Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 142

Personalities aside, proposals for a radical restructuring of the government are being drafted for Yeltsin’s consideration. One such draft was prepared by the recently sacked first deputy prime minister Oleg Soskovets. That one left the basic structure of the executive intact but called for sharp cuts, by as much as one-third, in the overall number of federal bodies (ministries and state committees, currently numbering 108). The remaining bodies would be reorganized into blocks headed by deputy premiers and first deputy premiers. Given that personnel numbers were also to be downsized proportionately, this proposal was sure to run into fierce opposition.

But a much more radical proposal is now being drafted at the government dacha in Volynskoye, near Moscow, under the supervision of Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin and his First Deputy Yakov Urinson. "Sectoral management has exhausted itself," Urinson told Kommersant-daily. "The non-ferrous sector, for instance, has been privatized by 97 percent. So what’s the point of keeping a Ministry of non-Ferrous Metallurgy?" Yasin and Urinson are proposing to replace the traditional scheme with four new blocks: a military-political block (the power structures); a financial block (the Finance Ministry, Treasury, the State Customs Committee, State Tax Service); an economic block (the Economics Ministry; ministries/natural monopolies, e.g. the Railway Ministry, the Communications Ministry, and so on); and a social and cultural block. The total number of ministries and departments, according to Urinson, would be cut to 20-22. Urinson acknowledged that such a restructuring would run into formidable opposition but said he thought the chances of getting such a radical plan accepted had improved slightly (from zero to ten percent) following Chubais’ appointment as presidential chief of staff. Reporting on these plans, journalists on the well-informed newspaper Kommersant-daily said Chernomyrdin was likely to find the Soskovets’ plan quite radical enough. (Kommersant-daily, July 20)

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