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Poland: Economy Relatively Immune To Russia Crisis

Warsaw, 7 September 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek says Poland's economy is relatively immune to Russia crisis and is prepared for any developments there.

Buzek told the Polish Radio today that "Poland has invested very small capital in Russia and does not have to worry about losses like many other European states which are losing the funds they invested in Russia."

Buzek also said that Poland" wishes Russia to overcome its political and economic crisis." He went on to note that "We want Russia to be a democratic state with market economy because such a state will not pose any danger to Poland."

Also today, Stanislaw Ciosek, former Polish ambassador to Moscow, told the mass Warsaw daily Gazeta Wyborcza that Russia crisis causes many problems for other countries. Ciosek said that: "Common sense tells us to be concerned about Russia when we see the depth of its economic crisis, rusted military weaponry or devastated environment." Ciosek went on to suggest that "Russia should be helped to eliminate any threat to others."

In a related development, Oleg Bogomolov, former economic adviser to Russia's President Boris Yeltsin, told the Polish Radio today he quit the job because he was against the "shock therapy" supported by Yeltsin.

Bogomolov was in Warsaw to attend a meeting of economists at Jahranka near Warsaw to discuss the situation in Russia. "Shock therapy was good for Poland but it did not work in Russia," he said.

In 1990 Poland applied an economic system under which it started closing inefficient plants, ended subsidies for plants working at a loss, introduced mass privatization and lifted price controls. The strategy has been successful. During subsequent years Poland's Gross Domestic Product has reached 6 percent per year.

Bogomolov criticized IMF saying its salvage plan is similar to the Polish shock therapy. He said Russia should find out its own system of increasing industrial production and stabilize its banking system. He stopped short of saying how this is to be done.