Primakov slams Gref over bungled reforms

Jan. 30, 2005 at 9:36 PM
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MOSCOW, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has publicly slammed German Gref's economic reform plan, the Moscow Times reported this weekend.

Primakov, who served as Russia's intelligence chief, foreign minister and prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin said Economic Development and Trade Minister Gref had ignored "the crimes and mistakes of the 1990s," the newspaper said.

Primakov, who is widely regarded as Russia's elder statesman, assailed the current government after Gref presented members of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, with his medium-term plans for the next three years, the paper said.

Primakov hammered the minister for a lack of "quality growth," using Gref's own figures to show that more investment was going to commodity extractors than to manufacturers, the newspaper said. He asked Gref why his plan did not address "the crimes and mistakes of the 1990s," and said that welfare reform amounts to a new type of shock therapy for millions of socially vulnerable citizens, the Moscow Times said.

Gref, the country's chief reformer under current President Vladimir Putin, looked stunned, sighed and clutched the podium, the Moscow Times said.

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