Vice Premier Alexei Kudrin Rules Out 1998 Crisis Taking Place Again

Russian government's deputy prime minister, finance minister Alexei Kudrin rules out the possibility of the 1998 crisis taking place once more in 2002, he told the Mayak radio station in an interview. Kudrin, in particular, explained that as of today, in Russia there is no pyramid of treasury bills that existed in 1998 and no obligations on these payments. Besides, the 2002 budget has already been adopted. Its basic expense articles were calculated proceeding from the pessimistic forecast of the situation on world markets, including oil market. Kudrin named another important factor - the fact that the country's gold and hard currency reserves now considerably exceeded the volume that used to be in 1998. All this, thinks Kudrin, is evidence of Russia's immunity from any fluctuations on world markets, including oil prices. The deputy prime minister also noted that world's two rating agencies increased Russia's credit rating, which means that the danger of default or devaluation in this country had considerably reduced. The incentive to increase Russian rating was in particular Russian 2002 budget adoption and the steps taken to stabilize world oil prices.

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