Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 164

Elected to the Duma from a single-mandate constituency (Murmansk), foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev is required by law to choose between his ministerial post and parliamentary seat; officials are no longer allowed to cumulate executive and legislative positions. His election to the Duma could yet provide a graceful exit from diplomacy for the widely criticized minister, particularly after President Boris Yeltsin had virtually announced Kozyrev’s removal. The outcome of the December 17 general election might have changed both Yeltsin’s and Kozyrev’s mind. Following a meeting of the two men December 27, Kozyrev told Russian TV the objective now is not to make a choice but to find a means to combine the functions of Duma deputy and government minister, and that the matter would be resolved after Yeltsin returns to the Kremlin from his convalescence. Kozyrev said he would stay in his job as long as he can defend his principles. He warned that "reviving the image of the enemy, perpetuating imperial policies against the former USSR republics, all that would spell catastrophe for Russia." (10) Kozyrev did not mention how he or the president proposed to get around Russian law. Behind this rather transparent exercise in buying time may also be a calculation that opening a key vacancy like the Foreign Ministry could give the Duma’s Communists an opening for influencing the choice of the new minister. Yeltsin’s new foreign policy council, which does not give Kozyrev a well defined role, could also be a means for keeping Kozyrev in office with a reduced role.

Belarus Constitutional Court Chairman Stays Put.