Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 108

Belarus parliament chairman Semyon Sharetsky told the chamber yesterday that President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s style of rule is more authoritarian compared to the former Soviet system. Sharetsky described the president as "hotheaded, mistrustful toward others, and eager to take sole control of everything." Sharetsky specifically criticized Lukashenko’s policy on the issue of Belarus national identity. "No state can exist without a national idea," Sharetsky said.

Also yesterday the chairman of the parliament’s foreign relations commission, former foreign minister Pyotr Krauchanka, criticized the attempts being made to delay the transfer to Russia of 18 strategic nuclear missiles remaining in Belarus. And on the same day the Minister of Defense, Lt. General Leonid Maltseu gave assurances that the missiles will be transferred to Russia by the December 1996 deadline. (Western agencies, Interfax, June 4). Lukashenko had previously threatened more than once to keep the missiles in Belarus. The president is currently vacationing in Russia.

Earlier this week, the foreign minister of Belarus took issue with Lukashenko on the question of NATO enlargement. (See Monitor, June 3)

Third Major Azerbaijani Oil Contract Signed.