Moscow, 5 May 1998 (RFE/RL) - President Boris Yeltsin said today that the new Russian government will have greater powers and be able to make decisions without channelling them through the presidency. From now on, Yeltsin said, the government will take responsibility for its decisions, and this "will raise its accountability to the president and the country."
Yeltsin, shown on Russian television, said that under former prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, "all decisions of the government used to go through" the presidential administration.
Yeltsin met today with Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko to finalize the
line-up of the new government. Yeltsin, speaking before the meeting, said the
cabinet will have a tighter structure with fewer ministries, and that its
administration will be halved. He also said the 35-year-old Kiriyenko was
likely to be "the oldest" among new appointees.
After the meeting, Yeltsin said the formation of the government had been
completed but that some candidates for cabinet posts must still undergo
Also today Russia became the last member country of the 40-nation Council of Europe to join the organization's human rights convention. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, handing ratification documents to the
Strasbourg-based Council, said the step removed the last vestiges of the Cold
Under the human rights convention, Russian citizens can now sue their
government before the European court of human rights. Russia is also now
entitled to name a judge to the Strasbourg-based court.