Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 198

Prime ministers of CIS member countries failed to reach any significant common decision at their regular autumn meeting, held last week in Moscow. The one potential exception was an agreement to establish the "Granit" corporation, meant to produce equipment for a joint CIS air defense system. Most of the eight participating countries regard that agreement primarily as a business proposition. Ukraine signed only 11 documents, which it deemed compatible with its independence, out of some 27 proposed by Russia. Turkmenistan declined to sign any of them, citing its own neutral status. Most delegations picked and chose only what they thought advantageous to themselves.

Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told the meeting and the ensuing news conference that he is "dissatisfied with the tempo of integration." He regretted the "exceedingly slow" formation of CIS transnational corporations and the failure thus far to establish supranational management of the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan customs union. He also criticized the growing "duplication" of production capacities of CIS countries as an "impermissible luxury," and, with a view to unifying member countries’ economic legislation and transport networks, called for real executive powers to be given to the Interstate Economic Committee. Chernomyrdin insisted that it was "high time to work out a vertical management mechanism of integration processes." (Interfax, Itar-Tass, October 18 through 20) These are perennial issues which Moscow raises, generally in vain, at high-level CIS meetings. The uncertainties surrounding the political situation in Moscow would seem to presage a continuing lack of progress on the Russian government’s version of integration, which seeks mainly to establish supranational bodies under its own control.

Estonian Government Endorses Minorities’ Convention.