Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 198

There was confusion in Moscow yesterday over the fate of Russia’s draft tax code, which President Boris Yeltsin on October 21 instructed the government to recall from the Duma. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin confirmed yesterday that the government had not withdrawn the bill but referred it instead to a conciliation commission which has started to rework it. Chernomyrdin said the commission will consider some 3,000 proposed amendments before returning the bill to parliament for its second reading. (RTR, October 22)

Privatization Minister Maksim Boiko told a TV interviewer yesterday that events were proceeding "on two separate planes." On the one hand, he said, there was the political crisis sparked by the threatened vote of no-confidence in the government, which was narrowly averted by Yeltsin’s last-minute appeals to the Duma. On the other hand, Boiko said, work is proceeding "calmly, quietly and in a professional manner" behind the scenes in the conciliation commission on reworking the budget and the tax code. (RTR, October 22)

The Yabloko faction, which has been the fiercest critic of the draft tax code, expressed dissatisfaction with this arrangement yesterday. Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky said the tax code is "totally illiterate and unacceptable" and should have been withdrawn. He said the code "will only get worse" if it is reworked by the conciliation commission, which he described as the fruit of a backstairs deal struck by the government and the Communists. This conflict of views highlights the lack of unity within the Duma, which the government was able to exploit to defuse this week’s crisis. Yabloko and the Communists object to quite different aspects of the government’s economic policy. Yavlinsky said yesterday that Yabloko would accept the government’s draft budget if the government withdrew the tax code, which he said would be ruinous for industry. The Communists, on the other hand, are prepared to sanction the tax code as long as the government reworks the budget to increase state spending on sectors close to the Communists’ hearts. (ORT, October 22)

And Then There Were Three.