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shift of personnel and strategy with the IMF would be no surprise and could be announced before Yevgeny Primakov travels to Washington for talks March 23-25. Fund officials continue to insist that they will extend no further credit without a credible economic plan. Maslyukov called IMF pressure “indecent” but, beyond name-calling made, no substantive public response. Liquid hard currency reserves have fallen to around $5.5 billion, and the country faces a $2.5 billion spike in scheduled foreign-debt payments. Consumer prices in the first two months of the year have risen at an annual rate of over 80 percent, well above the 30 percent inflation projected in the federal budget. Per capita consumption of meat and dairy products is down 40 percent since 1990, and Agriculture Minister Gennady Kulik says a food-price freeze is imminent.