Yeltsin challengers eat cabbage soup in solitary cells


MOSCOW -- The men who challenged Boris N. Yeltsin for the rule of Russia spent yesterday in solitary confinement, dining on a first course of cabbage soup and a second of herring and potatoes.

Parliament Chairman Ruslan I. Khasbulatov, Vice President Alexander Rutskoi and their four-member "Cabinet" are being held in Lefortovo Prison, built in 1880 and once a symbol of Soviet secret police -- KGB -- terror.

One of the Cabinet members -- Viktor Barranikov -- was until a few months ago Mr. Yeltsin's KGB chief -- or minister of security, as the new title goes.

But there would be no special privileges for former statesmen, a Lefortovo warden said yesterday, according to the Itar-Tass News Agency.

The prisoners get up at 6 a.m., go to bed at 10 p.m. and -- in between interrogations -- can read books and newspapers.

The warden said Mr. Khasbulatov is reading books on philosophy; the prisoners are also reading the newspapers Trud, Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, none of which are hard-line papers.

About 160 prisoners were taken to Lefortovo after a tank-and-gun battle at the Russian White House Monday. Most were released. About 50 remain, three to a cell, except for the top six men who are in solitary.

Their 75-square-foot cells have barred windows, bed, table, stool, sink and toilet. The walls are painted a depressing brown, and there's no television.

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