. Still it is stronger than the compromise the Communists had brokered in November. The budget calls for a deficit of 4.7% of estimated gross domestic product, with inflation held to something under 6%. If tax collections fail to meet their target, as has happened every year, the budget law allows the government to cut back on spending without further legislative action. A deficit of 4.7% of GDP would be horrendous in the United States, about $400 billion. But proving again the theory of relativity, 4.7% looked good in Moscow. When the budget passed the Duma, the stock market gained four percent on the news.

The market reacted not just to the budget, of course, but to the broader political defeat of the Communists and their allies. That defeat extended to changes in the national security policy-making apparatus.

During his seduction of the Communists on the budget, President Yeltsin had hinted at dismissal of his reformist first deputy prime ministers,