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08/14/1998 14:52:19 Chronology of Russian financial crisis

MOSCOW, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Following is a chronology of key

events in Russia's financial crisis, which took a turn for the

worse this week as many banks suffered acute liquidity problems,

stopped trading with each other and failed to meet some

obligations.

March 23, 1998 - Yeltsin sacks loyal Prime Minister Viktor

Chernomyrdin and the entire cabinet, saying reforms had not been

dynamic enough. He names virtually unknown energy minister

Sergei Kiriyenko as acting prime minister.

Markets, already uneasy over turmoil in other emerging

markets like Indonesia and a slump in world oil prices, were

shocked and many investors retreated to the sidelines amid the

political uncertainty.

March 27 - Yeltsin formally nominates Kiriyenko as premier

and warns the State Duma (lower house of parliament) he will use

his powers to dissolve it if it fails to approve his choice.

April 27 - Communist-led parliament approves Kiriyenko after

a month of resistance to Yeltsin's nominee.

April 29-May 5 - Russian government line-up announced. The

new cabinet is dominated by reformers. Anatoly Chubais, reform

guru of the previous government, lost his cabinet job but became

head of national electricity company UES. Markets mainly rise

over the whole period, but major investors still sidelined.

May 12 - Coal miners in Arctic north start protests over

unpaid wages, blocking a major railway. They are joined by

miners elsewhere. Shares tumble, mainly on a law restricting

foreign ownership of shares in UES.

May 13 - Russian markets fall further on Asian contagion

amid violence in Indonesia and poor state of Japan's economy.

May 26 - Yeltsin signs austerity package to stabilise budget

and cut spending. Russia suffers a blow as no one bids for a 75

percent stake in Rosneft, the last big oil firm still in state

hands. Finance minister announces spending cuts of $10 billion.

May 27 - Central bank triples key interest rate to 150

percent to defend rouble after t-bill yields soar and shares

tumble.

May 29 - Influential Russian tycoons pledge to back Yeltsin.

Yeltsin appoints reformer monetarist Boris Fyodorov to head the

tax service.

June 4 - Central bank cuts key interest rate to 60 percent

from 150 percent in a sign of growing confidence.

June 17 - Yeltsin appoints Chubais as chief debt negotiator.

June 18 - The International Monetary Fund delays an expected

$670 million tranche of its $9.2 billion loan to Russia, citing

problems with implementing reforms, mainly fiscal.

June 19 - Chubais says Russia is seeking additional $10-$15

billion credit package from the IMF and other lenders.

June 23 - Yeltsin and Kiriyenko present anti-crisis plan

consisting of mainly tax laws. Yeltsin says the crisis has

become "so acute that there are social and political dangers".

He tells the Duma to waste no time in passing the laws, hinting

at tough steps if it resists.

June 25 - The IMF approves the release of the $670 million

tranche, but it fails to impress trade and shares fall again.

July 1-2 - Siberian miners start picketing Trans-Siberian

railway, demanding wage arrears and the resignation of Yeltsin

and his government. Shares tumble on overall uncertainty.

July 13 - Chubais announces that international lenders will

provide a total $22.6 billion in extra credits spread over 1998

and 1999. Of this total sum Russia will receive $14.8 billion in

the current year. Shares soar on the news.

July 15-17 - The State Duma guts government anti-crisis

plan, approving measures which Kiriyenko said would provide only

a third of targeted revenues. He vows to compensate for this

through government resolutions and presidential decrees.

July 19 - Yeltsin vetoes reduction in excise taxes in oil

and a reduction in profit tax and decrees four-fold hike in land

taxes after Duma rejects much of revenue-raising elements in

anti-crisis package.

July 20 - IMF approves $11.2 billion new loans for Russia,

saying first tranche of $4.8 billion available immediately --

$800 million less than planned due to delays in implementing

agreed measures.

July 24 - Central bank cuts refinancing rate to 60 from 80

percent. Markets remain unimpressed.

July 29 - Yeltsin cuts short his holiday and flies to Moscow

citing "urgent business" prompting fears of cabinet reshuffle.

But he replaces only Federal Security Service chief.

Aug 4 - Yeltsin resumes vacation at Valdai lakeland.

Aug 6 - World Bank approves $1.5 billion structural

adjustment loan for Russia, including immediate $300 million.

Aug 10 - Miners lift rail blockade after a temporary deal

with the government. Shares fall and t-bill yields rise as

investors take money out of Russian markets amid fears of

devaluation and doubts over state finances.

Aug 12 - Central bank says interbank market virtually

paralysed by liquidity shortages and lack of confidence. It

decides to impose limits on purchases of foreign exchange by

banks and says will act to prevent crisis from spreading.

Aug 13 - International financier George Soros advises the

Russian government to devalue rouble and introduce currency

board, pegging rouble to dollar or euro. Central bank official

says devaluation would not help solve crisis.

Shares plunge to lowest levels in more than two years and

short-term t-bill yields soar as banks dump paper for roubles.

Central bank expands banks' access to overnight credits.

Kiriyenko says there no economic basis for decline in

markets and his government is in position to meet obligations.

Aug 14 - Shares rebound and debt market stabilises after

plunge. Yeltsin, on visit to Novgorod, rules out devaluation and

gives backing to Kiriyenko. He says he will not cut short his

vacation and urges parliament to hold special meeting to

consider government anti-crisis drafts.

Russia's big Communist opposition bloc backs Yeltsin's call

for an extraordinary summer session of parliament, saying it

should focus on the current crisis.

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