Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 58

The Russian media are predicting that additional cabinet changes will be announced this week. Yevgeny Yasin, former economy minister, is expected to be named minister for strategic development of the economy, a new post that will involve analyzing economic trends and setting long-term strategy. Yasin’s new appointment will mean that this prominent liberal reformer will return in a formal capacity to the role he played informally under acting prime minister Yegor Gaidar in 1992, when he provided much of the drafting of the economic strategy documents for the government. Meanwhile, the remit of the Ministry of the Economy — which inherited most of the apparatus of the Soviet Gosplan — is to be further expanded to incorporate the former Ministries of Industry and Defense Industry. Another Soviet-era relic, the Ministry of Construction, is to be abolished entirely. (Itar-Tass, Nezavisimaya gazeta, March 22; Financial Times, March 24) The intention behind all these changes is said to be to slim down the massive bureaucracies inherited from the Soviet period, but observers have lost count of the number of times this sort of thing has been promised in the past.