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Russia: Budget Approval Linked To Chubais' Dismissal

Moscow, 18 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -The Russian Duma agreed today to debate the country's 1998 draft budget on Friday. but Communist deputies warned approval of the budget was contingent on the dismissal of First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais.

The budget debate originally had been planned for tomorrow. Communist Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov said earlier today lawmakers had agreed to discuss the budget on Friday. Tomorrow they will instead vote on a non-binding resolution demanding Chubais dismissal.

Communist party parliamentary deputy chief Valentin Kuptsov, speaking after a meeting of the party's faction, however said the Communists will not support the budget until Chubais has been removed from office.

Chubais's critics allege excessive royalties he and his allies received for a yet to be published book were a disguised bribe. President Boris Yeltsin sacked three of the co-authors but rejected Chubais' offered resignation. Interfax today reported that one of the sacked, Aleksandr Kazakov, was hospitalized after apparently suffering a heart attack.

Today a Kremlin spokesman called on Duma deputies to cool down and warned against giving Yeltsin ultimatums.