YELTSIN: SPEAKING SOFTLY RATHER THAN WIELDING THE BIG STICK?
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 87
Has the Kremlin suddenly decided to switch to a softer line vis-a-vis the cabinet of Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and the opposition-dominated State Duma? President Boris Yeltsin and his inner circle–who had been considering radical responses to the Duma’s planned impeachment vote, expected to take place later this month–have possibly decided to eschew such measures as firing Primakov and/or his deputies and dissolving the lower house.
The account reporting this, one known for having good sources on the inside, has it that the Kremlin’s new strategy is twofold. First, simply to make sure that Primakov knows that “the Communist project in Russia is doomed.” Second, to keep Primakov on as premier in a “liberal government, where his authority and circumspection are also needed.” The motive for this change in strategy is that if the Kremlin fires the leftist members of the cabinet, it will not win Duma support for laws implementing various conditions laid out by the International Monetary Fund for receiving more than US$4 billion in new credits (these conditions include sharply increasing gasoline and alcohol excises and putting off a reduction in the value-added tax).
The report suggests that rather than firing Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov, a communist economist in charge of economic policy, Yeltsin may promote Nikolai Aksenenko, Russia’s railroads minister and a member of Yeltsin’s inner circle, to the post of deputy prime minister as a step to “help” Maslyukov (see the Monitor, April 30). The paper also reported that the Kremlin has been trying to convince Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, who recent formed the Voice of Russia electoral bloc, to join the cabinet–so far unsuccessfully (Argumenty i fakty, No. 18, May 1999).
KREMLIN MAY REINFORCE ITS RANKS WITH YELTSIN LOYALISTS.