "biased attitude" toward
their country. And, on the flip side, official corruption and
unstable legislation have scared away foreign governments and
investors. Such attitudes do not bode well for Ukraine's
democratic progress and the security concerns of the West.
    The following article is one of TOL's Annual Surveys for 1999:
exclusive overviews of individual countries in the region written
for TOL by top local and Western analysts and edited by regional
specialist Professor Peter Rutland of Wesleyan University. These
valuable resources follow the fine tradition established by the
OMRI/East-West Institute Annual Surveys. Both sets of reports, old
and new, can be found in our expanded Country Files
<> along with links and maps for the
27 countries in the post-communist world.
    Poland 1999: A Curious Year
    by Krzysztof Jasiewicz and Agnieszka Jasiewicz-Betkiewicz
    1999 was a curious year in Polish politics. The political
system showed signs of stability and democratic sustainability: It
was the second year in a row without a change of government or
prime minister and Jerzy Buzek, after 620 days in office, became
the record-holder for longevity in office of all the post-1989
prime ministers. On the other hand, incidents of popular unrest
and protests against government policies intensified to levels
unprecedented since the early 1990s.