Yeltsin’s words were not just idle moralizing. His emphasis on the errors of Marxist analysis echoes the charges of "Bolshevism" hurled at First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais by his sworn enemy, financier Boris Berezovsky, during a press conference on December 24. Berezovsky went on to accuse Chubais of allowing international financial institutions to dictate Russia’s economic policy — something the Bolsheviks could hardly have been accused of. Berezovsky complained that recently leaked letters to the Russian government from the IMF and World Bank indicated that the institutions had exceeded their competence where Russia was concerned. (ORT, RTR, December 24)
Berezovsky is close to the presidential family and the fact that both he and Yeltsin have accused the reform team of Bolshevik excesses is unlikely to be a coincidence. Meanwhile, Berezovsky has recently struck up an unexpected alliance with Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov. On December 24, Berezovsky said that he supported Kulikov’s proposal for a Supreme Economic Council that would consist of representatives of banks and industrial concerns and advise the president on economic policy.
The creation of such a body would be in line with the recent establishment of extraconstitutional bodies such as the Big Four and the presidential/parliamentary roundtable. But while those bodies seem to be serving a useful function by providing forums for dialogue that do not exist under Russia’s intractable constitution, Kulikov’s proposal would introduce a new, corporatist element not currently present in the Russian political system. Kulikov’s proposal was sharply criticized by First Deputy Premier Boris Nemtsov, who said it was clear that only the richest entrepreneurs would be included and that this would be undemocratic and lead to the further stratification of Russian society. (Itar-Tass, December 30)
Federal Budget Passes Second Reading.