Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 221

The Russian parliament has called on President Yeltsin to suspend from duty his chief-of-staff, Anatoly Chubais, and First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Ilyushin, pending an investigation into allegations that the two were involved in covert funding of Yeltsin’s presidential campaign and then tried to organize a cover-up when the affair came to light in June. (Interfax, November 22) The allegations spring from a transcript of a conversation that allegedly took place last June and that was published a week ago in the newspaper Moskovsky komsomolets. Chubais denies the conversation ever took place, but the consensus in the Russian media is that the transcript is genuine. Commentators doubt, however, that Yeltsin will act against his controversial chief-of-staff at present. Chubais is entirely dependent on Yeltsin for his position, but Yeltsin relies on Chubais for the construction of an efficient state machine. Commentators are unanimous in agreeing that Chubais has acquired unrivaled powers of administration with which Yeltsin cannot afford to dispense.

Meanwhile, Russia’s main military prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Yeltsin’s former bodyguard, Aleksandr Korzhakov, destroyed official files after his ouster from the Kremlin in June. There is concern not only that Korzhakov destroyed documents but also that he absconded with incriminating information against other political leaders. The investigation is unlikely to get anywhere soon. Korzhakov has been registered as a candidate in the upcoming parliamentary by-election in Tula oblast, which gives him immunity from prosecution. (Interfax, November 22)

The Two Sides of Aleksandr Lebed.