Russian first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov returned to Moscow yesterday after a visit to Primorsky krai, where he met with the region’s embattled governor, Yevgeny Nazdratenko. Nemtsov promised federal funds to help the region overcome the power shortages that have led to widespread electricity cuts, but he told Nazdratenko in no uncertain terms that the local leadership, not the federal government, is responsible for ensuring that powerworkers receive their wages and that power cuts do not continue. (AP, June 11)
Nemtsov is due to report back to President Boris Yeltsin on the situation in the region. Yeltsin-aides have stated that Yeltsin may fire Nazdratenko, though the president would be on unsure constitutional ground if he did so. Addressing a meeting of residents in Vladivostok yesterday, Nemtsov said early elections were a possibility, but he refrained from saying what he thought Nazdratenko’s fate would be. The speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, of which Nazdratenko is a member, said yesterday that the Federation Council would react negatively if Yeltsin tried to sack Nazdratenko. (RTR, June 11)
In a commentary yesterday, the newspaper Nezavisimaya gazeta said the Yeltsin leadership was using Primorsky krai as an example to scare other regional leaders into submission. "The development of relations between the federal center and the regions will depend upon the fate of Yevgeny Nazdratenko," the paper said. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, June 10)
More Kidnappings in Chechnya.