A July 17 meeting of the Russian government, chaired by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, sent back for reworking a document prepared by the Economy Ministry which proposed price reform and cuts in cross-subsidies between different categories of consumers. (ORT, July 17)
The utilities argue that cross-subsidization by wealthy industrial users is necessary because so many of their customers are in arrears. Unified Energy Systems is owed 100 trillion rubles ($17 billion) and Gazprom 70 trillion by their customers. (Finansovye izvestia, July 15) The fact that Chernomyrdin himself chaired the meeting — just one day before he leaves for an important trip to Brussels — indicates that he is not willing to delegate utility policy to Boris Nemtsov.
Russian Military Industry Struggling to Survive.