projected a 2.5% rise in gross domestic product in 1998 but warned that falling commodity prices (which reduce Russia’s export earnings) could complicate the situation.

Foreign borrowing: The Russian government expects to borrow $9.6 billion abroad in 1998, according to a deputy minister of finance. The total includes official and commercial credits.

Spy story: Norway, the only NATO country with a Russian border, expelled five Russian diplomats for espionage. Russia retaliated by expelling two Norwegian diplomats. Both sides seem inclined now to declare the incident over.

Thugs in uniform: The chief military prosecutor says armed-forces servicemen committed 20,302 crimes, including 304 murders, in 1997. Five generals, including a former navy chief of staff, and the head of the international department of the Federal Border Service, were convicted in criminal cases. ON THE BORDER