BALTS REMAIN WARY OF RUSSIA.

Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 132

Baltic leaders yesterday welcomed Boris Yeltsin’s reelection for which they had hoped all along, but expressed uncertainty about Russia’s political prospects and the future of Baltic-Russian relations. Latvian president Guntis Ulmanis cabled congratulations to Yeltsin but told the press he was worried about the growing influence of Russia’s military-industrial complex. Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs, welcoming "known quantity" Yeltsin’s victory over Zyuganov, also worried that "nobody can predict what Yeltsin’s and Lebed’s policy will be after the election."

Estonian foreign minister Siim Kallas expressed the hope that official Moscow’s recent "worrisome rhetoric" will not become policy and that the Russian leadership will turn to pressing internal tasks. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi similarly wanted to hope that "Russian propaganda attacks on Estonia will decrease" and that long-pending issues such as the delimitation of the mutual borders will at last be resolved. Parliament vice-chairman Tunne Kelam said that "the worst — a Communist victory — has been prevented" but official Russia will now have to show whether it wants to fulfill its international commitments, including that of renouncing the doctrine of the "near abroad" and treating its neighbors as equal and normal states.

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