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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rossel 'Not Ready' for Yeltsin But Begins Kremlin Rounds

Eduard Rossel said Friday that he "was simply not ready" to meet with President Boris Yeltsin, but the newly elected governor of the Sverdlovsk Region did hold a series of meetings with Kremlin and government advisers aimed at gaining a hard-won measure of independence from Moscow.


The maverick governor, who was elected one week ago after a tough campaign battle, chose not to meet with Yeltsin, who sacked him from the same post in November 1993 after Rossel attempted to transform his region into a republic. He said his campaign was too tiring and asked that the meeting take place "as far as possible into next week."


Rossel instead spent Friday meeting with advisers who are drafting a treaty to be signed with Yeltsin and an agreement to be signed with Chernomyrdin, both of which will establish greater home-rule for Sverdlovsk Region -- the main plank in Rossel's campaign and the mainstay of his career.


Rossel told journalists Friday that as governor, "I will take the following, logical step, which I was not allowed to take in 1993, when they dissolved the Oblast Council and removed me from office: to achieve ... the economic freedom of the Sverdlovsk Oblast in order that in the future we might govern ourselves, and not depend on the center."


Rossel said this push for greater autonomy was not motivated by separatism, and would proceed strictly within the limits of the Russian constitution.


He called for transparency and cooperation in budget planning. All economic issues, including ownership of property, budgetary and off-budget funds would be up for discussion.


Far from regretting the actions that cost him the governorship two years ago, Rossel said the push to form a Urals republic had "moved Russia forward by several hundred years in terms of democratization of our society." The new Russian constitution, he said, included greater political and economic freedoms for all subjects of the federation.