Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was ready to start paying out "in a forestalling manner" the credits that the Russian Central Bank had taken from the International Monetary Fund. While opening negotiations with the IMF Managing Director Horst Koehler in the Kremlin Thursday, the Russian President mentioned that the credit allocated by the IMF to the Central Bank amounted to $4.8 billion. The head of state underscored at the same time that Russia was "ready to start active payment of credits" already this year and during the two years to come. The payment will amount to $2.7 billion, according to Putin. Putin said that Russia planned to achieve 5.5-5.7% GDP growth this year, "and, maybe, even 5.8%". He also noted that "the population's real income was growing, the growth achieving 5% odd over the 8 months of the current year". Besides, "the Central Bank's currency reserves are increasing," according to the president. Koehler welcomed Putin's initiative to pay off the debt in advance. The IMF managing director emphasized that the fund regarded Russia "as a country fulfilling its obligations and promises".
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969