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Russia: Communists Indicate Compromise Might Be Reached

Moscow, 17 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Communists in the Russian lower house indicated today a compromise might be reached after earlier this week they delayed a vote of no-confidence in the government because of its economic performance. The Duma delayed the Communist-proposed vote of no-confidence following a call by President Boris Yeltsin to avoid confrontation.

Today, in a weekly radio address, Yeltsin played down the political crisis and again proposed roundtable talks between the government and the opposition.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov was quoted today as saying he was convinced there will be a roundtable and it will find a way out of the situation.

Nikholai Kharitonov, parliamentary leader of the Agrarian party -- an ally of the Communists -- said that in his address Yeltsin had reached out to the Duma and that in Russia "one does not strike an outstretched hand".

Yeltsin is scheduled to meet on Monday with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and speakers of both houses to break the ground for broader round-table discussions.

In his radio address, Yeltsin said that the latest showdown between the Russian government and parliament, which ended in compromise, proved that Russia had reached political stability.

Yeltsin said although political passions in Russia may "boil and seethe," everything was now staying within the bounds of a civilized political struggle.

Yeltsin again proposed the roundtable talks to try settle disagreements over the draft 1998 budget. Yeltsin said a continuation of the political crisis would be a blow to the economy.

The Communist Speaker of the Duma, Gennady Seleznyov, also appeared to be more conciliatory. Seleznyov, speaking in the southern city of Krasnodar, said last night that the deputies were not seeking "an active confrontation" with the government.