President Yeltsin has suspended a recent decision enacted by Aleksandr Rutskoi, his former vice president who is now Governor of Kursk Oblast. According to Russian Television, Yeltsin has barred Rutskoi’s efforts to give the oblast bank a monopoly over federal budget transfers. Rutskoi was elected governor in October 1996, with a landslide 77 percent of the vote, after local officials did everything they could to prevent him from running. Rutskoi has since done his best to make peace with the Kremlin and has, until now, avoided conflict. He responded to Yeltsin’s latest ruling by admitting that the president was in the right, but arguing that he had been forced to take emergency measures to ensure that urgently needed social welfare payments got through to needy citizens in his region. Rutskoi laid the blame on the federal government, which, he said, had delayed federal transfers to his region. (RTR, December 20)
Moscow Urges Early Lifting of Sanctions on Iraq.