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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Latest Economic Chief Says On With Reform

Russia's new economic reform chief, Boris Fyodorov, said over the weekend that he sees no need to develop a new reform program to replace that of the ousted acting prime minister, Yegor Gaidar.

Fyodorov was appointed deputy prime minister in charge of the economy last week, when President Boris Yeltsin announced the composition of a cabinet for his new prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin.

The new line-up has for now allayed fears that the team of radical reformers that was brought together by Gaidar a year ago would be dispersed, presaging a major conservative shift in policy.

Fyodorov, 34, was the key, and surprise appointment in the new cabinet. He was Russian finance minister before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and until recently worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.

A member of the team of economists who produced the radical, but ill-fated "500-Day Plan" with Stanislav Shatalin, the new economics chief has impeccable reformist credentials.

While affirming his intention to battle inflation and stabilize the ruble - two aims that were Gaidar's top priorities - Fyodorov also made some statements more in line with the views of Chernomyrdin.

"We are in the middle of the road now, and everything is in the process of transition", Fyodorov said.

"The state sector has not adapted itself to the new situation yet. It should be helped at this stage, to soften the blows of the market".

Chernomyrdin has said he would like to increase subsidies for state firms unable to survive on their own, something that Gaidar feared would lead to hyperinflation.

The reformist core of Gaidar's economic team will remain in place, with Anatoly Chubais in charge of privatization, Alexander Shokhin negotiating Russia's debt payments to the west, and Andrei Nechayev and Vasily Barchuk staying as ministers for the economy and finance respectively.

The only new casualty in the so-called Gaidar team was Foreign Trade Minister Pyotr Aven, who will be replaced by his like-minded deputy, Sergei Glazyev.

Mikhail Fedotov, the new press and information minister, succeeds Mikhail Poltoranin who resigned as a concession to conservatives before the Congress of People's Deputies began. Fedotov is an outspoken liberal.

Yeltsin added one new deputy prime minister without portfolio to the

cabinet in Yury Yarov, who until now has been a deputy speaker in the parliament - he follows on the heels of Vladimir Shumeiko who moved into the cabinet from parliament's presidium in the spring.

The composition of new cabinet has been interpreted as a tactical victory for the president. But when the parliament reconvenes in mid-January, Yeltsin is likely to face a concerted effort to replace his foreign minister, Andrei Kozyrev, and perhaps others. During the Congress legislators appear to have won the right to approve or veto Yeltsin's candidates for the so-called power ministries - foreign, defense, security and interior.