Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 93

Taking action on a plan that he was reported to have approved nearly a month ago (see Monitor, April 17), President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree May 8 that reorganized Russia’s State Committee for Defense Industries into the Ministry of Defense Industries. The head of the state committee, Zinovy Pak, was named minister of the new, presumably more powerful agency. Yeltsin also ordered that urgent measures be taken to support Russia’s defense industrial complex. That decree calls for the government to pay military producers for all debts accumulated since 1994 and exempts certain defense enterprises from having to pay federal taxes until their debts have been repaid. (Interfax, May 8)

Yeltsin punctuated his new-found commitment to Russia’s defense complex during a meeting May 10 with the mayors of ten major Russian cities. He reemphasized that commitment in the course of a speech yesterday marking the 50th anniversary of Russia’s space industry. In the first case, Yeltsin proposed holding a "large-scale conference" that would bring together the directors of the most important defense enterprises and government ministers overseeing the defense industries. (Interfax, May 10) In the second, he promised sufficient government funding for Russia’s ailing space sector. (Itar-Tass, May 13) Also yesterday, Yeltsin’s economic advisor said that the president’s May 8 decree would mean more money for the military industrial complex. A statement from Aleksandr Livshits announced that some $560 million would be channeled to the defense sector. (Reuter, May 13)

Military Leaders React to Yeltsin Decrees.