Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin left Moscow February 2 for two weeks’ vacation. Although a spokesman denied the timing of the vacation was in any way connected with President Yeltsin’s announcement of his intention to run for re-election — expected between February 12 and 15 — the denial did little to dampen speculation that Chernomyrdin’s dismissal is imminent. (2) Deputy leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) Valentin Kuptsov predicted that Yeltsin’s "feverish personnel changes" will climax in the middle of March with the dismissal of Chernomyrdin because "Yeltsin needs him as a scapegoat." Kuptsov said the KPRF will allow the government to stew in its own juices and will not agree to join or even to hold talks with the government prior to the June presidential election. (3)
Russian Diplomacy Reoriented.