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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Invites Deputies To 'Confidential' Meeting

The battle over a new constitution took a turn for the mysterious Thursday as President Boris Yeltsin called his supporters in the Russian legislature to a "confidential" meeting in a Moscow suburb.


As they waited to board eight buses outside the Russian parliament building, the 110 pro-Yeltsin people's deputies who accepted the president's invitation expressed confusion over where they were being taken and for what purpose.


Interfax, citing sources in the president's administration, earlier reported that more than 400 deputies had been given invitations to "a confidential meeting", also to be attended by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai, Yeltsin's top legal adviser, and presidential chief of staff Sergei Filatov.


"I don't really know anything", said Boris Zolotukhin, deputy chairman of parliament's legislative committee. "I think it will be a consultative meeting on the constitution".


Another Yeltsin supporter, Anatoly Shabad, said he doubted that the meeting would concern ways to prevent a quorum in Russia's top legislature, the largely anti-Yeltsin Congress of People's Deputies.


While Shabad was talking to a reporter, another deputy approached.


"Anatoly Yefimovich, do you have any idea what they are going to do with us? " he asked in jest. "Where are they taking us? Magadan? Kolyma? Vorkuta? "


He was referring to the Siberian towns where millions of Russians were exiled under Josef Stalin.


The deputies were only being taken to Verkhneye Nagornoye, a village on the Leningrad highway 25 kilometers north of Moscow, according to Vladimir Komchatov, Yeltsin's representative in Moscow.


Presidential spokesmen were unable to comment on the meeting.