and his cabinet remain obscure. Listening to Sergei Kirienko over the past two weeks and taking him at his word, it was hard to discern where his policies will differ substantively from those of the outgoing government.

If Kirienko’s appointment was intended to revitalize reform, as many Western observers insist, he gave no hint of it. His defense of state power, government ownership, monopolies, and regulation could have come from Chernomyrdin himself, if not from Communist leader