This week's In the News looks at the International Monetary Fund's recent lending agreement with Russia. The nine resources discussed offer commentary, news, analysis, and background information concerning the IMF's current economic package, and discuss the Russian economic crisis in general. A key player in the New Russian Federation's transition to a market economy, the IMF, agreed to ease Russia's ongoing financial crisis on July 13, 1998 with a loan of 15.1 billion dollars (to be dispersed over two years). According to IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer, this amount is "a very significant draw on our resources," although the IMF has protected its funding carefully via terms outlined in the agreement. Deliberators in Russia's Parliament, however, find the conditions set by the IMF, President Boris Yeltsin, and other international lenders to be too harsh -- particularly a condition to protect the rights of foreign investors. As the debate continues, many fear that future international funding will be withheld, and the ruble will continue its downward spiral set off by the Asian financial crisis in May 1998 (discussed in the January 30, 1998 Scout Report
). With 5 billion dollars or more available from the IMF as early as next week, Russian government leaders must agree on a feasible economic plan, before conditions worsen.