Former Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze turned up the heat on Communists Friday by again proposing a reformist rival to their ruling party.
"The time has come to create a constructive democratic-oriented opposition," the longtime Communist and former foreign minister said in an interview with the independent news agency Interfax.Coming two weeks after a similar call by Shevardnadze for a new party raised a political storm, the proposal was sure to bolster current efforts to form a rival party to the 16.3-million-member Communist group.
"We need this to overcome the crisis in the country, save democracy, prevent an attempt to relapse into the old order and the totalitarian system," Shevardnadze told Interfax.
Reformers began forging the new party after Shevardnadze's first statement and Boris N. Yeltsin's resounding June 12 defeat of Communist candidates in Russia's first presidential election.
The Communist Party responded to Shevardnadze's first statement by launching an investigation. On Wednesday, it also published a proposed new platform that admitted mistakes and embraced some reforms.
Shevardnadze will be summoned to the Communist Party Control Commission on Monday to answer for his statements, the Russian government-run TV newscast "Vesti" reported Friday, quoting "well-informed sources."
The commission acts as the party disciplinarian and its investigations are initiated only with approval of the party general secretary, Mikhail S. Gorbachev. The commission can censure party members and recommend expulsion.
Shevardnadze's new comments were published the same day Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov said reformers hope soon to create a Western-type political party pushing "economic reforms and political freedoms."
The reformist mayor of the Soviet capital said the group, the United Democratic Party, could rival the ruling Communists by uniting the competing democratic movements.
"The basic function of the Soviet Communist Party has been to unceasingly control the actions of the administration," Popov said.