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Yeltsin to decree privatization But won't let the West dictate Russian policy.


MOSCOW -- Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin said that he would soon issue decrees lifting some of the major barriers to privatization. But he declared he would not permit the West to dictate economic policy to Russia, even if this meant delays in Western aid.

Mr. Yeltsin made the statements in an interview four days before he is to leave for a state visit to the United States in which money and arms will be the central issues.

He spoke on the eve of the first anniversary of his election as Russia's president -- a day he has proclaimed a national holiday and Russian Independence Day.

The combination of a Russian's native pride and Mr. Yeltsin's yearning to bring democracy and economic freedom to his country surfaced repeatedly in an 85-minute meeting with representatives of five foreign news organizations.

He indicated he could use the American visit to issue decrees on private ownership of property, whose blockage by the Russian Parliament has been a major obstacle to privatization of state industries.

Asked whether he was ready to use his presidential powers to override the Parliament, Mr. Yeltsin said he was, and added, "I think I will bring a surprise to the U.S."

But when he was asked about reports that an agreement with the International Monetary Fund over a $24-billion aid package was being delayed because of questions in Washington over the progress of economic reforms, Mr. Yeltsin became curt.

"I believe an agreement will be signed, and any delay in signing is linked only to this: that we will not sign any agreement under the diktat of the IMF," he said.

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