FROM BAD TO WORSE

THE WAR IN CHECHNYA, A FALLING RUBLE AND POOR MANAGEMENT ARE HOBBLING THE ECONOMY

Boris Yeltsin knows that miners' strikes in 1989 and 1991 loosened Mikhail Gorbachev's grip on the presidency. So when half a million miners staged a one-day walkout last week to protest nonpayment of wages, Yeltsin scrambled to pledge $500 million for the industry.

That, however, can only exacerbate Moscow's budget problems. Russia is finding it increasingly difficult to pay its bills and as a result faces growing instability. Last week its troubles multiplied when an International Monetary Fund team left Moscow without agreeing to a $12 billion emergency package to help cover its budget deficit and stabilize the ruble. The IMF...

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