Russians Welcome Summit, But Say Help Begins at Home With AM-US-Russia Summit, Bjt
MOSCOW (AP) _ Russians cautiously welcomed the prospect of additional U.S. aid Sunday, but said even more money and some hard work at home are needed to overcome their grave economic problems.
″We shall eat up this aid within half a year. What will come next?″ asked Yekaterina Chikina, a day-care worker. ″We must settle our problems ourselves.″
The summit meeting between President Boris Yeltsin and President Clinton has attracted little attention in Moscow, largely because of the 11-hour time difference between the Russian capital and Vancouver, British Columbia.
″We welcome this summit. It is great that they meet. Let us hope that this meeting will help us to live better and calmer,″ said Andrei Tsimbal, an actor.
″If the U.S. government gives us $1 billion, I think we’ll be able to survive and get out of the crisis,″ he said.
Clinton had been expected to announce a $1 billion aid program at the meeting. But on Sunday he released details for a $1.6 billion package.
Some Russians took a dim view of how the summit would affect their lives.
″This summit is an important landmark in international relations, but for Russia I don’t think the summit is of great importance,″ said Tatiana Novikova, an economist.
″They can offer us their assistance, and I appreciate their positive wish to help us. But even a billion dollars aid is not enough for Russia. It is such a vast country,″ she said, waiting outside the Kiev Railway Station.
″We must not rely exclusively of foreign assistance. It is our people who should help themselves,″ she said.
Photographer Pyotr Kazanchuk said: ″As far as the aid is concerned, let them help us and give us this billion dollars. I welcome it. But we just work, plow the soil, grow crops ... We must feed out people ourselves.″
Some people are embarrassed their once-proud nation must accept help from the West.
″I am ashamed that such a great country as Russia is forced to beg the world community for help,″ said Vasily Vorobyov, a graduate student. ″Instead of going with an outstretched hand, we must roll up our sleeves and work hard in order to live better.″
Sabri Amirov, an unemployed builder, said summits were pointless.
″We don’t need either their dollars or their assistance,″ said Amirov, from the Ural Mountains city of Orenburg. ″What we need is Russia, and maybe the restoration of the Soviet Union.″