Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Seeks Support for Accord Plan

President Boris Yeltsin stepped up his campaign Wednesday for a charter of national accord he hopes will safeguard Russia against political turbulence over the next two years.

A statement by a group of regional leaders, issued by the president's office, expressed support for the charter which Yeltsin proposes should be signed in a ceremony in the Kremlin on April 28. The president expects almost 150 signatories.

The charter, already effectively rejected by ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democrats, would commit the signatories -- trade unions, government bodies, parties, blocs and other social organizations -- to a form of political "cease-fire."

The charter says no signatory should engage in inflammatory activity, seek confrontation, call for early elections to the presidency or parliament, allow disorders at demonstrations or organize strikes for political ends.

The Communist Party, along with the Liberal Democrats one of the biggest factions in parliament, was due to hold a meeting on Saturday to decide whether to back the charter.

Central trade unions and most other parties have already expressed broad support, though it is not clear how the charter will work in practice.

The document provides for an arbitration committee to rule on any disputes about what constitutes a violation of the charter's spirit. But its rulings would have no legal force.

"We want this to be a major political step," Itar-Tass quoted Yeltsin as saying at the meeting with the heads of regional administrations. Referring to bodies that declined support, he said: "We will not insist that they sign," adding that Russians "will see for themselves what the words and programs of such leaders mean in practice."

Yeltsin clearly believes the charter can head off confrontations such as those with the old parliament, dispersed, ultimately by force, in October 1993.