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Russia: Russian Economy Has High Degree of Stability, Says U.S.

Washington, August 9 (RFE/RL) -- The United States believes the Russian economy has achieved a degree of stability that surpasses any other time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, says U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns.

U.S. officials believe that commentators suggesting that Russia faces an imminent financial collapse are "grossly" exaggerating the situation, Burns told reporters in Washington yesterday.

The United States has a "very, very good understanding of the Russian economy," he said. Burns pointed to Russia's low monthly inflation rate, lower unemployment, stock and bond markets and growing foreign investment.

"There is hope now that wasn't present two or three or four years ago," he said. "The Russian economy has clearly bottomed out and is improving."

The question was raised by a commentary in the "Washington Times" newspaper yesterday which suggests that Russia is headed for an economic crisis this autumn that could require a "bailout" larger than the more than $10 billion 1993 Mexican rescue package put together by the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"These prophets of doom and gloom are greatly exaggerated," said Burns.