The IMF gave a cautious signalyesterday that, if Russia meets certain conditions, it may be willing toprovide additional funding to support the embattled ruble. The announcementwas expected to buoy Russian financial markets, which fell earlier in theweek when a widely anticipated international assistance package failed tomaterialize. In a carefully phrased statement, the IMF said yesterday: “Ifit is judged appropriate and necessary, additional financial assistancecould be made available in the context of further policy measures.” IMFmanagement had, the statement also noted, reached agreement with the Russiangovernment on the country’s economic policies for 1998. (Reuters, June 11)
The announcement coincided with a statement by U.S. Deputy TreasurySecretary Lawrence Summers that deputy finance ministers from Britain,Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States had discussedaid for Russia when they met in Paris this week and that the G7 was ready toprovide additional help via international financial institutions if necessary.
The Russian government is trying hard to show that it is setting its housein order. On June 9, Federal Tax Service director Boris Fedorov announced apurge of tax chiefs aimed at eliminating corruption. Last week, InteriorMinister Sergei Stepashin sacked the head of the St. Petersburg police,Major-General Anatoly Ponidelko, accusing him of abusing his powers.Analysts say he was a close associate and former classmate of oustedInterior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, and that his dismissal signals the startof a campaign by Stepashin to assert his control over the police force. Andin Moscow yesterday, corruption charges were officially filed against YuriYurkov, head of Russia’s State Committee for Statistics, who has been underarrest since June 8. Also charged were Yurkov’s first deputy Valery Dalinand the director of the committee’s computer center, Boris Saakian. All aresaid to have protested their innocence. Further arrests are expected tofollow: Russia’s Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov told NTV last night thatthe fraud group consisted of over twenty people, mainly seniorstatisticians. They manipulated the figures for some of Russia’s leadingcompanies in order to enable the firms to evade taxation. (NTV, June 11)
YELTSIN DECREE SEEKS TO PREVENT RISKY REGIONAL BORROWING.