Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 174

Boris Fedorov appears to have been squeezed out of Russia’s new government. Yesterday a government spokesman announced that his duties had been divided between First Deputy Premier Yuri Maslyukov and Deputy Premier Aleksandr Shokhin. Fedorov, appointed to head the Federal Tax Service last spring and briefly entrusted with drafting a plan to rescue Russia from its economic crisis, was one of the government’s few remaining market reformers. Another–acting Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov–was hanging on by his teeth yesterday as his offer to restructure Russia’s frozen domestic debt came under apparent fire from Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin. A group of Western bankers and Russian officials is expected to meet tomorrow (September 24) to discuss the planned restructuring of Russian debt, which was frozen on August 17. Earlier this week, Zadornov tried to placate foreign investors by offering to revise previously announced debt-restructuring plans. The government’s initial proposals angered foreign investors by seeming to threaten discrimination against them in favor of domestic banks. Shokhin warned investors not to regard Zadornov’s plan as definitive since, he said, the final decision would have to be take “at the political level” (Itar-Tass, September 22).

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said yesterday that final appointments to the new government will be announced later this week. The main outlines of the government’s new policy will be announced on either September 29 or October 2. The new government will be more top-heavy than that formed by ousted Premier Sergei Kirienko during last spring. It will include two first deputy premiers–Yuri Maslyukov and Vadim Gustov–and four deputy premiers–Vladimir Bulgak, Gennady Kulik and Aleksandr Shokhin, plus the recently appointed Valentina Matvienko, who is in charge of social policy (Itar-Tass, September 22). Yeltsin yesterday approved the creation of an Anti-Monopoly Ministry, which is to subsume the present State Committee on Anti-Monopoly Policy, the State Committee for Supporting and Developing Small Businesses (currently headed by Irina Khakamada), and the Federal Service for Regulating Natural Monopolies in the Fields of Communications and Transport. Each of these services is to be disbanded. Yeltsin also approved the creation of a new Ministry for Regional Policy, a Ministry of Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs and a Ministry of Trade; the last will take over the functions of the Ministry of Industry and Trade which were, in turn, taken over in the spring from the former Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations (RTR, Itar-Tass, September 22).