Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 147

The appointment of former Gosplan chief Yuri Maslyukov to the government as Minister of Industry and Trade has upset many. The leadership of the Communist Party, to which Maslyukov belongs, are angry that he accepted the job, since they had ordered him to turn it down. They are now threatening to expel Maslyukov from the party. This is unlikely to happen because a number of Maslyukov’s party comrades support his decision and the leadership will want to avoid a split in the party ranks. (Itar-Tass, July 24)

Economy Minister Yakov Urinson is equally upset. He has threatened to resign if Prime Minister Kirienko agrees to Maslyukov’s six conditions for joining the government. These include Maslyukov’s being given oversight of both the distribution of investments by tender and the military-industrial complex, with which Maslyukov has long associations. Maslyukov has, moreover, appealed over Kirienko’s head to President Yeltsin directly, the kind of action for which a minister in any normal cabinet would find himself fired. (Kommersant-daily, July 29; Itar-Tass, July 30)

Instead, Kirienko is said to be thinking of bringing a new heavyweight into the government to place between himself and Maslyukov. This accounts for the persistent rumors that Anatoly Chubais may be brought back into the government. State Duma Deputy Speaker Aleksandr Shokhin yesterday told journalists that he expected the post of first deputy prime minister, abolished when the last government was last shuffled in March, to be re-introduced and given to Chubais, Yegor Gaidar or Aleksandr Livshits. Shokhin said the rationale for creating such a high-ranking post would be to bring into the government whoever is entrusted with negotiations with international financial organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank. At present, this is Chubais, who also has a “civilian” job as chairman of Russia’s electricity monopoly. Speculation was fueled by an announcement that President Yeltsin would meet with Chubais today to discuss Russia’s implementation of the IMF-agreed program of economic reform. (RTR, July 30)