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EDITIONS
Russian crisis Thursday, 30 April, 1998, 20:39 GMT 21:39 UK
Russia's top team gets down to work
Mr Kiriyenko about to sit down at his first cabinet meeting
Mr Kiriyenko chairs his first cabinet meeting
Russia's youthful new Prime Minister, Sergei Kiriyenko, has chaired his first cabinet meeting.

He announced that the new Deputy Prime Minister, Viktor Khristenko, would have a key role in restoring order to the state finances.

Mr Khristenko
Mr Khristenko: a surprise appointment
Mr Khristenko, like his boss, is a relative newcomer to Moscow.

The prime minster said Mr Khristenko would be responsible for relations with the regions, raising tax revenue and paying off the wage arrears of state sector workers.

The prime minister also announced immediate new measures to boost tax revenues, including seizing the assets of indebted enterprises.

In order to make up for the shortfall in revenue, Russia's Finance Ministry is now reported to be proposing bigger than planned spending cuts of over $10bn.

A BBC correspondent in Moscow says Mr Kiriyenko has promised to create a streamlined, dynamic government team to push through his planned reforms.

But he is likely to face strong opposition from some quarters, particularly in the Russian parliament.

The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, said he doubted Mr Kiriyenko's plans would work and he said his supporters were already considering a no confidence vote before the end of the year.

Electricity job for reformer

The most prominent reformer in the previous Russian government, Anatoly Chubais, has been made chief executive of the country's electricity monopoly, Unified Energy Systems.

Correspondents say the appointment will be welcomed by markets and investors as a sign that one of the commanding heights of the economy will remain in the reformist camp.

Among further cabinet appointments announced on Thursday in addition to those already declared was that of a third deputy prime minister, Oleg Sysuyev, who joins Boris Nemtsov and Viktor Khristenko.

Mr Kiriyenko has reportedly said there would be no further deputy prime ministers appointed.

Other appointments include:

  • Civil Defence/Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu
  • Economics Minister Yakov Urinson
  • State Property Minister Farit Gazizullin
  • Culture Minister Natalya Dementyeva
  • Transport Minister Sergei Frank
  • Railways Minister Nikolai Aksenenko
  • Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Generalov
  • Labour/Social Policy Minister Oxana Dmitriyeva
  • Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov
  • Agriculture Minister Viktor Semenov
  • Science/Technology Minister Vladimir Bulgak
  • Natural Resources Minister Viktor Nekrutenko
  • General/Vocational Education Minister Alexander Tikhonov

    Mr Kiriyenko said other government posts would be filled after another meeting with Mr Yeltsin next Tuesday.

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    Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko :'Budget targets should not be a black box' (in Russian) (0'21")
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