Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev failed to show up at a NATO political meeting June 9 because he had to attend the Russian-Ukrainian summit on the Black Sea fleet. Nor were any of his deputies present. Instead, Russia was represented by its ambassador in Brussels, Vitaly Churkin. NATO officials said that they did not see this as a snub, but there may be more to the story than that. Segodnya reported June 9 that Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev had opposed Grachev’s going out of a fear that Grachev would deliver too hard a line on NATO expansion and thus galvanize the alliance to move in that direction. Opposing NATO expansion is virtually a requirement for any Russian politician who hopes to survive. A poll published in Segodnya June 9 showed that 43.3 percent of Muscovites were against any NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, with only 25.3 percent in favor of it. Moreover, the most politically active voting groups–pensioners and the military–were the most opposed, 75 percent and 63 percent respectively.
Yeltsin Will Count the Votes.