Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 150

Russia is promoting a refurbished version of its plan for a new security system in Europe that would counterpose the OSCE to NATO. The Russian document, "A Common and Comprehensive Security Model for the 21st Century," has been submitted for the consideration of the regular meeting of Foreign Ministers of OSCE member countries in Budapest December 7 and 8. The document rules out the possibility of any other organization, such as NATO, assuming a leading role in strengthening security. "Within the OSCE, no state, organization or grouping can have superior responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the OSCE region, or regard any part of the OSCE region as its sphere of influence," the document says. The draft also calls in vague terms for more cooperation between member states and other organizations–presumably meaning the CIS–to prevent and manage crises. The document may be submitted to the heads of OSCE member states at the 1996 summit. Asked what he expected from the ministerial conference, Kozyrev replied bluntly: "Strengthening of the OSCE." (8)

The Kremlin would like to forestall a prospective increase in NATO’s responsibilities and scope of action by subordinating it to the OSCE and by placing NATO on a par with the Russian-dominated CIS as regional security organizations. Russia prefers the OSCE because it operates by consensus and has proven slow and cumbersome in its decision-making, being subject to a veto from any member country including Russia itself. The pretense of "strengthening the OSCE" is belied by Russia’s partially successful efforts to constrain the OSCE in the performance of conflict resolution tasks in CIS countries. Yet some Western diplomats at the Budapest conference did not rule out going along with the "21st century" proposal as a sop to Russian fears of NATO expansion.

Russian Budget Cliff-Hanger.