MOSCOW — WHEN troops surrounded the Russian White House, or parliament building, many legislators found themselves caught outside the cordon, unable to get back into the building.
At least 117 lawmakers have established an alternative headquarters in a building housing one of Moscow's borough councils, where they continue to resist President Boris Yeltsin's move to disband parliament and to hold December elections for a new legislature. ``We're trying to coordinate all [anti-Yeltsin] action,'' says Nikolai Kharitonov, chairman of the organizing committee of the ``rump parliament.'' ``We have links with the White House through certain channels. We are also in touch with the regions.''
Meeting in a small, stuffy, third-floor room of the Krasnopresnenskaya Borough Soviet, just a few blocks from the besieged White House, the locked-out legislators appear to have lots of plans, but little organization.
They speak, for example, of enlisting the support of Army Gen. Alexander Lebed, the independent-minded commander of the 14th Russian Army, which has been accused of aiding ethnic Russian separatists in the Trans-Dniestr region of Moldova, near Romania. But when pressed, Mr. Kharitonov says the lawmakers are unsure how to go about contacting General Lebed.
Mostly, legislators seem to just come and go from the third-floor room, where discussions are continuing. The mood among most of the legislators is grim, and the strain of the crisis is clearly visible on exhausted faces. ``There will be much blood,'' warns deputy Andrei Golovin, who had left the White House to do a television interview when troops began their blockade.
During a recent discussion, about a dozen deputies sat in their winter overcoats, as Moscow experienced its first snowfall of the season. People spoke in subdued tones and several were unable to keep their eyes open.
``They're trying to isolate us and say we are nothing more than drunkards and crazies,'' says deputy Vladimir Rebrikov. ``We must publicize our views.''