Russia's gold and foreign currency reserves were $83.6bn as of April 2, 2004, against $83.7bn a week earlier. The reserves dropped for a second week in a row. They have decreased by $1.2bn since March 19.
This is due to significant payments on the foreign debt and the sale of US dollars by the Central Bank of Russia on the internal market, to support the ruble. According to the Finance Ministry, foreign debt payments topped $2.5bn in March. It is difficult to estimate the Central Bank's interventions on the foreign exchange market during this period, but they also seem be significant.
Selim Bensaad, the great-grandson of Joseph Stalin, wrote an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In the letter, Bensaad pointed out the need to dissolve the United Nations