The "Group of Four," consisting of the Russian president, prime minister, and speakers of the two houses of parliament, will meet early next week — either on Monday or on Tuesday. Preparations are also underway for a meeting early next week of a roundtable consisting of the president and parliamentary leaders together with representatives of the trade unions and other public organizations. The Kremlin has plunged itself into a flurry of activity in the hope that opposition MPs will be persuaded to abandon next week’s threatened no-confidence vote in the government. Early signs indicate, however, that while the Kremlin is happy to be seen as engaged in consultations with the opposition, the president is in no mood to bargain. His press spokesman told journalists yesterday that the president will refuse categorically either to change the government’s strategic course or to sack either of the two first deputy premiers, Anatoly Chubais and Boris Nemtsov. There will be no government re-shuffle, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin reiterated.
The Communist Party Central Committee is to meet this weekend, at a location so secret that it has not yet been divulged even to invitees. There is speculation that it will hear calls from the party’s radical wing for the replacement of party leader Gennady Zyuganov, seen by the radical wing as having this week blown the opposition’s best chance of ousting the government. Meanwhile, Anatoly Chubais, whom the Communists would most like to be rid of, said he was gratified by the mood of compromise and progress made at this week’s meeting of the joint government/parliament conciliation commission working out a compromise budget. Contrasting the mood in parliament itself with that in committee, Chubais said it was like dealing with "two Dumas." (Russian Television, October 16)
Duma Likely Loser in This Week’s Infighting.