Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 113

Yuri Skokov, chairman of the Congress of Russian Communities, has dismissed the widely circulating rumors that President Boris Yeltsin may offer him the position of prime minister. Skokov described Yeltsin as "a president who really wanted to do something good for his people…Boris Yeltsin is our contemporary history; and I am against spitting on that history." Skokov offered himself up "to help the nation to survive as a unitary, integral state. Time will show in what capacity I will do that–as president, prime minister, or in some other office." He said he hopes to accomplish that goal together with his teammate, Lt. General (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed. (1)

In 1992 Skokov, then secretary of Yeltsin’s security council, had a falling out with Yeltsin’s liberal advisers. Since then, Skokov has been wary of attacking Yeltsin publicly. Recently, however, he allied himself politically with Yeltsin’s vociferous critic Lebed, and has effectively used his own links with industrialists’ lobbies and semiofficial trade unions to undermine Ivan Rybkin’s pro-Yeltsin "left-of-center" electoral bloc. The CRC is targeting the same voters as is the Rybkin bloc. Skokov seems to consider it a political plus to distance himself clearly from Yeltsin at this stage. But his carefully balanced comment about Yeltsin, coupled with confidence about his own prospects, jibes nicely with insider stories that Skokov has promised Yeltsin and his circle protection from possible criminal prosecution (mainly over the 1993 clash with the parliament) should he come to power.

Security Agencies Look Set for Comeback on Communist and Official Coattails.