Yeltsin Says He will Not Take Direct Orders from the IMF
MOSCOW (AP) _ President Boris Yeltsin said today that he will not take orders from the International Monetary Fund, to which Russia has just been granted membership and with it access to desperately needed loans.
″We do not intend to work under the direct orders of the IMF,″ the Interfax news agency quoted Yeltsin as saying. ″We do not agree completely with this organization’s viewpoint, and we will stick to our point of view.″
Yeltsin’s government has been pressing for admission into the IMF so it can gain greater access to hard currency and make the ruble convertible on world markets. But asking for help has not been easy for many Russians, whose pride is wounded by the acceptance of Western aid on such a large scale.
While Yeltsin has welcomed IMF membership, he apparently sought with the tough talk impress upon fellow Russians that he has no intention of selling them short, of kowtowing to the West.
Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics on Monday became members of the IMF and the World Bank, gaining access to billions of dollars in Western aid earmarked to help rescue economies ruined by 70 years of Communist rule.
As full members of the two organizations, the countries will receive more than $6.5 billion in bank loans over the next 12 months and could receive more aid if they follow programs that meet IMF requirements.
The invitation to join the two bodies came a day after the world’s seven leading industrial democracies endorsed a $24 billion aid package for 12 nations.
″We don’t want to get in over our head and seize all $24 billion immediately,″ Interfax quoted Yeltsin as saying before departing for the northern port city of Arkhangelsk to discuss with workers the course of political and economic reform.
″We are acting very carefully and will take only specific amounts of money for concrete projects, including $6 billion for a ruble stabilization fund,″ he said.
Yeltsin also told reporters he believed he ″will find a common language″ during his upcoming visits to Washington and Munich to meet with leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialized democracies.