Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 24

President Boris Yeltsin met yesterday with Anatoly Chubais and gave his public endorsement to a program of tough fiscal measures proposed by the first deputy premier. Yeltsin’s move was seen as an effort to calm market jitters over the health of Russia’s economy. Observers, however, expressed doubts whether Yeltsin’s seal of approval will be enough to enable Chubais to implement the program. Chubais’ once-predominant position within the government has been undermined by Yeltsin himself since November 1997. Then, in the wake of a book publishing scandal, Yeltsin seemed to back away from the austere fiscal policies with which Chubais is chiefly identified. (RTR, February 4; Financial Times, February 5)

Meanwhile, the Russian Duma yesterday began its discussion of the draft 1998 federal budget. Debate is due to continue today, but commentators say that the document, drafted in the optimistic days before global turmoil struck Russian markets late last year, is already out of touch with present needs. (Itar-Tass, February 4)

New Labor Code in Preparation.