Russian Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov and Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin sent a letter yesterday to acting Prosecutor Yuri Chaika concerning “insulting statements directed at the president of the Russian Federation” made by Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). The two ministers urged Chaika to take the necessary “procedural decisions” concerning Zyuganov’s statements.
Zyuganov made his controversial remarks during a press conference on February 8, during which he said, among other things: “We believe that that a document must be drawn up which would limit the autocracy of the spineless, helpless, drunk person sitting in the Kremlin now. Or, more precisely, who is [either] lying in a hospital bed or staying in a sanatorium” (Russian agencies, February 8). One newspaper today quoted a source in the Prosecutor General’s Office as saying that insulting statements are criminal only if they include indecent language, and a that a case for slander can be made only if the statements included accusations of criminal wrongdoing. Accusing someone of being spineless, helpless and drunk would not appear to meet the legal criteria (Kommersant daily, February 10). At any rate, presidential press secretary Dmitri Yakushkin said Yeltsin has no plans to sue Zyuganov. Yakushkin compared Zyuganov, who has made similar comments in the past, to a broken record (Russian agencies, February 9).
COMMUNISTS REJECT GOVERNMENT-KREMLIN PEACE ACCORD.