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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spy Chief Says West Seeks to Split Russia, CIS

Less than a week before Boris Yeltsin's summit talks with President Bill Clinton in Washington, the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service warned Wednesday of moves in the West to prevent Russia regaining its status as a great power.


Yevgeny Primakov told a press conference that his service had concluded that certain forces in the West were attempting to curb Russia's influence in the former Soviet republics by exploiting "negativism" and "neo-isolationist elements" in CIS states.


Primakov said this could affect Russia's relations with the West.


"It can be definitely expected that a certain cooling will take place in the relations between foreign capitals and Moscow, which is being accused of imperial designs, of trying to impose itself on other states," Primakov said.


He declined to be more specific, or say what counter-measures his service was taking, but pledged that there would be no return to the past confrontation with the West and said no one wanted the revival of a single state in the shape of the former Soviet Union.


Primakov was presenting a report by his service, titled, "Russia-CIS. Does the West need to correct its position?" which said that there were genuine fears in the West that the former Soviet Union could re-emerge as an adversary in the form of a new union.


But it said there were also "clearly visible trends to prevent Russia from emerging as a great power."


In London, Reuters reported Wednesday that there was growing concern among European diplomats that the United States was taking too flexible an approach to Russian peacekeeping in the former Soviet republics, clearing the way for "backyard intervention".


The report said there were signs of growing unease in both Eastern and Western Europe about Russian troop deployments in troubled republics and regions, such as Tajikistan and Abkhazia, while Washington and some others felt there was no choice but to accept them.


"The problem is that some of the former Soviet republics and the Eastern Europeans are not happy with the idea. They don't want any suggestion that Moscow has a free hand to intervene," Reuters quoted an unnamed European diplomat as saying.


Russia argues that its peacekeepers are fulfilling a necessary role in dealing with nationalist and ethnic crises on its borders which are ignored by the West and the United Nations.


The role of Russian peacekeepers is expected to be raised during Yeltsin's talks with Clinton on Sept. 27 and 28 and in separate discussions with British Prime Minister John Major in London, where the Russian President is spending two days on his way to the Washington summit.


Moscow has also welcomed moves in the former Soviet republics towards closer integration between CIS members, a point reaffirmed Wednesday by Primakov, who called for joint supranational bodies to manage the economy, defence and space research, with Russia playing a key role in the integration process.


"Such a development will lead to a growth of the might of Russia, the CIS countries and the community as a whole," he said.


Primakov said Russia had a key role in the defence union because 30 percent of all peacekeeping troops in CIS troublespots belonged to Russia.


"Russia has been playing a special part in those actions and it cannot be otherwise," he said. "It has been playing that role due to its size," he added, noting that the United States had also been the dominant partner in international forces it had contributed to.