The Russian Duma last week condemned as "unsatisfactory" the government’s management of the budget in the first quarter of this year (a watered-down version of the original wording which would have condemned the government’s management of the economy as a whole), but postponed a vote on the government’s revised 1997 federal budget until an unspecified later date. The Duma then declared a two-week recess until June 4. First Deputy Premier Anatoly Chubais dismissed the Duma’s decision, saying the government would press ahead with its proposed spending cuts regardless of the Duma’s actions. (Itar-Tass, May 23) Meanwhile, one of Russia’s leading daily newspapers alleged that the 7-point plan adopted by the government last week in fact contains at least one secret clause: to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections under new electoral regulations which, by eliminating party lists, would sharply reduce the influence of Russia’s Communist Party. (Moskovsky komsomolets, May 24)
Russia, Chechnya Sign Oil Deal.