Seleznev’s threat that the Duma may review the land issue at its extraordinary session increases the chances that the session will be acrimonious. Land reform remains a major bone of contention between the Duma and the Yeltsin leadership. The two are already set on a collision course: at the end of last month, Prime Minister Kirienko promised the World Bank that the government would press ahead with land reform. The pledge was one of a raft of liberalizing measures aimed at securing the World Bank’s tranche of the multibillion-dollar bailout being overseen by the IMF. (Itar-Tass, July 30; AFP, August 1)
Kirienko promised that the government would approve a federal land reform program by the end of August and that it would be enacted by presidential decree and enter into force by the end of September. The program would, he stated, reaffirm the constitutional right of Russian citizens to purchase, sell, rent and mortgage land. Among other measures, the government would simplify procedures regulating land deals and set up a state land register. These measures are sure to run into opposition from the Duma, which is determined to prevent the creation of a free market in farmland. It has already approved its own land code outlawing the sale of agricultural land, but the measure has been vetoed by President Yeltsin.
CHECHEN CHILDREN DISCOVER MASS GRAVE IN DJOHAR.