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Russia: Chernomyrdin Controls State Weapons Firm

Moscow, 29 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin today signed a degree putting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in control of the state arms manufacturer, Rosvooruzhiye.

Itar-Tass quotes the presidential decree as saying Chernomyrdin will be in charge of coordinating the company's business activities as well as overseeing Rosvooruzhiye's military-technical cooperation with foreign nations. The decree stressed Rosvooruzhiye remains under government direction.

The decree comes after Yeltsin last Saturday vetoed the law on military-technological cooperation with foreign countries. The law, approved by both houses of Russia's legislature, would have declared a state monopoly on the arms trade.

Itar-Tass says Yeltsin sent a letter to the speakers of the Russian State Duma and Federation Council explaining the legislation required further revision. The agency quotes the letter as saying the legislation contravened Russia's constitution, especially its tax code, laws on weapons, as well as statutes regulating the government's foreign trade activities.