Alexander Webster's article "What the Media Have Missed in Eastern Europe" {op-ed, July 31} was right about the importance of the region's history but wrong on some of the details.

1. The Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy was established in 1867, not 1848. Before 1867 the Hapsburgs favored the Romanian minority in Hungary as a balance to the Magyar majority, whose excesses Mr. Webster deplored.

2. It was Italian, not German, overlords who supported the Croatian national state in World War II. The Germans were busy killing Serbs directly -- they didn't need the Croats to do it for them as the Italians did. If the Serbs can forgive the Germans (as they largely have), they could do the same for Croats; the reason for the Serbian hatred of the Croats goes deeper.

3. The Catholic minority in the Ukraine has received more U.S. media attention than has the Orthodox Church majority because many observers believe that the Orthodox Church has been a compliant instrument of the Soviet state, whereas the Ukrainian Catholics have vigorously resisted the state at great cost to themselves.

The complexities of Eastern European history are important; all the more reason to report them accurately.



David S. North challenged Alexander F. C. Webster's accuracy as to whether Albania or Bulgaria was "dominated by Ottoman Turks" for a longer period of time {Free for All, Aug. 4}. Put your money on Mr. Webster.

Bulgaria came under Ottoman domination in 1388. The renowned Albanian hero Skanderberg successfully resisted Ottoman domination until 1467. (See pages 57 and 133 of Lord Kinross's "The Ottoman Centuries.") Bulgaria was dominated by Ottoman Turks for 490 years, Albania for 445.

If one is to measure length, it is necessary to establish both ends of the string. And historians might properly opine that "domination" in Bulgaria was considerably more complete than in the tribal society of Albania.