Addressing the last cabinet meeting for 1995, Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin called on his government yesterday to work together to ward off the possibility of a Communist victory in next June’s presidential elections. (8) Chernomyrdin said the government has much to be proud of: inflation has been brought under control and 1996 should see the beginning of economic growth after four years of recession. However, he claimed these achievements would be undermined unless ministers put personal ambitions behind them. "We must work as a single team," the prime minister said.
Both Chernomyrdin and President Yeltsin have repeatedly stated that the Communists’ strong showing in the parliamentary elections of December 17 will not cause them to make any changes in either policy or the composition of the cabinet. But Yeltsin on December 28 gave the prime minister two days to produce proposals aimed at overhauling the Economics Ministry and "sacking saboteurs." (9) Yeltsin has apparently become infuriated by footdragging by the Economics Ministry, which has since 1994 been ignoring the president’s instructions to channel state investment toward a harvester-producing plant in Krasnoyarsk. Nevertheless, the job of economics minister Yevgeny Yasin is not believed to be under threat.
Health permitting, Yeltsin is expected to declare in February that he intends to run for a second term in office, and the Chernomyrdin-led "Russia is Our Home" movement announced earlier this week that it will support Yeltsin if he decides to run.
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