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Russia: Prime Minister Says Worst Of Financial Crisis Over

Moscow, 5 June 1998 (RFE/RL) - Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko said today that the worst of the economic crisis which has been threatening the stability of the ruble is now over. He said that last night's key interest rate cut to 60 percent from 150 percent is a sign that calm has returned to Russia's financial markets.

Kiriyenko was speaking in Yalta at a summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council. He told AFP that key interest rates will fall to their pre-crisis levels but "the problem of debt financing remains."

Itar-tass reports that Kiriyenko will present the government's anti-crisis program to the Duma on June 17. The decision was made today at a session of the lower house.

Meanwhile Boris Fyodorov -- the new tax chief -- says he wants prominent Russians, including ministers and top bankers, to start showing an example to others by paying their taxes in full. Yesterday the tax service said that some 1,000 high-profile Russians will have their incomes investigated by the tax inspectorate.

Earlier today, President Boris Yeltsin in his weekly radio address promised his government will hold down inflation but said that, in return, Russians must be prepared to pay their taxes.

Russia's financial crisis has eased this week, in part because the Group of Seven leading industrial nations signalled their readiness to put together a financial assistance package.

Russian stocks were holding steady today and the ruble was stable in quiet trading.