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Russia: Yeltsin Criticizes Defense Minister

Moscow, 26 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who suggested a government reshuffle earlier this week, today criticized his defence minister.

Yeltsin said today he was unhappy with remarks Igor Rodionov had made about the Russian army. Rodionov said on Sunday that the army was in a catastrophic state.

Yeltsin said that complaining would not help matters. Instead, he said, concrete actions are needed.

Itar tass news agency said today that a decision on whether to replace Rodionov may be announced in March.

Yeltsin also criticised Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin this week over the failure of his government to resolve the crisis over the non-payment of wages and pensions.

Yeltsin said a cabinet reshuffle might help improve the government's efficiency.