Official Soviet newspapers said Wednesday that Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov's request for emergency powers is an attempt to seize powers from President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Pavlov asked the national legislature on Tuesday to grant him emergency powers to issue decrees without the approval of the president or parliament.Pavlov also put forward an economic reform plan sharply at odds with a Western-backed plan drafted by former Russian Federation economic adviser Grigory Yavlinsky.
In what the government newspaper Izvestia called an attempt "to go behind the president's back," Pavlov was quoted as saying he objects to Gorbachev's decision to seek aid from the West.
Pavlov told the legislature that Gorbachev was too busy to handle day-to-day government business. The prime minister said he needed authority to issue emergency decrees on such matters as the harvest, banking and taxation.
Gorbachev's spokesman tried to play down the apparent conflict between the president and prime minister.
KGB Chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, Interior Minister Boris Pugo and Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov are considered the most hard-line members of the Gorbachev-Pavlov government.