Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin, gathering all the reins of power into his hands, Wednesday appointed himself prime minister, named his chief lieutenants and deputies and said he will soon begin issuing the decrees to implement his radical economic reforms.
In a sweeping order defining the increased authority he won last week from Parliament, Yeltsin said he will make all major government decisions in the Russian Federation “through the period of economic reform” and will have the right to alter or cancel any decisions made by subordinates.
Concentrating virtually unmatched power in his hands, Yeltsin formed an inner cabinet of half a dozen of his most loyal aides to advise him and to oversee the government’s 24 ministries. He plans to supervise Russian defense forces and security services himself.
Yeltsin had argued last week that only by taking total charge of the government could he force through the long-stalled economic reforms, and Gennady E. Burbulis, the Russian state secretary and Yeltsin’s chief adviser, said Wednesday that, for the first time, the country has all the conditions for radical reform.
“No matter how grave the economic disease might be, it is curable,” Burbulis said in an interview with the Soviet news weekly New Times. Yeltsin now has the authority as well as the political will to carry out the reforms, a team of professionals to support him and the support of most of the people, he added.
Stiff resistance is still expected from former Communist Party officials, Burbulis continued, but Yeltsin is now prepared to push ahead with his added powers, overruling and replacing them.
Yeltsin, using his increased powers, issued a decree Wednesday dissolving the Soviet Communist Party on the territory of the Russian Federation, although its activities had been suspended since the collapse of the conservative coup last August. “While the Communist Party’s structures exist, there can be no guarantees from another putsch or coup,” he said in his decree.
Yeltsin ordered confiscation of all Communist Party property in the republic. But the decree barred any prosecution of former party members simply for membership.
“Attempts, however, to reanimate the giant mechanism of the Communist Party machine and give it a chance to crush down the sprouts of Russian democracy, are equally inadmissible,” his decree said.
Pavel Voshchanov, the president’s press secretary, said that Yeltsin “will very soon, probably Thursday, sign the first decrees on economic reform.”
Yeltsin had on his desk, Voshchanov said, a decree liberalizing foreign trade and a program to protect low-income families from inflation likely to soar even higher with the end of state subsidies for food.
Other programs still being drafted include an attempt to saturate the market with goods, easing of restrictions on foreign investment and an end to the monopolies now enjoyed by many state enterprises.