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Russian crisis Tuesday, 5 May, 1998, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Yeltsin targets youth and red tape
Yeltsin and Kiriyenko
Kiriyenko (left) and Yeltsin at the Kremlin: 20 cabinet appointments have already been announced
President Yeltsin has confirmed plans to streamline the Russian government, reduce bureaucracy and appoint younger politicians to positions of power.

He has also announced that the new Prime Minister, Sergei Kiriyenko, is to have more direct control over government decisions than his predecessors.

Mr Yeltsin was speaking as he and Mr Kiriyenko discussed the final shape of the new cabinet which replaces the one which he sensationally dismissed in March.

The BBC Moscow Correspondent, Andrew Harding, says that when Mr Yeltsin announced that decision, many saw it as a confused or desperate act.

Now the changes are being seen as a shrewd move to put reformers in charge of the Russian economy.

It is a huge boost for Mr Kiriyenko, who favoured radical restructuring.

Mr Yeltsin said the new prime minister would no longer need to seek his approval for cabinet resolutions and the government would take responsibility for its own decisions.

'Major overhaul'

Mr Yeltsin said the size of the government apparatus would be halved with fewer departments and ministries and more young faces.

Whole departments and ministries would disappear.

Mr Yeltsin made it clear that change was long overdue and scornfully dismissed the old cabinet as a broken staircase - top heavy and bureaucratic.

Our correspondent says the shake up has already begun.

Mr Kiriyenko has merged several ministries and cut the number of deputy prime ministers from nine to three.

He has also brought in a few new faces and Mr Yeltsin has implied there would be more.

The government is already young, Mr Yeltsin said, but it will get even younger. He joked that Mr Kiriyenko, 35, would soon be its oldest member.

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President Yeltsin: " Sergei Kiriyenko will be the oldest one there" (Russian) (0'56")
See also:

30 Apr 98 | Russian crisis
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