A top Russian official issued a dire warning Wednesday that the political crisis gripping Russia is pushing the country away from reforms and toward disaster.
"The Congress has effectively stopped the reform policy in Russia at this phase of development," charged Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai. "Russia is pushed toward revolution, chaos and anarchy. But we should never pass that line."Shakhrai, one of President Boris Yeltsin's closest advisers, dismissed constant speculation that the president was on the verge of taking tough emergency steps to regain the upper hand from the Congress of People's Deputies, which ended its special session Saturday by cutting the president's powers and denying him the right to go to the people in a referendum.
Shakhrai's comments appeared in an official government newspaper, Rossiiskiye Vesti, and came as Shakhrai and a circle of Yeltsin's closest aides huddled in a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin to figure out what to do.
"At present, the Russian president is holding consultations and considering different strategies," Shakhrai said. "The Security Council meets today, but one point is obvious: there will be no emergency actions - neither the Congress nor the president can take them."