Russian president Boris Yeltsin yesterday warmly praised the performance of his market-oriented cabinet, in place since mid-March. Yeltsin said the new team of Anatoly Chubais, Boris Nemtsov, and Oleg Sysuyev had given a "new impulse " to the government’s work. His remarks were a thinly veiled criticism of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, currently vacationing in Sochi. "I have enjoyed many of your draft decrees and directives," Yeltsin yesterday told Chubais, who is standing in for Chernomyrdin during his absence. "They are fresh and totally unlike what came out before." (Interfax, June 9)
The cabinet has begun of late to exude an unaccustomed air of assurance that seems to reflect Yeltsin’s own return to health after nearly a year of illness, and it has gone onto the offensive against a number of its old enemies. The Communist-dominated Duma, for one, has been rattled by a flood of rumors about the impending dissolution of parliament and by Yeltsin’s call for a referendum on the fate of Lenin’s mummified corpse. Yeltsin has also threatened to use charges of corruption to bring rebellious regional leaders to heel, starting with the autocratic governor of Primorsky krai, who has until now ruled his far eastern province like a personal fiefdom. The only area in which the Kremlin has had to cede ground recently is in its dealings with Moscow’s powerful mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, who last week won a protracted battle to pursue the capital’s own housing program and to postpone the move to market prices for rent and utilities that the government wants to impose throughout the rest of the country. (Izvestia, June 5)
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