Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 226

Yeltsin’s arms control initiatives during his stay in Stockholm have taken the spotlight off of Swedish-Russian bilateral relations and a package of agreements signed by the two sides on the first day of Yeltsin’s three-day visit to Sweden. The Russian president, who received a royal welcome upon his arrival on November 2, observed to reporters that it had been "90 years since a Russian chief of state" had visited Sweden. Yeltsin addressed the Swedish parliament during his stay, and his agenda included meetings with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Swedish prime minister Goeran Persson.

Yeltsin headed an entourage of some 200 Russian officials that included Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov. In addition to security concerns, the two sides focused their attentions on boosting economic cooperation — and particularly Swedish investment in the Russian economy — and on joint measures aimed at battling crime. Some eight agreements were signed on November 2, including one on fighting money laundering and another on rescheduling some of the former Soviet Union’s debts to Sweden. Accords were also signed on nuclear safety, space exploration, and on cultural and scientific exchanges. The Foreign and Justice Ministers of the two countries were scheduled to meet yesterday, while Russian business representatives were to attend a Swedish-Russian business seminar. (AP, Itar-Tass, December 2; Reuter, December 3) It was also announced yesterday that the two countries had agreed to study a proposal calling for the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Sweden. (AP, December 3)

In his remarks to the Swedish parliament yesterday Yeltsin touched, among other things, on the need for European countries to act on their own to ensure European security. That injunction, which was accompanied by Moscow’s standard call for the OSCE rather than NATO to serve as the continent’s main security organization, reprised recent criticism from Moscow that the U.S. exercises too much influence in European affairs. Such statements are part of Moscow’s increasingly overt efforts to exploit tensions in the Western alliance, both to forestall NATO enlargement and to increase its own influence in European capitals. (Itar-Tass, December 3)

Saratov Land Law Enters Into Force.