Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 133

President Boris Yeltsin reportedly canceled plans to leave Moscow to go on vacation this week. The Russian press continues to print rumors that unidentified extremists are planning to take power in a coup as soon as Yeltsin departs from the capital. Yeltsin fanned the flames on July 11, when he told a meeting of military and security officials in the Kremlin that the government was fully equipped to fight off any attempt to seize power by force. (Itar-Tass, July 11)

More intriguing, however, was an article carried in Nezavisimaya gazeta–flagship newspaper of Boris Berezovsky’s empire–which suggested the creation of a “Provisional State Council” on the principle of corporate representation. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, July 10, quoted by Itar-Tass, July 11) Berezovsky has long been associated with calls for an “economic politburo” that would give leading financiers a direct say over the making of government economic policy. Last week’s article added two new twists to the idea. First, it proposed that President Boris Yeltsin should be given a seat on the council–on condition that he give up all idea of running for a third term in office. Second, it proposed that the council be charged with organizing new presidential and parliamentary elections within three months. Berezovsky has made it clear that he does not believe Yeltsin should run for a third term, but this latest article suggests that he may already have decided on his own candidate to step into Yeltsin’s shoes.