A small group of hard-liners advocating a return to dictatorship said Saturday that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev has agreed to meet and discuss their plan to replace him.
But Vladimir Voronin, head of the self-proclaimed National Salvation Committee, admitted he has no date yet for the meeting."I spoke with Gorbachev face-to-face" and he promised a formal meeting sometime in the future, he said. Voronin said he hopes to persuade Gorbachev to admit failure and voluntarily surrender power to a collective dictatorship.
He made his announcement at a meeting in Moscow intended to draw together hard-liners who, like the committee, believe Gorbachev's democratic reforms must be suspended to prevent the country from splitting apart and to halt the collapse of the economy.
Voronin and his allies have said they plan to persuade the current government to hand over power to their committee, an obscure body with an unknown number of members that is part of the legislature's Centrist Bloc, formed last fall.
After taking power, the committee would suspend parliaments, the presidency, political parties and the press in order to have absolute power to implement its program and preserve the Soviet Union.
Saturday's meeting was billed as a session for organizing the pressure that would force a turnover of power. It drew just 180 people, nearly a third of them journalists and observers.