Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 71

Vyacheslav Nikonov, head of the Politika Foundation think tank, said today that the Kremlin has started to launch an effective counterattack against the actions of its enemies, which include the investigations by the Prosecutor General’s Office into Kremlin corruption. He stated that the “experienced and firm hand” of Anatoly Chubais could be seen in these moves. Nikonov also noted that Yeltsin in recent days has replaced the heads of his Security Council, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry’s investigation committee and its internal troops, while replacing key officials at the Federal Security Service and reorganizing its directorates in charge of economic counterintelligence and providing counterintelligence for “strategic objects.” These directorates have been involved in a number of the controversial ongoing anticorruption investigations (Izvestia, April 13).

Nikonov said that the Kremlin administration’s recent attempts to thaw its relations with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov were made because “without the support of the capital’s mayor, any scenario involving emergency measures can collapse in a matter of hours.” Nikonov did add a caveat to his alarming picture, saying that the political tensions had subsided somewhat over this past, Orthodox Easter weekend. Meanwhile, unnamed Kremlin sources were quoted as saying that “the president has been longing for violent solutions” (Izvestia, April 13). It is difficult to determine the degree to which comments such as these represent the president’s real intentions or are simply a way of intimidating the opposition.