• ACI Russia

08/23/1998 19:57:09 Chronology of Russian financial crisis

MOSCOW, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin

sacked his entire government on Sunday after its four,

crisis-ridden months in office.

Following is a chronology of key recent events in the

financial crisis.

March 23, 1998 - Yeltsin says reforms are moving too slowly

and sacks entire cabinet of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

He names virtually unknown energy minister Sergei Kiriyenko as

acting prime minister. Parliament, threatened with dissolution

if it rejects Kiriyenko, approves him one month later.

Markets, already uneasy over Asian turmoil and low world oil

prices, are shocked by the changes. Many investors retreat.

April 29-May 5 - New, pro-reform cabinet gradually

announced. Markets rise slightly but major investors remain on

the sidelines.

May 12 - Coalminers start protest over unpaid wages, block a

main railway for over two weeks. Shares fall on law restricting

foreign ownership of shares in electricity giant UES.

May 13 - Markets plummet amid violence in Indonesia.

May 26 - Yeltsin signs austerity package to stabilise budget

and cut spending. Auction of a 75 percent stake in Rosneft, the

last big oil firm still in state hands, attracts no bidders.

May 29 - Influential Russian tycoons pledge to back Yeltsin.

Yeltsin appoints hardliner Boris Fyodorov to head tax service.

June 18 - International Monetary Fund delays a $670 million

tranche of a loan to Russia, citing fiscal problems.

June 19 - Russia asks for additional $10-15 billion credit

package from the IMF and other lenders.

June 23 - Yeltsin and Kiriyenko present anti-crisis plan

consisting mainly of tax laws to parliament. 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 - IMF approves release of the $670 million tranche,

but it fails to impress traders. Shares fall again.

July 1-2 - Siberian miners start new pickets of railways

demanding wage arrears. Shares tumble on overall uncertainty.

July 13 - International lenders pledge $22.6 billion in

extra credits spread over 1998 and 1999. Shares rise.

July 15-17 - Duma passes only part of government anti-crisis


July 19 - Yeltsin decrees four-fold hike in land taxes after

Duma rejects much of revenue-raising elements in anti-crisis


July 20 - IMF approves its $11.2 billion share of the new

international loans. First $4.8 billion made available.

July 29 - Yeltsin cuts short holiday and says he fears

increased political tension in the autumn. He sacks his Federal

Security Service chief and resumes his vacation one week later.

Aug 10 - Miners lift rail blockade, but markets plummet amid

fears of default or devaluation.

Aug 12 - Central Bank hints that major liquidity shortages

could paralyse the banking system, enacts urgent measures.

Aug 13 - International financier George Soros advises Russia

government to devalue rouble. Shares plunge to lowest levels in

more than two years. Kiriyenko says there is no economic basis

for the fall and his government can meet its obligations.

Aug 14 - Yeltsin vows there will be no devaluation, gives

backing to Kiriyenko and says he will not cut short his holiday.

Shares rebound slightly and debt market stabilises after plunge.

But some major banks have trouble meeting payments to each


Aug 17 - Russia's government and central bank announce a

package of drastic measures. It lifts the limit at which the

rouble can fluctuate against the dollar, allowing it to devalue;

sending Russians into the streets in search of dollars. The

government orders 90-day moratorium on repayments of some

foreign debts by commercial banks, and announces a restructuring

of rouble-denominated debt, details of which are not revealed.

Yeltsin's top economic advisor, Alexander Livshits, resigns.

Fyodorov promoted to deputy premier. Media and communists slam

Yeltsin, calling the events the "devaluation of the president."

Aug 18 - Foreign banks say they are worried that debt

restructuring will discriminate against them. Markets and rouble

continue plunge. Dollars are scarce in exchange booths.

Aug 19 - Announcement of final debt restructuring details is

put off until August 24.

Aug 20 - Chernomyrdin openly criticises the government.

Aug 21 - Parliament meets in emergency session, calls for

Yeltsin to resign and attacks Kiriyenko. Shares, in decline all

week, continue to fall.

Aug 23 - Yeltsin sacks entire Kiriyenko government, appoints

Chernomyrdin acting prime minister.

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