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Russian Press Review: The Impact Of Primakov's Appointment As Prime Minister

By Matt Frost and Andrey Trukhan

Prague/Moscow, 11 September 1998 (RFE/RL) - The Russian press speculates on the ramifications of Yevgeny Primakov's appointment as prime minister.

Moscow Times: Primakov is not an economic expert

"Primakov commands general respect, but no great economic experience," says the Moscow based English-language newspaper The Moscow Times. "Primakov himself is not an economic expert, but he will have to follow the advice of economists. Who will they be? The best choice would be experts from the Yabloko movement," opines The Moscow Times.

Vremya MN: No anti-government protests planned for October 7

"He's irresistible. Yevgeny Primakov is agreeable in all respects."-- runs the headline in Vremya MN. "The Russian Communist party is certain that the Yuri Masluikov will determine the economic policies of the new cabinet." The newspaper's sources in the Communist Party are already saying that the nationwide protest planned for October 7 will not contain any anti-government protests. Vremya MN notes however that anti-Presidential slogans are still being planned.

Kommersant-Daily: The presidential administration is split into two camps

Kommersant-Daily asserts that Evgeny Primakov, from the economic point of view, is just a "screen....The important thing is what appears behind the screen. The Russian economy faces two paths: either the anti-crisis program of Boris Fyodorov, tying the ruble to gold reserves; or Yury Maslyukov's program of nationalization and the reemergence of State Planning," writes Kommersant Daily.

In another article, the newspaper writes that the situation surrounding the appointment of a new prime minister has split the presidential administration into two camps. One group including Tatyana Dychenko {The President's Daughter] Valentin Yumashev, and Boris Berezovsky, supported Chernomyrdin. The other group containing Andrey Kokoshin, Sergei Yastrezhembsky and Yevgeny Savostyanov were against Chernomyrdin. The president opted for disbanding the Duma and he thus insisted on nomination Chernomyrdin's nomination for the third time. The President's determination frightened even his closest circle. Everyone felt that Yeltsin was almost ready to go as far as resorting to tanks. When "the family" realized that the disbanding of the duma could lead to civil war, it rejected Chernomyrdin and replaced him with Primakov, writes Kommersant Daily

Izvestiya: There is no reason to expect a swift exit from crisis

"A Diplomatic Move By President Yeltsin", runs the headline in Izvestiya. The newspaper says: the communists are celebrating--for the first time in ten years they have forced Boris Yeltsin to back down. There is no doubt that they will try to continue the leftward leaning of the ship of state. Primakov will be obliged to form a cabinet with one eye on the Duma, For this reason, there is no reason to expect a swift exit from the present crisis, writes Izvestiya.

Russky Telegraf: Primakov developing a delayed version of reform

"The political crisis has been postponed," writes Russky Telegraf. If the new government opts for measures designed to bring about the financial health necessary for the country's survival, then it will encounter stiff opposition from the Duma, and the eternal Duma question will remain unresolved.

"So far, it seems that Primakov has been charged with developing exactly this delayed version of reform--first to print the necessary money to pay back wages and then, after a few months, to switch to a policy of strict economic controls. It seems as if Yeltsin is banking that Primakov and his quasi-communist government can ensure that the country survive the waves of social unrest this autumn," writes Russky Telegraf.