Uprising Over, Yeltsin Clamps Down on Foes


With the last wisps of smoke curling from the charred White House, Russia was still reeling Tuesday from the fiery Moscow battles that left 150 dead at latest count and 1,500 under arrest by angry authorities now pursuing a general crackdown.

President Boris N. Yeltsin remained out of sight, promising to address the nation and meet with his security council today. Aides said he was deciding whether to use the momentum of his triumph over rebellious lawmakers to dissolve all local and regional legislatures as the last remnants of the Soviet Communist system.

Yeltsin fired Russia's prosecutor general, who had crossed him several times, as well as the governors of the Novosibirsk and Amur regions, who had sided with the Parliament when Yeltsin ordered it dissolved Sept. 21. He also liquidated the Moscow City Council and smaller district councils, most of which had backed deputies against him in the political conflict that exploded into violence last weekend.

An early morning shootout at the Itar-Tass news agency's offices in central Moscow left an army officer dead, but otherwise the Russian capital settled into a morning-after mood of shocked quiet, with no reports of attacks by the estimated 200 anti-Yeltsin snipers still at large and being hunted by soldiers and police.

"Russians now want us to ensure strict law and order as well as calm throughout Russia," Deputy Prime Minister Alexander N. Shokhin said.

Emergency rule in Moscow remained in effect, including an 11 p.m. curfew and censorship of Russian media, but normal daytime traffic was restored and stores opened for business as usual. Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said he would use the spell of tough discipline to purge Moscow of people who have been living in the city without permits, and he suggested indirectly that neighbors inform on illegal residents.

At the White House, the Russian Parliament building where hundreds of lawmakers and supporters defying Yeltsin's dissolution of the Parliament had holed up until the building was stormed Monday, gawkers far outnumbered troops. Tanks and armored personnel carriers rumbled away by the score, leaving only about a dozen on guard.

One tank commander left behind, a captain named Nikolai, responded with a weary "Nyet" when a little boy asked, "Uncle, can I climb up with you?" All he was dreaming of, Nikolai said, was going home to eat and sleep.

The building, once a pristine white, looked as if its top four floors had been dipped in soot. On the street, children crunched through the broken glass of a blown-out bus-stop shelter as if it were sharp-edged snow. Souvenir hunters collected scraps of barbed wire, and passersby argued loudly in tight huddles about which side had been right.

Yeltsin's presidency, in the wake of his victory, appeared strengthened, but much of the rest of the Russian power structure appeared to be teetering.

Constitutional Court Chairman Valery D. Zorkin was reported to be thinking about resigning.

A gathering of regional leaders and legislative chairmen fell through; Yeltsin's point man on regional politics, Nikolai Medvedev, said there had not been time to prepare for it during this "hot period," but Itar-Tass commented that Yeltsin probably did not want to expose himself to the new demands that regional leaders might make following Moscow's latest debacle.

In a clear attempt to underline Moscow's return to normalcy, Yeltsin's spokesman said that the Russian president will still travel to Japan on Monday as planned.

That Yeltsin intended to go ahead with a diplomatically thorny trip indicated that he was feeling confident enough not only to deal with the Japanese but to take the risk of leaving the field to his opponents at home.

Yeltsin's Finance Ministry also took a controversial step, announcing that trade for dollars will be banned in Russia beginning in January. The ban is likely to upset thousands of companies that depend on the dollar, rather than the shaky ruble, to keep their business in Russia profitable. Some Russians also earn salaries in dollars as a hedge against inflation.

The only poll to emerge since the confrontation with lawmakers turned violent found Yeltsin enjoying solid support from Muscovites. Sixty-two percent told phone interviewers from the Mneniye polling service Monday morning that they thought Yeltsin was acting "in Russia's interest," while 58% said they thought former Vice President Alexander V. Rutskoi, who led the lawmakers, was acting for his own gain.

In a phone talk with President Clinton, Yeltsin reportedly offered thanks for U.S. support and said preparations were under way to hold elections for Parliament on Dec. 12.

Defense Minister Pavel S. Grachev asserted that the Russian army had emerged from the crisis "united and controlled as never before."

Prime Minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin issued a special statement of gratitude to the army, saying that thanks to Russia's men at arms, "civil war has been avoided."

Five paratrooper officers were killed in the storming of the White House on Monday, Grachev said, noting that they were the troops who performed the hardest task, blocking the exits.

The exact number of those who died in the White House and other battles remained unclear. Chernomyrdin put the death toll at 127, but police and troops were still combing the building at that point, and some officials estimated the death toll at closer to 300. First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets put the figure at 150.

About 550 people were reported injured in the three days of clashes, with 437 hospitalized. Some Moscow hospitals were reportedly running short of blood and medicine, and aid was arriving from other regions and abroad.

Grachev said that about 1,500 elite troops had been brought into Moscow for the crisis and that they will remain at least until emergency rule is scheduled to end Sunday.

Pyotr Filippov, a Yeltsin aide, said that 1,500 people had been arrested; of them, 500 were being held in police stations and 600 in a stadium near the White House.

The leaders of the rebellion, Parliament Chairman Ruslan I. Khasbulatov and Rutskoi, remained under arrest at a onetime KGB prison along with about 140 others. There was no word on whether they will be charged with treason or lesser crimes.

Most of the deputies who had spent the 13-day crisis in the White House were allowed to go home after being searched for weapons. As deputies, they have immunity from arrest, and most had not taken part in the shooting.

Officials estimated that the number of troops and police who went over to the Parliament's side was at least 200, compared to an estimated 700 who fought on Yeltsin's side at the White House. Moscow prosecutors were still deciding who should be charged with what.

The expected investigation into the crisis and White House violence made Yeltsin's appointment of a new prosecutor general, who will oversee the detective work, appear critical.

The Russian president apparently decided that outgoing prosecutor Valentin G. Stepankov was not loyal enough and replaced him with Omsk lawyer Alexei Kazannik. Yeltsin owed Kazannik a debt of gratitude dating from 1989, when Kazannik gave up his seat in the Supreme Soviet to Yeltsin.


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