There's a new word in the lexicon of Russian economics--protektionitski. Fearful of new foreign competition, officials of some Russian banks and enterprises are lobbying for new favorable treatment on state contracts. One is Viktor Korovin, general director of Uralmash, a giant industrial equipment maker in Yekaterinburg. He's worried that Western companies will take away his contracts for major oil equipment. In return for government help, he's pledging support for Russian acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, now under attack by right-wingers who want to stall his reform program.

Likewise, the Russian Central Bank is being asked to limit the role of foreign banks in Russia. Their claim: Foreign banks finance foreign companies invading the domestic market rather than making investments in local enterprises. Even so, many Russian depositors would prefer to put their hard currency into foreign banks, considered more trustworthy.

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