Moscow, 15 July 1998 (RFE/RL) - Russian Finance Minister Mikhail
Zadornov today defended Russia's $22.6 billion aid deal with international lenders, saying Moscow received the most favorable loan terms possible. Zadornov, speaking before an extraordinary session of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said interest on the largest part of the loans -- from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- was between 4.6 and 4.8 percent. He said the
interest on smaller credits from the World Bank and Japanese government was even more favorable.
Zadornov said most of the loans are planned to be used to boost
reserves to back the ruble and stablize Russia's financial markets. He said
Moscow would not be forced to break up the Gazprom and Unified Energy Systems
monopolies in exchange for the loans, which were announced Monday.
Zadornov called on Duma lawmakers to quickly approve a package of
austerity measures aimed at securing the release of the loans this year and
By early afternoon the Duma had approved only a few minor bills,
one on protecting the rights of foreign investors.
Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, speaking to reporters on a visit
Russian republic of Dagestan, said he believed the Duma would approve the bulk
of the measures and that the government's plan would be in effect by August 1.
He said that if the opposition-dominated chamber did not pass all the necessary
legislation in its special session which ends tomorrow, the government was
prepared to act through decrees or presidential edicts.
Trading on the Russian stock market was stable today, following two
rallies spurred by optimism over the new international loan package.