Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 25

Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov assured Western leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland yesterday that he did not seek the restoration of the old Soviet Union. "Even if there was a unanimous vote by the people across our old country to go back to what we had before, it would never work," he said. However, Zyuganov did urge full restoration "of the old links that the Russian Federation had with Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan." He argued that only economic integration of that sort could stave off an impending economic catastrophe. (3)

Zyuganov’s remarks in Davos were considerably more measured than were his calls in a February 1 New York Times article for the restoration of Soviet power and military parity with the United States. (See Monitor, February 2) A commentator in the Russian daily Izvestiya has suggested that Zyuganov’s earlier, hawkish statements were meant primarily for domestic consumption. Western policymakers, the commentator said, would be well-advised to pay greater attention to Zyuganov’s parallel, more pragmatic talk of continued cooperation with the west. In that regard, the commentator identified Zyuganov’s key themes as an emphasis on domestic renewal (rather than foreign adventurism), an interest in widening economic cooperation with the West, and, of greatest importance, a readiness "to guarantee American investment and to create better conditions for it." (4) The argument that, despite his purported desire for cooperative relations with the west, Zyuganov has had to placate nationalist forces in the run-up to the presidential elections is the same argument that has been used to justify Boris Yeltsin’s own co-option of nationalist rhetoric and his recent appointments of hawks to top government posts.

China to Produce Russian Fighter Jets in $2 Billion Deal.