Cultural Revolutions

At It Again

Boris Yeltsin has been at it again, sacking Russian Premier Yevgeni Primakov and his entire cabinet, pushing the country to the edge of the political abyss. The phlegmatic Primakov, who resembles Jabba the Hut of Star Wars fame, had opened an investigation into the machinations of the "oligarchs," the gangsters-cum-businessmen who have dominated Russia in the Yeltsin era. The trail led back to the Kremlin and Yeltsin's "family," which includes his daughter and unofficial chief of staff, Tatyana Dyachenko, various courtiers, and the "gray cardinal" of the Kremlin—"family" advisor Boris Abramovich Berezovsky (known as "BAB"). Russian investigators believe that IMF money was funneled bv a Swiss-based firm, MABATEX, into offshore bank accounts controlled by the "family," Primakov had to go.

It seems that Primakov never quite understood what Yeltsin wanted him to do: protect the interests of the "family," rig the December parliamentary elections in order to produce a Duma less inclined to put "the guardian of democratic reforms" on trial after his term ends in 2000, and arrange a suitable successor. Meanwhile, an order for BAB's arrest has been withdrawn, a move obviously orchestrated by Yeltsin. The Duma is up in arms and planning retaliation. In early May, the word on the street is that Yeltsin is preparing to dissolve the Duma and...

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