According to Chechen information minister Movladi Udugov, the Chechen government learned of financier Boris Berezovsky’s appointment to the Security Council "with satisfaction." Deputy Premier Ruslan Kutaev said Berezovsky’s appointment could presage Russian investment in the Chechen economy. (NTV, October 31) However, ousted Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed has alleged that Berezovsky urged him to continue the war in Chechnya because it suited Berezovsky’s business interests. Lebed told a press conference on October 17 that Berezovsky had said he did not care how many people were killed during the war as long it was good for business. (Kommersant-weekly, October 22)
The row over Berezovsky’s appointment in the Russian media has turned ugly. Journalist Pavel Voshchanov, who in 1991 served as President Yeltsin’s press secretary, yesterday openly questioned Berezovsky’s loyalty to the Russian state on the grounds that he is Jewish. (Komsomolskaya pravda, October 31) There was also a clear anti-Semitic undertone in Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev’s charge that Berezovsky had "staged an anti-Russian information coup on Public TV." (Itar-Tass, October 29) Russian commentators concurred with Voshchanov’s evaluation of Berezovsky’s appointment as "proof that Chubais’ clan has gained the upper hand in the Kremlin." Writing in Kommersant-daily, Georgy Bovt and Natalya Kalashnikova said that the appointment marked "the formation of a shadow cabinet in the Kremlin," led by presidential aide Anatoly Chubais, and that it represented a potential challenge to the cabinet of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. (Kommersant-daily, October 31) The evolution of both government and opposition within the executive branch is the logical result of Russia’s 1993 constitution, which emasculated parliament and vested almost all power in the hands of the executive.
Kulikov Meets with Chechen Interior Minister.