Interviewed in yesterday’s issue of the governmental Rossiiskaya gazeta, Russia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov charged that the West and its allies "openly encourage CIS countries to conduct foreign policies that are markedly independent of Russia." As a result, "some countries of the ‘near abroad’ are not just drifting, but consciously heading into the West’s orbit," Pastukhov complained. He blamed this trend on efforts by some Western policy makers to "prevent Russia from strengthening its influence on the countries of the post-Soviet space." Pastukhov singled out Zbigniew Brzezinski as among those inspiring such Western policies, which he described as aiming ultimately to "defeat and dismember" Russia itself. (Russian agencies citing Rossiiskaya gazeta, February 10)
Pastukhov exercises overall supervision of relations with CIS countries in Russia’s Foreign Ministry. In his interview, he appeared to stop short of proposing remedies commensurate to the challenge he described. His use of the term "near abroad" is noteworthy after Deputy Prime Minister Valery Serov and CIS Cooperation Minister Anatoly Adamishin had solemnly announced last month that official Moscow would stop using the term "near abroad," considered by most newly independent countries as an offensive term reflecting a "sphere-of-influence" mentality.
Sweden Supplying Military Equipment to the Baltic States.