Western European governments, which regard Boris Yeltsin’s reelection as preferable to a victory by Communist Gennady Zyuganov, reacted positively yesterday to Yeltsin’s latest Chechnya peace initiative. But there was an undercurrent of skepticism as to whether it has any chance of bringing peace to the troubled region. A French Foreign Office spokesman praised the initiative, but added that Paris "now awaits the effective implementation" of the plan by Russian authorities. Two of Germany’s major newspapers warned not to expect too much of the peace plan, with one cautioning that the "war is by no means over" because the "the Chechens have paid too high a price in blood." Another observed that too many groups in both Russia and Chechnya simply have no interest in peace. European diplomats, reflecting the embarrassment felt on the continent over Russian military actions in Chechnya, said governments there would probably take a low profile on the issue. One declared pessimistically that "the truth is, not many people think [the initiative] will come to much — not the people in Chechnya, nor the Russian soldiers there, and not us." (Reuter, April 1)
Sunny View of Economic Reform in Russia.