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Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 02:19 GMT 03:19 UK


The Russian crisis in quotes

The acting Prime Minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin on the need for rapid action to tackle Russia's economic crisis: "We cannot afford to lose time. The country cannot work without a government. The rouble is hanging by a thread."

The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov on Mr Chernomyrdin: "An accomplice with Yeltsin in the destruction of the past five years (of Russia's economy)."

How he sees the role of the Communists: "The situation in the country has reached a critical stage, in essence. Our task was to protect the new government, by all possible means, from the arbitrariness of Mr Yeltsin who has put the country on the brink of collapse."

Dismissing the power-sharing agreement: "The document does not guarantee anything to anyone."

'A political compromise'

Gennady Seleznyov, the Communist speaker of the Russian parliament, on the agreement: "A political compromise."

The leading Russian businessman, Boris Berezovsky, rejecting speculation that the crisis will lead to the Communists returning to power:"Today the people does not trust the authorities, but the people does not believe that the opposition can become the authorities. Too many times it was the opposition that betrayed the people."

On moves by the Communists to win further concessions in the power-sharing deal: "Any bargaining is inappropriate. It is primarily harmful for the authorities and absolutely unpromising for the opposition."

'On the brink'

The leader of the pro-reform Yabloko Party, Grigory Yavlinsky, on how the crisis will set back Russia's development: "The situation today really is on the brink, and everything you see really is madness and a waste of time which later will cost decades."

The extreme right-wing leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, criticising the Chairman of the Central Bank, Sergey Dubinin for pegging the rouble to the dollar: "It is his fault that the country has now lost $20bn but he remains free, nobody complains about him and he remains the head of the Central Bank. At the same time if a banker loses a million of his own money he is sent to prison."

'Eviction from power'

Presidential hopeful, General Alexander Lebed, on how Mr Yeltsin will have to give up some of his constitutional powers: "We are looking at a process of the eviction from power of the president, and a shift in the power centre of gravity towards the Federation Council and the Duma."

The US Deputy Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, on the war of words in Moscow: "We'll have to see how it all plays out. What is crucial is not words at this point but actions the Russians are able to take at what is a critical juncture for them and their management of the economy."



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