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Russia: Cabinet Changes Expected By End Of Week

Moscow, 11 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - President Boris Yeltsin is likely to announce personnel changes in the government at the end of this week, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said today. Yeltsin ordered Chernomyrdin earlier today to carry out a major government reorganization and present a list of cabinet changes within a week.

Yeltsin decreed today that the number of deputy prime ministers be reduced from three to one -- former presidential chief of staff Anatoly Chubais, appointed to the post just last Friday. Yeltsin also called for reducing the number of ministries and deputy premiers.

By another decree Yeltsin appointed aide Valentin Yumashev as his new chief of staff to replace Chubais. Chernomyrdin today welcomed Yumashev's appointment.

Russian news agencies reported later today that Yeltsin has appointed former Soviet Union Defense Minister Yevgeny Shaposhnikov as his adviser.

The Communist speaker of the State Duma Gennady Seleznyov today said it was essential that faction leaders be consulted on the cabinet reshuffle even though the constitution gives Yeltsin the power to act unilaterally.