Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 195

U.S. defense secretary William Perry yesterday had far less success convincing Russian legislators that they should ratify the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty than he did when trying to accomplish the same mission before the U.S. Senate last January. Perry spent more than two hours answering questions from members of the three committees involved in the treaty’s ratification. U.S. sources said most of the questions came from treaty opponent Vladimir Zhirinovsky and members of his Liberal Democratic party. After the meeting, Zhirinovsky was quoted as saying that his party would "not cast a single vote" in favor of ratification. He was also said to have accused the U.S. and "the world government" of having plans to dismember Russia by the year 2025. (VOA, Interfax, October 17)

Others were more moderate but still opposed. Retired gen. Lev Rokhlin, chairman of the Duma’s defense committee, repeated Russians’ concerns about NATO moving closer to their border, and said that START II would cement Russia’s nuclear inferiority vis-ˆ-vis the U.S. because Moscow would not be able to afford to restructure its strategic forces to take full advantage of the treaty’s limits. Vladimir Lukin, who heads the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, was another skeptic. After the meeting, he told Interfax that the chances the Duma would ratify the treaty were "quite insignificant. If we are not listened to [by NATO], if it is not understood there are things that are harmful for our security, it is very difficult to persuade deputies to vote for the reduction of the most powerful Russian armaments." The chairman of the Duma’s Subcommittee on Arms Control and International Security did not even attend the meeting. An aide of retired general Boris Gromov said that Gromov did not want "to participate in a show, the purpose of which is least of all to search for ways to promote Russian-American dialogue." (Interfax, October 17)

Russian-Proposed Financial Agreements Fall Through.