Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 96

Russian presidential candidate and retired Lt. General Aleksandr Lebed yesterday dismissed Defense Ministry proposals to form a counter-bloc to an expanded NATO. In an article in the Russian daily Nezavisimaya gazeta, Lebed said that such a Moscow-led bloc — which has been called for repeatedly by defense minister Pavel Grachev — would be "an anemic parody of the Warsaw Pact." Instead of using confrontational tactics, Lebed proposed that Moscow ignore the Western alliance and concentrate on its own internal reforms, including those in the military. He suggested that internal contradictions and tensions within NATO would ultimately weaken the alliance. Among those contradictions, he singled out potential displeasure in Eastern European states asked to base nuclear weaponry and the long-term unwillingness of U.S. and European taxpayers to foot the bill for expansion to the East. Successful economic reform, Lebed argued, will ultimately allow Moscow to reassert influence in the region by wielding its economic might. (Interfax, May 16)

Migranyan Categorically Opposed to NATO Enlargement.