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Russia: Defense Council Convenes Today

Moscow, 20 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Defense Council met in Moscow today to discuss economic issues linked with the difficult financial situation in the Russian Army.

Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said President Boris Yeltsin yesterday ordered Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, who chairs the Defense Council, to convene the session. Yeltsin is recovering after his multiple bypass operation two weeks ago and had his first working meeting with Chernomyrdin yesterday.

Yastrzhembsky says several government ministers were to participate in today's meeting. Economy minister Evgeny Yasin was due to give estimates for state defense purchases in 1997 and outline a plan for the Russian economy in 1997 in the event of war or disaster.

The head of the government's administrative department, Sergei Stepashin, was due to report on the implementation of the 1995-96 presidential decrees on the armed forces.

Yastrzhembsky said that since the situation over the payment of pensions in Russia continues to deteriorate, Yeltsin has told the government to take emergency steps aimed at its improvement.