Izvestia, March 7, 2001, p.4

During their meeting on Tuesday, Unity deputies never did manage to reach consensus in regard to the upcoming Duma vote on a motion of no-confidence in the Kasianov Cabinet. “The leader of the party must determine his position first,” Unity members told journalists. This will happen at the political council meeting on Wednesday; then ordinary deputies will “consult with constituents in their electoral districts.” Unity will announce its final position by March 13, the day before the no-confidence vote is to be debated in parliament.

On Tuesday the Communists, as expected, submitted a motion of no-confidence in the Cabinet. The Duma Council placed the motion on the agenda of the plenary meeting set for March 14.

Incidentally, most political parties and representatives are far from expressing clear opinions about the vote or about the motion’s future in the Duma. Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev announced that Unity had “rushed” to support the Communist initiative. This quick move by such a large party seemed “very superficial,” Seleznev added. The Duma speaker expressed the suspicion that Unity would have to back down.

Yabloko deputies Vladimir Lukin and Sergei Ivanenko responded critically to Unity’s move: “If the Duma is functioning poorly, that means Unity is functioning poorly.”

Gennady Raikov, leader of People’s Deputy, is convinced that his faction will not support the motion.

Irina Khakamada, deputy leader of the Union of Right Forces, commented that the whole matter was essentially a squabble between the two largest parties in the Duma “over the reassignment of crucial posts.” The Union of Right Forces refuses to support these “games and intrigues,” said Khakamada, but would prepare itself for early elections nonetheless.

Vyacheslav Volodin, deputy leader of Fatherland-All Russia, also noted that his faction would not support the Communist initiative. He called the steps taken by Unity “illogical political maneuvers.”

“Unity has been supporting the Cabinet for a year – and has now suddenly decided to voice its dissatisfaction,” added Volodin.