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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Communist: President Has Decree to Delay Poll

A top Communist official escalated his party's battle of rhetoric with the Kremlin on Tuesday, charging that decrees banning the Communist Party and postponing the June 16 presidential elections have already been prepared for the signature of President Boris Yeltsin.


"According to my information, three draft decrees have already been prepared: on dissolving the State Duma; on banning the Communist Party and a series of other opposition organizations; and on postponing the elections," Viktor Ilyukhin, chairman of the State Duma security committee, said in an interview with the pro-communist daily Sovietskaya Rossiya.


The Communists have repeatedly asserted that Yeltsin intends to postpone the election because of their current strong lead in the polls. Both Ilyukhin and the Communist candidate for June's elections, Gennady Zyuganov, pressed that claim Tuesday.


"This is the main course of the president's team," Ilyukhin said in the interview.


A top presidential advisor categorically denied the existence of the three draft decrees.


"No one has the slightest intention of blocking the elections because it is already clear that the president's legitimacy will decline tragically if the elections are postponed. It would be insanity," said Leonid Smirnyagin. "Moreover, we are certain that we will win the election," he said.


Ilyukhin further charged that Nikolai Yegorov, head of Yeltsin's administration, was using his frequent meetings with regional leaders to convince them that the election must be pushed back.


But Smirnyagin, who said he helps plan Yegorov's trips in the regions, called the accusation absurd. "My personal opinion is that Ilyukhin is not of entirely sound mind. All of his pronouncements indicate, how to say, as if truth is revealed to him in irrational ways," he said.


"Even if the president or Yegorov had such an idea, it would be fatally dangerous to travel in the regions and tell local leaders, 'Let's wreck the elections.' This is a sure way to let everyone know about it," Smirnyagin said.


Ilyukhin suggested in a letter he sent to Yeltsin's security chief, Alexander Korzhakov, and Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, among others, that Yeltsin's animosity toward the Duma after its March 15 resolution repealing the dissolution of the Soviet Union might lie behind a recent two-day evacuation of parliament, during which deputies were prevented from entering their offices.


The Communist leader demanded to know who had carried out the evacuation March 16 and 17, and why. Duma press spokesman Valentin Shapka confirmed that the building had been cleared by "security forces," but said no clear reason had been given.


"At first we were told by the security forces that a bomb had been found in the building. Then one of the deputies was told as he left that a terrorist gang had been discovered in the Moscow region, and that extra security measures were being taken so that they could take no possible action against the Duma.


"Finally another deputy, who exited the building from a different exit, was told that a capsule of radioactive material had been found," Shapka said.