MIXED REACTIONS TO CHUBAIS’ APPOINTMENT.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 138
The appointment was welcomed by members of the democratic camp and deplored by Communist and nationalist leaders. Recalling Yeltsin’s vow not to give Chubais a new appointment, Communist leaders said the appointment showed Yeltsin was also lying when he said he would change his policies after the election; they added that it was now clear that they could not cooperate with the president. Reformers, in contrast, interpreted Chubais’ appointment as an encouraging sign that Yeltsin is indeed ready to change his policies and return to the reform path. Yegor Gaidar, leader of "Russia’s Democratic Choice," of which Chubais is a deputy leader, said Chubais hesitated before taking the post and that Gaidar was among those encouraging him to do so. Even Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who earlier won a bitter battle with Chubais over the pace of privatization in Moscow, said Yeltsin’s decision to appoint Chubais "must be respected." (Interfax, July 15)
Duma deputy Sergei Shakhrai said Chubais’ appointment was connected with the gubernatorial elections scheduled to be held toward the end of this year in several regions of Russia. Shakhrai said the outcome of these elections could have a major impact of the composition of the Federation Council. Yeltsin is determined to prevent the Communists from gaining the kind of preponderance in the upper house of parliament that they already have in the lower, Shakhrai said, and implied that the president would rely on Chubais to ensure that Yeltsin loyalists win their election campaigns. (Interfax, July 15)
Like Shakhrai, Duma deputy speaker Aleksandr Shokhin linked Chubais’ appointment to the upcoming regional elections. He said it was possible that, if Communists won a significant number of regional elections at the end of the year, they and their nationalist allies might provoke Yeltsin to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections to the Duma. Shokhin predicted that it would be in the Communists’ interests to take such a step if Communist candidates did well in elections in about forty regions and a few dozen large cities. (Interfax, July 15)
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