Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 50

President Yeltsin has appointed Valentin Yumashev as his new chief of staff. (Itar-Tass, March 11) Yumashev, 39, has no former political experience and has spent all his career to date as a print journalist. He joined Ogonek in 1987, when the magazine was a flagship of glasnost. He was one of the team of media experts who masterminded Yeltsin’s highly successful reelection campaign last year and, after Yeltsin’s victory, he joined the presidential administration as an adviser.

Until now, Yumashev’s main claim to fame is that he acted as ghostwriter for both volumes of Yeltsin’s memoirs. His appointment to head the presidential administration appears to be an award for services rendered and indicates that Chubais does not intend to allow the powerful Kremlin machine to fall into the hands of a potential rival for the president’s ear. Yumashev said yesterday that Yeltsin favors "a smooth transition" and that there will be no staff cutbacks. This means that the team of loyalists appointed by Chubais will remain in the president’s service and suggests that the presidential administration, which has considerable powers not monitored by parliament, will remain essentially at Chubais’ disposition. Chubais may, however, take some of his closest aides to work with him in the government apparatus, Yumashev said yesterday. (Interfax, March 11)

Netanyahu, Yeltsin Call for Improved Bilateral Relations.