President Boris Yeltsin has acted in recent days to defuse the latest scandal over financial corruption in his government. On November 14, he sacked the first deputy head of his presidential administration, Aleksandr Kazakov, and the following day, he dismissed two more senior officials — head of the federal bankruptcy agency Petr Mostovoi and Privatization Minister Maksim Boiko. The three were among seven top officials accused of accepting kickbacks from a publishing company controlled by Oneksimbank, which has benefited from privatizations whose outcomes the officials were in a position to determine. Yeltsin asserted that the men had done nothing illegal but that their action in taking the money was "incorrect."
Yeltsin stopped short of dismissing the man at the center of the scandal, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, on the grounds that Chubais’s removal could destabilize Russia’s economy at a difficult moment. Chubais is understood to have offered to resign but Yeltsin decided to keep him on with a warning. Although the scandal is likely to have weakened Chubais’s position, Yeltsin apparently decided that he was too valuable an aide to lose at present.
Yeltsin acted after the Duma voted unanimously on November 14 to adopt a law against corruption in the third and final reading. Vladimir Semago, chair of a Duma anti-corruption subcommittee, said the law would enable parliament to level charges against Chubais and his colleagues in the government’s reform wing. (Reuter, November 15)
Journalist Threatens Fresh Revelations.