President Boris Yeltsin yesterday presented to the parliament an annual national security report that was punctuated with the expected nationalist rhetoric but which also included language suggesting a willingness to cooperate with the West in several areas. Yeltsin described his strategy as one of "equal proximity" and said that it would create conditions for Russia’s gradual inclusion in the developed world’s economy and for cooperation with the world’s leading states. He suggested that the current absence of a large-scale military threat would permit Russia to devote its energies to internal renewal and the building of democracy. The U.S. and Russia, he said, had a number of common interests that included halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illegal drug trafficking, and international terrorism. At the same time, Yeltsin also spoke of "two-faced" U.S. policies and reiterated Moscow’s opposition to NATO expansion. He said that the military threat to Russia has not been entirely eliminated, and that, at the regional level and along Russia’s borders, it has even grown. (Interfax Special Edition, June 25)
The sharp edges in Yeltsin’s report to parliament were given considerably greater prominence in an article published yesterday by foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov in the newspaper Trud. In what appeared to be a restatement of remarks he made last week in Moscow (See Monitor, June 21), Primakov accused the U.S. of trying to dominate the world and said that Russia was determined to pursue an independent foreign policy. While bearing no desire for confrontation, Moscow will abandon its pro-Western orientation and pursue its interests around the globe, Primakov said. (Itar-Tass, June 25)
Chechnya: Ambiguous Decree on Troop Withdrawal.