Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 197

Even as Security Council representatives debated Kosovo in New York, the Balkans crisis continued to attract attention in Russia. On October 23 the Russian State Duma overwhelmingly adopted a resolution of its own calling for Moscow to reconsider its compliance with the UN arms embargo on Yugoslavia in the event of NATO strikes on Yugoslav territory. The nonbinding measure also instructs the Foreign Ministry to exert efforts to win restoration of membership for Yugoslavia in the UN, OSCE and other international organizations. In addition, it commits the Duma to invite representatives of the Yugoslav parliament to take part in the work of the parliamentary assembly of the Russia-Belarus Union (RIA, October 23). Russian lawmakers, who recently returned from Belgrade, reacted favorably to a proposal there that Yugoslavia become part of the Union.

Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was in a similarly bellicose mood. Speaking to reporters on October 24, Primakov said that Russia’s economic crisis–and its efforts to win financial assistance from the West–would in no way weaken the country’s stance on the Kosovo crisis. “Our position on Kosovo annoys [the Western countries] most of all,” Primakov said. “Let them get irritated. This is their problem. Russia is a great power” (Itar-Tass, October 24).