Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 150

Anatoly Chubais gave his first press conference yesterday since his appointment as Boris Yeltsin’s chief-of-staff. Outlining the three main tasks of the presidential staff, Chubais said the first priority was recommending personnel for high government posts. Yeltsin has entrusted such recommendations to the presidential staff rather, Chubais implied, than to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Chubais confirmed that there are at present four candidates for the post of first deputy premier in charge of the economy: Oneksimbank chairman Vladimir Potanin, presidential aide Aleksandr Livshits, deputy Duma speaker Aleksandr Shokhin and Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky. "All these people are capable of doing the job," Chubais said. "I’m not hiding the fact that I have a preference, but I am hiding what that preference is." (According to Segodnya of July 31, Potanin is the hot favorite with Shokhin in second position; Livshits is to become finance minister with the rank of deputy premier, and Yavlinsky has been discounted.)

The second priority identified by Chubais is ensuring that candidates friendly to Yeltsin get elected in the regional elections due to be held between October and December. Elections for governors are to be held in 52 of Russian’s 89 regions, with the first gubernatorial election set for September 1 in Saratov oblast on the Volga. Until now, most governors were appointed by Yeltsin directly, but in future they are to be elected. These elections matter to Moscow because they will influence the composition of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, which now leans in favor of Yeltsin and acts as a counterweight to the Communist -dominated Duma. Chubais said the successful experience accumulated by the Kremlin team during the recent presidential election campaign will be applied in the regional campaigns. An internal document leaked to Nezavisimaya gazeta earlier this week indicated that the presidential staff feels it is "unprepared" for these elections and that much needs to be done to ensure that Communist and nationalist candidates do not sweep the board of Yeltsin loyalists.

The third task identified by Chubais is to ensure harmonious working relationship between that the president and the government. This will be hard to achieve. Chubais has said he will not interfere in the management of the economy, but from what he has said so far it appears that his idea of the division of labor is that the Kremlin should set the strategic aims and the government should carry them out. Though Chernomyrdin is likely to have other ideas, Chubais said that at a meeting earlier in the day, Yeltsin had approved all Chubais’ proposals "and indicated high confidence [in his chief-of-staff]." Chubais added that Yeltsin might take "a proper holiday" after his August 9 inauguration. (Reuter, July 31; Nezavisimaya gazeta, August 1)

Russia Plans Eurobond Issue in October.