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Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK

Yeltsin explains Primakov sacking: Text

Russian President Boris Yeltsin gave a national TV address on Wednesday to explain his sacking of Prime Minister Yevgeniy Primakov.

Russia crisis
Yeltsin paid tribute to the dismissed premier's personal qualities, but said Primakov's cautious approach had started to become damaging.

The following is the text of Yeltsin's address, broadcast by Russian Public TV.

Esteemed people of Russia. I made a difficult decision today. I dismissed the government.

Yevgeniy Maksimovich Primakov came in at a very difficult moment, during a period of deep crisis in the country.

His appointment was backed by all political forces.

It was possible then to slow down the crisis in the economy and in the social sphere.

But the attitude to the work of the government has gradually changed.

People started to associate its activities with just political stabilization.

But the present situation is far from stable yet again, both in the economy and in politics.

Yes, trust in Primakov's government is still strong, but this is mainly because of the prime minister's personal qualities.

Even in the most difficult situations he shows admirable self-possession, calm attitude and composure.

However, social tension in the regions is growing and criticism of the government is on the increase in all areas.

The government is trying to make it look as if everything is OK, but in reality things are different.

Yavlinskiy, who showed great support for the appointment of Primakov, at present states that there is absolute stagnation in the economy and that nothing is being done.

Luzhkov, who supports the prime minister, never tires of repeating that economic processes are proceeding very slowly.

What has happened? The government has fully carried out the tactical task it was set, however, we continue to mark time with the economy.

It is a basic truth that initiative and independence drive an efficient economy.

The economy will work if the state helps people to show initiative and enterprise.

The economy will work if the regions get more independence.

Today these main conditions for economic recovery are not working.

I am not criticizing the government, but it is not carrying out the key points of the state's economic strategy, which I spoke about in my annual address.

The feeling grows that the entire economic activity of the government is confined to talks with the International Monetary Fund as though a cure for the Russian economy depends solely on the allocation of western credits.

In general, the situation can be described like this: there is no basis for serious and stable economic growth.

It is hard to say this, after all the August crisis was the cause of a sharp fall in people's standard of living.

The economic crisis will not go away by itself, so the government has to act .

In September last year, in that overheated political situation and that dire economic situation, Yevgeniy Maksimovich was unable to make sudden economic moves and demonstrated to the full his exceptional flair as a diplomat - caution and circumspection.

I respect him for not giving in to pressure from radicals, either from the left or the right.

But today, the situation is different.

The prime minister's caution and desire only to take those measures that gain maximum approval and support are now starting to be damaging.

After all, on the eve of the elections, there will be few who wish to support unpopular and tough decisions in the economy.

We do not need the stabilization of poverty and economic decline.

A serious breakthrough is needed.

There are hundreds of thousands of intelligent and energetic people in Russia.

There are capable leaders working in the regions.

We can rely on them in order to extricate our economy.

The time for reassuring words is over.

The day for energetic action dawned long ago.

We cannot put off essential decisions until the end of the election campaign.

We should not fear taking such decisions if they are truly essential for us to emerge from crisis.

I am convinced that procrastination and delays are now the most serious blow to the economy and the social sphere.

Therefore, I was obliged to adopt the difficult, but essential decision to remove the government.

Once again, I would like to say most sincere words of gratitude to Yevgeniy Maksimovich for all he has done and, above all of course, for the courage he showed in agreeing to lead the government in a very difficult situation.

I have appointed Sergey Vadimovich Stepashin as acting prime minister and I have put forward his candidacy to the State Duma for their approval.

This candidacy has been supported by Yevgeniy Maksimovich .

Sergey Vadimovich Stepashin demonstrates great energy and capability.

He has serious experience of leading federal departments.

I am sure that he is capable of giving an additional impetus and the necessary dynamism to the work of the government.

Thank you for your attention.

Source: Russian Public TV, Moscow, in Russian 12 May 99

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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