Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 21

Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, in Washington for talks with Vice President Al Gore, said yesterday that his government would make "certain corrections" to its economic policies, but that the corrections did not signify a departure from the reform process. (5) Chernomyrdin warned that "improper interpretations of events" were a danger in a year when both Russia and the United States were holding presidential elections. The Russian prime minister said his government would channel more funds into social spending, but ruled out changes in economic policy that would introduce strain into U.S.-Russian relations. Regarding the latter, Chernomyrdin spoke positively of a significant upturn in 1995 trade turnover between the two countries, but complained that the United States was continuing to inhibit Russian access to American markets. Russian delegation members were upbeat about the chances for reaching agreements on U.S. participation in exploiting the Timan-Pechora oil fields and on widening cooperation in space.

In Russia, meanwhile, newly appointed deputy premier in charge of privatization Aleksandr Kazakov said in a television interview that the pace of privatization would be slowed. (6) Kazakov said privatization would continue because it was necessary to raise money to cover social spending, but added that it should not be seen as an end in itself. He said he favored the privatization of only about 10-15 companies a year and that the process should be conducted in such a way as to give regional authorities a greater voice.

Russian Criminal Gangs Could Surpass Mafia in United States.