Yeltsin aide rules out calling in the army

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

MOSCOW - Russia awaited President Boris Yeltsin's next step in his power struggle with the parliament yesterday, but a senior presidential aide discounted the possibility of a 'military solution'.

A spokesman for Mr Yeltsin said the President was still working on his response to last week's humiliation by the supreme legislature. The President was to address the nation either late yesterday or in the next day or two.

Mr Yeltsin's key advisers suggested on Wednesday he should brush the conservative Congress of People's Deputies aside and press on with his market reforms through 'presidential rule'. This would involve at least the tacit support of the military, as the legal grounds for such a move are unclear. Armed forces chiefs say they are determined to keep the military out of politics and obey the constitution.

The First Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Shumeiko, told Itar-Tass news agency he did not believe 'in the possibility of a military solution to the political conflict between the executive and legislative branches'.

The Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, also told his British counterpart in a telephone conversation on Thursday that Mr Yeltsin's response would be peaceful and within the democratic process, according to a British spokesman.

Mr Shumeiko ruled out the possibility of early elections for either the Congress or the presidency. But an increasing number of politicians favour this solution to the crisis, which has crippled reform, alarmed the West and some neighbouring states, and paralysed much of Russian government over the past few months.

At the very least, Mr Yeltsin could issue a televised appeal for people to support his plans for a nationwide poll to determine who should rule Russia, the President or the parliament.