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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President Preparing For Speech




President Boris Yeltsin will meet with the heads of 11 regional administrations Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said.


The meeting, set to last about two hours, will cover preparations for the president's annual address to the full parliament, the federal government's performance in 1997 and the course of economic reforms.


First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais and Valentin Yumashev, head of the presidential administration, will also attend the meeting.


Yastrzhembsky said Yeltsin would deliver his annual state-of-the-nation speech to a plenary session of parliament at an unspecified time in the second half of this month.


He said the president, who turned 67 Sunday, had worked on the speech for two days and would continue to update it as new information arose.


Government spokesman Igor Shabdurasulov said Yeltsin could make his address Feb. 17, but he emphasized that the date had not been fixed.


He said no government reshuffle could be expected until Yeltsin's speech and a key government meeting Feb. 26 to review the performance of ministers and other senior officials.


Yeltsin said Friday he intended to keep Viktor Chernomyrdin on as prime minister, but that "one or two" other members of the government might be replaced.


Earlier, First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov rejected speculation that he or Chubais, both of whom have lost some standing at the Kremlin recently, would be replaced.