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Russia: Duma Appeals For Anti-NATO Protests

Moscow, 24 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Russian Duma overwhelmingly called on Russians today to mark next month's anniversary of the end of World War II by demonstrating against NATO expansion.

In a vote of 253 in favor to 14 against, the Duma delegates called on all political parties to take part in Russia's May 9 Victory Day celebrations and to protest the Atlantic Alliance's plans to include former Warsaw Pact members.

The Duma declaration said the NATO expansion plan amounts to the creation of the largest military threat to Russia in the past 50 years.

The Duma also appealed to parliaments of NATO member countries and urged them to reconsider the expansion plans.

NATO is due to announce at a July summit in Madrid which central and eastern European countries will be among the first to join an expanded alliance. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are considered front-running candidates.