In his address to Russian textile and light industry representatives yesterday, in which he advocated protection against western competition, President Boris Yeltsin dwelt on the importance of the CIS market for resuscitating those Russian industrial sectors. Yeltsin urged Russian producers to maximize sales on the CIS market and "strengthen their positions" there. And he called on CIS countries to pool their raw materials and industrial capacities in those sectors with those of Russia in developing an integrated, self-sufficient production and trading system. (10)
The implications of these remarks illustrate the risks to CIS countries entering into common tariff and customs arrangements with Russia. Those countries may end up trapped behind barriers to international trade if Moscow decides to erect such barriers in order to secure CIS markets for substandard Russian products. Interest groups linked to vestigial Soviet-era industries in CIS countries would probably also secure niches of the common market. But the system itself would consign participating countries to long-term backwardness and isolation. Yeltsin’s notion that Russia’s economic recovery requires the reintegration of the ex-Soviet economic space also poses serious political implications.
Azerbaijani, Georgian Plotters Sentenced.