Deputy Prime Minister OlegSoskovets told Nezavisimaya gazeta May 19 that “we are in trouble” on thebudget because of the rising expenses of the Chechen war. The special Chechnyareconstruction commission he heads will have to get funds fromelsewhere–possibly including even taking money that had been budgeted forChernobyl victims. One unnamed official told the paper, “As usual, no one is toblame in this country. When they advocated a tough budget and stabilization,nobody thought that war would break out in Chechnya.” In a related development,Russian television said May 18 that all 1996 budget estimates were based on somehighly optimistic calculations, and concluded that tax reform was an absolutenecessity. Russia, the television news said, has “probably the most absurd andconfused tax system in the world.”
Checking On Human Rights In Chechnya.