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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Change, Says Premier As Justice Minister Quits

Justice Minister Yury Kalmykov handed in his resignation Monday, one day after Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin ruled out big changes in his government.

Chernomyrdin, in an interview with the television program "Itogi" on Sunday, rejected the calls of the parliamentary opposition for the resignation of at least five ministers.

"As concerns the persons you named, who were named at the session of the State Duma, I don't see any necessity to make changes," Chernomyrdin told his interviewer.

However, he undermined the positions of two acting ministers -- Andrei Vavilov, currently head of the Finance Ministry, and Vladimir Mashits, in charge of the Ministry for Cooperation with CIS countries.

"As for what happens now, will there be changes? Of course there will," the prime minister said. "We have to resolve who will be finance minister; we haven't decided who will be minister for the CIS."

Vavilov has been running the Finance Ministry since so-called Black Tuesday when the ruble crashed and Sergei Dubinin was sacked. Dubinin was also an acting minister.

The powerful head of the government apparatus, Vladimir Kvasov, had already suggested that Vavilov, the first deputy minister, was only a stop-gap appointment.

Kalmykov, who has been ill for some time, told reporters he had announced his resignation in a speech to the Federation Council, but declined to give any details.

Chernomyrdin also gave a veiled warning to his new agriculture minister, Alexander Nazarchuk of the opposition Agrarian Party.

"I consider that the interests of the government are supreme," he said. "We have no choice in that and, above all, neither does he."