President Boris Yeltsin’s appointees joined the leftist-nationalist opposition in a unanimous call by Russia’s Federation Council for “severe measures, up to a trade embargo” against Latvia. The call is contained in a special resolution and an accompanying proposal to Yeltsin, passed yesterday at the initiative of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. The Federation Council also urges regional governors, city mayors and state and private firms to apply “more determined pressure on the Latvian authorities, up to discontinuing business.” The pretext–the same as that invoked by the Kremlin–is the alleged “violation of the rights of our compatriots in Latvia.”
The Duma also passed a resolution recently in favor of “economic measures of influence”–a Russian euphemism for sanctions–against Latvia, after the Kremlin had started the ball of sanctions rolling. The executive branch cites such calls as “evidence” that it faces public pressure for sanctions.
In submitting yesterday’s resolution, the otherwise reformist Luzhkov urged the heads of Russia’s republics and regions to consider using such measures as part of a policy to “protect the rights of Russians” in former Soviet republics. (Russian agencies, BNS, July 9)
MIXED SIGNALS FROM TALBOTT. U.S.