Vladimir Ryzhkov, leader of the Duma (lower house of parliament) faction Our Home Is Russia (NDR), was elected to parliament in 1993 and again in 1995.
Ryzhkov served as Duma deputy speaker from the NDR faction. The tall and lean Ryzhkov resembles a conscientious student or a young teacher. But his youthful looks don't get in the way of his ability to conduct Duma meetings.
Ryzhkov has a reputation of a sensible and well-balanced politician. It was in many ways thanks to him that NDR managed to define its platform as a centrist movement after it ceased to be Russia's party of power in the wake of last August's political crisis.
Ryzhkov likes to speak figuratively and is able to deal the well-aimed thrusts of his opponents' opinions.
Last fall, Ryzhkov entered a rocky period after the movement's leader, former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, clashed with Aleksandr Shokhin, then the NDR faction leader in the Duma.
The movement's Duma faction was then left with no leader after Shokhin was sacked. Chernomyrdin then tried to talk Ryzhkov into assuming the position. As a result, the faction nearly lost its deputy spokesman in the Duma, as Ryzhkov would have had to give up his position as deputy speaker to take NDR's top Duma post.
Ryzhkov has few illusions concerning the movement's fate. He has remained pointedly loyal to Chernomyrdin.
An interview with Ryzhkov will appear in next week's RJ, where he talks about his reflections on the presidential impeachment issue, the crisis of power, the president's future and the international diplomatic situation.