Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s unilateral decision to dismiss Boris Berezovsky from the post of CIS Executive Secretary and to appoint a replacement has little to do with Berezovsky’s CIS activities. It is, rather, a direct consequence of Russia’s internal political infighting, and marks the ascendancy of Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov (see the Monitor, March 5). It also pleases Russia’s communists, who had recently inspired a strongly worded Duma demand for Yeltsin to remove Berezovsky from the CIS post.
As part of the same decision on March 4, Yeltsin appointed Ivan Karatchenya as acting executive secretary of the CIS. Karatchenya–a Belarusan and a proven sycophant to two presidents, Boris Yeltsin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka–served in the post from 1992 to April 1998, at which point Berezovsky took over, with Karatchenya as his first deputy.
In issuing such decisions, Yeltsin–like the Duma and Primakov who had prodded him–demonstrated a sovereign disregard for due process in general and for CIS procedures in particular. The CIS Executive Secretary is appointed and removed by the Council of Heads of State, the collegial body of presidents of the CIS countries, which takes decisions by consensus. Instead of following those procedures, Yeltsin simply fired Berezovsky in a self-appointed stretch of executive power (Itar-Tass, Russian agencies, Russian TV, March 5-7).
INITIAL CIS REACTIONS TO BEREZOVSKY’S FIRING.