Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 195

CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovsky admitted yesterday that “every one” of the CIS countries objected to his latest proposals to reorganize the CIS. Speaking after the first–and, it now seems, the last–day of a CIS working group’s session in Minsk, Berezovsky complained that the member countries’ delegations blocked the proposals which had been prepared by “experienced specialists” in Moscow under his aegis. “We can’t move ahead without common sense,” he admonished.

Berezovsky’s plan would have revived the Coordinating-Consultative Committee (KKK), a high-level body established under the CIS by-laws in 1992, but dormant in the last few years for want of functions. Berezovsky proposed transferring to the KKK the roles of his Executive Secretariat (ES) and of the Interstate Economic Committee (MEK), executive body of the CIS Customs Union, which exists mainly on paper. As Berezovsky pointed out, the ES and the MEK are “nonstatutory,” because the CIS by-laws do not mention them. He made no secret of his intention to become the chief of a revived, enlarged and strengthened KKK–“not for selfish reasons, but in the general interest,” he added. Some delegations retorted that it was unprecedented for a mere “civil servant”–Berezovsky’s official status in the CIS–to claim a policymaking role. All delegations rejected Berezovsky’s proposal that the KKK chief–presumably himself–be empowered to vet the nominations of the member countries’ representatives to the KKK (Russian agencies, October 21).

The scheme just unveiled represents a change of Berezovsky’s power-grabbing tactics for Russia and for himself as CIS Executive Secretary, to which post he was appointed last April. Its official title notwithstanding, the ES is not an “executive” but merely a clerical staff. Berezovsky has sought to move the ES from Minsk to Moscow, expand it many-fold (the chosen headquarters has 7,000 square meters of office space), and transform into a high-level representative body with policy-making and implementing functions. No CIS country is known to have supported that plan.

The working group is mandated to draft organizational reforms of the CIS for submission to the heads of state. Its September meeting similarly broke up in disagreement. On that occasion, Berezovsky advocated the admission of Iran to the CIS (see the Monitor, September 16). This time around, he suggested opening the door to Yugoslavia “if it wishes.”