Russia repaid $24.637m, or 19.5m SDR (Special Drawing Rights) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today, the press service of the Finance Ministry reported. The source stressed this payment had been made ahead of schedule - on April 30 instead of May 2, 2002, as the latter would be a day off in Russia. Russia is to make another two payments to the IMF for a total of about $126.3m, or 100.4m SDR: it will repay $49.3m (39.2m SDR) on May 7 and $52.5m (41.7m SDR) on May 20. It has already made ten payments to this international organization since the beginning of this year and allocated a total of about $500m. Later this year, Russia will repay another $1.5bn to the IMF. According to preliminary data from the Finance Ministry, the debt of the Russian government to the IMF was $7.7bn as of January 1, 2002.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land