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Online NewsHour Forum
Forum Graphic  RUSSIA'S CRISIS
Will Russia survive its economic and political crisis?
September 17, 1998

Questions asked
in this forum:

Is Primakov the right man for the job?
What does the appointment of Primakov mean for Russia's relations with the West ?
What should the United States and the West do to help Russia get through this crisis?
What does the average Russian think about the current crisis?
Can the appointment of Primakov be interpreted as a defeat for the reformist policies of Yeltsin?
Is there any possibility that Yeltsin will dismantle the monopolies?

NewsHour Backgrounders
September 14, 1998:
Mr. Primakov becomes prime minister.

September 2, 1998:
Leon Aron, Michael McFaul and others discuss Russia's crisis.

August 31, 1998:
A look at how Russians view the crisis.

August 31, 1998:
Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin meet in Moscow .

August 31, 1998:
The Dow loses 6 percent of its value.

August 28, 1998:
Russia's crisis deepens.

August 27, 1998:
The Dow falls 357 points.

August 26, 1998:
Russia's economic situation drives down markets around the world.

August 24, 1998:
Boris Yeltsin sacks his government.

July 13, 1998
International lenders agree to loan Russia over $22 billion..

May 28, 1998
Russia's government tries to maintain the value of the ruble.

April 24, 1998
After two tries, Sergei Kiriyenko is confirmed as Russia's Prime Minister.

March 23, 1998
President Yeltsin sacks his cabinet.

Outside Links
The Russian Government Information Network.
International Monetary Fund.

As a deepening economic crisis continued to threaten Russia�s political order, Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton completed a three-day summit in Moscow.

Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin The crisis began when the Russian government devalued its currency, the ruble. As discussed on the NewsHour, the move triggered a panicked sell-off in Russia and sent tremors throughout stock markets worldwide. Since then, the ruble has lost over 80 percent of its value, the Central Bank has defaulted on its ruble-based debts and the stock market has dropped to new lows. Fearing that the Russian crisis may spread to other regions of the world, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 357 points on August 27, and another 512 points on August 31.

The worsening economic situation has also created a political crisis in Russia. Following the devaluation of the ruble, President Yeltsin sacked Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, who was appointed to the post just six months earlier.

Yeltsin and ChernomyrdinMr. Yeltsin then re-appointed former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and authorized him to form a new government. But the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament which has a strong anti-Yeltsin bias, rejected Mr. Chernomyrdin's nomination, twice, forcing Mr. Chernomyrdin to withdraw his name from consideration.

Seeking a candidate more suitable to the Duma, President Yeltsin nominated Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov. Mr. Primakov, who had the backing of the Russian Communist party, won a majority of votes in the Duma and has since assumed the role of prime minister.

Here to answer your questions on the crisis in Russia are Leon Aron and Professor Michael McFaul. Mr. Aron, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is also the author of an upcoming biography of Boris Yeltsin. Dr. McFaul, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University, is also the author of an upcoming book on Russian democracy. Please send in your questions and comments.

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