Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 88

In a related development, meanwhile, Russian special envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin yesterday defended himself against domestic criticism that his efforts to mediate the Kosovo crisis had produced no tangible results. He also denied suggestions that the Kremlin was moving behind the scenes to sell out Belgrade to the West. Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov yesterday accused Chernomyrdin of acquiescing to NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia. “Chernomyrdin should be seen not as a special envoy, but as… a kind of political screen to conceal the fact the positions of Moscow and Washington are coming closer together on the Balkans,” Zyuganov reportedly said. Chernomyrdin, he added, “is traveling around the world to justify the international crimes against” Yugoslavia (AP, Itar-Tass, May 5).

Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov voiced a similar sort of Cold War-style rhetoric on the same subject. He was quoted in a Russian daily as saying that “what NATO is doing in Yugoslavia really makes my blood boil…. What is happening there is really a crime.” NATO’s “barbarous bombing attacks on Yugoslavia,” he added, “essentially represent the establishment of a NATO-centric model” on Europe. He also called the NATO campaign a “kind of cowboy shootout, a mindless show of muscle” (Komsomolskaya pravda, May 5).