Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 50

Izvestia claims to have interviewed the authors of Chubais’ action program and reveals that his first priority will be to equip Russian houses and apartments with gas, electricity, and water meters. Lest this be thought an unimportant activity, Izvestia points out that when Russia launched its economic reforms in 1992, there were plans to phase out subsidies for housing and communal services and for the entire population to pay the full price of rental and utilities by the year 1998. That date now looks quite unrealistic, not only because the majority of the population will clearly be unable to pay the increased charges but also because the state still has no means of measuring how much energy and water individual households consume. This encourages wasteful use of resources. Installing meters is only the first move; Chubais’ longer term aim is believed to include breaking up the "natural monopolies" such as gas and electricity to introduce competition into the provision of utilities. At present, local governments are subsidizing communal services to the tune of around 70 percent. (Izvestia, March 11)

Journalist Replaces Chubais as Head of Presidential Administration.