Declaring his unwillingness to hand over "several strategically important Russian lands to a rival power along the eastern stretch of the Russo-Chinese border," the head of the Russian commission marking the border resigned from his post April 5. The action by Major General Valery Rozov comes only weeks before a planned high-profile visit by Russian president Boris Yeltsin to China, during which both sides would like to cement ever more cooperative relations. It reflects, among other things, long-smoldering displeasure among many in Russia’s Far East who oppose the 1991 agreement under which Russia is bound to cede to China some six square miles of disputed land along the Tumen River at the point south of Vladivostok where the borders of Russia, China, and North Korea converge.
The governor of Primorsky Krai, Yevgeny Nazdratenko, has said publicly on a number of occasions that he opposes the transfer of the Russian lands. In mid-March, local authorities requested the Russian Constitutional Court to examine the legality of the 1991 agreement, arguing that the transfer of the land violates Russian national interests and cannot be carried out without a referendum. The request followed a February order by Yeltsin that work on the demarcation be accelerated. According to Rozov, only nine border posts remain to be installed. (Reuter, Itar-Tass, UPI, April 5)
Bulgaria Continues to Protest Yeltsin Remark.