The low turnout for the impeachment vote rise to rumors that the Kremlin had used (as it was rumored to have done in past key votes) both carrots–i.e., bribes–and sticks–i.e, kompromat (compromising materials)–to make sure the grand total would be to its liking. Film director Stanislav Govoryukhin, an opposition nationalist deputy, openly stated that such incentives were offered, while Vladimir Ryzhkov, the youthful head of the Russia is our Home faction in the Duma, denied such things had taken place.
According to a rumor circulated by Kommersant’s news weekly “Vlast,” Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the erstwhile threat to world peace and security, was offered control over Transneft, Russia’s state oil pipeline company, in return for his party opposing impeachment. Whatever the case, all but two of the more than forty deputies from his Liberal Democratic Party of Russia chose not to participate in the vote. And while it’s impossible to prove, one had the distinct sense that the reliable sources had kept the KPRF and Agrarians well informed about how other factions and individual deputies were likely to vote. In the end, everyone got something: Both the opposition and the pro-Yeltsin forces could say “our conscience is clear” while hanging on to their government cars and drivers.