The IMF last week gave Russia a vote of confidence by releasing a previously suspended tranche of its extended loan, and saying that the next quarterly tranche may be issued a month earlier than expected. Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov expressed satisfaction with what he said was recognition that Russia’s financial situation has improved since October, when the IMF suspended payments because of concern about poor tax collection. (RTR, January 9) Last week, the IMF noted what it said were positive trends in Russia’s economy. These include a continuing decline in inflation and signs that an economic recovery is at last under way. According to the State Statistics Committee’s preliminary data, Russia’s GDP grew in 1997 by 0.4 percent. The government is still predicting that GDP will grow 2 percent this year, but both the IMF and the OECD are predicting a more cautious 1 percent.
Director-General of Moscow’s Biggest Hotel Shot Dead.