Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 111

Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev yesterday told a Russian Duma delegation, headed by the Duma’s Communist chairman Gennady Seleznev, that Azerbaijan’s self interest determines its policy toward the CIS. Aliyev advised the Duma delegation — which included ex-USSR prime minister Nikolay Ryzhkov, Aliyev’s former colleague on the CPSU Politburo — that "gross mistakes in nationality policies were one of the reasons for the disintegration of the USSR. The Russian Federation is allowing similar mistakes to be committed today… If you want the Russian Federation to be solid and cohesive, you must show due respect to each people." In the talks with Aliyev and with Azerbaijani parliament chairman Rasul Guliev, Seleznev said that he, and the Duma as a whole, are "dissatisfied with the current level of Russo-Azerbaijani relations." He wanted to know "to what extent is Baku prepared to build its relations with Russia on the model of the Russia-Belarus community" created by presidents Boris Yeltsin and Aleksandr Lukashenko. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, June 11) The use of this model confirms that Russian Communists’ approval of their political adversary Boris Yeltsin’s policies in the "near abroad"–as it does Yeltsin’s own reliance on old-line communists to pursue CIS integration in those countries.

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