While government officials, former and current, debated the best way out of the current mess, depressing statistics continued to roll in. The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that since the crisis broke last August, the price of cooking oil had risen 3-4 times in some regions, for sugar, 2.5-3 times, for chicken, 3-3.5 times, for sausage, 2.7-3 times. The State Customs Committee reported that imports of meat and meat products had fallen by a factor of three; fish, by a factor of four; flour, by a factor of 2.5 (Russian agencies, October 1). Sergei Generalov, minister of fuel and energy, announced that preparations for winter were “not going satisfactorily.” He said that fuel stocks around the country were an average of 85 percent of what was needed, meaning that “urgent and extraordinary decisions” would have to be taken. These included abandoning budget spending cuts, allowing mutual offsets and seizing the assets of insolvent enterprises and declaring them bankrupt (Ekho Moskvy, October 1).
EVEN THE DUMA ISN’T SPARED.