Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 39

Yesterday’s developments came as Russian political and military figures continued to heap criticism on the United States and NATO for their threats to launch strikes against Yugoslavia if it failed to acquiesce to the Contact Group peace plan. A series of offensive remarks by Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov were recorded. He described U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright–who had spearheaded U.S. and NATO efforts to force a settlement on the conflicting parties in Yugoslavia–as a “disgrace to all women on the planet.” Zyuganov declared himself to be “alarmed by this madame, whom I call Madame War” (Reuters, Russian agencies, February 22). It was perhaps no coincidence that Zyuganov’s remarks came on the same day that another leading Russian communist, retired General Albert Makashov, went out of his way to make several offensive anti-Semitic statements during an address to Russian Cossacks (see the Monitor, February 24).

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, meanwhile, charged on February 22 that NATO activities were themselves the cause of the crisis in Kosovo. Ivashov heads the Russian Defense Ministry’s Department for International Military Cooperation and is frequently trotted out to excoriate the West for one perceived transgression or another. He accused NATO of deliberately fomenting the crisis in Kosovo (and other crises elsewhere) to provide a pretext for military intervention. “This strategy has been tested in Bosnia-Herzegovina and is now being applied in Kosovo,” he said. He also accused the United States of using the Kosovo crisis to enforce a consensus on some of NATO’s European member states and by this means to strengthen Washington’s domination of the continent. He warned yet again that NATO military intervention in Yugoslavia could cause Russia to renounce cooperation agreements with NATO and with the United States (Russian agencies, February 22).