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IMF’s dilemma: to help or not to help Ukraine, if Kiev defaults

2015.12.11 , TASS , просмотров 728

Tamara Zamyatina

MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. It is not ruled out that the IMF may play up toUkraineand render it financial assistance afterKiev’s possible default is declared, although the Fund’s rules prohibit lending to countries with the unrepaid external debt. But the IMF may realize that indulgences for one country may give a bad example for other borrowers, experts polled by TASS say.

Ukraine’s default may be declared, ifKievfails to repay its $3 billion debt toRussiaby December 20 or refuses to accept the restructuring terms offered byMoscow. The IMF has recognizedUkraine’s debt toRussiaas officialKiev’s sovereign liabilities. However, the Ukrainian authorities have refused to pay, claiming that the Eurobonds purchased byRussiawere a private rather than a government loan granted to then-President Viktor Yanukovych in 2013.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at a G20 summit thatRussiawas offeringUkraineto repay its debt by installments over the next three years against the guarantees of theUnited States, the European Union or an international financial institution.

No such guarantees were provided and the Russian Finance Ministry announced on Saturday thatRussiawould file a lawsuit againstUkrainewith an international court.

There were instances in world history when Western financial institutions changed the rules of the game in favor of their political proteges, said Andrei Klimov, deputy chairman of the Committee for International Affairs at the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

"TheUnited Statesplays the role of the main violin in the IMF while the role of the second violin is played by the European Union. These are two basic sponsors of the Maidan — the symbol of a coup d’etat inUkrainein 2014. It is not ruled out that for the sake of supporting theKievregime, which the West has brought to power, the IMF will revise the rules of the game and decide on providingUkraineassistance even after a default is declared," Klimov said.

The senator said, however, thatUkrainemight not get a new loan tranche from the IMF as the country had not yet approved its budget for 2016 over the absence of a coordinated tax reform draft. In his opinion, it is no coincidence that the visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden toKievon Monday preceded today’s meeting of the IMF Board onUkraine.

"It is obvious that Joe Biden wanted to understand the situation with corruption in the Ukrainian government and assess whether or notWashington’s creatures might turn into political zeros in the near future. Meanwhile, the $190 million aid Biden promised toKievis a talk about nothing," the politician said.

According to Klimov, if the IMF decides to meetUkrainehalfway, some of the IMF member countries deprived of such privileged conditions offered toKievmight resist this attempt, reshuffle cards and theUnited States"would have to take great efforts together with the European Union to push through their decision."

"Russianeeds to file a lawsuit to an international court to clearly express its position onUkraine’s repayment of its sovereign debt. This will be a difficult litigation case. It is not known how long it will last. ButRussiahas no other way out," the senator said.

Professor of the World Economy Department at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry Yaroslav Lisovolik noted that the IMF’s prevalent line was to give a possibility to the countries faced with the threat of a default on their foreign debt repayment to continue receiving the Fund’s assistance.

"But a question, which arises, is how closelyUkrainefollows the course set by the IMF’s parameters for the budget deficit and the tax reform," Lisovolik noted.

"The countries’ foreign debt payment discipline is important for the IMF. As forUkraine, possible indulgences for it would have negative aspects. Where the payment discipline is undermined, problems emerge not only with the country’s further observance of its financial obligations but also with the fulfillment of the IMF’s lending terms," the expert said.

Director of the Institute of Globalization Problems Mikhail Delyaginsaid he had no doubts that the IMF would meet Ukraine halfway.

"The Fund will giveKieva new loan tranche on one condition thatUkraineshould not payRussiaa dollar under its $3 billion debt. Legally, everything will be formalized correctly but they will obligeUkraineto pay only to western creditors for political reasons," Delyagin said.

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