Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin yesterday reversed the decision, taken last week by the Provisional Emergency Commission for Enforcing Tax Discipline, to seize the property of two of Russia’s largest tax laggards, the Omsk and Angarsk oil refineries. Chernomyrdin’s action is a blow to the prestige of First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, since the decision to bankrupt the two companies was taken at a meeting of the commission which Chubais chaired in Chernomyrdin’s absence last week. Chubais did not attend yesterday’s meeting since he is in India, making preparations for a visit by President Yeltsin tentatively scheduled for late next month. ORT speculated that Chernomyrdin was acting under pressure from the governor of Omsk Oblast, Leonid Polezhaev, but it seems just as likely that the premier was seeking a public way of taking Chubais down a peg. (ORT, December 17)
Doubt Cast on Moscow City Duma Elections.