Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 203

Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov sent Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov a letter Monday warning him against further public insults directed at the Russian president. Zyuganov was quoted as saying Saturday (October 31) that Yeltsin “is not managing anything, he is not responsible to the citizens, he is really demoralized and drinks so much he cannot do his job.” Zyuganov said he and his party insisted on “an immediate medical examination of the president.” Other news agencies quoted the communist leader as saying that Yeltsin “drank himself silly and went to rot.” In a recent interview with the French newspaper “Liberation,” Zyuganov reportedly called Yeltsin a “degenerate drunkard.”

Oleg Sysuev, deputy chief of the presidential administration, said Sunday (November 1) in an interview aired on “Itogi,” NTV television’s weekly news analysis program, that he would insist to Yeltsin that Yeltsin take Zyuganov to court for the remarks. On Monday, presidential spokesman Dmitri Yakushkin also lashed out at the Communist leader, saying: “It is normal to have political disputes in a democratic society. However, what is happening now cannot be described as a political argument. Gennady Zyuganov is turning political debate into abuse, in fact having replaced a civilized dialogue with attacks and insults against the head of state.” Yakushkin said the opposition should not forget that “it can exist and be in opposition because of the democratic transformations achieved under Boris Yeltsin.”

In his letter to Zyuganov, Justice Minister Krasheninnikov called the communist leader’s remarks “intolerable,” saying they “violated the precarious balance that has developed between the branches of power.” Zyuganov, however, was unrepentant, saying that in response to Sysuev’s threats to take legal action he would step up his call for a medical examination of Yeltsin (Russian agencies, November 2).