MINELRES: RFE/RL Newsline on minority issues

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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 7, No. 222, Part I, 25 November 2003

SKINHEAD ATTACKS LINKED TO NATIONALIST CAMPAIGN SLOGANS. More than 20
cases of attacks by skinheads against non-ethnic Russians have occurred
in Nizhnii Novgorod over the past two months, jewish.ru reported on 24
November, citing Sergei Shimovolov, director of the Nizhnii Novgorod
Human Rights Organization. According to the victims, the youths were
usually between 14 and 20 years of age, and dressed in camouflage or
jeans and heavy boots. At the time of the attacks, the youths reportedly
shouted nationalistic slogans such as "Russia for Russians!" According
to the website, various participants in the press conference, titled
"Nazism Returns to Nizhnii Novgorod," expressed the opinion that the
attacks on representatives of various nationalities are connected with
the State Duma campaign because members of certain political parties
express populist-patriotic slogans, such as "We are for Russians; we are
for the poor." JAC


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 7, No. 222, Part II, 25 November 2003

SLOVAKIA HAS JUST ONE VESTIGE LEFT OF GERMAN MINORITY PRESENCE. The
settlement of Krahule-Blaufuss (population 147) in central Slovakia is
the last settlement with a German minority exceeding 20 percent, CTK
reported on 24 November, citing the results of Slovakia's 2001 census.
According to Slovak legislation, a settlement with a minority population
of at least 20 percent must display bilingual street signs, and the
members of such a minority may use their native tongue in contacts with
local authorities. Most ethnic Germans in Krahule-Blaufuss are retirees
whose children have left the locality. Some 5,400 people in Slovakia
claimed German origin in the 2001 census. President Rudolf Schuster is
himself of German descent. MS


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 7, No. 223, Part II, 26 November 2003 

HEAVY ANTI-ROMA BIAS ALLEGED IN SURVEY COMMISSIONED BY HUNGARIAN HEALTH
MINISTRY. Doctors and nurses who have recently received a questionnaire
on anti-Roma attitudes in the health sector have complained that some of
the questions in the questionnaire are provocative, "Nepszabadsag"
reported on 26 November. The questionnaire, commissioned by the Health
Ministry and created by the Delphoi Consulting sociological research
company, contains such questions as "To what extent is it typical of
gypsies in Hungary that they are lazy, dirty, beget more children than
necessary, are unreliable, too noisy, dangerous and have a tendency to
become criminals?" Ferenc Babusik, the head of Delphoi Consulting, said
such provocative questions are frequently used in sociological surveys
on racist behaviors. The questionnaire has been sent out to nearly 6,000
doctors and nurses. MSZ

IN TURNABOUT, VORONIN SAYS AGREEMENT ON RUSSIA'S PLAN WOULD BE
'PREMATURE'... After announcing the cancellation of Russian President
Vladimir Putin's visit to Chisinau, President Vladimir Voronin said on
25 November that signing an agreement on the Russian plan for Moldova's
federalization would be "premature" at this stage, RFE/RL's Chisinau
bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 November 2003). Voronin said
Moldova must first consult with European organizations -- primarily with
the OSCE -- in view of the fact that European integration is a priority
objective for his country and that the conflict's dimensions have long
ceased to be simply local. Voronin praised the plan as bringing the
sides closer than ever before, but in an allusion to the ongoing
protests against the planned federalization, he added that "every new
attempt to reach a settlement results in a clash of forces from both
outside [Moldova] and with local politicians seeking to make political
dividends," according to ITAR-TASS. He said no agreement can be reached
so long as there is "resistance on one side or the other." MS

....AS RUSSIAN ENVOY EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT... Russian
presidential-administration deputy head Dmitrii Kozak said in Chisinau
on 25 November that "late last night, at the very last moment, on the
eve of the official signing [of the document], the Moldovan leadership
decided to renounce the agreements which had already been reached,"
RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Kozak deplored what he called "the
inconsistency of the Moldovan leadership, which constantly changed its
position," ITAR-TASS reported. He said the dialogue between the sides
made possible by the Russian plan has been "without precedent" and that
Moscow will continue to back the reestablishment of contacts between
Chisinau and Tiraspol "irrespective of whether they take place within
the Russian or any other plan." Russia, he said, continues to be "ready
to render assistance if the sides request it." Flux cited Kozak as
saying before his departure from Chisinau that Voronin has shown that he
lacks both "political courage" and the "political will to engage in a
dialogue with the population." MS
 
....WHILE OSCE VOICES OPPOSITION TO PLAN. OSCE Chairman in Office Jaap
de Hoop Scheffer said in a statement released on 24 November in Vienna
that the organization's members have not been able to reach a consensus
on the Russian-proposed document, Infotag reported. The statement said
that Scheffer has communicated this position to President Voronin in a
telephone conversation. He added that should Moldova and Transdniester
nonetheless reach an agreement on the Russian plan, the OSCE would adopt
a "neutral position," leaving it "to the Moldovan people to decide on
the agreement," RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova service cited OSCE mission
spokesman in Moldova Claus Neukirch as saying. Scheffer had expressed to
Voronin "serious reservations" about the lack of clarity in the Russian
plan on the proposed division of powers between federal and subject
authorities, the veto powers granted to Transdniester, and other
aspects. MS

RUSSIAN PLAN'S OPPONENTS INTENSIFY DEMONSTRATIONS IN MOLDOVA. In
Chisinau, some 8,000 people protested the Russian federalization plan,
blocking traffic on main roads and gathering en masse at the Russian
Embassy in the Moldovan capital, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The
demonstrators chanted: "Voronin is a traitor," and "Russian Army out."
They also burned Russian flags and portraits of President Putin, and
waved NATO and EU flags. The Committee for the Defense of Moldovan
Independence and Constitution, set up the previous day by eight
opposition parties and 18 public organizations, announced it intends to
intensify the protest, and that demonstrations will be staged daily in
Chisinau until 7 December. The committee also called on the parliament
to convoke a meeting debating "the high treason committed by the
country's communist leadership," according to Flux. MS