Yeltsin's adversary rejects truce plan
Saturday 06 March 1993
Judging from remarks made by the parliament's conservative chairman, Ruslan Khasbulatov, yesterday, the Congress will be even more turbulent than the one last December which forced Mr Yeltsin to drop his radical prime minister, Yegor Gaidar.
The President went on national television last month to offer a truce in the power struggle between himself and parliament so that Russia could concentrate on economic reform. But yesterday Mr Khasbulatov rejected his olive branch out of hand and accused him of being aggressive.
'There cannot be any question of adopting this document (the Yeltsin truce plan), which constitutes an ultimatum,' he told deputies. He said the constitutional crisis was a result of 'extremely aggressive behaviour of the executive authorities (the presidency). The potential of this authority is almost over and it is trying to destabilise the legislature.'
Mr Yeltsin's representative in parliament, Vladimir Shumeiko, said the truce plan, whereby both the President and parliament would agree not to encroach on each other's powers until a special constitutional assembly had time to write a new constitution for post-Communist Russia, was only a suggestion. The President had expected to hear the deputies' ideas too so a joint accord could be reached but, despite having had two weeks to think about it, they had come up with nothing.
Mr Yeltsin was freely elected in 1991 when the Russian people also expressed their wish that he be a strong executive leader like the US or French presidents rather than a figurehead as in Germany. But contradictions arise because the old Soviet constitution is still valid and that gives ultimate power to the the Congress.
Mr Khasbulatov has accused Mr Yeltsin of trying to become a dictator. The reality is that the President's attempts at free-market reform are being obstructed by the assembly, which insists on issuing credits to lame-duck industries when inflation is raging and which is dragging its feet on privatisation. US officials have said privately that Russian reform is more endangered than at any time since the 1991 hardline coup attempt and foreign investors are being cautious if not actually fleeing.
Radical supporters of Mr Yeltsin cannot understand why he did not long ago simply introduce direct presidential rule which would have swept aside the Congress. But the President is trying to play by the rules.
If next week's Congress fails to endorse a constitutional accord, he wants a referendum on 11 April when Russians will be asked to decide the future political structure. The government of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has said it is behind the President because he would give the cabinet a free hand to get on with reform. But technically only Congress can call a referendum, so Mr Yeltsin is likely to be frustrated. Then he may have to consider what he calls his 'final option', widely taken to mean rule by decree.
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Mike Tyson branded 'superhero' after a surprise good turn
Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£20000 - £45000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...