Issue No. 239. - September 14,  2001.

            By Pavlyuk Bykovsky

2. The Czech Republic : WRONG CRITICISM
            By Petruska Sustrova

            By Ylber Emra

 4. Special addition : NEW AT TOL

    By Pavlyuk Bykovsky

    Alexander Lukashenko's seven-year rule in Belarus gave him an
advantage.  On September 9, he was reelected in the first round of
voting.  The opposition is contesting the results announced by the
Central Elections Commission and the West is citing violations of
international democratic standards.
    "This is a brilliant victory for those who organized the
elections in Belarus," Lukashenko said an hour after the polls
    In his delight, he made a few slips.  In particular, he asked
Russian journalists to give "my thanks to the Russian man, the
Russians, for their colossal support, the moral support they
showed me and the Belarussian people at this very difficult
moment in politics."  He also characterized those events as "an
elegant victory...You have to agree that the current government,
for all its shortcomings, did not allow itself the use of
underhanded tactics... The results of the presidential elections
show that for the first time in recent history, underhanded tactics
have been defeated."
    There is no particular reason to doubt his words.  Lukashenko
really did win.  At 3:00 a.m. on September 10, elections
commissions had finished counting all the ballot votes and
concluded that the head of state received 75.62% support
(4,652,453 votes).
    In second place was Vladimir Goncharyk, chairman of the
Federation of Belarussian Trade Unions and unified democratic
candidate with 15.39% (946,658 votes) and Liberal Democratic Party
leader Sergei Gaidukevich came in third of three with 2.48%
(152,352 votes).  Goncharyk announced that he intends to fight for
a second round of voting and accused authorities of falsifying the
results of the first round.  Gaidukevich, who received even fewer
votes than he did signatures in support of his campaign, stated
that he acknowledges the results and criticized Goncharyk for not
having the courage to admit defeat.
    Public organizations that sympathize with the opposition (the
Belarussian Helsinki Committee, the Lev Sapega Foundation, the
Belarussian Republican Club and the Spring Human Rights Center)
served as observers during campaigning and at the polls.  They
intended to conduct a parallel vote count, but were unprepared to
present their count on September 10.  Either the regime was able
to stop their work or else they just could not bring themselves to
acknowledge Lukashenko's victory.
    It would be hard for the opposition to convince the public
that Lukashenko did not win.  Even dismissing early votes, which
amounted to 15% of the total and which observers were unable to
check, Lukashenko won by a wide margin.  It is practically
impossible to prove violations that could have had significant
influence on the outcome of the election.  The Central Elections
Commission is willing to admit that there were isolated incidents,
but is refusing to disclose them.  The courts and the prosecutor's
office are likely to follow a similar policy.
    European institutions are another matter.  The Lukashenko
regime all but refused to admit the observation mission of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Bureau for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, accusing it of
partiality.  It also violated the principle of equality of the
candidates almost daily and resorted to outright censorship of the
independent press in the final stages.
    The results are clear.  Since it is not acceptable to hold
such elections in Europe, Lukashenko will not be accepted as a
full-fledged European head of state.  The West cannot isolate
Belarus, however.  It lies on the westward route of Russian power
lines.  Moreover, international bureaucrats already know what to
tell the hardcore democrats at home-the people suffer under
sanctions, not the dictator.

The Czech Republic: WRONG CRITICISM
    By Petruska Sustrova

    After less than three weeks, on August 27, British immigration
officials resumed their checks at Ruzyne airport in Prague.
Passengers intending to board any of the regular scheduled flights
to Britain are obliged to fill in a card, stating their name and
address where they intend to stay in Britain. This is followed by
an interview at a counter with a British official or they could
even be asked to wait for a more detailed conversation. These most
unusual checks have been introduced on July 18 but were suspended
following protests in the Czech media.
    The British side wants to prevent Czech citizens traveling to
Britain and subsequently applying for asylum there - it is
generally known that this applies to Roma citizens. For exactly
the same reason, that is to say because of Roma asylum seekers,
Canada reintroduced visas for the Czech Republic four years ago,
while New Zealand did the same this winter. The position of the
Czech authorities that authorized the British to carry out such
checks is evident: the government was afraid that if it did not
comply with the British request, Britain would reintroduce visas
for all Czech citizens. Consequently, the Czech government regards
the British immigration officials as the "lesser evil", as Premier
Milos Zeman clearly pointed out .
    The opposition, which triggered this in the media, had two
motives. First, there was embarrassment: can a sovereign state
permit representatives of another state to decide on its territory
who may or may not travel? The British do not want asylum seekers
to whom they do not intend to grant asylum to reach the British
Isles. British laws are such that while asylum applications are
being processed asylum claimants can live at the expense of the
British state. But this is a problem confronting British
legislation, in other words, an internal problem of Great Britain
- and the question is whether the Czech government should help
Britain to solve its problems.
    The second motive for the criticism of the decision of the
Czech government was more substantial: British officials, at least
during their first "Ruzyne mission", acted on the basis of
nationality criteria: they concentrated primarily on passengers of
Roma nationality. Richard Samko, a journalist at Czech Television,
proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt. British immigration
officers prevented him, a Roma, from traveling to London, while
they permitted his "white" colleague, Nora Novakova, to board the
aircraft. Yet the two had identical air tickets, the same amount
of money and the same destination of their journey: to visit a
friend, a British national. The two journalists used a hidden
camera to record the incident at the airport so that at the end of
July Czech TV viewers were able to see for themselves that the
British officers had one yardstick for one, and another for the
second of the two journalists.
    The activities of the British at Prague Ruzyne airport are
being monitored and commented, above all, by the Czech Helsinki
Committee, which already in July declared that this was
discriminatory.  The great majority of passengers who were
prevented by the British from traveling were Roma. The reason?
They could not convince the officials that they intended to visit
Britain as tourists. Or to put it in less diplomatic language -
they aroused suspicion in the mind of the Immigration officer that
they intended to apply for asylum in Great Britain.
    The criticism, justified in my opinion, of the checks, is no
more than a substitute problem: the point is not whether asylum
seekers leave for Britain from Ruzyne airport since they are able
to choose an entirely different route and come face to face with a
British immigration official on British soil. The main question
about which, alas, very little is said when criticizing the
government about the checks, is the reason which drives the Roma
to want to emigrate from the Czech Republic. And: what is the
government of a majority society doing to make the Roma feel
secure and contented in the country where they live?
    The fact is that tension is rife between the Roma minority and
the society of the majority, which only adds to attempts by Roma
to emigrate. The great majority of the Czech population is
convinced that the Roma are leaving for Britain only to collect
social security benefits, which they are paid while waiting for
their asylum application to be processed. There are definitely
some individuals like these among the hundreds of Roma  - but this
view held by the public only confirms the true motive driving the
Roma from their homes. The motive is racism which is rampant among
large sections of Czech society, a racism all the more entrenched
because it is not perceived as racism and consequently not even
reflected as racism and, what is more, unreflectable.
    The question of security is also not to be neglected. Roma are
frequently the target of assaults by Czech nationalist extremists,
skinheads, yet the courts have for many years refused to admit
that these were racially motivated attacks. The last incident of
such violence occurred on July 20 in the town of Svitavy where the
leader of the local neo-Nazis Vlastimil Pechanec murdered the Roma
Ota Absolon at a discotheque. Roma children are frequently victims
of attacks and Roma parents often speak in the media about their
fears for their safety. Roma children are more often than not
placed in special schools, that is to say, schools for
unmanageable and mentally backward children only because of their
inadequate knowledge of the Czech language, which they had not
been able to learn at home. The overwhelming majority of Roma who
live in the Czech Republic only have a very basic education and
often have not even completed their basic schooling and as a
result are forced to do strenuous and menial physical work. But even
these jobs are hard to find because many employers refuse to take
on Roma workers under a variety of pretexts.
    Under the communist regime nothing was written or said about
this sorry position of the Roma population, which dates back as far
as the memory can reach. But even during the first half of the
1990s very little was written about the problem, or very rarely -
the government began to consider a kind of integration policy
directed towards the Roma only after several horrific
race-motivated assassinations and only after the media repeatedly
criticized the openhanded attitude adopted by crime-combating
authorities. The issue was brought to a number of excesses, for example,
a judge in East Bohemia explained his verdict by stating
that an assault by an ethnic Czech against a Roma could not be
labeled race-motivated since both were members of the
Indo-European race!
    It is a fact that for several years the government has been
endeavoring to change the position of the Roma. The post of a
government plenipotentiary for human rights has been introduced;
among his many duties he is in charge of a minorities commission,
in actual fact a commission dealing with Roma problems, since the
Roma are the biggest ethnic minority in the Czech Republic, and
the problems of the other minorities (e.g. the Polish, German or
Slovak) are negligible compared to those of the Roma. The approach
of the police, too, is gradually changing - over the past few
years the police have started to charge public manifestations of
neo-Nazism and racial hatred, which for a long time escaped their
    In the same way, many non-governmental organizations attempt
to improve the position of the Roma minority. The most important
task in this respect is seen as the pre-school language
preparation of children so that they should not be placed at a
disadvantage before starting school. But these are programmes,
which will have their effect after many years, and the Roma often
do not even feel them as practical help.
    "Ordinary" Czechs most likely do not feel great sympathy for
the skinheads who in the middle of the night throw a petrol bomb
through the window of a Roma apartment. But what they do take for
granted is that Roma steal, that they have many children so that
they could receive family allowances and need not go to work, that
they are noisy and dirty. But only few of those "ordinary" Czechs
in fact wonder how the Roma feel in a society which looks upon
them in this way.
                               * * *
    By Ylber Emra

    Campaign for general elections in the formally Yugoslav
province of Kosovo that has been under protection of the UN for
two years now has began in an atmosphere of tension and increased
violence. In a way tension is increased because number of
registered voters, Serbs and other non-Albanian population , now
displaced out of Kosovo, is increasing on a daily basis. Campaign
for registrations is directly promoted by  Belgrade authorities.
    International missions to Kosovo, especially UNMIK  and OSCE,
are having high expectations with this general elections scheduled
for 17th November 2001 . At the eve of elections, public polls
claim that Democratic Alliance headed by Ibrahim Rugova enjoys
most support. Consequently, activists, officials and supporters of
the party are the main target of armed attacks of radical parties
and groups stemming from disbanded Kosovo Liberating Army (UCK).
Two weeks ago, just before unofficial start of the election
campaign, two houses belonging to DSK activists were blown up in
the vicinity of Dragas, wounding two persons. Attacks on DSK
activists have also been intensified before last year's local
elections in October, especially in the area near the town of
    Rugova thinks that his party will have a solid majority, which
is confirmed by first polls. According to them, DSK will get about
60 per cent. About 22 per cent Albanians will vote for Democratic
Party of Kosovo led by Hashim Taqi, political leader of the former
UCK. He said that his party will show "high tollerance" at the
upcoming elections. One of the most influential UCK commanders,
president of the Alliance for the future of Kosovo (AAK)  Ramush
Haradinay said that his party declared September as month of peace
in Kosovo and fight against violence and other social deviations,
trying to change Kosovo image. According to polls, he enjoys
support of less than 9 per cent Albanians.
    Experts on political situation among Kosovar Albanians point
out that start of election campaign in towns and villages will be
characterized by political polarity. Also, they add that people
from former UCK, political followers of Taqi and Haradinaj, are
main inciters of violence. Activists and DSK officials on local
level are especially susceptible to various threats and
blackmails, almost in the same way as was the case during campaign
for local elections, when only Albanians, Turks and some Bosniaks
decided to go out and vote. Before last elections, OSCE organized
registration of voters. Serbs and most non-Albanians, mostly
exiled from Kosovo, didn't turn out for the registration. OSCE
then registered 901 thousand legal Albanian voters.
    The biggest political problem for international missions before
November general elections which will decide on the parliament of
120 seats is uncertain participation of Kosovar Serbs.
Registration of the voters, first completely unsucessfull, changed
its downward course after highest officials of Belgrade
authorities, both state and church, called Serbs to register,
emphasizing that their registration is "basic national interest".
    Until the beginning of September, about 50,000 Serbs decided
to register. As a response, international representatives
prolonged registration until 22nd September. Until that date,
international officials think, it is possible to register about
half of Kosovar Serbs, those in Kosovo as well as those living in
second countries, which is a basic condition for their turnout at
the elections. They often imply that 200 to 250 thousand Serbs
have left Kosovo, half of them registered voters. They are aware,
they say in informal conversations, that a shadow would be cast on
November elections if Serbs weren't to participate. Their argument
is that Serbs have "guaranteed" 10 seats in parliament, while
other minorities - Bosniaks, Turks, Roma - also have 10 seats.Some
representatives of international missions say that Serbs "have
chances to grab a seat out of them 100", but nobody deems it a
realistic view, but as a propaganda for Serbs to register,
especially because no-one predicts that S an representatives will
get vote in an Albanian community. It is the fact that now there
are between 70,000 and 100,000 Serbs living in Kosovo,
concentrated into several enclaves. Majority of them is living
north, above divided Kosovska Mitrovica, then on Sar Planina
mountain range and finally around the capital of Pristina.
    Politicians in Pristina are carefully watching how Belgrade
government will see the elections. Soon expires deadline Belgrade
government set for itself as time to decide about participation of
Kosovar Serbs in local elections. Because of it, there are
frequent consultations with representatives of international
community. Special envoy of Yugoslav government for Kosovo Nebojsa
Covic met many times with UNMIK chief Hans Hekerup. On 4th
September, Covic met with general NATO secretary George Robertson
in Brussels as well as with ambassadors to the Security-political
EU commitee and then he went to Berlin. It is after these talks
that Covic said that it would be difficult to expect that Serbs,
now victims in Kosovo, would have enough force to participate at
the elections without certain backed guarantees. The main
guarantee for Serbs is that elections don't mean independence of
Kosovo, which is carefully analyzed in political circles in
Pristina. Finally, chief of OSCE mission to Kosovo Dan Everts
tuned into discussion re-inviting Kosovar Serbs to participate at
the elections, emphasizing that adopted election system greatly
benefits ethnic minorities because they automatically get 20 seats
in the furture Kosovar parliament. Also, mechanisms for evading
majorization have also been implemented.
    Of course, elections will be held anyway, with or without
Serbs, a fact international representatives have repeatedly
pointed out to the government in Belgrade.
Special addition : NEW AT TOL September 10, 2001

    Winning at All Costs
    Belarusian President Lukashenka claims a massive victory in
Sunday's election, but the opposition and independent observers
are crying foul.
    by Alex Znatkevich
    Bribing With Cars
    The former Kazakh prime minister is sentenced, for among other
misdemeanors, taking hefty bribes.
    by Didar Amantay
    Press Under Pressure
    A Montenegrin editor is found guilty of reprinting articles
about the wrong people.
    by Dragan Stojkovic
    Speak No Evil
    The editor of a Czech hardline-leftist newspaper gets into
trouble with the law over his extremist articles.
    by Petra Breyerova
    Keep Your Allies Happy
    Albania's governing Socialist Party begins its second
consecutive term in office by creating a number of new ministries.
    by Altin Raxhimi
    UN Tribunal Urges Bosnia and Yugoslavia to Cooperate
    Balkan Health: Sharing Not Shedding Blood
    Former Ukrainian Premier Lazarenko Faces More Charges At Home
    Nagorno-Karabakh Holds Local Elections
    Minor Stalling on Slovene-Croatian Border Agreement
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- OUR TAKE: The Rogue Prison Chief ---
    A book written by Milosevic's former prison guard has raised
difficult moral and legal questions.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    Click on the above link to listen to Siegfried Hecker's
discussion on his new article in the Nonproliferation Review,
"Thoughts About an Integrated Strategy for Nuclear Cooperation
with Russia."
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- IN FOCUS: Belarusian Elections: Long Odds ---
    ANALYSIS: Up for Grabs
    The Belarusian presidential election is likely to bring major
changes to this country no matter what happens. by Alex Znatkevich
    PROFILE: The Man Who Probably Won't Be President
    Despite that, Uladzimir Hancharyk is the main rival of the
last authoritarian leader in Europe.
    by Yuri Svirko
    ANALYSIS: Whittling Down In Belarus when it's most needed the
democratic nationalist movement is split.
    by Andrej Liakhovich and Ales Mikhalevich
    FEATURE: Optimists in a Skeptical Land
    The Zubr youth movement doesn't want to allow for the
possibility of Lukashenka's victory.
    by Alex Znatkevich
    FEATURE: The Fear Factor
    Small-scale repression will play a significant role in the
coming presidential elections.
    by Anna Badkhen
    From the TOL archives:
    Lukashenka Woos the Elderly
    Opposition wavers as Europe's last dictator polishes
    by Nick Coleman
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- FEATURES ---
    Has Anyone Seen Milan Lukic?
    Wanted by The Hague tribunal for massacring thousands in the
eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad, a notorious suspect easily
evades arrest in a territory controlled by NATO-led SFOR troops.
    by Anes Alic and Jen Tracy
    From the Balkan Reconstruction Report
    Easy Marks
    An increasingly criminal real estate climate in Moscow leads
to calls for the possibility of deprivatizing some apartments.
    by Aleksandr Kravchuk and Maria Antonenko
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      --- OUR TAKE: The Rogue Prison Chief ---
    A book written by Milosevic's former prison guard has raised
difficult moral and legal questions.
    For once, Slobodan Milosevic was in the right. On 4 September,
the former Yugoslav president confirmed through his lawyers that
he would sue Dragisa Blanusa for writing the book "Cuvao sam
Milosevica" (I Guarded Milosevic). Blanusa was the acting head of
the Belgrade central prison where Milosevic was detained from 1
April, when he was arrested on domestic charges, until 28 June
when he was handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for
the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague to face war crimes charges. The
book, which provides a detailed description of Milosevic's time in
the Belgrade prison, was published only weeks after his transfer
to the Hague.
    Blanusa's work can only be described as a disgrace. First of
all, it is clear from the book that the prison head dedicated
three months of his life to spying on his most famous prisoner.
Among other things, he recorded how Milosevic told his wife
Mirjana Markovic that their son Marko, who fled to Russia when
Milosevic was ousted last October, "should not even think of
coming back" to Serbia. Blanusa also read Milosevic's handwritten
personal messages to his daughter. "Dear Marija, be good, listen
to mama, and be good as we agreed you would be," Milosevic wrote,
according to Blanusa. When Marija sent some chocolate to her
father, Blanusa heard him saying, "What am I to do with all that
chocolate, Marija knows well that I don't eat it." Blanusa also
reveals how Mirjana Markovic "burst into tears" when she learned
that Milosevic was diagnosed with high blood pressure.
    Blanusa also provides particularly exhaustive descriptions of
affectionate moments between Milosevic and Markovic. Whenever they
met or parted, "their embraces were extraordinarily long and
spiced up with kisses, often romantic and 'film-like.' Guards had
to take them apart..."
    It goes without saying that Blanusa's act is deplorable from
the moral point of view. The case, however, has important
political and legal implications, too. It is perhaps not so
surprising that a prison official would abuse his position,
particularly in a country that is waking up from a decade-long
moral coma. But the fact that he should display a lack of
understanding for his wrongdoing, even after coming under fierce
criticism, is worrying. "During those 90 days, I saw that married
couple the way they really are. Our citizens should know that.
There are some private details, they perhaps look indecent, but
trust me, if they didn't shy away from doing it in front of us,
than why should I hide it?" Blanusa told the press in July.
    What is peculiar about this case is that Blanusa was not a
career prison service officer. He was a party appointee. His
party, the Democratic Christian Party of Serbia (DHSS), is an
important member of the ruling Democratic Opposition of Serbia
(DOS). DHSS leader Vladan Batic is Serbia's justice minister.
While Blanusa was replaced shortly after the book came out on
Batic's insistence, he was soon given a new job at the Justice
Ministry. Obviously, the controversy surrounding his book was
unpleasant for many DOS members. But, at the same time, it was not
considered all that big a deal after all.
    It is rather big though. The affair exposes some of the
charlatan aspects of the ruling coalition's governing style. Party
members have often been appointed to professional posts for which
they are poorly qualified. More than once, such unqualified
appointees have been involved in arbitrary decision-making.
Perhaps this case could serve as a spark for the de-politicization
of key institutions and public services. Such a process would have
to be part of a long-term strategy and it would require
substantive international assistance.
    As for dealing with the Blanusa case itself, perhaps the DOS
leadership has too much on its plate in dealing with the
thoroughly corrupt society it inherited from the Milosevic regime.
Perhaps too much is going on for them to be able to focus on every
single act of wrongdoing among their own mid-level ranks. But the
fact that they paid so little attention to a case like Blanusa's
is indicative of the revolutionary-like carelessness that pervades
the coalition. Blanusa was a DOS appointee who not only violated
the professional ethics of the prison service, but also trampled
on one prisoner's human rights. The situation called for a much
stronger reaction than just a simple replacement.
    The fact that the prisoner in question once persecuted DOS
leaders should have made it even more imperative that his human
rights be protected. The DOS leaders should now make sure the
right conditions are in place for the Serbian judiciary to process
Milosevic's lawsuit against Blanusa--if indeed the former
president files one--without any political interference and with
professional integrity.
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