US Department of State Dispatch Supplement VOL. 2, NO 3, July 1991

Title:

President's 29th CSCE Report, "Implementation of the Helsinki Final Act, April 1, 1990-March 31, 1991

Bush Source: President Bush Description: Text submitted to Congress, Washington DC Date: Jun 3, 19916/3/91 Category: Reports Region: Europe, E/C Europe, Eurasia Country: Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia (former), Czechoslovakia (former), Hungary, Poland, USSR (former), Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania Subject: Human Rights, Environment, Science/Technology, Arms Control, Security Assistance and Sales, Trade/Economics, Democratization [TEXT]

Preface

This Implementation Report on the commitment of certain member countries to principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), is the first since the law mandating the report (Public Law 94-304) was passed in 1976 to appear on an annual, rather than a semi-annual, basis. The Report reflects the changing realities of Europe and, for the first time, extensively focuses on economic and environmental issues in the countries examined. The countries treated have also changed: during the reporting period the CSCE lost a member with the unification of Germany and there is, thus, no discussion of the German Democratic Republic. In addition, for the first time, Albania is included in the report. Although it is not a member of CSCE, Albania was granted observer status during the reporting period and has requested full membership. [Note: Albania became a full member of CSCE on June 19, 1991.]

Chapter One--DEVELOPMENTS IN THE CSCE PROCESS

Implementation of CSCE principles continued to improve in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the reporting period. Bulgaria held its first multi-party election, introduced economic changes aimed at the creation of a market economy and virtually ceased previous repressive measures, particularly against ethnic Turks. The Czech and Slovak Federal Republic built on the achievements of the Velvet Revolution, with laws to implement economic and political reforms. Germany was unified. Hungary held democratic elections and began drafting and passing legislation to help democracy put down roots. In Poland political groups competed openly and democratically. Parliament asked President Lech Walesa to call for parliamentary elections and began drafting a new constitution based on democratic principles. The constitution will likely be promulgated by the new parliament in late 1991. Despite the country's hardships and a declining standard of living, the government persisted in its economic reform efforts. Romania moved haltingly toward a more open society with the loosening of many controls, but the government's commitment to democracy and its willingness to tolerate opposition was still in question. In particular, the government used force against a June 1990 demonstration by miners and continued isolated beatings and forms of harassment against the opposition. Yugoslavia, beset by internal divisions and human rights abuses in Kosovo and Croatia, nevertheless, attempted significant democratic and political reform at both the republic and federal levels. The Soviet Union took steps toward the withdrawal of its troops from Eastern and Central Europe. However, advances in human rights were offset by abuses in the Baltic states and elsewhere and the rolling back of some press freedoms. Economic reform also remained problematic. The CSCE process itself underwent vast changes during the reporting period. The November 1990 Paris summit publicly recognized the end of the Cold War and, for the first time, created CSCE institutions. A busy schedule of experts meetings was augmented with two additional specialized meetings for 1991. A regular schedule of high-level political consultations among CSCE states was inaugurated. For the first time ever the United States hosted a CSCE meeting--the October 1990 ministerial in New York. The Baltic states requested but did not receive observer status at CSCE meetings due to a lack of consensus on the part of the member states. Albania was granted observer status and sought, but did not receive, full membership, as CSCE states continued to look for a more consistent record of Albanian compliance with CSCE standards. Below is an overview of major CSCE activities, changes in the CSCE process, and a summary of CSCE inter-sessional meetings during the reporting period.
The Paris Summit
The highlight of CSCE activities for the reporting period was the November 19-21 Paris summit, the first CSCE meeting at the level of heads of state or government since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. President Bush led a US delegation of more than 30 senior government officials and congressional representatives, including Senator Claiborne Pell and US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Chairman Representative Steny Hoyer and Commissioner Representative Don Ritter. The Paris summit included signature or endorsement of four major agreements: -- The Charter of Paris for a New Europe; -- The Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs); -- The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE-- negotiated within the framework of the CSCE process by members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact); and -- The Joint Declaration of Twenty-Two States, in which the members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact welcomed the historic changes in Europe and declared that they were no longer adversaries. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and the 1990 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures established a secure foundation for relations among the CSCE participating states. The summit, in turn, reaffirmed CSCE principles and further enhanced the dignity of individuals and human rights. It also focused on expectations for the new Europe in the years ahead. President Bush welcomed the summit as proof that "a continent frozen in hostility for so long has become a continent of revolutionary change." Looking to the future, the President suggested that it was now time to "bring the CSCE down to earth, making it a part of everyday politics, building and drawing on its strength to address the new challenges." Stressing the importance of balance among the three baskets of the CSCE, he called for continued efforts in the areas of human rights, security, and economics, and drew attention to the modest but significant steps toward a new order which the CSCE institutions represented. Other speakers shared the President's reinforcement of CSCE principles and his expectations for the new CSCE.
The Charter of Paris For a New Europe
Building upon the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter creates the framework for a comprehensive European political dialogue. It is the embodiment of President Bush's commitment to "a Europe whole and free." The 10-page Charter and its 14-page supplementary document embrace an extraordinary range of subjects. The Charter is divided into three parts: "a new era of democracy, peace and unity," "guidelines for the future," and "new structures and institutions of the CSCE process." It calls for creation of a parliamentary assembly for CSCE. The supplementary document sets out the new institutional arrangements mandated by the Charter: a political consultation process with a small administrative Secretariat in Prague, a Conflict Prevention Center in Vienna, and an Office for Free Elections in Warsaw. It also mandates two additional CSCE Experts Meetings: a Seminar on Democratic Institutions (November 4-15, 1991 in Oslo), and an Experts Meeting on National Minorities (July 1-19, 1991 in Geneva). The Charter of Paris offers a powerful reaffirmation by the participating states of the original Helsinki principles. The US delegation to the Paris Summit Preparatory Committee which negotiated the Charter worked to ensure that CSCE's traditional emphasis on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms enjoyed pride of place in the document. The United States led the effort to include the first-ever commitment by all CSCE heads of state or government to democracy as "the only system of government of our nations." Building upon commitments undertaken at the Bonn Conference on Economic Cooperation in Europe to replace command economies with market systems, the United States advanced the concept of "economic liberty," which posits individuals exercising their free will in a democratic society as the "necessary basis for successful economic and social development." In arms control, the Charter of Paris took a historic step toward a new Europe. Building upon the CFE and CSBM negotiations, the participating states agreed for the first time to establish new negotiations on disarmament and confidence- and security-building by 1992. The talks will be open to all member states.
Institutional Arrangements
The modest institutions created by the Charter of Paris, and the parliamentary assembly, set up by parliamentarians of participating states, complement CSCE's new processes for political dialogue. The Charter of Paris established a cycle of regular, political consultations at the summit, ministerial and senior official levels. Biennial summits, meetings of foreign ministers at least once a year, and periodic meetings of senior officials--usually senior ambassadors with CSCE responsibilities--are now a strong point of the CSCE process. Follow-up CSCE meetings will now be held, as a rule, every 2 years and will not exceed 3 months, unless otherwise agreed. These changes will allow CSCE to serve as a principal forum for nearly continuous political discussion of developments in post- Cold War Europe. The mandate for the new political consultative process is broad. Conceptually, these consultations are designed to afford every participating state regular opportunities to discuss issues of political interest with all others. The supreme decision-making body of the CSCE will continue to be the meeting of CSCE heads of state or government. However, practical management of the consultative process resides with the Council of Ministers. Annual meetings of the Council are, in turn, prepared by the Committee of Senior Officials. All substantive decisions by these bodies will continue to be taken by consensus. The CSCE states sent experts to a January 14-18, 1991, meeting in Vienna to discuss administrative arrangements for the three new CSCE institutions. The meeting took place against the backdrop of violent actions by the Soviet military in Latvia and Lithuania. The United States and many other delegations used the occasion to condemn these actions and to call for a settlement of outstanding issues between the Baltic states and Soviet authorities through peaceful means. An Austrian-led call for the convening of an additional ad hoc meeting devoted to the Baltic situation was blocked by the Soviets, a move criticized by the United States and 26 other countries present. Turning to their administrative agenda, experts formulated recommendations on questions of personnel, budget, premises, and other matters, all of which were passed along for final decision to the first meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials later that month. At the experts' meeting, the United States took the lead in pressing for a rationalization of CSCE expenses to ensure the most effective use of scarce resources in the face of an increasing CSCE workload. The Committee of Senior Officials met for the first time on January 28-29, 1991, in Vienna. The US Representative to the Committee was Ambassador John J. Maresca (also head of the US Delegation to the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in Vienna). The initial meeting of the Committee focused on establishing a work program and other organizational matters. However, the Committee also exercised its responsibility to review current issues, and the situation in the Baltic states was extensively discussed. The Committee's tasks include preparation of the CSCE Council of Ministers meeting scheduled for June 19-20, 1991, in Berlin. The CSCE Secretariat, which provides support to the political consultation process, was opened in Prague on February 20, 1991, by Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel, Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier, and the Secretariat Director Nils Eliasson of Sweden. The responsibilities of the Secretariat include providing administrative support to Ministers and Senior Officials meetings, maintaining an archive of CSCE documentation, providing information on CSCE to individuals and interested groups as well as non-participating states, and providing support as appropriate to the Executive Secretaries of other CSCE meetings. The Conflict Prevention Center (CPC) was created to assist the Council of Ministers in reducing the risk of conflict by promoting openness and transparency in military matters. Its primary function, as laid out in the Charter, is to facilitate the implementation of agreed CSBMs, the annual exchange of military information, and the maintenance of a communications network between CSCE states. It will also serve as the venue for annual CSBM implementation meetings and seminars on military doctrine and such other seminars as may be agreed by the participating states. A Consultative Committee, composed of representatives from all participating states, supervises the center's activities. Since its creation by CSCE leaders in the Charter of Paris, the CPC Consultative Committee has met twice. The agenda of these meetings have covered implementation of agreed CSBMs, discussion of recent developments in the European military security situation, and administrative matters. A small Secretariat, under Director Bent Rosenthal of Denmark, manages the CPC and reports to the Consultative Committee. Located in Vienna, the CPC Secretariat was officially opened by Austrian Foreign Minister Mock on March 18, 1991. The Charter of Paris also set up an Office for Free Elections, to be established in Warsaw, with Ambassador Luchino Cortese of Italy as its first director. The United States is providing the Deputy Director for the office. The function of the office is to facilitate contacts and the exchange of information on elections among participating states. To this end, the office will be compiling information and reports of election observations on elections within CSCE states; serve to facilitate contact among governments, parliaments, or private organizations wishing to observe elections and competent authorities in states holding elections; and organize and serve as the venue for seminars or other meetings related to election procedures and the building of democratic institutions. To promote involvement of parliamentarians in the CSCE process, parliamentarians from the CSCE states met in Madrid on April 2-3, and agreed to create a CSCE Parliamentary Assembly, to meet annually in a different CSCE country. The first meeting is scheduled for early July 1992 in Budapest.
Inter-sessional Meetings
The reporting period included four meetings of CSCE experts: the Conference on Economic Cooperation in Europe, held in Bonn from March 19 to April 13, 1990; the second Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension, held in Copenhagen June 5-29, 1990; a meeting on the Mediterranean, held in Palma de Mallorca from September 24 to October 19, 1990; and a meeting of Experts on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, held in Valletta, from January 14 to February 8, 1991. Bonn. The Bonn Conference marked a revolutionary point in East-West economic relations. It saw the formal renunciation of the old communist system of planned economies by Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in a final document elaborating free market principles. The Bonn Document, for the first time, gives real content to Basket II and offers a foundation on which all member states can build stronger economic relations based explicitly on market economics. Politically, the document commits CSCE states to multi-party democracy based on free elections, rule of law and non-discrimination, and the right of workers to engage in union activity. Economically, the document endorses fiscal and monetary policies to enhance the functioning of the market; expansion of the free flow of trade, repatriation of profits in convertible currencies; prices based on supply and demand; policies that promote social justice; environmentally sustainable growth; recognition and protection of intellectual and private property; prompt and fair compensation for expropriation; and direct contact between suppliers and consumers in domestic and international markets. The US delegation was headed by Ambassador Alan F. Holmer and included representatives the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the business community. The United States played an important role in fashioning the conference's outcome through its proposed "Bonn Principles for Economic Cooperation," which became an integral part of the Final Document. Copenhagen. The Copenhagen meeting adopted an historic document placing the CSCE process unequivocally at the forefront of efforts to make democracy the common possession of all participating CSCE states. Most noteworthy was the document's inclusion of language on free and fair elections: all CSCE states committed themselves to hold genuinely free elections on a multi- party basis and to admit government and non-governmental organizations (NGO) observers to national-level elections. Another major gain was in the rule of law. CSCE states affirmed that the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms is one of the basic purposes of government and set forth the fundamental principles of justice that form the basis of the rule of law in a democracy. These principles include the inalienable rights of man, representative government, measures against torture, and the rights of national minorities. Other sections of the document encourage CSCE states to allow for foreign states and NGO observers at trials. Copenhagen also produced agreement to impose time limits within which governments must respond to other states' human rights inquiries raised through the CSCE's Human Dimension Mechanism. The US delegation to the Copenhagen meeting was headed by Max Kampelman and included public members, members of the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and members of the US Government's executive branch. Palma. In the midst of worldwide concern over the environment, the CSCE meeting on the Mediterranean was a useful opportunity for member states to discuss environmental problems affecting the Mediterranean. The meeting adopted a final document promoting environmental cooperation in the region among CSCE states and with the non-participating Mediterranean States (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia). The final report stressed the desire of participating states to promote favorable political, cultural, and economic conditions in the region and emphasized the shared responsibility to protect the environment. It also noted the need to enhance trade and economic cooperation in order to promote development in the Mediterranean region. The largest portion of the document sets out areas of potential cooperation on the environment, including energy, cultural preservation, water use, pollution, the fight against desertification, prevention of forest fires, tourism, and information exchanges. The United States, while not a Mediterranean littoral state, shared its expertise on issues relevant to the Mediterranean. US presentations underscored areas in which Mediterranean littoral states could benefit from American experience in handling water and air pollution. Of special note was a presentation on US cooperation with Canada to resolve problems involving the Great Lakes. The US delegation also stressed the utility of market principles in environmental decision-making. The Palma Final Report included a US proposal that CSCE member states establish toxic emissions reporting programs modeled after the US Toxic Release Inventory. The United States delegation was headed by Ambassador John R. Davis, Jr., and included experts on pollution, tourism, and reforestation and members of the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Valletta. The Valletta meeting took place amidst hopes that CSCE might play a greater role in preserving stability in a changing Europe. During the meeting, war broke out in the Persian Gulf, and the Soviet Union cracked down on the Baltic states, provoking formal protests from many of the meeting's participants, including the United States. Despite this, Valletta was able to make a useful contribution to ongoing efforts within CSCE to find ways of managing conflicts and their sources. The Valletta Final Document reinforces the commitment of CSCE states to try to prevent, manage, and settle disputes by peaceful means. It contains two parts: general principles on dispute settlement and a CSCE-specific dispute settlement procedure. The general principles address the prevention, management, and resolution of disputes. The dispute settlement procedure calls for mandatory third-party involvement should CSCE states be unable to settle a dispute among themselves or to agree on a settlement method. In the first stage of the procedure, the CSCE third party--selected from a CSCE roster of mediators--helps disputants find an appropriate settlement method. If this is unsuccessful, either party can invoke the second stage and ask the CSCE third party to assist in finding a substantive settlement. The procedure calls for a "nominating institution" to maintain the CSCE roster of mediators and to select the mediators when the parties are unable to do so. The Valletta meeting left to the Berlin ministerial to decide whether the nominating institution should be the CPC, the Secretariat or another body. The US delegation was headed by Michael K. Young, a Deputy Legal Adviser at the State Department, and included a leading public expert in dispute settlement, as well as a member of the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Chapter Two--GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF CSCE IMPLEMENTATION

The 10 principles of the Helsinki Act and additional commitments elaborated over the years define the basic code of conduct that CSCE states have adopted. These Helsinki principles, reaffirmed in the Charter of Paris, include: -- Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty; -- Refraining from the threat or use of force; -- Inviolability of frontiers; -- Territorial integrity of states; -- Peaceful settlement of disputes; -- Non-intervention in internal affairs; -- Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief; -- Equal rights and self-determination of peoples; -- Co-operation among states; and -- Fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law. The following general assessments provide an overview of certain member countries and Albania where further progress on meeting CSCE standards appears necessary or where remarkable progress has recently been achieved.
Albania
During the reporting period Albania, which refused the invitation to participate in CSCE in the early 1970s, requested and was granted observer status. It is, therefore, significant that Albania took some cautious but important steps toward implementing the Helsinki principles, including the holding of multi-party legislative elections on March 31, 1991--the first since 1920. The electoral process fell short in several key areas of CSCE standards for free and fair elections, including limited access to the media for opposition parties, intimidation of opposition party candidates and activists, and delayed issuance of election results. Much remains to be done to ensure Albania's complete and continuing observance of the Helsinki principles. During the reporting period, the ruling Albanian Party of Labor (PLA) declared its intent to depoliticize the army, security forces, and courts and took measures to decentralize the economy and reform the penal code and electoral law. In December 1990, the Albanian leadership announced that the formation of independent political organizations would be permitted and that a number of political parties and organizations would be allowed to register officially. Some of these groups also were allowed to publish their own newspapers. In human rights, the Albanian Government took some initial steps to correct past repressive practices. In 1990, Albanian authorities eased some restrictions on citizens' right to travel abroad but, at the same time, reportedly shot asylum seekers. Albania eased its persecution of religious activity, which resulted in the celebration of some religious services without official interference. Amendments to the penal code adopted in 1990 include the right to counsel, the right of appeal, and the right to a speedy trial. The government also re-established the Ministry of Justice, which had been abolished in 1967, as part of a judicial reform program. The government has published drafts for a new constitution incorporating safeguards, in principle, of many basic human rights, including freedom of religion, press, movement, association, and the presumption of innocence. The new multi-party legislature will begin debate on the constitution in late 1991. The government stopped jamming foreign broadcasts, including those of the Voice of America. The UN Secretary General visited Albania in 1990 to discuss human rights, among other topics. Albania, which is not a member of the CSCE, was granted observer status at each of the CSCE meetings held in the reporting period since June 1990. In October 1990, Albania hosted a gathering of Balkan foreign ministers. On March 15, 1991, the United States and Albania resumed relations. On March 20, 1991, an official US delegation arrived in Tirana to lay the foundations for this new relationship.
Bulgaria
Bulgaria's adherence to Helsinki principles dramatically improved during the reporting period. The current reporting period was a year of significant political transformation, including the country's first free and democratic elections in June 1990, and the implementation of wide-ranging political and economic reform. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), as the Communist Party was renamed, won the June parliamentary elections, with a small majority over the opposition coalition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). In August, Bulgaria's Parliament elected Zhelyu Zhelev, the former UDF chairman, as president. The main political forces entered into a coalition government in December, after a general strike brought down the second all-socialist government of Andrey Lukanov. Political reforms begun in the fall were followed by an ambitious economic reforms in January and February. A new constitution is to be drafted by the Grand National Assembly during the spring of 1991. New local and parliamentary elections will be held sometime thereafter. The Bulgarian Government made great strides in the area of human rights. The human rights abuses for which the former communist regime was criticized virtually disappeared. The government claimed that all monitoring of mail and telephone conversations had stopped, although some opposition activists charged abuses continued during and after the election campaign. A wide array of opposition and independent newspapers emerged despite frequent shortages in newsprint and the state-run printing and distribution networks. Freedom of speech and association were no longer challenged. Additionally, the Bulgarian Government made progress in redressing human rights violations committed during the forced assimilation campaign aimed against Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish and Pomak (ethnically Bulgarian Muslim) minorities during the late 1980s. Freedom of religion also blossomed, as semi- official bans on church attendance were lifted and Bulgarians could freely attend church services and ceremonies. Several of the measures taken to prevent or discourage the practice of Islam were ended. A school for Imams was opened as was an Islamic cultural center. Several Protestant and evangelical churches were registered and have established offices and begun importing Bibles written in the Bulgarian language. Although many of the reforms have only recently been set in motion, a clear pattern of democratization and a new openness of Bulgarian society was established during the reporting period. Nationalism remains a difficult problem for Bulgaria, however, and tensions on this question are still high. Moreover, the need to overhaul totally the societal structure imposed by the communist regime requires a massive amount of work. That process, while well underway, was not yet complete, and remnants of the totalitarian system had still to be overcome.
Czechoslovakia
At the end of the reporting period, Czechoslovakia made significant progress in establishing democratic institutions and civil liberties since November 1989. Economic reform moved more slowly, hampered by bureaucratic caution and public fears of inflation and unemployment. Problems during the reporting period included the controversy over vetting public servants who may have collaborated with the old regime; the devolution of power from the federal government to the Slovak and Czech Republic Governments; and the knotty economic challenge of property rights (restitution), privatization, and elimination of distortions in the economy. In the longer term, Czechoslovakia, led by President Vaclav Havel and his allies, has an excellent chance of maintaining the advances it has made in the last year and of forging closer political and economic ties with the West. Czechoslovakia is strongly committed to the CSCE process, not only because many of its current leaders were active in monitoring CSCE compliance in the past, but also because the Czechs and Slovaks, hoping to establish themselves as a constructive presence in the heart of Europe, see the CSCE process as serving an integrative function for Europe and North America. The CSCE Secretariat is located in Prague, and the Czechoslovak government has been particularly active in presenting proposals to enhance and expand the CSCE's role in multi-lateral politics.
Hungary
Hungary continued its implementation of CSCE principles by taking further steps to consolidate the political and economic reforms of the past few years. The Antall Government made genuine progress in creating democratic institutions, in re-orienting its foreign policy toward the West, and in moving toward a free market economy. Hungary is now a working parliamentary democracy and is embarking on the second stage of its political transformation--the drafting and passage of numerous pieces of legislation to help establish democracy. In February 1991, the government presented a 4-year economic reform program aimed at reducing constraints on private business, accelerating privatization, continuing economic liberalization, and reducing inflation. Hungary continues to play an active role in the CSCE and views its participation as a way to strengthen ties with the West and help influence the shape of a new Europe.
Poland
April 1, 1990 to March 31, 1991, witnessed sustained and significant progress in Poland's implementation of its CSCE commitments. The two governments in power during this period continued Poland's democratic and free market transformation and moved the country toward full compliance with CSCE standards. During the reporting period, Poland transformed itself from a one- party state into a functioning democracy in which the legal scope for private ownership and initiative approaches that of Western parliamentary democracies. Poland's political and economic transition is, by no means, complete. The parliamentary process for dismantling the legislative framework of the previous era has proven tedious. Poland has yet to hold fully free parliamentary elections, but the Polish Parliament and President Walesa agreed to hold elections before October 31. The government remains committed to the rule of law, arguing that democracy assures the durability of economic and other reforms.
Romania
Romania made some progress in implementing CSCE provisions in the current review period. Restrictions on travel and emigration were lifted; there are no longer bars to the free practice of religious belief; and the rights of free speech, association and political expression generally are respected. The internal security apparatus was scaled down but still plays a troubling role in society. Progressive reforms of the legal code, designed to ensure the rights of the individual vis-a-vis the state, were adopted or proposed. There were, however, some notable exceptions to these positive developments. An outbreak of violence in June 1990 left several dead. Hundreds were injured as coal miners rampaged through the streets of Bucharest in response to an official appeal to counteract anti-government protests. This and other events marred Romania's progress toward greater compliance with CSCE standards. On May 20, 1990, Romania held its first multi-party election since 1946. Ion Iliescu, the candidate of the National Salvation Front (NSF, the successor to the Communist Party) was overwhelmingly elected president, while NSF candidates won about two-thirds of the seats in each of the new parliament's two chambers. The voting was judged by domestic and international election observers to have been essentially free and unfettered. The same was not true of the campaign, which was marred by violence, intimidation, state control of the media, and the overwhelming imbalance of state resources in favor of the ruling party. Citizens remain unable to express their political opinions through the ballot at a sub-national level, as local elections have been repeatedly delayed, and local officials are appointed by the central government. Romania has continued to make progress under Basket II during the past year. The government has promulgated an extensive array of laws that form a legal basis for private agricultural land ownership, creation of private-sector economic units, privatization of the bulk of state-owned enterprises, foreign investment, expansion of foreign trade, and a new social security system. Under an economic stabilization program negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), prices were raised substantially. Measures also were taken to restrain inflation, make the national currency partially convertible, halt the decline in gross national product, and restrain the current account deficit. Romania's post- revolution buying spree contributed to a $148-million US trade surplus with Romania in 1990, after several years of large deficits. Romania has been opened to foreign businessmen and investors. However, the changing legal environment, political uncertainty, and economic decline have left most foreign investors cautious about the country. Inter-ethnic tensions remain high, particularly between ethnic Hungarians, who constitute approximately 8% of the population, and ethnic Romanians. The violent clashes between these two groups that took place in March 1990, were not repeated in the reporting period, but the treatment of Hungarians and other minorities, including Gypsies, is a potentially explosive issue. Freedom of religion and expression is now unhindered. The print media is not censored, but complaints continued to be made about government manipulation of newsprint supplies and distribution. Television remains essentially under government control, although a smattering of independent television stations, limited by poor equipment, lack of financing, and very limited access to the airwaves, were established. The official decision to reduce television air time for political parties and for minority language programing was greeted with skepticism.
USSR
In its external relations, the Soviet Union generally sought to abide by the Helsinki principles, at a time when dramatic changes in Eastern Europe seriously challenged all CSCE signatories, but especially the USSR. The Soviet Union largely respected the sovereignty of neighboring CSCE states--although the Soviets removed former German Democratic Republic (GDR) leader Erich Honecker from Germany in March 1991--refrained from official threats of force, and supported the inviolability of existing borders and the peaceful settlement of disputes arising between states. It took steps to withdraw its forces from Eastern Europe, although negotiations on withdrawal continue with some countries. There has been continued progress in Soviet respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, though that trend stalled momentarily beginning in the fall of 1990. Landmark religious and press freedom laws were passed in 1990, and a new emigration law continued to move forward in the Soviet legislature as the review period drew to a close. Trade declined during the review period, hampered by the inconvertibility of the ruble and the absence of private property rights. Cultural exchanges expanded but were impeded by the poor state of the Soviet economy. The forced annexation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 1939 by the Soviet Union, never recognized by the United States, led to tensions and escalating violence in the area. The Soviet Union's observance of the Helsinki principles was marred by actions in the Baltic states, prompting invocation of the CSCE Human Dimension Mechanism by a majority of CSCE states. In January 1991 the Soviets used force, leaving at least 14 dead in Lithuania and five dead in Latvia. There also was violence in Azerbaijan, and accusations of participation by Soviet army forces in actions against Armenians in disputed areas in Azerbaijan. In other respects, however, the Soviet Union has been an active and constructive participant in a variety of European and international fora.
Yugoslavia
During the reporting period, Yugoslavia suffered a deepening political crisis, significantly affecting its performance under the Helsinki principles. While in many parts of the country, there was a significant broadening of the democratic process, rising ethnic tensions, most notably in Serbian-dominated Kosovo, led to repression and violence. Overall, Yugoslavia's adherence to Helsinki principles expanded during the reporting period, but in Kosovo the reverse was true, leading fellow CSCE states to invoke the Human Dimension Mechanism. The one-party communist system that ruled Yugoslavia since World War II largely disappeared in 1990. For the first time since before World War II, Yugoslavia experienced multi- party elections in all six constituent republics. Balloting procedures in most republics generally were fair, but in Serbia, the ruling Communist Party used its control of the media and financial resources to the detriment of the opposition parties. The federal government, under Prime Minister Ante Markovic, attempted a sweeping program of political and economic reforms. After initial progress, this program fell afoul of inter-republican differences, which have, for example, blocked a number of proposed amendments to the federal constitution intended to eliminate remnants of the one-party system and allow multi-party elections at the federal level. Rising ethnic tensions and the persistence of old anti- democratic structures in Yugoslavia reached the point where they threatened the existence of a unified federal state. Conflict deepened, especially in parts of Croatia and Bosnia. Ethnic conflict in Kosovo between majority Albanians and Serbs, who consider the province the "heart of Serbia," has led to massive violations of human rights, including scores of deaths at the hands of police, thousands of arrests for the expression of political opinions, and the firing of tens of thousands for political strikes. Serbian/Croat tension also reached dangerous levels. The Yugoslav military is highly secretive and provides little information about its activities to the Yugoslav government or public, let alone the country's CSCE partners. As the Yugoslav crisis deepened, the Yugoslav military played an increasingly assertive political role, feeding concerns that it would not act impartially in support of federal objectives if events led to conflict.

Chapter Three--IMPLEMENTATION OF SECURITY-RELATED PRINCIPLES AND OF BASKET I

(CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES AND CERTAIN ASPECTS OF SECURITY AND DISARMAMENT) The security aspects of the CSCE process, known as Basket I, were first enshrined in Section 2 of the Helsinki Final Act, entitled the "Document on Confidence-Building Measures and Certain Aspects of Security and Disarmament." CSCE participating states agreed to prior notification of major military maneuvers and movements, exchanges of observers and other confidence-building measures. Subsequent to Helsinki, the 34 CSCE states endorsed two additional agreements--the Stockholm Document of 1986 and the Vienna Document of 1990--which expanded and deepened the CSBMs regime. The 34 also have, under various principles and agreements, committed to promoting disarmament. Following are assessments of the performance of certain CSCE member states.
Bulgaria
The overall improvement in relations between Bulgaria and the United States and Western Europe was reflected in Bulgaria's approach to security issues. The Bulgarian People's Army has been receptive to the idea of increased military contacts but currently is constrained by severe economic problems from responding favorably to proposals in this area offered by the United States. Bulgaria has accepted, in principle, a US naval ship visit (originally scheduled for the summer of 1990, but, subsequently, canceled due to the Persian Gulf crisis), a US military band visit, an Air Force Academy cadet exchange, a visit to the United States by eight mid-level line officers, and increased medical team visits. The Deputy Surgeon General of the US- European Command visited Bulgaria in July 1990, as part of a humanitarian support mission and established contact with the Bulgarian Minister of Health and Bulgarian People's Army military medical academy-hospital. The Bulgarian Government and People's Army have repeatedly voiced their eagerness to fulfill all requirements of the 1990 Vienna Document, including military inspections, and have provided detailed information regarding their force structure and equipment, as required by the Vienna Document. Particularly since the current coalition government came to power in December 1990, Bulgaria has expressed deep interest in closer relations with NATO. In an attempt to establish a dialogue facilitating a decrease in traditional tensions, better understanding of each other's military forces, and resolution of other longstanding problems, the Bulgarian Government and People's Army have initiated significant new contacts with their Turkish counterparts, to include exchange visits with chiefs of the general staffs. This dialogue also will encompass exchanges of instructors from military academies, sports teams, medical personnel, and possibly naval vessels. Sofia also has called on its Greek and Turkish neighbors to implement aspects of the CFE verification regime, even before the treaty enters into force as a confidence-building measure in the Balkans. The new Bulgarian Government has expressed its willingness to cooperate bilaterally with the United States and other states to combat international terrorism. It worked closely with the United States and other Western countries in the prevention of terrorism during the Persian Gulf crisis. Stringent measures were taken to protect diplomatic missions and residences against potential threats. Bulgaria's relations with states that support terrorism have declined markedly under the new political system, though it maintains relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Iran, and Libya, among other traditional Bulgarian allies. The Bulgarian Government has initiated investigations into allegations of Bulgarian involvement in the 1981 assassination attempt against the Pope and the 1978 London killing of dissident writer Georgi Markov, and is cooperating with international authorities in these investigations. Bulgaria ratified the Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation on January 5, 1991.
Romania
Romania has moved from its position prior to the revolution in which it actively helped train and support international terrorists within its borders, to acting in relative harmony with Western governments to stop the movement of terrorists. The official Romanian training of terrorists affiliated with radical Arab groups appears to have stopped. The government also has entered into limited, but cooperative information-sharing arrangements with several neighboring states to combat the movement of terrorists and associated support, including arms, across its borders. Some informal counter-terrorist information-sharing arrangements also have been entered into with Western countries. Because of the presence of a large number of students from countries that support international terrorism and the relaxation of border controls, the movement of terrorists within Romania is often difficult to detect, control, and interdict. This difficulty is compounded by the continuing existence of remnants of the support structure terrorists had established in East European countries. A possible exception to Romania's new anti-terrorist stance is the reported continuation of sales of Romanian-made armaments to states that have traditionally supported terrorism. In May, Romania concluded a bilateral Open Skies agreement with Hungary to build mutual confidence, and the Romanian military has had a useful and growing dialogue with its Hungarian counterparts.
USSR
The Soviet Union has continued to support means for settling disputes in the CSCE region. In its relations with the Baltics and with Soviet republics, the All-Union Government has expressed its desire to resolve tensions through dialogue. However, the behavior of its organs has not always reflected this commitment in practice: in the Baltic states, the Soviet Government instigated or acquiesced in the use of deadly force in January 1991. During the last reporting period, the Soviet Union maintained a constructive approach toward terrorism. Assistance to states linked to terrorist activities has declined during the past year, albeit for economic as well as political reasons. The Soviet Union also increased its level of cooperation with the United States and other nations, and bilateral counter-terrorism policy discussions have been increasingly constructive. Soviet representatives have expressed particular concern over the linkage between international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and organized crime, and have sought increased international cooperation to address these problems. Soviet authorities cooperated closely with the United States to counter the terrorist threat posed by the Persian Gulf crisis.
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia continues to try to shed its old image as a terrorist crossroads, both in its public pronouncements in support of the battle against international terrorism and in growing cooperation with foreign police services. The Yugoslav policy of granting entry to citizens of nearly all countries without visas, combined with relatively inefficient frontier controls, limits its effectiveness in stopping terrorists from transiting Yugoslavia, but authorities seem increasingly inclined to discourage or expel those seeking to establish support infrastructure there. During the Gulf war, numerous diplomatic representations established new relationships with the internal security service to discuss the protection of embassies from terrorist attacks. The United States worked with Yugoslav security services closely throughout the crisis. Although the results were uneven in terms of the actual effectiveness of the extra security provided, the dialogue between Yugoslav terrorist specialists and foreign embassies has expanded. Yugoslavia adheres to the Tokyo Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed On Board Aircraft; the Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft; the Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation; the 1987 Protocol to the Montreal Convention; and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. The Yugoslav military's traditional obsession with secrecy with regard to military contacts, can be seen in its approach toward the foreign military attaches in Belgrade. The Yugoslav National Army (JNA) does not encourage contacts between senior Yugoslav military leaders and attaches, and provides foreign attaches with very little information about its activities. It limits access to military facilities to a small number of carefully stage-managed visits for attaches each year. Foreign military attaches are required to inform the JNA 48 hours in advance about travel outside Belgrade.
Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CSBMs)
The Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe was originally mandated in 1983 by the Madrid CSCE Follow-Up Meeting as an integral part of the CSCE process. The aim of the CSBM talks was to establish concrete measures to increase military transparency and predictability as a means of achieving greater security and military stability in Europe. The first CSBM talks--from 1984 to 1986, in Stockholm-- produced the Stockholm Document; a set of CSBMs that called for forecasts, notifications, and observations of major military exercises; and established on-site inspections to assist in verifying compliance. In accordance with the terms of the Madrid Mandate that governed these talks, the Stockholm CSBMs were militarily significant, politically binding, and verifiable. Further, the CSBMs were to apply only to land-based military exercises taking place within the whole of Europe as defined in the mandate. The provisions of the Stockholm Document follow. Forecasting. The exchange of annual forecasts of all notifiable military activities, with large-scale activities (more than 40,000 troops) prohibited unless announced 1 year in advance and activities over 75,000 prohibited unless forecast 2 years in advance. Notification. Forty-two-day advance notification of activities when these involve at least 13,000 troops or 300 tanks, if organized into a divisional structure or at least two brigades/regiments. In the case of amphibious and airborne activities, the notification threshold is 3,000 troops. Observations. Invitations to observe must be extended when notifiable military activities meet or exceed 17,000 troops. In the case of amphibious and airborne activities, the observation threshold is 5,000 troops. Inspection. On-site inspections from the air or ground, or both, to verify compliance with the agreed measures, with no right of refusal. No country need accept more than three inspections on its territory per calendar year nor more than one from any one participating state. As agreed at the Vienna Follow-Up Meeting, a new set of CSBM negotiations began in 1989 to expand the measures of the Stockholm Document. These talks, guided by the Madrid Mandate, will continue until the Helsinki Follow-Up Conference in March 1992 under the same mandate as the one governing the Stockholm Document. In July 1990, NATO leaders at the London summit called for a meaningful package of CSBMs to be ready for endorsement by the 34 CSCE nations at the Paris summit in November 1990. This call quickened the pace of negotiations and helped produce a new, expanded CSBM agreement--the Vienna Document of 1990--which leaders of the 34 CSCE nations endorsed in Paris. The Vienna Document builds upon the Stockholm Document and entered into force January 1, 1991 (its provisions on the military data exchange enter into force on April 15, and the evaluation visits to verify this data enter into force on July 1). The Vienna Document adds the following measures to the Stockholm Document: -- Military data exchange requires yearly exchange of data on military forces, equipment, and budgets. Military force and equipment data will be verified by on-site evaluation visits. -- Risk reduction permits any state to require an explanation from any other state of unusual and unscheduled military activities that cause security concerns and establishes points of contact to report or receive information on hazardous military incidents to prevent misunderstandings, and mitigate the effects of such incidents. -- Contacts call for increased military contacts among the 34 nations at all levels and for visits to air bases once in a 5-year period. Sets up a CSBM communication network for the states to transmit and receive required and relevant information. -- The annual assessment meeting establishes a yearly implementation review of the Vienna Document CSBMs.
Implementation
The implementation record for the reporting period demonstrates a reduction in the level of CSBM-related activity as compared with earlier years. This is largely due to the fact that 1990 activity forecasts (submitted by NATO, East European states, neutral and non-aligned states (NNA) and the USSR) included a limited number of notifiable military activities. Furthermore, during the year, a number of these activities were subsequently canceled or reduced below notifiable levels. East European and Soviet practices were in accord with the provisions of the Stockholm Document. Most East European states now have open and constructive approaches to CSBM implementation. For the most part, the Soviet Union maintains a narrow interpretation of the Stockholm provisions. As of March 31, 1991, 45 inspections--under CSBM and Disarmament in Europe (CDE) terms-- had been conducted. Of these, 44 were carried out under the 1986 Stockholm Document, and one was carried out under the 1990 Vienna Document. During 1990, 10 CDE inspections were carried out. Inspections have been viewed by both East and West not only as an element of verification but as an instrument that can make a contribution to confidence-building. Eastern states, the GDR, and the Soviet Union forecast six activities for 1990, three of which were national and three combined. Three of these forecast activities met the notification threshold. During the year, one was canceled, and one was reduced below notification thresholds. As a result, four activities were notified: USSR/GDR on February 5-11, 1990 in the GDR, with 16,000 troops; USSR on March 16-23, 1991 in the Kiev Military District, with 17,000 troops; USSR/GDR in the GDR on August 10-17, 1991, with 15,000 troops; and USSR on September 10-15, 1990, within the Byelorussia Military District, with 9,800 troops. There also was one observation program in Kiev in March. The Soviet Union forecast four notifiable activities for 1991, two of which will require observation programs. East European states provided notice that they had no notifiable military activities planned for 1991. The NNA states forecast a total of five notifiable military activities for 1990, one of which met the observation threshold. Consequently, two of these activities were canceled, and two were reduced below notification thresholds. As a result, one activity (not observable) was notified in 1990. Of the NNA states, only Sweden submitted an activity forecast (including one activity) for 1991. For 1990, NATO states forecast 10 notifiable activities, eight of which met the observation threshold. Subsequently, five of these activities were canceled, and one was reduced below notification thresholds. As a result, four activities were notified in 1990; two of these included observation programs. NATO states forecast five activities for 1991, one of which will require an observation program. During the reporting period, East European countries notified two activities under the Stockholm Document. One of these was a combined activity in the GDR, and one was a national activity in the USSR; neither met the threshold for observation. NATO countries notified four military activities. Two of them included observation programs. One activity, an amphibious exercise in Norway called "Adger 91," was notified under the Vienna Document. Among the NNA states, Finland provided notification of its military activity "Harjoitus 90." Sweden provided a notification and observation program, under the Vienna Document, for its activity "Nordanvind 91." During the reporting period, seven inspections were conducted. The Soviet Union conducted four inspections: in Italy in May 1990; in the United Kingdom in September 1990; in the Federal Republic of Germany in October 1990; and in Norway in March 1991. The Soviet inspection in Norway was carried out under the provisions of the Vienna Document. NATO members conducted three inspections during the reporting period. The United Kingdom conducted an inspection of an unnotified activity that took place in the GDR in April 1990, as well as a previously notified activity in the Soviet Union in September 1990. Norway inspected an unnotified activity in the Soviet Union in September 1990. Bulgaria did not forecast activities for 1990 and did not receive or conduct CDE inspections in 1990. Czechoslovakia did not forecast activities for 1990, nor did it receive or conduct any CDE inspections. Hungary did not forecast activities for 1990, nor did it receive or conduct any on-site inspections in 1990. Poland did not forecast activities for 1990, nor did it receive or conduct any CDE inspections in 1990. Romania did not forecast activities for 1990, nor did it receive or conduct any CDE inspections. To date, Romania has not implemented any agreed CSBMs, other than sending observers to observable exercises (a practice that only started in 1988). USSR has carried out its obligations under the CSBMs of the Stockholm Document, as well as the recently adopted Vienna Document. During the reporting period, the Soviet Union provided notification of two activities, one of which took place in the GDR and the other on the territory of the USSR. The latter was provided on a voluntary basis as the activity was scaled back below notification levels. The notifications were provided in a timely manner and included, at least the minimum information required under notification provisions. The exercise calendar for 1991 also was provided in a timely manner and included all required information on four ground force exercises scheduled for the last half of the year. The Soviet Union conducted four inspections and received two during the reporting period. Yugoslavia forecast one activity, "Pester '90," but the exercise was canceled in January 1990. Yugoslavia did not receive or conduct any CDE inspections in 1990.

Chapter Four--IMPLEMENTATION OF BASKET II

(ECONOMICS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT) Basket II of the Helsinki Final Act calls for the promotion of cooperation in economics, science and technology, and the environment. During this reporting period, Basket II activities made the most significant advances since CSCE's launching in 1973. The Bonn Document committed member states to market economic principles and opened the way for true economic cooperation among CSCE countries. Its signature occurred at a time when such cooperation became critical to the successful transition to democracy among the reforming states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Sofia Document on the Protection of the Environment, negotiated in 1989 and formally adopted at Vienna in 1990, provided guidance on the need to protect both the environment and environmentalists. Following are assessments of the performance of certain CSCE countries and Albania in Basket II.
Albania
Faced with a declining growth rate in what is already the poorest country in Europe, the Albanian leadership in 1990 moved in a very limited way to decentralize the economy by encouraging the emergence of small-scale private enterprises, providing some agricultural workers with larger plots of land for private use, and granting enterprises the power to set their own wage levels and bonuses for workers who exceed production targets. Hoping to attract outside assistance to save its failing economy, the government removed the ban on foreign credits and liberalized the foreign investment law to provide for repatriation of profits by foreign investors. While some foreign businesses have expressed an interest in Albania, most still are wary of investing substantial amounts until the country has made a stronger commitment to creating a stable economy backed by a democratic government. Moreover, the lack of an adequate infrastructure for conducting business may discourage the development of commercial ties.
Bulgaria
Economic, Trade, and Commercial Issues. An economic reform program, introduced in early 1991, is designed to move Bulgaria rapidly in the direction of a market-oriented economy. As a part of that reform, the government introduced, and the National Assembly adopted, a budget aimed at a smaller deficit funded by borrowing rather than by issuing new money. Excess government spending is being trimmed, and subsidies to enterprises and consumers are being sharply reduced. As of February 1, 1991, all prices were liberalized, with the exception of several energy sources (coal, electricity, heat, gasoline). Prices of 14 basic foodstuffs are under observation, and the government may intervene to counter sharp rises in prices. Interest rates were readjusted to a more realistic rate. A foreign investment law draft is before the National Assembly, and a revision in the economic statutes allows all firms to engage in international economic activity, provided they register with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Trade unions have operated more vigorously in the last year, and three trade union groups now exist. The two larger confederations participate with representatives of government and employers in considering some economic measures, although they are now entirely independent of the government and varied in their political sympathies. A general strike led by the "Podkrepa" trade union brought down the all-Socialist government of Andrey Lukanov in late November 1990. The new agricultural land law, passed February 22, 1991, recognized the rights of former owners of rural land to receive equivalent amounts of land again if they wish. Full implementation will likely take several years, but the law is the first step toward reprivatizing property. Commercial exchanges have been facilitated by more liberal rules for foreign businessmen. For example, US businessmen and tourists no longer require a visa for stays up to 30 days. Businesses are allowed to open their own offices, and a number have done so. Foreign trade statistics published for 1990, for the first time in many years, included data on import and export of crude oil and some petroleum products. Balance-of-payments information has become more accessible, and a new accounting convention was established to make government data conform more closely to international standards. Science and Technology. Bulgaria continued to encourage expansion of free exchange of scientists and information with the United States and other developed Western nations during the reporting period. In mid-1990, Bulgaria hosted the International Council of Scientific Unions Conference and invited representatives of the US National Science Foundation to visit Bulgaria. Bulgarian scientists have made a concerted and consistent effort to expand contacts at all levels, both privately and through governmental organizations (chiefly the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the National Academy of Sciences), and to encourage development of joint projects in a variety of fields. Environment. Environmental issues were of primary concern to the government throughout 1990-91. It continued to permit a variety of environmental organizations to operate unhindered and invited international environmental inspection teams to visit the country. Numerous representatives of Ecoglasnost and the Green Party were elected to Parliament and have become prominent national political leaders. There is an active parliamentary commission on environmental policy, led by a member of Ecoglasnost. The government has actively pursued contacts and cooperation with international entities regarding environmental protection. Bulgaria signed the Charter of the Regional Environmental Center based in Budapest and is pursuing the possibility of establishing two or three sub-centers of that organization in Bulgaria. In November 1990, Bulgaria invited international inspections by the UN Environmental Program of the Ruse-Georghiu region, and by the International Atomic Energy Agency of the Kozlodui nuclear power station on the Danube, in an effort to resolve conflicting claims of environmental negligence between Bulgaria and Romania. The Bulgarians also are pursuing possible cooperation with other states on resolving pollution problems in the Black Sea and the Danube, and have agreed to form a joint commission with Greece to study pollution in the Mestos River system. Bulgaria participated in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and in the first session of the International Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change. Bulgaria is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol. In early 1991, Bulgaria hosted the visit of a high-ranking official of the US Environmental Protection Agency to discuss future cooperation and assistance in environmental issues. The European Community (EC) has agreed to assist in the establishment of a national environmental monitoring system.
Czechoslovakia
Economic, Trade, and Commercial Issues. Czechoslovakia is moving steadily toward a free market economy. To keep the economy balanced during the difficult transition period, the government is pursuing a stringent fiscal and monetary policy. To soften the effects of rising prices and unemployment, the government has enacted social legislation, including an increase in the minimum wage, increased pensions, and an unemployment benefits program. Unions are free and are consulted by the government on social and economic issues. Major economic reform legislation which has been passed include: -- Legalization of private enterprise; -- Liberalization of foreign investment to allow both joint ventures and wholly owned foreign subsidiaries in virtually all sectors of the economy; -- Liberalization of foreign trade to remove obstacles for private individuals and organizations to engage in foreign trade; -- Privatization of small and state-owned enterprises; -- Restitution of businesses and other personal property nationalized by communist authorities beginning in 1948; -- Price liberalization (covers 80% of prices); -- Foreign exchange liberalization ; -- Safeguards legislation to prevent illegal transfer of sensitive technology; and -- Strengthening protection of intellectual property rights. The Government of Czechoslovakia welcomes and encourages foreign investment, cooperation, and trade. Working-level officials are open and accessible to business representatives. Economic statistics are published, but at times are difficult to find and are not all calculated according to Western standards. Economic legislation and business information is available, often in English, but due to the rapid changes that the Czechoslovak economy is undergoing, businessmen often have difficulty obtaining timely and accurate information. Numerous trade fairs are held annually, and businesses can freely organize seminars, exhibitions, and other promotional events as well as advertise in local newspapers. However, because of the tremendous increase of interest in Czechoslovakia, the availability of local facilities--hotel space, conference rooms, and office space--has not kept up with demand. Finally, bureaucratic reform in Czechoslovakia is incomplete. The competencies of various federal or republic offices have not yet been definitively decided. Thus, some businesses have had plans stymied by red tape and indecision. Czechoslovakia welcomes foreign investment and trade. Both joint ventures and wholly owned foreign subsidiaries are permitted; joint ventures with private CSFR partners or wholly owned foreign subsidiaries no longer need government permission to be established. The Foreign Exchange Act permits repatriation of dividends and profits and allows Czechoslovak businesses (including joint ventures and foreign subsidiaries) to exchange local currency for hard currency for ordinary business transactions. However, capital account transactions are still regulated and some businesses have complained about delays in obtaining foreign exchange. A new law on intellectual property rights increases some protections. With the completion of the Bilateral Investment Treaty, American investors will have other investment guarantees in place. The treaty is expected to be signed in mid-1991. Science and Technology. The United States and Czechoslovakia initialed a science and technology agreement that was signed in mid-1991. The agreement provides for joint research by US and Czechoslovak scientists across a broad range of disciplines including basic science, energy, health and medicine, the environment, engineering research, earth and atmospheric sciences, mining research, and agriculture. Joint research will be funded by contributions from both governments. Cooperation in a number of these areas is already taking place between the US National Science Foundation, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agriculture, and others with their Czechoslovak counterparts. A science attache position at the American Embassy in Prague has been added in recognition of the expanding interest in both countries of closer collaboration in science and technology. Environment. The Government of Czechoslovakia has signed and ratified the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution and its subsequent protocols, as well as the Vienna Convention on Protecting the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol to it. Czechoslovakia is interested in cooperating with its neighbors on specific regional environmental projects and, generally, in exchanging information and cooperating with the international community. Specifically, the Governments of Czechoslovakia and Poland have agreed to work together to address regional air pollution problems in the northern Bohemian region of Czechoslovakia, the Upper Silesian region of southern Poland, and the former German Democratic Republic. Czechoslovakia attended the first session of the International Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change. In early 1991, a joint environmental study was carried out in cooperation with the federal and republic governments in Czechoslovakia with the active participation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Agency for International Development, and the World Bank, to create a strategic plan and set priorities for environmental assistance to Czechoslovakia. The mission was the first such joint assistance effort in Central and Eastern Europe, and was designed to avoid duplication and maximize the efficient use of foreign assistance.
Hungary
Economic, Trade, and Commercial Issues. In 1990-91, Hungary's economy continued the process of transformation from state to private market regulation. Government leaders committed themselves to privatization and economic restructuring along market lines, while struggling with the mechanics of those processes. Major external issues were Hungary's $21-billion external gross debt and the radical re-orientation of its trade from its former Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CEMA) partners to Western countries, in part, as a result of a switch on January 1 from CEMA clearing arrangements to hard-currency accounting. Internally, the government grappled to control the budget deficit, rising inflation fueled by subsidy cuts, and the specter of increasing unemployment as inefficient state industries were shut down or privatized. In September 1990, the government announced its new 3-year economic program for national renewal. The program emphasizes privatization, import liberalization, deregulation, curbing inflation, achieving currency convertibility, reforms in public finance, welfare reform, as well as encouraging increased foreign investment. To facilitate privatization efforts, in 1990, the government created the State Property Agency. This body supervises the privatization process and can also initiate the privatization of enterprises unable or unwilling to privatize on their own. Ten percent to 15% of state assets already have undergone privatization, with a government goal of reaching 50% by the end of 1992. Additionally, a government announcement in February 1991 described the establishment of a new organization called the Privatization Holding--which will concentrate on purchasing unprofitable and inefficient companies from the State Property Agency--with the aim of restructuring them for resale to investors. The government considers foreign investment to be one of the most important means of encouraging economic development, modernization, and competitiveness. In May 1990, a law on securities was passed, and on June 21, the first stock exchange in East-Central Europe officially opened. Parliament has passed several acts to facilitate foreign investment, of which the Economics Association Act, the Companies Act, and the Investment Act are the most noteworthy. All three concentrate on developing the framework for foreign direct investment in Hungary. The Investment Act, which came into effect in January 1989 and was amended by Parliament in January 1991, deals with the establishment and operation of joint ventures with foreign participation. According to government statistics, as of January 1991, approximately 5,000 joint ventures were in operation, of which 2,000 were formed in 1990. To further encourage foreign investment, generous tax reductions are available to joint ventures that involve a substantial level of capital and foreign participation. Although the forint is not yet convertible, (the government plans to make it convertible between 1992 and 1994) foreign investors may repatriate both profits and capital in hard currency. The poor state of the transport and telecommunications infrastructures, as well as the housing and general real estate situation, are among the most serious barriers to foreign investment. Recognizing that these weaknesses undermine Hungary's endeavors to attract foreign investment, the government is undertaking costly improvements. In general, the tax structure is designed to promote private business. The tax on profits in 1990 decreased from 50% to 40%, while taxes on small businesses are only 30%. State enterprises pay an additional 25% tax for the use of state assets. In the autumn of 1990, the Small Business Administration was created to help foster private business. Hungary's estimated budget deficit for 1991 is 78 billion forints, an estimated 4% of gross domestic product. The government has drastically cut back subsidies in areas such as housing and agriculture (40% from 1989 levels). It also has initiated several price increases on food, gas, electricity, transportation, and household items. As of January 1, 1991, free market prices apply to 90% of goods. In the past year, foreign trade has been liberalized substantially. CEMA--and its ruble clearing account trading system--has been abolished, and Hungary now conducts all of its foreign trade on a hard currency basis using world prices. Beginning in January 1991, all Hungarian companies could conduct their own foreign trade without the assistance of state trading companies. The number of products subject to import licensing has been greatly reduced. As of this year, 93% of imported products can be imported without prior approval, with a government goal set for abolishing all import licenses by 1992. In 1990, the EC provided Hungary with several concessions, such as the lifting of discriminatory barriers, suspension of non- discriminatory barriers, extension of Generalized System of Preferences benefits, and the lifting of all self-restraint quotas. It is expected that during 1991, Hungary's relationship with the EC will progress further. The EC and Hungary are negotiating an association agreement which could become effective as early as January 1, 1992. Hungary is a contracting party to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In February 1991, the government announced that Hungary would maintain its GATT obligations and would reduce the average tariff to around 8%. Following this announcement, however, the government proceeded to raise the tariffs on automobiles from 10% to 18% (13% on environmentally less harmful automobiles). In the area of intellectual property, Hungary provides process patent protection but not product patent protection. This has been a particular problems in the pharmaceutical sector. Hungary is drafting a new patent law, but enactment could be delayed depending on other parliamentary business and pressure from the politically powerful pharmaceutical industry. A controversial issue which remains unresolved is the question of ownership of assets and compensation for properties seized during the communist period. The government is preparing a bill for parliamentary approval through which it hopes to settle this aspect of ownership rights. It seeks to remove one of the major areas of uncertainty that has, hitherto, hampered the sale of real estate and businesses and the transition to a genuine market economy. The field of labor relations remains unsettled. While workers are free to join labor unions, the independent trade unions allege that workers feel pressured to join or maintain membership in the successor unions to the former communist unions. Additionally, the dispute among unions over how to divide property formerly owned by the communist unions remains unresolved. Nevertheless, major labor unrest is rare, in part due to consultations held at the Interest Coordinating Council (ICC) among the representatives of the employers, labor, and the government. Legislation passed in 1990 gives all workers, excluding judicial, military, and police personnel, the right to strike. Unions are free to form confederations and affiliate with international labor organizations. Hungarian unions now maintain extensive relationships with such bodies as the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The legal minimum wage was raised in 1991 to approximately $100 per month, and the average work week is 40 hours, with workers receiving overtime and a minimum of 15 days paid leave per year, free health care, and pensions. Federal labor courts enforce occupational safety standards for work places, but specific safety conditions are not always up to internationally accepted standards. Science and Technology. Hungary continues to expand its scientific and technical contacts, eagerly seeking new sources of cooperation and funding in Western Europe and the United States. In late March 1991, the second annual board meeting of the US-Hungary Science and Technology Agreement convened in Washington to approve 28 joint research projects in such areas as the environment, energy, agriculture, basic science, engineering research, and earth and atmospheric sciences. Joint research is funded by contributions from each government. At this meeting the Hungarians emphasized how significant the joint research program was in promoting the concept of a competitive scientific peer review and the grants process in Hungary. The Hungarian science community also is cementing participation in such cooperative European scientific activities as EUREKA and the programs supported by the Council of Europe. There also is keen interest in taking advantage of science and technology programs that Italy is sponsoring under the aegis of the "Pentagonale" group of countries (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, and Yugoslavia). The Pentagonale is seen as a bridgehead to more active participation in future EC programs. Environment. The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern [Europe], based in Budapest, began operations in September 1990, with support from the United States, the EC, and a number of other countries. Although the center is physically located in Hungary, it has a regional constituency. Through activities such as information collection and dissemination, institution-building, environmental education, and clearinghouse functions, the center will work in environmental health, energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and the environmental effects of agriculture. The center has awarded nearly 50 grants to environmental organizations in the region and has sponsored several important conferences that have brought experts together to discuss important issues and address common environmental problems. During the reporting period, the Hungarian Ministry of Environment was reorganized and began a review of its legislation and ways to implement an environmental assessment requirement for new investment. Although Hungary has limited research and personnel resources to follow a wide range of world environmental problems, government representatives attended both the Second World Climate Conference in November 1990 and the first session of the Inter-governmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change in February 1991. Hungary also is a member of the Montreal Protocol. With the introduction of democracy and the formation of political parties, environmental organizations have lost some of their status as mass pressure groups on behalf of political change. Support for environmental causes, within the various political parties, is more individualized now. More dedicated environmentalists are now settling down to work on basic problems. Industries and local governments also are seeking direct assistance in tackling long-neglected environmental disasters that can no longer be overlooked. At the same time, international exchanges with the United States and Western Europe are expanding and increasingly are supported by private organizations.
Poland
Economic, Trade, and Commercial Issues. Poland's former centrally planned economy is undergoing a profound, historically unprecedented, and difficult transformation to a market economic system based on private ownership and full integration with the international trading system. The government's economic transformation program aims to stabilize and restructure an economy plagued in 1989 and early 1990 by near hyper-inflation, severe consumer goods shortages, a highly unstable currency, and inefficient industrial monopolies. The government managed to rein in inflation by withdrawing subsidies and limiting wage increases while balancing the budget and restricting money supply growth; inflation now hovers around 4%-6% a month. Poland's currency, the zloty, is internally convertible and remained stable in 1991, while goods and services are much more widely available. After an initially slow start, privatization of the Polish industrial sector has begun, with the first five companies privatized by public offer and many more due for privatization in 1991. A stock market is getting underway, which will further support the government's privatization policies. The real standard of living fell in 1990. Measured production declined as well. Unemployment, previously disguised, has grown to nearly 1.5 million persons, about 7% of the industrial work force, and is continuing to rise. The average family now spends about 75% of its income on food and shelter. Major bright spots in the Polish economy include an export boom and a rapidly growing (23%-26% in 1990) private non-agricultural sector. Despite the hardships outlined above, Poland has been free of prolonged and/or massive worker protests, although strikes have occurred. However, public grumbling about rising economic hardship has been growing. The Polish Government welcomes and encourages both direct and indirect foreign investment and trade. President Walesa has made the attraction of foreign trade and investment a central pillar of his presidency. The government is committed to improving the flow of information available to foreign businesses in Poland. Senior Polish officials routinely make themselves available to visiting businessmen and frequently travel abroad on trade and investment missions. Poland's decision to unify the exchange rate and to make the Polish zloty convertible has greatly clarified the business climate for foreign investors and traders. Poland also has substantially reduced tariff rates and has worked to liberalize the overall trading regime, including eliminating most non-tariff barriers. Science and Technology. US scientific and technical cooperation takes place with Poland under a Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement signed in 1987. It provides for cooperation across a number of disciplines, including basic science, earth, and atmospheric sciences; engineering research; agriculture; health and medicine; the environment; energy, forestry, and wildlife; and mining research. Poland established a new State Committee for Scientific Research in January 1991 to oversee the organization and funding of all scientific research in the country. Environment. Poland's air and water environment was greatly damaged during the decades under communism. In view of the critical need to address such environmental degradation, the Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act of 1989 authorized the US Environmental Protection Agency to establish an air- monitoring network and provide equipment for monitoring, analysis, and treatment of wastewater and drinking water in Krakow. Initial shipments of equipment for both the air and water projects are expected in the first half of 1991. Since 1989 and especially in 1990, the Polish Government has moved aggressively to sign and ratify international agreements such as the Montreal Protocol and Vienna Convention on Protecting the Ozone and the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution. Poland attended the first session of the Inter- governmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is working with the United States to assess emissions of greenhouse gases from Poland. Poland also is working closely with other countries in the region, including Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries to address common environmental problems caused by industrial waste.
Romania
Economic, Trade, and Commercial Issues. Romania's performance under Basket II has continued to improve over the past year. Shortly after the May 20, 1990, elections, the Romanian Government prepared an extensive package of economic reform legislation to create a legal basis on which to build a market economy. The highlights of the legislation are the laws on land reform, privatization of state enterprises, private enterprise creation and foreign investment. The reform package addresses liberalization of internal prices, convertibility of the leu, budget deficit control, and external account balance. Bureaucratic obstructionism and legal ambiguities, however, have impeded implementation of significant reforms and private sector development. Consequently, this has raised questions about the sincerity of the government's commitment to the establishment of a true market economy. Romania is in a state of transition from a highly centralized, public sector-dominated economy to a market economy, with expanding private sector activity. In September 1990, Parliament passed a privatization law which established that all state enterprises, excluding the railroad; post office; telecommunications; and enterprises in the defense, nuclear, extractive, and energy-producing sectors should be reformed as corporations. These corporations will have autonomous management and will be privatized via the distribution and sale of shares to Romanian citizens and foreign investors. How to assure equality of access to newly privatized enterprises (especially to prevent unfair access by members of the former nomenklatura) remains a subject of concern. In November 1990, Parliament passed the Commercial Societies Law which established the legal basis for the formation of corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Most state enterprises, including foreign trade companies, have now reconstituted themselves as corporations, though the government still owns all the shares. A law governing the implementation of the initial distribution to Romanian citizens of the first 30% of the shares, as well as subsequent sale of the remaining shares, currently is under consideration. In addition to the recognition of private property in the draft constitution, a land reform law was promulgated in February 1991, which established private ownership of agricultural land. Romanian citizens--but not foreigners--are now theoretically able to have title to, sell, buy, will, and inherit land, but there are still restrictions on the amount of land that can be owned and how it can be used. The monopoly on foreign trade previously held by state-owned foreign trade organizations has been abolished. Import and export licenses are now granted automatically to all importers/exporters unless they want to trade in shortage commodities such as processed foods or in items controlled for non-proliferation reasons. The tariff system has been revised to conform to GATT rules and the use of quotas has been abolished except for instances in which temporary quotas can be justified to protect infant industries. Government procurement practices have been changed as well. Now tenders are published and competitive bids are solicited. The most important stimulus to private sector development has been price liberalization. In February 1990, prices for food products produced on individual plots were decontrolled. On November 1, 1990, prices of all but essential commodities--basic food items and residential energy and communications--were liberalized. Prices were decontrolled for those goods for which there exist three or more competing suppliers. However, prices for most goods were raised to cover what the government deemed to be reasonable production costs plus some profit. Romania has adopted an IMF stabilization program with stringent monetary and fiscal policies in order to try to reverse the post-revolution decline in GNP. In addition to raising domestic prices in order to stay within budget deficit limits, the government has removed controls on interest rates, imposed money supply and credit growth ceilings in order to avoid dangerous levels of inflation, and devalued the leu for the third time to help stimulate Romanian exports. It also has launched an inter-bank exchange rate system in order to facilitate the importation of raw materials and capital goods, and to squeeze the black market. The plan is to expand the range of transactions carried out on this market until the leu can be made fully convertible. Inconvertibility of the leu has been a major disincentive to the foreign investment needed to rebuild an economy run down after 10 years of harsh austerity imposed by the Ceaucescu regime in order to repay all of Romania's foreign debt. The Romanian Government is committed to minimizing the social costs associated with economic restructuring. A new social security system, funded by a payroll tax, has been created to finance expanded retirement and disability benefits. Over the past year, unemployment benefits have been paid to people who lost their jobs due to enterprise closings and layoffs. A new worker retraining program is being developed. Both the November 1990 and the April 1991 price increases were accompanied by salary and pension increases. In April 1991, student allowances, new mothers, and families with children, also were increased. However, in order to avoid an inflationary spiral, these payments are taxable and are not indexed to the consumer price index. Unfortunately, the government has used the issue of social responsibility to move slowly in dismantling its dominant position as the producer and distributor of both consumption and production goods. Romanian receptivity to foreign businesses continued to improve during the reporting period. As a general rule, businessmen are treated well, as Romania seeks to expand its commercial ties internationally. Although most foreign visitors, including all those from Western Europe and the United States, are still required to obtain entry visas, these may be obtained without difficulty at Bucharest's international airport. Visas are not, however, issued to travelers entering the country by train. Businessmen are free to travel anywhere in Romania and visit factories and places of business at will. Since September 1990, Chambers of Commerce have been established in many provincial cities and are slowly starting to develop programs to attract foreign businessmen. There are no laws that prohibit the establishment and operation of foreign businesses in Romania. There are, however, practical impediments that hinder the efficient operation of such businesses. Access to Romanian officials and private businessmen is virtually unlimited, and business discussions are open and detailed. On the other hand, Romanian commercial laws, as well as the persons administering them, are constantly changing, and it is difficult to get concise answers to such questions as how to open a checking account. Legal interpretations of more technical issues vary widely. The Chamber of Commerce in Bucharest is technically the organization to which foreign businessmen should turn to obtain assistance, but the Chamber has proved to be an inept player in business development. No general system for locating rental space yet exists, and rents and means of payment vary, although payments from foreign businessmen generally are demanded in hard currency instead of Romanian lei. Visiting American businessmen have been the subject of direct and indirect bribery solicitations in order to rent offices. The Romanian Government has taken steps to improve its statistical economic reporting. Work is being done to correct the false data presented during the Ceaucescu years. The National Commission for Statistics publishes a monthly review of key economic indicators, and a 1990 statistical yearbook was published in February 1991. Bilateral trade statistics are available upon request from the Ministry of Trade and Tourism. As the government works to put into place a market economy, Romanian businesses are beginning to recognize the benefits of advertising and promotion, both of which were ignored under the Ceaucescu regime. Romanian television now carries commercial advertisements for foreign and domestic businesses as well as spot promotions for government and privately sponsored events. The amount of print and billboard advertising continues to increase. The Bucharest Chamber of Commerce continues to organize the Bucharest International Fair, which, held annually in October, is the nation's premier trade show event. A spring fair, devoted to consumer goods, will be reinstated in 1991 after an 11-year hiatus. Approximately 12 smaller, specialized trade exhibits also are planned for 1991. Publicom, the advertising arm of the Chamber, is responsible for promoting all these events and is approaching the task in a more sophisticated, Western-style. The Romanian Government is eager to receive management training assistance. The most frequently expressed desire is for mid-level management training, but government representatives also show a keen interest in technical business skills, finance and banking, trade administration, and similar subjects. Romanian invitees to government or privately sponsored programs and events in the United States now appear to have no problems receiving permission to attend, and American sponsors of programs in Romania are openly encouraged. In March 1990, Romania revised its 1972 foreign investment law to make it more attractive. The changes, however, were not sufficient to attract the desired level of foreign business. As a result, in October a new organization to promote foreign investment, the Romanian Agency for the Promotion of Foreign Investment and Coordination of Economic Assistance (ARPIS), was created and charged with drafting a new foreign investment law. The new version will increase the amount of annual local currency profit that may be repatriated in hard currency from a flat 8% of capital investment to between 8% and 15%, depending upon industry sector. Agriculture, food processing, and tourism are priority sectors receiving the highest benefits. The law also provides tax benefits to investors. The government states that 700 new joint ventures have been established since the revolution, 132 of them with US participation. The vast majority of these, however, are small operations with limited capital participation. No major American companies have concluded equity joint ventures in Romania since the revolution, although many Fortune 500 companies have expressed interest in investing in Romania. Most potential American investors are reluctant to commit resources to operations in Romania due to the uncertainty of the Romanian political and economic situation and the inconvertibility of the leu. The situation in regard to small- and medium-sized enterprises is somewhat brighter. Since the passage in February 1990 of a law authorizing the creation of small companies (those employing 20 persons or less), some 50,000 such enterprises have been registered, but most are service oriented, have limited financial means, and have yet to make any substantial in-roads into the state-dominated production or distribution systems. Business operating conditions in Romania are still far from ideal. Business amenities such as hotels, restaurants, vehicle rentals, foreign- language newspapers, typing and copying services, and telecommunications facilities have improved little since the revolution, and foreigners are still generally charged dollars for these services. As of November 1990, air travel within Romania by foreigners has to be paid for in hard currency as well. Availability of office space, equipment and furnishings also is limited, making the setting up and supplying of an office difficult. Science and Technology. An agreement between the US National Science Foundation and Romania's National Committee for Science and Technology (NCST) expired. Since then, the NCST has been abolished. The Ministry of Education and Science has expressed interest in negotiating a new agreement. Romanian scientists have been active in re-establishing international contacts. Currently, scientific exchanges are made by a variety of non- and quasi-governmental organizations. Exchanges and contacts are free from interference by the Romanian government. In early 1991, agreement was reached to convert the US- provided Triga research reactor from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium fuel use. The agreement calls for the US Department of Energy to convert the fuel and to provide technical assistance for reloading the reactor. Environment. Environmental groups have formed several ecological political parties and are represented in the Parliament. The new Ministry of Environment is an active participant in regional and global environmental meetings. Romania is active in both the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Ecological University of Bucharest, the first of its kind in Eastern Europe, opened in September 1990. A private academic institution, it will grant degrees in medicine, engineering, natural sciences, and law, and will carry out scientific research in relevant environmental fields.
USSR
Economic, Trade, and Commercial Issues. Until recently, the Soviet Union had no free, democratically organized trade unions. The official trade union movement, which officially embraced nearly all Soviet workers, acted largely as a "transmission belt" for management, rather than representing workers' interests. The unions were effectively controlled by the Communist Party and included as members both management and workers. As a result, workers' wage, health, and safety interests were poorly served. In response to this situation, Soviet coal mines in 1989 staged several long-running strikes and organized a loose network of strike committees to represent their interests. These strike committees have since coalesced into the first major free, independent, and democratic trade union in Soviet history--the Independent Miners' Union (Russian initials: NPG), founded in October 1990 at the Second Independent Congress of Soviet Miners in the Ukrainian coal mining center of Donetsk. The Soviet authorities have, to date, permitted this new union to organize, develop, and establish contacts with trade unions abroad. In addition, the coal miners of the Western Siberian Kuzbass region have joined with workers in other industries there and in several other regions of the Russian republic to form the Confederation of Labor (COL), an independent labor movement espousing economic reform and democratic political change. The NPG and COL are closely linked and cooperate with each other. In addition, several other smaller independent labor movements exist. Forced labor is not a major element of the Soviet economy, although Siberian convicts are reported to work in the logging industry and perform other tasks. Employment discrimination on the basis of race and language is not presently a serious problem, although exacerbated ethnic tensions in some republics may influence hiring practices. Job discrimination on the basis of gender is a more serious problem, and there are very few women on the higher rungs of the economic and political ladders. Until recently, religious believers reported significant discrimination in the work place. While anti-religious prejudice continues to exist, the strong revival of religious activity has apparently lessened harassment of believers. While not an official requirement for holding a leading position in trade or industry, Communist Party membership remains a de facto requirement for advancement in many cases, and the upper ranks of key branches of the Soviet economy are still dominated by party members. Currently, Soviet fiscal and monetary policies do not encourage workable, sustainable economic growth, due to the inability and refusal of the Soviet Government to take meaningful steps away from centralized planned economy. Repeated attempts by the government to devise a balanced economic reform program have failed, with the economy entering a severe recession in 1990, according to official Soviet economic statistics. Important sectors such as coal and petroleum showed decline in output, while much of the best harvest in years went uncollected due to poor organization and lack of resources. Due to a severe housing shortage, labor mobility in the Soviet Union is very low, making it difficult to allocate labor resources from old, outmoded industries and industrial centers to areas and industries of potential growth. As in the past, the Soviet industrial economy remains dominated by the military-industrial complex. Efforts at conversion of defense industrial capacity to civilian production have been fitful, uncoordinated, and largely ineffective so far. Although the Soviet leadership is publicly committed to adopting policies designed to stimulate trade and foreign investment, in fact, only limited progress has been achieved in this area. Moreover, Soviet economic legislation regulating foreign investment, which appears to be evolving in the right direction, still contains ambiguities. Regulation of capital flow is complex and contradictory. Laws in both areas are subject to constant change on both the national and republic level. The quick succession of impractical and poorly conceived economic reform plans also has damaged the investment climate. The Soviet currency, the ruble, is inconvertible externally and increasingly inconvertible internally. As a result, internal barter trade has been growing rapidly, while the increasing internal inconvertibility of the currency has pushed individual regions, cities, and even enterprises into economic autarky and isolation. This has further strengthened the tendency toward economic contraction. In the absence of an externally convertible currency, the Soviet Government has been hard-pressed to define effective and meaningful policies on the repatriation of profits. Essentially, companies establishing manufacturing operations in the USSR can achieve a hard-currency profit only by exporting a portion of their output to Western markets. Given this state of affairs, significant foreign investment is unlikely outside the energy sector, where hard currency profits can easily be generated by oil and gas exports. Despite several years of attempted economic reform, most prices in the Soviet economy are set by the central government, rather than by the market place. Prices on mostly unregulated farmers markets are high and effectively beyond the reach of most Soviet consumers. Heavy monopolization of industry, trade, and services and excess liquidity make price decontrol difficult in the case of many industries and sectors. Although social equity is a prime official concern of the Soviet government's economic policy, its inability, so far, even to stabilize the economy has led to declining living standards for most Soviet citizens. Consequently, this has helped to generate great frustration, rising social tensions, and a growing number of strikes and disturbances. Despite the passage of landmark legislation on property and land in 1990, private ownership of most productive assets, land, and housing remains insignificant. Most land is considered state property under the jurisdiction of local councils of people's deputies. Recent reform legislation allows small-scale, long-term leasing of farm land and of plots for cottage construction. The concept of intellectual property rights is undeveloped in the Soviet economy. While the top Soviet leadership has repeatedly stated its intention to open the country to foreign investment, progress in this area has been slow. The inconvertibility of the ruble is one major obstacle, since it hinders arrangements for the orderly repatriation of profits earned by foreign investors. Yet another key obstacle to greater foreign investment is the continued absence of legally recognized land ownership rights in the Soviet economy. Both the central and republic governments continue to assert that most key industrial assets and natural resources should be state property, and that their exploitation should be regulated by state bureaucracies rather than the market place. The center and the republics are struggling for control of key resources and this "war of laws" has had a chilling effect on the development of foreign investment in the USSR. For example, the division of hard- currency profits derived from the exploitation of mineral resources between the central and republic governments has been a subject of intense controversy. In such a confused environment, it has been difficult for a foreign investor to know which signature makes a contract valid. The absence of land ownership rights also means that foreign investment by private firms in the USSR acquires the character of an enclave within the Soviet economy, rather than fitting organically into the economic scene, as is the case in free market countries. Moreover, Soviet commercial legislation on foreign investment, in general, and joint ventures, in particular, has often been criticized for vagueness, impracticality, and a lack of internal consistency. Soviet commercial legislation has been in a state of constant flux in recent years due to numerous legislative revisions in the all-union and republic legislatures. In addition, the attempted assertion of greater economic sovereignty by union and autonomous republics in the USSR has meant that republic and local regulations and laws regarding business activity can differ from all-union legislation. Some steps have been taken improve the access of foreign businessmen to Soviet businessmen. Some US businessmen not resident in Moscow have been given Soviet multiple-entry visas. However, it is still necessary for most US businessmen applying for a business visa to receive support from a sponsoring Soviet organization. This naturally hampers most US businessmen wishing to enter the Soviet market for the first time and who have no established Soviet contacts. The Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations maintains that it has already implemented a promise made in connection with the new US-Soviet trade agreement to afford US businessmen an accelerated process in applying for accreditation for a representative office in the USSR, which should lead to a decision on accreditation within 60 days of application. During the past year, a number of US firms have received accreditation and, currently, there are 43 US firms with accredited offices in Moscow. A number of additional US firms have applications for accreditation pending. Current statistics published by the Soviets are readily accessible but are inadequate for use in making commercial decisions and business judgment, primarily because they lack enough detail. Other types of commercial information, such as lists of Soviet enterprises and identification of their activities, are still their infancy. For example, more than 20,000 firms have been authorized to enter into foreign trade, but the list of such firms published by the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations mentions only several thousand. Access to business contacts and commercial officials continues to be without official hindrance. Due to poor communications and Soviet business practices, however, attempts to reach and set up appointments are frequently frustrating. Poor international telecommunications links make it especially difficult to arrange meetings on short notice from the United States. The hotel infrastructure in Moscow and other Soviet cities is still inadequate, and it is frequently difficult to obtain hotel reservations. Any major improvement in this situation and in the present unavailability of suitable office and residential space for Western businessmen will depend on further Western investment in the Soviet infrastructure and, thus, will take time. The Soviet transport system is a complex mixture of economically available air transport--tickets are very cheap, if a reservation can be had; an inadequate road system; and an aging rail network which is the principal cargo carrier for the country. The dimensions of the problem are so large that speedy progress is unlikely. Trade promotion and other marketing activities, including advertising, consulting, and other business services, as well as the organizing of seminars, fairs, and exhibitions, are now possible, although very expensive. A number of Western trade fair authorities and other firms specializing in trade fairs and exhibits have been able to organize trade fairs and exhibits in the USSR. Numerous seminars also are now being organized to take place in the Soviet Union. Science and Technology. The Soviet Government continues to make available increasing amounts and types of scientific and technical data, and the trend appears to be to allow such decisions to be made at a lower bureaucratic level. Generally, cooperation is willing and open; however, in the effort to find hard currency to supplement diminishing budgets, Soviet science organizations of all kinds are trying to market their data and may require pre-payment. No incidents were reported during the period under review of deliberate, official denial to Soviet scientists of the freedom to establish and maintain direct contacts with professional colleagues in other countries. Indeed, access to computer "bit-net" and "E- mail" - type networks, for example, may be becoming easier, even for non-official groups. However, continued official requirements for exit approval, and logistical and technical--computer, telephonic, and postal-- communications difficulties, ensure that Soviet scientists cannot establish and maintain direct contacts with their colleagues in the same sense as their Western counterparts. To the extent that exit permission is speeded by bribes and the judicious use of influence, corruption is also a hindrance. However, obstacles to free scientific interchange appear to be primarily technical and logistical, rather than political. Environment. The USSR is a party to the Convention on Long- Range Transboundary Air Pollution, the Vienna Convention For the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Soviets participate in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and are active in the International Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change. The responsible Soviet organizations have stepped up their participation in numerous multi-lateral fora and continue to give international environmental issues a high profile. The Soviet Government has recently raised the State Committee for Environmental Protection to the level of a ministry, the Ministry for Utilization of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. However, more significant than this elevation in status will be the type of environmental legislation passed by the Supreme Soviet. In the past, organizations have been beset by funding problems and lack of legislation defining jurisdiction or enforcement mechanisms; should this situation continue, the elevation of the environmental organization will not make a difference. Similarly, while the USSR is party to about 50 international environmental agreements, the country's lead environmental agency has direct responsibility for only a small number of them. A well- functioning mechanism for effective environmental policy-making and enforcement is lacking. At present, the USSR is unprepared to implement pollution reduction targets and accelerated reductions in the production or consumption of various pollutants, including chloroflouro-carbons (CFCs) and will not be able to meet international environmental commitments while experiencing political and economic changes and crises. Soviet authorities generally tolerate and encourage independent environmental activism. A semi-formal "public" council, sponsored by the governmental body responsible for environmental protection--and chaired by a prominent environmental activist who is the incumbent deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet Ecology Committee--serves as a clearinghouse for citizen and community concerns about the environment. A number of other, less "official" organizations exist and function without apparent governmental hindrance; during recent official bilateral environmental discussions, both US and Soviet environmental NGO's freely participated. Moscow was the site in late March of an international non-governmental environmental conference. Environmental data, which began to be published in 1988, continues to become more and more available to the public. A large proportion of members of the Soviet and republic parliaments campaign on environmental issues, but the strength of these sentiments has not yet been truly tested against economic and political concerns. In the case of the Aral Sea, for example, the various republic officials concerned appear unable to formulate a cohesive environmental strategy in the face of economic concerns (agricultural irrigation demands) and inter-ethnic rivalry. Environmental concerns appear to carry the most weight when they are allied with other forces, such as nationalism, in the various republics.
Yugoslavia
Economic, Trade, and Commercial Issues. Yugoslavia has long been an active participant in world markets, although the internal political problems of the reporting period adversely affected the Yugoslav economy and business activity. Since the Yugoslav-Soviet split in 1948, Yugoslavia has followed a fundamentally different course than the other socialist countries in the region. This is most evident in the breadth of the country's international economic relations. Yugoslavs have traveled, worked, and studied in the West for more than 30 years, providing them with a generation of exposure to Western business practices, education, culture, and products. Such exposure has influenced Yugoslavia's decentralized economic system, within which enterprises make independent business decisions on all matters, including those dealing with foreign investors and exporters. In the agricultural sector, private farmers own 85% of the country's agricultural land, and there has always existed an active, if small, private sector economy. No other East European socialist republic in the region could claim these market credentials. The Yugoslav Government's 2- year-old economic reform program has focused on eliminating hyper-inflation, introducing a convertible dinar, rehabilitating the banking system, and privatizing enterprises. To reach these goals, the government of Prime Minister Ante Markovic devoted its efforts in 1989 to laying the legislative groundwork for the transformation of a socialist economy to one based on market principles. In 1989, the Federal Assembly enacted legislation that opened the way for greater foreign investment in the country, liberalized trade, established a program of ownership restructuring, and loosened restrictions on private sector businessmen. The fruits of these efforts were realized in 1990 as foreign businessmen concluded more than 2,000 new investments with Yugoslav firms and Yugoslavs established some 50,000 new private companies. In fact, the first half of 1990 saw the Yugoslav Government reach significant economic achievements, including the virtual elimination of inflation, strong growth in foreign exchange reserves, and the establishment of an internally convertible dinar that increased public confidence in the economy. A June 1990 loosening of monetary controls and wage restraints, however, released a new surge in wage bills and inflation. A double blow from Gulf war sanctions (damaging to Yugoslav firms working in Iraq and Kuwait, and to Yugoslav oil supplies) and a drought that severely reduced agricultural output took even more air out of the federal government's reform program. By December 1990, foreign exchange reserves were falling by $1 billion each month, forcing the National Bank of Yugoslavia to pull out of the foreign exchange market. Controls put on withdrawals from Yugoslavia's foreign currency accounts have led to a sharp decline in remittances from workers employed abroad, while political instability has destroyed the country's normally lucrative tourist industry. Privatization was slowed by conflicting republican policies which, in practice, overrode federal law. The pillars of the reform program--convertibility, privatization, and control of inflation--were seriously damaged. Further national reform awaits a political consensus among the country's six republics, though some progress is being made on reform issues at the republican level. Although the federal government's reform program is stalled, the government remains committed to a prudent economic strategy that includes cutting public expenditures and maintaining control over the monetary system, efforts that are vital to economic reform and securing Western assistance. Furthermore, the government has stressed freer pricing of goods and a more open trade policy that has greatly expanded access to Yugoslavia's markets. All types of property now have equal legal status in Yugoslavia, and increased protection of intellectual property has been the result of amendments to existing legislation made in early 1990. Science and Technology. US science and technology cooperation with Yugoslavia is carried out under a bilateral scientific and technological cooperation agreement signed in 1988. The United States and Yugoslavia have had a joint research program in effect continuously since 1972. Each government contributes in generally equal amounts to fund joint research activities. The joint program provides for cooperation across a number of disciplines, including basic science, earth and atmospheric sciences engineering research, agriculture, health and medicine, the environment, energy, and mining research. The scientific and technical cooperation program is structured particularly to respond to the interests of each of Yugoslavia's republics, and joint work proceeded during the reporting period without significant interruption despite political and ethnic tensions. Environment. In January 1991, the United States participated in a Group of 24 (G-24) environmental fact-finding mission to Yugoslavia organized by the European Community to identify programs and projects in the environment sector that could be considered for possible funding by the G-24 and/or the PHARE (EC) program. Projects in three main categories (policy/institution- building, feasibility studies for large investment projects, and pilot projects with near-term mitigation impact) were submitted to the mission by the Yugoslav authorities. The numerous senior Yugoslav participants from various republics representing government, academia, and the private sector reflected a strong interest in environmental issues. Yugoslavia is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol. It attended the first session of the International Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change and participated in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change.

Chapter Five--IMPLEMENTATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS-RELATED PRINCIPLES AND OF BASKET III

(HUMAN RIGHTS AND OTHER FIELDS OF COOPERATION) Cooperation in humanitarian and other fields is covered under Basket III of the Helsinki Final Act. In this Basket, CSCE states have committed themselves to respect human rights and to further human contacts, information flow, and cooperation and exchanges in the fields of culture and education. The Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension marked a significant step forward in Basket III, elaborating freedoms such as free and fair elections and rule of law as part of basic human rights. Copenhagen reflected the changing climate in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as the continuing improvement in East-West relations. Following are assessments of the performance of certain CSCE countries and Albania regarding Basket III commitments.
ALBANIA
Human Rights Freedom of Religion or Belief. In May 1990 the legislature, declaring that religion was separate from the state and that the question of religious belief would be a matter of conscience for every individual, amended the 1967 ban on all religious practices. The law permits Albanians to practice their religion individually but left a ban on collective worship. The government also decriminalized "religious propaganda," thereby allowing some religious services to be held without official interference. While in 1990, Albanian officials told a US delegation that nobody in Albania wanted to open places of worship, an increasing number of mosques and churches have been re-opened and reportedly are being used with or without official approval. Freedom of Expression. During 1990, all news media continued to be government-controlled, and the government prohibited criticism of the state and party leadership or their policies. However, there were indications that media criticism of some aspects of Albanian society, such as the pervasive problem of corruption, did increase. In December 1990, the government announced that newly registered political parties would be able to publish their own newspapers; both the Democratic Party of Albania and Republican Party began publishing papers in early 1991. Nonetheless, these papers only received limited allocations of newsprint and encountered problems with circulation. Journalists and opposition figures also contended with threats, intimidation, and physical violence attributable to the government. During the spring 1991 election campaign, the opposition parties were allowed only limited access to the government-controlled media. Art and literature remained subject to state control and censorship, and the authorities continued to manipulate scholarly inquiry and publications for political purposes. Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly. On July 31, 1990, a legislative decree established the freedom to assemble but with strict limits on meetings and sanctions against violators. A few independent associations and organizations began to organize in December. On December 9, 1990, Tirana University students demonstrated against electricity shortages and demanded political liberalization. The government responded by agreeing to the formation of independent political organizations. In mid-December, the Democratic Party of Albania, comprised mostly of intellectuals, students, and urban workers, was founded and legally registered. Other parties and organizations have since been allowed to form. Participation in these groups, however, has not been without retribution or free of threats and intimidation. The government reacted more harshly against other demonstrators in other areas of the country. Reports indicated that in Kavalje, Elbasan, and other cities, the army was used to stop demonstrations. Some demonstrations reportedly included attacks on public buildings, the looting of stores, and the burning of police cars and other vehicles; others were peaceful. There were no reported casualties connected with these events, but official sources stated that 157 demonstrators were arrested. Many were convicted, and some received prison sentences of up to 20 years. Leaders of the new opposition accused the police of torturing those arrested. During visits of the UN Secretary General and representatives of the CSCE, Albanian authorities denied violating human rights and refused to cooperate with any investigation of allegations to the contrary. There was no evidence of political killings by the authorities during the reporting period. However, in demonstrations protesting general living conditions in Tirana in late June and again on July 2, 1990, security forces used force, including gunfire, to disperse crowds. The exact number of injuries and deaths is unknown, but some foreign diplomats and Albanian citizens estimated between 30 and 50. Thousands of demonstrators took refuge in European embassies. During demonstrations related to the felling of late communist leader Enver Hoxha's statue on February 20, 1991, as many as 12 Albanians reportedly were killed and some 200 arrested. Official Albanian sources said 54 were arrested. A February 22 meeting in Tirana at the military academy led to the killing of four demonstrators and one police officer. During the March 31 election campaign, most opposition parties were allowed to hold political rallies without interference from the authorities, although Democratic Party leaders reported that some of their election rallies were disrupted. Additionally, some opposition speakers and activists reportedly were stoned or beaten. Freedom of Movement. On May 8, 1990, the legislature granted Albanian citizens the right to acquire passports for foreign travel. Passports are issued for specific countries of destination, and exit visas are required. While many Albanians were able to travel during the reporting period, reports continued that passports were denied to some applicants. The May 8 law also stipulated that defection by an Albanian "should be considered not as a betrayal of the homeland but as an illegal border trespassing." Such illegal border crossings are punished "with reeducation through work or loss of freedom for up to 5 years," according to Article 127 of the revised penal code. The number of refugees crossing the borders increased dramatically during 1990-91, although at the end of the reporting period there was a marked decrease in the use of deadly force by border guards. Although border guards began to exercise somewhat more restraint, they continued to use deadly force to stop Albanian citizens from fleeing the country by land and sea and, reportedly, killed a number of them during 1990 and 1991. Some Albanian citizens attempting to flee without passports were shot by border guards. In one incident, two ethnic Greek Albanians were reportedly killed while trying to cross into Greece. Some 4,700 Albanians who took refuge in European embassies during and after the July 1990 demonstrations were allowed to leave Albania for Central and Western Europe. In early 1991, some 25,000 Albanians left the country by land or sea, although many later returned. After this mass exodus, the nation's main port, Durres, was placed under military control and access to some of Albania's other ports restricted. The exact number of injuries and deaths during this period is unknown. Albanian authorities, however, claimed that returnees were not punished and that many returned to work the next day. Reports from returnees indicate that returning civilians, at least, were not subject to punishment. Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest or Punishment. Former political prisoners often report that they were tortured, beaten, or otherwise ill-treated during investigative proceedings to force them to confess. In the first months of 1991 the government released hundreds of political prisoners, the last of which were set free just prior to the March 31 elections. At that time, the authorities stated that 27 persons charged with anti-state crimes remained in prison. The independent Albanian Human Rights Forum, however, has requested a full list of those imprisoned but has not been given any details. Independent Albanian sources believe that about 100 political prisoners remain. To date, there has been no compensation, no formal process of rehabilitation, and no official acknowledgment of the wrongfulness of detention for released political prisoners. Although a US delegation was refused permission to visit a prison camp in Spac during a trip to Albania in 1990, an International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights mission visited Albania from March 7-12, 1991, toured several prison and labor camps, and conducted numerous interviews with current and former political prisoners. In addition to the reported mistreatment of prisoners and poor prison conditions, random interviews by the Helsinki group mission with some 183 prisoners revealed that they uniformly had been denied basic due process rights. While the legislature in May 1990 voted to amend the penal code to provide for the right to legal defense, none of the interviewed prisoners had received the benefit of independent counsel, and very few had received any legal assistance at all. In 1990, the Ministry of Justice, which had been abolished in 1967, was re-established. Its powers and authority are still being defined as the new constitution is being developed. The ruling PLA also has announced its intention to depoliticize the army, security forces, and courts. None of the interviewed prisoners had received the benefit of a trial before an impartial tribunal because there was no independent judiciary. Many also complained of having been coerced to confess to their alleged crimes. Fundamental Freedoms Free and Fair Elections. In a sign of political change, the legislature on November 15, 1990, approved a new electoral law that called for multi-candidate elections and provided that any party or social organization, legally registered association, or individual could propose a candidate to the elections. In December, the government announced that independent political parties could be established and present candidates for the legislative elections. The Democratic Party became the first independent party to register with the Ministry of Justice. Bowing to demands from the opposition, the Albanian government subsequently postponed elections initially scheduled for February until March 31 to allow opposition parties to organize and campaign. The March 31 vote reportedly included candidates from some 11 different parties or social organizations, including the Omonia-- a cultural organization representing the Greek minority's interests. Some 250 foreign election observers were in Albania to observe the voting process. Albania's first multi-party elections since 1945 gave the 4-month-old opposition Democratic party 75 seats in the 250-seat legislature but also ensured a controlling two-thirds majority to the PLA. An official observation team from the United States and other reputable international observers agreed that the electoral process fell short in several key areas of CSCE standards for free and fair elections. There was a disparity of resources which favored the PLA and credible reports of intimidation against opposition party candidates and activists during the campaign and on election day. However, the elections were an important first step toward the creation of a democratic Albania. Earlier in 1990, the government approved a law to limit the terms of office of high-ranking officials (up to deputy minister) to 5 years. Those affected include government officials and top plant management in industry, agriculture, and construction. If the masses approve of their performance, they may be re-elected to an additional, non-consecutive 5-year term. Minority Rights. The current constitution grants national minorities "guaranteed protection and development of their culture and popular traditions, the use of their mother tongue and its teaching in the schools, and development in all fields of social life." However, there are some restrictions on the extent to which minorities may exercise their rights, particularly in the education. Greeks may be educated in their mother tongue through the primary level. Thereafter, Greek is taught as a foreign language. A Greek- language newspaper, Laiko Vima, is published in the southern town of Girokaster. Large numbers of ethnic Greeks fled Albania for Greece in 1990 and 1991, and members of other smaller minority groups resettled in Yugoslavia. Practically the entire Jewish community of Albania has been resettled in Israel. Human Contacts. Contact with the outside world is still, to a large extent, carefully monitored, although many Albanians now welcome casual contact with foreign tourists. It has become significantly easier for Albanian citizens to receive letters and packages from relatives abroad. In 1990, direct telephone communications with the United States were opened. In another sign of increasing openness, Albania resumed diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1990 and with the United States on March 15, 1991. Discussions aimed at establishing diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom were initiated. A small official US delegation arrived in Tirana on March 20, 1991, to observe the elections, meet with various government and independent organizations, and lay the foundation for a permanent diplomatic presence in Albania.
BULGARIA
Human Rights Improvements in the human rights situation in Bulgaria, begun after the November 10, 1989 ouster of long-time dictator Todor Zhivkov, came into full force during the reporting period. For the first time, a broad range of human rights monitoring groups was allowed to operate freely in Bulgaria, including the Independent Society for the Defense of Human Rights, the Club for the Repressed Since 1945, Amnesty International, and a local chapter of Helsinki Watch. Freedom of Religion or Belief. Bulgarians have enjoyed a new- found freedom of religion since the beginning of 1990. There are no longer controls placed upon attendance at church services or other religious ceremonies. A number of Protestant churches have registered and begun importing Bibles for distribution in Bulgaria. The country's mosques are no longer prevented or discouraged from opening. A school for Imams has been established, as has an Islamic cultural center, although there is still a shortage of Korans in Bulgarian. Easter and Christmas services were broadcast nationwide, and the Chief Mufti was allowed to broadcast his address in Arabic at the time of Ramadan. Christmas and Easter were official holidays for the first time in 1990. The Chief Mufti and the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church are still appointed by the state, as are other church leaders, and there have been many outspoken critics of these holdovers from the old regime. Religious education for children is once again allowed but is not widespread. Although serious consideration has been given to the full return of all religious properties confiscated during communist rule, this has not yet been done. Freedom of Expression. A wide range of newspapers, covering the political spectrum, emerged during the last year, generally restricted only by a shortage of newsprint and operating free of censorship. However, there have been charges that the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has used its influence to control distribution of newsprint to opposition papers, particularly during the electoral campaign. The newspaper of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) finally received permission to publish in Turkish as well as Bulgarian and obtained newsprint for its first issue in February. At the end of the reporting period, it had published four issues, and there were no reports of problems with distribution in either language. Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly. Freedoms of expression and assembly were well tested and, generally, fully exercised in the campaign leading up to the June elections and in the period since. Opposition parties hold political rallies without interference from the authorities, and the trade unions have often held their own rallies, although they are prohibited from engaging in purely political activities. There are no controls placed upon the right of association, though there have been complaints of informal pressure from pro-BSP bosses on workers not to join the Podkrepa trade union in some rural areas. Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest or Punishment. A close examination of the roles of the Interior and Justice Ministries has led to major reforms in those areas as well. The National Assembly began a major overhaul of the penal code early in 1990 in order to bring it into line with accepted international norms. The government has disbanded the notorious Sixth Department of the Ministry of the Interior (the former secret police), ending the control it once maintained over everyday correspondence and communications of Bulgarian citizens. Soon after his appointment in August, President Zhelev amnestied most political prisoners, and the remaining were released on December 17. The Government of Bulgaria claims that there currently are no known political prisoners in Bulgaria. However, ethnic Turkish leaders still maintain that many ethnic Turks who resisted the Zhivkov forced assimilation campaign are still imprisoned because they were falsely sentenced on criminal charges. Bulgarian human rights activists note in particular five remaining cases (three involving ethnic Turks sentenced on terrorist charges) of prisoners whose criminal convictions may have rested on political motivations. Summary exile, house arrest, internal exile, and incommunicado detention no longer exist as lawful forms of punishment. However, ousted communist leader Todor Zhivkov and two of his associates were held under house arrest, in lieu of imprisonment, pending their trials on charges of fraud and embezzlement, which began in February 1991. Podkrepa trade union leader Dr. Konstatin Trenchev was briefly placed under "city arrest" in the fall of 1990 after a demonstration in front of BSP headquarters in Sofia got out of control and the building was set on fire. Trenchev was soon released and allowed to travel abroad after the personal intervention of President Zhelev. Although security forces did not act in time to prevent the fire and extensive damage to the structure, a thorough investigation was conducted, and the Sofia prosecutor's office planned to prepare indictments against a number of people, including officials who allegedly failed to respond to official orders to restrain the demonstrators. One of the most significant political reforms enacted by the Grand National Assembly has been depoliticization of all government organs. The new law prohibits all non-elected government officials and members of the officers' corps from holding membership in any political party. Few public servants opted to retain their party membership rather than remain in their current positions. Fundamental Freedoms Free and Fair Elections. Bulgaria's transition to democracy was marked most significantly by its first free parliamentary elections in 45 years in June 1990. The elections, which resulted in a Grand National Assembly whose task has been to initiate reforms and write a new constitution, were judged to be, generally, free by international observers and members of the internal opposition. However, there was some concern over intimidation in the countryside by members of the Socialist Party and local leaders who still retained positions held under the Zhivkov regime. There also was a serious disparity of resources which favored the Socialist Party. A wide range of parties participated in the elections, in which candidates competed for parliamentary seats on both a majority and a proportional basis. A majority of seats was won by the BSP, with the opposition coalition Union of Democratic Forces coming in second. The largely Turkish and Muslim Movement for Rights and Freedoms also was allowed to participate and later to form a parliamentary group despite a constitutional ban on parties formed along ethnic or religious lines. Its fate will ultimately depend upon provisions in the new constitution. An agreement among the major political forces under re-negotiation, called for local elections in March followed by parliamentary elections in June 1991. However, many observers feel that local elections might not take place until June 1991, with parliamentary elections held in the fall. Minority Rights. The issue of minority rights, particularly in regard to the ethnic Turks, has been in the forefront of public debate during the last year. The process of restoring rights to Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish, Gypsy, and Pomak minorities began with the December 1989, decision ending the assimilation campaign which had sought to "Bulgarize" these groups. In March 1990, the National Assembly passed a law allowing members of these minorities to restore their names, which had been forcibly changed to Slavic names during the assimilation campaign. However, this law was much criticized for the sometimes lengthy court processes it entailed, and the assembly adopted a new name law in October 1990 which provided for name restoration through a simplified administrative procedure, and removed the requirement for Slavic "-ov" and "-ev" endings on family names. In ending the assimilation campaign, the Bulgarian Government also restored the rights of non-Bulgarian ethnic groups to practice their own traditions and religious ceremonies including burials, weddings, and circumcisions. Speaking Turkish in public is no longer prohibited, and no official violations have been reported, although ethnic Turks from some areas report that they have still met with some discrimination from private individuals. The issue of allowing Turkish to be taught in Bulgarian public schools has been hotly contested by Bulgarian nationalist groups. The constitution guarantees the right of all citizens to study their mother tongue. When the Minister of Education announced in February that Turkish language classes would be introduced March 1, 1991, on a limited experimental basis, several nationalist groups initiated hunger strikes and blockades in protest in some areas with a high concentration of ethnic Turks. At the same time, the MRF undertook a series of strikes, demanding full and immediate implementation of Turkish classes for any student wishing to study the language. On March 8, the National Assembly voted to continue the experimental classes for the remainder of the year and to begin full implementation of classes with the beginning of the next school year in September 1991. However, in response to rising opposition, the assembly subsequently decided to postpone Turkish language classes until the new school year. The current constitution bans the registration of political parties or movements formed along ethnic lines. This prohibition has most notably and controversially affected the MRF and the pro- Macedonian "Ilindin" organization. The former has been allowed to exist as a fully functioning political party, but its status is expected to come under review before the next elections, pursuant to the relevant provisions in the new constitution. Nationalist groups as well as many mainstream politicians have argued that it is a purely ethnic- and religious- based movement and, therefore, unconstitutional. Ilindin has been denied registration on the grounds that it is a separatist organization, and an appeal of that decision was rejected by the Supreme Court. Human Contacts. During 1990, regulations regarding issuance of passports to Bulgarians were significantly relaxed. Passports for international travel are now available to virtually anyone who properly completes application forms and pays appropriate fees, which generally are reasonable and cover processing costs. In January 1991, Bulgaria eliminated the exit visa requirement for citizens wishing to travel outside the country. There have been some complaints from applicants in rural areas who have experienced significant delays in passport issuance after being told by local officials that there is a shortage of paper for passports. Access to diplomatic missions by Bulgarian nationals for visa or other purposes is not restricted. The visa requirement was abolished in 1990 for US citizens wishing to visit Bulgaria for periods of less than 30 days. This applies to travel to Bulgaria for business and tourism. In addition, there is no limit to the number of times a US citizen may enter and leave Bulgaria, and in late March 1991, mandatory currency exchange requirements also were abolished. Information. The availability of and access to Western publications on the local market has substantially improved. However, due to prevailing economic conditions, the cost is prohibitive to local citizens. Numerous institutions throughout the country have been forced to cancel subscriptions to scholarly journals. The availability of Western books is limited primarily by economic factors and the availability of printing materials. The US Information Agency has developed a significant translation and publishing program for key American titles on economics, politics, history, and philosophy. Book donations from American foundations are welcome and equitably distributed. Cultural Exchanges. Cultural relations have so improved that the bilateral agreement between the United States and Bulgaria was considered redundant and allowed to lapse. Academic and cultural exchanges continued to grow in the private sector. The demand for foreign cultural products--performers, books, exhibits--continued to increase and was encouraged by the Bulgarian government. Western cultural centers opened in Sofia, including a small British center. A small German center is expected in 1991. During the reporting period, USIA sent a photography exhibit and a country music group to Bulgaria. Educational Exchanges. Educational exchanges are growing. There has been continuing expansion of the range of exchange activities and access to exchanges. Most exchange opportunities are now awarded through competitive selection. English language training is in great demand. For the first time, the Peace Corps will send approximately 20 English- language teachers to Bulgaria in 1991. The numbers of US government-sponsored educational exchanges are small, but the programs are significant. Three to four Fulbright scholars and three to five graduate students were in Bulgaria on year-long programs. Shorter term (mainly summer) opportunities were available for five more students. Other US government-sponsored programing included a lecturer-specialist in English-language teaching. Other growing exchange areas include non-US programs such as the International Research and Exchanges Board (10 places for Americans in Bulgaria) and the conclusion of agreements between individual US universities and consortia and Bulgarian institutions.
CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Human Rights Czechoslovak citizens now enjoy full political and human rights. Most steps to ensure these rights were undertaken by the democratic government of the Czechoslovakia in the months immediately following the November 1989 revolution. Nonetheless, the democratic reform process continued throughout 1990 and into the first quarter of 1991. During the period covered by this report, Czechoslovakia continued to make the protection of political and human rights of paramount importance in the development of both domestic and foreign policies. The most important development during the first quarter of 1991 was the passage on January 9, 1991, by the Federal Assembly (Parliament) of a comprehensive bill on human rights and freedoms. This Charter of Basic Rights and Freedoms provides constitutional guarantees for a full range of political and human rights. The charter is not a mere recitation of rights, but accurately reflects the rights and freedoms generally enjoyed by persons residing in Czechoslovakia. Many of these rights had previously been expressed in other forms of domestic legislation. Examples of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the charter include: -- Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; -- Freedom of expression; -- Right of petition, peaceful assembly, and free association; -- Procedural and substantive due process in criminal proceedings, including the right to remain silent; -- Right to privacy; -- Freedom of movement and residence; -- Right to participate in the administration of public affairs directly or through free election of representatives; and -- Access to impartial judicial tribunals. The charter also provides that basic rights and freedoms may not be denied because of a person's sex, race, color of skin, language, faith, political or other belief, or national or social origin. In addition, a provision of the charter states that no one may be disadvantaged by being a member of a national or ethnic minority. Citizens belonging to national or ethnic minorities are also guaranteed a right to education in their own language, use of their language in official communications, and participation in the settlement of problems concerning national and ethnic minorities. Fundamental Freedoms Highlights in the political and human rights area during the reporting period included the holding of free and fair elections for parliamentary and municipal council seats and the enactment of a constitutional charter of basic human rights and freedoms. Other significant developments included the enactment of legislation guaranteeing the rights of petition, assembly, and association, and the passage of legal provisions strengthening the right of procedural and substantive due process for criminal defendants. Recent labor legislation also guarantees the right to collective bargaining. The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms provides that the rights and freedoms it enumerates are to be protected by a constitutional court. At the time of the charter's enactment, no constitutional court existed. The Federal Assembly, however, on February 27, 1991, passed legislation creating a constitutional court with jurisdiction over cases involving human rights. The court is expected to be formally constituted and begin hearing cases sometime before the end of 1991. Perhaps the most sensitive human rights issue confronted by the Czechoslovak public during the first quarter of 1991 centered around a Federal Assembly investigation into the alleged collaboration of a number of Federal Assembly deputies and high federal government officials with the former secret police. A special parliamentary commission in late March 1991 publicly announced the names of 10 Federal Assembly deputies it had determined had secret police connections. Another four or five deputies reportedly resigned when confronted with evidence of their secret police collaboration. Although the screening process began first with Federal Assembly deputies, it will be extended to high federal government officials who will be quietly asked to resign if secret police connections are discovered. The names of 10 deputies whose names were released publicly March 22 as secret police collaborators have, generally, denied the allegations, have argued that the materials and process used to establish their collaboration was unreliable, claim that they remain competent to serve as Federal Assembly deputies, and have advocated the creation of independent tribunals before which their cases can be adjudicated. Thus far, the Federal Assembly has not addressed these points, but neither has it taken any actions to remove the 10 deputies from their assembly seats, although the federal prosecutor's office has been asked to begin criminal proceedings against them for betraying the public trust. On April 10, the names of three additional deputies who had quietly resigned in late March and early April were published, seemingly contravening the Federal Assembly's stated policy of not publicizing the names of those accused who voluntarily give up their public office. As a result of this, a law being drafted lists jobs and functions for which a background check will be required-- apparently all public positions will now be subject to vetting. Minority Rights. Czechoslovakia has two major nationalities-- Czechs and Slovaks--and two sizable minorities--Hungarians and Gypsies. There is a small separatist movement in Slovakia, which enjoys the support of as much as 10% of the Slovak population, but the Slovak republic represents the democratic aspirations of the Slovak people (as does the Czech republic those of the Czechs) through representative bodies and local institutions. For the Hungarians, the state allows for primary and secondary education in Hungarian and allows ethnic Hungarians to pursue higher education in Hungary. Ethnic Hungarians complain that Hungarian language at the primary and secondary school level is inadequate. In October 1990, there was some friction between Slovaks and Hungarians, as Slovak was designated the official language of the Slovak republic. Gypsies appear to suffer disproportionately from high rates of poverty, disease, and crime. Their problems seem to result more from popular prejudices than from any government policies, although Gypsies are not officially recognized as a minority and thus are not accorded the rights enjoyed by other minorities. Human Contacts. Human contacts are not limited in Czechoslovakia, either in law or in practice. Information. Freedom of speech and press is provided for by law and respected, in practice. During 1990, a multi-faceted independent press emerged, with hundreds of newspapers and magazines beginning publication. Some previously politicized newspapers, such as Mlada Fronta of the Communist Youth Movement, were converted into independent publications. In 1991, the main foe of these publications is not government policy but economic pressures from the reform process. All domestic television broadcasting is government-owned and divided between the Slovak and Czech governmental competencies. Western-sourced broadcasting began in 1990 on the OK-3 (third channel), including feeds from Cable News Network. Domestic channels reflect a wide range of opinion, including opinion opposing government policies. The government also supports radio broadcasting facilities. Radio Free Europe now broadcasts using medium- wave facilities within Czechoslovakia. The federal government has come under increasing domestic and foreign criticism for its imposition of a 22% turnover tax on print media. In early May the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalist condemned the government's policy, noting that the tax combined with the increased price of news print and using process in the printing industry could lead to a situation where almost 80% of Czech and Slovak journalists would lose their jobs because the majority of newspapers and periodicals would collapse as a result of introducing the tax measure. The government subsequently backed down, reducing the tax to 11% on May 6, but the controversy continues with journalists warning of the threat to a free and objective press. The extensive control of the governing political parties over the media has led to demands by opposition parties for more space for free, independent, and non-party information and expression of views. Cultural and Educational Exchanges. Czechoslovakia's transformation has been led by major cultural figures, most notably by its playwright-President, Vaclav Havel. Although Czechoslovakia has always been culturally rich, cultural activities, including bilateral ones, have a heightened importance in relations with the new authorities. Cultural and educational exchanges generally are state-run, though quasi-private organizations (often tied to emigre communities overseas) participate in many programs. There are virtually no limits on cultural exchanges, except fiscal ones. Because Czechoslovakia's currency, the koruna, is not convertible, private cultural exchanges are limited. The United States continues to conduct its exchanges of performers, artists, and exhibits under the terms of a bilateral educational and cultural exchange agreement signed in 1986 and renewed in 1988. Four cultural programs were conducted in 1990-91, including country music, jazz, dance performances, and a photography exhibit. In addition, a visit by an American arts funding expert was sponsored. USIA is rapidly expanding its programs throughout Czechoslovakia and will establish a Fulbright Commission in 1991. These efforts will bear even greater numbers when cultural centers are established in Bratislava (1991) and Prague (1992), thus, institutionalizing exchange mechanisms.
HUNGARY
Human Rights Hungarians enjoy all the basic freedoms, including freedom of association, of religion, to change their government, to travel abroad, and access to information. Hungarian citizens exercised their right to peacefully change their government through elections in 1990. Freedom of Religion or Belief. The government, in February, restored full diplomatic relations with the Vatican, and a Papal Nuncio has since been accredited to Hungary. Although many elements in the government are influenced by pre-1956 Christian traditions, there is no officially preferred religion, and religious affiliation carries no benefits or penalties. Since late 1989, more than 60 religious orders and numerous seminaries and schools were established or reopened. Hungary's Jewish community, the largest in Eastern Europe, was the object both of rising expressions of anti-Semitism and of government efforts to protect the community in 1990. There were scattered reports of anti-Semitic provocations, but the government consistently condemned all anti-Semitic activities and responded with action when required. In July, the government demonstrated its support for the Jewish community when President Goncz, Prime Minister Antall, and a score of top leaders attended the dedication of the new holocaust memorial. Freedom of Movement. Movement of Hungarian citizens within the country and abroad is unrestricted. All residents carry identity cards and must register with the local town or district council when they change residences. Current law establishes the right of Hungarians to emigrate and of emigres to return freely. Since mid- 1989, several exiled dissidents have returned to Hungary, regained their revoked citizenships, and were elected to Parliament or appointed to prominent government positions. Fundamental Freedoms Parliamentary elections in March and April, which saw the overwhelming defeat of the communists, resulted in a peaceful transition to a coalition government formed by the Hungarian Democratic Forum, the Independent Smallholder's Party, and the Christian Democratic People's Party, which together hold 230 of the 386 seats. In opposition were the Alliance of Free Democrats, the Federation of Young Democrats, and the Hungarian Socialist (formerly Communist) Party. In late summer, Parliament passed a local government bill designed to transfer many powers to local authorities, and local elections were held in September and October. Elections were characterized by the participation of multiple parties fielding freely chosen slates of candidates, secret balloting, and universal suffrage. There was no evidence of fraud or coercion in the election process. Following the inauguration of the democratically elected government, two former instruments of internal control, the State Security Services and the police, were reorganized. State Security Services was removed from the control of the Ministry of Interior and now reports to a separate minister without portfolio. The Minister of Interior remains ultimately responsible to Parliament for the police but does not exercise day-to-day control. In 1990, many political prisoners convicted and imprisoned by the former regime were rehabilitated or received amended sentences. Hungary reportedly released its last four political prisoners in September 1990. Minority Rights. In cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the government continued to receive and provide for a flow of refugees into Hungary approaching 40,000 since borders opened in 1989. Despite government concern about its ability to handle these numbers, given its limited financial resources, refugees fearing political persecution have not been turned away. Preferential allocations of scarce housing and employment to refugees and immigrants remain troublesome issues. Most refugees seeking to stay in Hungary in 1990 continued to be Romanian citizens; of these, ethnic Hungarians generally had little trouble finding work and acceptance. Public tolerance of ethnic Romanians and Gypsies was lower; as economic conditions deteriorated and public resentment over what was perceived as these groups' preferential access to housing and jobs became an increasingly sensitive social issue. There are no formal restrictions, in law or practice, on the participation of women in government or politics. A few members of Parliament are minorities but none ran for office in the 1990 national legislature. In an attempt to promote minority representation, the government devised a system of minority lists for elections to local governments and authorized, in September 1990, a fund of approximately $24,000 to support minority candidates in local elections. At least four well-known human rights monitoring groups operate freely in Hungary: the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Hungarian Chapter of Amnesty International, the Wallenberg Association for Minority Rights, and the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation. A 25-member Parliamentary Committee for Human, Minority, and Religious Rights oversees the field of human rights. In 1990, Hungary was not the object of allegations or investigations of human rights abuses by any international or non- governmental body. It worked actively in the United Nations and the CSCE to promote human and minority rights. Hungary's particular preoccupation is the welfare of its ethnic minorities in neighboring countries; a separate government office was established during 1990 to promote the rights of Hungarians living beyond its borders. Hungary's largest minority group is the Gypsies, who account for roughly 5% of its population of 10.5 million. Conditions of life within the Gypsy community are significantly worse than among the general populace. Gypsies reportedly account for more than half of Hungary's unemployed, and the crime rates in the Gypsy communities are nearly double that in other areas. The government sponsors programs both to preserve Gypsy language and cultural heritage and to assist social and economic assimilation. Beginning in mid-1990, the media increased public discussion of Gypsy issues and reflected official sensitivity to heavy-handed treatment of Gypsies under the communist regime. Widespread popular prejudice continues, however, along with de facto discrimination in housing and jobs. In June 1990, the various Gypsy rights organizations were assembled under the umbrella of a new national oversight body, the Nationality Council of Gypsy Organizations. Information. In practice, Hungarians enjoy full access to print and broadcast media at a level similar to the less affluent democracies of Western Europe. The only existing impediments to the free flow of information are economic. However, the democratically elected Hungarian government still has to decide whether to draft a press law and, if so, what its provisions should be. The same holds true for broadcasting. There is no government censorship of the press, despite occasional tension between the government and some elements of the media typical of other Western countries. The flow of information from abroad is not restricted. Economic factors, as well as the uncertainty surrounding media legislation, are imposing pressures and limitations on both media outlets and information consumers. In addition to domestic publications, leading international magazines and newspapers are available at hotels and major kiosks. Business and home subscriptions also are available. While the state post office's monopoly on the distribution of subscriptions is eroding, it remains the principal distributor, and service is often deficient. Administratively, major Hungarian radio and television stations continued as state properties, but the Prime Minister and the President, as part of the reform process, have appointed new management. The new directors appeared to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and views of the opposition are regularly reported. One standard feature of the media is fair and objective reporting on the United States, including interviews with prominent Americans. With the exception of the privately owned Bridge Radio station, all radio and TV stations in Hungary are state-owned. This may change after the passage of a new law on broadcasting. The law, which is expected to be passed sometime in 1991, will finalize the redistribution and availability of frequencies. The results are expected to produce a third TV station and several new radio stations. A growing number of affluent Hungarians have purchased satellite dishes and have access to the entire international spectrum of satellite television. However, for most Hungarians, dishes remain prohibitively expensive. A much cheaper way for Hungarians to gain access to satellite programing is via cable television. Currently, as many as 600,000 TV households (out of a total of 2.5 million) have cable, and the number is growing daily. Newspapers and magazines no longer fall under state control. All of Hungary's major dailies are owned by private corporations and are run as businesses, with significant foreign investment. There is no hard evidence that foreign investors are trying to shape editorial content of the newspapers they partially own. Nevertheless, like TV and radio, newspapers and magazines generally are strapped financially, putting certain limitations on reporting. Access to foreign films in Hungary is unhindered. New distribution companies and video rental stores are increasing and offer an extensive selection of American, French, and German, as well as Hungarian films. As resources for dubbing films expand, foreign films can be expected to be released on the market at a faster pace. Human Contacts. Hungarian passports are valid for 5 years for travel to any country. In January 1990, the Hungarian Government abolished the requirement to obtain permission from the local police for travel abroad. Foreign travel generally is limited only by the difficulty in obtaining convertible currency. As of November 1, 1990, the Hungarian Government abolished the visa requirement for all US citizens with planned stays in Hungary of 3 months or less. Hungary has made similar announcements regarding citizens of several European countries. The United States has reciprocated by abolishing fees for non- immigrant visas to the United States for Hungarians. A Hungarian law passed in 1989 establishes the fundamental right of all Hungarian citizens to emigrate. The law limits emigration by those facing criminal charges, minors, and those liable for compulsory military service. Cultural Exchanges. The Hungarian Ministry of Culture and Education is eager to facilitate all exchange programs proposed by the United States, as well as the establishment of direct contacts among institutions from both countries. Lack of easy access to hard currency on the part of Hungarians continues to appear to be the only obstacle to increasing the exchanges. Most US-Hungarian educational and cultural exchanges are governed by a bilateral agreement and a protocol of 2 years specifying the exchanges in various categories. Educational Exchanges. The number of educational exchanges between the United States and Hungary is experiencing a dramatic boost both under the terms of the existing US-Hungarian bilateral agreement and through direct private sector contacts. Private foundations are busily establishing new and lengthier exchange programs with Hungarian secondary schools and universities, while the "traditional" governmental exchanges are registering increases given the growing US interest in supporting the consolidation of the democratization process in the region. The Fulbright program for Hungary has greatly expanded with the introduction of a variety of new fields ranging from local government to banking and sciences. For the 1991-92 academic year, the Fulbright program will have approximately 100 scholars, lecturers, teachers, and graduate students traveling to both countries, a considerable increase from the 70 that participated in the 1990-91 program. Included in this number is the secondary school teacher exchange, which started in 1987 with one English teacher and which will have 12 participants by 1992. In December 1990, both governments signed an agreement establishing a Fulbright Commission, scheduled to begin operations by late summer 1991. As a complement to the Fulbright program, USIA also established the Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall fellowships and chairs which, for the 1992 academic year, will be further expanded to include special categories of scholars in the fields of business administration, banking, finance, law, government, and political science. The Hubert Humphrey Fellowship also was enlarged in its scope and now offers special scholarships, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in fields focused on the study of drug- related issues. The Eisenhower Fellowship Program registered a slight setback during this past year, mainly due to problems arising from the restructuring of the Government of Hungary's office in charge of its administration. This obstacle has been overcome, and a new committee will be established to proceed with the recruiting and nomination procedures. University affiliation programs also are increasing with active programs of faculty and student exchanges.
POLAND
Human Rights Polish citizens now enjoy the full range of human rights that exist in Western Europe. Poland made dramatic progress on major human rights issues in 1990 and early 1991. Officially sanctioned, politically motivated police violence has ceased; former high- ranking members of the security apparatus were arrested for corruption and murder (including the murder in 1984 of the pro- Solidarity priest Father Jerzy Popieluszko); investigations into other political killings that took place under the former regime have been re-opened and are being vigorously pursued; all censorship has ended; newspapers are being privatized; the criminal code has been completely reworked to establish the independence of the judiciary and to protect the rights of prisoners and detainees. In the past, the communist government abused many laws for political purposes; government practice now firmly respects the law and the rights of individuals. Numerous changes in the criminal code in 1990 eliminated most of the provisions used in the past for political reasons. Poland's military-security apparatus has undergone profound reform. The Minister of Defense, a former member of the Communist Party (PZPR) Politburo, was replaced in July by Rear Admiral Piotr Kolodziejczk, a professional officer without high rank in the former Communist Party, who had good relations with Solidarity and the Catholic Church during the 1980s. The Principal Deputy Minister of Defense, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, is a long-time Solidarity activist. The new Chief of Staff, General Dyw. Zdzislaw Stelmaszuk, appears to have been selected, in part, because he had no ties with the Soviets. The leadership of the army also is being replaced. According to new guidelines, all generals over age 62 are to be retired; the army will thus be reformed without a political "witch hunt." The Minister of the Interior, a former Politburo member, was replaced in July 1990 by long-term opposition activist and Solidarity adviser, Krzysztof Kozlowski. Minister Kozlowski appointed Solidarity advisers as his two vice ministers and as his Director of Intelligence. Following Lech Walesa's election, the new government replaced Kozlowski with another long-time Solidarity activist, Henryk Majewski. The Interior Ministry, which oversees Poland's police and security apparatus, has undergone considerable change under its current top leaders, who are veterans of the Solidarity movement. The secret police (Polish acronym SB) has been dismantled, ministry operations were decentralized, and the police are being restructured to fight crime rather than political opponents. A process of "verification" of former SB employees occurred in 1990, with special commissions under the supervision of the Interior Ministry's new leadership reviewing the files and removing personnel found to have systematically violated the law during the period of Communist rule. As a result of these changes, the Interior Ministry was in the process of transformation throughout 1990 and early 1991 from a tool of political control and domestic repression to a protector of Polish national security. Fundamental Freedoms Elections in May 1990 established genuine self-government at the local level, giving citizens the opportunity to replace regional and city governments appointed under the communists. A new constitution, being drafted by a parliamentary commission, will codify legal and institutional changes and symbolize Poland's peaceful transition from a one-party state to a democracy. The Polish Parliament has agreed that fully democratic parliamentary elections will occur in the fall of 1991. Parliamentary committees are debating the law that will govern these elections. A broad range of political parties and groups will compete for places in the new Parliament and Senate. Many new political groups are already in existence and are competing openly and democratically. Partisan politics typical of democratic states are a feature of Polish daily life. Poland's political transition to a fully functioning democracy is not yet complete, however. Its democratic structures are new and are still being tested. Political parties are active but still tiny; many Poles have expressed concern about the ability of parties to perform their functions, especially in times of economic stress. Some argue that the new political appointees heading the electronic media, including television, exhibit a preference for news supporting the president. Prison conditions are still sub-standard, and work conditions in many plants are hazardous. Despite the range of newspapers, some political groups complain about a lack of objectivity and contend they lack adequate access to the media. Minimum wage requirements are not always enforced. Nonetheless, the establishment of a system in which the rights of the individual are protected against the power of the state is now well established in Poland. Minority Rights. Poland is a nearly homogeneous country with a smattering of ethnic Germans, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians. Polish Jewish leaders have expressed concern over manifestations of latent anti-Semitism in Polish society, and anti- Semitism became a political issue during the presidential campaign in December 1990. Both the government and President Walesa have taken public stands against any such discrimination. Human Contacts. Human contacts are unhampered by law and flourish in practice. Visa requirements for US citizens were eliminated during the reporting period to expand human and business relations. Information. The print media are diverse, with daily newspapers representing a broad spectrum of political and editorial opinion. The electronic media has undergone less radical transformation. One private television and three private radio stations are operating, but the state-owned television and radio stations are under leaderships committed to objectivity in news broadcasting. Cultural Exchanges. Poland is eager to increase its cultural contacts with the United States and other countries, and the only impediment is lack of funds. Generally, the foreign partner must pay for any new programs or expansion of old ones. Despite this, the US cultural exchange program with Poland is the largest for any country in Eastern Europe. During 1990, the US Government sponsored nine programs which included music, theater, and dance performances; arts and crafts exhibitions, and expert lectures on literature, music and the theater. Educational Exchanges. A similar potentially unlimited--but fiscally constrained--situation exists with respect to educational exchanges. The demand for educational exchange programs is enormous, and the US response ranges from a large US Government- sponsored program to many non-governmental exchanges. At least 30 Polish students and young professionals were given full academic-year scholarships to study law and business in the United States under US Government auspices. Some 35 Americans-- lecturers, and post-doctoral and other students--received support varying from a full academic year to a single term. Other programs such as the Fulbright Secondary School Teacher Exchange and the Samantha Smith fund also were heavily used.
ROMANIA
Human Rights Progress in promoting the effective exercise of human rights has been tangible but with troubling and persistent lapses. A number of domestic human rights monitoring organizations have been established, including the Romanian Helsinki Watch Committee, the League for the Defense of Human Rights, the Independent Romanian Society for Human Rights, and the Association of Former Political Prisoners. These groups are all based in Bucharest, but they claim to have branches in many of the country's larger cities. During the reporting period they published and disseminated several thousand copies of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The Romanian Helsinki Watch Committee published a 250-page report on the June events in Bucharest which was publicly sold without hindrance. Privately organized international conferences on human rights were held in Timisoara in October and in Bucharest in December. All of these groups have unfettered access to international human rights monitoring organizations, but are plagued by a lack of financial resources and experience that limits their impact. A government-sponsored bill, creating an official human rights institute, was passed on January 28, 1991. The Romanian Institute for Human Rights is designed to serve as a clearinghouse for information and research on human rights observance in Romania and abroad. It will be funded by Parliament but has not yet begun operating. Critics outside the government fear that the new institute will be dominated by the NSF-controlled Parliament, which has the authority to name all of its members. The Ministry of Defense and the Interior Ministry, which has authority over Romania's police, have begun training courses for officers on human rights-related issues. A human rights course and a human rights professorship at the University of Bucharest also were established. A number of foreign human rights organizations established offices in or visited Romania during the reporting period. These include the International Committee of the Red Cross, Helsinki Watch, Amnesty International, the International Human Rights Law Group, and the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The UNCHR's special rapporteur for Romania visited the country twice during 1990 and in March 1991 published a detailed report in which he praised the government for general progress in the field but outlined a number of areas that continue to concern his organization. He concluded that the June events "constituted the most serious violation of human rights in Romania in 1990." He also pointed to attacks on the Gypsy community as a significant minority problem with which the Romanian Government had failed to deal. Romania co-sponsored the UN resolution to extend the special rapporteur's mandate for 1 year. During the reporting period, independent international human rights organizations, such as those named above, continued to find significant human rights abuses, including free speech and assembly, freedom of the press, treatment and rights of minorities, criminal procedure, and official violence against Romanian citizens. A new Romanian constitution is being written. The draft theses were prepared by a joint committee of the Senate and House of Deputies and were debated in Parliament in the spring of 1991. In a number of instances the theses, if enacted, would restrict important human rights and freedoms. When the debate is finished, the final draft will be ratified by the Parliament as a constituent assembly. Ratification is expected by late 1991. The intent of the draft constitution is to include provisions to protect various freedoms, political pluralism, the promotion of free enterprise and private property, equality before the law, and the presumption of innocence, as well as prohibiting discrimination based on "race, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, opinion and political allegiance, and wealth or social origin." Nationwide elections will be held once the constitution is accepted. Local elections, repeatedly delayed, are possible at the end of 1991. If honestly run, local elections could be an important means of removing many of the local hold-overs from Ceaucescu's regime who currently are resisting the reform process. Freedom of Religion or Belief. Currently, there are no bars to the free exercise of religious belief and expression in Romania. Religious materials are imported into the country without restriction; religious education is now offered on a limited basis in public schools; and religious training institutes operate unhindered. A draft law stating in its first article that "the freedom of thought, conscience, faith, and religion are basic human rights," to be respected by the state, is being prepared by the government and representatives of all of the recognized religious denominations in Romania for submission to Parliament. This draft law, if approved in its present form, would formally ensure religious freedoms, although it would grant a large role to the state in the organization and administration of religious denominations. Critics of the draft proposal are uneasy with such provisions. They also are concerned about restrictions based on state security and "public morals." The problem of the Uniate Church (also known as the Greek Catholic Church) remains unresolved. This denomination was suppressed in 1948, with all the properties in its more than 1,800 parishes passing to the Orthodox Church and all its cathedrals, deaneries, monasteries, and other properties being seized by the state. (All the cathedrals and other churches in the latter category were subsequently transferred to the orthodox patriarchate). The decree abolishing the Uniate Church was revoked immediately after the revolution in December 1989, and the government decreed in April 1990, that it would restore all the properties it still retains. Except for the residence of the Metropolitan and part of the former theological institute in Blaj, however, no state property had been returned by the end of the reporting period. Freedom of Expression. Freedom of expression has increased substantially in Romania since December 1989. Many Romanian citizens feel able to receive and impart information without interference from public authorities. But, as in many other fields of human rights observance in Romania, significant exceptions remain to this freedom. A large segment of the population believes that its correspondence and telephone communications are interfered with. The draft law on the Romanian Intelligence Service would inter alia authorize the Service, under conditions permitted by law, to have and use technical equipment to gather or check information affecting national security, a concept which is undefined. An even larger segment of the population believes that Romanian television, which is the largest mass media outlet in the country, slants its news coverage to favor the government. Examples include discriminatory coverage of certain events such as the Proclamation of Timisoara (March 11, 1990) and the events of June 13-15 in Bucharest. The government refuses to allow national independent broadcasting, although limited independent regional broadcasting is allowed. Romanians are not prohibited from watching or listening to foreign television and radio broadcasting. The opposition press continues to report that the government restricts the amount of newsprint available for newspapers, inhibits the distribution of opposition publications in the countryside, and interferes administratively with independent publications. Price increases for newsprint also have been interpreted as government efforts to restrict the opposition press. The government has a monopoly on printing works and controls the use of printing presses. Distribution is centrally controlled. In addition, a number of independent publications and journalists have been physically attacked during the reporting period. For example, several Romanian and foreign journalists were beaten by police in Bucharest on three separate occasions in January 1991, and offices of independent publications have been ransacked. A recent government proposal on sanctions against the violations of freedom of the press would have restricted free expression by making defamations of any public authority liable to criminal prosecution. This draft law, delivered by the government to Parliament in February 1991, met a hail of domestic and international criticism and was withdrawn in March. Another law, passed by Parliament in February 1991, sanctions with possible loss of citizenship Romanians who "commit seriously grave acts which harm the interests or undermine the prestige of the Romanian state" while traveling or living abroad. The vague wording of this law seemed designed to intimidate Romanian citizens, as it could be interpreted to allow the withdrawal of citizenship if a Romanian were critical of the government while abroad. Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly. The government recognizes the rights of citizens freely to associate and to form political parties, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, and human rights monitoring organizations. Except for the crackdown on demonstrators in mid-June, the right to peaceful assembly was respected, although in several instances, demonstrations that had gone on for some time were dispersed by police using force. A decree of December 31, 1989, permits the formation of all types of political parties except those that are fascist or that "spread conceptions contrary to the state order and law of Romania." Despite these rather ambiguous exceptions, there appear to be no political organizations that were denied the right to form a party. The decree stipulates that all political parties and social organizations must provide a list of at least 251 members in order to be granted juridical status. It further provides that any political party denied registration rights may appeal to the Supreme Court. As of March 21, 1991, there were 121 legally recognized political parties in Romania. According to the decrees of January 3 and January 24, 1990, mayors and local police authorities must be notified at least 48 hours in advance of any assemblies. Assemblies may not interfere with other economic or social activities; are limited to holidays or non-working hours; and may not be held near various types of institutions such as hospitals, airports, or military installations. In some instances, the mayor of Bucharest denied organizations the right to hold assemblies, although he is not empowered by law to do so. Nonetheless, a number of demonstrations were held without authorization in Bucharest and other cities. The government did not prosecute organizers and participants in these demonstrations, although the law provides for short jail terms or fines for failure to register. On June 13, the government forcibly broke up a 7-week-old demonstration in Bucharest's University Square. To protest what they felt was the continued presence of communist officials and structures in the government, demonstrators had gathered daily at an encampment of opponents of the government blocking one of the city's major thoroughfares. Following police action on June 13 against the demonstrators, violence erupted, with demonstrators attacking police stations and television headquarters. Six persons were killed and over 100 injured. President-elect Ion Iliescu appealed on radio and television for citizens to defend the government. In response to the appeal, thousands of coal miners and others rampaged through the streets of Bucharest on June 14-15. In some cases, the miners were provided with lists and addresses of opposition members and directed to various buildings or individuals. They attacked many people in the streets who appeared to be government opponents. Altogether, some 500 persons were injured, about 1,000 were initially taken into custody by miners or police, and 191 were arrested. Among those arrested were Marian Munteanu, President of the Students' League, and Leon Nica, President of the Free Democratic Party. Both had made anti- government speeches at University Square. After almost 2 months of detention without charges, they were released pending trial. Six persons (miners and others) were arrested later for their part in the June 14-15 incident. Vigilante groups, guided by persons believed to be current or former intelligence officers, ransacked the offices of the independent Romania Libera and two opposition newspapers during the June 13-15 disturbances and threatened their editors. Within a few days, the newspapers were able to resume publication, but no one was charged with any offense other than theft. The "mid-June events" were the subject of a parliamentary investigation and report. Unable to reach consensus, in January 1991, the Parliament produced two separate reports on the events. The majority report absolved President Iliescu and the government of any wrongdoing, but the minority report, written by opposition party representatives, fixed most of the responsibility for the violent affair on the president. The minority representatives also complained that the Romanian Government bodies responsible for providing information had been uncooperative during the investigation. The former Securitate's role in the June beatings is but one example of a fundamental issue of distrust and uncertainty about the role of the Securitate. The organization was officially disbanded shortly after the revolution and its files taken over by the Ministry of Defense. A successor organization, the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) was created on March 26, 1990, and composed largely of former Securitate personnel. Despite official claims that the SRI engages only in legal surveillance and counter- espionage activities and is under parliamentary control, a broad sector of Romanian society and many observers continue to believe that it retained or rehired individuals that participated in repressive activities under the communist regime and that former Securitate agents continue to harass and threaten opponents of the government. These allegations are difficult to prove, but official reluctance to confront openly the issue, and a campaign of threatening letters and telephone calls to opposition figures, as well as isolated beatings, does little to allay a general sense of unease and fear. Romanian workers are free to organize trade unions, to affiliate these unions into federations or confederations, and to affiliate internationally. There are now hundreds of trade union locals in Romania, as well as at least five national confederations. One of the labor confederations, Fratia, is preparing to apply for membership in the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), and a number of its members have already been accepted as members of international trade secretariats. During the reporting period, some independent unions were alleged to be under surveillance, had their documents or correspondence interfered with, or received threatening calls. The Romanian Government currently is the subject of a violation of freedom of association complaint filed with the International Labor Organization (ILO) by the International Union of Food and Allied Workers' Associations on behalf of one of its affiliates, the Free Independent Trade Union of the Inter-Continental Hotel in Bucharest. The union alleges that the management of the government-owned hotel has been engaging in union-busting techniques by pressuring or transferring its members and by creating an alternative, management-sponsored union. In response to the complaint, the Romanian Ministry of Labor interceded to mediate the return to her former position of one of the union's leaders who had been transferred to another hotel. The Romanian Government will make a formal response to the ILO's Freedom of Association Committee, which was expected to take up the complaint at its May meeting. Freedom of Movement. The right of Romanian citizens to travel abroad or to emigrate is no longer restricted. In 1990 the government issued 3.6 million tourist passports, more than four times the number issued in 1989. During the same period, it issued 129,714 emigrant passports. While there are occasional delays and roadblocks for what appear to be arbitrary reasons, Romanian citizens who wish to obtain a passport and depart the country, generally, are able to do so within a reasonable period of time. Romania continues to distinguish between travelers and emigrants. Passports for the latter are issued only after evidence is presented that all debts are paid, paperwork regarding terminated employment and release of housing is submitted, and customs clearance obtained for any items that will accompany the traveler. The government abolished, however, the requirement that Romanians repay the state for costs of their state subsidized higher education before emigrating. All who lost Romanian citizenship may apply to regain it. In principle, all former Romanian citizens seeking to return are entitled to do so. Romanian citizens who emigrate must obtain the approval of the government before resuming residence in Romania. This approval was not withheld during the reporting period. In April 1990 Romania's ex-King Michael, who was forced by the communists to abdicate in 1947 and who now resides in Switzerland, was denied permission to enter the country. On December 25, he entered Romania on a Danish diplomatic passport but was expelled about 12 hours later, ostensibly for lack of a proper visa. Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest or Punishment. In marked contrast to the Ceaucescu era, Romanians now feel free from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. An important exception was the June events, during which many of the more than 1,000 persons who were taken into custody were apprehended by vigilante miners and other non-official forces. There were credible reports that some of those detained in June were beaten and denied medical treatment while in custody. There also were reports that female arrestees were forced partially to disrobe in front of male jailers and other prisoners, and there was one report of rape by the pro- government vigilantes. Prison conditions remain poor by Western standards. The overcrowding, poor diet and medical care, and insufficient staff are largely consequences of Romania's depressed economy and the low priority accorded these institutions in the allocation of government resources. Attitudes of wardens toward prisoners continue in many cases to evince hostility and brutality. During the reporting period, the government took some steps to eradicate torture and other degrading punishments. International and domestic human rights organizations were granted the right to visit detainees and question them about abuses. In September, the Parliament ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In October, a law was passed transferring the administration of prisons from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Justice; this transfer was effected on January 15, 1991. In January 1991, Romania ratified the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at the abolition of the death penalty. At the beginning of the reporting period, Romanian law provided for either a judge or a prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant. Warrants could be issued at any time up to 24 hours after a person was detained. Once arrested, a person could be held without trial for up to 1 month before a hearing, but the prosecutor could obtain an extension for an additional 3 months. Thereafter, a court could order further extensions in 30-day increments. There was no legal limit on the time a person could be held before trial, nor was there any provision for bail. The government either implemented or proposed a number of changes to the criminal code, which include the right to inform family or friends of one's arrest within 24 hours; the right to legal counsel after arrest; limitation on the detention period prior to a hearing; the right to protest an arrest to a court within 24 hours and to receive the court's ruling within an additional 24 hours; the right to bail, except for recidivists and in the case of capital crimes; and the right to be informed of these rights by the arresting authorities. Anticipating formal adoption of these reforms, the Prosecutor General's office began to implement some of them, e.g., granting prisoners access to attorneys before the minimal investigation is complete. Fundamental Freedoms On May 20, 1990, more than 80 political parties and organizations contested the first multi-party pluralistic elections since 1946. NSF candidates--many of whom were former members of the Romanian Communist Party, which disappeared as an organization in 1989--won about two-thirds of the seats in Parliament. Seventeen other parties elected representatives and senators. The NSF's presidential candidate, Ion Iliescu, won 86% of the vote. New national elections are to be called by the President not later than one year after the ratification of the new constitution. The opposition and the US Government sharply criticized the NSF for unfair election campaign practices, including using government resources, interfering with opposition rallies and meetings, impeding the distribution of opposition newspapers and literature, threatening and harassing opposition candidates, and unfairly dominating television. Election day activity was monitored by several hundred international observers, who concluded that the voting was essentially free and fair, although this was not true of the campaign. Minority Rights. The Hungarian minority in Romania totals about 2 million. They are concentrated in Transylvania, in central and northwestern Romania, but more than 200,000 ethnic Hungarians also live in Bucharest. The bases for many of the Hungarian claims of government discrimination were removed in 1990, including restrictions on language use and on the ability to organize politically and travel freely. Hungarians formed a political grouping, the Democratic Union of Magyars of Romania (UDMR), which won 41 seats in the May elections, making it the largest party in Parliament after the ruling NSF. However, the legal basis of the party may be in jeopardy: the draft theses of the new constitution being debated include language that would prohibit political parties "founded exclusively on ethnic, religious or language criteria" which, if enacted, could jeopardize the legal basis of the UDMR. Disputes between Hungarians and Romanians continue to simmer and have occasionally flared up into acts of violence. There were instances of intimidation of Hungarian students and teachers, for example, in Bucharest's High School 33, and numerous allegations of the forced eviction of Romanians from their homes and places of work in Transylvania. There also were allegations of murders of Romanians by Hungarians in the counties of Covasna and Harghita and evidence of an anonymous hate campaign of threatening letters and phone calls directed against Hungarians. In November, a special joint parliamentary committee was established to investigate the alleged murders and forced evictions of Romanians. A report is expected in the summer of 1991. The problems between the Romanian and Hungarian communities are in part, exacerbated by the activities of Vatra Romaneasca (Romanian Hearth), a chauvinistic, anti-Hungarian organization. There also has been an increase in chauvinistic newspapers like Romania Mare, edited by two of Ceaucescu's propagandists. The government has, thus far, been slow to condemn forcefully what, by all appearances, is a rising level of exclusionary nationalism. Local elements of Vatra Romaneasca are widely believed to have been the leading instigators of the Tirgu Mures violence in March, in which five persons were killed and more than 300 were injured from both ethnic communities. But legal charges stemming from the violence targeted predominantly ethnic Hungarians and Gypsies. After the Tirgu Mures violence, ethnic Hungarian leaders alleged that the government conspired with ultra-nationalist Romanian organizations, such as Vatra Romaneasca, against the interests of the Hungarian minority. Societal prejudices fueled by historical ethnic animosities persist. There appear to have been recent criminal prosecutions that predominately targeted Hungarians. All but one of those prosecuted for participating in the Tirgu Mures violence are Hungarians or Gypsies who speak Hungarian as their native language. In addition, in October three Hungarian youths were sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison for attempting to deface a monument to a Romanian national hero in Tirgu Mures. Besides Hungarians, there are more than 10 other ethnic minorities in Romania. Education is available in some of the minority languages. Hungarians have pushed for the restoration of the Hungarian Bolyai University, in Cluj, but the government has resisted. Education in the Hungarian language is available through the secondary level and in some areas of study at the university level. Many minorities have established political organizations, and the government has set aside seats in the Chamber of Deputies for those minorities (nine) that did not gain seats on the basis of either individual candidacies or party lists. Gypsies, whose estimated population ranges from 220,000 to perhaps as many as 2 million, continue to suffer discrimination. Public opinion about Gypsies is nearly universally negative. They are cited in newspapers as generic "suspects" in the rising incidence of crime and black marketeering. During the June events, Gypsy neighborhoods in Bucharest were singled out by vigilantes; many Gypsy homes were ransacked and looted, and several persons were beaten. Latent anti-Semitism rose to the surface in 1990 as evidenced by the publication of the "Protocols of Zion" and by the appearance of anti-Semitic articles in the newspaper, Romania Mare, and other extreme nationalist journals. No incidents of anti-Semitic violence were reported, and several prominent government figures, including the prime minister and the president, have spoken out against anti- Semitism. In January, the Parliament organized a 50th anniversary commemoration of the victims of the pogrom in Bucharest. Human Contacts. Departure formalities for family reunification purposes are not expedited, but are generally are accomplished within the required 90 days. Bi-national marriages are handled expeditiously. Applications for travel abroad are handled without discrimination. Applications for emergency medical or other reasons are treated rapidly, though not always within a 3-day period. Sixteen months after the 1989 Romanian revolution and 11 months after Romania's first free elections, the media situation remains volatile and politically contentious. Parliament has yet to pass legislation governing newspapers, radio, and television. A press law that set heavy fines and penalties for journalists who criticized the president or government institutions was submitted to the Parliament by the Prime Minister and then withdrawn when it was attacked as oppressive by independent journalists. A draft law to regulate broadcasting--and to authorize some form of independent radio and television--has been introduced, but its passage is uncertain. Meanwhile, about 1,300 newspapers and magazines are now published--about 10 times the pre-revolution number--and they are ostensibly free of censorship. However, independent publications confront enormous handicaps, particularly, in logistic matters-- supplies of newsprint, time on government presses, distribution systems--which are still largely under government control and which indirectly limit their freedom. Though a few independent broadcasters have managed to get on the air, their status is precarious, their impact limited, and their future uncertain. Romanian state radio and television networks, technically independent, still dominate the airwaves and are widely regarded as instruments of the government. Television remains a battleground, with internal struggles between unions and management and external pressures from government and opposition forces. Opposition voices have severely limited opportunities to be heard on state radio and television. Domestic news reporting is often slanted and erratic. An RTV initiative in October 1990 gave opposition political parties 90 minutes of television time a week and the government the same amount, in the same time slot, on alternating nights. But in February 1991, RTV halted the practice, citing a need to reduce overall air time due to budget difficulties. Time for broadcasting in Hungarian and German, also was reduced dramatically. Only a few independent regional television stations function in Romania. Among them is Oradea TV, based in the northwestern city of the same name, which operates on a makeshift basis using time on RTV transmitters when RTV is off the air, i.e., after midnight. It was ordered closed in early April 1991, ostensibly for technical reasons, after airing a program linking two local members of Parliament to the old Securitate; it won reinstatement at the end of the month. A few low-wattage FM radio stations received approval to broadcast shortly after the revolution and remain on the air in Bucharest. They broadcast mostly music and are barred from broadcasting partisan political material. Two of these stations have affiliations with foreign broadcasters (French and Belgian), and one is considering an arrangement with Voice of America (VOA) Europe. No new independent, private radio stations of any importance have gone on the air in recent months, though more than 100 applications are pending; among them are student groups in three provincial cities that received US-donated studio equipment in 1990 but still lack transmitters as well as broadcast licenses. In publishing, government officials and printing plant managers remain mostly hostile to independent publishers. Yet, a surprising number of independent dailies and weeklies continue to survive, if not thrive. A few independent publishing houses have started, offering alternatives to the overworked, antiquated government presses. In Brasov, a newspaper consortium appears on the verge of setting up its own press. The largest national independent daily, Romania Libera, has expanded to eight pages daily and uses computers to help improve its print quality. The government news agency, Rompres, still has a de facto monopoly on distribution of foreign news, though the AZR and SOTI hope to try to start their own wire service for independent publications sometime in 1991. The demand for foreign newspapers, magazines, and books is great, growing, and mostly unmet. Foreign publications are still not generally available, although there are no official restrictions on them. The general lack of hard currency, both on the part of organizations and individuals, is the principal barrier. The extreme shortage of technical and professional journals inhibits economic, social, and political progress. The flow of donated books from abroad continues, and the Romanian government remains receptive and grateful for this support. The domestic publishing industry is hard-pressed to meet the need for school books and supplies. It will probably be years before the Romanian government is able to print or import enough books to meet the mushrooming demand. There also is a strong demand for American and other foreign films, especially on television. Again, the lack of hard currency has made it difficult for would-be Romanian distributors to obtain recent movies and television series. Romanian radio's programing is still almost entirely locally produced, but it, too, is seeking program input from the VOA and other sources. VOA, Radio Free Europe, and other foreign radio stations are heard in Romania without hindrance, and are still popular. About one-third of the population say they listen to foreign radio stations, while 95% say they listen to Romanian radio. Romania's attitude toward the foreign press is ambivalent. Officially, the government is open and hospitable to foreign journalists. Visas are readily obtainable, and there is an established procedure for press credentials. Reporters, photographers, and TV crews appear to have reasonable access to government officials and institutions. There is a foreign press club, with a clubhouse, and the government and Foreign Ministry spokesmen hold frequent briefings for Romanian and foreign journalists. In practice, however, reporting from Romania is still a difficult and sometimes dangerous job. External communications are terrible, and internal communications are not much better. Office space is scarce and expensive. Only Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Presse have established permanent bureaus in Romania. Reporters and photographers have been beaten, some seriously, while covering demonstrations. For example, in mid-January 1991, several Romanian and foreign photographers were roughed up by police while covering protests in University Square. The government, subsequently, apologized and acknowledged its responsibility to protect journalists and allow them to do their work. But there was no adequate guarantee against a repetition, and the intimidating effect of the incident was clear. Cultural Exchanges. There is widespread interest in Romania in widening and deepening contacts with Western countries, including the United States. That the desired expansion of intellectual interchange is slow is due not to official policy but mostly to economic and other practical considerations. These include the lack of convertible currency for royalties, foreign publications, films, videotapes, and media equipment. Direct cultural contacts between Americans and Romanians are growing, as they are between Romanians and other Europeans. American conductors and soloists have performed in Bucharest and Romanian musicians in American cities. American exhibits circulate freely in Romanian cities. American and French films are popular, both in cinemas and on television, but costs again limit availability mostly to older features. In November, the Ministry of Culture took the Romanian sculpture exhibit of Brancusi's works to the United States for the first time, where it attracted many Americans. The American cultural center in Bucharest is more popular than ever, attracting an average of more than 1,000 library patrons a day. Access is now apparently unimpeded, in contrast to the pre- revolution days when it was politically dangerous to frequent the American facility. A January 1991, book exhibit through which Romanians could buy with local currency books for studying English, attracted eager, overflow crowds, a testament to the pent-up demand. Other cultural events at the center are similarly well attended. Presentation by the United States of large numbers of books donated by private citizens--more than 150,000 by early 1991--was warmly received and favorably noted by government officials and in the media. Educational Exchanges. The US-Romanian Fulbright Exchange Program is flourishing. The framework bilateral agreement is broad enough to encompass branching out into new areas, including law, journalism, and economics, which were previously off limits to Americans in Romania. In addition, new programs such as the Marshall, Hamilton, and Eisenhower Fellowships have been added. In 1990-91, 15 American Fulbright grantees are working in five Romanian cities, and 26 Romanians (10 lecturers and 16 researchers) are in the United States. Other academic exchanges, both government and private, are beginning to develop and are allowed to proceed freely. Romanians are eager for increased contact with American universities and scholars. Funding will, again, be something of a brake, but Romanians have so far been ready to pay a reasonable share of the costs of these exchanges.
USSR
Human Rights The reporting period saw some of the improvements in Soviet human rights practices of the last few years slow down and, in some cases, reverse. Nonetheless, the human rights situation in the Soviet Union has not returned to the pre-Gorbachev years: recent gains remain, both on the books and in the streets. The current human rights picture is characterized by incongruity, with some earlier problems appearing alongside the newly permitted exercise of political freedoms and individual rights that were all but unthinkable in the past. The right of the individual to know and act upon his/her rights has improved through glasnost but remains, on the whole, weakly exercised. CSCE materials are made available but not always readily. For example, 100,000 copies of the Vienna Concluding Document have been published in the USSR, and in 1990, the Charter of Paris, signed by CSCE heads of state in November, was published in the government newspaper Izvestiya, which has a large, nationwide circulation. Generally, however, copies of the various CSCE documents are difficult to obtain, especially in one's native language. The document of the June 1990 Copenhagen CSCE Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension reportedly has been published, but with a print-run of only 1,000. There are shortcomings in the availability of effective executive, legislative, judicial, and administrative remedies for addressing human rights violations. Though significant strides have been taken in recent years, much work remains to be done before a state based on the rule of law is fully established. Executive bodies theoretically charged with providing remedies against human rights violations, i.e., the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) and the USSR and republic Procuracies, with some exceptions, have not been sufficiently reformed. Likewise, the Committee on State Security (KGB) and the military are also remain predominantly in the hands of "old thinkers." In theory, one exception to this rule is the Committee on Questions of Citizenship of the Office of the USSR Presidency (formerly of the USSR Supreme Soviet) which reviews cases of individual citizens who have been denied the right to leave the country by the state. This committee, however, is not widely known and Soviet officials have not revealed its membership. Access to it is, in practice, restricted, but Soviet officials have indicated that it is open to approaches by Soviet citizens. Though legislative remedies for addressing some human rights issues increased in this reporting period, in practice, they remained of limited effectiveness. The Russian Republic Supreme Soviet created a human rights committee which considers individual cases. The USSR Supreme Soviet's CSCE Commission continued to function, most notably producing a study of conditions in Soviet prisons and labor camps. The power of the legislative branch to provide effective remedies to individual victims of human rights abuse remained limited by the executive branch's dominance. The judiciary still is not effectively independent, though some judicial reform took place in the reporting period. With few exceptions, individuals could not turn to the courts to seek redress against human rights violations. Similarly, administrative remedies generally are unavailable. On the positive side, the Soviet government generally respected the right of citizens to contribute individually or in association with others to promote and protect human rights. Soviet human rights groups continued to function freely for the most part. For the first time, an international human rights group legally set up shop in the Soviet Union when in the fall of 1990 the US-based Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, in conjunction with a Soviet human rights organization, established a legally registered organization in Moscow. Other Soviet human rights groups functioned openly and freely, participating in major international human rights conferences in Moscow in June 1990, and in Leningrad in September 1990. At those conferences, Soviet and foreign human rights activists were most outspoken regarding the shortcomings in Soviet human rights practices. The right of individuals and human rights groups to communicate with international bodies information concerning allegations of human rights abuse is unrestricted. The legal system has not developed to the extent that legal counsel is available to the average Soviet citizen with a human rights complaint. Though the legal right of an individual to seek and receive such help exists, the actual ability of an individual to find effective help is limited. Several months of backtracking on political reform and reversion to threats of physical force as a means of addressing political problems culminated in violence in the Baltic states in January 1991. The most egregious instances of this regression took place in Lithuania and Latvia, where the use of troops backed by armor--ostensibly to enforce USSR laws--resulted in at least 14 dead and many more injured in Lithuania, and at least five dead and numerous injured in Latvia. Azerbaijan was under a declared state of emergency enforced by Soviet troops for most of 1990; over 100 civilians were killed in January 1990 following the introduction of troops. Conflict between Armenians and Azeris flared again in May 1991. Armenians accused Soviet authorities of aiding Azeri efforts to force Armenians out of disputed areas of Azerbaijan. Freedom of Religion or Belief. Soviet authorities continued to display a more tolerant attitude toward religion. The visibility of religion in public life has greatly expanded: religious services continue to be televised, particularly during the Christmas and Easter holiday seasons. Articles in the press expressing believers' attitudes on public issues, propagating the faith, and bemoaning the loss of Christian moral values in Soviet society continue to appear in the official press. The USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a law guaranteeing freedom of conscience and religion in 1990. The law gives religious organizations (those that register with the government) access to the media, grants them the right to establish their own schools, own property, and engage in social work, and facilitates the registration of new religious groups. The RSFSR version of the same law, also adopted in 1990, was even more beneficial to believers. Most other republics, however, have not adopted laws guaranteeing these freedoms and still enforce pre- 1990 restrictions on religious belief. Remaining restrictions on religious freedom include: -- Numbers of clergymen and places of worship (often on a local level); -- The right of local authorities to refuse to register congregations and to deny them adequate premises (a particularly severe problem in Ukraine with regards to the Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church (AUOC) and Pentacostalists); and -- Extensive KGB influence over official religious activities. Although the customs administration officially lifted numerical limits on the importation of Bibles and other religious literature over 2 years ago, implementation of the new rules continues to be erratic. Availability of religious literature, some of it now being printed in the USSR itself, has greatly increased in the past year, particularly with regard to children's literature. Individuals continue to be able to receive legally religious literature through the mail and many have received small packages of such literature. The authorities continued to allow a number of unofficial religious groups to hold seminars and conferences with minimal interference, sometimes in public halls rented for that purpose. Exceptions to this included groups of Pentacostalists and AUOC believers in Ukraine. Ukrainian Catholic congregations are free to register in Ukraine. There are reports that in some areas of western Ukraine where non-communist political leaders who are sympathetic to the Ukrainian Catholics have come to power, all churches have been given to the Ukrainian Catholics, with Orthodox believers in the area left with no place to worship. Orthodox believers have staged hunger strikes and protests, reportedly to no avail. During 1990, the AUOC, which was totally stamped out by Stalin in the early 1930s, reconstituted itself under the leadership of Patriarch Mstislav, who resides in the United States. His November 1990 "enthronement" in Kiev was seen as a watershed by many AUOC believers. However, Ukrainian authorities have reportedly refused him permission to return to Kiev permanently. The AUOC has had great difficulty in registering congregations, although the enactment on March 22, 1991, of a law on freedom of religion by the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet may improve the situation. The AUOC has not been formally granted legal status as a religious organization and AUOC parishes are still required to register with Ukrainian authorities as social organizations. Anti-Semitism notwithstanding, Soviet Jews continued to experience widespread freedom in the practice and teaching of their religion in this reporting period. Additional yeshivas opened in Moscow. The teaching of Hebrew spread in Jewish communities throughout the Soviet Union. Hebrew schools for children were established, and Synagogues were returned to the Jewish community. Soviet Jews established and maintained close contact and cooperation with foreign Jewish religious groups, which themselves were able to establish offices in the Soviet Union. The Soviet authorities continued to allow Soviet Muslims more freedom to practice and learn about Islam. An Islamic revival is now taking place in Azerbaijan and central Asia. For example, the latest session of the Azeri Supreme Soviet was opened with a religious invocation by a mullah. This revival, however, sometimes had an anti-regime tone which, when combined with nationalism, prompted Muslims in central Asia to take to the streets. More mosques were given back to believers and Korans in Russian became readily available, even in Moscow. More Muslims were able to visit Mecca than in the past. Official harassment of Hare Krishna remained low during the reporting period, and their visibility increased. For example, they participated in the February 24 Moscow demonstration in support of RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Boris Yeltsin. US authorities know of no Hare Krishna in prison or labor camp at this time. Buddhism also has been experiencing a revival in parts of the eastern USSR, where houses of worship, monasteries, and Buddhist schools have been opened. The Baha'i also are beginning to revive their sect, and a Mormon congregation has been formed in Moscow. Young men who object to military duty because of their faith continued to be sentenced to prison terms. Alternatives to military service for conscientious objectors are being discussed for inclusion in a draft military bill. Freedom of Expression. A new law making it a crime to "insult the honor and dignity of the Soviet President" was passed in 1990. A number of people were convicted of this offense. In one case, the individual was sentenced to 1 year in prison. Uzbekistan adopted a law making insulting the Uzbek president a crime punishable by 6 years in prison or 2 years of "correctional labor." Another individual received a 3-year prison term for defacing a Lenin monument. Valeriya Novodvorskaya, leader of the Democratic Union Party, received a 2-year sentence of "correctional labor" for insulting the Soviet flag by publicly burning it. Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly. A new law on public organizations, which provides formal legal recognition of a multi-party system in the Soviet Union, took effect on January 1, 1991. The law notes that the right to form associations is an inalienable right of all mankind and all citizens and guarantees every Soviet citizen the right to form public organizations. The law defines public organizations to include political parties and mass movements, including national fronts, trade unions, veterans organizations, and youth groups, among others. It requires that public organizations register their statutes with the USSR Ministry of Justice and states the grounds on which the Ministry may refuse to register an organization. The law requires that political parties must demonstrate that they have at least 5,000 members and must provide the Justice Ministry with the name, address, telephone number, and date of birth of at least that many members. The right of organizations to appeal a refusal by the Ministry of Justice to register the organization also is defined. In addition, public organizations are granted the right to disseminate information about their goals and objectives and to found newspapers and mass media enterprises. The USSR Minister of Justice has said that the leadership of those organizations which refused to register would be subject to legal sanctions, including criminal prosecution. As of mid-March, 22 public organizations and no all-union political parties had been registered. NGOs and human rights monitoring groups continued to be permitted to exercise the right of association. Many of these groups are openly critical of the Soviet Government. Groups established, for example, to defend the rights of those repressed in the past, improve the situation of the handicapped and invalids, monitor the conditions in Soviet prisons and labor camps, gather information on and report cases of political prisoners, and keep track of individuals who are denied permission to exit the country legally, pursued their goals actively and openly. Harassment of such groups by the authorities was not unheard of but generally was sporadic or connected with the breaking of laws such as the law prohibiting the selling of newspapers without a license. Unfortunately, the new registration law of organizations could prove too costly or administratively burdensome for small organizations. The number of demonstrations, both authorized and unauthorized, grew exponentially throughout the reporting period. The July 1988 Supreme Soviet decree on "procedure for the organization and conduct of meetings, rallies, street marches and demonstrations in the USSR" has been declared unconstitutional by the constitutional committee of the USSR Supreme Soviet. The committee determined that the law contradicted the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of assembly by granting local Soviet officials too much leeway in approving or denying permission to demonstrate. Freedom of Movement. Record numbers of Soviet citizens traveled abroad during the reporting period, but the long-awaited passage of the new Soviet emigration law intended to bring the country into compliance with its CSCE commitments did not occur. Travel abroad was still restricted by the requirement that Soviet citizens have official permission to depart the USSR. Persons seeking permission to emigrate are required to give up their places of residence, employment, and eligibility for social benefits. They also must submit an invitation from a close relative abroad. (Soviet authorities, however, still refuse to accept invitations from four defectors currently living in the United States who have invited close relatives to either visit or emigrate). During the reporting period, many US-bound emigrants who were granted refugee status and offered sponsorship, ran afoul of this requirement. The USSR showed some flexibility in this regard, however, for a small number of Armenians from Azerbaijan and Evangelical Christians. Until October 1990, persons who had exit permission for a temporary visit generally were allowed to depart unhindered for permanent residence abroad. In October, however, Soviet border authorities began to require that all such persons possess a foreign entry visa corresponding to their exit permission. Although many well-known refusenik cases were resolved during the reporting period, the United States still maintains lengthy lists of persons who have been waiting 10 years or more for permission to emigrate. The current US government list of refuseniks contains at least 150 names. This includes former Soviet Army officer Vasily Barats who has been attempting to emigrate since 1977. Physicist Moisey Iskin left his defense industry job in 1979; his latest refusal was upheld by the "Committee on Citizenship" in April 1990. Denials of exit permission still occur because of access to state secrets and other, often seemingly arbitrary, reasons. In addition, freedom of movement is hampered by an often unresponsive bureaucracy that may take many months to process an application for exit permission. In addition, the bureaucratic requirements imposed by local offices of the exit permit and passport issuing agency are inconsistent from region to region. Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest or Punishment. The Soviet Government has stated that all political prisoners were released under a broad amnesty in late 1988. But it applies the term primarily to those convicted under Article 70 of the Soviet criminal code (anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation) or Article 190-1 (slandering the Soviet system) and excludes, for example, persons convicted under Article 64 (treason). No prisoners were known to be serving sentences solely under the so-called political and religious articles of the Soviet criminal code (Articles 70, 142, 227, and the now abolished 190-1) during the reporting period. Since 1989 the US and Soviet Governments have been engaged in a mechanism to review criminal cases with possible political motivations. Of the 75 persons whose cases were initially raised by the United States, many have been confirmed as released from prison, some when their terms expired, and others ahead of schedule. There are three confirmed cases of persons remaining in prison for offenses that, in the US view, would not now subject them to prosecution. Using various definitions of "political" arrests, including conscientious objectors, military deserters, and aircraft hijackers, reliable Soviet and Western human rights groups carry on their lists more than 100 names of political prisoners in the USSR. Persons may still be detained arbitrarily and without arrest warrants. The Soviet criminal code states that detainees must be charged or released within 4 hours. Once charged, however, the criminal code permits holding an accused in pre-trial detention for up to 18 months, with no requirement for judicial approval or preliminary judicial hearing on the charges and continued detention. In several cases, persons were detained for lengthy periods without being brought to trial. In criminal cases, detainees may be released and restricted to their place of residence pending trial. Ukrainian People's Deputy Stepan Khmara was detained in a Kiev prison without trial from November 17, 1990 to April 5, 1991. At the time of his release, it was not clear whether charges had been dropped or whether he had simply been released pending trial. He was re-arrested on April 12, after having spoken out on the "political" nature of his arrest. Khmara, allegedly involved in the beating of a militia colonel during a November 7 Revolution Day counter-demonstration, was charged with abusing the authority of his office under Article 166 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code. By a vote of its majority (coinciding with the number of Communist Party deputies), the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on November 14 deprived Khmara of his parliamentary immunity to allow for his arrest. Leaders of the Ukrainian national movement "RUKH" and the democratic opposition asserted that the prosecution had inconclusive evidence of Khmara's complicity in the November 7 incident and pressed to have Khmara released prior to his trial. They argued that the arrest was politically motivated. As of late March 1991, no date had been set for a trial and no indictment read against Khmara. His wife (only once), his priest, and his lawyer have been allowed to visit Khmara in jail. A Western human rights lawyer, working as a consultant on the case, was not allowed to see him. The Procuracy's dual role as investigative as well as prosecuting arm of the legal system allows few protections for defendants' rights. Legal reform advocates in the USSR have recommended the separation of the investigative function from the Procuracy, so far, to no avail. They cite reports of persons who were seriously mistreated by militia and Procuracy investigators seeking to obtain confessions. In addition, human rights activists say it is standard for the police to pay criminals to beat dissidents in prison. Persons participating in anti-government demonstrations or distributing anti-government printed materials were sometimes detained briefly and fined. Demonstrators were charged with "organizing an unsanctioned meeting" and usually detained from a few hours to 15 days. In Sverdlovsk on December 3, 1990, Democratic Union leader Valeriya Novodvorskaya and other organizers were detained and fined for attempting to hold an unsanctioned rally and for insulting the honor and dignity of the Soviet President. Novodvorskaya was later declared not guilty of the same charge but found guilty of insulting the dignity of the USSR flag by burning it. Distributors of unofficial literature were charged with "trading in an unauthorized area" and usually fined up to 100 rubles, more than one-third of the average monthly wage. There were no reports of persons being punished by being sent into internal exile during the reporting period. Human rights sources claim, however, that there are still people in internal exile. The laws providing for internal exile are still on the books. There were no reports of torture during the reporting period. However, many prisoners suffered from mental and physical abuse and mistreatment during interrogation, trial, and confinement, according to a wide variety of reliable sources. Prisoners are frequently placed in punishment cells for violations of camp rules, sometimes for periods of several months. Conditions in punishment cells are excessively punitive, and no administrative process exists to ensure that prisoners are not arbitrarily and inappropriately sent to such cells. Under Article 188 of the Soviet Criminal Code, prisoners may receive an additional 3- to 5-year sentence for "malicious disobedience" in labor camps. Whereas in the past Article 188 was used to extend the sentence of prisoners who had nearly completed their sentences, no such reports were heard during the reporting period. Law enforcement personnel frequently use excessive force in dispersing demonstrations and have beaten political activists. For example, Democratic Union and "Memorial" activists were reportedly beaten by Interior Ministry troops at a May Day demonstration in Chernovtsy. In early December, Democratic Union activists were beaten at a rally in Sverdlovsk. In most cases, the victims were from groups openly declaring opposition to the Communist Party or charging corruption in law enforcement organs. There were no reports of law enforcement personnel being punished for use of excessive force or of victims being able to seek redress. No instances of new long-term hospitalizations of sane persons were reported during the reporting period. Nonetheless, many high-level psychiatric officials associated with past abuses remain in influential positions. The Supreme Soviet published a new draft law on psychiatry that includes provisions for disciplining doctors who confine healthy people to psychiatric institutions and for appealing cases of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization to the courts. Current law, however, still provides the basis for compulsory psychiatric hospitalization without adequate legal protection of persons arrested under questionable circumstances and then diagnosed as mentally ill. In December, local officials in Nikolayev reportedly threatened Jewish refusenik Dmitriy Berman with a psychiatric examination as part of a re- investigation of charges that were previously dropped for lack of evidence. There were numerous reports of the use of psychiatric examinations and the threat of compulsory commitment as ways of intimidating persons whose actions have irritated local officials. For example, in July 1990 in Astrakhan, a member of the Christian Democratic Union, Aleksandr Zykov, was sent to a psychiatric hospital for declaring a hunger strike and protest on the town square in front of the local Communist Party and government headquarters against local authorities' harassment. And, according to Moscow News No. 46, Kurbanberdy Karabalakov was put into a psychiatric hospital for trying to set up a branch of "Democratic Platform" in Turkestan. Fundamental Freedoms Free and Fair Elections. During the reporting period, the first open, contested republic and local elections resulted in the election of non-communist governments in several cities, regions, and republics. Impartial observers generally have conceded that elections such as those carried out in Georgia were conducted fairly. Nevertheless, in some areas of the country, particularly in some central Asian republics, the continued domination of the electoral process by the Communist Party and its candidates calls into question the fairness of elections. In the USSR's largest republic, Russia, a pro-reform government was established following republic and local level elections in March 1990. The elections were the first freely contested elections at that level in Soviet history. Universal adult suffrage was observed, voting procedures were free, and results were reported publicly and honestly. The formulation and implementation of nomination procedures, however, allowed local Communist Party leaders to stand for office with greater ease than candidates seeking to oppose them. Nonetheless, many high-level Communist Party officials were defeated, and large numbers of pro- democracy candidates were elected. Liberals espousing democratization of the USSR won a majority of seats in the Moscow and Leningrad city soviets (local governing councils) and in a few other areas. Also, one of the year's most noted events was the election by Russian republic legislators of democratic opposition leader Boris Yeltsin as Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. Accountability of the Executive to the Elected Legislature or Electorate. The USSR constitution provides that "the USSR Supreme Soviet is the permanently operating legislative and monitoring organ of state power in the USSR." Judging by the floor debate in the Supreme Soviet, the legislators take their oversight function seriously. However, the Supreme Soviet is hampered in its oversight function by a number of institutional handicaps. Among the most serious of these are a shortage of professional staff and the lack of independent sources of information. Other steps taken by the Supreme Soviet and the President tend to blur the distinction between the elected legislature and the executive branch. On September 24, 1990, the Supreme Soviet passed a law granting the President the right, for the period to March 1992, to promulgate laws of a normative character by means of presidential decrees on matters concerning the economy and law- and-order issues. Although the Supreme Soviet retains the right to declare such laws unnecessary or to propose alternative legislation, in practice, it has yet to do so. The USSR Constitutional Oversight Committee, however, decided that it will be necessary to examine the question of limiting the legislative powers granted to the President under the September 24 law. Similarly, the law on the KGB, which was passed in first reading by the Supreme Soviet on March 5, grants the KGB the power to issue and enforce normative acts concerning security-related matters that are binding on government agencies and public organizations alike. Among the decrees President Gorbachev has issued under the authority granted him by the Supreme Soviet is one establishing a presidential committee to coordinate the work of law enforcement agencies. At the end of the reporting period, the committee had not been established. Separation Between the State and Political Parties. One of President Gorbachev's early and often stated goals in his campaign of perestroika was the removal of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from the day-to-day running of the Soviet Government and economy. Constitutional changes approved by the Third Congress of People's Deputies in March 1990 stripped the CPSU of its constitutionally guaranteed role as the "leading and guiding force of Soviet society." Furthermore, the law on public organizations passed by the Supreme Soviet on October 9, 1990, prohibits the interference by political parties in the activities of government organs. The fact remains, however, that members of the CPSU continue to dominate the USSR Congress of People's Deputies and Supreme Soviet, the government (including the procuracy and the law enforcement and security organs), the courts, and the military. The party's hold over government organs remains strong in many parts of the country. Kaliningrad Oblast, where the same person heads both the oblast party committee and the oblast soviet, is typical in this respect. Respect for the Law in the Activity of the Government. President Gorbachev has made the transition to a "law-based" society in the Soviet Union one of the pillars of his program of perestroika. Recent legal reforms aimed at accomplishing this goal have been unevenly implemented in the country as a whole, however, due to the breakdown of executive authority and the so-called "war of laws" being waged between the center and republic and local governments and legislatures, and the dominance of the CPSU. Moreover, the oversight activity of the USSR Supreme Soviet is still in its formative stages and suffers from a number of institutional handicaps. The Soviet judiciary is neither independent enough nor powerful enough to ensure respect for the law in the activity of the government. Military Forces Subservient to Civil Authority. Although the Soviet armed forces have a long history of loyalty and subservience to civil, or at least CPSU, authority, recent events have raised questions about this traditional relationship. The military as an institution has been unhappy with a number of recent reforms, particularly those that have had a negative impact on the quality of military life. President Gorbachev faced a decidedly hostile audience when he met with military people's deputies in mid- November 1990. It was the bloody clashes in Vilnius and Riga in January 1991, however, that most seriously called into question the central government's control over the military and security forces. President Gorbachev has maintained that military units in Vilnius acted without Moscow's approval when they stormed that city's TV tower. The local military commander claimed that he acted at the behest of the "Committee for National Salvation," commonly held to be a front organization for the Moscow-oriented Communist Party of Lithuania. Recent events in the Baltics, particularly in Lithuania, suggest that the CPSU as an institution continues to exert an inordinate-- and in some respects illegal--influence over the Soviet armed forces. The USSR Constitutional Oversight Committee has ruled that a number of military regulations requiring the armed forces to carry out the policies of the CPSU no longer conform to Article 6 of the USSR constitution, which has been revised to remove the constitutionally guaranteed guiding role of the CPSU in Soviet life. Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Guaranteed by Law. The USSR Supreme Soviet has been working to make its human rights legislation conform with its international treaty obligations. In 1990, the legislature passed laws guaranteeing freedom of the press, freedom of conscience and religious organizations, and a law on public organizations. The latter provides the legal basis for a multi-party system in the Soviet Union. A law on trade unions, passed in December, provides for the existence of trade unions as independent organizations which are equal before the law with official trade unions. Publication and Full Accessibility to Legislation. Laws passed by the USSR Supreme Soviet and republic-level Supreme Soviets are published in the press. Many of the laws passed by the USSR Supreme Soviet enter into force from the moment of their publication. The USSR Constitutional Oversight Committee has determined, however, that some 70% of legislation and other government regulations affecting the rights, freedoms, and obligations of Soviet citizens have never been published, because the government treats them as classified information. The Constitutional Oversight Committee instructed the government to declassify and publish all of these laws and regulations, declaring that any which were not published within the 3-month period set by the Committee would no longer be valid. The 3-month period expired March 1, with the government failing to declassify and publish a single law or regulation. The Constitutional Oversight Committee has no independent mechanism to enforce its decisions; it is up to the USSR Supreme Soviet to see that the committee's decisions are enforced. Some deputies have complained, however, of the weakness of the Supreme Soviet's oversight function. Equal Protection Before the Law. Those rights guaranteed by the Soviet constitution apply equally to all citizens. Nevertheless, the great influence which the CPSU continues to exert over law enforcement organs and the judiciary, together with the extensive system of privileges which still exists for party members, serves to undermine the concept of equal protection before the law. Effective Redress Against Administrative Decisions. Recent legislation passed by the USSR Supreme Soviet, such as the law on public organizations, contains specific provisions guaranteeing judicial review of administrative decisions. Legal experts have acknowledged, however, that the general population remains largely ignorant of its legal rights and that law enforcement agencies are slow to dispense such information. Coupled with the scarcity of legal assistance available to the general public, this has resulted in a situation in which effective legal redress against administrative decisions is simply not available for most people. Impartial Judges. Communist Party officials still largely control the nomination of judges, although this role gradually is being assumed by soviets. Unofficial party influences on the judiciary, such as the dispensation of privileges, also exist. Consequently, the establishment of a truly independent judiciary has progressed slowly. Some steps were taken to promote the independence of the judiciary. For example, the Ministry of Justice formally took control of judges' promotions away from the CPSU apparatus, but new mechanisms for installing key judicial leaders are not yet in place. A law on liability for contempt of court is aimed at deterring party officials from telephoning judges with instructions on how to proceed in a case but has proven ineffective. It carries sentences of up to 3 years for persons exerting improper pressure on judges. Independence of Legal Practitioners. The Communist Party's control of society still extends to many areas of the legal and judicial system. This works against the objectivity and independence of the judicial process. Clear Definition of Criminal Prosecution. Several decrees issued by President Gorbachev, under the authority granted him by the Supreme Soviet, concern criminal activities. Although these decrees carry the force of law, they often lack clear and precise definitions of the criminal activity against which they are directed. In fact, the Deputy Chairman of the KGB complained at a press conference that the lack of legal norms defining economic crime and economic sabotage posed a serious obstacle to law enforcement agencies attempting to enforce presidential decrees. Right to Appear Before a Judge if Charged with an Offense. The Criminal Code permits holding an accused in pre-trial detention for up to 18 months, with no requirement for judicial approval or preliminary judicial hearing on the charges and the continued detention. Right to a Fair and Public Hearing Before an Impartial and Independent Legal Tribunal. Generally, except in cases asserted to involve national security issues, trials are public. Defendants have the right to attend the proceedings, confront witnesses, and present evidence. The court appoints an attorney for defendants who do not have one. Defense lawyers, like judges, are subject to a number of state and party controls. For example, in prosecutions involving the KGB, only those defense lawyers on a list kept by the local government may be selected. Defendants have a right to appeal, as does the prosecution. Recent reports indicate a significant growth in the number of cases appealed by defendants and in the percentage of cases overturned by higher courts. In many cases that were not overturned on appeal, sentences were reduced. Right to Defend Oneself or to Obtain Legal Assistance. A new law, signed by President Gorbachev in April 1990, allows defense counsel to participate in a case from the moment a charge is brought or a detention order is implemented. In the past, the defense counsel had no access to the defendant until the trial began. Access to the defendant during his detention or the Procuracy's pre- trial investigation was prohibited. Soviet legal experts have noted, however, that the new law is only slowly being implemented. Another factor affecting the right to obtain legal assistance is the relative scarcity of defense lawyers in the Soviet Union. According to Soviet legal experts, most law faculty graduates find it more lucrative and prestigious to go to work for various organs of the Procuracy or for legal research institutes than to work as practicing attorneys. Presumption of Innocence Until Proven Guilty. Judges generally accept the conclusions of the preliminary investigations conducted by the Procuracy, and many presume that the accused is guilty even before the trial begins. One 1989 study showed that only 1% of all criminal cases resulted in acquittal. Recent experience shows, however, that weak cases are increasingly dropped during the investigative stage. The Procurator General of Ukraine recently reported that 15% of cases were dropped during the investigative stage, a 50% increase over past practice. A Moscow court official said that, in recent years, several thousand cases were sent back to the Procuracy for re-investigation, and 50% of those were eventually dropped. In cases that are not dropped, however, the defendant may continue indefinitely to face the possibility of renewed prosecution. Respecting the Right of Citizens to Seek Political or Public Office, Without Discrimination. The law on public organizations allows all political parties the right to field candidates in elections and provides that no citizen shall have his right or freedom to participate in political activities limited. Respecting the Right of Individuals and Groups to Establish Political Parties or Other Political Organizations. The law on public organizations legalizes a multi-party system, expressly allows the formation of political parties and mass social movements, and guarantees these organizations the right to propagate their views. The law declares all political parties equal before the law, prohibiting only those organizations advocating violent changes in the constitutional order or territorial integrity of the Soviet Union. Although the law declares all political parties equal, several provisions reinforce the predominant position of the CPSU. This is particularly true of articles that bar parties from receiving financial or other support from abroad. New political parties in the RSFSR and other republics continued to proliferate during the reporting period. The difficulties of registering a new political party; however, are such that no new all-union parties registered, however some local parties did register in the republics. Ensuring Unimpeded Access to the Media for All Political Groupings. On April 12, 1990, the USSR Supreme Soviet passed a law on the press and mass media that abolished preliminary censorship and established a new basis for government-media relations. Nevertheless, the government continues to own and control most broadcast and printing facilities and properties. However, press freedom and access to the media faced a number of challenges, including in areas where nationalist groups came to power or where they constituted a vocal opposition. One of the alleged reasons behind the attack on the TV tower in Vilnius was the claim by the "Committee for National Salvation" that Lithuanian television was broadcasting "anti-Soviet propaganda." Many of the newly established parties founded their own newspapers, although the Communist Party's control of some 90% of the country's publishing facilities and of official distribution networks effectively limited many publications' access to the public. The RSFSR government received limited access to state broadcasting facilities, which somewhat increased opposition groups' access to the electronic media. In February 1991, however, central authorities reduced the RSFSR's access following a dispute over the content of its broadcasts. Ensuring That Elected Candidates are Duly Installed in Office and Permitted to Remain in Office Until Their Term Expires. The US Embassy is unaware of any instance in which lawfully elected candidates have been prevented from taking over the office to which they have been elected or removed from office before the expiration of the term of office, although the Khmara case verges on this. The December 1990 USSR Congress of People's Deputies (CPD) approved, in principle, a law governing the recall of People's deputies and instructed the USSR Supreme Soviet to submit a final draft of the legislation for consideration at the next CPD, probably in December 1991. Minority Rights. Public expressions of anti-Semitism continued to concern Jews throughout the Soviet Union during the reporting period. The painting of swastikas on Moscow cemetery graves, the distribution of anti-Semitic leaflets in Novosibirsk and other cities, pogrom rumors in Kiev, and the desecration of the Moscow Choral Synagogue contributed to this concern. Jews in Moscow, Leningrad, and other Russian cities have reported insults and anonymous threatening letters. In July, the Communist Party newspaper Pravda ran an unprecedented article acknowledging anti- Semitism as one of society's most serious ills. Subsequently, Pamyat leader Konstantin Smirnov-Ostashvili was convicted on charges of "inciting racial hatred" (attacking the central house of writers in Moscow, shouting anti-Semitic slogans, and threatening Jewish writers and their supporters), and received a 2-year sentence. (He committed suicide in prison in April 1991.) Other participants in the crime were investigated but not brought to trial. Jews view activities of organizations like Pamyat as particularly dangerous and believe that official criticism of anti-Semitic acts is insufficient and ineffective. Concern also exists among Jews about anti-Semitic arguments holding them responsible for the Soviet Union's economic and social woes. At the same time, opportunities increased for Jews to take advantage of cultural and religious freedom, including the study of Hebrew and Yiddish and publication of Jewish periodicals. Additional yeshivas were established in Moscow. Several mass-circulation pro-reform periodicals have published strong denunciations of anti-Semitism. Outside large cities and the Russian republic, popular front movements that regard the Jews as allies against the central authorities supported increased opportunities for Jewish religious and cultural activity. Three major conferences of nationwide Soviet Jewish organizations took place during the reporting period. Equality between men and women has always been proclaimed as a basic principle by Marxism-Leninism, and it remains officially recognized under Soviet law today. Despite this legal equality, women suffer from discrimination in the Soviet work place. Although most Soviet women work outside the home, relatively few women hold prominent or influential positions in the state administration, educational system, or economic apparatus. Those professions in which women predominate, such as medicine, tend to be treated as low-status occupations. Moreover, effective denial of many fundamental economic and social rights to Soviet citizens of both genders has long deprived the official legal equality of men and women of real content. Human Contacts--Family Meetings and Family Reunification. Figures on emigration from the Soviet Union reflect expanding human contacts across a broad spectrum. For example, nearly 200,000 Soviet Jews emigrated to Israel in 1990, and approximately 150,000 ethnic Germans departed for Germany. From April 1, 1990, through February 28, 1991, more than 25,000 persons arrived in the United States as refugees from the USSR, many with relatives in the United States. In addition, during this period, the US Embassy in Moscow issued travel documents to 4,289 individuals eligible to enter the United States under the parole authority of the Attorney General. Moreover, from April 1, 1990, through February 28, 1991, the US Embassy issued 687 immigrant visas to Soviet citizens, most of whom had first-degree relatives who are US citizens or resident aliens. Bi-national Marriage. Exit visas for Soviet citizens who want to marry American citizens generally have not been difficult to obtain. The US Embassy is not aware of any cases in which recipients of non-immigrant fiance(e) visas and immigrant visas, based on marriage to US citizens and resident aliens, were denied permission to depart for the United States during the reporting period. Cases of blocked marriages on the US representation list have been resolved or are no longer active. Travel and Tourism. Judging by non-immigrant visa statistics at the US Embassy in Moscow and Consulate General in Leningrad, the Soviet Government continued, during the reporting period, to take a more liberal approach to issuing temporary exit permission to its citizens. From April 1, 1990, through February 28, 1991, the US Embassy and the Consulate General issued 99,334 non-immigrant visas. Persons traveling for private reasons and tourism made up about one-half of this total. The other half consisted of business and government travelers and persons participating in scientific, educational, cultural, or other types of exchanges. The demand for visitor visas to the United States continued to increase as the desire to travel, pent up for many years under restrictive Soviet regulations, was released. Indeed, Soviet officials have expressed fear that once the new emigration law is passed, the demand for passports will exceed the ability of the government to issue them. Religious Contacts. The Soviet authorities regularly grant Soviet entry visas to religious representatives of various faiths. Of particular note was the October-November 1990 visit of AUOC Patriarch Mstislav, who resides in the United States. His visa was initially refused but eventually granted, though he is still being refused permission to reside in Ukraine. It is more difficult for individual representatives of various faiths inside the USSR to receive exit visas to visit churches in the West. Particular problems exist with securing airline tickets due to much greater demand than supply. Information. Despite glasnost, the Soviet leadership continues to see the media, and particularly the broadcast media, as instruments of control to be used by the central organs for implementing policy and molding a compliant public. While more new and often outspoken publications have appeared over the past year, especially in Moscow, the broadcast media have begun to be reined in, most notably since December when President Gorbachev brought staunch conservative Leonid P. Kravchenko back from "TASS" to take over the state radio and television committee. How much the central government plans to regain control of radio and television programing from more liberal-reformist elements remains to be seen. For the print media, the government and party continue to control much of the actual publication and distribution process, although these monopolies have been weakened in regions where the central Soviet authorities must contend with broad-based nationalist movements. The old form of censorship based on ideological criteria no longer exists for most print media-- apparently, censors are no longer officially assigned to Soviet publications, although stamping each completed issue with a seal of official approval is still a tradition for party- and government- sponsored publications. However, as Soviet society grows increasingly polarized, efforts to promote the interests of the state or party via indirect means remain a key element of the system. Although party discipline and loyalty are less compelling now than in the past, the still-important network of official contacts can make or break an individual publication by controlling its access to essential supplies, office space, and various employee benefits. While party conservatives have encouraged efforts to remove reform-oriented editors and deputy editors of several publications recently, including Izvestiya, Komsomol'skaya Pravda, and Vechernaya Moskva, individual journalists working for more liberal publications, such as Argumenty i Fakty, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and Interfax (news agency) continue to test the limits of glasnost with diversified and, at times, controversial coverage of domestic events. In Georgia, publications attracting the ire of the republic government were closed by republic officials. For example, the newspaper Molodezh Gruzii was forced to close in early 1991. The paper's employees received threats of physical violence and continue to experience discriminatory treatment. In Moldova, the Russian-language newspaper Molodezh Moldavii was forced to close in late 1990. Its Russian and Jewish employees were physically attacked and continue to experience discriminatory treatment. Its headquarters were fire-bombed. Efforts to institutionalize freedom of the press reached a zenith on August 1, 1990, with passage by the USSR Supreme Soviet of a new "law on the press," which abolished institutionalized censorship and authorized individual Soviet enterprises and citizens to set up independent publications within the Soviet Union. Since that time, the former unofficial samizdat press has evolved into a rich variety of new publications, ranging from extreme right-wing diatribes to missionary tracts, from glossy business magazines to pornography. No formal restrictions exist on the ability of Soviet citizens to receive foreign publications by subscription, except when unevenly enforced Soviet laws against pornography and "incendiary" political tracts are invoked. However, the non-availability of hard currency to the vast majority of Soviet citizens and the general unreliability of the Soviet mail system continue to have the practical effect of limiting access to those enjoying special status. When a presidential decree on the broadcast industry was issued in July 1990 calling for the decentralization and demonopolization of broadcasting, hundreds of independent radio and television broadcasters and cable TV operators began operations at the local and regional levels. At the same time, many neophyte television operators, especially those with larger ambitions--such as the new All-Russia Radio and Television Company--still found independence illusory as the crucial technical facilities remained in the hands of the center. In January 1991, statements by President Gorbachev and other officials that the new press law might need to be re-written or abrogated provoked concern, but the law remains on the books. De facto restrictions on the new openness, however, linger, such as the politically motivated firing in March of three news commentators from the independent daytime and late night TV news program TSN and the earlier cancellation of the popular Vzglyad talk show. Toward the end of the reporting period, the central government has increasingly begun to rein in independent-minded broadcasters, both within the central TV and radio apparatus and in the smaller companies around the country. The transformation of the State Radio and Television Committee (Gosteleradio) into the All-Union State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, with a stated purpose of de-monopolization and financial independence, meant little in day-to-day operations, but the new structure enabled the newly appointed conservative head of the company, Leonid P. Kravchenko, to re-assert central ideological control over programing. Earlier plans to reorganize Gosteleradio into four independent channels were scrapped, leaving ambitious plans for new initiatives in disarray. The changes since the end of 1990 indicate a return to the "old ways" in broadcasting. Old-guard censors are back at work; and, at the local level, new and would-be broadcasters are being denied licenses on "political grounds" by local authorities (political grounds were cited in the suspension of Vzglyad). Selective reporting and overt propagandizing was evident in news coverage of the January violence in the Baltics and the March national unity referendum. The call for decentralization has, in a limited way, been respected in Leonid Kravchenko's recent announcement that all television studios in the republics are now local property. This move provides additional autonomy for the locals but also adds significantly to their financial responsibilities. Since they are not yet in a position to fill air time with their own programing, they will continue to carry central television's programs but have to pay for them. Although the new All-Russian Television and Radio Company has started operation, its allotted frequencies and air times are still in dispute. Radio, in general, has escaped the closer scrutiny television receives. Independent radio stations like Moscow's Ekho Moskvy, funded by the Moscow soviet, Moscow University, and liberal weekly Ogonek, among others, broadcast relatively freely with frequent transmission of anti-establishment opinions. In addition to CNN, which is re-broadcast without change over UHF, foreign television from the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and Japan is increasingly seen in the Soviet Union. Central television broadcasts many acquired programs, from Adam Smith's Money World to MTV. Super Channel and other American and foreign program distributors successfully placed a wide range of their programing with the center and with local stations in the Baltics, Kiev, Kazakhstan, and Siberia. One American company signed a contract with the Moscow soviet to bring up to eight cable channels to the Moscow area and plans to expand to Kiev as well. Not only has there been no jamming of foreign radio broadcasts since 1988, central radio and TV broadcasts now frequently quote VOA and British Broadcasting Company in their own broadcasts. Reports of threats and physical violence involving Soviet journalists increased but were more often the result of clashes between rival political or ethnic factions than government- sanctioned repression of freedom of expression. Foreign films are seen more and more on Soviet screens. A new French movie center brings the latest in French cinema to Moscow, while "Rambo," "Gone With The Wind," "Tootsie," and other well known American productions enjoyed success in Moscow theaters this past year. Any limits on the availability of foreign films in the Soviet Union are more related to a lack of hard currency and/or copyright access than to ideological censorship. The number of journalists based in Moscow on behalf of US and other Western news organizations continues to grow. Although housing and other infrastructure problems are still daunting, the life of a foreign correspondent in Moscow is much easier than before with access to sources, even in the military and the KGB, generally good to excellent. Only on the subject of travel restrictions are significant complaints still heard. Among the new American bureaus this past year were the San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, Fortune, Saba Photo, The Village Voice, Advertising Age, and Reader's Digest. The total number of American reporters is now well over 100. Also during the past year, a Foreign Correspondents' Association (FCA) was established in Moscow to represent the collective interests of the foreign news media in dealings with various government officials concerning housing, travel, accreditation, access to news pools, and briefings. In addition to the efforts of the FCA, US journalists were invited, on several occasions, to air their grievances (largely relating to travel) with Deputy Foreign Minister Petrovskiy and other MFA officials. Some progress was made. Cultural Exchanges. USIA's traveling exhibition, "Design USA," completed its tour of the USSR with showings in Kishinev, Alma- Ata, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok. Total attendance in these five cities exceeded 1 million, and collateral programs brought together Soviet and American specialists for seminars on architecture and designing for the handicapped. Under the USIA book translation program, agreement was reached or is pending with Soviet publishing houses for the translation and sales distribution of 31 American books, including classics of American history, biography, political science, literature, business, and economics. Exchanges in the performing and fine arts continue to increase and expand. However, the rapidly deteriorating economic situation in the country, as well as the political restructuring of the government (both national and republic), have greatly reduced subsidies to Soviet cultural institutions that had previously enabled them to host their foreign colleagues with little difficulty. As cultural institutions are quickly having to become financially self- sufficient, their interest in performing abroad or showing their work abroad--and thereby earning much needed hard currency-- increased dramatically. At the same time, the need to become financially self-sufficient severely limited the ability of Soviet cultural institutions to invite their foreign counterparts to the USSR. Therefore, for purely financial reasons, cultural exchange has become increasingly one-sided and will probably continue so until the Soviet economy improves. Despite the financial difficulties, many American cultural groups are eager to perform in the USSR, and with major corporate support, continue to tour the country. Museums in the United States and USSR have increased exchanges of fine arts exhibitions and have organized joint exhibitions shown in both countries. In addition, warming relations between the two countries have enabled numerous individual artists, theater and film directors, musicians, and dancers to arrange their own private exchanges and to work and have their work shown in each other's country. The Soviet Government continues to allow individuals and organizations to conduct discussions with Americans dealing with cultural presentations, but ruble inconvertibility, increasing requirements to pay for hotel and travel for foreigners with hard currency only, and bureaucratic difficulties have conspired to create considerable handicaps to arranging US cultural presentations in the USSR. Educational Exchanges. Dramatic growth in bilateral educational exchange programs at all levels continued during this reporting period, including exchanges of elementary school children, along with high school, college, graduate, and professional exchanges. Efforts to establish a bilateral exchange office in Moscow faltered when the Soviet side rejected the US proposal to open a Fulbright representation office in Moscow. The Soviet side insisted on a reciprocal Fulbright office in the United States, which would have been unprecedented. Continuing discussions have led the US side to consider a locally hired person to serve the needs of Fulbright lecturers. Presidents Bush and Gorbachev agreed at their December 1989 Malta meeting to expand undergraduate exchanges by 1,000 students per side. An agreement on the new exchange, which will begin in the 1991-92 academic year, was signed in March 1991. The Soviet Government actively encourages its own scholars to seek contacts with American and other Western counterparts. The principal obstacles continue to be bureaucratic and financial, especially the difficulties of financing travel to the West. Aeroflot's policy on hard currency payment for domestic travel of foreigners seriously hampered programs arranged on a ruble basis. While the State Committee for Education is able to get around this problem for programs it arranges, other institutions often cannot. American exchangees may have to put up the hard currency themselves or travel long hours by train to get to outlying cities. Archival and research materials are available at many levels to US scholars, in contrast to the situation a few years ago. There is a problem, however, with access to older magazines and newspapers, which are frequently withheld because they are in an advanced state of deterioration.
Baltic and Republic Overview
Baltics. The Baltic States Supreme Councils and governments, newly elected in spring 1990, took dramatic steps toward effective independence from the USSR. On May 4, 1990, the Latvian Supreme Council passed a declaration affirming its goal of restoring Latvian independence. Not as encompassing as the Lithuanian Supreme Council's March 11, 1990, declaration of independence, the Latvian declaration envisaged a transition period to restored independence. The Estonian Supreme Council passed legislation to restore the symbols of the independent State of Estonia, while also embarking on a transition period to full independence. During the latter months of 1990, the popular front-dominated Baltic parliaments discussed and passed legislation affirming the supremacy of republican laws over those of the USSR and announced their intent to abide by international and CSCE standards in human rights. During this same period, preliminary negotiations were undertaken between Baltic and Soviet delegations with a view toward resolving issues relating to Baltic independence. However, by the end of the year these talks were effectively suspended. Tension increased in all three Baltic states, and November and December witnessed a series of explosions in Riga and Latvia. The January 1991 announcement that additional Soviet military units would enter the Baltics to assist in enforcing the military draft also raised tension. On January 2, the main publishing house in Riga was occupied by armed units of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), precipitating a crisis during which a pro-Moscow Latvian self-proclaimed National Salvation Association called for the resignation of the Latvian government and the imposition of direct rule from Moscow. On January 11-14, armed Soviet security and army units, acting reportedly at the request of a pro-Moscow Lithuanian "Committee for National Salvation," took over several buildings in Vilnius, including the central press building, the radio and TV administration building, and the TV tower. During the latter operation, accomplished with tanks and armed personnel carriers, over a dozen people were killed and scores injured. On January 20, special forces of the Soviet MVD attacked the Latvian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) building in Riga, resulting in the deaths of two Latvian MVD guards. In firing near the building, two civilians were also killed and a third died weeks later from his wounds. Following these incidents and amidst calls from the pro- Moscow National Salvation Committees for the resignation of the Baltic parliaments and governments and the imposition of direct rule from Moscow, barricades were erected in all three Baltic capitals to protect the Supreme Council buildings from expected attack from Soviet security and military forces. To show the strength of popular support for Baltic independence in the aftermath of these incidents, the Baltic governments organized special non-binding votes on February 9 (Lithuania) and March 3 (Latvia and Estonia), which witnessed high voter turnout and overwhelming support for the restoration of independent, democratic states. The Russian-dominated fronts supported the Salvation Committee calls for the resignation of the Baltic governments and expressed concern that the popular front- dominated legislatures in the Baltic republics would not guarantee their language and cultural rights. In protest over the violence in the Baltics, the United States and more than 20 other CSCE member states, including the EC-12, invoked the CSCE's Human Dimension Mechanism. Following the January incidents, Soviet President Gorbachev issued decrees naming delegations of Soviet officials who would be empowered to discuss a range of political, economic, and social issues with Baltic representatives. Ukraine. Ukrainian informal groups were permitted more activity than in the past, as the Ukrainian Communist Party and government under new Party Chief Kravchuk tried to co-opt some of the former's popular support as the regime's own diminished. The officially registered Ukrainian Popular Movement (RUKH) supported candidates for elections to the republic Supreme Soviet and local soviets, winning more than one-fourth of the republic Parliament's seats and completely taking over the local soviets in such western Ukrainian cities as Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk. In western cities, calls for independence of Ukraine were frequently heard, although more conservative activist leaders in RUKH claimed the majority of Ukraine's large and diverse population wanted only economic independence and more political sovereignty, i.e., more control over Ukraine. In July 1990, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet passed overwhelmingly a "Declaration of Ukraine's Sovereignty." However, there were later signs that revealed that Ukrainian authorities might crack down on such activism. In late March, proceedings were begun against several activists who had organized and participated in unsanctioned rallies in support of Lithuanian independence. Top RUKH leaders were mentioned by name, a warning that they, too, could be prosecuted. Ukrainian activist leaders said the issues of most concern in Ukraine had moved from cultural and linguistic to economic and ecological issues, especially contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet put forth an appeal to the international community for the billions of dollars of aid needed to clean up Chernobyl contamination, treat victims, and evacuate and relocate affected populations. Byelorussia. The hard-line Byelorussian Communist Party and government leadership remained in place, although the republic Supreme Soviet also appealed for international help to deal with consequences of Chernobyl. Byelorussian activists continued to find themselves more constricted than counterparts in some other republics. No doubt encouraged by Moscow, Byelorussian party authorities condemned Lithuania's independence movement and claimed territory along the Byelorussian-Lithuanian border. The democratic opposition made gains in March and April with a largely successful general strike and mass demonstrations in major cities. Moldova. Activism by Moldova's major ethnic groups continued to increase. Moldavian People's Front activists disrupted and forced an early end to the November 7 Revolution Day parade in Kishinev, after local militia had beaten some peaceful protesters earlier that morning. Within a week, hard-line republic Communist Party boss Grossu was replaced by Luchinskiy, former Second Secretary of Tadzhikistan and reportedly a relatively popular ethnic Moldavian. Non-Moldavian ethnic minorities, including Russians, Jews, and Gaga'uz, alleged that the Moldavian government was discriminating against them. The Turlian Gaga'uz declared independence and set up their own self-proclaimed republic in August 1990, while the primarily ethnic Russian-populated Dnestr region did the same in September. Ethnic Moldavians wholeheartedly supported their co- nationals' December 1989 revolution across the border in Romania; Moldavian deputies to the USSR Supreme Soviet called on Moscow also to show support. Contacts with Romania continued to increase, with growing border violations and demands to dismantle the border. Most Moldavians, however, still considered reunification with Romania possible only after Romania has democratized and the economy improved. The Caucasus. Violence escalated in the Caucasus between Azerbaijanis and Armenians over Nagorno-Karabakh. The number of deaths, injuries, hostage-takings, bomb explosions, and thefts of weapons continued to grow, with no resolution in sight. Armenians claim that Azerbaijan's refusal to allow Nagorno-Karabakh to secede from Azerbaijan is a violation of the self-determination of the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijanis claim Nagorno-Karabakh is legally and historically a part of Azerbaijan. In September 1990, a state of emergency was declared by the local government in Armenia after a series of incidents between rival armed bands, including the shooting of a local member of the Armenian Supreme Soviet. The republic government brought this crisis to a peaceful conclusion, but conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis flared again in May. Although Georgian ethnic rights increased, violence among opposing Georgian political groups rose. Bomb explosions, street snipers, and numerous shooting incidents were reported. Georgians were freer to demonstrate for their rights and a more nationalistic Georgian Supreme Soviet granted and reinforced a number of cultural and ethnic rights. Tensions, however, continued between Georgians and Abkhazians and Ossetians over rights. Central Asia. The Central Asian republics continue to be the most traditionalist politically, but they are experiencing, in differing degrees, the same forces of democratization and social change experienced elsewhere in the USSR. They now present a more variegated pattern of human rights observance than before. Nevertheless, because of their more passive and conservative populations, remoteness and weak media coverage, very few formal human rights violations come to the surface. The enjoyment of human rights has expanded greatly in recent years, most notably the area of religious observance and, to a lesser degree, open political expression. The Communist Party continues to rule throughout the region and use its control of the governmental machinery to overpower any opposition. Nevertheless, fledgling opposition movements exist in all the republics either as legislative factions or popular movements. Kyrgyestan, under its reform leadership, has made a strong commitment to open political activity and reduction of party dominance. Turkmenistan allows little free political expression. Tajikistan has allowed some opposition parties but has repressed political expression by a Muslim party. In between, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are led by popular leaders and have large independent political movements but also restrict political expression in a number of ways.
YUGOSLAVIA
Human Rights In keeping with the greater democratization evidenced by multi-party republican elections in 1990, there was improvement in the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in much of Yugoslavia during this period. In particular, progress was made in the areas of political and religious freedoms and the right of association. However, CSCE compliance has been uneven, notably in Serbia and its province of Kosovo--which has been marked by massive violations of human rights--and Croatia. Increasingly, human rights became a topic of attention in the media and among the Yugoslav public. The Helsinki Final Act and the Vienna Concluding Document have been published in Yugoslavia in Serbo-Croatian, and no restrictions have been made on the circulation of CSCE documents in Yugoslavia. In August 1990, 17 CSCE participating States, including the United States, invoked the first step of the human dimension mechanism of CSCE to express concern over the situation in Kosovo. The Yugoslav response recognized its commitment to comply with the CSCE process but, nevertheless, insisted that the Kosovo problem was largely due to ethnic Albanian separatist activity, and that democratic reforms were underway in Kosovo. Human rights organizations exist and are active in Yugoslavia. Although there was a noticeable reduction in overt police harassment of leaders of such organizations, government sensitivity to criticism of its human rights record remains. For example, in Serbia, the government-controlled media often accused human rights advocates of being anti-Serb; Croatian human rights advocates also were accused of disloyalty by Croatian republican authorities. In Kosovo, ethnic Albanian human rights activists are routinely harassed by police and often summoned for lengthy questioning at any time. Federal government officials have expressed willingness to sign the European Human Rights Convention and the 1966 UN Protocol on Civil and Political Rights, but these measures are being impeded by authorities in the six republics who consider that their sovereignty may be weakened by the federal government's commitment to these agreements. Contacts of Yugoslav human rights activists with international bodies and parent organizations were permitted. For example, Helsinki committees in Belgrade and Pristina (Kosovo) maintained regular contact with the International Helsinki Federation (IHF) in Vienna and with non-governmental organizations in other countries. However, in September 1990, a four-person IHF delegation was detained briefly by Serbian police and expelled. A Norwegian IHF official was briefly detained by the police in Kosovo on October 19. Nevertheless, the entire text of IHF's 40-page critical study on Kosovo was published in the national daily Borba. With the notable exception of Kosovo, there has been a decline in the number of charges for so-called "political crimes" in Yugoslavia. People arrested on political charges have the right to legal counsel, but in many cases, those tried on misdemeanor charges do not have the opportunity to obtain counsel. In Kosovo, human rights activists estimate that as many as 5,000 persons were arrested on political charges in 1990. Police force also was a problem during the reporting period. The Serbian campaign to reassert control over the predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo led to large Albanian demonstrations which the Serbian police repressed with lethal gunfire. Serb authorities contended that such measures were necessary because the "separatist" nature of these demonstrations threatened Serbia's and Yugoslavia's integrity. In August 1990, a peaceful crowd of about 10,000 ethnic Albanians gathered in the Kosovo capital, Pristina, to welcome a delegation of visiting US Senators, was dispersed by police using tear gas and clubs. Freedom of Religion or Belief. For many years, religious activity in Yugoslavia was significantly freer than in other countries in Eastern Europe. Believers in most major faiths are not persecuted. Past restrictions on religious freedom stemmed from the monopoly position of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia which, in practice, meant that believers were denied professional advancement and that governmental authority was used to restrict the ability of religious communities to carry out practical daily activities. Those restrictions took the form of limitations on the permits needed to build new churches and restrictions on religious publishing, education, and dissemination of materials. However, with the general opening of Yugoslavia in most areas, virtually all former restrictions on religious activity have either been formally eliminated or tacitly abandoned. In view of the close connection in Yugoslavia between religion and nationality, many new Yugoslav republican governments have been eager to establish close public ties with religious establishments linked to the dominant national group in a republic. However, the minority religions in a given republic (for example, the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia), have complained of republican government discrimination in such areas as granting building permits and lack of police protection against vandalism. Religious institutions are allowed to propagate their beliefs and offer religious education in any language of choice. In 1990, commercial outlets began selling religious publications; previously, such publications were only available through subscription or at houses of worship. Soldiers are now allowed to possess religious materials , although they are forbidden to attend religious services while on duty. Freedom of Expression. Although the trend in most of Yugoslavia is toward greater freedom of expression, most media organs remain heavily influenced by the leadership of the republics in which they are located. This control is more a function of nationalism than communism, except in Serbia where it is both. Even in Slovenia, considered the most democratic of Yugoslavia's republics, the President of the Republican Assembly in March 1991 publicly threatened to revoke the credentials of a journalist whose coverage of assembly activities had offended the ruling Demos coalition. In Serbia proper and its provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, restrictions on freedom of expression are especially severe. In October 1990, Serbian authorities in Vojvodina replaced about 20 journalists with persons more acceptable to the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, and in December, three more Vojvodinan journalists were fired for "insubordination." In Belgrade, at least 63 journalists from the "Politika" publishing house were demoted and suffered pay cuts for refusing to write as they were ordered. During the Serbian elections in December, the opposition continued to be denied non-discriminatory media access despite commitments contained in the CSCE Copenhagen Document. Almost all Albanian- language media in Kosovo have been suppressed by the Serbian republican authorities since September 1990. Many previously banned works, such as Milovan Djilas' The New Class and The Unperfect Society, were published in 1990. Several new independent publications and broadcast media organs were launched. After demonstrations in Belgrade on March 9, aimed in part at protesting control of the media, Serbian authorities began gradually to allow a wider range of opinion to appear in the republican media. Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly. Freedom of association expanded significantly in 1990, with the registration of more than 200 political parties and associations, and independent trade unions for pilots and journalists. The dissolution of the Socialist Alliance of Working People, the communist front organization, formerly responsible for registering all legal organizations, also contributed to greater freedom of association. Under the new system, groups or parties that operate in more than one republic must register with the Federal Secretariat for Justice; those that only operate within one republic must register with that republic's Justice Ministry. The federal law against "hostile association" was limited in 1990 to be applicable only to those groups using or advocating violence. Although the trend in 1990 has been to grant registration to non-governmental political and other organizations, a few were denied registration. For example, in October, Macedonian authorities refused to register an Albanian cultural organization in Tetovo; in Serbia, republic officials refused registration to the Serbian Chetnik movement on the grounds that its name "offends public morality." In the more developed northern republics of Slovenia and Croatia, new unions have had no difficulty registering or operating without government harassment under the new republican governments that were elected in 1990. However, the Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo, comprised of ethnic Albanians, was harassed and its president detained for 45 days in the wake of the September 3, 1990, general strike in Kosovo. As many as 50,000 ethnic Albanians who participated in the strike have since been fired from their jobs. Freedom of assembly varies widely; public authorities must grant permission for assemblies, but this is routinely denied to opposition groups. In Kosovo, practically any gathering of ethnic Albanians is likely to be broken up on the pretext that it is "separatist" or "hostile" to the Serbian government. Many demonstrations in Kosovo, and some in Belgrade, ended in mass arrests, sometimes accompanied by violence. However, some meetings in Belgrade, which were officially "banned," were allowed to take place without hindrance. In March 1991, Serbian police broke up a peaceful demonstration in Belgrade, where 40,000 to 50,000 Serbian opposition demonstrators demanded the resignation of the head of Belgrade television. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd; one teenager and one policeman were killed in the ensuing violence. Freedom of Movement. Yugoslavia has long had a liberal policy allowing its citizens to leave and return to Yugoslavia. Passports are routinely available to most people, and exit permits are only required to visit a few countries, such as Albania. Ethnic Albanian writer and opposition leader Ibrahim Rugova was denied an exit permit to attend a literary conference in Tirana in October 1990. However, changes in the passport law were announced in October, reducing police discretion to deny or confiscate passports arbitrarily. Some Kosovo Albanian dissidents, including Dr. Zekeria Cana, Azem Vlasi, and Adem Demaqi, were denied passports by Kosovo authorities. Cana was later issued a passport by the republic government of Croatia. Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest or Punishment. Yugoslav criminal law and legal procedures include many provisions inconsistent with internationally accepted human rights norms. The law allows investigatory detention for up to 3 months, with a possible 3- month extension, which is often implemented. Access to prisoners in pre-trial detention by family is sometimes restricted, ostensibly to prevent interference with investigations. Arbitrary arrests were most frequent in Kosovo, where thousands of participants in demonstrations were routinely and summarily sentenced to 30 to 60 days in jail, often on misdemeanor charges of "disturbing public order." These convictions can only be appealed after sentencing; in practice, the sentence is served before the accused can appeal and often before the accused can even summon an attorney. Prisoners in many parts of Yugoslavia are beaten and otherwise mistreated during arrest and detention. This practice is most widespread in Kosovo, where Serbian police engage in widespread and brutal abuse of persons arrested for suspicion of participating in unsanctioned activity. Prisoners are often made to "run the gauntlet" through lines of baton-wielding police. Demonstrators arrested after March 9 demonstrations in Belgrade reported widespread instances of police brutality. Serbian leaders arrested by Croatian police reported that they had been beaten. Fundamental Freedoms During the reporting period, the Markovic government established respect for the rule of law as one of the fundamental objectives for the country's transition to a more democratic system. As in most areas, there are wide differences among Yugoslavia's republics, with the rule of law being most developed in Slovenia and least developed in Serbia, especially in Kosovo, where it is virtually non-existent. Rule of law also is inhibited by the political and financial corruption that is endemic in the Yugoslav judicial system. Federal and republican laws may be adopted and enforced in secrecy from the public. According to press accounts, a wide range of political, economic, and security-related laws have been adopted in this fashion since 1980. In 1990, Serbia used this procedure to adopt punitive measures against economic activities by other Yugoslav republics and to issue to itself large sums of money. Judges are no longer required to be members of the League of Communists and, in 1990, several republics adopted reforms that aimed at creating an independent judiciary. However, the ruling parties in each republic still have strong influence over the judiciary. In Kosovo in 1990, any semblance of an independent judiciary disappeared after the Serbian takeover, when most ethnic Albanian judges and officials were replaced by ethnic Serbs. Despite reforms limiting the scope of laws depicting "political crimes," the potential for political abuse remains in several federal laws, including Federal Criminal Code Article 114 ("spreading racial, ethnic, or religious hatred") and Article 116 ("endangering territorial integrity"). Prosecutions under these articles have declined, but a new republican law in Croatia bans political parties that threaten Croatia's territorial integrity, and a new Serbian law makes insulting federal or republic officials punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment. Several hundred political prisoners throughout Yugoslavia were granted amnesty in 1990, and Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia appeared virtually free of political prisoners. The Yugoslav military operates under the legal authority of the collective Federal Presidency, the nominal commander in chief. In practice, however, the military increasingly acted on its own authority. After the president of the Federal Presidency failed to get a political decision to allow the army to intervene in ethnic disputes in Croatia in March, the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) issued a statement asserting that it would defend the country's external borders and prevent civil war but would not involve itself in political discussions of Yugoslavia's future. However, the JNA tried to manipulate political opinion with an expose of an alleged conspiracy on the part of Croatian authorities to arm Croatian police illegally. In January, the JNA released a film, shot surreptitiously, of the Croatian Ministers of Defense and Interior discussing a deal to acquire arms from foreign sources to retaliate against minority Serb actions in Serb-inhabited areas of Croatia. In 1990, free multi-party elections were held on the republic level in all of Yugoslavia's six republics. Elections were not scheduled on the federal level. Polling in the republican elections generally was conducted according to accepted procedures. Election laws were published in advance and widely publicized. However, access to the media was not equal for all parties in Serbia or in Montenegro, and official coverage of campaign activities generally was distorted in favor of the ruling party. Opposition parties in Serbia complained that the Serbian government controlled the timing of the December 1990 elections, leaving insufficient time for the opposition to make its stands known to the public. Minority Rights. In multi-ethnic Yugoslavia, with its varied population and a history of ethnic conflict, few topics are as sensitive or as complicated as minority rights. In an effort to reduce the ethnic conflicts that wracked Yugoslavia before World War II, Tito's communist partisans generally granted significant rights to members of national minorities in the fields of language, education, and culture, while at the same time attempting to ensure political unity through the monopoly of the League of Communists. Members of every significant ethnic group in Yugoslavia have long had the right to, at least, some education, newspapers, and cultural activities in their own language and the right to have ethnic associations as long as these avoided proscribed political activities. At the same time, the Kosovo government maintained a vigilant policy against expressions of nationalist sentiment, which were viewed as fundamentally anti-Yugoslav. Most political prisoners in Yugoslavia over the years were, in fact imprisoned for their nationalist views. In recent years, with the rise of nationalist groups and passions in much of Yugoslavia, the country's previously good record has begun to erode. For many years, Albanians actively participated in the political life of Yugoslavia at every level, from provincial politics in Kosovo to the Federal Presidency. Unfortunately, as the ethnic conflict between majority Albanians and minority Serbs in Kosovo grew, Serbia reversed, in Kosovo, Yugoslavia's positive accomplishments in the protection of national minorities. Since 1989, a Serbian republican policy of controlling all aspects of life in the province of Kosovo, which has a population of more than 90% ethnic Albanians, has led to a de facto policy of discrimination against Albanians. Following the Kosovo provincial government's declaration of separation from Serbia July 2, Albanians were denied their rights to participate in public affairs after the Serbian republic government suspended the provincial assembly, the executive council, and judicial and security organs. The decision to suspend the provincial assembly has been appealed. As of March 1991, no decision had been reached by the federal constitutional court. Serbia later used this move as the basis for "recalling" Kosovo's representative on the Federal Presidency. Many district- level government bodies in Kosovo also were suspended or purged. Many Albanian-language schools were closed in Kosovo, because Albanian teachers (who are Muslim) refused to implement the Serbian republican curriculum, which mandates the teaching of Serbian and Christian Orthodox cultural themes (such as the life of the patron saint of Serbia, St. Sava). The Serbian Republican Government also reserved student slots, in disproportion to its population, at the University of Pristina for ethnic Serbs and Montenegrins, many from outside Kosovo. Many of these slots were not filled in the fall of 1990, while ethnic Albanians were denied the opportunity to study. Albanians in Macedonia, who have significantly improved that representation in the new multi-party assembly, assert that their access to education in the Albanian language above the primary school level has been cut back. The new Croatian republican constitution gave ethnic Serbs the right to use the Cyrillic alphabet in the ethnic Serb areas of the republic, e.g., Cyrillic textbooks in schools. Cyrillic newspapers are widely available in Croatia. However, ethnic Serbs complained that they were discriminated against, citing firings of ethnic Serbs from official positions as evidence. Croatian officials countered that the firings represented not ethnic discrimination but a purge of old communist officials from the republic bureaucracies, a disproportionate number of whom happened to be Serbs. Hungarians in Vojvodina have the right to use their own language, be educated in Hungarian, and form Hungarian cultural organizations. However, controversy arose during the reporting period when Serbian republican officials attempted to put Hungarian media under the control of the Serbian Government, including by appointing Serbian-speaking editors for Hungarian-language journals. Gypsies have complained that rights extended to other minorities in Yugoslavia have not been equally extended to them. Education is not available to Gypsies in their own language, for example. Also, Gypsies claimed that they have been discriminated against in employment and social services. A Gypsy cultural organization exists in Yugoslavia, and the President of the World Romany Federation is a Yugoslav Gypsy. Human Contacts. Compared to other East European countries, Yugoslavia has long had a liberal policy regarding travel, for any reason, including family meetings, family reunification, and emigration. Hundreds of thousands of Yugoslavs live and work in Western Europe and have no difficulty entering and leaving Yugoslavia at will. Yugoslavia is visited annually by millions of foreign tourists (almost eight million in 1990), who contribute 10% of Yugoslavia's hard currency earnings. Likewise, millions of Yugoslav tourists go abroad each year, chiefly to neighboring countries such as Austria and Italy, but also to the United States, Canada, and Australia, where many Yugoslav immigrants live. In some parts of Yugoslavia, notably Serbia and its provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, authorities still attempt to monitor opposition or dissident activity by eavesdropping on telephone conversations and opening private mail. This was made public during the elections in the republic of Montenegro in December 1990, when the opposition accused police of eavesdropping from a special booth in the postal-telephone-telegraph building headquarters. There are few hindrances for religious believers in Yugoslavia who wish to associate with their co-religionists elsewhere. Pentecostalists, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) exist and proselytize in Yugoslavia, but they sometimes experience difficulties in obtaining permits from the authorities. Hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims from many countries have visited the shrine in Medjugorje. Information. The Yugoslav federal press law and the press laws in each of the six republics, theoretically, guarantee the public's right to know. They reflect the realities of the pre- election federal and republic governments, however, and therefore provide for a significant governmental role in managing and editing the news. Revised, liberalized press laws have been under discussion in at least four of the six republics during the past year. The fact that the republic governments still exercise de facto control over the major publishing houses, radio, and TV stations means that most media in Yugoslavia play an advocacy role for the party in power. The debates about liberalized press laws indicate that resistance is still strong to a fully independent press. Many opposition parties have shown greater concern for having their own publications advocating their point of view, than for depoliticizing the media. Generally, Yugoslav institutions and individuals are allowed to possess, reproduce, and distribute information. One glaring exception to this is in Kosovo, where the Albanian-language daily paper, Rilindja, was closed for printing articles promoting the ethnic Albanian point of view. Both television and radio in Kosovo also are in the hands of management loyal to the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia. Yugoslavia has no tariffs on imported books, newspapers, or magazines. Foreign publications are not taxed in Yugoslavia, but they are expensive because of the high printing costs throughout most of Europe. Yugoslav citizens are free to subscribe to foreign publications. Such subscriptions are limited by the difficulty in obtaining hard currency. Radio reception is unrestricted. The six republic governments retain control of frequencies, however, and use this authority to favor the government-controlled radio networks. As a result, opposition groups and dissenting views do not get a fair share of air time. Despite this limitation, some stations have gone commercial and have followed an independent editorial line in their news coverage. So far, they represent a small minority found mainly in urban centers. Generally, international news coverage is good in Yugoslavia, particularly in the larger cities, and there is widespread interest in foreign news. Many stations carry CNN or SKY news, sometimes in English and sometimes with voice-over. But, as previously noted, the majority of radio, television, and print media is heavily influenced by the respective republican governments. In cases where reports from other countries concern domestic Yugoslav events or interests, local coverage is not always complete or objective. The US Embassy in Belgrade is not aware of any foreign journalist being expelled during the past year because of critical reporting. During the same period, however, many Yugoslav journalists were demoted, fired, or effectively silenced for the content of their reporting or their party affiliation. Foreign journalists have no restrictions on contacts and communications with Yugoslav sources. Foreign journalists routinely bring their own press, equipment, and reference material into Yugoslavia without any problems. The foreign press center in Belgrade, run by the Yugoslav press agency, Tanjug, provides helpful assistance for both Yugoslav and foreign journalists. Republic governments also have provided support to journalists covering elections during the past year. Official press conferences generally are open to accredited foreign and local journalists. The Federal government has relatively open relations with journalists, although some offices, such as the Federal Secretariat for Defense, are still not accustomed to open encounters with the press. While the accessibility of local officials varies greatly among the republics, the newly elected republic legislatures have quickly adapted to open debate with, and to an intensive relationship with, the press. Cultural Exchanges. Yugoslavia actively promotes cultural and educational cooperation through formal government-to-government cultural and bilateral agreements, and informal people-to-people exchanges. It also is a signatory to several multiateral educational and cultural agreements (such as UNESCO agreements). The publishing industry and pop culture throughout the country reflect an open and learned appreciation of international educational and cultural activities. The United States has not signed a formal cultural agreement with Yugoslavia but sponsors, annually, a broad array of cultural presentations throughout the country, developed in collaboration with official and unofficial Yugoslav participation. The earliest cultural agreement of record was signed in June 1955 between Yugoslavia and Norway. Since then, Yugoslavia has maintained 10- year cultural agreements with more than 60 countries. It has bilateral agreements, which allow for various levels of educational cooperation, with over 30 countries. Friendship societies abound. During the last 2 years, these bilateral associations have developed both at the national and republican level, keeping Yugoslavia a viable participant in the international political, cultural, and educational arena. As Yugoslavia is still nominally a socialist country, most of the organizations involved in educational and cultural exchanges are governmental, but private groups are increasingly coming into existence and taking part. Publishing houses, large and small, translate, publish, and distribute a wide array of foreign literature, scientific and education texts, and entertainment materials of all kinds and for all ages. The television stations and cinemas schedule weekly foreign films. Theaters regularly present foreign productions or Yugoslav adaptations of foreign productions. Yugoslavia hosts six foreign libraries-cultural centers in Belgrade, with affiliates in several of its other major cities. Its vast public library system is fast becoming automated, so it can readily acquire information from Western and other international capitals. As the country moves to a more market-oriented society, cultural institutions as well as publishing houses have had to accept the difficulties of becoming more competitive, financially self-reliant entities. They face decreasing governmental subsidies and higher taxes with some reluctance but have sought ways to improve their marketing and public policy strategies in order to remain viable. Customs charges are not exorbitant, are restricted to handling and facilitation costs, and do not discourage imports of any foreign materials. Books are expensive, but this does not discourage sales or imports and translations of foreign matter. Educational Exchanges. Yugoslav education is open to all and free through the university level, although some universities, faced with reduced subsidies from the government, are considering charging fees. At lower levels of education, the systems vary in quality depending on the republic's financial means. Although education in one's native language is guaranteed under the 1974 constitution, this does not mean that the same quality of education is available to all ethnic groups. In Kosovo, for example, Albanian- language schools reportedly receive far fewer funds, on a per- student basis, than do Serbian-language schools in the same republic. US-Yugoslav education exchanges are managed by the bilateral Fulbright Commission which, in its 26 years, has sponsored more than 2,500 American and Yugoslav scholars in study programs in the United States and Yugoslavia. In addition, Yugoslavia participates in an active program of scientific exchanges through the Yugoslav- American Joint Science and Technology Fund, which supports 200- 250 researchers from various scientific disciplines between Yugoslavia and the United States each year. (###)