Moscow, 5 March 1999 (RFE/RL) - The Kremlin says Russian President Boris Yeltsin sacked Boris Berezovsky yesterday as executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) because he had overstepped his authority and failed to implement unspecified instructions by the chairman of the Council of CIS Heads of State.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin said the decision to sack Berezovsky
yesterday stemmed from Yeltsin's dissatisfaction with the job he was doing. Yeltsin fired Berezovsky
in his capacity as chairman of the Council of CIS Heads of State. Berezovskii had been appointed to that post at the suggestion of the Ukrainian and Georgian presidents during
the CIS summit in Moscow last spring
The spokesman said no international official had the right to interfere in the
matters of any CIS state -- an apparent reference to comments by Berezovsky
this week that Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's government lacked
Analysts say Primakov had moved this year to remove a perceived threat from
Berezovsky. Authorities have recently carried out investigations of several of
Berezovsky's businesses, while the State Duma lower house of parliament last
month backed a resolution seeking Berezovsky's removal as CIS executive
Yeltsin named Ivan Korotchenya, Berezovsky's predecessor, as acting CIS executive secretary. Berezovsky's dismissal must be endorsed by the presidents of the other CIS member states.
CIS reaction today to the news was mixed. Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev
and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said Yeltsin had no right to
unilaterally remove a CIS official without consulting with the other leaders
that make up the loose confederation of 12 former Soviet republics. But
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said the recommendation would most likely be
supported by other CIS leaders.
Berezovsky himself criticized the decision. Speaking in Baku today after
meeting with Aliyev, Berezovsky blamed Communists and suggested Yeltsin's
efforts to remove him were reminiscent of the Soviet era.