Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 205

The Russian Duma on October 31 ratified the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. The treaty still needs to be ratified by the Federal Assembly and then signed by President Boris Yeltsin, but these two steps are considered to be just formalities. This means that Russia will be able to take part in next month’s second conference of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — the convention’s implementing body. (Itar-Tass, October 31)

With the largest known CW stockpile — 40,000 metric tons — Russia faces a very difficult if not impossible task meeting the convention’s 10-year destruction deadline. One of the factors that made the Duma reluctant to ratify the treaty earlier this year was the high financial obligations it involves. The Russians are counting on foreign assistance, but it is highly unlikely that any such aide will come close to meeting their needs. Work is just beginning on a few of the plants that will dispose of the chemical agents and weapons. The U.S. government is helping to fund one of these sites — at Shchuchye, near Kurgan in Western Siberia — where artillery shells and missiles containing nerve agents are stored. However, Russia has decided to use neutralization technologies that are different from those being used by the U.S., and this is likely to have a dampening effect on future American assistance.

CIS Data Show Kyrgyzstan, Georgia Continue Rapid Economic Growth.