Theoretically, it was clear right from the very beginning that the planned visit to Japan by Boris Yeltsin was scheduled while the political and economic situation in Russia was unfavorable for such an undertaking. On the contrary, preparations made for the visit proved that Yeltsin' s team as well as the experts wABere quite sure that it would be crowned with success.

The unexpected decision taken by the Russian president to put  he visit off might be explained in various ways, and there are even experts who are eager to make a "scapegoat" of Japan itself. But in my judgment, the "scapegoats" are of Russian rather than of any other origin.

It is very likely that the primary reason for the present '" status quo" was Yeltsin' s self-deception in thinking that he had the opportunity to reach an agreement with Japan without 'the Northern Territory problem being settled. But despite the fact that there were 14 possible solutions to this complicated problem, none of them proved effective enough to resolve it. Grains of rationalism laid down in the compromise settlement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, such as corroboration of the Declaration of 1956, were blocked, most likely by some power-influencing structures comprising the president's machinery -- the Security Council for one. This fact proves, by the way, that the Russian Foreign Ministry stopped playing a significant part in the development of the foreign policy of the state or, at least, 'that this event damaged the prestige of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The incomprehensibly uttered positions taken by both sides, Yeltsin himself and the Russian Foreign Ministry; on the territorial problem, paved the way for an outburst of anti-Japanese sentiment among the adherents of communism and nationalism. Nowadays those forces are celebrating their victory. But it is a Pyrrhic victory. And the fruits of this victory are as follows.

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