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Russia: Government Likely To Start Printing Money

Moscow, 28 September 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Aleksander Shokhin, who quit as Russian deputy prime minister in charge of finance on Friday (Sept. 25), says the government will likely resort to printing money to cover shortfalls in the federal budget.

In an exclusive interview to RFE/RL Shokhin said that the present government of Yevegeny Primakov may well start printing money to pay off back wages and to avert social unrest ahead of early parliamentary and presidential elections.

Shokhin described the country as on the verge of defaulting on external debt. He criticized the former governments of Sergei Kiriyenko and Viktor Chernomyrdin for wasting International Monetary Funds on propping up the value of the ruble. The ruble, Shokhin said, should have been devalued gradually at the start of the global financial crisis last year.

Shokhin told a news conference in Moscow (Sept. 26) that Russia was unlikely to receive new funds from the International Monetary Fund for at least three months.

Shokhin resigned in protest after Mikhail Zadornov was reappointed finance minister Friday. Shokhin accused Zadornov of playing a key role last month in a sharp devaluation of the ruble and in Moscow's decision to effectively default on some loans.