Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 115

Moscow alleged this week that the U.S. and NATO are putting increasing pressure on Austria to join the Western alliance, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry strongly urged Vienna to maintain its current status of neutrality. The issue of Austria’s security arose in connection with talks held on June 10 in Moscow between Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov and the president of the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of Austria, Herbert Schambeck. Primakov suggested that Austria and Russia are united diplomatically by their non-participation in NATO, and added that neutrality should in no way be "identified with isolationism."

That same message was amplified in remarks by an unnamed Russian diplomat a day later when he specified that Russia opposes any enlargement of NATO in general, and not merely its expansion to the East toward Russia’s borders. The diplomat made clear that this view is part of Russia’s broader policy — enunciated most recently by Primakov during a June 5 speech in Geneva — of opposing "NATO-centrism," that is, what Moscow calls the effort to build a system of European security based on the NATO military alliance. There have been calls in Austria for the country to reconsider its neutral status, and some leading Austrian politicians have recently recommended that Vienna consider applying for membership in NATO. (Russian news agencies, June 10-11)

Nemtsov Winds Up Visit to Japan.