‘s budget through critical votes last fall. Seleznev for months had been courted by the president in heavily publicized "Big Four" and "roundtable" meetings of government and opposition leaders. He had every reason to expect that his plan to bring Communists into the government would receive serious attention. But once Boris Yeltsin had his budget in hand (needing now only a vote in the supportive upper house of parliament), he told Seleznev and the Communists that he had "no time" to read their proposals.

In Hollywood, the hometown sweetheart who gets dumped after putting her caddish husband through law school always gets her revenge. The jilted Communist Party may find, though, that life does not imitate art. Forty percent of the Communists (and nearly all of their Agrarian Party allies) ended up voting for the budget, against the advice of the party leadership. The party is in disarray and seems incapable of inflicting political punishment on the president.