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Russia’s PM Sees No Emergency

February 11, 2008 | www.kommersant.com

Although Russia is yet to reach the stage of the actual financial collapse, the potential crisis has gained an official status already. Yesterday, 15 high-ranked envoys of bank community addressed Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, seeking the government’s assistance to sort out forthcoming difficulties.

Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov met yesterday with spokesmen of Russia’s Banks Association Board. The event was attended by Sberbank CEO German Gref, Vice Premier and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, CBR CEO Sergei Ignatiev, President’s Expert Department chief Arkady Dvorkovich, Federal Financial Market Service head Vladimir Milovidov, State Duma’s Financial Market Committee’s Chairman Vladimir Reznik and some other senior officials of ministries and government’s agencies.

The bankers had been striving for the meeting since December of 2007. Their intention was to clarify government’s actions should the liquidity crisis, similar to the situation of 2007 fall, hit the country anew.

Yesterday, however, the prime minister refused to recognize even the signs of impending collapse of liquidity. The bank system “has proven stability and independence from external environment,” Zubkov said, preferring to deliberate not on the future crisis but rather on “ensuring stability in the long term.”

The government succeeded in neutralizing 372-billion ruble claims of the anxious bankers, promising to appropriate some 1 trillion rubles from the budget till the year-end should they face real problems. If the crisis ultimately bypasses Russia, this bargaining in the government will probably turn into a few-month elaboration of a new economic policy of the White House.


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