, a banker, media mogul, and investor in politicians who clearly believes that Chubais in particular is working against his interests. (Berezovsky in a recent press interview called Chubais a Bolshevik and an IMF toady. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.) And both seem out of step with the president’s new-found interest in building a harmonious relationship with the opposition and the legislature, "replacing," as he said, "confrontation with dialogue."

In the last weeks of 1997, the lower house or Duma gave the president a boost by approving the 1998 budget on the second of four required votes. The third vote is scheduled for January 23. Also in late December, the president and parliamentary leaders agreed to set up an executive-legislative working group to draft a compromise on the contentious issue of land sales. The working group has 90 days to present its proposal, which must reconcile President Yeltsin’s insistence that farmers have the right to sell their land with the parliament’s insistence that agricultural land is national patrimony and cannot be taken out of production by private action. Yeltsin appeared to be moving toward the parliament’s position, apparently conceding that any land code should include extensive state controls. He also praised the process of compromise, asserting that his "round table" meeting with the parliamentary leadership is "a new form of reaching democratic decisions." That’s a long way from the repeated threats to dissolve the Duma that have marked Yeltsin’s parliamentary relations since the Duma first convened. So far, in fact, that Duma president