Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 107

The idea that President Boris Yeltsin–or, at any rate, the political regime he heads–will remain in power after next year’s scheduled presidential elections is gaining more and more adherents. While some observers have predicted that Yeltsin will win a de facto third term in power by assuming the presidency of a unified Russia-Belarus state, other versions have been circulating in the press. One weekly, in its latest issue, cited a “strange document” it managed to get hold of, reportedly prepared by a group of analysts who were hired by the Kremlin administration in 1996 to work on Yeltsin’s presidential campaign. According to this report, the document urges that the terms in office for members of the Russian parliament’s two chambers of parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council, be extended for two years, in the interests of “stabilizing society,” “saving money” and “creating the conditions for genuinely free elections.” After the two chambers have agreed to put off the parliamentary vote set for December of this year, the Kremlin will then suggest that the presidential vote be put off for at least two years (Novaya gazeta, May 31-June 6). The article was signed by “the political department,” a formulation commonly used by Russian newspapers when they are dealing with controversial subjects (or want to make it look that way).