Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 187

Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin addressed the Duma this morning and urged it to approve the government’s draft 1998 federal budget. The Duma’s budget and economics committees have already recommended that parliament should reject the draft, but held out an olive branch by adding the recommendation that the budget should not be rejected out of hand but instead be referred to a conciliation commission. The commission will consist of government and parliamentary representatives who will hammer out a document acceptable to both sides. The prime minister also urged parliament this morning to abandon threats to call a vote of no confidence in the government over the budget.

First Deputy Prime Ministers Anatoly Chubais and Boris Nemtsov have both declared that the government is prepared to compromise on minor points but will not agree to alter the budget draft significantly. They are unlikely to agree to the major structural changes being proposed by the liberal Yabloko faction, which says that, unless the government makes a principled change of course, it will vote against the budget. Communist faction leader Gennady Zyuganov has described the government’s draft as "barbaric" and threatened yesterday that his faction will call a vote of no confidence in the government over the issue, but few observers took the threat seriously. Instead, most analysts are predicting a long period of horse-trading — expected to last until the end of the year — over both the budget and the government’s draft tax code. (Russian agencies, October 7; Financial Times, October 8)

Hijackers Escape to Chechnya.