Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 75

The Kosovo crisis continued this past weekend to generate a frenzy of political activity in Russia, despite efforts to calm the situation by the Kremlin’s recently named envoy for Balkan developments, Viktor Chernomyrdin. The former Russian prime minister consulted with a host of Russian and foreign officials over the weekend. On April 16, he met with Borislav Milosevic–brother of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Belgrade’s ambassador to Russia–and with the ambassadors of France, Canada and the United States. On April 17, he held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and other Russian diplomats. Chernomyrdin was said to be using the meetings to help him formulate proposals aimed at resolving the Balkans conflict. He is scheduled to present those proposals today to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

In remarks to the media yesterday, Chernomyrdin restated the Kremlin’s determination not to involve Russia militarily in the Kosovo conflict. Chernomyrdin warned that such intervention–which is being urged by a host of leading communist and nationalist figures–would mean another world war. Without providing details, he also said that he is ready to begin traveling to foreign capitals this week in an effort to further diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the conflict. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has already said that he is interested in meeting with Chernomyrdin. The former Russian prime minister, who in that post developed a close working relationship with U.S. Vice President Al Gore, has said that he might also travel to Washington (Russian and Western agencies, April 16-18).