The Plot Thickens

  • Share
  • Read Later
MOSCOW: President Boris Yeltsin fired three of the most powerful men in his administration on Thursday over what aides charged was a constant pattern of interference in Yeltsin's election campaign. Alexander Korzhakov, head of Yeltsin's personal security; Mikhail Barsukov, head of the Federal Security Service; and Oleg Soskovets, the first deputy prime minister, had formed a powerful clique within the Kremlin, but crossed the line when they arrested two of Yeltsin's campaign aides late Wednesday. Television stations picked up the story within hours, agitating the already nervous capitol. One of the aides, after his release Thursday morning, said that during hours of interrogation, he was pumped for compromising information about Korzhakov's political enemies. The arrests and detention were almost certainly part of a power struggle, as Korzhakov is embroiled in a feud with Anatoly Chubais, a reformist economist currently running Yeltsin's campaign. "Korzhakov and his allies were waging a campaign to postpone the elections," says TIME's Sally Donnelly. "They are scared that they'd lose their jobs and power if Yeltsin lost the presidency. Korzhakov and company were probably trying to dirty Chubais and the election campaign in Yeltsin's eyes, but they went too far. After the arrests caused a stir, both Alexander Lebed (Yeltsin's new national security advisor) and Chubais overwhelmingly convinced Yeltsin that he would lose face if he kept Korzhakov's group on." -->