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Russia: Deputy Prime Minister Resigns

Moscow, 13 August 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The press service of Russian president Boris Yeltsin says Deputy Prime Minister and State Property Committee head Alfred Kokh has resigned.

Interfax news agency quotes Yeltsin's press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky as making the announcement today. Yastrzhembsky said that the deputy head of Yeltsin's administration, Maksim Boiko will replace Kokh.

Yastrzhembsky did not elaborate. It is unclear whether Boiko will replace Kokh in both his positions.

Yastrzhembsky gave no reason for the resignation of Kokh, whose organisation of Russian privatisations was criticised by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin last month.

Kokh was officially on holiday since the beginning of this week. Both Kokh and Boiko are viewed in Moscow as being close to first deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anatoly Chubais.

Kokh has presided over a stormy phase of Russian privatization and was singled out for criticism recently by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

The sale this month of a controlling 38 percent stake in Russia's biggest mining company, Norilsk Nickel, proved controversial, with Chernomyrdin trying to have the sale stopped.