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Sunday, April 12, 1998 Published at 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK

World: Europe

Nyet to key Russian reformer
image: [ Sergei Kiriyenko (left) in earnest discussion with Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov ]
Sergei Kiriyenko (left) in earnest discussion with Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov

Sergei Kiriyenko, Russia's acting Prime Minister, has said he will not ask the key reformer Anatoly Chubais to be part of his government.

In an interview on Russian television, Mr Kiriyenko said: "Anatoly Chubais will not be in the government and he will not be charged with important economic matters."

Mr Chubais was sacked along with the rest of the previous government by President Yeltsin last month.

He is seen by international bankers and western investors as the driving force behind Russia's liberal reforms.

But he is unpopular at home, especially among communists, where he is accused of political intrigue and giving away state property to assure political friendships.

Mr Kiriyenko, 35, has already appointed Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Interior Minister Sergey Stepachin, Economics Minister Mikhail Zadornov and Defence Minister Igor Sergueiev to his cabinet.

Putting brakes on economic reform

He said he would be ready to act as head of state if Mr Yeltsin were unable to fulfill his duties due to continuing health problems.

Mr Kiriyenko also hinted at putting the brakes on economic reform.

He said: "At some point we allowed ourselves to be carried away by the notion that the state does not have to do anything in a market economy because the market will regulate everything itself.

"Perhaps it will, but it will take so much time."

Mr Kiriyenko has been nominated by President Boris Yeltsin but was rejected on Friday by the lower house of the Russian parliament, which is dominated by communists and nationalists opposed to economic reform.

The president has since put his name forward once again to the parliament.

Russian political analysts say Mr Kiriyenko stands a good chance of passing the confidence vote in the lower house of parliament, the Duma, in the second or third final ballot.


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