Russia `conned the West out of $20bn'

RUSSIA "TRICKED" $20bn (pounds 12bn) of loans out of the international community by concealing the scale of its economic problems, says the man who spearheaded its efforts to become a market economy.

Anatoly Chubais, until recently Boris Yeltsin's chief international financial negotiator, told Kommersant newspaper that the deception was requiredto stave off economic collapse.

His revelations coincided with a report from a ratings agency, which said that Russia may become the largest single credit loss ever suffered by the global banking system.

Fitch IBCA in London concluded that up to $100bn would have to be written off - nearly six times the $16.6bn lost in 1990 during the Mexican fiscal crisis.

Mr Chubais, a former chief-of-staff to Mr Yeltsin and architect of the privatisation drive, said the economy would have crumbled in the Spring."The financial institutions understand, despite the fact that we conned them out of $20bn, that we had no other way out."

In July, Russia secured a $23bn IMF-led loan, but this failed to prevent the collapse of the rouble, that led to a still unresolved political crisis in which Mr Yeltsin is at loggerheads with the State Duma over his choice of prime minister.

Moscow's decision to devalue - only a few days after Mr Yeltsin had vowed to do the opposite - caused deep anger in the West, both politically and among the commercial investors who are reeling from the fall-out.

There has been concern in the IMF, World Bank and elsewhere over Moscow's plans to print money before pegging the rouble to the dollar, an approach widely expected to fuel Russia's rampant inflation.

Many of the West's worries about Russia hinge on the future role in government of the resurgent Communists, led by Gennady Zyuganov.

The Communists, the largest of the array of forces ranged against the Kremlin, have finally acquired real bargaining power. And, speaking to selected foreign correspondents yesterday, Mr Zyuganov clearly knew it.

He talked airily about the importance of the multi-party system, investment, free speech, good relations with Europe, mixed property ownership. What Russia needed was a "left and centre government which will enjoy the support of the maj "We don't want power for ourselves because we don't consider that right under the circumstances," he said.

There was little trace of the other Gennady Zyuganov, the author of A Word to the People, the manifesto of the men behind the failed hardline coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991.

Nor was there any sign of the conspiracy theorist who believes that the West is plotting to create a "New World Order", or the nostalgic Soviet who remains silent about Stalin's crimes and enthusiastically praises the dictator's industrial triumphs. Yet there are also limits to his negotiating muscle, and he also knows that.

It is impossible for Mr Zyuganov to strike a deal with a Kremlin in which Viktor Chernomyrdin becomes premier. Such a cave-in would threaten his position as leader among the deeply divided ranks of his coalition of forces.

He also knows that if Mr Yeltsin refuses to budge, and the Duma is dissolved after rejecting the hapless acting premier for a third time, there is no guarantee that the Communists will benefit.

Thus, Mr Zyuganov and his colleagues have been willing to go to surprising lengths to get a deal - short of endorsing Mr Chernomyrdin. Their list of compromise candidates for prime minister includes Yevgeny Primakov, a former ally of Mikhail Gorbachev, who is loathed by many on the left who accuse him of destroying the Soviet Union. The Foreign Minister is "educated and experienced," said Mr Zyuganov yesterday. He was as complimentary about another anti-Communist, Yuri Luzhkov, the nationalist mayor of Moscow.

At bottom, Mr Zyuganov is a deal-maker. Although he boasts about his willingness to lead "massive protest actions", his impulses are to strike a bargain which gives the legislature more powers, and saves the Duma from dismissal.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Analyst

£23000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be a part of ...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Manager - R&D - Paint

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing successful busines...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Advisor - Automotive Parts

£16400 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading online E-commerce ...

Recruitment Genius: Automotive Parts Manager

£27300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a leading...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea