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Yeltsin Impeachment Campaign Stalls

October 12, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ The impeachment campaign against Boris Yeltsin stalled again Monday when a parliamentary commission failed to agree that Yeltsin could be held responsible for the war dead in Chechnya.

``All members of the commission agreed that the president had exceeded his powers, but as to the accusation of the killings of people in Chechnya, that question was not supported,″ commission chairman Vadim Filimonov said.

The latest of several impeachment campaigns, the ongoing inquiry by the Communist-led opposition appears unlikely to succeed, in part because Russia’s constitution gives Yeltsin the upper hand in dealing with parliament.

The lack of agreement on Chechnya could mean a further delay in putting any impeachment motion on parliament’s agenda.

Though Yeltsin’s handling of Chechnya doesn’t have to be in the impeachment process, the commission will likely want to include it. Many lawmakers are angry over the Chechen war and the issue would probably garner more support in parliament than other charges would.

The commission agreed, however, that Yeltsin instigated the Soviet Union’s collapse and that he erred by sending troops and tanks against hard-liners in the former Russian parliament in October 1993.

``Yeltsin has committed actions that have features of a grave crime ... that is, high treason,″ said a commission report obtained by The Associated Press.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, meanwhile, resumed his call for Yeltsin to resign.

``The greatest problem is that (Yeltsin) has had great difficulty in finding his bearings for a very long time, and does not realize what is actually happening in the country,″ Zyuganov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Yeltsin was forced to cut short a trip to Central Asia on Monday on his doctors’ orders. Presidential aides said he was suffering from a respiratory infection, had a fever and was being treated with antibiotics.

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