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08/21/1998 06:27:58 Russian Duma starts special crisis session

MOSCOW, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The State Duma lower house of the

Russian parliament on Friday opened an extraordinary session on

Russia's economic crisis.

"We are meeting due to circumstances known to you all," Duma

speaker Gennady Seleznyov said at the open of the session.

Opposition parties say the government has mishandled the crisis

and have lambasted emergency measures announced on Monday, which

included a de facto rouble devaluation.

President Boris Yeltsin's political opponents have vowed to

unleash a fierce attack on him and his government in Friday's

debate. The communist faction proposed to approve an appeal to

President Boris Yeltsin recommending that he resign. The appeal

was included in the agenda.

Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko is expected to address the

Duma to explain his government's actions. Finance Minister

Mikhail Zadornov and Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin were

also expected to make speeches.

The cabinet says the Duma has hindered its efforts to end the

crisis by failing to pass all the measures it has proposed for

tackling the crisis.

Interfax news agency said Kiriyenko met the leaders of some

political groups in the State Duma, the lower house of

parliament, and its speaker on Friday before the Duma session. It

gave no details.

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