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Russia: Chernomyrdin Says Lack Of Money Slows Reforms

Moscow, 17 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin today sought to deflect assertions that the health problems of President Boris Yeltsin are endangering the reform process in Russia.

Chernomyrdin told a news conference in Moscow that reforms are undeway in Russia and they will continue.

He said some people were trying to speculate on Yeltsin's health. "There there will be no retreats and no reversals," he said. "The west should not worry."

He said the desire for reform is great, but that Russia "simply doesn't have the money at the moment" to proceed any quicker.

He acknowledged however that the reforms would go "more intensely" if Yeltsin was at work.

Yesterday the Kremlin issued a statement saying Yeltsin's condition has improved. He is hospitalised suffering double pneumonia which set in earlier this month, following his complicated heart surgery last November.