Shevardnadze Sees Threat of Another Coup

<i> Times Wire Services</i>

Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze has issued a fresh warning that another right-wing coup could take place in the Soviet Union, according to a weekly newspaper.

Megapolis-Express, in an issue dated today, said Shevardnadze told a recent meeting of his Democratic Reform Movement that “the threat of a right-wing putsch is growing and becoming more and more real.”

Asked to elaborate, he told the paper: “Production is falling sharply, living conditions are worsening, prices are growing, hyper-inflation is on the way.

” . . . Against this background the discontent of the masses is growing. In such a situation, nostalgia for a ‘strong hand’ always arises in society. . . .”


Shevardnadze returned last month to the job of foreign minister from which he had resigned in December, 1990. He said then that the Soviet Union faced the threat of dictatorship--a warning that appeared prophetic when Communist hard-liners staged an abortive coup last August.

Shevardnadze’s remarks were the latest in a string of recent coup warnings.

Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev said in an interview this week that former Communists or members of the military-industrial establishment could be trying to organize a new coup.

And St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly A. Sobchak told the Paris daily Le Figaro in an interview published Wednesday that a military coup was a real possibility. “And this time, if it happens, it will receive the support of the people,” he said.


The outspoken mayor said August’s coup attempt failed because it was masterminded by unpopular Communists.

“But a military dictatorship whose declared goal is simply to restore order has a chance of success,” he said.