Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 142

Confusion continues over the appointment of Communist Party member Yuri Maslyukov to the Russian government as minister of industry and trade. The Kremlin made a formal announcement of the appointment, but the Communist Party leadership told Maslyukov not to accept the post. What did become clear yesterday was how this situation came about. A clearly aggrieved Maslyukov told journalists that several weeks ago, Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko asked the Duma’s Economic Policy Committee, which Maslyukov heads, to nominate a candidate for the post. Maslyukov was nominated and the Kremlin made its announcement. At that point, uproar erupted in the Communist Party leadership, which had apparently not been consulted. The presidium of the Party’s Central Committee met yesterday. It split down the middle on the decision. In the end, Maslyukov was ordered to reject the post on the grounds that the present government is doomed and can do the country nothing but harm. Maslyukov said yesterday that he would abide by the party’s decision, but expressed regret and made it clear that he hoped the party leadership would change its mind. (NTV, July 23) He said that, during preliminary talks with the government, he had set various conditions and that Kirienko had agreed to almost all of them. They included demands that the new ministry should have oversight of the entire engineering sector, including the military-industrial complex and the arms trade, and that it would also have responsibility for budget planning and cooperation with CIS countries. Maslyukov made it clear that, unlike the majority of the party leadership, he felt he could play a useful role within the cabinet: There was plenty of room for rationalization in the defense sector, he said, and this could be beneficial for the country as a whole.