THE PROSPECT OF NATO EXPANSION MEETS with almost universal condemnation among the Russian political elite. Not a single political figure approves of the idea, and the leaders of every major Russian political party, from Yegor Gaidar to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, have openly opposed any enlargement of the alliance. President Boris Yeltsin attacked NATO expansion in his address to the United Nations during proceedings marking the organization's 50th anniversary. The issue was conspicuously absent from the agenda of his subsequent Hyde Park, New York, meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton. As a commentator for the independent Russian NTV network observed, the two presidents acted as if the issue did not exist.1

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