It suggests that the weakened Mr Yeltsin is resigned to making sweeping concessions to secure parliament's speedy confirmation of the new Prime Minister in the face of a worsening economic crisis.
Yesterday the rouble lost another 10 per cent against the dollar - its biggest drop in four years. Amid fears that a currency crash is only just beginning, queues formed outside banks for the second time in just over a week, as Russians sought to buy dollars and shopkeepers scrambled to mark up prices.
President Yeltsin - who awoke yesterday to a barrage of media speculation that his days are numbered - tried to limit the damage by announcing during a photo-call that he feels "okay". Yesterday afternoon he had a 30-minute telephone conversation with the US President, Bill Clinton, who is due in Moscow for a two-day summit next Tuesday.
Officials said the discussion focused on their forthcoming meeting. It will also have covered the Russian President's unexpected decision to sack his four-month-old government; the acute banking crisis, and Moscow's plans to reschedule $40bn (pounds 25bn) of short-term rouble-denominated debt.
By holding out the carrot of a coalition - or what he described as a "government of accord" - Mr Chernomyrdin may merely be making promises to lure parliamentary support that he later intends to break.
But Russia's restless legislature, so long restrained by a 1993 constitution that overwhelmingly places power in the President's hands, now smells blood.Reuse content