It has long been announced that Russia will exchange the soviet commercialdebt for Eurobonds, but it was unclear when this exchange would start. OnAugust 14, the Russian Finance Ministry cleared up this issue to a certainextent, though not in full. As Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Kolotukhinstated, the exchange can start as early as in September 2002. Officials ofthe Ministry had to process a huge volume of information in order to draw aconclusion on due debt claims and to put this process into motion.Kolotukhin admitted that the reconcilement of these claims had been a veryresponsible process and had brought about an unexpectedly large amount ofproblems.To make sure that the claims raised by foreign companies, were objective,specialists of the Finance Ministry had to find many-year-old cases and tosort them out before making conclusions. "Developing technical aspects ofthe issue was very important for us in order to avoid accepting excessiveliabilities regarding Russian foreign debt", the Deputy Minister said.According to him, creditors have raised $1.4bn in debt claims as of today,but the actual volume of reconciled liabilities subject to the exchangeamounts to about $1bn. The Finance Ministry considered this sum sufficientfor starting the exchange of this category of the debt for Eurobonds.Technical preparation activities have been initiated. They are to becompleted in September, after which the exchange itself will start,Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported..