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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliament Calls Firing Illegal

The leadership of Russia's parliament on Wednesday declared Boris Yeltsin's decision to fire his security minister illegal, while top officials cast doubt on the president's reasons for the move.

In a resolution passed Wednesday, the presidium of the Supreme Soviet said Yeltsin's decree had no judicial power, because under the current constitution Security Minister Viktor Barannikov could be sacked only with the approval of the legislature.

Questioned on Wednesday, officials and officers of the former KGB - the predecessor to the Security Ministry - gave several theories as to why the 52-year old minister had been sacked. But all said that the reason Yeltsin gave was a subterfuge.

Yeltsin's decree stated that Barannikov had been found guilty of "breaching ethical standards" and of "shortcomings in his work". It also said he had displayed "an inability to repel rebel attacks at the Tajik-Afghan border" which has cost the lives of 25 Russian border guards.

"Barannikov was not sacked because of a breach of ethical norms or inefficiency or even because of the way he handled the conflict in Tajikistan", Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB general and ex-spy said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Kalugin believed that Barannikov had been dismissed for disloyalty to the president, and that he had provided Yeltsin's alienated vice president, Alexander Rutskoi, with documents to feed his allegations of corruption against the president's men.

"Rutskoi's accusations didn't come from nowhere, the corruption allegations were obviously provided by the Security Ministry", Kalugin said.

Kalugin added that Khasbulatov "jumped at the opportunity to support him and this discloses an alliance" between the speaker and former security minister.

Vadim Bakatin, who was Chairman of the KGB from August to November 1992 and Minister of the Interior from 1988 to 1990, said he regretted Yeltsin's decision.

"I don't think the measure can be justified, even if there was some misconduct", said Bakatin.

"Firing someone for the charges given is inappropriate, especially considering how much corruption there is among the levels of power in our chaotic society", he said.

Bakatin added that "it is very harmful for the special services to change any top professionals". He did not elaborate.

Aslanbek Aslakhanov, the chairman of the Supreme Soviet committee on laws, law and order and the fight against crime called Barannikov "the victim of an ongoing power struggle".

"Someone close to Yeltsin wanted him out and the president complied for some political reason", he said.

Nikolai Travkin, leader of the Russian Democratic Party believed the dismissal was part of a larger scheme to remove several officials from power. He predicted that Central Bank chief Viktor Gerashchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin would be next.

"More heads will roll", said Travkin. "It will be interesting to see whose will be first".

Barannikov's deputy, Nikolai Golushko, has been appointed as temporary acting Security Minister until a replacement is found, ministry officials said Wednesday.