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08/18/1998 11:48:15 Communists warn investors against backing Yeltsin

MOSCOW, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov warned foreign investors on Tuesday they may not see their money again if they continue sponsoring President Boris Yeltsin's administration. Speaking at a news conference Zyuganov called for a coalition government to replace both the present cabinet and Yeltsin, whom he sees as unfit to run the state. "Any state should pay its debts. The government of people's trust will pay its debts," he said. "But I want to warn investors -- if you keep giving money to support a drinking, degraded and immoral person -- you will have to share the responsibility with him," he said in a clear reference to Yeltsin. Russia already owes about $160 billion to foreign lenders and a $22.6 billion loan package agreed upon in June is set to increase this sum. Zyuganov spoke after Monday's government decision to effectively devalue the rouble in an abrupt reversal of policy intended to restore confidence in its ailing economy. Russia also halted some debt repayments for 90 days. "The main culprit is our president. Our government is unable to act," Zyuganov said. Monday's moves and an acute financial crisis are seen in Russia as posing a political threat to Yeltsin's administration which had bet on a stable rouble and international financing.

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