• ACI Russia

08/28/1998 18:31:58 Text of Yeltsin's television interview

MOSCOW, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Following is a Reuters

translation of President Boris Yeltsin's interview with

state-owned Russian Television on Friday.

Q. Boris Nikolayevich, what are, in your opinion, the ways

out of the crisis in which Russia's economy has found itself?

A. First of all, I think it is now necessary to concentrate

on fulfilling the programme which has been made during the

stabilisation period. And second, to solve the problem of

personnel. These are the two main key items. Having solved them,

we will solve the problem.

Q. As far as the crisis itself, how deep is it? Because it

is obvious that the banks are suffering greatly. And how much

are people suffering?

A. Of course, now it would be naive to say 'we will take

measures,' and so on and so forth, so that people do not suffer.

But nevertheless, I, as president, am obliged to say that we

will take all measures to ensure that people's savings do not


Q. Prices, Boris Nikolayevich. People are worried, what will

happen with prices? What about that?

A. Of course, I cannot say that prices will not rise, but I,

as president am obliged, and should do, what is needed so that

this will be minimal in extent. Minimal. We must do all the

maximum possible to get out of this situation.

The central bank and the government have orders. Everything

is spelled out, what to do and how to do it, which direction to

act in. Everything. We must strictly fulfill that which is


Of course, everyone knows that by nature I am an optimist.

It's true. Otherwise it is not interesting to live at all. But

here I say that I simply believe myself. I believe that it is

possible to accomplish, otherwise I myself find it uninteresting

to live.

Q. Boris Nikolayevich, it seems as though you believe not

only in yourself, but in (acting Prime Minister) Viktor

Stepanovich (Chernomyrdin) as well. Back when he resigned from

the position of prime minister you reproached him to a certain

extent, for exceding his political powers. Now he has received

yet more political powers. This is contradictory, is it not?

A. There are two mistakes in your question. The first

mistake is that he had some excessive political powers -- more

correctly he did not have them, but had decided to take them.

Because of that, let's say, he suffered at my hand.

But here I want to say, at that time he did not use even all

those political powers he had. He didn't use them. And never was

there an instance, not one, when I reproached him, 'why are you

taking certain powers?' No. So to say now that he has been given

so much power, that is also not correct. Now he has been given

exactly as much power as is laid out for an ordinary prime

minister in any developed country.

To use them correctly, that is also a very important

question. Not to throw oneself from one side to another. Not to

use them in some interests -- passing interests -- under any

circumstances. To solve strategic problems, consult with the

president. Everything else, is up to you.

Q. Boris Nikolayevich today you had a meeting with

Chernomyrdin, (speaker of the upper house of parliament Yegor)

Stroyev, and (Moscow Mayor Yuri) Luzhkov. What is the result of

this meeting?

A. I expected this meeting would play a great role. It could

have led to a negative outcome, finishing with nothing, but we

have very responsible and strong (people.) Stroyev and Luzhkov

are people of the state, with a state outlook. They understood

and agreed on the candidacy of Chernomyrdin. If they support

him, one may say that very many (people) support him.

Q. If you permit, a question about you. In the last days

there have been rumours and talk of your resignation. Simply,

can you comment?

A. It is very difficult to remove me and, considering my

character, it is practically impossible. Impossible. In general,

I would like to say that I am not going anywhere. I am not going

to resign. I am going to work. As is laid down, according to the

constitutional term. In 2000 a new president will be elected and

I will not take part in that presidential election.

Q. Boris Nikolayevich, nevertheless the Duma is trying

somehow or other to force you to resign. And you are suspected

of wanting to dissolve the Duma. Is it possible to work jointly

with the lower house of parliament under such circumstances?

A. You know, I cannot link these two questions. Not for

ethical or political or human motives. It is impossible. I am

not going to dissolve the Duma. I have had no attention of

dissolving the Duma and I do not have such an intention now. No

matter how had they try to intimidate me, I am not going to

dissolve it.

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