At an unusually wide-ranging and detailed briefing in Moscow, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev listed the following priorities of Russia’s foreign policy in the period immediately ahead:
–Creation of a military-political bloc of the CIS countries around Russia, if the Baltic states join NATO. Grachev added that he would prefer not to build up such a bloc, but if and when NATO expands into Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, "Russian tolerance will be exhausted."
–Opposition to a NATO peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. Russian troops would participate in such an operation only under a "Russia-NATO joint command" headed by a Russian and a NATO general on a rotating basis.
–Lifting the flank quotas stipulated by the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). The 1990 treaty was premised on future stability in Europe but that stability has failed to materialize, Grachev said, particularly citing the conflicts in former Yugoslavia to justify Russia’s demand to deploy higher force levels. Grachev’s and other Russian officials’ references to Yugoslavia as an argument for CFE revision suggests that they may seek such revisions not only in the Caucasus and the Leningrad region, but also in areas that can be portrayed as relevant to Yugoslavia, such as Crimea and Transdniester.
–Readying Russia’s rapid deployment forces by the summer of 1996. Their backbone will consist of brigades of airborne troops and marines, strengthened by tanks, artillery, and air defense units.
Defense Ministry Entering its Candidates in Duma Elections