Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 189

The illogicality of Zyuganov’s position has likely convinced the Yeltsin leadership that the Communist-dominated Duma will eventually accept the government’s budget, albeit with some changes. Zyuganov repeated his call yesterday for the establishment of a roundtable of representatives of government, parliament, trade unions, and political movements. The Yeltsin leadership has shown guarded interest in the idea and may go through with it if convinced that it will speed up parliamentary passage not only of the budget but also of the tax code, another top government priority. President Yeltsin is also keen to persuade the Duma to adopt a land code permitting the free sale of arable land. (Itar-Tass, October 9)

The Communist Party, for its part, hopes to exploit the roundtable to win support for its own preferred outcomes on all the above legislation, plus the topic of military reform. In a clever move, the Communist Party has sent telegrams to the governors of all of Russia’s regions, appealing to them to support its proposal for a roundtable. (Xinhua, October 9) Some governors are likely to find this proposal attractive since they have strong reservations over the government’s draft budget, which would force the regions to rely less on federal subsidies and meet more of their expenses out of their own pockets. Yeltsin had responded to Duma intransigence by refusing to appear before the Duma and going to speak instead to the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, on which regional governors are strongly represented. Now the Communist Party is also courting the governors. The overall result is likely to be a further increase in the importance of Russia’s regional leaders in the political process.

Russian-Chechen Talks Resume in Dagomys.