Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 28

The Russian Federal Assembly’s delegation to the February 16-17 session of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly (IPA) in St. Petersburg will for the first time be dominated by Communists and ultranationalists, largely reflecting the new Duma’s composition. The delegation will be led by the Duma’s Communist chairman Gennady Seleznev, Deputy Chairman Sergei Baburin, and CIS Affairs Committee Chairman Georgy Tikhonov from the "People’s Power" bloc of ex-USSR prime minister Nikolai Ryzhkov. Baburin and Tikhonov promote the reconstitution in some version of the former Union. Seleznev is one of the leaders of a party formally pledged to abolish the CIS in order to facilitate the former Union’s restoration. The Russian delegation has prepared for the IPA meeting a package of proposals on making Russian a second official language in CIS member countries, concluding agreements on dual citizenship between Russia and CIS countries, and forming financial-industrial groups and shareholding companies with substantial Russian participation in those countries. (9)

Despite the Russian delegation’s red complexion, its proposals are largely consonant with the Russian government’s policy toward CIS countries as it had evolved before the recent parliamentary elections. Most CIS countries have resisted such proposals both in intergovernmental discussions and in parliamentary or other forums. The countries have also resisted giving any powers to the IPA, which meets infrequently and for brief intervals. The Russian delegation’s proposals stand little chance of acceptance, but are a useful indicator of the new Duma’s position on CIS issues.

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