In parallel statements on Russian television channels yesterday, Russia’s deputy prime minister Valery Serov and CIS cooperation minister Anatoly Adamishin called on Russians to stop designating the CIS and its member countries as Russia’s "near abroad." Serov, who is responsible for CIS affairs in the Russian government, proposed treating CIS countries as "equal members of the world community, and develop[ing] with them the same type of relations as with other countries." Adamishin, who is new to his post, pointed out that the term "near abroad" is incompatible with the independence of CIS member countries, who are, after all, "countries like any others." He added that "the sooner we give up the notion of ‘near abroad,’ the better for all concerned." In line with treating CIS countries "normally," both officials also came out against any form of Russian economic subsidies to them. (Russian TV "Vesti," NTV, January 21)
The term "near abroad," which has been in use in Russia since the inception of the CIS, is resented in the CIS countries because it is felt to reflect a sphere-of-influence mentality in Moscow.
Russian Energy Corporations Move to Consolidate their Position in the CIS.