With363 deputies in favor, two against and 19 abstaining, the RussianDuma voted on June 6 to ratify the Russia-Belarus Union Treatyand Charter. The two documents were signed on April 2 and May23, respectively, by Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka.Presenting the documents to the Duma, Russia’s deputy prime ministerand drafting commission co-chairman Valeri Serov argued that theyhad been "widely and democratically debated" in Russiaand Belarus and constituted "a firm basis for the formationof a single state within two to four years." (Interfax, June6)
Lukashenka explicitly ruled out any public debate in Belarus asunnecessary and harmful and there is no mention of a single statein the documents, Yeltsin’s endorsement of that goal notwithstanding.Serov’s statement appears to presage differences over the interpretationof the union documents.
Ukraine Renouncing Nonalignment on the Road to NATO.