Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Yeltsin Orders Makeover for Cabinet Premier Will Streamline Government in Effort to Get Economy Moving

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Yeltsin Orders Makeover for Cabinet Premier Will Streamline Government in Effort to Get Economy Moving

Article excerpt

President Boris Yeltsin on Tuesday gave Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin a week to come up with a Cabinet designed to pull Russia's fledgling market economy out of its rut.

The newly invigorated Yeltsin guaranteed the jobs of only two Cabinet members - Chernomyrdin and his new top deputy, Anatoly Chubais. The president said there should be fewer ministries.

The government has seemed rudderless since at least last July, when an ailing Yeltsin won re-election to a second term and then dropped out of sight because of heart trouble and a bout of pneumonia. Only in recent weeks has he appeared to be fully back in control. In the meantime, the economy has stalled on the difficult road from communism to capitalism. Millions of workers, both in government and in private industry, have gone without pay for months. Taxes have gone uncollected, and public disgust has grown. Lawmaker Grigory Yavlinsky said, "The president wants to take some steps following his recuperation which would show him out and about and on top of things." But, Yavlinsky added, "A personnel reshuffle alone will solve neither economic issues nor internal policy problems." Yeltsin repeatedly has pledged to fix pressing problems since becoming Russia's president in 1991 but often has not delivered and has blamed his ministers for the shortcomings. In his state-of-the-nation speech Thursday, he promised a shakeup in his government and followed that with Tuesday's order, saying Chernomyrdin would work out the details of the decree. Besides Chernomyrdin, the Cabinet consists of 33 ministers and deputy prime ministers. Government spokesman Alexander Voznesensky said Yeltsin's decree also might apply to at least some of the heads of 19 government committees and 23 federal agencies. The decree said the government would have one first deputy prime minister instead of four and that the number of deputy prime ministers would be cut from the current nine. …

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