The Imf Gives Russia An Assist

Amid speculation that Boris Yeltsin is seriously ill, the International Monetary Fund gave his government a much-needed boost, agreeing Mar. 22 to lend Russia $1.5 billion. After several meetings in Moscow and a private hunting trip, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin agreed to a package that would employ spending curbs and tax increases to reduce the deficit to 5% of gross domestic product. Inflation, at 950% in 1993, is targeted to fall to a monthly rate of 7% by December. Can Russia pull it off? The IMF action, if ratified in April, would clear the way for billions more in loans and investments to help it carry out the reforms.

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