INTERIOR MINISTER CITED AS POSSIBLE PRIMAKOV REPLACEMENT.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 51
Several media are talking up another possible replacement for Primakov–Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin, who was in the limelight last week for his hardline statements vis-a-vis Chechnya following the abduction of General Gennady Shpigun. One newspaper cited “confidential sources” as saying that rumors that Stepashin–who, according to some observers, has been close to recently ousted CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovsky–might replace Primakov “have weightier grounds than just Boris Berezovsky’s desire to spite the head of government.” According to the paper, Stepashin’s “undoubted advantages” include the fact that he has not been involved in corruption scandals and “the trust Boris Yeltsin has in him.” The paper conceded, however, that Stepashin’s foes may be disseminating the idea that he is poised to replace Primakov because “a politician who is declared an heir too early inevitably becomes the main target for rivals” (Komsomolskaya pravda, March 12). Since 1993, Stepashin has headed the security services, served in the presidential administration and then as justice minister. As Aleksei Mitrofanov, a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party of Russian and head of the Duma’s geopolitics committee, put it: “Stepashin is one of those [who is] very close to the president. And of course, Stepashin is a person who, in the event of trouble, will not be injurious to Yeltsin’s inner circle, because he himself is completely obligated to the president. So that Stepashin is an absolutely real variant as the future premier” (Profil, March 15).
IS SKURATOV ABOUT TO BLOW THE WHISTLE AGAIN, WITH SWISS HELP?