Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 66

The recent approval by the Russian government of a draft agreement that would standardize legislation protecting intellectual property within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) illustrates the difficulties faced by reformers in Moscow, and other CIS capitals, who attempt to develop intra-CIS, as opposed to national, reform policies.

The agreement, approved by the Russian government on April 3, would allow the CIS countries to conduct a common policy on the protection of intellectual property rights. (Interfax, April 3) The standardization of procedures for issuing warnings, investigating and preventing violations of intellectual property law would in all likelihood be greeted warmly by producers of computer software, video cassettes and other products — who have complained bitterly about the widespread piracy of their goods in CIS countries. In addition to helping to attract direct foreign investment, the implementation of common, effective policies to protect intellectual property would also remove one of the most important obstacles facing the CIS countries’ desire to join the World Trade Organization.

On the other hand, the fact that reform proposals like this originate in Russia makes their political prospects problematic. Of course, reform economists tend to be more numerous and better trained in Moscow than in many other CIS capitals. Even reformers in other CIS countries, however, often see such proposals as attempts by Moscow to impose the Russian legal system upon their countries. Whether this is the case is debatable. In the meantime, the CIS countries often lose the opportunity to implement economic reforms that are beneficial both individually and multilaterally.

Latvia’s Defense Forces Commander, Economics Minister Dismissed.