Russia’s two main political camps yesterday announced plans to strengthen ties with "compatriots in the near abroad." An official of president Boris Yeltsin’s staff told an interviewer that the president has ordered the creation of a government body responsible for Russians in ex-Soviet republics. Those Russians "feel betrayed and neglected" and their "main problem is lack of unity and insufficient coordination of their activity with Moscow," the presidential official said. (Moskovsky komsomolets, July 22)
Also yesterday, former USSR prime minister Nikolay Ryzhkov called for the inclusion of Russians from the "near abroad" in the projected movement of "popular-patriotic forces" of Russia. Delegations from the Baltic and CIS states are being invited to that movement’s founding congress due next month in Moscow, Ryzhkov said. Ryzhkov’s Narodovlastie group of Duma deputies is allied to Gennady Zyuganov’s Communists. (Interfax, July 22) The simultaneous announcements illustrates that both camps view the Russians in the newly independent states as a potential lever of political influence.
Rodionov Wants Baltic Glacis.