Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 168

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov chaired his first cabinet meeting yesterday, one lasting only twenty minutes. The full composition of the government will not be announced before the end of the week. Paying wage and pension arrears, Primakov said, would be the government’s first priority. He warned that “extraordinary measures” might be necessary to make this possible. Although he did not spell out what he meant, commentators interpreted his words as a warning that the government is about to print money–an action that will inevitably provoke further inflation (RTR, September 14).

Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky yesterday declined Primakov’s offer of the post of deputy prime minister, saying he disagreed with the economic policies of First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov. At the other end of the political spectrum, the Communists also distanced themselves from Primakov’s new team. Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said the party would not nominate any of its members for cabinet posts. Maslyukov, in fact, is a Communist Party member. When he first accepted a cabinet post during the summer, however, Zyuganov threatened to have him expelled from the party. It is thus unlikely that much love will be lost between them now. Zyuganov told a TV interviewer yesterday that the most the Communist Party will undertake at present is to call a provisional halt to its criticism of the government and its policies. He confirmed, however, that the Communists plan to join the trade unions in a nationwide protest on October 7. The main demand of the one-day protest, Zyuganov said, will be President Boris Yeltsin’s resignation (NTV, September 14).