Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko has called for "a gradual increase in the monetary mass in the republic" in order to finance state economic programs. Addressing a gathering of regional officials, Lukashenko cited unnamed "experts" who recommend an increase in the monetary supply in the range of 10 to 22 percent this year. The president endorsed the recommendation even while admitting that inflation has accelerated in recent months because of large budget subsidies to collective and state farms for the spring sowing campaign. (Interfax, April 19)
The International Monetary Fund has recently suspended loan disbursements to Belarus because of the government’s regress on reforms. Inflationary policies in Belarus would strengthen the argument of Russian reformers who oppose a merger of the two economies and states. Those reformers have recently been almost silenced by the political bandwagon which Yeltsin set in motion when he promoted the merger with Belarus in his short-term electoral interest.
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