Pravoe Delo (Right Cause)–the center-right coalition formed by Yegor Gaidar, Anatoly Chubais and others–held a conference in Moscow yesterday, during which Gaidar laid out the party’s platform. The former acting prime minister charged that the “Primakov-Maslyukov government has shown its complete ineffectiveness in economic policy,” saying that it has brought about a sharp drop in living standards, a record growth in the number of poor, a shrinking of Russia’s hard-currency reserves, a bankrupt tax policy and actions aimed at putting an end to the ruble’s convertibility. Gaidar also attacked the government’s actions as being tied to those of the communists in the State Duma, which include impeachment. Gaidar said that his coalition was ready to cooperate with Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko in fighting “chauvinism, nationalism and communism.” Gaidar attacked the NATO actions in Yugoslavia, saying that the alliance’s “mistaken hypotheses” had turned into “erroneous decisions.”
Other leaders of the coalition also addressed the conference, including former finance minister and Deputy Prime Minister Boris Federov, who said that “the hysteria surrounding the Yugoslav conflict and impeachment is constructed to deflect the public’s attention away from the fact that the [Primakov] government has done nothing during the seven months of its existence.”
Notable absences included Anatoly Chubais, who was away from Russia on business involving United Energy Systems (Russia’s electricity grid, which he heads) and Sergei Kirienko, the former prime minister. While Kirienko was one of the leading politicians who originally signed on to Right Cause, he has since distanced himself from it. Kirienko has formed his own movement, called Novaya Sila (New Force) (Russian agencies, April 13-14).
LITHUANIA REJECTS LUKOIL’S RISKY EMBRACE.