Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 121

The Russia-Belarus Community’s Parliamentary Assembly, created by the April 2 Yeltsin-Lukashenko treaty, held its constitutive session in Smolensk (Russia) yesterday. A majority of the Belarus deputies, joined by pro-reform members of the Russian delegation, turned down a proposal by Russian Communist and nationalist deputies to institute a single Russian-Belarus citizenship. Belarus parliament chairman Semyon Sharetsky commented that the proposal aimed at "destroying Belarus statehood." Instead, the assembly adopted non-binding recommendations on legalizing the equal access of citizens of either state to employment, housing, and social and educational benefits available to citizens of the other state. That decision had been announced by the two countries’ presidents and prime ministers in separate meetings earlier this month, but implementation depends on the passage of national legislation. (Interfax, June 25)

The parliamentary assembly designated Sharetsky as its chairman for a two-year term, to be succeeded by a Russian; and it formed six permanent commissions to be headquartered in Moscow. The assembly is comprised of an equal number of deputies from either side, operates on the consensus principle, and may only recommend legislation to the national parliaments. The Belarus parliament last month introduced further safeguards in ratifying the April 2 treaty. The push for a merger comes from the executive branches. On June 22 Yeltsin and Lukashenko met in Belarus and decided to unify the two countries’ customs services, appointing Russia’s customs chief Anatoly Kruglov as chief of Belarus customs as well. (Interfax, June 25)

Georgia Silent on Reshuffle of Russian Brass.