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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

To Communists, Union Is 'Vital'

The State Duma's resolution declaring null and void the December 1991 accords that dissolved the Soviet Union continued to draw fierce attacks Monday, but analysts said there was political method in the provocative, Communist backed move.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev issued a statement condemning the resolution, saying that efforts aimed at restoring the Soviet Union could seriously destabilize the situation within the Commonwealth of Independent States and might even cause bloodshed.

His sentiments were echoed by Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who accused the Duma of resorting to populism which had "nothing to do with our policy of strengthening independence and democracy."

Similar statements have been issued by the leaders of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and the Baltic states, while in Moscow, President Boris Yeltsin said the Duma's vote Friday had aimed to create political and legal deadlock in Russia.

"The resolutions question the legitimacy of state bodies, including the existing State Duma, and put the possibility of holding presidential elections in doubt," Interfax quoted Yeltsin as saying Saturday. Yeltsin, however, on Monday denied Communist accusations he would use the Duma's resolution declaring void the Belovezhskaya Pushcha agreement as an excuse to clamp down on Russia's democratic institutions and delay elections.

Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov told a press conference that the Duma resolution's failure to take account of the independence of the former Soviet republics did serious damage to the process of reintegration that the government was already pursuing.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told a party conference Sunday that the Communists had no intention of using force to reunite the Soviet republics, emphasizing that reintegration was a gradual and voluntary process.

But analysts and reformist leaders have pointed to the resolution as evidence of the Communists' revanchist intentions, a point that was underlined Saturday when hardline communist Valentin Varennikov told a meeting of the Union of Officers that Zyuganov's statements represented only the "minimum program" of the party and that there was a "maximum program" that had not yet been made public.

Sergei Markov, a political analyst at the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, said the restoration of the Soviet Union was a key element of the communists' program. "For Yeltsin, this is just another political issue, which he can raise or give up at any time. But the communists see the rebuilding of the union as a vital part of their economic program, a way of solving the country's main problems," he said.

According to Markov, the resolution was aimed at consolidating the communist electorate and drawing votes from nationalist leaders such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky to help ensure a victory by Zyuganov at the June presidential polls.

"If you talk to liberals in Moscow, they will say that the resolution was meaningless or even stupid," Markov said. "But you would get a very different impression in Penza or Kaluga or many other parts of the country."

Duma International Affairs Committee chairman, Vladimir Lukin, a member of the reformist Yabloko faction, said Monday that supporters of the resolution had played into the hands of those seeking to expand NATO eastward, by posing Russia as a threat to the sovereignty of the Soviet republics and Moscow's former East European allies.

"Each move by Russia will be met with three times as much suspicion," Lukin said in an interview with Interfax.

"Sovereignty is an essential condition to establish the basis of the new integration process,"

He said that if the communists came to power in Russia, they would try to promote the cause of the Communist Parties in the republics as well as applying economic pressure to persuade the republics' leaders to rejoin the union.

"The Duma vote is unable to reanimate the former Soviet Union, but can only create uncertainty about Russia's legal status

"The Duma decision violates the sovereignty of these states and the very existence of the CIS, in effect blocking the beginning and the development of the integration process," he told a press conference.