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Russia: Yeltsin And Chernomyrdin Agree On Cabinet Reshuffle

Moscow, 4 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said today that President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin have agreed on a government reshuffle.

Yastrzhembsky said the reshuffle would "not be merely cosmetic." He said Chernomyrdin would announce the changes on Thursday, the same day that Yeltsin is scheduled to make a state-of-the-nation speech.

Yastrzhembsky said Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin met earlier today to discuss the country's crisis over unpaid wages, as well as the cabinet reshuffle. The government is locked in a cycle of uncollected taxes and unpaid wages and pensions. It now owes thousands of millions of dollars to workers across the country.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov also said today that the changes would be "significant." He is quoted by Interfax as saying that the nation cannot tolerate what he called "such poor work" in the Cabinet.