Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 220

In an Izvestia interview published over the weekend, Russian deputy prime minister Valery Serov complained of certain CIS countries’ "unilateral actions in taking major economic decisions, such as dividing the Caspian continental shelf or turning over large mineral deposits to Western firms." The remark targeted primarily Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Serov, responsible for CIS affairs in the Russian government, cautioned CIS countries in general that their attempts to join the world economic system as individual countries "would consign them to the periphery of the world market."

Serov, however, argued the case for CIS economic integration mainly in terms of Russia’s own political and strategic interests: "The geopolitical calculations of certain world powers and also of some neighbors of the CIS focus on promoting fragmentation in the CIS, gradually drawing its member countries into those powers’ spheres of influence as junior partners…Russia will not depart from the course toward CIS integration. That course answers our fundamental strategic and economic interests." (Russian agencies citing Izvestia, November 21)

Yeltsin Reviews Russian-Ukrainian Relations.