West will reject call for loans to Russia

RUSSIA ARRIVES in London today as a supplicant at a specially- scheduled meeting of the leading industrialised countries, G7. The meeting at Lancaster House will address the Russian crisis, but the chances of the Russians receiving any kind of financial satisfaction are slim.

One concession has been made: Russian officials will be allowed to make an appearance to make their case directly. But the concept of G8 - in other words, where Russia was allowed to join the top table, as happened in Birmingham just a few months ago - has now gone by the board.

The Russian government had liked to boast of its G8 membership, proving that it was seen as a leading economic player. But, in the words of Kommersant daily, "The crisis has shown that that was premature; again, the West has to save [Russia]."

The West is less eager to be held responsible for Russia's salvation. As one Western diplomat in Moscow noted, there is "no chance" of Russia's demands being satisfied in London today. The general perception is that until Russia comes up with a credible economic policy, any new loans to Moscow would be merely throwing good money after bad.

Most Western governments issued vague or warm endorsements of the new prime minister, Yevgeny Primakov, when he was approved on Friday. He is regarded (to use Margaret Thatcher's line on Mikhail Gorbachev) as "somebody we can do business with."

But Viktor Gerashchenko, the new chairman of Russia's central bank, and Yuri Maslyukov, the deputy prime minister who looks set to be the new economic supremo, are less than natural partners. Both men appear to be enthusiasts for the command economy, on the one hand, and for printing more roubles to solve money supply problems on the other. Diplomats say that some of the "welcome, Yuri" messages released on Friday were penned before Western government leaders realised the nature of Mr Primakov's chosen economic team.

One of the main reformist politicians, Grigory Yavlinsky, whose Yabloko party approved the nomination of Mr Primakov last week, has made it clear that Yabloko will not participate in the new government because of its current make-up.

Boris Fyodorov, a key economic reformer in the previous government, has said publicly he will not resign. If Mr Primakov sacks him, yet more of the government's credibility will be squandered.

Mr Primakov held a meeting yesterday of law-enforcement ministers, including the new interior and defence ministers, at the headquarters of the foreign intelligence service (which he used to head); details of the meeting were withheld.

In a reminder of the continuing chaos at the heart of Russian policy, President Yeltsin's loyal press secretary, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, was forced out at the weekend. Apart from Mr Yeltsin's own daughter, Tatyana, there is now almost nobody left in the presidential circle of confidants who has survived the repeated purges of recent years.

There was a reminder, too, of how murky Russian politics are liable to appear. The general prosecutor has opened a criminal case for bribery and abuse of power against Anatoly Sobchak, the former mayor of St Petersburg who was once seen as a leading light of Russian reform. Mr Sobchak has denied the charges.

Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam