Caucasian Regional Studies

Caucasian Regional Studies
The International Association For Caucasian Regional Studies
Law Politics Sociology Economics Modern History International Relations

Caucasian Regional Studies, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 1998

Vitaly Naumkin*

In the Southern tier of the former Soviet Union Transcaucasia is of greater priority for Russia than Central Asia (with the exception of Kazakhstan). The geographical situation of the Transcaucasian republics lying between Russia, on the one hand, and Iran and Turkey, on the other, and connecting the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea areas, is of primary importance in this respect. We have also to take into account the mixed ethnoconfessional composition of the Transcaucasus, mirroring the presence of a Christian and a Muslim tradition in Russia itself, and the close contacts between the Southern and the Northern Caucasus. The rich mineral resources of the Transcaucasus region should not be neglected either.

The entire tangle of problems facing Russia in defining its political orientation with regard to Transcaucasia and working out a consistent foreign-policy course in the region can hardly be reduced to a set of choices between two alternatives. But considering the region's realities and conflicts, in which there are generally two sides confronting each other,one may be tempted to reduce the number of decisions to be taken to two. Any attempt to rise above the numerous causes of conflict or, moreover, to play a conciliatory, unifying role is bound to be inadequately interpreted by the conflicting parties and will in any event confront one with the necessity of choice.


A First Choice: Territorial Integrity or Self-Determination

The complexity of the choice between territorial integrity or self-determination is well known. Whatever theoretical criteria and general legal principles may be devised to resolve this inevitable contradiction, policies in this respect inevitably take political interests into account. Conflictual relations in Transcaucasia exist between the Ossetians and the Georgians, the Georgians and Abkhazians, the Armenians (not the Karabakh Armenians alone) and the Azerbaijanians, the Lezghins and the Azerbaijanians. The history of the past years, and of 1991-1993 especially, has shown that Russia's political choice between the right to self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity is strongly influenced by group and departmental interests, which the present administration is trying to reconcile and to bring under official and legal control. In the case of Abkhazia, it was influential forces within the "patriotic" part of the Russian political spectrum which defended the right to self-determination, and in the case of Nagorno Karabakh it is not 'patriotic' but 'liberal democratic' forces in Russia which have strongly supported its national movement.

The insecurity of the entire post-Soviet intra-state structure, keenly felt by almost everyone living within its space, is not the best aid in finding a compromise between these principles. "Why was it possible for the West to recognize the right of self-determination of the Bosnians, making up 25 per cent of the territory's population, or to approve the creation of a 'Macedonia'"..., asks the Russian politologist V.Nadein-Rayevsky, "and not to recognize the national rights of the Ossetians or the Abkhazians in Georgia?". This critique does not imply a rejection of the fact that exclusively Union republics of the USSR have been recognized, but the desire to ensure to the utmost the national rights of the ethnic groups that have found themselves playing the role of minorities in the new independent states (NIS), as well as to provide the right to discuss the legitimacy and mutual acceptability of the borders within the framework of peace talks, and not under the threat of the use of force.

The Chechen crisis cooled those Russian politicians and experts who were inclined, for one reasons or another, to support a radical solution to the ethnic movements' claims to statehood in the Transcaucasian republics. The similarities between the Abkhaz and the Chechen situations and the possibility of involving Georgia as a partner in providing stability in the Northern Caucasus have made those 'patriotic' forces in Russia, which had been oriented in the past towards full support of the Abkhazian national movement in its confrontation with Tbilisi, to turn to compromise solutions.


A Second Choice: What Kind of Military Presence?

One of the most important security problems for Moscow concerned the revision of the flank quotas envisaged by the CFE Treaty. The new realities - the withdrawal of Russian troops from the countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic region, the fact that Russia is no longer threatened from the West, the appearance of hotbeds of tension near its southern borders, and the Chechen crisis - prompted Moscow to raise the question of revision of these quotas, which was met with fierce resistance by a number of states, first of all Turkey, with which this question became one of the more acute disputed issues of bilateral relations. At the end of November 1995, an official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation expressed satisfaction with the decision of the joint consultative group concerning the treaty to continue the discussion of the flank problem, taking account of Moscow's position. (1) Later on, the revision of the CFE Treaty was included in the agenda of negotiations between Russia and NATO, and then in the Founding Act NATO-Russia.

In its security policy in Transcaucasia Russia takes into account threats, risks and challenges from the countries ajoining this region from the south. Russian military expert L.Vartanyan includes among the military threats to the CIS countries such issues as "preservation or creation in the states ajoining the territory of the countries of the CIS of a military build-up that exceeds their defensive needs". (2) In this relation mention should be made of frequently expressed fears regarding the growing military capabilities of Turkey. Even some representatives of liberal parties, such as A. Arbatov, Vice-Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, frequently speak about a Turkish threat.

One can say that in defending its interests in Transcaucasia and Central Asia, Russia is above all preoccupied with its security, giving present priority to the military-political means of ensuring its positions. This is mainly the triad: "bases-borders-peacekeeping" or, to be more precise, maintainance of military bases on the territory of the Transcaucasian republics, participation in the guarding of the CIS external borders and participation in peacekeeping operations in the conflict zones. To this should probably be added the creation of a frontier regime between Russia and the Transcaucasian republics (where they exist).?

It should be mentioned that reliance on this triad can hardly fully guarantee Russian interests whatever they might be. The aims of the military presence are not defined; there is no money for the maintenance of bases; the Russian frontier guards include many local citizens despite the fact that, according to law, foreign citizens cannot serve in the armed forces of Russia; Georgia has great difficulties in accepting and Azerbaijan is not at all inclined to allow the presence in the republic of the Russian military or frontier guards.


A Third Choice: Principles of Relations Within the CIS

The report anonymously published in March 1997 in Nezavisimaya Gazeta "The CIS: the Beginning or the End of History?" (3) created a sensation. The choice formulated by the authors of the report with regard to Transcaucasia is as follows: an anti-Russian axis or a controlled arc of instability. The present situation in Transcaucasia is described as the emergence of an anti-Russian axis ("the oil contract - production and transportation - is in a position, using foreign investors' money, to unite most of the countries of Central Asia and Transcaucasia on an anti-Russian basis"). This would lead to Russia's "final departure" from Transcaucasia and then from the Northern Caucasus, which can only be opposed by "active efforts to weaken the position of the anti-Russian-minded forces in Azerbaijan and Georgia and at the same time by increasing demonstratively our economic and military-political presence in Armenia, before the West and that republic's neighbour countries have found the means for reorienting Yerevan to the Western countries". The authors of the report call upon the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation "to work hard to frustrate any attempts at creating multicentricity or bicentricity within the post-Soviet space".

The ideas expressed in this report impelled the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation to make a statement denouncing its ideas as provocative. At a conference of the Council of CIS Foreign Ministers, Primakov dissociated himself from the report and declared that such materials do damage both to Russia itself and to the prospects of its relations with the Commonwealth countries. At a briefing in Moscow, an official representative of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, G. Tarasov, denounced the report as a "tendentious article with a claim to geopolitics", whose authors had as their aim both to discredit Russia's policy with regard to the CIS countries and to try and drive a wedge between them.

Among the apprehensions usually expressed on the part of the members of the Russian national patriotic forces, mention is often made of the pro-Western orientation of Azerbaijan and Georgia, with an anti-Russian trend, and of the shaping, with the help of the USA, Turkey and a number of other countries, of an axis Kiev-Baku-Tbilisi (to which Tashkent is sometimes added). But the idea of the authors of this anonymous report of a controlled destabilization in Georgia and Azerbaijan with the help of Armenia, has no widespread support and is incompatible with the principles of relations with the CIS countries. This makes it possible to conclude that their ideas have no chance at all of being realized. The very fact that such conceptions are defended reflects, however, the importance of Transcaucasia to Russia.

The issues at stake in the Georgian-Abkhaz and in the Armenian-Azeri conflicts have their continuation in the internal Russian political struggle. The parties in these conflicts do not agree on the history of the formation of the Transcaucasian states and the legitimacy of their borders. This discussion mirrors the debates in Russia concerning the legitimacy of the international acts which have created these states and their borders - from the 1921 Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood between the RSFSR and Turkey up to the agreements on turning the administrative borders between the former Union republics of the USSR into inter-state borders. Some Russian adherents of the Armenian national idea demand a revision of the Russian-Turkish treaty. There are also supporters of a general revision of the entire existing system of borders between the states in Transcaucasia. Full recognition of the existing realities is backed by the advocates of an smooth rapprochement of the Russian Federation with all the Transcaucasian republics.

In the words of the Azerbaijani Ambassador to the Russian Federation Ramiz Rizayev, the now active diverse dialogue between Moscow and Baku shows that "Azerbaijan is ready to effect a many-sided rapprochement and integration with Russia on a mutually advantageous basis, to make relations with it as much a matter of priority as it is necessary for the stable, conflict-free presence of Azerbaijan, just as of Russia itself, in the Transcaucasian region". (4)


A Fourth Choice: Which Pipeline Policies?

This leads us to another choice facing Russia, which may be considered as a real dilemma, and which is related to the oil resources of Transcaucasia and their transportation routes. On the one hand, the Russian Foreign Ministry and some other official circles still try to prevent unilateral exploitation of the Caspian resources until the legal status of the Caspian is determined by all the littoral states. On the other hand, Russia does not want to be marginalised in a process in which massive interests are at stake. Russian industrial and commercial circles supported by the government are trying to reserve a place for them in the future oil production system of the Caspian. Some politicians accuse even "LUKoil", which is closely connected with the state, of not representing the "true national interests" of Russia by participating in the oil contracts.

The competition between the various parties involved in the pipeline issue is acute. Different types of "sticks and carrots" are used by the participants. For instance, Turkey is prepared to issue credits and loans to Azerbaijan if Baku agrees to a Turkish route for the main pipeline. "The Turkish route would reduce Europe's vulnerability to cutoffs, - writes an American supporter of "the Turkish option", - protect the Bosphorus from environmental damage, and bring together old antagonists in common prosperity. The southern route for Caspian oil would also foster Turkey's growing influence in Central Asia, and perhaps even touch or pass through Iran". (5)

The Russian government makes intensive efforts to guarantee the inclusion of Russia in the new system of oil production and transportation in this area. It will be in the interests of all the Transcaucasian states if Russia is included into the system of joint oil production and transportation, mutual benefits and interdependency. It can be assumed that at subsequent stages of the process the oil factor will play a uniting and integrating role not only for the Transcaucasian states among themselves, but also for these states and their neighbours. It is all the more true because of the fact that the network of routes will most probably be diversified, covering the territory of several states. The problems of political stability, effectiveness of management and environmental safety will, however, remain on the agenda for a long time.

One of the recent political scandals in Russia is closely linked with Transcaucasia. The Russian Minister Aman Tuleev accused former Russian military leaders of supplying arms illegally to Yerevan. General Lev Rokhlin confirmed this accusation, mentioning a list of weapons supplied to Armenia, (including 8 missile complexers P-17). Soon Armenia was accused by Turkey of supplying the PKK terrorists with arms, and the Turkish Chief of Staff stated that in northern Iran Turkey had seized Russian weapons that had been sent to PKK fighters by Armenia via Iran. It was also pointed out by Armenia's Defence Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan, that the armaments of Armenia today considerably surpass the levels fixed by the CFE Treaty: 285 tanks (instead of 220), 785 armoured cars (instead of 220) and 336 artillery pieces (instead of 282). (6) In May, the Minister spoke of the destabilizing accumulation of military forces in Nakhichevan, as well as along the line of Nagorny Karabakh's contact with Azerbaijan in Gyanj and Kyudamir.

One of the interpretations of the leak of information and the scandal proposed by analysts in Russia was based on the assumption that there exists a pro-Azerbaijani Russian lobby that represents the interests of oil companies and certain financial circles that played this card. Some analysts concluded that if in the past years liberal democrats had supported Armenia and the Karabakh national movement, in present-day Russia the liberal wing of the government and "the party of power" in general are more concerned about possible oil and gas revenues. But it is quite clear that any explanations of this sort are very simplistic and don't reflect the complexity of domestic political life in Russia. The political scandal concerning the supply of arms obviously reflects an internal political struggle in Russia which is not only confined to its foreign policy.


Struggle over policy towards the CIS

The acute political struggle over issues of Russian policy toward the 'near abroad' is a sign of a new trend in Russian political life. Clearly defined and usually openly reported by the Russian mass media, these interests have their impact on the process of decision-making. Different political forces, ministries and agencies, firms and companies try to have their say in this. The motivations behind this process are commonly connected with the direct commercial, financial, fiscal and political interests of these groups. The question might arise, whether Russia is able to conduct a sustainable and consistent policy under these circumstances. I think that it is possible.

When Yevgeni Primakov was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia at the beginning of 1996, he paid much attention to turning the Ministry into the only professional governmental institution authorized to deal with foreign policy, and almost managed to achieve this goal. He also shaped a new hierarchy of priorities in Russian foreign policy. As he declared after his appointment at a conference of Russian ambassadors to the CIS countries at the beginning of 1996, the Commonwealth is the main field of Russia's foreign-policy activities. In this sphere Russian diplomacy pursues three main aims. Firstly, it seeks every possible consolidation of integration processes; secondly, the promotion of stability and the settlement of local conflicts to strengthen thereby the security of Russia and of the other CIS countries; thirdly, the resolution through co-operation and integration mechanisms of the humanitarian problems of Russian citizens and countrymen living in the Commonwealth countries.

The years of 1996 and 1997 saw continuing tension between Russia and Georgia as regards the role and functions of the Russian peacekeepers in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone. Tbilisi insisted on the Russian peacekeepers being assigned additional functions of maintaining order in the Gali district to ensure the safe return of refugees. The Russian side did not show any desire to convert its peacekeepers into police forces. At a regular summit meeting early in 1997, however, the heads of the CIS states decided to assign to the peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia additional functions. The realization of this decision encountered difficulties not because of the resistance of the Russian military but because the extension of the peacekeeping mandate required the acquiescence of both conflicting parties. Abkhazia categorically refused to accept the prolongation of the mandate on such terms. Georgia, for its part, began declaring that without the extension of the functions of the Russian peace-keepers, it would not agree to the prolongation of the mandate.

The Russian leaders were in all probability satisfied with the prevailing situation, since it allowed them to postpone the extension of the peacekeepers' functions fraught with unpredictable consequences and possibly human losses as well. Shevardnadze threatened the withdrawal of the peacekeeping forces, but Russia, with the support of a number of Western leaders, was able to persuade him not to do so since the departure of the peacekeepers would mean the danger of resumption of an armed conflict. Only some Georgian politicians believed that if the peacekeepers left their posts, the absence of an obstacle dividing Georgia and Abkhazia would help them to start direct dialogue sooner.

Severe criticism of the Russian peacekeeping activities in Georgia continued. Shevardnadze was hard pressed by the circumstances: the fate of about 200,000 Georgian refugees from Abkhazia became ever more urgent. To ensure their return and security is a categorical imperative for the Georgian leadership. At the same time, the Abkhazian leaders are making every effort to avoid a return to the situation in which the Abkhazians may again constitute a minority (they constituted less than 20 per cent of the pre-war population of Abkhazia), or at least to restrict or delay for as long as possible the return of the refugees in the hope that eventually fewer will wish to come back.

Replying to the criticism of Russia's peacekeeping activities, Boris Yeltsin said at the meeting of the CIS heads of state in March 1997: "The maintenance of peace is bought at a great price, both material and human. This price is paid in the main by Russia. By defending stability in the conflict zone, we defend it in the whole of the Commonwealth, but do not receive due support. We hear, moreover, expression of discontent and claims against us. If our aid displeases someone, we are ready to withdraw the Russian peacekeepers". (7)

In order to impel Russia to take a more favourable position towards the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, Tbilisi also used another instrument of pressure - the ratification of the agreement on Russian military bases within Georgia's territory. Both Shevardnadze and the leaders of Georgian Parliament have repeatedly stated that if Russia does not achieve progress in the settlement of the conflict, the agreement will not be ratified. However, this is not the only component. The Russian military played an important role in Shevardnadze's coming to power, and he needed their presence as long as the acute internal crisis in the republic was not overcome. Once he established a minimal political stability and had managed to strengthen his positions, the use of the Russian military presence as one of the guarantees of stability became superfluous.

In 1992 the Transcaucasian Military District, which had been operating during the Soviet rule, was transformed into the Group of Russian troops in Transcaucasia (GRTT). There are ten thousand troops, and they are deployed in four bases , three of them in Georgia (Vaziani, Batumi and Akhalkalaki) and one in Armenia (in Gyumri, but one regiment is located in Erevan). Many politicians in Armenia, but only a few in Georgia, believe that the presence of Russian forces in the region is a stabilizing factor. The Georgian parliamentarians, who have not yet agreed to ratify the Treaty on Russian military bases in Georgia that was signed as long ago as 1995, point out that their Russian colleagues do not wish to ratify the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Russia and Georgia. Russian parliamentarians in their turn are not satisfied with the conditions that are put forward by the Georgian side concerning the speedy reestablishment of Tbilisi's jurisdiction over the whole territory of the state or Russia's support for the military build-up in Georgia. Georgia has a more confident position with regard to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict thanks to the stabilization of its internal political situation. Mention was made of several alternatives in solving the problem of peacekeeping forces in the case of the Russians' withdrawal. One of the alternatives was replacing the Russian peacekeepers by forces of other CIS countries, including Ukraine and Azerbaijan, republics maintaining quite close relations with Georgia. The acceptance of this alternative, however, requires the decision of a CIS states summit conference. Moreover, this alternative can be resisted by Abkhazia, fearing the biased attitude of peacekeepers from these states. Many of the Russian politicians and military have, in their turn, declared that no alternative to the presence of Russian peacekeepers so far exists. Despite the statement made by Yeltsin, Russia is hardly ready to withdraw the peacekeeping contingents, leaving the conflict zone open for the resumption of military operations, which will inevitably occur in the absence of a deterrent.


New achievements and new tensions.

Russia is worried by the rapidly growing interest in the region shown by NATO and other Western military structures. G.Chufrin and H.Saunders write: "Some Russians are afraid that conservative US politicians may have an interest in 'containing' Russia, if not actually preventing Russia from pursuing normal economic and traditional relationships in its own neighbourhood". (8) While but recently the US government did not respond in any way to the idea of participating in the peace-keeping efforts in the region, in the summer of 1997 the Clinton administration itself proposed sending the American military to supervise the settlement in the Nagorny Karabakh area within the framework of the operation under the aegis of the OSCE, together with contingents from Russia and a number of European countries. (9)

Well aware of the complexity of the situation and the responsibility for its resolution, the Russian leadership attempted in 1997 to make more active diplomatic moves towards a settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov was able to bring about a meeting between Eduard Shevardnadze and Vladislav Ardzinba, who arrived in August in Tbilisi. Despite the great moral and psychological importance of this meeting, it did not lead to any noticeable break-through in the Georgian-Abkhazian negotiations.

Yet another problem, though not such a significant one, which arose between Russia and Georgia was the problem of the division of the Black Sea fleet. In a number of public statements, Eduard Shevardnadze announced that Georgia had been ignored during the sharing out of the Black Sea fleet vessels, although it had the same rights to them as Ukraine. Only in October 1997, after consultations between military delegations of Russia and Georgia, was an agreement signed to transfer to Georgia four warships, (10) although judging by the Russian press comments, they were not combatant but auxiliary ships. Nevertheless, this is a Russian contribution to the creation of the Georgian navy, which strengthens Tbilisi's positions in the conflict zone.

Attempts were likewise made to achieve a breakthrough in the Karabakh conflict. Russia, together with the USA and France, as the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group, suggested a new plan of settlement in the summer of 1997. According to the assessment of American diplomacy, this represented Moscow's most significant step to meet the West in an effort to bring the positions of the sides closer together and to achieve a real change in for the better. This notwithstanding, a certain tension in relations between Russia and the West, the USA especially, has remained, and both sides continue to suspect each other of hegemonism and the desire to dominate in the region to the detriment of the other side's interests.

Russia's attempts to make the role of other states of the CIS in the peacekeeping efforts more active faced reluctance on the part of most of them. Some governments were not interested in participating in any peacekeeping activities at all, because the areas of conflict were too far from them (such was the position of Belarus). Other governments had not enough resources and their participation, if any, was symbolic (like the participation of Uzbekistan in the peacekeeping activities in Tajikistan). Nor are CIS governments inclined to complement Russia in these efforts.

So, on the one hand, Russia failed to persuade other states of the CIS to share the burden of peacekeeping, and in practice remained almost the only state within the Commonwealth that bears the responsibility and financial burden of the peacekeeping. On the other hand, some states of the CIS launched their own independent peacekeeping mechanisms, oriented towards cooperation with the Western world. Such was the Kazakh-Kyrgyz-Uzbek joint battalion. On September 15, 1997 the CentrasBat-97 military exercise began in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with the participation of this battalion and the US Army's 82nd airborne division. While token units from Russia and other countries joined these troops in the exercise, the landing of the US airborne troops near the Russian border was hardly a pleasant experience for Russia. This bitterness was exacerbated by the comments of General John Sheehan, the Commander of the US Atlantic forces, who said that the exercise highlighted the fact that "there is no nation on the face of earth where we cannot go". (11)

For the new summit conference of the CIS states in Kishineu in October 1997, Russian diplomacy prepared a proposal to create a special CIS conflict committee. But this proposal, put forward by Yevgeny Primakov, was not supported by the heads of the CIS states, which testified to the deepening divergence of views of the governments of these states on such essential matters of their political life as conflicts and peacekeeping. At the same time the peacekeeping activities of the CIS member states are a component part of the draft programme for the development of their military cooperation up to the year 2001.

Despite the absence of real progress in the settlement of conflicts in Transcaucasia, Russia can consider as a major diplomatic success its role in supporting the Moldova-Transnistria and the Tajikistan peace processes.

It is unrealistic to believe that such protracted conflicts as the Transcaucasian ones can be resolved quickly and easily. Final success depends mainly on the political will of the conflicting parties themselves. But what can be stated for sure is that Russia's interest is in ending these conflicts, not in preserving them. That doesn't exclude, however, the possibility that in the pluralistic Russian society that is living through a very turbulent period of transition there are no forces that try to exploit the existing conflicts and even to stir them up in order to derive political benefit from them in their struggle for power.



The Russian interests in the 'near abroad' that can dictate Moscow's behaviour towards post-Soviet conflicts could be formulated in terms of the following objectives: to ensure security and stability; to create favourable conditions for trade and economic activities; to form a friendly environment; not to allow any of the CIS states to find itself in the sphere of domination of a third state; to prevent actions hostile to Russia being taken from the territory of the CIS; to guarantee the capacity to guard the CIS frontiers; to protect the rights of the Russian population; to prevent the smuggling of drugs and weapons and uncontrolled migrations of people; to settle the existing inter-state and inter-ethnic conflicts and to prevent the outbreak of new ones.

The Transcaucasian states can benefit from the fact the Russian political elite in general looks favourably at establishing broader cooperation with them, regarding their full independence as 'fait accompli' and treating them in complete accordance with international law. The popularity of integrationist ideas among the Russian electorate today has compelled those politicians of liberal orientation who but recently openly declared isolationism - alleging that almost all of the former republics of the USSR will be but a burden to Russia - to urge economic integration now, not only with Transcaucasia but also with Central Asia.

That means that Transcaucasia will remain within Russia's substantial (but not first grade) foreign policy priorities. Russia will feel more comfortable when it faces a collaborative and unified Transcaucasia free of conflicts and representing no threats to Russia's security interests, relieving Moscow of many burdens and helping it to concentrate on development and the successful transition to prosperity and democracy.


* Vitaly Naumkin is a Professor of Political Science, and President of the Russian Centre for Strategic Research and International Studies (Moscow).

  1. Segodnya, November 24, 1995.

  2. Foundations of the Formation of System of Collective Security of the States-members of the CIS, Moscow, 1996, p.38.

  3. Nezavisimaya gazeta, March 26, 1997.

  4. Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 4, 1997.

  5. James Nathan, 'Turkey Hedges Its Bets', Perceptions, Ankara, March-May 1997, Vol. II, No 1, p.36.

  6. Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 14, 1997.

  7. As reported by the Interfax agency.

  8. G.Chufrin, H.Saunders, The Politics of Conflict Prevention in Russia and the Near Abroad. The Washington Quarterly. Autumn 1997, p.43.

  9. Nezavisimaya gazeta, October 21, 1997.

  10. Postfactum, October 22, 1997.

  11. Western and Russian agencies, September 14-16, Monitor, 17 September 1997, Vol.14, No 172.

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