Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 1

Former CPSU general secretary and USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev said on television that he supports the proposal of Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), to have the newly elected Duma rescind the founding documents of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Gorbachev said that the new Duma, as a successor to the Supreme Soviet, had an obligation to reverse the latter’s approval of the December 1991 Belovezhskaya Pushcha agreements that established the CIS. While admitting that the USSR can no longer be restored, Gorbachev argued that it might nevertheless be possible to "change the geopolitical situation," beginning with "the Slavic nucleus" of the former USSR. (8)

Gorbachev, who lost his position as USSR president as a consequence of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha agreements, has an emotional stake in repealing the documents and implied he would include this goal in his political program if he runs for president of Russia later this year. The KPRF voted in favor of the agreements in the old Supreme Soviet, but made a campaign promise to annul them in the recent parliamentary elections. Annulment of the agreements would have a largely symbolic value and play up to the Communists’ core constituency in Russia. The functioning of the CIS in practice would not be significantly affected, however, if Russia does not withdraw from the organization. Zyuganov seems unlikely to initiate such a move as his party moves closer to power. Evidently, the KPRF leader realizes the potential value of the CIS as an instrument of Russian foreign policy: he recently urged the Transdniester to vote to join the CIS.

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