Tensions involving the Balkans erupted in Russia’s State Duma yesterday. Several deputies from nationalist and leftist factions denounced the peacekeeping efforts of three leaders from the center-right coalition Just Cause–Yegor Gaidar, Boris Federov and Boris Nemtsov–who yesterday met briefly with Pope John Paul II in Rome in an effort to broker an end to the Balkans war.
Film director Stanislav Govoryukhin, a member of the Popular Rule faction, introduced a resolution condemning the three Just Cause leaders as “bankrupt politicians,” while leftist deputy Vladimir Semago demanded that Aleksandr Kotenkov, Yeltsin’s representative, report on “whether the president sent these political parrots to fly around Europe.” In response, Sergei Yushenkov, a top member of Gaidar’s party, Russia’s Democratic Choice, accused Semago of engaging in “political prostitution.” A shoving match between the two ensued, which firebrand Communist deputy Vasily Shandybin tried to turn into a fistfight with Yushenkov. The potential rumble was quickly broken up (Russian agencies, March 31; Segodnya, April 1).
Nemtsov said yesterday that he and his Just Cause colleagues were going to begin a petition drive in Russia, Western Europe and possibly the United States aimed at ending the conflict in Yugoslavia (NTV, March 31).
IMF MISSION SET TO ARRIVE IN MOSCOW.