Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 203

The speaker of the lower house of Russian parliament, Gennady Seleznev, has strongly protested yesterday’s appointment of a prominent Russian banker, Boris Berezovsky, as deputy secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council. (Itar-Tass, October 29) Berezovsky is president of the LogoVAZ banking group and heads the board of directors of Russia’s semi-private Public Television (ORT). He is believed to have bankrolled President Yeltsin’s reelection campaign last summer. Recently, Berezovsky has been accused by both ousted Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed and former presidential bodyguard Aleksandr Korzhakov of conniving with presidential aide Anatoly Chubais to persuade President Yeltsin to oust them from their Kremlin posts.

However true these unedifying charges might be, the appointment of a banker and media mogul to one of Russia’s most powerful and sensitive bodies is an extraordinary development. It bears out suspicions that Lebed’s ouster was not caused merely by a clash of personalities, but rather involved a struggle of clans seeking control over the machinery of the state. Berezovsky told Itar-Tass yesterday that he expects to be responsible on the Security Council for issues relating to economic reform. Seleznev left no doubt that he believes Chubais is behind the appointment. Seleznev demanded Chubais’ resignation and said that he would not participate in the Consultative Council of Russia’s top four officials as long as Chubais remains. (Itar-Tass, October 30) Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said yesterday that the newly-established council will hold its first meeting tomorrow. (Itar-Tass, October 29) The council includes the president (represented by Chubais), the prime minister, and the speakers of both houses of parliament. Earlier this week, Chubais admitted that the idea of setting up the council was his. (Kommersant-daily, October 29)

Conciliatory Commission to Discuss New Government Budget Proposals.