Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 236

Nikolai Bordyuzha, the new chief of President Boris Yeltsin’s administration and secretary of the Security Council, a presidential advisory body, held a meeting Monday (December 21) with the heads of Russia’s power “ministries,” including the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service. After the meeting, Bordyuzha told reporters that the main issue discussed at the meeting was the formulation of a “directive” aimed at “maintaining law and order in Russia in 1999.” Bordyuzha said this directive will be signed by Yeltsin and will include specific anticrime measures (Russian agencies, December 21). Yeltsin has ordered special anticrime measures in the past, including a 1994 decree allowing law enforcement agencies to detain suspected members of organized crime groups for thirty days without charges. The decree, which was later canceled on the grounds that it violated federal laws, was widely viewed as ineffective in the fight against organized crime.

Monday’s meeting of the “power” ministers also covered the issues of combating corruption and political extremism. Bordyuzha said that “joint operational-investigative groups” will soon be sent to some of Russia’s regions to investigate allegations of corruption, including those published by national and regional media. At the opening of the meeting, which the media was allowed to attend, Bordyuzha held up examples of anti-Semitic literature which had been purchased on the streets of Moscow over the weekend. One book was devoted to the subject of the “occupation” of Russia by Jews (Russian agencies, Reuters, December 21). Anti-Semitic literature, including Russian-language translations of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” have long been readily available at book stalls in the Russian capital.

Oleg Sysuev, first deputy head of the presidential administration, said an in interview Sunday night (December 20) that Yeltsin had instructed Bordyuzha to dispatch “special military inspectors” to the southern Russian regions of Krasnodar and Stavropol to investigate extremist activities there (Russian agencies, December 20). The ultra-nationalist group Russian National Unity (RNU) has been highly active in these regions, and Nikolai Kondratenko, the governor of Krasnodar, who is backed by both communists and nationalists, has referred repeatedly in public statements to an alleged Zionist conspiracy against Russia.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov recently banned an RNU congress planned for Moscow and over the weekend called for the organization to be banned outright (see the Monitor, December 21). It is quite possible that the Kremlin’s latest moves concerning political extremism were motivated by a desire to recapture the initiative from Luzhkov.