Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 61

According to Speaker Gennady Seleznev, the lower house of the Russian parliament is likely to consider President Boris Yeltsin’s nomination of Sergei Kirienko as prime minister on April 3. After that, Kirienko will give Yeltsin his recommendations for a new cabinet. Many members of the outgoing government are expected to keep their posts, but the number of deputy prime ministers, ministries and other federal agencies may be reduced. According to Acting Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Rybkin, this will reduce duplication and entail more responsibility for individual ministers. Rybkin cited the cases of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Justice Ministry, saying that several government ministries presently duplicate their work.

Rybkin seemed confident that he would retain his current responsibilities for Russian policy on Chechnya and CIS-issues. Rybkin appears to hope that Ramazan Abdulatipov, who was deputy premier responsible for nationalities, and hence was actively involved in Chechnya-related issues, will be among those "downsized." According to Kommersant-daily, the possibility of re-subordinating the Nationalities Ministry to Rybkin is being discussed. (Kommersant-daily, March 28)

To no one’s surprise, the Duma’s Communist faction has announced its intention of rejecting Kirienko’s candidacy. Though no one expects the faction to approve Kirienko much before the third and crucial vote, Governor Konstantin Titov of Samara Oblast is confident the Duma would eventually give its approval. Titov says it will do so "not because it is scared by the president but for the same reason as it approved the 1998 federal budget: to make the government responsible for economic failures and use that situation in the next elections." (Russian agencies, March 27)

The Duma threatened to block the government’s draft 1998 federal budget on many occasions, but eventually it gave in. President Yeltsin signed the budget into law at the end of last week. (RTR, March 27)

Chernomyrdin Announces Presidential Bid.