President Boris Yeltsin has appointed Anatoly Chubais as his special representative to international financial organizations (RTR, June 17)–an appointment which will be welcomed outside Russia, where Chubais enjoys the confidence of foreign governments and lending institutions. It comes as the Kremlin prepares for next week’s visit by an IMF mission. Moscow hopes this mission will come up with fresh funds to stabilize the ruble. The aim is to regain the confidence of international investors, severely shaken by the turmoil on emerging markets worldwide, and Chubais is expected to assume a higher public profile in coming weeks. In reality, Chubais’ appointment formalizes what has been the case all along: his effective role as Russia’s chief negotiator with the IMF and the World Bank. (BBC, June 17) Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko confirmed yesterday that Russia will ask the IMF mission next week for a loan to prop up the embattled ruble, but declined to discuss media reports that the sum Russia will be looking is US$10 billion. (Russian agencies, June 17) Kirienko was clearly ambivalent, too, about Chubais’ return to the political arena: He made it plain that, while Chubais will regain the status of a deputy premier, he will not be entering Kirienko’s government or leaving his present post as chairman of Russia’s electricity grid. (Radio Russia, June 17)
Yesterday, the Russian Finance Ministry took the unusual step of canceling two of three planned auctions of high-yielding Treasury bills. Sergei Aleksashenko, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, said this was a positive sign that the government was determined to get by without raising new loans at high rates. (RTR, June 17) Others read it as a clue to government optimism that next week’s IMF mission will come up with a less expensive loan.
CHUBAIS TAKES OVER REINS AT RUSSIA’S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE.