Russian Central Bank: Politics Must Be Taken out of Russia-IMF Relations

'Russia should remove the political element from its relations with the International Monetary Fond,' believes Oleg Viugin, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. Viugin was speaking in Moscow at the round-table discussion 'On improving cooperation between Russia and international financial organisations.'

According to Viugin, until 1998 IMF loans 'were of a political nature, since they were given not for structural reform of the Russian economy, but to support the new authorities by covering the budget deficit.' 'As a result the Russian economy and the value of the rouble were artificially stabilised, but foreign investment was not stimulated,' he said.

The deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank stressed that up to 1998 Russia's short-term debt alone was around USD 40 billion, and economic indicators 'did not reflect the true state of the country's economy.' He believes that cooperation with the IMF can only be an effective instrument for stabilising Russia's economy if the fund's resources are used for restructuring purposes. Viugin is of the opinion that Russia should avoid taking IMF loans in the future to balance its budget.

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