Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 103

Continuing his courtship of the Russian military, Boris Yeltsin yesterday greeted personnel of Russia’s Federal Border Service (FBS) on Border Forces Day. The greeting comes two days after FBS chief Army General Andrei Nikolayev said that new policy guidelines for the border forces, approved recently by the Russian Security Council, would be submitted to Yeltsin for his approval. Nikolayev also announced that a new structure would be created within the FBS that will include Cossack volunteers and that Cossack border guard units would be created in Russia’s Far East and Amur regions. According to Nikolayev, Russia now has 200,000 border guards, and staffing levels have risen since 1994 from 60 percent to 95 percent. He complained that the FBS had received only 78 percent of its allocated funding in 1994, 58 percent in 1995, and 37 percent this year. (Interfax, May 24; Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 28)

The chief of the FBS operational research center used the military holiday to charge that NATO expansion would create new threats along Russia’s borders and would compel Russia’s border service to take countermeasures. According to Lt. General Sergei Bogdanov, NATO enlargement would likely embolden new member states on Russia’s western border to make territorial claims on Russia and to violate existing border regimes. He concluded that Russia’s border forces should be substantially reinforced in the northwestern and western sectors and that Defense Ministry units in these areas should be subordinated to the border forces command. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 28)

Reversing Defense Privatization?