Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 14

Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov called January 19 for a criminal investigation of Chubais’s conduct of privatization during his four years in government. (10) Luzhkov urged the de-privatization of Norilsk Nickel, the YUKOS oil company, and North-West River Shipping Line, shares of which were auctioned in the controversial "shares-for-loans" scheme that raised 4.7 trillion rubles for the state in 1995. In addition, Luzhkov said Moscow’s financially troubled ZIL auto plant should be returned to state ownership and that the state should tighten control over private investment funds. He also advocated state regulation of fuel and energy prices. Addressing a press conference January 19, Yeltsin blamed former first deputy prime minister Anatoly Chubais for the poor showing of the government party in the December elections. Had Chubais resigned before the elections, Yeltsin alleged "Russia is Our Home" would have won 20 instead of 10 percent of the vote. "And how these [shares-for-loans] auctions were botched up and our enterprises were sold for next to nothing!" Yeltsin exclaimed. (11)

Luzhkov and now First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets are the main beneficiaries of Chubais’s ouster last week. Both men have long been ferocious critics of the departed minister’s economic policies; both have now assumed key positions in the newly created headquarters of Yeltsin’s re-election campaign. Soskovets, head of the campaign team, will retain his government post and oversight of both the military-industrial complex and conversion. As second-in-command, Luzhkov will be responsible for the presidential campaign in Moscow, where he, too, is running for re-election.

Primakov’s Priorities.