USSR: YL'TSIN UNION GAME PLAN

Created: 8/31/1991

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Special Analysis

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Union Gunc Plan

Yel'tsin's rtctnt bilateralagreements with Ukraine and Kazakh,tan indicate he is new tke driring force behind the effort to establish ti fundamentally reconstituted association of republics in place of the present union. This mew association will hate strictly limited functions andommon armed forces, and Russia will dominate it while preserving Its own full sovereignty. Yel'tsin's plan Is likely to spark renewed conflict soon with Gorbachev and fears In other republics of Russian domination; Its failure would rapidly accelerate independence movements in Ukraine, Belorussia,m: isio. |

Yel'tsin ind his team are seeking to capitalize on the rout of traditionalists, paralysis of ihe union government, and the prestige of Russia to reshape the center immediately, without waiting for agreement on the future union. Yel'tsin believes Gorbachev can serveacilitator during ihe transition period, but be also has asserted Russian leadership of tbe rcconstitutionemporary central government and has taken the central Soviet bureaucracy into Russian receivership.

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Sort of Union?

Yel'tsin has apparently encountered no resistance in pushing for acceptance of even secessionist republics in an economic union. He continues to voice support forew union, and as recently as Wednesday referred lo ihe need toevised union treaty, bul he makes it clear that Soviet states would participate at their own initiative. The new union's authority would be restricted to providingcommon economic space" and managing military affairs, nuclear energy,ew other unspecified functions. The union's directive institutions would basicallyoordinating role and might be merged later intoa system of "iotenepublic administrative

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New Situation

Most of Yel'tsin's proposals are not new but have been brought into reach by the failed coup. His aim remains to neutralize any threat from the center to Russian independence and to destroy the center's capacity as an autonomous power structure.!

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Yel'tsin's posture has changed, however, in several significant respects in response to new conditions. The claim of jurisdiction by various non-Russianespeciallycentral military forces in their territory and plans to establish large republic armed formations have posed the threat of uncontrolled disintegration of the Soviet army. Republic "independence" declarations also threaten relations between titular nationals and large minorities (mainly Russians) in these republics. This io turn could create serious political

in negotiating creation of tbe new union.

problems for Yel'uin if he is seen as "seliin^utj^Russian minorities

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Id order to exert leverage on these republics, prevent unraveling of the army, and demonstrate anemiveness to the minority issue, Yel'tsin has chosen to link solution of the "border"Ukrainians and Kazakhs thought had already been setUed in bilateralwith participation in the new union Through this maneuver Yel'tsin successfully sought to pressUkrainians into slow down unilateral action in the military sphere androvide public assurances of intent to observe minority rights. I

Meanwhile, Yel'tsin has revealed that his planussian national armed formation entailsind of palace guarden. This line signals his success in getting his supporters into key positions in the Ministry of Defense and warns any recalcitrant republics that, if they do not participate in Yel'tsin's type of uni< the present Soviet army could become the Russian army.

Implications

Yel'tsin's planecondary role to Gorbachev even in the short term. Renewed conflict between the two will come quickly unless Gorbachev abandons his visionnionemiautonomous center, which he would represent. Id view of the drive of all republics for sovereignty, the strongest union that could emerge now appears to be Yel'tsin's model, which combines elementsommon market incorporating allepublics, with some elements of weak confederation in many spheres. It is uncertain whethernion is viable, and, even in the short term, Yel'tsin's shock tactic of raising the "border" question and bis proprietary attitude toward the Soviet armed forces will stir fears of Russian pretensions and strengthen centrifugal forces. I

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