First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais is reported to have expressed "dismay" in a conversation with journalists yesterday at rumors that Boris Berezovsky, the billionaire financier whose expulsion from the Security Council was engineered by Chubais only a week ago, may be appointed deputy prime minister with responsibility for CIS affairs. (Russian agencies, November 12) There have recently been rumors that the present holder of that post, Deputy Prime Minister Valery Serov, may be dismissed in the wake of allegations that he has been using his influence over Russia’s CIS partners to promote business interests. Oil interests in Belarus seem to be at the center of the affair at present. (See Monitor, November 5, 10)
Chubais and fellow first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov managed during a four-hour meeting on November 4 to persuade President Boris Yeltsin to dismiss Berezovsky on the grounds that the tycoon’s use of his Security Council post to further his business interests was giving Russian capitalism a bad name. Since his dismissal, however, Berezovsky has stated quite openly that he continues to work as before in Chechnya, where his substantial business interests are believed to center on oil and its transportation. Both Berezovsky and his former boss, Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin, have deplored the Russian government’s failure to assign state funds to rebuild Chechnya’s war-shattered economy. This (among other issues) brought Berezovsky into conflict with Chubais in the latter’s capacity as finance minister and holder of the Russian purse-strings. Chubais is right to express alarm at the latest rumors: keeping his subordinates in a state of perpetual animosity is Yeltsin’s hallmark operating mode.
Deputy Mayors Threaten Mass Resignation in Vladivostok.