Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia: Chernomyrdin Named Prime Minister 'To Ensure Stability'

Moscow, 24 August 1998 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin has appealed for national support for his decision to recall Viktor Chernomyrdin as Prime Minister to head a new government. In a surprise move yesterday, Yeltsin sacked Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko and his entire cabinet amid a deepening crisis of confidence in the country. Chernomyrdin was premier for six years before Kiriyenko was appointed earlier this year. Yeltsin said on Russian TV today that Chernomyrdin's experience is essential at a time when the country's stability is the paramount concern.

In his speech today, Yeltsin urged all Russians to support his decision, saying there's no time for lengthy debates. Yeltsin also suggested Chernomyrdin would be the best candidate for the presidency in 2000. He called Chernomyrdin decent, honest and thorough.

Yeltsin has already submitted Chernomyrdin's name to the Duma, the lower house of parliament, as his choice for premier. But gaining approval looks difficult. The Duma's Council told speaker Gennady Seleznyov to ask Yeltsin to withdraw Chernomyrdin's nomination.

Among prominent politicians, Chernomyrdin has gained the support of Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Lebed, who said Chernomyrdin is the right man for the job now.

Also today, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said he hopes Russia will remain stable following Yeltsin's ouster of the Russian Cabinet. In his weekly radio address, Shevardnadze said the preservation and strenghthening of stability in Russia is of paramount importance for the entire world, including Georgia.

Georgia is dependent on Russian troops to help maintain peace in the breakaway province of Abkhazia. The peacekeepers were deployed in 1994 following a war in which Abkhazian separatists drove out Georgian government troops and civilians.