Yesterday, the Russian State Duma decided to postpone debate of the draft 1998 federal budget for one week, from December 17 to December 24. This means that Russia will definitely enter the new year without a budget. The Duma chose the postponement because the government had come up with new proposals on servicing the federal debt. Aleksandr Shokhin, leader of the Duma’s Our Home is Russia faction, said the government had been forced to make the changes in response to the upheavals that have shaken world financial markets in recent weeks. The Duma’s decision means, however, that even if the budget were approved in the second reading on December 24, and if the Duma were provisionally to approve government spending for January within the framework of the new budget, it would not be possible for the necessary bank transfers to be made in time. (RTR, December 16)
Chubais Provokes More Controversy.