Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 109

Aleksandr Lebed kissed the Bible as he was sworn in as governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai on June 5. Among those attending the ceremony was the ubiquitous media tycoon and politician Boris Berezovsky, who gave Lebed’s campaign financial support. Berezovsky promised further financial aid to boost the economy of the region, potentially one of Russia’s richest because of its wealth of natural resources. (Itar-Tass, June 5)

Lebed declared that he was going to sack all the staff of the outgoing governor and would call on the local population to nominate replacements. He said he intended to slash the number of bureaucrats by one-third by merging small district administrations but that remaining officials could expect higher wages. “It’s better to pay one hard-working official one-and-a-half to two times more than to employ several idlers,” he declared. Interviewed by Russian Television last night, Lebed declined to declare what his policies would be, but confirmed that he wants to renegotiate the power-sharing treaty that Krasnoyarsk signed last year with the federal center, saying that the territory is paying far too many taxes to the federal government. Lebed insisted, however, that he had every intention of cooperating with the federal government and did not expect their relations to be hostile. He said he will soon be going to Moscow for his first meeting as a member of the Federation Council. In view of the size of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Lebed has every right to expect to be appointed deputy speaker of the Federation Council. He is also reported to be casting covetous eyes at the chairmanship of Siberian Accord, the regional economic association to which Krasnoyarsk belongs. Lebed knows he must make a success of his governorship if he is to have a chance in the presidential election in 2000.