Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 77

Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s political resurgence continued yesterday as he lobbied a group of regional governors for their political support. Yeltsin’s gambit, however, appeared to be a risky one. During a meeting at the Kremlin, the Russian president offered the nineteen regional leaders present greater autonomy and suggested that he was prepared to renegotiate established power-sharing agreements between Moscow and the regions. “I am insisting and will insist that you, and not the federal government, have priority, that you come first,” Yeltsin told his guests. “So we will give you more independence than set down in the bilateral agreements we have signed. Let us gradually revise these agreements” (AP, Russian Public TV, April 20).

Yeltsin’s politicking appeared to be aimed both at shoring up his own political position–which has eroded over a long stretch of illness and inaction–and at reining in Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. Yeltsin’s meeting yesterday, the second of its kind in as many weeks, came on the eve of a vote by the Russian Federation Council which will determine the fate of Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov. The Federation Council, which is composed of regional bosses, defied Yeltsin last month when he tried to fire Skuratov. Yeltsin has accused the prosecutor general of conducting a flawed and politically motivated investigation into alleged corruption in the Kremlin. He has also said that Skuratov should be dismissed for “moral reasons.” Russian television last month broadcast a video of a man–alleged to be Skuratov–having sex with two women identified as prostitutes. Skuratov reportedly said yesterday that he would offer to resign from his post (AP, Reuters, Russian agencies, April 20).