Along with the reorganization of the cabinet, the apparatus of the Russian government is also being re-shuffled. Yesterday Sergei Vasiliev was appointed first deputy chief-of-staff of the government. (Itar-Tass, April 3) Vasiliev, a dogged reformer with close ties to Anatoly Chubais, has until now been deputy economy minister. He is to be deputy to Vladimir Babichev, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin’s closest government associate, and will take charge of financial and economic affairs. Babichev has been criticized by the reform wing of the government for his resistance to change and has already suffered a demotion — from deputy premier to mere minister — during the present reshuffle. Now he will have a full-blooded reformer breathing down his neck. This is a clever move by Chubais, who was beginning to run out of his own men to put in leading posts. Vasiliev’s position as Babichev’s deputy will enable Chubais to keep tabs on Chernomyrdin, who has managed in the present re-shuffle to keep very few of his associates in leading positions. Apart from Babichev, Chernomyrdin’s government circle is reduced to deputy premiers Anatoly Kulikov and Valery Serov, and Energy Minister Petr Rodionov.
Also yesterday, Gennady Melikyan resigned as labor minister. His responsibilities pass to newly appointed deputy prime minister Oleg Sysuyev. (Itar-Tass, April 3)
The Logic Behind the IMF’s Loan Renewal.