Seven of Russia’s biggest oil producers warned the government yesterday that IMF-recommended economic policies could provoke popular unrest. (Russian agencies, Reuters, July 22) What they really seemed to mean was that, by vetoing Duma-approved cuts in the profits tax and oil excise tax, the Yeltsin leadership is pursuing policies that will not be good for the oil industry, already hard hit by the drop in world energy prices. In a written appeal, they urged President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Kirienko to rethink some of the austerity measures which this week won Russia an US$11.2 billion loan from the IMF. “We are obliged to declare that the economic policies of international financial organizations towards key industrial sectors are unreasonable and irresponsible,” the appeal stated. It went on to say that, by leading to widespread bankruptcies and increasing poverty, the IMF-recommended policies could provoke “a social explosion in a couple of months.” The companies signing the appeal were LUKoil, YUKOS, Sidanko, Sibneft, Surgutneftegaz, Tyumen Oil Company and Eastern Oil Company. Among them, they account for almost 90 percent of Russia’s total oil output. Initial reports said that gas giant Gazprom had also signed, but Gazprom managers later denied that the gas giant was party to the appeal, while Sidanko said it had not yet signed it.
MAKHACHKALA MAYOR SURVIVES ANOTHER ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.