Not only did Sergei Kiriyenko fall 80 votes short of confirmation, the opposition mounted a court challenge against his renomination by Yeltsin. "In these situations, people can become hostage to their own propaganda," says Zarakhovich. "The opposition may have gone further down this road than they had intended to." While dissolving the legislature has been Yeltsin's trump card, "the opposition may be confident enough of winning new elections to fight all the way," says Zarakhovich. "And this is Russia, where emotions can easily take over rationally laid plans."
MOSCOW: When rhetoric develops a life of its own, all political bets are off. Conventional wisdom has held that Russia's opposition would go through the motions of rejecting Boris Yeltsin's nominee for prime minister once, or even twice, but would back down before Yeltsin called new elections. Problem is, says TIME Moscow correspondent Yuri Zarakhovich, "no one expected the vengeance with which the opposition today tried to dump this young fellow."