Soviet Union Is Still History, Yeltsin Assures Neighbors

Article excerpt

President Boris Yeltsin sought to reassure Russia's worried neighbors Saturday, a day after the Communist-led parliament voted to restore the Soviet Union.

Yeltsin ordered the Foreign Ministry to notify nations that the resolution, approved Friday, has no legal standing and does not alter Russia's commitment to its international obligations. He also warned the lower house, or Duma, that it had called its own legitimacy into doubt as well as "the possibility of holding presidential elections."

Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov is Yeltsin's main opponent in the election June 16. "I will allow no attempts to undermine Russia's statehood and destabilize the country," Yeltsin said.

Reaction continued to pour in from the former Soviet republics, where the resolution was deplored as a crude Communist election ploy.

"An act of provocation," said Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian. "Preposterous and anachronistic," said his neighbor, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, a former Soviet foreign minister.

"It gives you the shivers," Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs said, according to the Interfax news agency. …