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Russian Press Review: Primakov Appoints A Mixed Cabinet

  • Matt Frost

Prague, 17 September 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The following is a summary of today's comments in the Russian press.

IZVESTIA: It is impossible to tell what color the cabinet is

Izvestiya notes that the composition of Primakov's cabinet is so mixed that it is impossible to tell what color it is: red, pink or white. The new prime minister's cabinet appointments are completely logical, in that he is obliged to form the cabinet in a political vacuum, without any serious support from either the authorities or society. That is in conditions in which a government can neither exist nor function. But two questions immediately spring to mind, writes Izvestiya. Firstly, how can people of such divergent views form a coordinated and effective mechanism for governing the country? And secondly, where is the guarantee of political support for a government which contains so many representatives of different parties?

OBSHCHAYA GAZETA: The people in the cabinet is a cause of great concern

Obshchaya Gazeta publishes a statement by the leader of the liberal Yabloko faction Grigory Yavlinsky on why he turned down the post of first deputy prime minister for social issues in the new Primakov government. Yavlinsky says that to accept such a position--without his own team and in conditions where the real economic issues are being decided by people with different ideological views-- was not a serious option. In the current crisis, this arrangement would not have brought about any positive results. We don't know anything about the government's economic program, writes Yavlinsky. He confirms his faction's support for Primakov's appointment as prime minister but notes that the people brought into the cabinet to take control of the economy is a cause of great concern.

SEVODNYA: Georgy Boos to head the tax service

Sevodnya says that the new deputy prime minister for economic affairs Alexander Shokhin insisted on the appointment of Georgy Boos to head the tax service in order to avoid a split in the Our Home is Russia faction in the Duma. Both Shokhin and Boos are leading members of the faction led by former prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Boos is considered by many experts to be a supporter of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. Sevodnya notes that by appointing Boos to a government position Shokhin rules out the possibility of Boos splitting the Our Home is Russia faction into Luzhkov and Chernomyrdin camps. Sevodnya writes that Luzhkov is also happy with the arrangement since he now has his man in a key position in the new government. (The review was compiled by RFE/RL's Moscow Bureau)