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Russia: Chubais Says Economic Decline Has Ended

Hong Kong, 23 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais told the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Hong Kong today that Russia's decade-long economic decline has now ended and that the general situation is beginning to improve.

He said inflation, expected to be at 13 percent this year, should be down to between five and seven percent next year, with the ruble contining to be a stable currency.

Chubais said all the nations in transition face the risk of currency crises like that in Southeast Asia because their systems are vulnerable and their banking and financial systems are weak.

He said pegging the ruble has worked well for Russia, but that every nation must be able to choose which course is best for it at the time.

Chubais, who is also Russian finance minister, formally announced that Moscow will make a grant to the IMF and World Bank special program to provide debt relief to the very poorest of countries which are following good policies, but are unable to clear their debts.

He said in addition to a portion of the new SDR's (special drawing rights, the IMF currency) Russia will get under the equity allocation, Moscow will provide additional assistance commencerate with its economic position.