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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Attacks Enemies

President Boris Yeltsin called Thursday for all members, of his government who do not agree with his policies to resign and urged that fresh parliamentary elections be held by the end of the year.


Making his first address to the nation since the referendum, Yeltsin said the results of the poll gave him the mandate he needed to push ahead with his reformist policies and constituted a "major defeat" for his political opponents.


But in a speech pre-recorded for national television, the president did not carry through with his threat - issued before the referendum - to announce a package of "tough measures" the moment the results were known.


Instead, Yeltsin said he had opponents inside his own government and in the executive branch throughout Russia who were slowing down or halting reform. He said he would instruct Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and local government heads to conduct a review of these officials.


"The heads of government and local administrations should carry out a serious reconsideration of their choice of personnel. This is a direct instruction from the president", Yeltsin said.


"Those who do not share our aims should simply leave so as not to interfere with our work", he said. "I for one am now drawing my own conclusions and preparing my decisions".


Yeltsin named at least one member of the government he would like to remove - his vice president, Alexander Rutskoi, whom he criticized for using his position to accomplish his "personal political goal of damaging the president's political policies".


"During the preparation for the referendum the vice president essentially became one of the leaders of the enemies of reform", he said. "I have lost confidence in Rutskoi and removed him from all duties assigned by the president".


Rutskoi was removed as the government's top anti-corruption official after he alleged on the eve of the April 25 vote that many top presidential aides were involved in profiteering schemes. Under the Constitution Yeltsin does not have the power to sack the vice president, with whom he was elected on a joint ticket.


Commonwealth television reported that, according to well-informed sources, Yeltsin had fired the secretary of the powerful Security Council, Yury Skokov. A presidential spokesman refused to confirm the report.


Yeltsin said that his main enemies remain hardline deputies in the legislature. He said that the May Day riots, in which one policeman was killed and 600 people were injured, showed that Russians could not afford to let down their guard.


"The May Day tragedy in Moscow showed once again that the irreconcilable opposition, relying on the support of the parliament, will stop at nothing", he said.


"We will not allow a second civil war", he said, referring to the Russian civil war between 1917 and 1921 in which millions died.


But a Yeltsin decree also issued Thursday showed that the president was using carrots as well as sticks, at least to keep government officials in line. The decree gives a 40-percent pay raise, improved social protection and retraining to government employees.


He also promised measures to battle inflation, but provided no details except to say that "steps are being taken" to coordinate the policies of the government and the Central Bank. In his speech Yeltsin also announced that he would push ahead with his new draft constitution, which would replace the conservative-dominated federal legislature, the Congress of People's Deputies, with a bicameral federal parliament.


He said that the referendum, in which a majority of the turnout in 87 of Russia's 90 electoral districts voted for early elections, proved that the deputies no longer had a mandate.


"This is a crushing political defeat for the legislative organs of Russia, and they need to have the courage to openly and honestly admit this", he said.


"I do not think it makes sense to put off elections to a new parliament beyond this autumn", he said, although it is not clear how the president could bypass the legislature in order to do that. The Constitutional Court on Thursday issued a statement saying that the referendum had given Yeltsin no right to impose any changes on Russia's existing power structures.


Yeltsin's opponents in parliament made it clear that they are not likely to soften their position much in the wake of the referendum.


Parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov told deputies that Yeltsin and his team had orchestrated the May Day bloodshed in order to get rid of their rivals.


"They need this policy to scare the population and repress dissent, as well as to introduce some form of dictatorial regime, but it is well-known that violence causes violence", Khasbulatov said.