Soviet deputies lambasted Russian Federation leader Boris Yeltsin for his attacks on Mikhail Gorbachev's government, then adjourned to campaign for a pro-unity vote in next week's referendum.
Despite the denunciations Monday, the Soviet Parliament declined to adopt a resolution of censure against Yeltsin after lawmakers said such a measure would only increase his popularity.Yeltsin shrugged off the criticism in the national legislature during a meeting with striking miners from Siberia's Kuzbass coal field, who affirmed their support for his aggressive challenge to the central government.
Several dozen coal mines were shut down in Siberia, the Ukraine's Donbass field and the Vorkuta region above the Arctic Circle in the second week of a labor protest to demand higher wages, the official news agency Tass said.
Meanwhile, Lithuania marked the first anniversary of its declaration of independence, which set off a chain of similar proclamations last year by the other 14 Soviet republics.
Lawmakers in the national legislature chastised Yeltsin's speech Saturday in which he urged democratic activists to "declare war on the country's leadership, which is leading us into the bog, which is again leading us onto the path of anti-democracy."
The next day, hundreds of thousands of Muscovites spurred on by Yeltsin's address demonstrated outside the Kremlin walls, shouting their support for the leader of the Russian Federation and demanding Gorbachev's resignation as president of the central government.
A transcript of Yeltsin's speech was distributed Monday to the parliament, sparking an animated, hourlong discussion.
Sergei Shuvalov, vice chairman of the All-Union Voluntary Society of Book-Lovers, demanded that deputies hear a recording of "the latest anti-Soviet speech by former Politburo member Yeltsin," but the motion was shouted down by his colleagues, who said this would only give him more publicity.
Some deputies complained that they had not been given enough time to read the transcript.