Yeltsin plans to curb the free market

Pronouncing Communism dead, Boris Yeltsin has vowed to introduce a "new economic order" into Russia in which the state plays a far larger role in curbing the excesses of the free market. Speaking to the upper house of parliament, a robust-looking Mr Yeltsin signalled that he intends to crack down on one of the struts of his political support - Russia's tiny but vastly rich class of new capitalists who cashed in during the first, lawless post-Soviet years.

"Freedom alone is not enough. We need a new economic order," said Mr Yeltsin. "In itself, the market is not a panacea. We need to increase the role of the state in the economy." The president's remarks means that he has in his sights the nation's often shady bankers, who bankrolled his re-election, but with whom his administration has been squabbling over the spoils of privatisation.

The Russian government has been highly ineffectual, hobbled by organised crime, excessive bureaucracy and corruption that reaches from top to bottom. But Mr Yeltsin vowed to toughen up its role.