Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 26

In an interview distributed by the Kremlin yesterday, Russian President Boris Yeltsin stated that he was being "put on guard" by the recently signed U.S.-Baltic Charter, which envisages the Baltic states’ possible accession to NATO. "I emphasize again that such a scenario remains unacceptable to Russia," Yeltsin said. While conceding the Baltic states’ right to choose their security arrangements, Yeltsin argued that "Russia has that right as well." Consequently, the Baltic states "ought to take into account the legitimate and fully understandable interests of other states, particularly their neighbors" — i.e., Russia. Yeltsin added that Russia’s response to the U.S.-Baltic Charter would depend on what Washington and the Baltic states would do in practice after having signed the charter. (Itar-Tass, February 8)

The latter remark — reinforcing the Russian Foreign Ministry’s reaction to the charter — reflects Moscow’s hope that the document may remain a declarative one. The most significant of Yeltsin’s remarks is his thesis that the Baltic states’ latitude to choose their alliances is constrained by an obligation to take Russia’s interests into account — an argument that seems to border on the concept of limited sovereignty. Yeltsin made these remarks in the context of refuting alleged U.S. claims to world leadership. His interview appeared in yesterday’s issue of the Corriere della Sera on the eve of his visit to Italy. It suggests that Moscow will attempt to canvass support for its position among NATO’s European members.

Belarus Accuses Poland of Subversion on West’s Behalf.