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Yeltsin Impeachment Move Scheduled

March 26, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia’s prime minister on Friday failed to convince parliamentary leaders to put off a scheduled impeachment debate on President Boris Yeltsin in light of NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia.

Yevgeny Primakov told the heads of parliament’s various factions that debating impeachment would be ``untimely″ because it would split Russian political groups in a time of crisis, Agrarian Party faction leader Nikolai Kharitonov said.

But Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov, whose party is the largest in the lower house of parliament, refused to comply, saying the impeachment hearings will start as scheduled on April 15. Russia has called for an end to the NATO strikes on Yugoslavia.

Communists support Primakov’s Cabinet and have generally gone along with his wishes, but not always.

The impeachment motion is considered unlikely to succeed, but even its arrival on the Duma floor would be considered another blow to Yeltsin.

A parliamentary committee has charged Yeltsin with instigating the 1991 Soviet collapse, improperly using force against hard-line lawmakers in 1993, launching the botched 1994-96 war in Chechnya, bringing the nation’s military to ruin and waging genocide against the Russian people by pursuing economic policies that impoverished the country.

The motion must win a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament and approval by Russia’s highest courts _ a scenario considered highly improbable.

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