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Russia: Chubais Named Finance Minister Of The Year

Hong Kong, 22 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Anatoly Chubais was honored today as Finance Minister of the Year by the prestigious financial magazine "Euromoney."

Chubais accepted the award in at a reception in his honor in Hong Kong. According to his spokesman Andrei Trapeznikov, Chubais told the gathering of bankers and financiers from around the world that he was proud Russia's reforms were being given international recognition.

To reform Russia is not an easy thing, the spokesman said Chubais had told the group, "because it is so hard on the people." But he also said that it would be worse if there were no reforms undertaken.

The spokesman said Chubais told the financiers that Russia now has a "brilliant" team of economists who will be able to lead the country to a better life.

He said they have the full support of President Boris Yeltsin, and they in turn support him as president.

Chubais is in Hong Kong at the head of a large Russian delegation for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

In addition to attending the IMF and World Bank Development Committee meetings today, he also met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng.

Neither the U.S. nor the Russian delegations had any comment on the discussions between Rubin and Chubais. The First Deputy Prime Minister's spokesman said the meeting with Li was focused on preparations for Yeltsin's official visit to China in early November.

Euromoney magazine said in its latest edition that Russia's finance ministry had developed a "new dynamism" under Chubais.

It said that with his dual positions as Finance Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister, Chubais has been "well placed" to take on the huge challenges, including the non-payment crisis, restructuring of public finances and tax reform.

The magazine said Chubais's "biggest success" has been in collecting $2.3 billion of Gazprom's $2.8 billion of tax arrears.

The magazine also gave Chubais major credit for getting Russia into the Paris club of official creditor nations. Moscow's membership was formally completed only last week.