08/26/1998 11:00:43 FOCUS-Russia cenbank rapped by PM, securities head
(recasts, adds Vasilyev comments)
MOSCOW, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank came under
fierce attack on Wednesday from senior officials including
acting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin over its handling of
The chairman of the Federal Securities Commission, Dmitry
Vasilyev, said the public prosecutor should be asked to probe
the bank's actions, which he branded a complete failure.
"Financial and economic policy is a question to which I am
giving my attention minute-by-minute," Itar-Tass news agency
quoted Chernomyrdin as saying.
"I declare that I am extremely dissatisfied with the work of
the central bank over the last two days."
Trading was suspended on the Moscow Interbank Currency
Exchange (MICEX) soon after it started on Wednesday because of a
five-percent drop in the rouble from Tuesday's fix against the
On Tuesday the rouble lost 10 percent of its value against
the U.S. currency in the biggest one-day fall for four years.
The rouble slid 69 percent against the German mark in thin
trade on Wednesday, fixing at 7.6000 per mark on MICEX versus
4.4995 on Tuesday.
Chernomyrdin, appointed by President Boris Yeltsin last
Sunday after the sacking of Sergei Kiriyenko's four-month old
cabinet, was expected to meet central bank governor Sergei
Dubinin later on Wednesday.
"I will talk seriously with Sergei Dubinin about the
inaction of the main financial institution in the serious
economic situation," Tass quoted Chernomyrdin as saying.
The new premier described the currency slide as political
rather than economic.
Vasilyev also lashed out at the Central Bank.
"Serious mistakes were allowed by the leadership at the
highest levels including over the past two years -- the actions
of the central bank and its leadership," he told a news
"The huge amount of resources from non-residents was misused
instead of boosting hard currency reserves and this in the final
analysis led to the rouble's devaluation.
"The central bank has failed in its basic task -- defence of
the rouble," he added.
"In my view, maybe everything that has happened here could
be the subject of a special inquiry including the public
Tass quoted Chernomyrdin as saying he would on Wednesday
take "important decisions" on financing in the budget sphere. He
was quoted as saying the decisions would touch on teachers,
people in the military, doctors and other categories of workers
paid from the budget.
Under Russia's constitution, Dubinin cannot be removed by
presidential decree as only parliament has the power to sack
him. He has been head of the central bank since October 1995.