Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 32

Russian finance minister Aleksandr Livshits says that the Russian government and the South African diamond corporation De Beers have worked out a mutually acceptable compromise and will soon sign a new contract covering the marketing of Russia’s raw diamonds. (Itar-Tass, February 12) De Beers has reacted more cautiously: its spokesman, Tim Capon, said agreement had been "tantalizingly close" on previous occasions and might still, therefore, fail to materialize. (BBC World Service, February 12) The problem is that the dispute hinges not so much on negotiations between Moscow and De Beers, but on those between Moscow and the Republic of Sakha, where most of Russia’s diamonds are mined. The federal government wants diamond producers in the republic to pay taxes to Moscow; the producers say that, under the economic autonomy agreement signed by Moscow and Sakha, they have to pay only local taxes. This revenue represents a large part of the republic’s wealth, enabling it to engage in generous nature conservancy projects. (See item that follows)

"World’s Last Great Wilderness" to be Preserved in Siberia.