Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 122

In a draft national security concept paper excerpted yesterday by Interfax, Russian security council chief and Yeltsin aide Aleksandr Lebed called for Moscow to step up its economic espionage operations abroad while limiting the activities, travels, and contacts of its own domestic scientists and specialists. "The Federal Security Service must impose more thorough control over issuing exit visas to specialists with information that, if leaked, could damage the military and economic security of the country," the document said, and charged that such information outflows had already cost Russia billions of dollars.

Lebed also called for "full-fledged financing" of defense research and development in order to retain qualified experts and support the development of new weapons systems and dual-use technologies. While encouraging the export-oriented sector of the defense industrial complex, Lebed said he would end the "shameful practice of selling new armaments and technologies to our potential adversaries." Russian military and law-enforcement forces should get first priority in acquiring the newest hardware, he said.

Lebed’s concept was vague on the broader contours and goals of Russian diplomacy, arguing weakly that Moscow needed to find strategic partners outside of the CIS, but identifying no potential candidates outside of China. (Interfax, Special Edition & Reuter, June 26) It remains unclear to what extent the document, which carried some sharp Cold War undertones, enjoys official status or is likely to be translated into government policy.

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