Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 220

After stripping First Deputy Premier Anatoly Chubais of his post as Finance Minister in connection with what has become known in Moscow as the "writers’ union" scandal, President Boris Yeltsin followed up at the end of last week by depriving First Deputy Premier Boris Nemtsov of his post as Fuel and Energy Minister. (RTR, November 22) Nemtsov lost his job even though he was not personally involved in the scandal over the large royalty advances received by Chubais and his colleagues. Several deputy premiers continue to hold other cabinet posts, but Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told journalists over the weekend that there is no possibility at present that they will lose them. Those involved include Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov and Economics Minister Yakov Urinson. Chernomyrdin was contradicting presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky, who had earlier indicated that deputy ministers would lose their additional posts.

Chernomyrdin also deplored the Duma’s decision to postpone debate of the 1998 federal budget until December 5. He said he considered the decision "totally mistaken," but added that he was sure the budget would eventually be adopted without problems. (RTR, November 22) Chernomyrdin is one of the few Russian leaders to have emerged with his political standing strengthened following the scandals that have rocked the government in the past two weeks.

Moscow Rebuffed at UN.