Lawmakers who threatened to seek President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's resignation at the upcoming Congress of People's Deputies said Saturday they will now support his policies, Tass reported.
The "Soyuz" group of deputies, meeting to discuss its tactics at the Congress that begins Monday, expressed unanimous support for Gorbachev's course toward reforms, the official news agency said.If Soyuz indeed supports Gorbachev's policies at the Congress, the Soviet leader will have successfully defused his latest challenge.
In recent weeks, Gorbachev appeared to appease the hard-liners by talking tough on law and order and replacing the moderate interior minister with a KGB general expected to crack down on political uprisings.
Col. Victor Alksnis, the leader of the hard-line group that claims a membership of 400 to 500 lawmakers, warned Nov. 17 he would seek Gorbachev's resignation unless the Soviet leader acted before Monday to stem the political and economic problems of the Soviet Union.
Other hard-liners formed a group called the National Salvation Committee, which is seeking a nationwide state of emergency, suspension of new political parties and transfer of control to the committee itself.
On Dec. 2, Gorbachev replaced Interior Minister Vadim Bakatin, who is popular among liberals, with Boris Pugo, a Communist Party official and friend of Alksnis. Pugo became a KGB major general while running the secret police in Latvia in the early 1980s.
KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov went on national television on Tuesday and vowed to battle radicals who he said were trying to gain power by sabotaging food supplies during the nation's economic crisis.