KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE WOULD SET PRECEDENT FOR EX-SOVIET REPUBLICS - ZHIRINOVSKY

Interfax
Ukraine General Newswire
May 25, 2006 Thursday 8:31 PM MSK

If Kosovo is granted independence, the self-proclaimed republics
in the territory of the former USSR could also claim independence,
Russian State Duma Deputy Chairman Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal
Democratic Party has said.

"If Kosovo gains independence this year, which is likely to happen,
such republics as Transdniestria, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh
will also have a legitimate right to independence," Zhirinovsky told
journalists Thursday.

"Kosovo is seeking self-determination on a territory that does not
belong to it, while the populations of those republics live on their
territories fro the most part," Zhirinovsky said.

"Transdniestria has never been a Moldovan territory: Moldova is
historically Bessarabia, but Transdniestria is what [Russian military
leader Alexander] Suvorov won from the Turks. Abkhazia joined the
Russian Empire earlier than Georgia. As for Nagorno-Karabakh, I would
not like to offend Baku, but it should gain absolute independence
and maintain strategic relations with Armenia," he said.

Zhirinovsky suggested that these republics might in the future join
the CIS.

Zhirinovsky is attending the 3rd congress of the Union of Armenians
of Russia as a guest. The congress opened in Moscow on Thursday.