President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met for one hour on November 19, their first working meeting since Yeltsin’s surgery. Chernomyrdin was at pains to stress that it was a "working" meeting and that Yeltsin was fully informed of all developments. Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said Yeltsin is likely to move this week from the Central Clinic to the Barvikha sanitarium near Moscow, where he will spend about a month before returning to the Kremlin. (Itar-Tass, November 19) Yastrzhembsky did not say when Yeltsin will make the address to the nation originally planned for last week. It is believed to have been postponed due to the uproar that followed the recent publication of potentially incriminating Kremlin tapes. (See Monitor, November 18)
Yeltsin’s spokesman said the president reacted calmly to the results of last weekend’s regional elections, in which the pro-Yeltsin incumbent was defeated by the Communist challenger in strategically vital Stavropol krai. The Kremlin is putting a brave face on recent electoral results, arguing that almost all those who have been elected are pragmatists with whom Moscow can do business. Using this yardstick, Yastrzhembsky put the score at "15 to 4" in the Kremlin’s favor.
Chernomyrdin told reporters that he and Yeltsin had discussed the peace process in Chechnya and that some work still remains to be done on documents he plans to sign with Chechen premier Aslan Maskhadov. Ahmed Zakaev, aide to Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, said yesterday that a draft treaty on relations between Moscow and the Chechen republic is "almost ready for signing." Zakaev said the treaty will mark "an important and concrete step towards normalization of relations between Russia and Chechnya." According to Chechen deputy premier Ruslan Kutaev, the major outstanding problem centers on Chechnya’s demand that Russia withdraw all federal forces from Chechen territory prior to the elections scheduled for January, 1997. (Itar-Tass, November 19)
Kabardino-Balkaria to Take Sledgehammer to Balkar Nut.