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Russia: Security Council Approves Security Doctrine

Moscow, 7 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Security Council today approved a draft of a new national security doctrine that President Boris Yeltsin says outlines the country's key strategic goals.

Yeltsin, who chaired the session, called the doctrine a key issue for the whole of Russian society.

ITAR-TASS, which carried Yeltsin's remarks, did not offer any details on the content of the security doctrine. However, the agency said the 30-page text states that social upheaval and economic crisis pose greater risks to Russia than any military threat.

The agency said the country's priorities would be "strengthening social stability" and completing and developing notions of statehood and federalism, as well as ensuring a return to economic growth.

Reuters says Yeltsin again pledged to reduce and modernize Russia's armed forces. But the Russian leader also said that Moscow would take measures to counter the threat to its security from NATO eastward expansion. The agency quoted Yeltsin as saying Russia had a choice either to do nothing or "somehow give" Russia "good cover in the East." Yeltsin appeared to be referring to attempts to forge better ties with China and other Asian states.

Yeltsin told Krasnaya Zvezda, the Army newspaper, in an interview today that he would take all possible measures to minimize the consequences of NATO expansion.