Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 28

Gennady Zyuganov said today that his Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) would not support a “nonaggression pact” between Russia’s branches of power, which Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov proposed last month and the Kremlin tentatively approved on February 5. Zyuganov noted that the last such Kremlin initiative was immediately followed by the Chechen war. Yesterday Yelena Mizulina, a Yabloko deputy, called the initiative “improper,” and compared it to pacts reached between “bandits” (NTV, February 9). Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko announced today that it would not support the pact (TV-6, February 10). Duma leaders were set to meet with Primakov today to discuss his proposed plan.

On February 5 Yeltsin’s advisory Security Council submitted a watered-down version of Primakov’s plan. According to the new draft, the president and both houses of the parliament will pledge not to propose any amendments to the constitution without prior consultations, and the president cannot sack the cabinet without first consulting both houses of parliament. Primakov’s version would have required the president to completely eschew his constitutionally mandated powers to dissolve the State Duma, the parliament’s lower house, and to dismiss the cabinet. The new draft, unlike Primakov’s, does not require that the Duma end its attempts to impeach Yeltsin (ORT, February 8). Another element omitted from the new draft is a law outlining benefits for ex-presidents. Primakov would have granted former heads of state, among other things, the right to free travel on public transportation, except for taxis.

The KPRF leadership is apparently split over the initiative. State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev appears to support it in principle. Seleznev said yesterday that a “political accord” should be reached before parliamentary elections, scheduled for this December, are held, but stressed that the Duma would have to pass final version. He said an accord could be reached more quickly if the Kremlin’s legal department expedited its examination on three draft laws governing elections. Seleznev also said that “normal working conditions” for the government should be established. Duma leaders are set to meet with Primakov today to discuss the proposed accord (Russian agencies, February 9).

Zyuganov said yesterday that the KPRF would present its own proposals for “civic peace,” including everything “from dismissing the president to introducing changes in the constitution” (Russian agencies, February 9). The Communists would like to reduce the power of the presidency, and say the president should be chosen by the parliament rather than through popular elections.

Seleznev seems to be drifting further and further away from his party comrades. There is speculation that he could join a “social democratic” electoral movement which may be in the works. The new movement would include Primakov, “centrist” groups such as Arkady Volsky’s Russian Union of Industrialist and Entrepreneurs and, possibly, Russia is Our Home, former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin’s languishing movement (NTV, February 7).