Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 33

Controversy continued to swirl yesterday around wide-ranging economic proposals made by Minister of Internal Affairs Anatoly Kulikov. Those proposals included a call to partially nationalize a number of Russian private banks and large companies in order to raise revenues to pay soldiers and policemen. (See Monitor, February 14) Among those who criticized Kulikov’s proposals were business leaders associated with the companies and banks named by Kulikov, recently appointed First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Kadannikov, and presidential economics advisor Aleksandr Livshits. But many commentators were anything but categorical in their criticism. Livshits described Kulikov as one of the few ministers who had developed a plan for increasing budget revenues and said that some of his ideas, like foregoing reconstruction in Chechnya until the end of hostilities there, made sense. Russian presidential press secretary Sergei Medvedev was similarly ambivalent, commenting that Boris Yeltsin was "hardly likely to agree" to Kulikov’s proposals, but characterizing them as nevertheless worth discussing. Medvedev added that many local leaders, including some governors, had made similar proposals to Yeltsin a week earlier. (2)

Meanwhile, Arkady Volsky, an influential Russian industrialist, urged Yeltsin to back Kulikov. A Communist party deputy also called for the Duma to support the minister and said that discussion of Kulikov’s proposals had been inserted into the Duma’s agenda. (3) Speaking before television cameras, Kulikov himself dismissed concerns that his proposed measures would endanger Russia’s chances of winning IMF credits. "We’ve heard about them for three years already," he said, "and we still haven’t received a single dollar." (4) Given the current political climate in Russia, Kulikov’s proposals undoubtedly resonate with a number of powerful interests, raising the obvious question of whether the Russian interior minister is fronting for those interests.

Juppe in Moscow to Talk Business, European Security.