Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 118

The Communist opposition has angrily denounced the return to power of their bete noire, Anatoly Chubais. President Boris Yeltsin tried to parry the criticism yesterday, saying Chubais’ new appointment was both only temporary and in Russia’s best interests. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov retorted that Chubais’ appointment provided fresh ammunition for his party’s efforts to impeach the president. Meeting with the coal miners picketing the Russian government building in Moscow, Zyuganov called on them to support the impeachment campaign. The miners are demanding Yeltsin’s resignation and early general elections. The government, however, has said it will not negotiate with them until they drop their political demands.

Duma Speaker and Communist Gennady Seleznev said yesterday that Chubais’ appointment as the Russian president’s representative to international financial organizations is illegal. Their reasoning: He is not giving up his post as chief executive of the electricity monopoly, Unified Energy Systems of Russia. He said the Duma may appeal against the appointment to the Constitutional Court. (Itar-Tass, June 18)

The Communist-sponsored impeachment bid does not, however, have the support either of leading members of the upper house of the Russian parliament or, in the Duma, of Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko, which represents the liberal opposition to the Yeltsin leadership in the lower house. (Moskovsky komsomolets, June 15) It is threatening, moreover, to split moderate nationalists in the Duma from their communist allies. Duma deputy Aleksei Podberezkin, a Russian nationalist ideologue who has long been close to Zyuganov, says the Duma is wasting energy opposing the government at every turn. It could, he says, achieve far more by pursuing compromise on certain issues. Podberezkin says he may try to turn the “Spiritual Heritage” movement he leads into a political party in advance of the 1999 parliamentary elections. (Moskovsky komsomolets, June 15)