Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 44

In a long interview with a Russian daily on February 28, the president’s national security advisor, Yuri Baturin, said that a series of documents outlining Russia’s national security interests were likely to be made public sometime in May, prior to the presidential election. Baturin identifies the "invigoration" of CIS integration processes as one priority area for Moscow. Its goal is the "creation of an economically and then politically integrated association of sovereign states." Toward this end, Moscow intends to pursue finalization of a CIS customs union, creation of a collective security council staff, establishment of a legal basis for protecting ethnic Russians, and creation of a single "information space."

But Baturin dismissed Defense Minister Pavel Grachev’s repeated assertions that Russia will create a military bloc to counter NATO should enlargement of the western alliance proceed. Baturin argued that CIS military integration is developing especially slowly and that significant short-term progress is not to be expected. Finally, Baturin suggested that START II ratification by Russia should include a tough statement on adherence to the ABM Treaty, a postponement of the deadline for completing treaty reductions from 2003 to 2006, and stipulation that negotiations continue on further reductions in offensive weapons. (4)

Yeltsin Meets Gaidar.