The Communist Party, the LAD Slavic movement, the Union of Russian, Slavic and Cossack Associations, and other groups have joined forces to seek a national referendum on RBU accession. Some of these groups have links to expatriate former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin. President Nursultan Nazarbaev insists that “Kazakhstan will not join any unions and will not even consider it…. Independence and sovereignty are the number one issue for Kazakhstan. And that’s that.” The prosecutor general drove the point home by stating that the referendum initiative is “destructive” and “destabilizing” and would “grossly violate the constitution and the laws.”

In other CIS countries, political support for accession to the RBU is weak or absent. There was strong communist support for the RBU in Ukraine, but President Leonid Kuchma’s re-election on a pro-Europe platform, and the capture of parliament by center-right forces, have isolated the communists and taken the RBU off the political agenda, at least for now.