Popular discontent is mounting in Russia’s second city in reaction to the city government’s decision to raise charges for communal services. As of February 1, charges for utilities and communal services were more than doubled for St Petersburg residents. Now, local Communists say they have collected more than enough signatures for a referendum to remove Governor Vladimir Yakovlev from office. (ORT, May 19) The referendum would not be legally binding, but the strength of the popular backlash against Yakovlev’s attempts to cut public spending may serve as a warning to the Yeltsin government, which is itself planning to introduce similar hikes in housing prices and communal services nationwide.
Austrians Want Russian Help in Finding Stashed Soviet Arms.