Embattled Soviet Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov has indicated he will not fade away and that the upcoming Congress of People's Deputies will have to force his ouster if it desires.
Ryzhkov's resignation has been rumored ever since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev last Saturday outlined a new plan of government in which the president would control the government ministers.But Ryzhkov said Sunday on Soviet television such a government restructuring requires a change in the constitution that only the Congress of People's Deputies can approve.
Since the Congress, parent body of the Supreme Soviet, meets on Dec. 17, Ryzhkov appeared to indicate he would hold out until then.
"In any case, this question should be decided by the Congress," Ryzhkov said. "If it supports the new system, it must amend the constitution."
A similar session of the 2,250-person Congress in Feburary was required to create the office of presidency for Gorbachev because it concerned a constitutional change.
Cryptically, Ryzhkov said: "I am ready for any variant if it will help the government."
But the overall tenor of Ryzhkov's remarks was it would require a constitutional change to force him out as the Soviet premier.
"I will not change my principles, no matter what structural changes will take place," Ryzhkov said. "I have firm life convictions, firm political conditions, and I do not intend to change them."
Ryzhkov said he had expected he would leave in December when the republics finally decide whether to accept a new union treaty reconstituting the state into a Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics - dropping the word "Socialist" from the country's old name, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
But Ryzhkov said Gorbachev gave him only 30 minutes notice last Saturday by telephoning and saying he was going to propose the restructuring that very morning, changes that in effect would remove Ryzhkov.
Ryzhkov, son of a Russian coal miner in the Ukraine, was non-comittal when asked if he would continue in politics if he were removed.