More details have been revealed about the August 24-25 abduction of the speaker of the Crimean parliament, Yevhen Suprunyuk, but no explanation has yet been offered as to the motives of the alleged assault. Suprunyuk claims the attack was politically motivated, but some Crimean parliamentarians, including deputy speaker Yuri Podkopaev, have expressed doubts. (RTR, August 26; Interfax-Ukraine, August 27) The abduction, if such it was, occurred on the eve of an extraordinary session of the Crimean parliament, originally scheduled for today, at which the parliament was to hear a report on the government’s activities and discuss a vote of confidence; this was widely expected to culminate in an attempt by pro-Russian deputies to oust Prime Minister Arkady Demidenko and/or, according to some accounts, speaker Suprunyuk. The session has been postponed, pending Suprunyuk’s recovery. In recent weeks, relations between the prime minister and parliament, and within parliament, have been strained. Ten days ago, an attempt by pro-Russian factions to call an emergency session of the Supreme Soviet and organize a referendum for greater autonomy from the center narrowly failed to muster the support of enough deputies.
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