Following the elevation of Aleksandr Kazakov to work under Anatoly Chubais as first deputy head of the Presidential Administration, the post of chairman of the State Property Committee (GKI) is vacant. Russia’s controversial privatization program has been virtually frozen since the beginning of the year, when the presidential election campaign began, and whether and how it gets going again will depend to a large extent on the new head of the agency. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin’s likely favorite to replace Kazakov is Sergei Belyaev. Belyaev held the post until the beginning of this year, when he resigned after his election to the Duma, where he heads the "Russia is Our Home" faction. According to Kommersant-daily, the GKI staff would prefer to be led by the present First Deputy Chairman Alfred Kokh. At only 34, however, Kokh may be too young for the post, which carries the status of deputy prime minister. Petr Mostovoi, chairman of the Federal Bankruptcy Administration and ex officio deputy chairman of the GKI, is considered an unlikely candidate since he is under investigation by the General Prosecutor on charges of abuse of office. (Kommersant-daily, July 23)
Russia Looks to the Balkans.