Yeltsin government to continue 'shock therapy' approach to market reforms Move rejects calls from centrist bloc

November 27, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

MOSCOW -- Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin's government declared its intent yesterday to forge ahead with painful pro-market reforms, defying pressure from a centrist bloc to compromise its programs in return for political support.

"We do not think it reasonable or possible to retreat from our principled strategic course of reforms for some political considerations or for reasons of expediency," acting Prime Minister Yegor T. Gaidar told legislators.

In the stormy lead-up to Tuesday's meeting of the Congress of People's Deputies, the country's supreme legislative body, the centrist Civic Union political bloc has repeatedly demanded that key figures in the government be replaced and that Mr. Gaidar's "shock therapy" economic policy be revised.

In an effort to placate hard-liners, Mr. Yeltsin reassigned his close friend and top aide, Gennady Burbulis, to a newly created advisory council yesterday. The move came a day after Mr. Yeltsin accepted the resignations of two Cabinet ministers and fired the reformist state broadcasting chief.

But Mr. Gaidar dampened yesterday speculation that the reshuffling was a sign that Mr. Yeltsin's government was ready to bow completely to Civic Union's pressure.

-! But in a speech before the Su

preme Soviet, Russia's sitting legislature, Mr. Gaidar appeared to -- the chances of a strong alliance between the government and Civic Union as he outlined a program of urgent economic measures for the end of 1992 and the first quarter of 1993.

The decision not to adopt Civic Union's program was potentially a risky political move because it could alienate a group of legislators whom Mr. Yeltsin may need on his side when he faces the congress; most of its members are conservative, former Communist Party members.

The congress will decide whether to extend the extraordinary powers it gave Mr. Yeltsin earlier in the year to direct the country's transition.

Arkady Volsky, a Civic Union leader, told the Itar-Tass news agency that the program Mr. Gaidar outlined contained practically none of Civic Union's proposals. He said the leaders of the alliance would meet over the weekend to decide their response.

Had the government adopted the Civic Union plan, it could have lost the support of liberal legislators, who form Mr. Yeltsin's traditional political base, said Gleb Yakunin, a liberal legislator. "We supporters of the president and the Gaidar team are not satisfied any way because the reforms are going too slowly," Mr. Yakunin added.

Mr. Gaidar rejected Civic Union's calls to freeze salaries and prices, set a more favorable exchange rate for the ruble, the Russian currency, and pump more money into the economy, which is already suffering from rapid inflation.

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