Then there is the much less congenial task of actually running the country, and things in this department are, as always, considerably less cheery. The week left no doubt that the future of Russia’s moribund economy hinges on three letters–IMF. Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov painted the picture in stark terms: Without further credits from the fund and other international lenders, 80 percent of Russia’s budget revenues will have to go toward external debt payments this year alone; 60 percent to 80 percent per year over the next seven to ten years. Zadornov stated the obvious: “The country cannot live under such conditions.” The only alternatives, he said, were default or hyperinflation. Moscow, clearly, is betting that the IMF’s management, terrified at the prospect of sharing the fate which befell Sergei Kirienko’s government after last August’s meltdown, is frantically searching for a way to justify giving Russia something–anything to stave off a default.