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Russia: Cabinet Adopts Emergency Budget

Moscow, 22 October 1998 (RFE/RL) - The Russian government today approved an emergency fourth quarter budget for 1998. Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov said the fourth quarter budget has been drawn up with a deficit gap that could be plugged by the resumption of delayed loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Few details of the budget plan are available.

Zadornov said that the government may have to print up to 20 billion rubles ($1.18 billion) this autumn to cover outstanding wage arrears and overdue pension payments. But Zadornov added that the government will print substantially less money if the IMF chips in with a loan package.

The IMF, which began another round of talks with government officials yesterday, has insisted on tight budget policy and a comprehensive crisis package before it releases a delayed loan installment of $4.3 billion.

Meanwhile, President Boris Yeltsin's upcoming trip to Austria is now scheduled to last only one day, instead of two as originally planned, presidential press secretary Dmitrii Yakushin told reporters today. Yakushin said that the trip will be very intensive and dismissed the suggestion that it had been shortened, saying that "the schedule has simply been tightened."

In its October issue, "Argumenty i fakty" cited Foreign Ministry sources as saying Russia will be able to procure money from the EU only if Yeltsin shows up in Austria in person. The publication claimed that "some Kremlin officials understood the importance of the trip" and that "Boris Nikolaevich is now being pumped full of medicines to put him in good shape for at least a couple of days."