Russian first deputy prime minister Anatoly Chubais has dismissed as "complete fantasy" an Izvestia report that he will soon hand over his responsibilities as finance minister to his trusted deputy, Aleksei Kudrin. (Izvestia, August 23; RTR, August 24) Chubais told Russian TV that he intends to remain as finance minister for the foreseeable future. Izvestia had claimed that a sweeping reform of the Finance Ministry is in the offing. It said Chubais is so busy with his other duties that he rarely has time to visit the ministry. In Chubais’ absence, the paper said, deputy ministers numbering "about 15" (no-one knows precisely how many there are) have lost control of the bureaucracy. The result is that department heads are making policy and presenting it to their superiors as a fait accompli. Izvestia’s report, which was written by a seasoned and usually well-informed journalist, also claimed that Finance Ministry reform is to usher in a wider reform of the government apparatus in the autumn.
Baturin Out; Kokoshin to Head Presidential Military Inspectorate.