Moscow, 10 September 1998 (RFE/RL) - Russia's opposition-led lower house
today had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to President Boris Yeltsin's nomination of Yevgeny
Primakov as the country's new prime minister. The Duma leadership decided the
lower house will hold a vote on Primakov tomorrow. Russian stock prices rose by about 7.5 percent on the news of Primakov's nomination as investors slowed in selling. The ruble, meanwhile, rallied for a second day, strengthening to 12.85 to the dollar.
Yeltsin earlier in the day formally asked the Duma to confirm
Primakov, a veteran diplomat and acting Foreign Minister, as premier. Acting
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who was Yeltsin's original choice for the
post, withdrew his candidacy, saying he did not want to split the country. The
Duma had twice rejected Chernomyrdin and a third rejection raised the
of the chamber being dissolved and early elections called.
Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov said Primakov's nomination was "the most
reasonable" option. Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov said "common sense
had prevailed" and that Primakov is "a consolidating figure." But nationalist
Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Primakov was "pro-American" and that no government
under him would cope with Russia's crisis.
Acting Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev also said the nomination was the right
move. But acting Deputy Prime Minister Boris Fyodorov and Finance Minister
Mikhail Zadornov declined to comment.
Chernomyrdin, speaking on national TV later in the day, charged that actions
by the leftist opposition were aimed at what he called a "creeping coup" and
restoring the Soviet order. Chernomyrdin also said Russia's new prime minister
had only one path to follow and that was pursuing economic reform.
In an initial reaction, foreign leaders praised Primakov's nomination.
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said in Bonn that Primakov deserves trust and
his adoption as prime minister would stabilize the situation. Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Polish President Aleksander
also said the nomination was favorable.
Primakov today met a visiting delegation of EU diplomats. Peter Hohenfeller,
an Austrian Foreign ministry senior official who heads the delegation, said
after the meeting Primakov again underlined the importance of political and
economic reforms in Russia. And in Bonn, a government spokesman said that in a
telephone conversation, Yeltsin had assured German Chancellor Helmut Kohl that
Primakov would stick to market reforms if confirmed.
The Kremlin today also announced Yeltsin had dismissed Andrei Kokoshin, the
secretary of the powerful Security Council because "of a transfer to another job."