THE DOLLAR CREEPS UP AGAIN
Izvestia, May 13, 1999, p. 1
Reaction of the Russian and foreign securities markets to the news of Premier Primakov’s resignation was quite predictable. Russian investors and professionals of securities markets are already used to crises that rock the country every now and then. In other words, they know how they should act in such situations.
When the day session of the International Inter-Bank Stock Exchange opened, commercial banks pushed up the price of the dollar: a natural response to replacement of the Cabinet. By midday, the average exchange rate in “tomorrow” deals was 24.85 rubles to the dollar (0.65 rubles or 2% higher than a day before).
Exchange rate in numerous exchange offices in Moscow started creeping up, too. Throughout the city, it rose to between 23.80 and 24.20 rubles to the dollar.
ON TATARS PROTEST ACTIONS IN THE CRIMEA
Izvestia, May 13, 1999, p. 3
Large-scale protests of Crimean Tatars are organized by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. The latter claims that the locals have never seen anything like that before. Crimean Tatars walk to the town of Simferopol from all over the peninsula. On May 18, the 55th anniversary of their deportation, they will assemble in the capital of the autonomy and demand from the parliament a law on their guaranteed representation in power structures, on their status in Ukraine, and revocation of the Crimean Constitution which the protesters believe encroaches on their rights.
Mustafa Djemilev, Mejlis Chairman, claims that between 25,000 and 35,000 Crimean Tatars will attend a rally at the central square in Simferopol.
Djemilev: The rally is not all there is. We will continue actions of civilian resistance.
Crimean Tatars blame their troubles on the Crimean Communist Party chaired by Leonid Grach, chairman of the local legislature, and on incumbent Ukrainian president.
Official Kiev does not need these protests at all because they may prevent re-election of Leonid Kuchma.
GLUSHKOV COMES BACK OF HIS OWN VOLITION
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 13, 1999, p. 1
Nikolai Glushkov, former deputy general director of Aeroflot implicated in the criminal case concerning financial swindles in the company, will return to Russia to be questioned by investigator Nikolai Glushkov, sources in the General Prosecutor’s Office claim.
AGRARIANS WILL VOTE FOR THE IMPEACHMENT
Parlamentskaya Gazeta, May 13, 1999, p. 1
Nikolai Kharitonov, agrarian leader in the lower house of the parliament, maintains that the deputies will vote “aye” on all five items on the bill of indictment.
PRESIDENT YELTSIN ADDRESSES THE NATION
ORT (Russian Public Television), Boris Yeltsin’s Address to the Nation, May 12, 1999, 15:12
Dear Russians! I made a difficult decision today and dismissed the government.
Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov came at a very arduous moment, when the country was in the grips of a serious crisis. His appointment was backed up by all political forces in the country. Crisis in economy and in the social sphere was halted, then.
Gradually however, criteria of the work of the government changed, and its activities became associated only with political stabilization. Still, situation in economy and in politics is far from being stable again.
Yes, trust and confidence in Primakov’s government are still considerable but this fact is mostly attributed to the premier’s personal traits. He is always an example of stunning levelheadedness, calmness, and composure no matter what the situation is. But social tension in the regions is growing. The government is being criticized with more and more vigor for everything. The government pretends that everything is all right but it is not.
Yavlinsky, who was so supportive of Primakov’s appointment, maintains these days that we have an absolute stagnation in economy. Supporting the premier, Luzhkov nevertheless repeats that economic processes are very sluggish. What has happened? The government has accomplished the tactical task it faced. Still, we are still on the same spot in economy.
It is an axiom that initiative and independence are an engine of every effective economy. Economy will start working if the state helps the people to be ambitious and independent. Economy will start working if the regions are given more independence. These days, these major conditions for economic growth are missing.
Key issues of the state’s economic strategy I outlined in the annual address are neither criticized by the government nor implemented by it. It sometimes seems that all duties and functions of the government are reduced to negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. As if recovery of the country’s economy depended only on Western credits.
On the whole, the situation may be appraised in the following manner: we do not have pre-conditions for a serious and stable economic growth. Admitting it is difficult because the August crisis has seriously affected living standards in the country.
Economic crisis will never dissolve all by itself, and the government has to act. Last September, in the heated political atmosphere of the period, in that grave economic situation Yevgeny Maksimovich could not make any sharp gestures and displayed his unmatched skills of a diplomat, demonstrating diligence and prudence. I respect his ability to withstand the pressure applied by radicals from the left and the right.
Situation is different, now. The premier’s diligence and readiness to take only the steps that will get most approval are damaging, now. Simply because on the eve of the upcoming elections, very few will openly support any unpopular and harsh decisions in economy.
We do not need stabilization of poverty and economic depression. A serious breakthrough is what we need. There are hundreds of thousands of clever and energetic men in Russia. There are competent leaders in the regions. We can rely on them in an attempt to drag our economy out of what situation it has found itself in.
No more hush-down talks. It’s time we started acting in the most energetic manner. We cannot postpone the necessary decisions that are needed now and not after the elections. We should not be afraid to make them if they are truly needed so as to leave the crisis behind us.
I do not doubt that delays and reprieves constitute a most serious blow at our economy and social sphere, these days. That is why I was forced to make this difficult but necessary decision on resignation of the government.
Once again I want to thank Yevgeny Maksimovich for everything he has done and, first and foremost, for the bravery he displayed accepting the proposal to become the premier in a so serious situation.
I appointed Sergei Vadimovich Stepashin acting premier and proposed his candidature to the Duma. Yevgeny Maksimovich backed up my choice.
Sergei Vadimovich Stepashin demonstrates energy and ability to work and has an extensive experience of managing federal ministries and departments. I do not doubt that he will give the necessary impetus and dynamism to the government.
PRESIDENTIAL REPRESENTATIVE IN THE DUMA IS SURPRISED
ORT (Russian Public Television), News program, May 12, 1999, 12:00
Alexander Kotenkov, presidential representative in the Duma, told a correspondent of INTERFAX news agency that Premier Primakov’s resignation was certainly a surprise for him.
Asked to comment on possible consequences of President Yeltsin’s decision to oust the premier, Kotenkov was taciturn: “Predictions are fairly dour.”
PRIMAKOV’S RESIGNATION CAUSES A FUROR IN THE DUMA
Russian Television (RTR), “Vesti” program, May 12, 1999, 14:00
The news on Premier Primakov’s resignation caused a furor in the Duma. The session was immediately adjourned so that factions and groups could confer and discuss the latest development.
An hour ago the Duma Council convened an emergency sitting. A decision was made to discuss Sergei Stepashin’s candidature for premiership next Wednesday at the latest.
The Duma is expected to continue its plenary sitting in about half an hour. Needless to say, resignation of the government will be discussed. Some deputies and Gennadi Seleznev, Duma Chairman, already commented on President Yeltsin’s decision.
Seleznev: I think the president has made a grave mistake. Perhaps, even the most serious mistake. These days, finding another candidate like Primakov is bound to be a difficult undertaking indeed.
Anyway, we want to know the reasons. Who applied pressure? From what side the wind blew so strong as to unseat Primakov? We all have a right to know.
The events are still restricted to the constitutional field. The Duma is a guarantor of the Constitution as well, and so we are going to insist on strict abidance by the Constitution…
Even without a ballot the Duma resolved to appeal to the Federation Council and to all Russians in the light of the premier’s resignation. The Duma urges the upper house of the parliament to convene an emergency sitting and discuss the situation that took shape in the light of resignation of the premier.
According to RIA-Novosti, Seleznev believes that senators may convene an emergency sitting a day or two from now.
Duma deputies invited Yevgeny Primakov to the sitting but Seleznev made it clear that the ex-premier begged his inability to come to the Lower House of the parliament.