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New Russian Premier, New Generation

April 24, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ Sergei Kiriyenko, Russia’s new prime minister, represents a new generation of young leaders who are quickly entering the top ranks of politics, business and other fields.

His political experience is limited. His strength is his business background.

The son of a prominent academic, Kiriyenko was born July 26, 1962, in the Black Sea town of Sukhumi. He graduated from the Gorky Institute of Water Transport Engineering and studied finance and banking at the Moscow Academy of Economics.

Kiriyenko worked as a shipyard foreman in the city of Gorky, now Nizhny Novgorod. He also served as the first secretary of the regional Young Communist League, the Komsomol, and was a deputy in the local legislature.

Kiriyenko was 28 when Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The transition to a market economy provided new opportunities to young Russians, and Kiriyenko made the most of them.

He was a founder of Nizhny Novgorod’s commercial bank, Garantia, in 1994. Two years later, Kiriyenko became president of the NORSI oil company, and he joined the Fuel and Energy Ministry in May 1997.

In November, he was appointed minister for fuel and energy, a post he held until President Boris Yeltsin fired his Cabinet last month and named Kiriyenko acting prime minister.

Kiriyenko is expected to follow Yeltsin’s policies, but has yet to detail his own economic plans.

While his opponents have criticized Kiriyenko for his youth and inexperience in government, supporters say he’s likely to have a more instinctive feel for Russia’s emerging market economy than his predecessor, Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Kiriyenko is married and has a son and a daughter.

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