Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 103

A confidential report prepared by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service concludes that any delay by Moscow in ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention could sharply reduce both Moscow’s ability to influence the process of chemical disarmament in the world and its ability to defend Russian interests. The report suggests that delay could subject Moscow to penalties that might "result in a sharp worsening of conditions for the development not only of chemical, but also of other branches of Russian industry and agriculture." It also characterizes the convention as a "most perfect agreement" in prohibiting weapons of mass destruction and asserts that it meets the long-term interests of both Russia and the world community. (Interfax, May 24)

But an unnamed Russian diplomat said May 27 that while Moscow indeed "has no objections to the convention in terms of its political content," ratification remained uncertain because of the onerous financial burdens associated with it. He said preliminary estimates put the cost of implementing the convention at 25 trillion rubles. Russia, he said, has allocated just over 2 trillion rubles in 1996 for implementation of all its international agreements. (Interfax, May 27) In January 1993, Russia was among the first of 159 nations to sign the convention. Fifty-one countries have ratified the agreement since that time, and the convention will go into effect when that number reaches 65. Moscow estimates its chemical weapons holdings at 40,000 tons, although some in the West have argued that the figure is higher.

Russian Border Forces Day.