Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 51

Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the Yabloko movement that defines itself as Russia’s democratic opposition, has revealed that five Yabloko leaders have been invited by Anatoly Chubais to join the new Russian government. Yavlinsky has made it plain that Yabloko will join the government only if Chubais agrees to a number of conditions laid out in a letter sent to Chubais earlier this week. The Yabloko team would come with a package of specific policies to which they would be committed; if the government departed from these policies, they would resign as a body. Yabloko ministers would demand complete control over personnel appointments in their ministries. Yavlinsky is also demanding not only the dismissal of, but also the opening of criminal investigations against, unidentified members of the present government whom he accuses of corruption. All ministers would be required to make declarations of personal income and business interests. As for government policies, Yabloko would demand the adoption of its own proposals as regards Russia’s new tax code and the future of the natural monopolies. (Moskovskiye novosti, No. 10, March 9-16; Radio Mayak, March 11; Financial Times, March 12)

Yabloko is in a strong position to put terms. Yeltsin’s decision to revamp his government may have been brilliant theater but it was also a betrayal of the weakness of the reformist camp. It would have been more effective if Yeltsin had immediately announced the composition of a new government. Instead, Russia has been plunged into a hiatus in which it is effectively without a government while horsetrading goes on behind the scenes. Chubais’s grand plan is to forge a new alliance between the government and the democratic opposition, thereby undoing the tacit alliance established during Yeltsin’s sickness between the government and the Communist-dominated Duma. For that, Chubais needs Yabloko’s cooperation. Yavlinsky, who has been the sharpest critic of the undemocratic trends in the Russian government, is making it clear that he will cooperate only on his terms.

Russia Steps Up Control of Chechen Border; Internal Troops to Operate on Chechen Territory.