Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 72

While the warming of relations between Yuri Luzhkov and the Kremlin have given more credence to rumors that Yeltsin is preparing to replace the Primakov cabinet with a Luzhkov-Yavlinsky one, other combinations are possible. What might be called the “rumor of the day,” which was reported today in liberal newspapers, is that Yeltsin is planning to replace Primakov’s deputies with former Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin and Sergei Aleksashenko, who was Dubinin’s deputy at the Central Bank (Izvestia, April 14). Both men lost their jobs following last August’s financial meltdown, and have been among the targets of an investigation in the Central Bank’s activities by the Prosecutor General’s Office. The appointment of Dubinin and Aleksashenko, both regarded as liberals, would likely not be welcomed by either Primakov or Viktor Gerashchenko, the current Central Bank chief.

Yeltsin’s actions vis-a-vis Primakov and his cabinet are likely to depend in no small part on what the State Duma does about impeachment. The lower house today voted to postpone a debate over, and vote on, impeachment until mid-May. After much debate and four votes today, the lawmakers ruled that they will address the issue during the period of May 13-15.

The communists are pushing for a change in rules which would allow for open roll-call voting on the impeachment question, and the extra time is likely to help them reach that goal. Yeltsin said that he wanted impeachment either to be considered on the day originally planned–April 15–or dropped completely. His spokesman Dmitri Yakushkin denounced today’s vote in the Duma, saying that the impeachment initiative “has been and remains purely political” (AP, April 14; Russian agencies, April 13-14). Vladimir Putin, head of the Federal Security Service, yesterday spoke out against impeachment, comparing it with NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia (NTV, April 13).