Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 222

Trading in tsarist bonds was suspended in Paris yesterday after Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin promised that "Russia will pay its debts." His remark was understood to mean that Russia intends to repay debts inherited from the tsars but repudiated by the Bolsheviks following the 1917 Revolution. Chernomyrdin made the announcement as he left on an official visit to France, where many of the descendants of those who invested in Russian imperial bonds live. The Bolshevik government defaulted on bonds held by French investors in retaliation for French support of Russia’s White Army. Bond-holders claim the sum owed amounts today to $30 billion. Though Moscow disputes this figure, it is keen to clear these debts since doing so will remove the last obstacle to Russia’s accession to the Paris Club of creditor states. That in turn will enable Russia to reclaim money it says it is owed, as the USSR’s successor, by countries such as Ethiopia and Cuba. (Itar-Tass, BBC World Service, AP, November 25; Financial Times, November 26) The Speaker of the Russian Duma, Gennady Seleznev, immediately criticized Chernomyrdin’s statement, saying repayment of the old imperial debts could set a dangerous precedent. (BBC World Service, November 26)

Ukraine Against Russian Troops in Moldova.