economic realities seriously affected the behavior of the Supreme
Soviet and led to the spiraling confrontation between the executive
branch represented by the president and the reformist government, on
the one hand, and the legislature in the form of the Supreme Soviet,
on the other.
Soviet insisted on financial assistance to industry to avert the
economic collapse of entire branches of industry and to prevent mass
unemployment, which could lead to a social explosion. The
government, on the other hand, saw the way forward in raising the
economic efficiency of enterprises by turning them into
share-holding companies and insisted that subsidies and cheap
credits to unrestructured enterprises would only fuel inflation and
give a lifeline to inefficient producers.
This was the
essence of the confrontation between the legislative and the
executive branches: the Supreme Soviet preferred hyperinflation to
the collapse of production, whereas the government sought financial
stabilization by any means, even at the cost of the mass closure of
industrial enterprises. In their ferocious standoff the government
and parliament appealed to two different constituencies: the
executive branch sought the support of those sectors of the
population that had benefited from the market reforms, and the
Supreme Soviet strove to champion the interests of those who stood
to lose from the reforms.
between the executive and the legislative branches determined the
development of Russian politics in 1992 and 1993 and reached its
climax in the bloody clash in October 1993, when Yeltsin ordered the
shelling of the parliament building by tanks after the Supreme
Soviet had refused to obey his order to dissolve itself.