The Russian stock market responded with enthusiasm yesterday to news that President Boris Yeltsin had ordered Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to reshuffle the entire Russian government. The decree did not require the formal resignation of all government ministers, as was at first reported, but made it clear that only Chernomyrdin and his newly appointed first deputy, Anatoly Chubais, are certain to retain their posts when the reorganization is complete. There was a general conviction that Chubais is the driving force behind Yeltsin’s order and that, after over a year of drift, the Kremlin has resolved to launch a new round of radical economic reforms. Chernomyrdin said he expected Yeltsin himself to announce the composition of the new cabinet at the end of this week. At present, it is known only that the number of first deputy and deputy premiers will be halved and that some of the sectoral ministries left over from the days of Soviet central planning will be abolished. The fact that Chernomyrdin is being retained will enable Yeltsin to circumvent parliament, which under the constitution must approve the president’s choice of a new prime minister. (Itar-Tass, March 11)
Chubais’ First Move.