President Boris Yeltsin yesterday affirmed his support for First Deputy Premiers Anatoly Chubais and Boris Nemtsov, saying he intends to keep both men in his cabinet until the year 2000. "I will push aside all those who are attacking them. I will not allow anyone to touch them," Yeltsin declared during a meeting with Nemtsov. (NTV, February 5)
Chairing a cabinet meeting in the absence of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Chubais yesterday revealed details of the austerity program that he himself drafted and Yeltsin approved on February 4. Chubais said Yeltsin had authorized a relentless battle against corporate tax laggards. He said further that the Extraordinary Commission on Tax Discipline will meet as soon as Chernomyrdin returns and crack down on Russia’s ten major corporate tax dodgers. Announcing that the government met its January tax-collecting target in full, Chubais said this will enable the government to adhere to Yeltsin’s order to undertake no new borrowing before the end of March. (RTR, February 5)
The State Duma yesterday approved the draft 1998 federal budget in the third reading. The fourth and final reading is expected to take place February 11. Only minor changes are likely to be made at that stage. The draft as approved yesterday continues to call for growth of 2 percent, though an increasing number of government officials are saying that growth of between nil and 1 percent is likely to be all that will be achieved this year. (RTR, February 5)
Iraqi Compromise Proposal Rejected by London.