President Askar Akaev yesterday dismissed the entire cabinet of ministers and announced that a new cabinet would be in place before January 1. Akaev named the former first deputy prime minister, Boris Silaev, 53, as acting prime minister. The ousted cabinet of Kubanychbek Zhumaliev had only been in office since March of this year.
The ouster follows in the wake of a corruption scandal in two ministries (see the Monitor, December 14, 18, 23). Akaev made clear, however, that he was punishing the cabinet for the poor performance of the country’s economy. The president pointed to the accelerating inflation, a growing trade deficit, a crisis in agriculture and the fall in the value of the som (national currency). According to Akaev and to Silaev, the deteriorating financial situation has internal causes and is only minimally influenced by the Russian crisis.
On the positive side, Kyrgyzstan is one of the few CIS countries to show economic growth in 1988 (1.7 percent), and has just become the first among the ex-Soviet republics to gain admission to the World Trade Organization (Itar-Tass, Xinhua, AP, December 23).
PRIMAKOV IN KAZAKHSTAN.