Yeltsin signed a decree yesterday containing the outlines of the structural changes planned for the new government. As promised, the number of ministries and departments is being reduced. First for the chopping block will be the Industry Ministry, which Nemtsov yesterday accused of acting purely as a lobbyist for industrial interests and "doing harm to the national economy." Also to disappear are the ministry of the defense industry and the State Committees for Forestry and Fishery. (NTV, March 17)
It is clear that the delays in announcing the changes in the new government were caused partly by the fact that negotiations with Grigory Yavlinsky and his Yabloko team were carried out but were ultimately unsuccessful. Strong resistance put up by the ministries slated for dissolution were also a factor. In addition, insiders say there was a tug-of-war between Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his new first deputy, Anatoly Chubais, over whose appointees should take the lion’s share of key posts. Though the new government has a strongly reformist tinge, it is not yet clear how much bureaucratic resistance will continue and how significant a victory the reform camp will turn out to have won. Nemtsov commented yesterday that the real fight is only just beginning.
Russian Parliament Refuses to Introduce Moratorium on Death Penalty.