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Issue No. 201. - Decembre 01, 2000.
1. Croatia: ZAGREB SUMMIT - CROATIA STEPS INTO EUROPE
by Ivica Juric
2. Romania: THE ELECTIONS OF NOVEMBER 26, 2000, IN ROMANIA
By Gabriela Adamesteanu
3. FRY/Kosovo: KOSOVO IN THE SPOTLIGHT AGAIN
by Ylber Emra
4. Ukraine: ANOTHER STRATEGIC SHIFT - TOWARD RUSSIA
by Ivan Lozowy
5. Special addition : NEW AT TOL
"I wonder if the non-aligned movement
has come again",
said an older Zagreb woman with an exceptional sense of humour
while waiting at the tram station. She was waiting for a tram
that never arrived, due to the special traffic regulations on
Friday, 24th November.
The Zagreb summit reminded her of now-ancient times when
the area now known as south-eastern Europe was one of the
centres, not just an object, of international initiatives.
Croatia was assigned an important role--to host a meeting of the
heads of the EU states and the countries of the former Yugoslavia
and Albania. It thus got a chance to take some initiative into
its own hands - in the person of Croatian president Mesic who,
presided over the summit along with his French counterpart
The agreement to begin negotians for Croatia's entry into
the EU was signed and made official during the Zagreb conference.
Croatia stands third in the line of ex-Yugoslavian countries
waiting for EU membership - Slovenia and Macedonia have already
finished negotiations, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and FR
Yugoslavia are still waiting to begin them. Being ahead of B-H
and FRY is a small consolation - the fact is, Croatia is lagging
behind in European integrations. But with a new government and a
new president, Croatia is catching up with the new Europe,
although there is still strong internal opposition to it.
The Zagreb summit served as a test for that resistance.
Exponents of Croatian anti-European rhetoric formed war veterans
associations in the early 90s. The Croatian Democratic Union
(HDZ), led by Franjo Tudjman for ten years and now the opposition
party, is a driving ideological force between anti-European
isolationist movement. Veterans and the HDZ synchronised their
actions on the day of summit, but were drained like a boxer
hitting air. HDZ members gathered at the Upper House of
Parliament at a staged session where they "analysed" the summit
and called upon the isolationist spirit of Franjo Tudjman. A
total of only 700 veterans protested on Zagreb's Marshal Tito
Square against the arrival of Yugoslav president Vojislav
Kostunica, and against president Stipe Mesic and prime minister
Ivica Racan. The HDZ in the Upper House were not joined by the
other MPs, and few new veterans joined the bellicose group of war
veterans on Tito's square.
It seems anti-European sentiment will be remembered after
the summit as simply a stage in Croatian politics. It is what
remains of the rhetoric that HDZ renegades used during the last
decade to inspire scare citizens away from Balkan integration and
manipulate their fears. This is why the HDZ severely condemned
the fact that 500 Croatian businessmen visited Belgrade just
before the summit. Their Serbian counterparts eagerly awaited the
return of the old Croatian market former Yugoslavian times when,
for example, 90 percent of elevators in Belgrade buildings were
made in Croatia.
The main argument on which the veterans and HDZ representatives
based their protests was Kostunica's arrival and his failure
to apologise to Croats for the events of the past decade.
President Stipe Mesic and Prime Minister Ivica Racan defended
themselves from this criticism saying Kostunica was in fact
invited by the European Union, not Croatia. Kostunica sidestepped
the requested by stressing the complexity and intertwined causes
of the war. Kostunica was the star of summit, partly because of
the Croatian protests, but partly because of his relations with
Montenegrin leader Djukanovic.
Officials in Zagreb are satisfied because the summit
confirmed that the EU will approach the countries of
south-eastern Europe indivudually. This unravelled one of the
main arguments of local critics, who claim that all the countries
of former Yugoslavia with the exception of Slovenia will have to
enter the European Union together. Right-wing but also central
Croatian parties think this is just another name for new Balkan
integration, which they oppose.
"Entry into the EU will be in the form of a regatta, not a
convoy" said Croatian president Mesic, who thinks Croatia will
enter EU by the end of his mandate in 2005. Croatian prime
minister Racan announced that Croatia will file an official
request for full EU membership as early as next year. "Europe is
our destiny," Mesic said at summit's close. Of course, he didn't
mean only Croatia. The road to Europe, as was clearly stated in
the Zagreb Declaration, also leads to good neighbourhood
relations between the Balkan states. The obligations for the
countries of former Yugoslavia are clear, but Europe can also do
a great deal. Besides good wishes, the key factor is economic
interest, which should be also stimulated by the EU countries.
New connective tissue - primarily economic - might be aided by an
Adriatic-Ionian highway from Trieste to Greece, connecting
Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania,
etc. This road could be the fastest means to enter Europe from
the Balkans, literally as well as metaphorically. The road is a
chance for this part of south-east Europe to enter a new
millennium. For now, the person who best understands it is
Croatian president Mesic, who often stresses the importance of
building this road, and even mentioned it at the Zagreb summit.
Romania: THE ELECTIONS OF NOVEMBER 26, 2000, IN ROMANIA
By Gabriela Adamesteanu
When the first
estimates of the November 26, 2000
elections were made, most of Romania's public opinion was
overwhelmed with shock and panic.
The second round of presidential elections will be
held on December 10, between Ion Iliescu (71 years of age, leader
of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania - PDSR,former
comunist), who obtained 36.8% of the votes, and Corneliu Vadim
Tudor (aged 55, leader of the Greater Romania
Party,ultranationalist ), who has a share of 28.5% of the votes.
Ion Iliescu's victory was expected, given the excessive
number of presidential candidates of the center and center-right,
who divided the votes of an electorate that was anyway
disoriented, after the rather late moment when Emil
Constantinescu announced his decision to not be a candidate for
another presidential assignment (July 17, 2000). The presidential
candidates were only regarded as engines of their parties, and
there was no focused, steady effort made to choose one strong
counter-candidate for Ion Iliescu. Therefore, the votes were
divided in the following way: Theodor Dumitru Stolojan (National
Liberal Party): 11.9%; Constantin Mugurel Isarescu (independent,
supported by the Democratic Convention-2000): 9.8%; Gyorgy Frunda
(Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania): 6.02%; Petre Roman
(Democratic Party): 3%.
Corneliu Vadim Tudor, who suddenly emerged as Ion
Iliescu's counter-candidate, having only 8% votes less than the
latter, is a former court poet and journalist of Nicolae
Ceausescu's, a promoter of a nationalist-chauvinistic and
populist position. His electoral discourse, nevertheless,
emphasized less the anti-minority issues (Hungarians, Roma and Jews
being his usual targets), and had rather a justice-seeking,
anti-political tone.His slogan was: "up our homeland, down the
mafia". He even made statements about his wish to have Romania a
NATO and European Union member.
The evolution of C.V.Tudor in post-December 1989
Romania is that of a variant of Zhirinovski, and has, similarly,
relations with the most conservative wing of the former political
police, Ceausescu's Securitate, which makes up much of his party.
The Greater Romania Party (PRM) is full of corrupted people, who
have been tried for criminal offences. Because of Corneliu Vadim
Tudor's successful populist demagoguery, this party has won 20%
of the seats in Parliament: 19.55% in the Chamber of Deputies and
20.98% in the Senate. It has the second position, after PDSR,
which is the first in Parliament, following the elections. Still,
PDSR got less votes than estimated by opinion polls before the
PDSR went into the elections as the Social Democratic
Pole of Romania - PDSR, and won 37% of the votes: 37.2% for the
Chamber of Debuties and 37.69% in the Senate. The great loser was
the Democratic Convention-2000 and especially the National
Christian-Democratic Peasant Party (PNTCD), the main government
party for the past four years, a party having a tradition of 80
years and which has not had sufficient votes to be represented in
Parliament: it had 5.5% for the Senate and 5.6 for the Chamber of
Deputies. As a member of an alliance, with the Union of
Democratic Forces and other small parties, it needed 10% of the
votes to be eligible for Parliament.
Very soon after the first estimates of the November 26
votes, the main winning party, PDSR, announced that it would not
govern with the ultra-nationalist party PRM, and that, if
Corneliu Vadim Tudor were to be elected as a president following
the December 10 runoff elections, PDSR would join the
opposition, and leave PRM by itself to form a government.
It is obvious that PRM would not be able to obtain an
investment vote in such a situation, and an off-year election
would become inevitable: but not without a period of anarchy and
revenge difficult to imagine. The declarations that C.V.Tudor
made over the years give good reason to be alarmed. He said that
the country has to be governed by a machine gun, he said that he
would outlaw the Hungarian's party in Romania, UDMR, he said that he
would withdraw the citizenship to enemies. Years ago, he
published a list with the most prominent names in Romania's
culture and politics, who were to be subject to trials as people
"sold to the West". One of Tudor's deputies promised to put in
place concentration camps for journalists after the elections.
Foreign investments would certainly leave this country not
only because C.V.Tudor announced that there would be a
centralized economy, but also because the political instability
resulting would be most serious.
If Ion Iliescu is elected president on December 10 and
PDSR will keep his promise to not govern with PMR, there will be
two oppositions in Parliament: one will be PRM and the other one,
the democratic parties which were elected for Parliament with
rather modest shares of votes: the Democratic Party more than 7%
(7.13% for the Chamber of Deputies and 7.64% for the Senate, the
Liberal Party 7% (6.9% in the Chamber of Deputies and 7.44% in
the Senate) and the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania more
than 6% (6.3% in the Chamber of Deputies and 6.4 in the Senate).
Negociations are currently pursued between the three democratic
parties (PNL, PD and UDMR) and the PDSR, the main winner, to have
unconditional support of the former in favour of the Ion Iliescu
election, and further support in case the PDSR, once in
government, keeps a pro-Western policy, going on with the reform,
as expected by Western institutions and by the necessity of
joining the European Union and NATO. PDSR announced a project for
a minoritarian government, lead by Adrian Nastase,
prime-minister, well-known as a pro-western and pro-reformest
member of the party.
The December 10 vote has an enormous weight and has
already given birth to a civic action to support Ion Iliescu,
even in the groups which have traditionally been against him: an
Appeal signed by many personalities from all over the country, a
students' march which is being prepared, declarations of
politicians and journalists.
There is serious concern because - surprisingly -it
seems that young people from 18 to 40 voted in bigger numbers
for C.V.Tudor, rather than older people, rural areas rather than
cities, Transylvania and Banat rather than Moldova and Muntenia
(Eastern and Southern Romania). It is possible that a big part of
these voters didn't know the real personnality of CV Tudor, an
actor, even a clown in reality. The media had a bad electoral
There are various explanations for what happened: the
1996-2000 government's lack of economic efficiency and of
communication with the citizens, the lack of solidarity among the
politicians of the right, corruption, dilettantism and
disorganization at all levels of society, the exceedingly
aggressive campaign of PDSR and of the media serving it, which
forged a justice-seeking discourse that in the end turned also
against itself, as well as the journalists' lack of
professionalism and so on. We should nevertheless not forget that
the people here have practically no political culture, and they
also tend to be mostly indifferent, if not straight to adhere to
the nationalistic discourse.
Poverty and a low level of standards of life are often
quoted as causes of this situation, but the complicated thing is
that there were areas and categories of an average cultural and
living standard level, where C.V.Tudor was voted just out of
irresponsibility. The vote of 10 December and the new annalyses
can change this black landscape, but it couldn't change anything
in the composition of the Parlament.
Kosovo is again in the spotlight
attention. Following peaceful local elections in this formally
Yugoslav province, violence has again broken out, this time
directed towards supporters of the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo
(DSK) headed by Ibrahim Rugova, whose party won the elections
organised by the international government. A new hot spot has
emerged in the valley of Presevo, which is a demilitarized zone between
Kosovo and Serbia. This valley witnessed fighting among local
Albanians, members of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Bujanovac
and Medvedje (OVPBM) and Serbian police. In response, authorities
in Belgrade have deployed strong police and military forces in
While tensions in and around Kosovo grow, the Hague
Tribunal's continues to investigate mass graves dating from when
the province was controlled by former Yugoslav president Slobodan
Milosevic. The investigation began last year, when NATO forces
and the UN government first arrived in the province, and no one
is immune-- neither representatives of the former government in
Serbia, some of whom have already been indicted for war crimes,
nor members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
Experts of the Hague Tribunal for war crimes have found
about four thousand bodies and human remains during the
exhumations in Kosovo - said chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte
during her speech at the UN Security Council, stressing that this
number was not final, since not all the teams have submitted
their reports yet. She added that the exhumations in Kosovo were
finished and that it is only now possible to piece together the
whole puzzle of the scale and origins of the crimes.
In less than two years, Hague experts have discovered a
total of 520 mass graves in Kosovo. Pathologists have performed
1,807 autopsies, but Del Ponte says the exact number of the
victims will never be known, due to attempts to burn bodies or
hide them in other ways.
Albanian sources claimed that over 10,000 Albanians were
killed in Kosovo, but the real number of missing persons is
actually somewhere between 3,500 and 7000. On the other side,
Serbs claim that before NATO air strikes 900 Serbs were murdered
in Kosovo, while 1,100 non-Albanians were kidnapped. These
sources claim that an additional 1000 non-Albanians, mostly
Serbs, were killed in Kosovo after the deployment of
international forces, with an additional 1,300 being kidnapped.
An independent investigation organised by the Hague Tribunal
found nowhere as many bodies as the two sides--Albanian and
Serbian, who have been at odds for decades--claim to have
witnessed in the past two and a half years.
Certain Kosovar Albanians leaders have been disturbed by
del Ponte's statement that she has received many pleas to look
into continued ethnic cleansing of the Serbs and Romas remaining
in Kosovo. According to the international government's data, the
numbers of these populations have decreased by almost two-thirds
in the past year and a half. Some Kosovar Albanians leaders, such
as the former political and military KLA leaders Hashim Thaqi and
Agim Cheku, barely conceal their disappointment not only with
such statements, but also with the poor results seen by the Party
of democratic progress (PDP), founded from political wing of the
officially demilitarised KLA.
One Kosovar Albanians shadow leader said on the condition
of total anonymity that Tachi and Ceku recognised themselves in
those accusations, but what they fear more is the list of those
indicted for war crimes committed before and during NATO air
strikes. Two of them know, says the source, that the prosecutor's
office in the Hague has prepared at least five indictments
against Kosovar Albanians for crimes against humanity.
Their fears were heightened, according to the source, by
De Ponte's recent request to the Security Council to change the
statute of the Tribunal so that crimes against humanity are
unrelated armed conflict, which would enable the court to indict
all responsible for such crimes. Del Ponte said the "tribunal
must make sure that the unique opportunity to bring justice to
the people of the former Yugoslavia doesn't go down in history as
superficial or biased in favour of one ethnic group".
One of the high officials of the international government
in Kosovo confirmed the existence of indictments against some
Kosovar Albanians, but refused to name them. At the direct
question of whether Tachi, Ceku and some other local commanders
of the former KLA were on the list the official responded in
Violence in Kosovo
After peace before, during and after the local elections,
new violence has broken out in Kosovo. One day after the official
announcement of the elections results, with Rugova's DSK winning
a landslide victory, four members of a Roma family of returnees
were killed in the Drenic county of Srbica. One Roma child of 14
was found dead and burned in the town of Urosevac.
Although the murderers, like those before them, remain at
large, well-informed sources say the victims were killed by extremist
Albanian groups or individuals, and that the message is clear: no
return to Kosovo for non-Albanians, nor any possibility for them
to lead a normal life.
Violence continues toward officials and supporters of DSK.
A high local DSK official was killed in the town of Pec; a father
and son, both DSK supporters, were wounded in Decani; the wife of
the chief of Rugova's security was beaten in Pristina; a bomb was
thrown at the house of a DSK activist in Dragas; and a 24-year
old Albanian was killed in the main street of Djakovica at noon,
on 20th November.
Other Kosovo communities are undergoing pressure, threats
and attacks. Inter-Albanian conflicts escalated with the murder
of one of Rugova's closest collaborators, Xhemailj Mustafa.
Mustafa was killed in Dardania, an elite district of Pristina in
the early afternoon, when two unknown persons fired four shots at
him. This murder occurred only a few days after the Yugoslav
government issued a formal appeal to DSK leader Ibrahim Rugova to
start negotiations on the status of Kosovo. It was addressed in
the media by the new Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica, who
enjoys the widespread support of the international community.
Clashes at the Kosovo Border
As violence in Kosovo increases, a new hot spot is
developing at the border of eastern Kosovo and southernmost
Serbia in the area of Presevo, Bujanova and Medvece, with a
population of 80,000 Albanians.
Serious clashes broke out between OVPBM and Serbian police
over the period of November 19 to 23. Using heavy arms, OVPBM
pushed Serbian police out of the five-kilometre demilitarized zone.
Belgrade responded dramaticcally. New police and military forces
were sent to the region, ready and trained to act. Their presence
caused about 3,500 Albanians to flee from the valley of Presevo
to the area of Gnjilan and Kosovska Kamnica. Also, several
hundred Serbs found shelter in central Serbia.
Foreign representatives in Kosovo and leading countries of
western Europe condemned this OVPBM action as an act of
terrorism. At the same time, they issued a public warning to
Belgrade not to use force. These statements were issued from
centre of Kosovo's international government in Pristina and from
NATO HQs in Brussels.
Belgrade knows the dangers inherent in any repressive
action, so before visiting crisis areas in southern Serbia,
Kostunica said he would rather resolve the problems through
diplomacy, not force.
It seems his viewpoint is shared by international forces
in Kosovo, who acted as middle-men in an indirect agreement
between the two parties--the Yugoslavian government and
OVPBM--not to use violent means in the region. It is still
unknown how long the deal will last, since many people on both
the Serbian and Albanian sides have the power and the will to
break the agreement and continue with the fighting. The flare-up
of such conflicts will greatly endanger the fragile peace in the
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Yugoslav Army Beefs Up Boundary Near Kosovo Legendary Czech
Runner Dies Romanians Vote For Return to the Past Oil Pipeline
Completed in the Caucasus Putin Steps in to Broker Middle East
Dialogue Kyrgyz Minister Resigns for Post in Russia Azeri
Election Results Fuel Further Political Crisis Hungary and
Italian Journal in Anti-Semitism Tit-for-Tat Chernobyl Shut Down,
Maybe for Good Historic Zagreb Summit Deals With Balkan Question
OUR TAKE: Getting Rid of the Ghosts On the Zagreb summit.
The Difficulty in Judging "Little Whores"
by Iulian Robu
Good artist? Good informer? Peter Kalmus thinks 66-year-old
Alexander Mlynarcik is one of the best artists of the 1970s and
1980s. And the majority of Slovakia's artists and critics from
Mlynarcik's generation agree. But those sentiments don't
necessarily carry over to the personal realm--Kalmus doesn't
consider Mlynarcik to be one of the best human beings of his
generation. There's a lot of whispering going on in the kitchens
of communist-era artists in Slovakia.
FEATURE: Sweet Rolls, Dinosaurs, and Bomb Shelters
by Russell Working
Bunkered in a hillside above Vladivostok, the port city where
Russia's Pacific Fleet anchors, Slavyansky Khleb may be one of
the most secure bakeries on the planet. The steel doors--big
enough to drive a van through--are five inches thick. The walls
are reinforced concrete. There are water reservoirs, a filter to
scrub radioactive contamination from the air, and enough space to
sleep director Sergei Prishchepin, his eight employees and 1,991
of their closest friends in case of nuclear war.
Kosovo in Limbo
by Tomas Miglierina
Refugees don't usually carry cameras--but Shkumbin Istrefi isn't
the typical refugee. When he decided to flee Kosovo for
neighboring Macedonia in March 1999--just two days before NATO
started bombing Yugoslavia--Istrefi took with him some cash,
clothes, and a camera. When he returned to his hometown of
Pristina three months later, that camera was the only piece of
equipment left in his video production studio, CMB productions.
His business is now thriving. Kosovo's economy is full of such
entrepreneurs, but without rules and regulations economic
transformation won't be easy.
OPINION: Personalities Over Politics
by Jiri Pehe
After this month's Czech regional and Senate elections, one thing
is sure. The right-wing Civic Democratic Party and its leader,
Vaclav Klaus, are in an unfortunate situation: They enjoy the
loyal support of approximately one quarter of the electorate but
are strongly disliked by the remaining 75 percent.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Mark of Change
Some of the smaller states that previously feared German
dominance are voluntarily choosing the German mark as their
currency for the economic stability it provides. The most recent
example of this is Montenegro.