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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Republican Party accuses Yeltsin of dragging his feet

Mounting a new challenge to President Boris Yeltsin, the Russian Republican Party accused the government Monday of failing to follow through on its plans for political and economic reform.

Declaring that the Russian government has been "isolating itself" from its own people, leaders of the party, who nevertheless pledged support for change, said that the reforms have thus far failed to take hold in the country's local governments.

"We support the government's course of reforms", Igor Yakovenko, one of the Republican Party's founders, said at a press conference. "But there is still no reliable legal base for reform, and the bureaucrat still stands over the citizen and society".

Warning that neofascist political groups were gaining power in the provinces because reforms had failed to take hold, the party, which was formed in November as a faction of the Democratic Reform Movement, vowed during a two-day congress to propose "concrete programs" to both the federal and regional governments for effecting reform at the local level.

"One of the government's biggest mistakes is its failure to understand that Russia has many faces", Yakovenko said. "Its politics cannot be determined from the center. Very different reform programs are needed in southern Russia than in Siberia".

At the congress, held in Moscow over the weekend, party members also criticized the government's handling of ethnic strife raging in areas like Moldova and Georgia.

"We believe in independent governments in the former Soviet Union", Yakovenko said. "Military intervention is intolerable".