Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 54

In the wake of Sunday’s Duma vote annulling the 1991 disbandment of the USSR, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has scrambled to reassure foreign governments while several political moderates have accused the Communists — who spearheaded the Duma action — of harming Russian national interests. Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov said yesterday that he had sent instructions to Russian ambassadors to make clear to their host governments that the Duma vote carried no legal force. Similar explanations will be given to international organizations. Primakov charged that the vote was "undermining the legal basis for the existence of the Russian state" and creating "a legal mess in Russia’s relations with other countries." He said the vote would "torpedo" objective trends toward integration in the CIS, drive the Baltic States to seek NATO membership even more intensely, and "provide additional arguments" for westerners who back the inclusion of eastern European states in NATO. (Interfax, March 18)

Others echoed Primakov’s concerns. The chairman of the Duma International Affairs Committee, Vladimir Lukin, charged that the Duma vote had given NATO a "real trump card" in its efforts to speed enlargement. "We will not achieve the goal called for by this paper tiger, but we will get troops standing on our borders," he said. Duma First Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Shokhin made the same point and warned that the Duma vote could also drive neutral Ukraine into NATO’s arms. (Interfax, March 18)

Yeltsin Denies He Is Planning to Use Force Against Duma.