BAD DEBTS: Paying Off the Czar's IOUs

Paying Off the Czar's IOUs

Search the attic! Check behind the wallpaper! Lucky scavengers may discover a small fortune in Russian bonds issued during World War I by the government of Czar Nicholas II. For 70 years, the IOUs have scarcely been worth the ornate paper they were printed on. Reason: a year after shooting the imperial family, the Soviet revolutionary government repudiated $192 million in the hands of U.S. bondholders. But last week the State Department said U.S. and Soviet officials have started negotiating a repayment of the Czarist loans. Including interest, the settlement could reach $900 million.

The Soviets have a vested interest in...

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