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Russia: Yeltsin Asks Duma For Swift Approval

Moscow, 14 July 1998 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin today urged the State Duma to swiftly pass emergency economic reforms to clear the way for a large new international aid package.

Yeltsin met at the Kremlin with the Duma's Communist speaker, Gennady Seleznyov, and various faction leaders. In remarks described by analysts as conciliatory, Yeltsin called for teamwork to overcome Russia's financial crisis. He also pledged not to dissolve the Duma and call early elections, something he had earlier threatened to do.

The opposition-dominated Duma is to consider the austerity measures at a special session beginning tomorrow. The chamber has already given preliminary approval and rejection to some measures, while the fate of others remains unclear.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has linked the release of a proposed two-year, $22.6 billion loan package to Moscow's progress in pushing through reforms aimed at boosting revenues. The loans, combining about $17 billion in new credit and more than $5 billion in already-negotiated loans, would come from the IMF, the World Bank and the Japanese government.

The Russian stock market, which has lost more than half its value this year, continued to surge today as investors reacted optimistically to the rescue package. The Russian Trading System Index was up more than 12 percent in afternoon trading.