nor theft, nor fraud, nor malefaction shall stay this institution from passing out the bucks. Yevgeny Primakov was a no-show at scheduled talks in Washington with International Eleemosynary Fund Managing Director Michel Camdessus. No problem. Mr. Camdessus flew to Moscow and held talks there, quickly pledging fresh money in exchange for old promises. Russia is said to have agreed to run a 1999 fiscal surplus (exclusive of debt service) equal to two percent of gross domestic product. Though the details remain to be worked out, apparently the Fund will lend enough–probably around $3.8 billion in the course of this year–to ensure that Russia stays current on its debt to the IMF itself. Its charter prohibits the Fund from rescheduling its loans; this swap of old loans for new seems a dodge around that inconvenience. A Fund agreement, in turn, will encourage other official and commercial creditors to reschedule or roll over their loans to Russia as well.