Protesters carrying red flags and shouting anti-government slogans marched through the streets of Moscow on October 4 to mark the fourth anniversary of President Boris Yeltsin’s bloody dissolution of Russia’s Soviet-era parliament. (RTR, October 4)
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told demonstrators that today’s parliament is not afraid of dissolution and fresh elections. Zyuganov was responding to Yeltsin’s nationwide radio address of October 3, in which the president threatened to dissolve the Communist-dominated Duma. Yeltsin criticized deputies for rejecting the government’s proposed public spending cuts, refusing to legalize the sale of arable land, and "trespassing" in the foreign policy arena (which the constitution defines as the president’s domain). Specifically, Yeltsin complained that the Duma had raised territorial claims against Russia’s neighbors at a time when Russia was planning to sign a border agreement with Lithuania: "One day it’s Crimea and Sevastopol, the next it’s the Baltic. Even though the principle of inviolability of post-war borders is in force throughout Europe. Even though our governments have settled all questions of disputed territories." In a thinly veiled threat of dissolution, Yeltsin said, "The patience of people, the patience of the president is not infinite. The Duma must work for Russia… It is time deputies understood this!"
Zyuganov responded by reiterating the determination of the Communist-dominated Duma not to permit private ownership of arable land. "The land belongs to the nation as a whole and we shall not allow it to be bought and sold," he told Saturday’s demonstration. (RTR, October 5) Earlier, Zyuganov accused Yeltsin of "blackmail" and vowed that the Duma would not adopt the federal budget and Tax Code without radical amendment. The Duma is due to start debating the budget on October 9. Zyuganov called for "the elaboration, within the next three months, of a qualitatively new budget" which would "meet the needs of national security and state interests." (Itar-Tass, October 3)
Yavlinsky Accuses Yeltsin of Intimidation.