Some 300delegates from ethnic Russian communities in the former Sovietrepublics met in Moscow July 6 to form a Council of Compatriots,Russian radio reported July 7. The new group, which will haveclose ties to the Duma, is to provide advice on how Moscow canbetter defend ethnic Russians abroad. Meanwhile, Russian deputyprime minister Sergei Shakhrai, who is also chairman of the Russiangovernment commission for the affairs of compatriots abroad, toldMoscow radio July 6 that Russia would support 30 of the 145 ethnicRussian organizations in the 14 former Soviet republics. He saidthat the groups chosen for support–which in the 1996 budget willamount to $25 million–were those which sought to unite ratherthan divide Russian communities. His remarks suggest that Moscowwants to establish tighter links with, and possibly control of,ethnic Russians living abroad as a means to promote the reintegrationof the former Soviet space.
Journalists Demand Change in Government Attitude Toward Media.