Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 121

President Boris Yeltsin warned the Russian parliament yesterday to approve without delay the program of financial measures put forward by the government of Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko. Addressing an unusual meeting between government and parliament, Yeltsin threw his support behind the government’s emergency program and warned the Duma not to block Kirienko’s measures. He said the State Duma has less than a month to pass the relevant laws. Otherwise, Yeltsin threatened, “other measures will be taken,” (Russian agencies, June 23)

It is not clear what Yeltsin would do if the Duma refused: The constitution does not give him the power to dissolve parliament merely for refusing to pass legislation. Opposition deputies seized on Yeltsin’s threat in order to assert that they will not be dictated to by the president. Even nationalist deputy Aleksei Podberezkin, who recently exhorted his communist associates to be more conciliatory toward the government, indicated that the Duma may dig its toes in. Podberezkin told the BBC that the government’s financial proposals are generally accepted by 80 percent of the population. What he objects to, he said, is that the government’s program has been drafted by “all the same people who drew up all the earlier programs and who have ruined the country.” (BBC, June 23) The government is pinning its hopes on massive bailout from the IMF. An IMF delegation is currently in Moscow for negotiations in which it is likely to peg any help to Russia’s meeting strict conditions imposed by the Fund. These negotiations are expected to take between one and two months. (Russian agencies, June 23)