Cherepkov’s ouster may not bode well for Chubais, who heads United Energy System, Russia’s electricity grid. The opposition in the State Duma has blamed Chubais for the energy crisis in the Far East and the Far North, and has demanded his resignation.
Meanwhile, another “version” has appeared concerning why Yeltsin cleaned out his administration. Viktor Ilyukhin, the radical communist who heads the State Duma’s security committee, claimed that prior to the shake-up, a group had been created within the presidential administration to “torpedo” the Primakov government. Ilyukhin alleged that Yevgeny Savostyanov, who was a deputy to administration head Valentin Yumashev, leaked documents to Grigory Yavlinsky in order that the Yabloko leader would accuse the cabinet of corruption–which Yavlinsky did. Primakov supposedly found out about the plot and, during a meeting with Yeltsin on December 4, gave the president an ultimatum: “Either clean out the administration, or I resign.” According to Ilyukhin, Yeltsin agreed to fire Yumashev and company (Profil, December 14).
Meanwhile, Yeltsin’s attempt to reclaim some of his moral authority received something of a blow Friday (December 11) when writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn refused to accept an Order of the Apostle St. Andrew from the Russian president. Solzhenitsyn, who celebrated his eightieth birthday on Friday, said that he could not accept a decoration from “the supreme authority which has brought Russia to its present, ruinous condition.” The Nobel-prize winning writer said he could not accept the award “at a time when people in Russia are starving without pay and taking strike action” (NTV, December 11).
MOSCOW AND WASHINGTON REMAIN DEADLOCKED OVER RUSSIAN-IRANIAN DEFENSE TIES.