Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 184

The day of national protest began peacefully, according to reports on Russian television. On Wednesday morning, NTV television showed footage of protesters marching peacefully under Soviet banners in the Siberian mining town of Kemerovo (the Kuzbass region is a number of time zones ahead of Moscow). Regional governor Aman Tulaev tried to address the protesters, but his microphone went dead in mid-speech. According to NTV, some in the crowd speculated that it was strictly a technical snafu, while others theorized that he had been cut off for ideological reasons–Tulaev, once a member of the opposition, later served in the Yeltsin administration and walks a tightrope between the opposition and the government (NTV, October 7).

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov took to the national airwaves to appeal for calm and to warn that any incitement to violence during the national protest would lead to criminal charges. He expressed sympathy with the demands of striking workers, but urged them “not to rock our common boat in this all-too-stormy sea” (Russian agencies, October 6).

Primakov’s warning to potential troublemakers was echoed by Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov, who said that the justice and interior ministries would be alert for any “calls for forcibly changing the constitutional order.” Krasheninnikov said he had asked the prosecutor general’s office to investigate whether charges could be brought against Duma Deputy Albert Makashov, an ex-general and opposition leader, for inflammatory, anti-Semitic remarks he made during a demonstration, Sunday, marking the October 1993 battle between the Yeltsin government and the Soviet-era parliament. Makashov was one of the leaders of the attack on the Ostankino television center on October 3, 1993 (Russian agencies, October 6).