Russia’s semi-official Itar-Tass news agency has announced that Michel Camdessus, head of the International Monetary Fund, will visit Moscow in late February. (9) The announcement fueled speculation that the IMF has decided to continue backing Russian economic reform by granting the three-year budget support loan of $9 billion on which Russian leaders are pinning their hopes. Doubts had been expressed about the loan because of concern that in the run-up to June’s presidential elections, the Yeltsin government might abandon its tight 1996 inflation and budget deficit targets. Those doubts were strengthened by Yeltsin’s replacement of a leading cabinet reformer by a former factory director and by his decision to allocate additional funds for the reconstruction of Chechnya. The additional funds exceed the amount stipulated for that purpose in the 1996 budget.
Admiral Baltin Sinks.