summoned his cabinet members with a blustery pronouncement. A February 26 meeting with ministers would, he said, be "demanding" and "certain people will be held to account." The president seemed about to make good on his long-standing pledge to get rid of those appointees whose performance had displeased him.

On Thursday morning, the President opened the meeting before live television cameras demanding to know "who is guilty" for Russia’s economic problems. He wanted a full accounting. By the end of the meeting, he warned, three ministers might lose their jobs. He left it to Prime Minister