Communist Candidate Sees New Soviet Union: Russian Rails against NATO Expansion
Sieff, Martin, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, the front-runner in Russia's presidential election, says he is determined to peacefully restore the Soviet Union and compares the eastward expansion of NATO to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
Mr. Zyuganov spelled out what he will do if elected next month in an interview conducted for The Washington Times in Moscow by special correspondent Yuri Kalash.
The full text of the interview, Mr. Zyuganov's first with an American newspaper, will be published on the Briefing page of Sunday's editions.
"Five years of this shame have proven that nobody will get themselves out of a crisis alone," he said of the period that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union. "The restoration of the renovated union, of our great motherland, is an imperative of our time."
Mr. Zyuganov ruled out force to achieve this end, but he was vague about how it would come about.
"This does not mean that somebody somewhere will force someone else to join or even eat away at their sovereignty. It does mean, however, that the reunification will be done exclusively by the people themselves," he said.
"We will take all the necessary measures to be sure that the brotherly links are voluntarily restored between Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. That is the first step on the road to a voluntary restoration of the union."
Mr. Zyuganov did pledge: "We are not going to jeopardize the sovereignty of an independent Ukraine."
But the Communist leader alarmed Ukrainians during a visit to Kiev in February, according to Paula Dobriansky, a senior State Department and National Security Council official in the Reagan and Bush administrations.
She said Mr. Zyuganov told the Ukrainians at that time they had enjoyed full "sovereignty" while their republic was a member of the Soviet Union.
In his interview, Mr. Zyuganov forcefully expressed his opposition to any expansion of NATO to include former Soviet allies in Central Europe.
"The intention of certain politicians to bring NATO troops to the Russian borders is an ill-considered and dangerous step," he said.
"In the past 1,000 years, Russia has been invaded over 500 times, not to mention the two world wars which cost the lives of almost 50 million Soviet citizens. Every time the neighboring countries of Russia were used as springboards for these attacks.
"Despite the many assurances of the Western leaders, NATO has a very clear anti-Russian side," Mr. …