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Issue No. 218 - April 10, 2001


1. Bosnia and Herzegovina: POOR DEFENDING THE RICH
             By Goran Vezic

            By Zoran Mamula

             By Slobodan Rackovic

            By Peter Karaboev

5.  Special Edition: NEW AT TOL

Bosnia and Herzegovina: POOR DEFENDING THE RICH
      By Goran Vezic
    It's not news when a dog bites a man, but it is when a man defends a bank in some of the countries of the former Yugoslavia,
a region where banks robbed people senseless, starting from confiscating foreign currency savings and ending with all kinds
of financial engineering. This happened last Friday in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The day proved unlucky for 18 SFOR soldiers, three policemen and three civilians who ended up in the hospital after fighting in front of the Mostar office of the Bank of
Herzegovina, and in branch offices in other towns of Herzegovina. SFOR soldiers stood guard to search of bank and install temporary management in the center of the Mostar bank and in its branch offices in southern Bosnian cities of Siroki Brijeg, Posusje, Tomislavgrad, Orasje and elsewhere in Bosnia with a Croatian majority. SFOR acted upon orders from HR Wolfgang Petritsch, and angry Croats from Herzegovina opposed them, defending their own political, military, police and financial elite. Searching computers is, in the eyes of impoverished people, the same as messing with their pride and political rights. After a long time, Mostar once again came to brink of war, although Petritsch struggled to prove that the whole operation was planned to unmask misdoings in the bank in order to protect ordinary small account holders. The international community's tough stance was immediately opposed by the political elite headed by HDZ and Ante Jelavic, a former member of the Bosnian presidency. Then the army rebelled - HVO soldiers left the barracks and dressed as civilians, police disobeyed orders from the federal Ministry of the Interior, Croatian HDZ officials on canton, town and county levels all turned their backs on federal authorities. Croats in Herzegovina turned their back on Sarajevo, but also on New York,Brussels, Wien, Strasbourg, and even Zagreb.
    The motive for the rebellion was the establishment of a Bosnian government with no place for Croats from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which got 90 percent of votes from Croatian voters; and only for the few Croats from SDP and Croatian parties that joined the winning Alliance for democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina. HDZ retaliated with the establishment of Croatian self-management headed by the Croatian People's Assembly, trying to create a third entity and
resurrect the Croatian war republic of Herzeg-Bosnia. Petritsch took sent Jelavic out of the game, but Jelavic returned, inciting
his spectators to rebel.
    The game is still going on and its purpose isn't just to give HDZ officials  state functions in Sarajevo. There are
more important, financial reasons behind it.
    With the removal of HDZ from power in Zagreb, financial foundations to Mostar and western Herzegovina's oligarchy were
shattered. While the former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman sent 300 million US dollars per year to HVO, the current Croatian government sent 60 million USD last year, and nothing this year.  Eight thousand HVO soldiers who were receiving 500 dollars wage dropped to 250 dollars, thus becoming equal to average pay in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Food in the barracks also became a problem. The military wing of HDZ was also endangered with the fact that the Ministry of Defense was given to Mijo Anic, a person from New Croatian Initiative headed by HDZ's dissident Kresimir Zubak. Former lieutenant of Yugoslav People's Army and war supply officer of the Croatian Defense Council Ante Jelavic got an idea to save 54 million dollars for his army, as claimed by Wolfgang Petritsch. With that money he planned to support disbanded army - each of generals and soldiers would get 250 dollars a month although they would not work - in order to keep Bosnian Croats' armed forces under his control. For it he used - as Petritsch claims - money from Croatia. 54 million dollars coming from Croatia for the needs of handicapped and war victims were put into accounts of the Bank of Herzegovina. It is absurd that the money was intended for those who are now in the front lines of the defense of the bank owned by the political elite of Bosnian Croats, and one of the owners is also Ante Jelavic.
      The people who were robbed in Herzegovina think that establishment of the third - Croatian - entity would bring them closer to their mythical dream of joining Croatia. HDZ politicians and even church officials, in a situation when Croatian government isn't prepared to set aside money for its "citizens abroad", calculate that 27 percent of Croats in Federation give 60 percent of their income to the federal budget. They wouldn't share money with Bosniaks, but neither with Croats
outside of their familiar political and military circle.
     How will the crisis go on? Jelavic himself said Sunday at the celebration of the ninth HVO anniversary in Mostar that he
expected early elections because, he says, the Bosnian government is illegitimate. "Croats will never accept it", said Jelavic,
adding that Croats were ready to hang on and win because "freedom has no price." It is not hard to forecast that this crisis will
spread to Zagreb, the  culprit for lack of money for Bosnian HDZ. Those who lost positions built with force and cunning for a
decade don't give up easily - last Monday, led by pro-HDZ veteran HQs for the defense of war dignity, they held a protest in front of SFOR's base near Split, Croatia.
     Croatian President Stipe Mesic gave a clear statement regarding SFOR action in the Bank of Herzegovina and the
subsequent Croatian rebellion on Saturday. "This response shows fear; the public will find out who had control over money and how it was distributed," said Mesic.
     A day before that, during his visit to Zagreb, Bosnian foreign minister Zlatko Lagumdzija said: "It was all, as far as I
know, undertaken because there was a possibility of a false crisis that would serve as a motive to empty bank accounts of
rich individuals. In such a way, some rich people would collect their money, leaving a huge gaping hole to many small bank
clients who would have their accounts blocked. It means that many people with some small savings could have been left without their money. In a way, maybe it is an attempt to prevent the dream of every nationalist - to have national money in the national bank so that national thieves can collect money from their nation. Now that strategy is being pushed out on all three levels - two
entities and joint Bosnia and Herzegovina."
     Why didn't demonstrators from Herzegovina believe those words as they fought SFOR's armored vehicles with bare hands and stones while helicopters and while bullets flew over their heads? Some of them have gotten used to life led by the "worse is
better" principle. The majority got used to masochism during the last decade. When they were destroying their city of Mostar, they were certain it was for their own good. When they were destroying their state, they also persuaded themselves it was in their interest. When they fired at the first European administrator Hans Koschnik who was building schools, hospitals and
kindergartens, they were persuaded he was the hated occupator. When social democrats won in Croatia, they insultingly hung
"Welcome comrades" signs at the border crossings although comrades - the Croatian poor - were coming to leave their money
in cheap general stores in Herzegovina. When Mesic came after Tudjman, they gave his dolls to army novices to use for training
in shooting. That is why today, when south-eastern Europe is coming round to its senses, only in Herzegovina is it possible
for people with money in their pockets to defend a bank.
            By Zoran Mamula
    With the arrest of the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic on April 1st, an era ended that will remain a black stain on the history of the Serbian nation, but also of other nations in the formerly "great" Yugoslavia. Milosevic came to power in 1987, thanks to the sentence, "Nobody can hurt you,” addressed to Kosovar Serbs when they complained to him, as the leader of the Serbian Communists, of police repression from Albanians.  Fourteen years later, Serbs are almost nonexistent in Kosovo, similar to Croatia, and in Serbia itself the disastrous economic and social effects of ten years of international sanctions is visible at every step. All these are just some of the consequences of Milosevic's rule that the new authorities are trying to remedy.
    Before ruining his own nation, the Serbian dictator caused much grief to other nations of the former Yugoslavia. When Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to proclaim independence in 1991, spurred by the unprecedented nationalistic hysteria sparked by Milosevic, the tyrant from Belgrade put his war machine into motion trying to create a "Greater Serbia," that would encompass all areas populated with Serbs. Basically, Slobodan Milosevic was neither a communist nor a nationalist. He only wanted unlimited power over as much territory as he could get.
    He let Slovenia go after a short-lived war because few Serbs lived there, but Croatia could not avoid sustaining heavy war damage. Milosevic organized an armed rebellion of Croatian Serbs and, supported by a Yugoslav army loyal to his command, created a para-state called "Republic of Srpska Krajina." This military venture saw many casualties, and cities like Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Osijek were damaged. But after four years, the tide of war turned when Milosevic realized that he could not hold on to occupied territories. Under pressure from the international community, Milosevic turned his back on the Krajina Serbs.  The Croatian army broke the resistance in August 1995, and 250,000 Serbs fled to Serbia.  Milosevic's war politics met the same fate in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After winning more than 70 percent of Bosnian territory, killing thousands of Bosniaks and besieging and shelling Sarajevo, Bosnian Serbs led by Milosevic's men Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic had to withdraw after the actions of Bosniak and Croatian forces. Milosevic had no choice but to agree in November 1995 to the Dayton Peace Accord, which gave him only a Serbian entity in part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, instead of a Serbian state covering all of Bosnian territory. But these bad experiences meant nothing to the dictator from Belgrade, and a third war erupted in Kosovo.
    Since Milosevic dissolved Kosovo's autonomy in 1989, Albanians have been thrown out of all state functions. They have suffered repression at the hands of Serbian police, and have been arrested and interrogated.  The Ghandi-style resistance supported by their leader, Ibrahim Rugova, could not last forever. In spring 1998, an armed formation of Kosovar Albanians appeared - the Kosovo Liberation Army - that rapidly grew into a respectable force.  Milosevic decided to put down the rebellion, using the only methods he knew – destroying whole Albanian villages he claimed were harboring "Albanian terrorists."  The international community, especially the USA, had to react and set an ultimatum before Milosevic: Either accept the arrival of NATO troops in Kosovo, or Yugoslavia would be bombed.  The former Yugoslav president picked the worse solution as usual, and on March 24, 1999, NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia began.  Many Serbian citizens were killed in three months of bombing, but Albanians also suffered, shot by Serbian special units in revenge.
    Milosevic agreed to the stationing of international forces in Kosovo and the withdrawal of both the police and the army.  This spurred a new exodus of 200,000 Serbs running from Albanian revenge.  Lacking any sense of reality, the Yugoslav president declared this defeat a victory - a great victory for the Serbian nation.  The Serbs who knew this "victory" best were those who fled in panic from Kosovar cities with only the bare minimum, knowing that they would probably never return to their homes. After the war in Kosovo, Milosevic heated up relations with Montenegro, the only federal unit left, and armed conflict was only prevented thanks to a change of government in Serbia.  However, Montenegro could still secede.  Finally, instead of the planned "Greater Serbia," there remained only a small and destroyed country, headed by president accused of war crimes.
    And why did Serbian citizens accept all of that; why didn't they offer more resistance to the dictatorship that ruled until last October, when Milosevic was toppled? These questions do not have an easy answer. Serbs have lived in a very difficult situation, and since the introduction of international standards their standard of living has been constantly declining. The year 1993 saw record-breaking inflation - average wages reached three Deutsch marks, and a loaf of bread cost 5 billion dinars. Citizens had to buy goods immediately after they received their wages or change them into German marks since only hours later a new price correction would come through.
    Over the past decade all profitable firms were destroyed, and NATO air forces pounded the last nail into the coffin. The air strikes literally destroyed some economic giants; damages from the bombardment were estimated at 30 billion dollars. During the last year, the average pay was 50 DEM, and the most vital goods cost a family of three 200 DEM a month. According to the most  recent information, only 30 percent of workforce are employed, and the foreign debt is approximately 12 billion dollars. Without significant help from the international community, Serbia will not be able to overcome the obstacles it faces, even with a new government.  Over the years there have been social rebellions, but they were relatively easy to put down with the famous sentence uttered by both state officials and journalists from the state-controlled media: "Serbs are in danger, and must present a united front against the new world order, headed by the USA."
    This sentence answers the question of why the opposition was so ineffective, and why last year Milosevic won the elections relatively easily. Many opposition leaders supported Milosevic's war politics, and some of them criticized him for "indecisiveness in war," and because "he didn't go all the way in fighting Serbian enemies."  Many citizens therefore did not see much difference between the opposition and the government, and continued voting for Milosevic, who was then also favored by war circumstances.  Rare civic-oriented parties that fiercely opposed the war failed to gain much influence among the people.  When the wars were over and the above argument was forced out of government's hands, the big problem was a complete disharmony among the opposition, caused by a leadership dispute between heads of the two strongest opposition parties, Vuk Draskovic and Zoran Djindjic.  A miraculous solution was found in Vojislav Kostunica, leader of the then minor Democratic Party of Serbia.  Kostunica was nominated for president, and all opposition parties stood behind him.  He was uncompromised in opposition struggles, but also a nationalist close to Radovan Karadzic, as well as to the Serbian people.  Milosevic suffered decisive defeat.
    However, the victory of a nationalist who didn't oppose wars led in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina brought up the perhaps crucial question: Did Serbs vote against Milosevic because they realized the dangers of war politics and a confrontation with the whole world, or did they vote against him because he lost all the wars he led, concluding with Kosovo, and didn't succeed in fulfilling the project of "Greater Serbia?”  Judging by the huge support enjoyed by Kostunica and his rather hardline position on NATO and the USA, as well as on the Hague Tribunal, it seems that the second reason carries more weight, which bodes ill for Serbia's future.  There's no doubt that Milosevic has to be put on trial for corruption, financial misdeeds, political assassinations, and other crimes against his own people, but it is much more important to try him for what he did to other nations. Only in this way can Serbs, faced with war crimes committed in their name, experience catharsis.  And without it, Serbia is still in danger of seeing another Milosevic.




    By Slobodan Rackovic

    In Podgorica it is considered that the projected April 22nd elections are the most important for this former Yugoslavian republic, which has lived the last eight decades in the chains of Great Serbian hegemony, since the new Parliament will divide along the lines of who is for and who is against secession.

    Pre-election fever has gripped Montenegro for the past several days almost as strongly as the earthquake that rumbled the country on April 15, 1979, tearing apart property and causing many deaths.  Thanks to the solidarity of the people of Tito's Yugoslavia, Montenegro recovered quickly from the earthquake.  But it is uncertain how this country will overcome the present political problems that could also spill into neighboring countries.  That is why this tiny spot on the map of the world, a country of 14,000 square kilometers and 670 thousand people, is in the spotlight of European political analysts.  Some say the separation of Montenegro from Yugoslavia would mean a new period of destabilization in this part of the Balkans, although they concede FRY has been effectively dead for a long time; others claim the story of the so-called domino effect in the case of Montenegrin secession has been invented to help maintain a nationalist regime in Belgrade and is not based on the realities of the current situation in the region.

    Frankly speaking, a majority of EU countries as well as the USA want to maintain the current status quo in Yugoslavia.  However, the regime in Podgorica, which can see the future of the country only as independent and internationally acclaimed, is not without allies, especially among former Yugoslav republics, now independent states.  The governments of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have already declared that they would recognize an independent Montenegro if the independence is proclaimed after a fair referendum.  Also, in London and some other European capitals, resistance towards Montenegrin independence is already starting to shrink. That resistance wore down especially under the pressure of numerous independent polls showing that almost two-thirds of Montenegrins want to be independent.  Even Washington, the most stubborn in denying independence to Montenegro, has recently relented somewhat after a Sarajevo research firm "Prisma" found in a poll performed for the American government that most Montenegrins consider Yugoslavia, the country that the West defends so passionately, dead and buried.

    That is why the April 22nd parliamentary elections are deemed so important - the Parliament will decide whether Montenegro will leave Yugoslavia or not.  Eleven parties and five coalitions have lined up according to whether they are for or against independence.  Once again, the division between Serbian and Montenegrin parties, almost 100 years old, is coming into the foreground, perhaps stronger than ever.  This difference will be decisive during the voting.

    The Montenegrin block is headed by the most powerful party in the country - the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) headed by the charismatic Milo Djukanovic, the chief of state. The DSP is in coalition with the small but very influential Social Democrat Party, with many prominent intellectuals and politicians.  The DPS has been in power for ten years, and all polls show that it will win also this time, perhaps even with a total majority.  If one adds the Liberal Alliance (a strong parliamentary party that has been fighting for Montenegro's independence since the beginning), the prominent non-parliamentary party "People's Unity," and the Liberal Democratic Party, along with three Albanian and one Moslem party - then one can say fairly confidently that an independent Montenegro will win overwhelming support.  The problem with this block is that it doesn't have a united front (with the exception of DPS-SDP coalition). spreading the pro-independence view over many minor parties.

    The Serbian block is even more fractured. Although Serbs have formed an alliance between the Socialist People's Party, the People's Party, and the Serbian People's Party, the coalition called "For Yugoslavia" gives the impression that it is composed out of yesterday's enemies. That is why the coalition's pre-election rallies are often contradictory and counter-productive. For example, while the Socialist People's Party headed by Predrag Bulatovic insists on its multi-ethnicity, the president of the People's Party Dragan Soic shocked the public with his fascist statement that Moslems and Albanians living in Montenegro should not be allowed to participate in the referendum on Montenegro's future that is set for the end of June.

    The three pro-Yugoslav and pro-Serbian parties have refused to accept the newly formed People's Socialist Party into their coalition, although PSP has an extremely pro-Serbian platform, because they fear the charisma of its leader Momir Bulatovic, former president of Montenegro, now prime minister of the Yugoslav government.  "Coalition for Yugoslavia" and PSP are constantly criticizing each other, which the Montenegrin block uses extensively to score political points and gain new voters. If we also take into account that the Serbian Radical Party "Dr. Vojislav Seselj", which also participates at the elections, constantly and pointedly discredits both, calling them "Serb imitators", "half-breeds" etc., then it is clear that the ancient motto "only unity saves Serbs" won't be put into practice this time. Besides, the ruling coalition DSP - SDP has better finances than the Serbian block, to say nothing of its popularity in the media, police, judicial system and administration. So, there is little doubt of the Montenegrin block's victory.

    In this situation, the political environment could also represent an important factor when 450 thousand people cast their votes. Here the advantage is once again on the side of Montenegrin block due to the circus surrounding the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic and the quiet but desperate war between Vojislav Kostunica and Zoran Djindjic regarding the undermined parties that support the unity of FR Yugoslavia. Secessionists are also favored by the bad economic situation in Serbia, much harsher than in Montenegro, and constant verbal fighting between Hague and Belgrade regarding Yugoslav lack of cooperation with ICTY. The Serbian block tried to score on conflicts in Macedonia, trying to scare orthodox Montenegrins with the so-called Albanian threat, but it proved to be a rather weak argument. The story that independent Montenegro will soon find itself prey to Albanian and Croatian hegemony finds only barren ground, because supporters of independence say that Montenegro will immediately be included into security project "Partner for Peace." Also economic experts constantly prove that only independent Montenegro, completely open to the neighbors and to the world, can provide an adequate framework for the economic potential of the country: tourism, shipbuilding, traffic, agriculture, cattle-breeding, etc. "Show us a small country that is not rich, and we will give up on independence" - say Montenegrins defiantly, mentioning examples of Malta, Iceland, Estonia, Luxembourg, Slovenia and others.


      By Peter Karaboev

    It may look like a Bulgarian copy of Czech Public TV conflict from later last year, but it's not. For more than a month the Bulgarian National Radio (NR) has been in a deep internal conflict which failed to develop as a public debate on freedom of the public media. Why did it develop this way?
    The core of the problem is the poor quality of the Law on Public Media control and its executive body - The National Council on Radio and TV (NCRTV). The traditional explanation -
that the Council is under a political influence - is no longer adequate, since this time it did not fail to guess what ruling politicians would want, but to extend favoritism to certain persons. After a few weeks of debate on who should be the next General Director of NR, members of NCRTV surprised everyone by choosing little-known poet Ivan Borislavov. A real scandal broke
out because it was clear that this man would be unable to rule a sophisticated media machine like National Public Radio. Mr. Borislavov himself admitted that he has not entered NR's building
during the last two years once. This is a perfect example showing that members of NCRTV completely failed to recognize the difference between the quality of the public person and his or her role, and between moral authority and professional potential.
    NCRTV have partially resurrected a mechanism from old Communist times - that "our" man is better than a responsible professional. But one of Bulgaria's leading analysts Ognjan Minchev says this problem has much deeper roots. It comes, he says, from the nineteenth century Russian and Slavic traditions of thinking of the intelligencia as universal apostles, as a panacea for every public problem. Of course this man will have to rule this institution somehow, but for NCRTV this is not so important. And it is precisely this lack of understanding—that institutions need managers, not apostles--that is the core problem of the entire Bulgarian institutional culture. This mess needs to be cleared up so that at last Bulgarian doctors will be left to cure the people, poets to write their poetry, and journalists to do their job. Another analyst put things this way: there's an East European tradition of moving from the past directly into the future. That's why the present has a taste of fast food - you can eat it but you'll be hard pressed to find the love of the professional cook in it.
    When you have such "cooking" something is bound to go wrong. Six weeks after the protest started, one member of the contact crisis group said he never heard a call for Mr. Ivan Borislavov
to resign. This was a shock, since his appointment was the cause of the protests. As one of the NR's Program Directors said that somewhere on the road the aim of protests was replaced, and now it looks more like a village mutiny with less of a final objective or a clear strategy than a reaction from intellectuals and leading journalists.
    At the beginning the protests were for the freedom of speech, changing of the media law, and the resignation of the state Radio & TV council. But during the course of the protest Bulgarian
journalists failed to present a clear cause. In fact it turned out that the problem is internal for the NR, and society has been unable to recognize how its interest is under threat in this particular case. Some personal and financial interests were involved, some nasty incidents with beatings inside newsroom happened, and this made the society turn its back.
    Protesting journalists are partly to be blamed because they missed almost 40 days when they had access to the microphones and a chance to raise public interest and stimulate debate. At the
very beginning, polls showed that more than 60 percent of people in Sofia thought the protest was justified, and only a quarter said it was politicized. In the meantime, some of the most active
journalists were sacked. As a result the quality of NR programs fell to the standards of late 1950s. At the end of March 80 percent of the public under 40 turned out. At the moment that
conflict has completely changed into a bargaining for the General Director's resignation and the reinstatement of the removed journalists - a minor problem compared to the freedom of speech and a clear sign of the protesters' capitulation.
    It's very strange that at this point the President of Bulgaria Petar Stoyanov has decided to intervene as a kind of mediator. Just few hours later, the Supreme Court of the Administration said that Mr. Borislavov's nomination was illegal at the very beginning of the process. The conflict was already at a low point of the committee debate, and Bulgaria's journalists emerged from it humiliated and with no perspective on the real question - the political control over public media. They mentioned a quote from Napoleon: "the second most disappointing thing after the lost battle is the battle you won."
   If current situation in NR is to be considered a victory for politicians, it's coming at the wrong time. General elections will be held on June 17, while the conflict in neighboring Macedonia is still developing. They have a broken public radio and bad law in their hands. The Bulgarian Media Coalition discussed last week how to change Public Media Law (voted in only
3 years ago) but it's too late, since the Parliament is coming to its term end. It's hard to guess what the next Parliament will look like. But as Werner Rumpchorst - director in EBU - said
recently in Sofia, don't be optimistic, because all politicians are the same - they will promise you the sun and the moon, and at the end nothing will change.


Special addition : NEW AT TOL                                   April 2, 2001

    - - - Sponsor Message - - -
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    --- Yugoslavia Special: The End of The Line ---
    Slobo's Last Stand
    The former Yugoslav president is taken into custody, but not
    without some drama.
    by Dragan Stojkovic
    Same Old, Same Old
    Milosevic's refusal to be taken alive--followed swiftly by
    absolute surrender--is a familiar behavioral pattern.
    by Tihomir Loza
    OUR TAKE: There's No Place Like Home
    Milosevic should be tried in Serbia before he's tried in The
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    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- TOL WEEK IN REVIEW ---
    The Kuchma Shuffle
    The Ukrainian opposition wins key concessions only to find
    victories Pyrrhic.
    by Oleg Varfolomeyev
    Splitting Up the 'Family'
    A serious cabinet reshuffle shows Russia's new president
    all talk and no action.
    by Sophia Kornienko
    Out of the Shadows
    Romania allows certain citizens to see the contents of their
    Securitate files.
    by Zsolt-Istvan Mato
    Let It Flow
    The first oil flows through the Kazakh-Russian pipeline from
    the Caspian Sea.
    by Didar Amantay
    Macedonian Political Parties Hope to Halt Growing Rift
    Croatia Announces 'Zero Tolerance' for Organized Crime
    Russia Wary Over U.S. Meeting With Chechen Official
    Reprivatization Veto Criticized in Poland
    Thorough Inspection Kills Bugs Dead in Mongolia
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- SPECIAL REPORT: Macedonia ---
    The Lowlands of War
    After the deaths of their own, Tetovo's ethnic Albanians are
    beginning to see no way out.
    by Lubos Palata
    Macedonia 2000: Another Balancing Act
    A review of last year's events that have led to the current
    by Stefan Krause
    Inappropriate Reaction
    Three reasons why the West has got it wrong over Macedonia.
    by Maria Popova
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- FEATURES---
    Off the Sweat of the Gagauz
    Conditions in the Moldovan republic of Gagauzia test the
    resolve of its proud citizens and lead many to abandon the
    by Tomas Vlach and Sarka Kuchtova
    Death Sentence
    A little-publicized court case convicts four members of
    minorities in Kyrgyzstan.
    by Alisher Khamidov
    Bring Up Your Dead
    Will the quest to determine the final resting place of a
    Hungarian national hero mean disturbing the peace of his
    by Laszlo Szocs
    Doing Time
    Russia re-evaluates court sentencing and amnesties in light
    deplorable prison conditions and spreading disease.
    By Ana Uzelac
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    --- OUR TAKE: There?s No Place Like Home
    Milosevic should be tried in Serbia before he?s tried in The
    Serbia has come a long way. The manner of former President
Slobodan Milosevic?s arrest over the weekend was perhaps a bit
sloppy but showed the authorities' determination to avoid
bloodshed. That alone is a significant break from the past.
Moreover, the charges against Milosevic of corruption and abuse
of power were cautious--there was no mention of the more serious
accusations of crimes against humanity issued by the
international war crimes tribunal in May 1999 for Milosevic's
actions in Kosovo. At a press conference, Serbian  Justice
Minister Vladan Batic said that he would be prepared to see
Milosevic go to The Hague, but as of yet, there was no provision
in Yugoslav law for the extradition of its citizens abroad. Batic
repeatedly mentioned that the former president, under Yugoslav
law, would be treated just like anyone else.
    The insistence on legal propriety has all the hallmarks of
Kostunica, an unashamed legalist and constitutionalist.
Kostunica, often also described as a moderate nationalist, has
persistently rejected the notion of handing Milosevic over to The
Hague. He maintains that the Yugoslav constitution doesn?t allow
extradition of Yugoslav citizens. In addition, he denies
credibility to the tribunal, labeling it a ?political court.?
When putting forward such arguments Kostunica speaks as a lawyer
rather than a politician. It is still unclear whether Kostunica
is genuine in his legal pedantry or whether he is politically
opposed to the Tribunal. The president has received criticism for
foot-dragging and for being unprepared to prosecute members of
the former regime.
    The president, however, must walk a very fine line. The case
against Milosevic is  probably the most sensitive issue Kostunica
will ever have to face as president. Whisking away Milosevic and
immediately extraditing him to The Hague might satisfy the
international community's hunger for justice, but it would do
little to satisfy the Serbs'. It is crucial that the West
understands how much resentment most Serbs--fairly or not--feel
toward the organs of the international community, after the
bombing of their country by NATO in 1999. Most Serbs see the war
crimes tribunal in The Hague as at best a meddling body with no
business in Serbia, at worst a tool of U.S. imperialism.
    It was Kostunica's "third way" that enabled many Serbs to
abandon their more myopic strand of nationalism and oust
Milosevic. Kostunica enabled them to do that without mentally
?defecting? to the West. The president still commands a good deal
of support--much of which is due to the diplomatic way he has
handled the awkward relationship with the international
community. In many ways, Kostunica holds the key. Whether the
Serbs achieve any sort of collective redemption is partly
conditional on Kostunica?s attitude toward reckoning with the
past. The president--unlike any other politician in Serbia--has
the power to turn his "middle ground" into common ground for
    Milosevic may be finished, but his legacy is not. Arresting,
trying, and potentially prosecuting the former leader has always
been inexorably linked with the way that Serbs are prepared to
confront their recent past-- specifically how best to deal with
those accused of serious abuse of power during the Milosevic
regime. Serbs have been debating how best to approach this, and
Kostunica has recently made moves to set up a South Africa-style
truth commission on the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Others say
that the Yugoslav government should concentrate more on working
with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
    There is no reason why the Serbs can't do both. In fact, they
should. Eastern Europe's patchy success with lustration has shown
that most jilted leaders were often spared trial and got away
scot-free--not so much out of a lacking sense of retribution but
rather because the ruling elite was afraid that such trials would
reveal too much about their own shady activities.
    Yugoslavia is no different. A domestic trial would be an
essential and painful catharsis for the Serbian nation. Milosevic
has a lot to say and nothing to lose. His trial will implicate
others and will be embarrassing, not only for people within
Serbia, but for those in neighboring countries, and perhaps some
in the international community.
    Trying Milosevic in Serbia first would not only rightfully
give Serbs their chance to see justice first, but if Milosevic's
crimes--and the crimes of his regime--are widely exposed, that
might encourage Serbs to look at the war crimes tribunal with a
little more sympathy and increase public support for extradition.
Recent polls have shown that up to two thirds of Serbs have said
that they would be happy to see Milosevic tried in The Hague,
provided he is tried at home first.
    After a domestic trial, Belgrade should extradite Milosevic
to The Hague as soon as possible. The West will not be fully
satisfied until that happens.  In the meantime, the United States
should transfer a first tranche of the millions of dollars needed
to support the Yugoslav economy, providing that Kostunica's
government agrees to continue to cooperate with the UN Tribunal.
Placing further conditions on the money could further complicate
the matter, as it is important that Belgrade is seen to be acting
of its own volition rather than pandering to the whims of the
    Welcoming the Serbs back into Europe is a two-way process
that requires sensitivity from the international community and
effort to convince the Serbs that interest in the region is
honorable. As long as Kostunica's legal propriety is just
that--and not a stall tactic--the international community should
not expect a quick fix and should allow Yugoslavia the time it
deserves to exorcise its own demons first.
    -- Transitions Online - Intelligent Eastern Europe Copyright:
    Transitions Online 2001
    New at TOL:                                   April 9, 2001
    --- OUR TAKE: High Stakes, Gray Game ---
    In the struggle over NTV, only one thing is black and
white--if the Kremlin takes over, Russian independent media will
be a thing of the past.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    - - - TOL MESSAGE - - -
    Be sure to visit our new mediakit. We reach 27.000 people
with this newsletter every week. Your future business partners,
customers and readers are probably among them. No one reaches the
region like TOL - visit our mediakit for more information:, or e-mail us at
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- TOL WEEK IN REVIEW ---
    Russians are continuing to protest against the decision to
put gas giant
Gazprom's representatives in charge of the country's only
independent television channel.
    by Sophia Kornienko
    Milosevic's Shadows
    The former president's prison statements about wartime funds
and international pressure for his extradition bear down on
    by Dragan Stojkovic
    Do I look like a madman? Kuchma rebuffs calls to resign or
negotiate with the opposition.
    by Oleg Varfolomeyev
    No Joke
    Few Estonian officials are laughing after a law forces them
to publish their salaries on the Internet.
    by Kristjan Kaljund
    Your Money or Your Time
    Belarus demands that many of its citizens "volunteer" to help
    by Alex Znatkevich
    Armenian, Azeri Leaders Meet in Florida
    Capital "Amnesty" Law Approved in Kazakhstan
    Bulgarian King Founds New Political Movement
    Moldova Elects New Communist President
    Lithuania-Russia Relations Warm Up
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- SPECIAL REPORT: Nagorno-Karabakh ---
    Frozen in Time
    Azeris fear the cease-fire over Nagorno-Karabakh will end
before a solution is reached, and they criticize the West for
taking sides instead of working toward peace.
    by Seymur Selimov
    Deadlock Over Karabakh Armenian president was confident and
firm heading into Key West Karabakh meeting. A TOL partner post
from EurasiaNet.
    by Haroutiun Khachatrian
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- OPINIONS ---
    Reluctant Friends
    Russia is likely to back Lukashenka's reelection bid.
    by Vladimir Kozlov
    New Move, Old Game Putin's government reshuffle is just
Russian politics as usual.
    by Elena Chinyaeva
    Imprisoning Islam
    A crackdown on Islam swells the numbers in Uzbekistan's
    bursting-at-the-seams jails. A TOL partner post from
    By EurasiaNet Staff
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- BOOKS ---
    Dissenting Voices
    The articles and essays of three leading intellectuals reveal
the battle for Serbian hearts and minds.
    by Christian A. Nielsen
    When the Past Really Becomes the Past A leading Serb
intellectual speaks out about reconciliation and seeking a common
    Interview by Christian Nielsen
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- IN THEIR OWN WORDS ---
    For The Good of the Nation
    From behind bars, the former Yugoslav president makes one
stunning admission but nothing more.
    Shedding Its Skin
    Putin's state-of-the-nation address suggests a stronger focus
on the economy.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- COUNTRY FILE ---
    Ukraine 2000: Year of Ups and Downs A year of political
scandals and economic recovery.
    by Oleg Varfolomeyev
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    - - - TOL PARTNERS - - -
    - ( Working through a
network of hundreds of organizations spread throughout the world,
Oneworld aims to be the online media gateway that most
effectively informs a global audience about human rights and
sustainable development.
    - Prague Watchdog ( Prague Watchdog
monitors current events in Chechnya with a special focus on human
rights abuses, media access and coverage, and the humanitarian
and political situation.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- OUR TAKE: High Stakes, Gray Game ---
    In the struggle over NTV, only one thing is black and
white--if the Kremlin takes over, Russian independent media will
be a thing of the past.
    At stake in the battle over Russia's NTV television station
is freedom of information for close to 146 million people--pretty
high stakes for a partially reformed country that is trying to
maintain an image of democracy in the international community.
After all, this isn't Turkmenistan, or even Belarus for that
    It's a difficult battle to sort out, though. From NTV's owner
Media-MOST to Gazprom to the Kremlin, no one's hands are entirely
clean. In a 3 April coup, state-run Russian gas giant Gazprom
replaced NTV's board of directors, ousting its founder,
Media-MOST magnate Vladimir Gusinsky, and replacing its popular
managing director Yevgeny Kiselyov with an American-Russian
banker. The next day, CNN founder Ted Turner announced he had
closed a deal with Gusinsky to buy a stake in NTV to ensure its
independence from the Kremlin. He then announced he would pursue
a similar deal with Gazprom to secure some 30 percent of the
company. At the time of writing, those talks were still ongoing.
    Throughout, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Press Minister
Mikhail Lesin, and the head of Gazprom's media arm, Alfred Kokh,
have maintained that actions against NTV are not political. They
keep insisting the takeover is purely commercial and involves a
$300 million loan that Media-MOST owes Gazprom. The thousands of
Russian protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg, however,
disagree--and rightly so. The takeover has clearly been
Kremlin-orchestrated and is political if nothing else.
    The station is the most influential source of information
outside of Kremlin control, and Gusinsky used NTV to heavily
criticize Putin in the run-up to March 2000 elections and
throughout the war in Chechnya. Since then, masked police have
raided the television station dozens of times, and other
Media-MOST holdings have been raided repeatedly throughout the
year, with top executives being detained and questioned.
    Since the coup last week, the Kremlin has apparently taken a
vow of silence, with Lesin saying government interference in the
NTV-Gazprom battle would be inappropriate. He didn't think so
before, though. In fact, the government has always been more than
willing to interfere. Gusinsky was briefly arrested in June last
year on charges of privatization fraud connected with Media-MOST
companies. He was released and the charges against him dropped
after he signed a secret agreement with Lesin and Kokh agreeing
to sell his entire empire for $300 million to
Gazprom--coincidentally the amount of his debt to the company. He
later denounced the deal, saying he had been coerced at gunpoint
to sign it. Immediately afterwards, different charges of fraud
were brought against him. Gusinsky is now in Spain, awaiting the
Spanish authorities' decision on whether to extradite him to
    But while he and NTV are clearly victims of Kremlin media
repression, Gusinsky isn't entirely innocent, either. He used the
station as an instrument of propaganda in support of Boris
Yeltsin in his 1996 re-election campaign and afterwards. And, as
a Kremlin favorite and Yeltsin loyalist in the 1990s--like other
Russian oligarchs--he also got rich off Russia's economic
transition. Gusinsky says he regrets all that now.
    Ted Turner could be the savior if he manages to work out a
deal with Gazprom. The CNN founder has promised that with his
fingers in the pie, the station will maintain its freedom and
integrity. Alexei Pankin, the Russian editor of the Sreda media
magazine, however, says he's not sure a deal with CNN would
necessarily keep NTV out of Kremlin hands. "For my part, I'd
advise the Union of Journalists, Yabloko, and the Union of Right
Forces to call the people into the streets for another
demonstration, this time under the slogan: "Turner! Keep your
hands off NTV!" Pankin wrote in his column for The Moscow Times.
    In a 5 April article that appeared in the daily Novaya
Gazeta, The Independent's Patrick Cockburn also sounded the
warning bells, saying that "... CNN's success has partly been the
result of its willingness to spend money to get close to
governments. This was blatant during the first months of the
present war in Chechnya when CNN took up permanent residence in
[Russian] military headquarters in Mozdok."
    But Pankin and Cockburn are missing the most serious point.
NTV is still the only place the public can turn for truly
independent television. And if the state grabs hold of it, there
will be nowhere else to turn, and the Kremlin will have
solidified its control over the media. Thousands of people in
Moscow and St. Petersburg have hit the streets in a show of
support for NTV--the largest political protests Russia has seen
in years. They won't protest about the war in Chechyna or about
allegations of election fraud. But they will demand the right to
keep their favorite television station. They don?t want the last
independent national broadcast voice of Russia to be handed over
to the Kremlin. Though not a bloody coup, a Kremlin takeover of
NTV could change the face of Russia and send society into
relapse. Through this most important of media outlets, the
Kremlin and its oligarchs would have carte blanche power to form
public opinion.
    Many major Western media outlets with bureaus in Moscow have
been accused of  cozying up to the Kremlin for safe passage in
Chechnya and stories that fill their front pages. And NTV itself
hasn't always steered clear of less-than-ethical ways of getting
the coverage it has needed to keep ratings high. That is harmless
compared to what the Kremlin will do if it is allowed to solidify
its takeover of the station.
    Right now NTV has only one savior and that is Turner. Now is
not the time to be pointing fingers at CNN for the type of
mistakes Russia can find plenty of in its own backyard. And since
the U.S. government is unwilling to offer even a modest show of
support for the Russians protesting the usurpation of what is
part of their embryonic democracy, all hopes should be on Turner
closing the deal with Gazprom. Anything less will mean that
Russia has lost its last bastion of independent media.
    -- Transitions Online - Intelligent Eastern Europe Copyright:
Transitions Online 2001