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Russia: Deputy Prime Ministers Say Tax Reform Remains Key


Moscow, 22 October 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov says the government will continue to push for a reform of the country's tax system despite President Boris Yeltsin's order yesterday to withdraw a draft tax code from consideration in parliament.

Yeltsin ordered the withdrawal in a concession to the Communist-led opposition, which had threatened a no-confidence vote in the government.

But Nemtsov told reporters in Moscow today that if the draft is returned to the government, it will immediately submit a similar new draft. He said a reform that reduces tax rates and simplifies the tax system remains essential.

Nemtsov's fellow First Deputy Prime Minister, Anatoly Chubais, was even more uncompromising. He told reporters a joint commission of the government and both houses of parliament has recommended that the tax code now under scrutiny in the Duma should not be withdrawn at all.

Earlier today, Yeltsin congratulated Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for his efforts to avert a no-confidence vote in the government.

Yeltsin's comment today came hours after Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov formally withdrew a no-confidence measure motion initiated by his party. Zyuganov said the Russian president had met key opposition demands. But the communist leader told gathered Duma deputies that his party could again call for a no-confidence vote if it feels the government has reneged on its promises.

Chernomyrdin said the compromise proved the Duma was capable of working together with the cabinet.

But a group of far-left deputies, led by Sergei Baburin, have begun rounding up signatures for a new no-confidence measure.
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