The Duma has refused to debate either the Federation Council’s appeal to review its March 15 denunciation of the dissolution of the USSR, or a bill proposed by President Boris Yeltsin relating to the same topic, before its next plenary session scheduled for April 3. Instead, the Duma yesterday provoked a new clash with the Yeltsin government by voting to hike the minimum wage by 20 percent as of April 1. Yeltsin’s press secretary Sergei Medvedev described the vote as an "openly populist" attempt to undermine the government’s efforts to pay off wage arrears. (Interfax, March 21) The government has promised to pay all public sector wage arrears (now amounting to $2.75 billion) by the end of March, but few commentators seriously expect it to be able to meet that deadline.
Yeltsin to Restrict Companies’ Access to Cash.