All CIS countries other than Russia are parties to the Trans-Asian-European Optical Fiber Cable Line, which became operational on October 14 and has nothing to do with the CIS as an organization. Germany’s Siemens and other Western companies have carried out the work since 1995. A videoconference of the participating countries, members and nonmembers of the CIS, marked the October 14 inauguration. The cable stretches from Frankfurt-am-Main to Shanghai for a total of 27,000 kilometers, including branch-off lines in several CIS countries. In Ukraine for example, four different lines totaling 2,300 kilometers connect the country to Poland (two lines), to Hungary, and to Belarus, respectively (none to Russia). In Kazakhstan, the 1,750 kilometer line runs through the south of the country from the Chinese to the Uzbek border (Russian agencies, October 14). Moscow never managed to bring together the CIS countries for any common undertaking, the way this project did. The event underscores the growing irrelevance of the CIS as international market forces pull the CIS countries away from the former “union center.”
LATVIA UPDATES THE CONSTITUTION.