Accessibility links

Russia: Austerity Measures Win Initial Approval; Economic And Social Crisis Continues

Moscow, 10 July 1998 (RFE/RL) - Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, gave initial approval today to the government's anti-crisis proposals. Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko told the chamber that the country's financial markets are practically dead, and social tension is growing as the economic crisis deepens. Russian President Boris Yeltsin today telephoned G-7 leaders to seek support for the anti-crisis program.

The Federation Council, made up of regional leaders, voted by 97 to 4 in favor of a resolution supporting the program. The bulk of the program still has to be approved by Russia's lower house, the Duma, which is due to deliberate the austerity package next Wednesday.

An unnamed Kremlin spokesman said Yeltsin spoke with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair today. The spokesman said that Yeltsin is also due to speak today to U.S. President Bill Clinton and IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus.

Earlier, the Kremlin announced that Yeltsin was cancelling his planned vacation next week to concentrate on the current crisis.

Meeting with military officers at the Kremlin earlier in the day, Yeltsin also warned that Russia has the capacity to crush any extremist attempt to seize power.

The announcement was made as reports from the Kemerovo region said the number of miners blocking freight traffic on the Trans-Siberian railway doubled. Miners demanding back wages have blocked railroads and roads across the region for more than a week.