Premier Sergei Kiriyenko submitted his new austerity plan to the International Monetary Fund Wednesday in the hope it would earn Russia enough new lending to finance an economic recovery.
The IMF's first deputy managing director, Stanley Fischer, told The Associated Press that fund analysts will need several weeks to study the plan."We have read the headlines, we've read the speeches, we got descriptions of the measures," he said as he prepared to depart the country. "Precisely what they will amount to in terms of the budget we will have to discuss."
However, Fischer said that in the meantime he will recommend that the fund release the latest, $670 million installment of an existing loan that was held up last week to press Russia to meet the IMF's criteria.
Kiriyenko detailed his austerity plan to the Cabinet and parliament on Tuesday. The measures are designed to do largely what the IMF has demanded and Russia has resisted: cut government spending, boost tax collections, and tighten control over customs and tax authorities.
Russia has been taking such measures already, but the IMF has said the cuts did not go deep enough, and tax collections have failed to raise government revenues enough. The international lender has insisted that the country do more or it will not qualify for a new loan. Russia has said it needed between $10 and $15 billion.
Fischer told the AP that in his view, Russia's chronic tax collection problem is the biggest obstacle to a new loan.