Economic Meltdown

If investors continue to take the money and run, all of Yeltsin's hard-earned stability could collapse

The thunder out of Asia rolled into Russia last week, shaking the already wobbly economy and its twitchy investors. A spate of panic selling sent the stock market plunging and plunging, and it ended the week worth half as much as it was a year ago. Even before the bubble popped in Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia, Boris Yeltsin's government was living dangerously. It was juggling $150 billion in foreign debt, running huge budget deficits and resorting to a kind of pyramid scheme in which it was selling new treasury bills to pay interest on those it had sold earlier.

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