Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 42

Izvestia claims to have seen a draft of the state of the nation address that President Yeltsin will deliver to the Russian parliament on March 6. The newspaper says that the economic aspects of the draft bear the imprint of Anatoly Chubais, Yeltsin’s chief aide who is also Russia’s leading economic reformer. (Izvestia, February 27) Izvestia says the draft was prepared at a dacha near Moscow by a team of 15 people, including Yeltsin aide Georgy Satarov and former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar, with Chubais acting as sponsor.

The draft that Izvestia claims to have seen contains a pledge to stamp out money surrogates, the use of which is a widespread response to the lack of cash plaguing the Russian economy. Usually, surrogates take the form of vouchers or credit notes that can be used to purchase specific items from specific sources. If the government manages to stop their use, many firms are likely to be bankrupted and their employees will be thrown out of work, triggering a further increase in unemployment. At the same time, a painful but necessary step will have been made to resolve the payments crisis by weeding out unprofitable businesses still making things nobody wants to buy.

Russia’s Justice Minister Warns Regions to Toe the Line.