Russia’s State Duma contributed to the general panic by refusing to commit itself to interrupting its holiday to debate the government’s stabilization measures. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov met yesterday with Prime Minister Kirienko, but said afterwards only that the Duma “may” agree to convene in August, as Kirienko has requested. Earlier in the week, Duma leaders threatened to refuse to meet before September 2. Zyuganov said the Duma Council will reach a final decision on Monday, August 17. (Itar-Tass, August 13)
Kirienko told the cabinet yesterday that bills on the income tax and the Pension Fund, which the Duma has already approved in the first reading but which require final approval, need to be enacted by September 1. He said he hoped the Duma would agree to meet before then. He explained that the government’s twelve economy-related bills can be introduced only from the first day of any given month and that, if the Duma delays, “we could lose September.” But he told his cabinet colleagues they must prepare contingency plans in case the Duma fails to act or rejects the government’s proposals. (Itar-Tass, August 13)
ROW CONTINUES OVER STATE CONTROL OF PRIVATE TV.