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Extra info for Assisting Russia's Transition: An Unprecedented Challenge (World Bank Technical Paper)
In 1995, a stabilization program adopted with International Monetary Fund (IMF) support succeeded in reducing inflation for almost three years. It rested on three legs: fixing the exchange rate as a nominal anchor, tightening credit to enterprises, and limiting Central Bank of Russia (CBR) credit. But the government could not hold to the program’s fiscal policy nor implement the supporting structural reforms because of the opposition of key stakeholders. The fiscal slippage and low world prices for Russia’s exports required increasing external borrowing to keep the progressively uncompetitive fixed exchange rate.
Demand for MIGA’s political risk coverage also rose. With a gross exposure outstanding of about $260 million, Russia is today MIGA’s fourth-largest client. The 1997 CAS also placed great emphasis on regional infrastructure projects (water and sanitation, district heating, urban transport, and highway rehabilitation). Providing assistance to the regions had become popular among donors in the mid- and late 1990s. Subnational units were expected to compete for externally funded 7 A S S I S T I N G R U S S I A’ S T R A N S I T I O N projects, based on their interest and commitment to reform.
9 3 Bank Products and Services Analytical and Advisory Services T he 1990 joint study (OECD and others 1991) identified the transition challenges and laid out a quick and radical approach to macroeconomic, price, and structural reform, based on political economy considerations and the transition experience of other economies. The study stressed the need to achieve both macroeconomic stabilization and price liberalization before introducing other reforms—such as privatization, and institutional and legal reforms—that would take much longer to implement.