The new Russian cabinet is almost complete. The final appointments are expected to be announced today. There is speculation that a place in the cabinet will be found for former Deputy Premier Ivan Rybkin. Rybkin is currently shuttling between Moscow and the Chechen capital of Djohar in an effort to secure the release of President Yeltsin’s representative to Chechnya, Valentin Vlasov, who was abducted on the Chechen-Ingush border on May 1. Rybkin is tipped to go on dealing with CIS affairs in some capacity, with or without a ministerial portfolio. (NTV, May 3)
Meanwhile, Rybkin has denied reports that he campaigned to persuade CIS leaders to back Boris Berezovsky as CIS executive secretary. The two men worked together in the Security Council until Berezovsky’s dismissal last fall. Rybkin told a television interviewer on May 3 that numerous candidates were put forward for the post, and that President Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan proposed not only Berezovsky but also Yabloko movement leader Grigory Yavlinsky. Also proposed, Rybkin said, were the head of the Belarusian presidential administration Mikhail Myasnikovich, former Russian Finance Minister] Boris Fedorov and former Russian Foreign Trade Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Rybkin made it clear that he is pleased with Berezovsky’s appointment. “We should not,” he said, “blacken the names of those who worked flat out in most difficult and dangerous conditions in Chechnya… [Berezovsky] worked there for a whole year. One should be cautious in assessing people.” (TV6, May 3)
REGIONAL INEQUALITIES STILL GROWING.