Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 84

Russian President Boris Yeltsin yesterday ordered the elimination of the Ministry for Cooperation with CIS Countries from the structure of Russian government. The measure is included in a presidential decree on the organization of executive power. Announcing the decree, Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko stated that the CIS ministry’s functions are being assigned partly to the Foreign Ministry and partly to a newly created Ministry of Industry and Trade. (Itar-Tass, April 30) It seems just as likely that part of the defunct ministry’s functions will in practice devolve upon the Russian staff of the CIS Executive Secretariat. That Secretariat’s status, powers and size should substantially increase with the appointment of Boris Berezovsky as its chief at the April 29 CIS summit. (See The Monitor, April 30)

The CIS Cooperation ministry had traditionally been underfunded and understaffed. It often recommended using economic incentives to encourage CIS countries to cooperate with Russia economically and politically. It favored, for example, commercial loans to support CIS country imports of Russian goods. It also proposed broadening the access of CIS country products to the Russian market. Opponents of this strategy argued that it would amount to subsidizing the economies of CIS countries at Russia’s expense. The last minister, Anatoly Adamishin, is a career diplomat specializing in relations with the West. He served only about half a year as CIS Cooperation Minister and lacked the background, clout or time to change the ministry’s ways.