Yeltsin hangs on to embattled deputy

The reform programme in Russia may have been threatened by a corruption scandal,

but President Boris Yeltsin appears to have found a way of saving the man who is central to his privatisation plans.

President Boris Yeltsin, seeking to end a political scandal over book fees, approved a plan yesterday under which deputy prime ministers would give up additional ministerial posts, his office said.

Critics have charged that $90,000 (pounds 55,000) in advances paid to Mr Chubais and other government officials to write a book were actually bribes. Mr Chubais and the others have denied any wrongdoing.

The Kremlin statement appeared to be a compromise that would allow Anatoly Chubais to keep his job as first deputy prime minister, but would require him to give up his post as finance minister.

While Mr Chubais and other deputy prime ministers look likely to lose some of their titles, the changes would be largely cosmetic. Mr Chubais would almost certainly remain the government's chief economic policymaker.

Meanwhile, Communists and other hard-line opposition members of parliament approved a non-binding resolution yesterday calling for Mr Chubais to be removed from all government posts. Opposition forces have said that Mr Chubais' removal is a condition for passing the 1998 budget. But Mr Yeltsin has refused the demand so far and appeared unlikely to part with Mr Chubais, a man he considers essential to his economic reform efforts.

According to senior legislators, the Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin struck a deal under which the opposition, which dominates the Duma, or lower chamber of parliament, would no longer make Mr Chubais' complete removal from the government a condition for passing the budget.

But the Duma's resolution, approved last night, indicated that many members would not be satisfied with a deal that left Mr Chubais in Mr Yeltsin's inner circle.

Mr Chubais and several associates accepted the advances for a yet unwritten book on privatisation in Russia. Seeking to suppress the furore over the payments, Mr Yeltsin dismissed three other officials who were to co-author the book.

But the President refused to accept the resignation of Mr Chubais, whom opponents accuse of selling off valuable state properties for below market prices. Mr Yeltsin said Mr Chubais' departure would have negative consequences.

Boris Nemtsov, the other first deputy prime minister, said yesterday that opposition calls for the ousting of Mr Chubais were, in fact, aiding him. "The Communists, whether they mean to or not, are helping Chubais," he said. "They have forgotten that our president does not like it at all when he is pressured, especially when the Communists do it."

- AP, Moscow

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there