Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 20

The U.S. Senate voted by a wide margin January 26 to ratify the START II treaty. In Moscow, President Boris Yeltsin pledged the next day that he would press the Duma to ratify the treaty prior to the April meeting of G-7 nations in Moscow. The treaty is "of vast importance not only in terms of strengthening world security, but also for Russia’s economy," Yeltsin was quoted as saying. He suggested that the money saved would be spent on social needs. Although both Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov and head of the Duma committee on international affairs Vladimir Lukin welcomed the U.S. Senate vote, quick ratification of the treaty in the Duma is by no means assured. Lukin, whose committee is responsible for launching the ratification process, has already criticized the Russian defense ministry for ineffective efforts to garner support for the treaty. The presence of a large number of Communists and nationalists opposed to the treaty in the new Duma, however, could prove the biggest obstacle to ratification, particularly in the months leading up to the June presidential election. (12)

State to Reimpose Alcohol Monopoly