The new limits for the ruble-dollar band began to operate on January 1, as agreed to by the Russian government and the central bank in late November. The ruble will be allowed to depreciate in relation to the dollar over the course of this year, moving from a band of 5,500-6,100 rubles to the dollar at the beginning of the year and reaching 5,750-6,530 rubles to the dollar by December 31. A currency band with fixed limits was in operation in Russia during the first half of 1996. In the second half of the year a sliding band–involving a programmed pattern of ruble depreciation — was introduced. (Itar-Tass, January 1) A representative of the Russian Central Bank declared that the Russian monetary authority will continue to intervene actively in the foreign currency market this year. The central bank intends to allow a slight appreciation of the ruble in real terms in 1997, with a nominal depreciation of 8.5 percent, which is lower than the expected inflation rate of 11 percent. (Interfax, January 2)
Belarusan Opposition Holds Parliamentary Fort.