Camdessus Approves $10 Billion in Loans For Russia

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA: The head of the International Monetary Fund, Michel Camdessus, approved a $10 billion three-year loan to Russia on Thursday. The loan, which must still be approved by the IMF board, is intended to support Russian economic reforms. It includes measures to help Russia control the budget deficit, lower inflation, and stabilize the exchange rate. Russian government planners have been counting on the loan for some time, and have already factored billions from the IMF into future budget predictions. The loan comes at a convenient time. Russia's economy is heavily burdened by the cost of the Chechnya war, and the loan may indirectly take some pressure off. There may also be benefits for Yeltsin's reelection campaign, since the IMF considers better social security part of the reform process, a belief which dovetails nicely with Yeltsin's electioneering promises to devote resources to the needs of ordinary Russians. But the IMF is not supporting the Russian President's election campaign. "The IMF wants Russia to continue economic reforms," say's TIME's Bruce Nelan. "Technically, the IMF doesn't have a political agenda, but basic reforms, like raising the minimum wage or helping the government rationalize social security payments will help Yeltsin's run for re-election."