An International Monetary Fund mission left Moscow on February 21 without recommending payment of the February tranche of the Fund’s $10.2 billion loan to Russia. (Financial Times, February 22) In effect, this means the Fund is again delaying payment of one of its monthly tranches. Earlier, Fund officials had said the February disbursement would be made on schedule. The IMF is reportedly still concerned over the Russian government’s failure to collect enough taxes to finance its budget. Last week, Deputy Finance Minister Izosim Molchanov reported that only 49 percent of planned revenues and 41 percent of expected taxes were received in January, but Finance Minister Aleksandr Livshits said February tax collection was "more or less at normal levels." Livshits did not say what he meant by "normal," but he seemed to be implying that February’s sum was up on January’s poor performance. (Itar-Tass, February 21; Financial Times, February 22)
Ukraine’s Leftist Groups Set to Combine Anti-Reformist and Pro-Russian Appeals.