Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 55

After a tumultuous debate, the upper house of the Russian parliament last night appealed to the lower house to reconsider its March 15 vote denouncing the 1991 Belovezhye accords. (Russian Television, Interfax, March 19) It took the senators several hours just to decide whether to vote on the matter. Tatarstan president Mintimer Shaimiyev argued that the Duma vote was "absurd," legally meaningless, and "just an election ploy," and that the Federation Council should ignore it. Others, including the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg, said the vote was passed in defiance of the constitution itself and could not, therefore, go unchallenged. Speaker Yevgeny Stroyev noted that President Boris Yeltsin himself had asked the Federation Council to debate the Duma’s move and the upper house was therefore obliged to take action. In the end, the Federation Council adopted an appeal described by Russian Television as "diplomatic in tone but uncompromising in content." It advised the Duma "thoroughly to re-examine all the possible consequences" of last week’s resolutions. The Federation Council said that, while it supported the Duma’s desire to accelerate the reintegration of the CIS countries, the Duma’s action’s threatened to produce exactly the opposite effects.

Communists Backtrack.