SOVIET leader Mikhail Gorbachev conducted a dress rehearsal
Friday for his summit meeting in two weeks with Western leaders in
London. And he had a sympathetic audience - German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl, unarguably Moscow's friend in court.
Mr. Kohl emerged from a five-hour meeting outside the Ukrainian
capital of Kiev with a pledge to support Soviet requests for Western
economic backing. And Mr. Gorbachev took the occasion to warn that
the only alternative to the success of his policies is the kind of
civil war threatening to tear apart nearby Yugoslavia.
"The events (in Yugoslavia) are a lesson for all the peoples of
the Soviet Union, and also a warning," Gorbachev told reporters.
"What is happening now should make everybody understand that it is
necessary to pursue the road of renewal and not disintegration."
Gorbachev's "warning" was aimed largely at the nationalist
republics who still resist signing the draft treaty of union
finalized last month. Six of the country's 15 republics have refused
to sign. But more troublesome is the insistence from the powerful
Ukrainian and Russian governments on even more concessions of power
to the republics before they will endorse the document.
Gorbachev is also subtly pressuring the West for support with the
threat of the country's and his own political demise.
He is hard at work on his July 17 presentation to the Group of
Seven summit of industrialized nations in London.
Contrary to earlier reports, senior Gorbachev aides say the
Soviet leader will not present a full economic reform program in
London. Instead, Gorbachev will give a detailed speech based on
various economic reform programs, including the government's current
"There will be a gist of the president's understanding of the
processes taking place both inside the country and in the outside
world," Gorbachev aide Yevgeny Primakov said.
The senior aide rejected the charges from conservative Communists
that Gorbachev will be selling the country to the capitalists and
the expectations of those who believe that large amounts of Western
aid will be forthcoming.
According to reports, Gorbachev spent more than three hours of
his meeting with Kohl "rehearsing" his London arguments. Kohl's
aides, according to Reuters, say the chancellor gave Gorbachev
"tips" on how to deal with individual G-7 leaders.
Rather than government aid, Gorbachev is emphasizing foreign
direct investment, with limited assistance tied directly to market
moves. Gorbachev reportedly told Kohl that he will bring a list of
projects needing foreign capital, including oil and gas production
and modernization of nuclear power plants. The Soviet parliament
gave final approval last week to a law on foreign investment which
allows 100 percent foreign-owned subsidiaries to operate here. …