Russian first deputy premier Boris Nemtsov said yesterday that President Boris Yeltsin would soon sign three extremely important decrees. The one that Nemtsov expects to provoke the greatest uproar is that requiring civil servants and their families to file and publish income tax declarations. But Nemtsov said that he views in even more momentous terms a decree abolishing "authorized banks" (banks granted priority in handling government accounts — a very remunerative business) and another reasserting direct government control over the state’s stake in Gazprom. This last decree will give the government the power to force the gas monopoly "if not to lower its prices, then at least to pay its taxes," Nemtsov said. (RTR, May 12)
Yeltsin attended a meeting of the Russian cabinet yesterday and gave his approval to measures proposed by Nemtsov to phase out rent controls and housing subsidies for all except the neediest citizens. Yeltsin reportedly backtracked on an earlier promise to Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov to allowed the capital to opt out of the housing reform program and implement its own model. (Itar-Tass, May 12) In an attempt to soften the impact of the housing and utilities reforms, and with an eye on the extreme political sensitivity of the issue, Yeltsin promised that poor people will "gain the most" from the reforms. In practice, this can mean only that poor people will receive some form of protection while the full costs of the reforms will be borne by all the rest of the population.
Nemtsov Looks to Reform Russia’s Railways.