Chernomyrdin has also hardened his position on Kremlin security chief Aleksandr Lebed. In response to Lebed’s calls for more powers for his Security Council, the prime minister told the BBC that he had no intention of ceding any of his powers. (BBC, July 4) Chernomyrdin also dismissed Lebed’s suggestion that he, Lebed, might become vice-president. "Lebed has missed that boat," Chernomyrdin said. "If he wanted to be vice-president, he should have run for election with Yeltsin on the same ticket. Now it’s too late." In any case, Chernomyrdin said, reestablishing the post of vice-president would entail a difficult and time-consuming process of persuading the Duma to amend the constitution. Chernomyrdin’s objections were echoed by the Communist speaker of the Duma, Gennady Seleznev. (Russian Television, July 4)
U.S. Protests Threats to Religious Freedom in Russia.