The Duma yesterday adopted a motion deploring the Russian government’s handling of the Chechen conflict, criticizing it for inconsistency in dealing with the rebels and for failing to provide truthful information to the public. The statement also criticized the Chechen rebels for "terrorist" acts. However, the parliamentary body stopped short of approving the proposal, backed only by the Yabloko faction, to call a vote of no confidence in the government. A group of seven liberal and centrist Duma members issued a stronger statement calling for an independent investigation into the bloody assault by federal troops on Chechen gunmen holding hostages in Dagestan. Yeltsin’s presumptive rival for the presidency, Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov, portrayed the latest turn in the Chechnya crisis as the logical result of "lax authority, the spread of arms all over the country, and gangsterism." He also suggested that Yeltsin’s western supporters were implicated in the violence in the North Caucasus. (4)
Newly elected Duma chairman Gennady Seleznev said the Communist party faction was satisfied with the recent changes in the composition of the government and with Yeltsin’s promise that wages and pensions would be paid on time. He indicated that the KPRF did not, therefore, intend to raise the question of confidence in the government — at least for the time being. (5) However, Seleznev put President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin on notice that their dialogue with parliament would hinge on future changes in personnel and social policy. Unlike Yeltsin, Chernomyrdin has resisted a personnel shakeup until now. Seleznev’s words appeared to signal that the Communist-led Duma expects more appeasement of the kind recently seen in the unceremonious dismissal of Anatoly Chubais. Seleznev noted that he had supported the attempt to impeach Yeltsin last summer and would do so again, although he said "we don’t have the right to initiate those proceedings with elections just six months away." (6)
U.S. Asks Yeltsin to Reaffirm Commitment to Economic Reform.