CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovsky on Tuesday (November 10) repeated his demand that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) be banned. Berezovsky, one of Russia’s leading tycoons, said the communists had in fact become “fascists,” adding that they were both a “spent political force” and a “malignant tumor which needs to be removed.” Berezovsky first called for a ban on KPRF last weekend, after the leftist opposition refused to condemn anti-Semitic comments made by Albert Makashov, a KPRF member and a former Soviet general. Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, however, said his view on the idea of a ban was “extremely negative.” He added, apparently with Berezovsky in mind, that “we should be very careful with such statements.” Primakov–who, like Berezovsky, is of Jewish origin–said a ban on the Communist Party might destabilize the country.
Berezovsky’s side of the argument found support from Saratov Governor Dmitri Ayatskov, who said, “The president of the country must use all the power he has and ban the KPRF.” Another influential member of the Federation Council (the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament), Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, however, said that he opposed such a ban. “I think that even the disgraceful, savage, anti-Semitic statements by General Makashov may hardly be a reason to ban the Communist Party,” Luzhkov said, adding that such a ban was unlikely because the government had neither “the strength [nor] the will to do it.” Mikhail Mityukov, President Boris Yeltsin’s representative on Russia’s Constitutional Court, said that there were grounds for discussing such a ban, but noted that such a ban would involve complex legal procedures and probably aggravate Russia’s political situation.
Meanwhile both Russia’s chief rabbi and supreme mufti condemned Makashov’s comments, as did a group of leading Russian cultural figures (Russian agencies, November 10).
SPARRING ON EVE OF RUSSIAN-JAPANESE SUMMIT.