Yeltsin’s remarks yesterday made it clear that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin had won out on the structure of the new government. Up to that point there were two competing models on the table. The more conservative model was championed by Chernomyrdin and his right-hand-man, government chief-of-staff Vladimir Babichev. Under that plan, the new government would have the same structure as the current government (and as the Soviet-era government). A much more radical model had been drafted by the Economics Ministry under Yevgeny Yasin. This called for a sweeping modernization of the traditional structure, eliminating the "industrial ministries" so familiar from the Soviet period such as the Fuel and Energy Ministry, the Foreign Trade Ministry, and so on. (Izvestiya, July 18 and 23; Segodnya, July 19)
Statements yesterday by both Yeltsin and Babichev made it clear that the conservative version has prevailed. Babichev told a press conference yesterday that there would be no major changes in the structure of the government. Babichev said the new government would consist of 24-26 ministries (there are 24 at present), though other federal agencies and state committees might be reduced (at present there are about 50 such bodies). (Itar-Tass, July 23)
Speculation Continues over Composition of New Government.