Yeltsin reshuffle ends with pledge to stand by reforms
Saturday 27 January 1996
The President also reiterated his commitment to reforms - a move clearly intended to soothe international concern about the purge of top liberals from his administration and his attempt to use force to crush Chechen rebels in Dagestan. And he was jubilant about Russia's acceptance on Thursday into the Council of Europe.
However, with only five months to go before a presidential election, he seems to be shifting his definition of reform in the hope of winning over the millions of impoverished Russians who, denied the fruits of the emerging free market, have turned to the Communists and ultra-nationalists.
The Boris Yeltsin of 1996 no longer talks of anti-inflationary policies, but waxes lyrical about spending on social issues. Take the last few days: he has agreed to pay more than $4.5bn (pounds 2.9bn) to Chechnya; ordered an increase in pensions and student grants, and declared that a "President's social fund" would be set up to cover government workers' salaries if their wages were delayed.
Yesterday - despite reports that Russia's new strategy could jeopardise a $9bn loan from the International Monetary Fund - there was more of the same: "The most important task is ... protection of the social and economic rights of the people," Mr Yeltsin told a meeting of regional officials.
Meanwhile, the President defended his government purge by saying that it was "dictated by conditions". As part of this process, he has thrown overboard his chief economics strategist, Anatoly Chubais, his chief of staff, Sergei Filatov, and the Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev. These changes have coincided with rumblings from Russia about a shift of focus away from the West and towards the East, principally India, China and Iran.
But there were signs yesterday that the recent friction with Washington, which was particularly alarmed by the sackings, was beginning to ease. After initially turning down an invitation to Moscow from Russia's new Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, the US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, has agreed to a private meeting with him in Helsinki on 10 and 11 February, followed by an official visit to Moscow in March.
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Details emerge of two young Iranians using stolen passports in search for a better life
Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete's friend asked him if 'he was f***ing mad' after shooting through sunroof
Oscar Pistorius trial: Forensic analyst says athlete 'was not wearing prosthetic legs' when he shot Reeva Steenkamp through locked door
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
- 2 Boy George: Bad karma
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
£20,000 to £25,000: IT Connections Ltd: Graduate C / C++ Developer / Electroni...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: C / C++ Software Engineer / Windows / ...
£50,000 to £60,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ / Java / Senior Software Developer...
£23500 - £50000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education is...