Serbia in darkness
The damage to the Obrenovac steam electric power plant caused imposing restrictions of the electric power supply for all of Serbia, reports Radio B92. The country has been divided into four groups, and every group is off the supply for four hours. Unexpected breakdowns in other thermoelectric plants have worsened the situation in Serbia. Restrictions of electricity continue.
Yugoslav media announced that regular repair of long-distance power lines in Hungary might stop deliveries based on an EU donation program, but Hungary reacted promptly and postponed repairs.
Electric power supply might become a difficult issue for the new authorities in Serbia and it is causing a lot of discontent amongst the public. During the years of Slobodan Milošević's rule, power cut-offs were carefully applied. A rumour that a power cut-off during a hard winter was caused by exports of electric power almost inspired an uprising and forced authorities to avoid them.
Power cut-offs are known as a proven recipe for price increases. Therefore, it was not a surprise that citizens of Serbia are to pay 40 percent more for their monthly expenditure of electric power supply as of 1 June. The previous 60 percent prices increase started on 1 April and the next one, a 45 percent rise, is expected next month.
At the same time the Post Office, Telephone and Telegraph of Serbia have raised the price of their domestic services by nearly 32 percent.
According to the Belgrade daily Danas, the new Parliament of Serbia spent, in four months of sessions, more than the previous one did in four years. The present MPs have thus spent the four-year budget, considering the fact that a day in session costs DEM 15,000 and not between DEM 6000 and 8000, as had been announced before.
Hot tobacco connections
A series of articles about a tobacco smuggling boss and his possible connections with high Serbian and Montenegrin officials, which was started by Zagreb weekly Nacional (CER reported about it last week), has caused many reactions. Milo Đukanović, the president of Montenegro, announced that he would file charges against the weekly, while the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Điniđić denied his involvement in this affair.
"Since I was marked out as initiator of all activities connected with suppression of crime, I needed to be compromised personally, in order that the very initiative would be compromised. It is obvious that criminals and smugglers are beginning to feel uneasy. Serbia will no longer be sanctuary for them," said Zoran Đinđić in an interview with the Belgrade weekly Svedok.
The Belgrade District Court has issued warrants for the arrest of two of the men accused of smuggling by Nacional.
Stanko Subotić, named as the main smuggler in the Nacional story, owns many shops even today in Montenegro and on border crossings. In an interview for the weekly Nedeljni telegraf from Belgrade, Subotić mentions his acquaintance with Đukanović and Đinđić, but denies any involvement in smuggling.
In the meantime, Nacional continues with reports and revelations about the Croatian Mafia and Croatian politicians involved in smuggling of cigarettes in the former Yugoslavia as well as about criminal groups controlled by Subotić and former chief of the State Security Bureau of Serbia, Jovica Stanišić.
"Montenegro has become the hostage of Milo Đukanović, who under the pretence of struggling for his country's independence, protects his enormous wealth gained from commissions obtained from smuggled tobacco, which he controls together with Stanko Subotić," concludes the weekly.
On Thurdsday, one of the persons accused by Nacional of involvement in several murders in Montenegro, Blagota Baja Sekulić, was killed in Budva, Montenegro. An unknown person fired 24 bullets at him. Several days ago he denied all accusations.
Ljubomir Pajić, 2 June 2001
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