Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 164

Anatoly Chubais, Boris Yeltsin’s chief-of-staff, held a wide-ranging press conference in Moscow yesterday, which he characterized as the beginning of a new policy of openness. Chubais acknowledged that the Kremlin’s silence on the state of Yeltsin’s health had been counterproductive and spawned a host of rumors and speculation. (RTR, September 4)

Most of the reporters’ questions concerned Chechnya. Chubais called for "avoiding extremes" — either castigating Lebed as the destroyer of Russia or acclaiming him a national hero deserving the Nobel Peace Prize. Chubais repeated the standard position that, while the Kremlin wants peace in Chechnya, it is not prepared to compromise where the territorial integrity of the Russian state is concerned. It would be impermissible, Chubais said, to equate Russia’s relations with Chechnya with those of two independent states. (He did not mention that this is how Russia’s relations with Tatarstan were treated in the effective but highly ambiguous power-sharing treaty of February 1994.)

In other Chechnya-related developments, Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov and nationalist member of parliament Sergei Baburin yesterday demanded a special session of the upper house of the Russian parliament to discuss the Khasavyurt accords. The two have been among the most bitter critics of the peace agreement. The speaker of the Federation Council, Yegor Stroev, responded by saying that such a session would certainly be held, "but not yet." (ORT, September 4) His effective refusal to summon a meeting of parliament received high-level support when two of the most influential members of the Federation Council, the presidents of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, both said such a meeting was premature and unnecessary at the present time. (Interfax, September 4)

Kremlin Jubilant over Saratov Poll.