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Press Release, 24.11.99
Apparent Shift in Anatoli Chubais' stance on Grigory Yavlinsky's Chechnya position demonstrates a split in the Union of the Right Forces.

The recent explanations from Anatoli Chubais, a leader of the "Union of the Right Forces," regarding his accusations about Grigory Yavlinsky's "betrayal" in his Chechnya stance, indicate that a split is emerging in the URF, said one of Yabloko's leaders, Alexei Melnikov, a member of Yabloko's Central Council and a Deputy of the State Duma.

Melnikov was commenting on an interview with Anatoli Chubais, head of RAO-EC, published in the "Kommersant" on November 24. In the interview, Anatoli Chubais again criticised Grigory Yavlinsky's position regarding the situation in Chechnya. However, a change was noted.

"Whatever Chubais would say justifying his position, he has nevertheless considerably mitigated his assessment of the position of Grigory Yavlinsky regarding the war in Chechnya. Chubais no longer throws around words such as "traitor" any more", Alexei Melnikov told the journalists.

According to Melnikov, Chubais' shift was not a casual change of position. Instead, it was prompted by a virtual split in the URF on the issue of Russia's policies in Chechnya. "Such people as Sergei Kovalyov (Ed. Russia's leading humanitarian and a URF leader) cannot calmly stand by and observe Chubais beginning his "witch-hunt" and virtually discounting not only political options for settlement in Chechnya, but even open discussions within society on the achievement of political agreements in Chechnya," stressed Alexei Melnikov.

Melnikov stated that according to the estimates of Yabloko's experts, a considerable part of URF's electorate supports Grigory Yavlinsky's proposals for peaceful settlement of the conflict in Chechnya.

Based on Interfax reports.