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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliament Threat To Yeltsin's Cabinet

Parliament will consider at a special session Thursday whether to seize control of Russia's government by voting itself the right to fire cabinet ministers at will, the author of the draft resolution said Wednesday.


Vladimir Isakov, chairman of parliament's Committee for Constitutional Reform, said he would introduce the draft resolution for debate when legislators convene Thursday, when they are expected to take off the gloves again in their battle for power with President Boris Yeltsin.


In addition to giving the Supreme Soviet, Russia's parliament, the right to fire individual ministers, the draft would empower legislators to overturn government laws. That would require only a simple majority vote in parliament.


"The measure is needed to strengthen the parliament's control over the government", said Isakov, a Yeltsin opponent and author of the draft law.


"Why should everyone in the government suffer for the sins of, say, Boris Fyodorov", Isakov said, referring to the reformist finance minister who is deeply unpopular among legislators.


At a press conference Wednesday, Fyodorov called the deficit-ridden budget that parliament passed last month "tantamount to a crime against the state".


The draft is clearly designed as a further blow in the legislature's long-running power struggle with Yeltsin, which the president has predicted to escalate next month.


Parliament currently has the right to vote no confidence in the whole government, but it cannot remove individual ministers or overturn government decision. It does already have the right to overturn presidential decrees, however.


If approved by parliament, this draft would then have to be endorsed by the country's top legislature, the Congress of People's Deputies. If adopted and implemented, the measures could effectively halt the government's drive to a market economy.


Yeltsin said this week that September will prove a decisive month for the power struggle. But the conflict between president and parliament shows signs of deteriorating into an all-out slugfest even in August.


Yeltsin's press spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, Wednesday called parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov a maniac and accused him of trying to draw the armed forces into politics by attacking the president at a meeting with military officials Tuesday.


"His accusations show not only the level of his political extremism but also the maniacal imbalance of this figure, whose actions pose an increasing danger to society", Kostikov said.


Khasbulatov, who has led parliament's defiance of Yeltsin's economic reforms, said Tuesday that Kremlin security policies played to the interests of Western intelligence services and said that the president had lost control of the country.


Later on Tuesday, Yeltsin issued his third decree aimed at speeding up his privatization drive after parliament had blocked the other two.


Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, responsible for the sell-off, said the decree and a similar government resolution were issued in response to parliament's attacks on the program, which the government sees as crucial to the success of its reforms.


"Today's attack by Khasbulatov is an attack on tens of millions of people, tens of thousands of worker's collectives, tens of thousands of directors, thousands of joint stock companies and tens of millions of shareholders", Chubais told a press conference.


"This can do nothing but damage the organizers of the attack themselves", he said.


Yeltsin allies will meet Thursday to discuss ways of ridding the president of the hostile parliament by holding parliamentary elections ahead of the 1995 date set by Russia's current Constitution.