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Monday, August 24, 1998 Published at 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK

Profile: Sergei Kiriyenko

Kiriyenko - reformer with scant political experience

Sergei Kiriyenko was a reformer who was appointed Russian prime minister in March to lead a fresh team to revitalise the economy.

Five months later he has been sacked - replaced by Viktor Chernomyrdin, the previous prime minister.

Mr Kiriyenko had been confirmed as prime minister in April, winning the approval of the State Duma at the third and final opportunity with a vote of 251 to 25.

He had been in national politics less than a year, only arriving in Moscow in May 1997, following closely in the footsteps of his previous mentor Boris Nemtsov, the former governor of Nizhny Novgorod.

[ image: Yeltsin greets PM Kiriyenko]
Yeltsin greets PM Kiriyenko
A businessman who had benefited from governor Nemtsov's market reforms, Mr Kiriyenko is closely associated with the so-called group of "Young Reformers" in the government.

The former fuel and energy minister graduated from the Gorky Institute of Railway Transport Engineers and later was a founder of the Nizhniy Novgorod social commercial bank, Garantiya.

But as Mr Nemtsov came under increasing pressure in 1997, Mr Kiriyenko's standing - paradoxically - rose.

[ image: A signed photo for the desk]
A signed photo for the desk
When Mr Nemtsov lost control of the energy ministry, Mr Kiriyenko, his trusted deputy, moved up to take over.

Then Boris Yeltsin, frustrated by the slow pace of reform, suddenly plumped for Mr Kiriyenko rather than the better known reformers to replace the solid but cautious "centrist" prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Mr Kiriyenko's task was clearly to instil new life into the reform programme.

But the immediate reaction of most of the opposition, on hearing of Mr Kiriyenko's nomination, was very negative.

As someone with little experience of high office, Mr Kiriyenko was seen as a mere tool of Mr Yeltsin, someone who could not - as Mr Chernomyrdin had started to do - argue his own position.

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