While the CIS summit was in progress in Chisinau yesterday, the executive head of the CIS Customs Union stated in Moscow that the Customs Union’s October 22 summit decision to facilitate member countries’ exports to Russia was not final. The official, Nigmatzhan Isingarin, said that Russia’s Finance Ministry had not approved the decision, which "remains susceptible to revision." Isingarin, a Kazakh dismissed from Kazakhstan’s government, took issue with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, who had blamed existing trade barriers on value-added taxes introduced by Russia. It was Kazakhstan which had resorted to such practices and impeded trade, the former Kazakh official claimed. (Russian agencies, October 24) Unless promptly denied or retracted by the Kremlin, Isingarin’s statement will likely dampen the enthusiasm displayed on October 22-23 by the Presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan over the Customs Union summit’s decision.
Ukraine Unusually Subdued.