The Russian government has a “poor record” of economic reform due to failure to “overcome fierce resistance from vested interests.” These strong words come from Stanley Fischer, the acting managing director and top official of the International Monetary Fund, who met with Putin last week in Moscow. Russia’s failure to implement “structural reforms” was the reason given for the Fund’s suspension of lending last September. Negotiations on a new program could begin after Putin’s inauguration on May 7, but they are likely to be difficult. The Fund and Russia are finally wary of each other. There is little doubt that Russian officials deceived the IMF in 1998, overstating reserves and concealing the transfer of money from the Central Bank to shady offshore subsidiaries. And Russians wonder why the Fund for so long backed policies that brought huge wealth to insiders — not all of whom were Russians — while leaving workers unpaid and pensions unfunded.