• ACI Russia

08/27/1998 17:57:47 Russia faces a day of major decisions

MOSCOW, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Russia faces a day of important

meetings on Friday which may have a major impact on political

developments in a country hit by a severe economic, financial

and political crisis.

1/ The managing council of the State Duma (lower house of

parliament) is expected to meet at 0600 GMT to decide on the

date to hold debates on the confirmation of Viktor Chernomyrdin

as Russia's new prime minister.

Chernomyrdin, whom President Boris Yeltsin has named acting

prime minister, is holding frantic consultations with key

parties in the communist-dominated chamber in search of a

compromise on the line-up of his new government and its course.

Chernomyrdin said he would stick to market reforms while

opposition parties in the Duma want him to form a coalition

government and restore elements of tough state control over the

economy typical of the Soviet era.

The Duma also wants to redraft the constitution to boost its

own authority at the expense of the president's current sweeping

powers and put the government largely under parliamentary


Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said on Thursday

Yeltsin deemed the redistribution of powers proposed by the Duma

exaggerated but added that the parliamentary proposals were


The final shape of debated documents -- joint economic and

political declarations, which are due to be considered by the

Duma council on Friday -- remain unclear.

2/ Yeltsin is due to meet visiting Bulgarian President Petar

Stoyanov at 0600 GMT and the Kremlin said he might talk with the

press after the meeting.

3/ Yeltsin, who has so far failed to spell out his vision of

how to fight the Russian crisis, is due to meet Chernomyrdin to

discuss the financial situation in the country, where virtually

all markets have come to a halt and the population is buying

foreign currency in panic.

4/ Yeltsin is also due to meet his acting foreign minister,

Yevgeny Primakov. On their agenda:

- the forthcoming summit with U.S. President Bill Clinton

- the situation in Serbia's rebel region of Kosovo, and

- the situation on the southern borders of the post-Soviet

Commonwealth of Independent States approached by Afghanistan's

radical Taleban forces.

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