Boris Yeltsin continued to campaign on nationalist themes over the weekend, using a ceremony in Belarus marking the 55th anniversary of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union to sound another warning against NATO enlargement and then appearing before Russian Baltic Fleet sailors in the port city of Baltiysk. In the first instance, Yeltsin linked the World War II commemoration to the threat of NATO enlargement, proclaiming on June 22 that the earlier peace "was gained at too high a cost" and that the Russian and Belarus peoples now face a "new opposition, a new dividing line on the continent." (Itar-Tass, Reuter, June 22) A day later Yeltsin was in Kaliningrad, where he told Russian sailors that he was convinced of the need to strengthen the Russian navy. He also reminded them of his earlier promises to enact all measures necessary to resolve problems in the armed forces, and of his pledge to ensure the navy’s special consideration in formulating the state budget. (AP, June 23)
Perhaps not coincidentally, Yeltsin’s remarks came as a major NATO conference concluded four days of talks in nearby Warsaw, at which Polish and Czech representatives were reported to have pushed especially hard for admittance into the alliance. During the talks Polish foreign minister Dariusz Rosati also signaled Warsaw’s sympathy for a Ukrainian proposal that would establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in central Europe. But Rosati underscored that Poland nevertheless seeks full membership–with all its obligations–in the Western alliance. (Reuter, June 22)
Zyuganov Promises Coalition Government.