Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 35

The Russian government is facing yet another clash with the Duma today: The Communist-dominated parliament is to debate the federal budget in its fourth and supposedly final reading. Duma leaders are angry that the government has, in their eyes, broken the rules by introducing a package of twelve new amendments at the last minute. The amendments add up to cuts of over $4.6 billion in a total budget of around $500 billion. (BBC, February 20) Yesterday, the Duma’s budget committee recommended accepting all but three of the amendments. The three they want to reject include the government’s proposal to ax 27.9 billion rubles in additional spending — an expenditure agreed upon last fall by a joint government/parliament conciliation commission set up to work out a budget acceptable to both sides. The other two amendments concern cuts the government wants to make in development spending and health care. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin admitted yesterday that the government was bending the rules in submitting amendments so late in the day, but said the government had been forced to protect Russia’s economy from turmoil sparked by the Asian financial crisis. (RTR, Itar-Tass, February 19)

IMF Extends Russian Loan.