Russia’s Federation Council, which includes many appointees of President Boris Yeltsin, adopted yesterday the text of an address to Russian journalists and mass media leaders, asking them to be more "objective about" and "respectful of" certain presidents of CIS member countries. The president of Belarus was the only one specifically named in the appeal, which was timed to the first anniversary of the Russia-Belarus Union. Also yesterday, by a margin of 274 to 1, Russia’s Duma adopted a protest statement against an initiative in the U.S. Congress to withhold most-favored-nation commercial treatment from Belarus on the basis of human rights violations. The Duma’s protest described the congressional initiative as designed to "reverse the external and internal orientation of Belarus as a country friendly to us." It also asked the Russian government to resist attempts by other countries to isolate "this fraternal and allied republic." (Russian agencies, April 1)
In Minsk yesterday, Russia’s acting Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Rybkin delivered a message from President Boris Yeltsin to Lukashenka and had an almost five-hour long meeting with him.
Kocharian is Declared Elected; Observers Bless the Process.