Rumours of Primakov sacking sweep Moscow
Wednesday 12 May 1999
Several Russian news outlets yesterday led their broadcasts with claims that the President is about to sack his premier, Yevgeny Primakov, and replace him with an obscure railways minister, Nikolai Aksenenko.
Speculation has been simmering in Moscow for weeks that Mr Yeltsin will throw out Mr Primakov, triggering domestic political turmoil in the midst of severe economic depression and an international crisis. But yesterday this gained momentum as parliament prepared to launch long-threatened impeachment proceedings tomorrow.
Relations between the two men have been steadily deteriorating, and are now hostile. The President has been affronted by his Prime Minister's attempts to lessen the Kremlin's power and generally dislikes his ties to his arch-enemies, the Communists.
Pro-market elements in Mr Yeltsin's inner circle regard the government of Mr Primakov - a popular figure who is seen as a front-runner for the presidency - as a throw-back to the moribund Brezhnev years.
A presidential spokesman said yesterday there was "no reason to discuss" Mr Primakov's dismissal, but there were strong suspicions that the Kremlin was the source of yesterday's rumours. Mr Yeltsin has publicly humiliated the premier several times, and the Kremlin has made clear that Mr Primakov is dispensable. If the Prime Minister is fired, a showdown between Mr Yeltsin and parliament - which must approve any replacement premier - is certain.
The veiled threats to Mr Primakov may be an attempt by the Kremlin to intimidate the State Duma, parliament's lower house, before the impeachment hearings, which threaten to divert attentionfrom a meeting between Mr Yeltsin and Jacques Chirac. The French President arrives in Moscow today to discuss Kosovo.
The Communists, the chamber's largest party, are keen to keep Mr Primakov in place as he has secured them more power than they have previously held in the Yeltsin years, and has treated Western market reforms with caution.
Yesterday the house leadership decided to hold three days of hearings, beginning tomorrow, in an effort to get the impeachment proceedings off the ground. Mr Yeltsin faces five charges, including bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union and launching an illegal war in Chechnya.
Although the 450-strong chamber could muster the 300 votes needed to launch an impeachment it is extremely unlikely to threaten Mr Yeltsin's remaining 15 months in office.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Blogger captures footage ‘showing BUK missile launcher that shot down jet’ now back in Russia
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...