Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 162

Two names frequently mentioned as candidates for chairman of the new State Duma are the incumbent Ivan Rybkin and former chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Anatoly Lukyanov, who remains a Communist party loyalist. Russian media have reported that the Liberal Democratic Party, which previously stated its preference for Rybkin or another neutral figure, has struck a deal with the Communist Party to throw its weight behind Lukyanov for the post. In exchange, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky would have Communist backing to become chairman of the Duma committee on international relations — a post that has long interested Zhirinovsky. (10) The LDPR’s reversal was apparent yesterday when it retracted the statement of one its own leading members, Alexander Vengerovsky, that the party could support Rybkin in the chairmanship.

In the meantime, Rybkin is lining up endorsements of his own. Andrei Voikov, chief of the Duma staff, said December 25 that Rybkin’s nomination would have the likely support of non-affiliated deputies as well as members of "Russia is Our Home", Yabloko, and, in a few cases, the Communist party and LDPR. According to Voikov, the incumbent chairman stands a good chance of holding on to his job. He accused Lukyanov — whom he described as part of the "radical wing" of the Communist party — together with other representatives of the old regime in the Duma like Nikolai Ryzhkov, of placing personal ambitions above the interests of Russia and progress. Voikov set the stage for a possible confrontation by indicating that he and a majority of his 960-member staff would not work for a Duma with a Communist chairman. (11)

Yeltsin Turns to Foreign Policy.