Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 68

Meanwhile, also in apparent reaction to the left’s increasing muscle-flexing, the press department of the Federal Security Service (FSB) has reportedly taken the unprecedented step of distributing an analytical paper to members of the State Duma. The report warns that the lower house’s commission involved in impeachment procedures against Yeltsin has made “serious mistakes of a legal nature” in its findings (Kommersant daily, April 8). The analysis would appear to be a warning to the Duma not to go ahead with its plans to launch formal impeachment proceedings on April 15. The FSB is headed by Vladimir Putin, a Yeltsin loyalist, to whom Yeltsin recently gave the additional role of running the Security Council, a powerful advisory body. Putin is said to be close to Anatoly Chubais, Russia’s privatization architect who currently runs the country’s electricity grid.

At the same time, one report today suggested that Viktor Chernomyrdin might join Yuri Maslyukov and Vadim Gustov as the third first deputy prime minister in Primakov’s cabinet. According to this version, the former prime minister is being viewed as a peacemaker who might be able to help avert an open conflict between the Duma and Yeltsin, who is “extremely annoyed with the preparations for impending impeachment, the Skuratov scandal and the strengthened role of the communists in the government” (Izvestia, April 8). Chernomyrdin, who is scheduled to meet Yeltsin today, said, also today, that there was nothing special about that meeting and that he had no plans to join the government (Russian agencies, April 8).