. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Welfare Portfolio Freed for Cabinet Shuffle

President Boris Yeltsin shifted Deputy Prime Minister Yury Yarov to the Kremlin staff Wednesday, freeing his social welfare portfolio post for a cabinet reshuffle now underway.


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin hinted he was considering a rainbow cabinet that could include ministers from anti-Yeltsin political parties.


Yarov, who had been a deputy prime minister since December 1992, kept a fairly low profile in the government. His name and face were far from household fixtures, and his responsibilities were amorphous enough to encompass pension funds and the burial of Tsar Nicholas II.


As of Wednesday, Yarov leaves his government post to become a deputy to Kremlin chief of staff Anatoly Chubais.


There had been some speculation that Yarov's would be the next head to roll, and he himself acknowledged earlier his month that he would "understand" if he were asked to step down.


The social welfare portfolio is one of the lesser prizes in the cabinet, and has been widely touted as the most likely one to be handed to a Communist, if Chernomyrdin should decide to embrace the opposition.


Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin are not expected to reveal their cabinet of ministers until mid-August, following the president's inauguration. But the prime minister has been holding numerous consultations with political leaders.


On Wednesday, he met with Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, Yabloko movement leader Grigory Yavlinsky, and members of the Russia's Regions Duma faction.


Viktor Konnov, the prime minister's press secretary, said Chernomyrdin might also meet with Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky in the near future.


In remarks reported by Reuters, Chernomyrdin made clear he intended to invite representatives from some of those political forces to join his cabinet. "New people must come into the government," Chernomyrdin said.


Zyuganov told a press conference he and the prime minister had discussed economic, financial, and social issues Wednesday. But the Communist leader was coy on the subject of his party's participation in the government. Only after the prime minister had clearly set out the government's policy would the Communists be prepared for a discussion of the Chernomyrdin told Itar-Tass.


Meanwhile, Interfax reported Wednesday that Alexander Lebed, the ambitious chief of Russia's Security Council, plans to unite some of his supporters into a new political movement called "Truth and Order."


Truth and Order would be made up of the Congress of Russian Communities, a nationalist organization that nominated Lebed for president, and the Democratic Party of Sergei Glazyev.


Glazyev, a left-wing economist who is critical of Chernomyrdin's policies, is a close Lebed adviser. Interfax, quoting Glazyev's press service, reported Wednesday that Lebed wants Glazyev to be made deputy head of the Security Council for economic issues.


Lebed and Chernomyrdin have clashed over Lebed's expressed desire to play a role in formulating economic policy. How such clashes will be resolved will only become clear following the inauguration and the announcement of Chernomyrdin's cabinet.


The inauguration will take place Aug. 9 on the Kremlin's Cathedral Square, starting at 11 a.m., and will be attended by the heads of state from all the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Interfax reported Wednesday. Also expected to attend are 160 ambassadors and 20 officials from international organizations, according to Boris Pastukhov, first deputy foreign minister.


The CIS leaders will begin arriving in Moscow on Aug. 8, Pastukhov said.


Izvestia, in reports Tuesday and Wednesday, said the members of the State Duma, the Federation Council and the Constitutional Court, representatives of the military, police and security services, and 569 miscellaneous celebrities of culture, science and the arts will also attend.


Following an hour of singing and theatrical performances, Yeltsin will take an oath on the constitution.


The inauguration ceremony will also be marked by the first performance of the cantata, "Our President," with music by Pavel Ovsyannikov, conductor of the presidential orchestra, and text by poet Boris Dubrovin:


"The people bless you/They put in your hands their fate/Let him carry through the years/the light of peace to the world/our president," goes the refrain, according to a copy obtained by Izvestia.


Most of the verses also end with the same lines: "The entire country/in the fullness of its strength/has made its choice."


Izvestia added that this is a work in progress, and that "the last word, as it's not hard to guess, will apparently come from the president."